Some people have an obsession with cars that borders on the unhealthy: to quote Jerry Seinfeld, what’s up with that? Why are these so-called “gearheads” so geared towards vehicles, so fixated on fixing them? Turns out, in the unique and motor-powered world of car-enthusiasts, there are a lot of things to get revved up about.
A Symbol of Status
Some automobiles are built to be luxury items: BMWs, for example, are known for their sleek, sporty appearance, their peak performance and optimal handling. Luxury cars can be a symbol of one’s status, after all; they’re clearly designed to impress. A person behind the wheel of luxury car is making a statement about their lifestyle and spending habits. And if that’s the case, why not collect them? Car collections are common among the rich and famous. Think of late night talk show host Jay Leno, for example; his car collection almost overwhelms his television reputation.
A Reflection of You
It’s entirely possible that an ego is at the root of most vehicular love affairs. For many people, men in particular it seems, their car (or, often, cars) is viewed as a reflection of themselves. Whether it’s expressed through leather seats, flashy rims, or a souped-up engine, a car can represent the pride and joy of its owner. This attitude may explain the genius-level mechanical understanding, the obsessive attention to care and the compulsive desire for all models better, stronger and faster that we’ve come to expect from such passionate car lovers.
A Piece of History
The last 100 years has witnessed a smorgasbord of makes and models; these days, they just don’t make ’em like they used to, so to speak. For car buffs, a well-maintained classic car is a coveted piece of history for them to cling to. Those who’ve made a hobby of collecting classic cars have a certain appreciation for the style, craftsmanship and rarity of classic cars; collecting them can be a rewarding (albeit expensive) endeavor.
A Soft Spot
Most people have fond memories of their first car: what they named, the quirks it had and the places it took them. Cars may initially have been conceived as a measure of convenience—a better way to get from point A to point B—but Henry Ford’s Model T effectively wove automobiles into the fabric of American culture, right up there with fireworks and baseball. Today, getting one’s first car is a milestone and there are many more models to choose from than there were in the early 1900s. Considering the amount of time that American spend in their cars—driving to and from work, soccer practice, surfing, etc.—it stands to reason that we should be passionate about what we drive.
True car lovers are not only passionate about what they drive, but also driving itself. With gas prices on the rise, the sport of driving may soon be running on empty, but for many enthusiasts, driving continues to be as much a sport as is football. For these folks, it’s about riding smoothly, going fast and hugging the turns. These speed demons know all too well that performance and handling can make or break the entire driving experience.
A Hands-on Project
Is it just a coincidence that “the mechanic gene” has a tendency to run in families? Mechanics are often proud to report the enjoyment they feel and the satisfaction they get from building and tinkering on cars. Among this breed of people, mechanical engineering is a trade to master and an art to perfect. Although the future of cars may be headed in the direction of computers and robotics, car enthusiasts appreciate the fact that the automobile’s original build was rooted in a dirty pair of hands under the hood. They tend to encourage the long-term preservation of this honored method.
Whatever the reason may be, there’s a considerable amount of people in this world that are “driven” (forgive the pun) by their attraction to autos. A peek into their car-centric lifestyle is also an intriguing peek into the human psyche.
This post was written and contributed by Edson Farnell. Edson writes about various automotive topics. Many of Edson’s friends refer to him as the Auto Parts Geek. Visit the dealer alternative he goes to for his auto parts.