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Why do we love our cars so much?

There's a lot of infighting amongst gearheads because, like pretty much all groups, they're focusing on the differences instead of the commonalities. In the world of motorcycles, sport bike riders hate cruisers, cruisers hate tourers, Harley riders hate everybody and scooters don't count. Classic car aficionados hate modern car lovers, Ford owners hate Chevy owners, fans of the Japanese market hate the European and everybody hates Priuses. Aside from despising scooters and Priuses (naturally), I never bought into this mentality. I have my preferences, of course. I like my cars like I like my cheese: American and a lot of it.

If we took all the bickering out of it, maybe we’d find that every gearhead has something in common: a place of reverence in their heart for what the machine represents. These things we love are the culmination of thousands upon thousands of years of human ingenuity

I think that pretty much sums it up, but it is an interesting read. If you can get past the harsh language on the site.

IMO, it’s personality. Some folks are always looking for a differences to exclude someone from their group. This goes back to a time when people from outside your little town rarely visited. No one knew them, and they were not trusted. This attitude was affirmed when the only visitors were travelling salesman hawkng Magic Elixirs. It’s important to have measures you use to decide if someone can be trusted and by how much. But like everything, we can go overboard.

Others look for reasons to include others. I fall in the latter group. I grew up near DC, and we had neighbors that were elected officials or worked for them. There were also government workers (both my parents) and private company workers. We also had embassy officials as neighbors as well as folks that worked for foreign companies. Naturally, my high school was always in the running for the state soccer championship. But it also taught me that people are pretty much the same in may important ways: in the most important ways.

I don’t dislike someone because of what they drive, though I may wonder what they were thinking when they bought it. But I do enjoy finding someone that likes the same cars or motorcycles that I do. It’s nice to have your opinions affirmed.

I think most of it is like pro sports: Chevy drivers don’t “really” hate Ford drivers: they enjoy the rivalry, and having somebody to trash-talk.

Of course, like pro sports, you get the occasional loser who can’t keep things in perspective…

Nicely said.

I like classic cars because of their character and modern cars because of their reliability.
Driving is fun but fixing and maintaining them is where it is at for me.

With the vintage cars, I do like going to cruise night to talk to people about their cars. If they’ve done all the work themselves, you got my interest.
If you’ve written a check to get a nice car, I’ll compliment them with a “Nice car” comment but usually keep on going.
Maybe I’m a snob but not because of the car you have or how well it shines in the sun; more because of someone’s willingness to work on cars. You don’t have to be an expert (I’m not) but bust your knuckles once in a while and you got my respect.

Modern cars are like toasters to me - well, ‘driving appliances’ that get you from A to B. Just because someone blows by me in a Audi A8 doesn’t make him a ‘car guy’. I do admire how cars like that are able to whip around curves, though.

As far as fixing goes, unless I have to fix a car late at night to get to work in the morning, I like fixing and maintaining cars. Being rushed fixing something isn’t fun at all. It is something different to do from work so that makes it relaxing.

It’s also a “generational” thing as well. My father was a Ford die hard. I hated driving around in a Ford because they were looked down on in my area. As soon as I got a driver’s license…I started looking to trade the car my dad gave me…a 1950 Mercury Coupe. I found a 1957 Chevy Bel Air hardtop and bought it straight out. I gave the Mercury back to my dad. We always had a good natured rivalry about it. My grandfather drove a 1960 Dodge Dart so he got double teamed anytime he visited. I think it’s all in good fun most of the time.

“I think most of it is like pro sports”

How many people have been injured when wearing opposing team jerseys at a stadium? Almost all people are reasonable, as you say, but the more the idiots drink, the more likely they are to abuse and even seriously injure the opposing team’s fans. Worse than that, some of the visiting fans are spoiling for a fight.

If the way OSU fans are at work is any indication, especially towards Michigan fans…

@missileman
I’d love to have either of those old cars you owned.

IMOO the intolerence from the hater people stem from shallow character.
Jokingly the group I used to associate with did the same thing. One guy hated Fords, the other Chevys and all hated Chryslers, Cardinals are great and Cubs always sucked ,etc. But that was all in fun.

Sadly some do not understand it is all opinion. It happens on this site also, haters of domestics, imports and those who do not punctuate correctly.

I prefer domestics, hockey over all other sports and if you buy an import or a Chrysler I dont give rats rear end. Its not a big deal!

I lived in married student housing as a graduate student from 1969-71. New faculty were also allowed to live in the facility for up to a year while they looked for housing. A new faculty member and his wife lived in the building and owned a BMW. Apparently, the BMW had some sort of ignition problem, because the faculty member would have to wipe out the ignition system in wet weather before the BMW would start. One particularly wet morning as I was going out to take my wife to work and head for class, the BMW owner was frantically trying to dry out the ignition system while his wife was cranking the engine and yelling at him that she had to get to work. I offered them a ride which they accepted. I took my wife to work, then his wife and then took the new professor to his office. On the way to his office, he proceeded to tell me how well engineered his BMW was and how poorly engineered my old Rambler was. I finally said, “No matter how cold or damp it is, this Rambler always starts. I have pulled trailers in 95 degree weather and the engine never overheated. That is what I call engineering”. He then said, “You wouldn’t appreciate a fine automobile”. “No, I probably wouldn’t”, I replied. “However, I really hate to walk in the rain”. The new professor didn’t say another word, but when he got out at his building, he slammed the door to my Rambler so hard I thought it would break the glass (it didn’t). The next time it rained and he was drying out the ignition on the BMW with his wife screaming at him, I didn’t offere him a ride. Instead, I honked the horn and waved as my wife and I went by the BMW on our way to work.

There is what percent that love their cars? Do you love your washing machine? Actually I love both, amana commercial, stainless steel tub, good spin cycle, bought used 22 years ago. sure had to replace the brakes and belts, and a new control for gas in the dryer, but to many people a car is a thing to trade in before problems develop. To others of us keep it working, psychological I think, if you own it you need to justify owning it, me for example.

I have to clean coffee off my screen now, @Triedaq. You honking at the guy had me laughing.
Thanks!

There are some of us who basically like cars and want to help others choose a car suitable for their needs as well as help advise on repairs and maintenance. I get asked about every second week or so a question on car buying or repair/maintenance.

There are some, however, who will buy the exact opposite of what I recommend and then ask like the recent poster: “How do I get more fuel mileage out of my Nissan Titan truck?”

One of the more difficult things to tell people is to get rid of their vehicles because of current and impending repairs, even though the paint still looks good. You have to sit down with them and show them on paper that their vehicle is a money pit and it will only get worse.

One guy on my block is moving cross country. He still has a mint condition 1976 Volkswagen Rabbit, inherited form his dad who passed away 4 years ago. He wants to take it with him to an area in the East that is highly corrosive. He never runs the car, and I’m trying to tell him that the condtion will deteriorate further, and eventually the car will be worthless.

When it comes to taking car advice, women are far more receptive than men in taking sound advice.

I don’t fully understand the hatred that some folks manage to dredge up for “the wrong make” of car. But, then again, I don’t understand the intense hatred that professional sports seems to produce in many of its fans. (Think of the Boston/NYC rivalry, for example, that has turned into outright violence on more than one occasion)

But, in a general sense, I do understand the love that most folks have for their own car, and I believe that it relates to the independence that a car gives you. Whether you are a teenager who is now free to roam without his parents’ supervision, or it is the senior citizen who couldn’t leave the house without it, or just the typical middle-aged person who enjoys being able to take off whenever he/she wants in his/her car, a car represents independence.

I think back to 1958, when my family obtained its first car. Previously, we had lived in NYC, where a car is more of a hindrance than an advantage. But, after moving to less-congested NJ, we obtained a nice '55 Plymouth Belvedere 2-door hardtop. Very sporty for the time, and a very reliable car!

However, we were…not well-off…in those days, and when it became necessary to buy a new washing machine, we had to sell the car in order to buy the washing machine. Yes, that may sound incredible to many younger folks nowadays, but for a lower-middle class family in the mid-late '50s, it may not have been that unusual to have to choose between keeping the used car or buying a new washing machine.

To say that we all went into mourning for our dear departed car is not an exaggeration. We really missed the independence that the car had given us for a year or two, and we all became very saddened by its departure. Luckily, my father found a way to buy another used car within a few months (another '55 Plymouth, ironically), and we were back to being able to take Sunday drives in the country and to take long road trip vacations in the summer.

Brand rivalries aside, cars represent independence for us, and nobody wants to lose his/her independence. That factor translates to love for our own cars, IMHO.

bscar2…I would love to have either car back as well.

Now I’m confused. I own a Yamaha/Star cruiser with a factory touring package. Whom am I supposed to hate? ( ;

The keys to the car represent freedom, escape and it SURE beats walking…

Like the clothes we wear and the hair styles and facial hair we grow, they reflect the image we want to project. They are part of our personality, even in the color we choose. Guys will say otherwise…the same ones who dress their cars up with options in place of the jewelry they wouldn’t be caught wearing. Guy’s cars are our answer to women’s shoes. We hoard and gloat over them in the same manner. It’s just more masculine to talk carbs, over head valves and dual exhaust then it is hair spray and perfume. We are no different then the gals.

We “wear” our cars.

Due to disabilities, I haven’t been able to drive for a decade. I’m just approaching fifty so now face spending half my life being driven by others. It has done nothing to dim my enthusiasm for cars and fascination with their design. Now I get to appreciate being driven in cars by my partner. I get to be the navigator.

And I ride public transit, not a bad thing as I’m lucky enough to live in a part of San Francisco where it makes sense not to have a car. So we use ZipCar, which is fun because we get to try out so many different cars, mostly economy cars, but they have some nice cars in their fleet, too.

To get back to the OP, my love of cars is very broad, a love of many different models. And a dislike of some others. All formed from my past, cars I’m driven in, a couple of afternoons at the San Francisco International Auto Show every November, and decades of magazines.

A car gets lived in, like a house is lived in. And gathers sentimental meaning thereby.

One reason I’m glad I sold my 1997 Explorer to a neighbor (besides, they really needed a vehicle and that is a good one) is that it’s still around. There is my son’s growing up in it, lots of cross country trips in it, lots of Cub Scout camping in it, and some getting around in big snow storms in it.
And I bought it new during a really hard year for me, partly to give me something to enjoy and put a bright spot in my life.

Since my son is moving away, we don’t have a need for a second vehicle, and it was getting to ask for too many parts to be considered reliable anymore.

I think love of cars comes with the independence and freedom they give us. This explains why people act as though driving is a right, not the privilege it really is. My old Civic is ugly, worn out, and the air conditioner doesn’t work, but on a rainy day, when I drive it to work instead of riding a motorcycle, I fall in love with it all over again. When I think back to all the miles I’ve put on it, it brings back fond memories.

Part of my love for my car is based on my belief that I couldn’t have chosen a better car. My friends thought I was crazy to brag about getting 30/34 MPG when I bought it in 1999, but each time the price of fuel has spiked, I was able to keep driving, while my friends had to find alternatives to taking the trips they had planned. When gas gets expensive and money gets tight, I can follow semis doing less than 70 MPH (not drafting, but leaving a safe distance), and can get almost 37 MPG.

Owning a car is nothing but a headache if you can’t afford to drive it.