What do you get out of your car?



I’ve been working on a project which deals with people who are really enthused about cars, trucks, or vehicles in general but somehow I feel I might not really appreciate what it is that makes these folks feel so close to their vehicles, so I’d like to pose a question here and ask two questions aimed at people who are really into this:

1) How important is your car (or truck, motorcycle, or other vehicle) to you?

2) What are the specific things that really turn you on about your vehicle?

In other words, tell me about your passion and why it’s important to you.


You’ve got an interesting project to do, and a difficult one. It’s like trying to find sanity in the insane, or rationality among a field of irrationality.

One must also remember that being enthusiastic about cars is quite different than being enthusiastic about an owned car. For example, I drive a 2002 Hyundai Accent. I am as enthusiastic about it as I am a rock. It’s boring, it’s slow, it’s underpowered, it’s small, and it lacks some feature comforts (A/C and cruise control being the big 2.) However, I am still enthusiastic about cars in general. I suppose it’s almost like a multiple personality - on one hand is the idealist dreamer, who loves all things automotive. One the other is the realist, who isn’t rich and can afford only so much. Therefore, one may be enthusiastic about cars, but not necessarily about their own car.

Now, to answer your questions:

  1. My car is very important to me, without it I can’t get to work. I know it’s a practical answer, probably not something you were looking for, but there it is. If it were any other kind of car, I would care about it as much (with some few exceptions.)

  2. Nothing, really, except sentimental values, I guess. It got me across Canada and back, and it has a lot of room in it, as it’s a hatchback. Bu it doesn’t have any of the macho, stereotypical car guy stuff in it: no high powered engine, blasting stereo, rear wheel drive or anything else. It goes 0-60 in over 10 seconds, it understeers like a bitch, and has a gas tank that’s too small. Do I hate it? No, but I certainly don’t love it. But, it’s what I can afford, and that’s that.


I fell in love with cars as a child – they were beautiful and they were the emblem of adult freedom.

Those two features are still at the core of my affection, although I also simply enjoy driving a nice car, especially a convertible, on a sunny day (not too hot), on a curvy mountain road. What’s not to love?


My car, a 2005 Scion tC is a true joy to me.

The reasons are that it’s reliable, comfortable, it tracks and corners very well for an inexpensive car with a good ride, it’s cheap to buy and run, the roof opens up nice and wide yet closes tight as a clam, and it makes me feel young again. It’s a sporty car that still has utility value and does not have the expense of an all-out sports car.

By the way, I’ve owned cars for over 40 years now. This one is one of my favorites.


1: Both my cars are needed for both recreation and work. I can’t get to work if my main car is in the shop(which it hardly is save for oil changes). While I have another car for weekends, I won’t drive it in the winter. It’s seen far too many of them before I bought it.

2: My civic doesn’t seem to want to die, I like that. My chevelle turns heads everywhere it goes, and the old vinyl smell is love.

  1. My cars have always been about escape. A means to get the f** outta Dodge, if you know what I mean. Ever since I was 16, and got my first car, I’ve always been able to just hop in and go if I needed a break or time away. Most of my vacations involve a road-tip of some kind. My passion naturally developed into my skills to understand how they worked and how to repair them. Even tho they have a utilitarian purpose, to get me to work and other places, it’s always been the escape that’s appealed to me.

  2. My current car is a hand-me-down. It has been in our family since new in 1988. It still runs strong, with 235,000 miles on it. I can’t seem to let a car go if it is still fairly reliable and running strong. My Dad finally sold it to me when he started having issues, but they were simple problems, and easy to work out. Bargain for me.


I used to like car models and I went crazy building two of them. A 68 GTO and a 69 Charger. I used to use thread for ignition wires. I used to draw hemi engines in school when our Nun went awol to play principal when the priest had to be elsewhere. I even drew the space shuttle before it was even thought of by NASA. I was an awful mechanic in trade school, but was OK when the teacher was right there. Couldn’t turn your back on me. So, I like the 4.6 engine that was in my E-150 van and thinking about how rare that engine would have been in 69. Paying 17000 for the van is like getting it for free. I liked getting 19 MPG with it on the highway. I liked handing the cashier a 100 dollar bill and having him say that he couldn’t change it. I told him that I would only need about nine dollars back and then filled it up for 91 bucks. I liked driving 540 miles before needing gas. I have gone completely nuts and have no idea what to like anymore. I like knowing how many foreign parts are in our “merry can” cars.


My truck, a 1997 Dodge Ram 3/4 ton is the most importand vehicle that I have ever had to me. I’ve had 5 vehicles, including this one, since I’ve got my license and this one has to be the most important one. Its dependable, gets me back and forth to work in the back roads, and I really dont worry too much about anything going wrong. The biggest part of it that turns me on is the fact that it truly is an eye-catcher. The paint isn’t all scratched up, not dented, washed once or twice a week, unlike most people who work in the woods, they have vehicles just to beat on. I dont. If something goes wrong, it gets fixed immediately. Every month, or month and a half I bring it to the garage and have it checked head-to-toe to make sure it doesn’t need anything.

By the way, interesting project. You must be in school?

  1. Very important. When it comes to my materialistic needs it is probably the most important.

  2. Everything. Maybe I’m crazy, but I feel emotionally attached to my cars, and separating from a car is never easy!

Having a car is like any other relationships. If you invest in it, it will bring you a lot of joy. If you take care of your car it will give you lots of problem free driving in return. My daily drier is 18 years old, and I take great pride in keeping it in mint condition. I fix every little problem as soon as they occur, and the result is that I never have had any major issues with it. I see a lot of 5 year old cars on the road that both look and runs a lot worse than my 18 year old baby.

I also enjoy taking in cars that have been abused by their previous owner. Those owners are tired of what they believe is a lemon, so they sell it really cheap, not realizing that the main issue is that they neglected the car. A few repairs and a tune up normally brings the car back on the road for many happy years.

Maybe you think I’m going overboard talking about “abused cars”, but I truly believe that it is a waste if you don’t take care of your car.


Not to be too sarcastic, but if you have to ask you will never understand. (-;

Everyone has something(s) they are passionate about, I know folks who collect everything from cars/motorcycles to cookware (a friend of mine who is a pretty serious cook can talk about the virtues of different types of pots and pans for hours). I know folks who are fanatics about their houses/funiture and spend every free minute shopping for some perfect piece for their house. Audiophiles are probably more extreme than auto enthusiasts when it comes to understanding the specs of every single piece of hardware in their system. There are computer geeks that are always trying to build the best/fastest computer system, one friend of mine will spend silly amounts of money to make his computers slightly faster. There are photographers (real, not digital) who make their own photographic paper to get the exact results they are looking for. Talk to anyone who owns a traditional wooden sail boat. How about fishermen how spend hours tying flies and building perfect wooden fly rods.

Regarding auto enthusiast, there a lots of differnt types. Plenty of folks just collect antique and show cars that are never used. There are lots of hot rodders and “tuners” who are interested in having a “one of a kind” car with impressive performance. I know folks who are into owning the latest version of various specialty cars/bikes, these are the folks who will be the first on the waiting list for the latest ferrari or harley.

Personally, I prefer older cars/bikes that can be used as daily drivers. My “thing” is to own make/model/years of cars that I think are just about the best of their type and do whatever it takes to preserve them in very good original condition while using them every day. The ideal is to drive around in a 25-30 year old car that looks/performs like it did when it was new. Without thinking about it, I’ve tended to gravitate towards high end cars that were available when I was in my 20s. These are they cars I would have bought new if I hadn’t been broke; now that I can afford these types of new cars, they don’t interest me as much as the old ones.


I’d like to thank everyone who has replied. The answers are different from what I might have thought and have given me some fresh ideas to think about.

Although I really appreciate the answers which you who have responded gave, I was a bit disappointed in that I didn’t get more replies and detail from people who spend a lot of their spare time working on, fixing up, showing off and meeting with other car fans. That is: the real car fanatics (nothing negative implied here).

Did I ask my question in the wrong way? Does anyone have any suggestions about how to present this to get the kind of replies I’m looking for?


Another place to look is a forum specific to one brand or model. For example, to find forums for the Porsche Cayman, Google “Porsche Cayman forums”. You will find several. Repeat for Corvettes, Mustangs, BMWs, Nissans, Infinitis, Audis and so on.

You will have the best luck with brands and models that attract entusiasts. They love to talk about their cars. On the other hand, I doubt anyone is likely to get very excited about a Chevy Celebrity.