I know a lot of “car guys”. Everyone knows at least one. But what does that terminology mean anyway?
Do they have to have car-centric posters on the wall of their man cave?
Do they have to work on the cars they love?
Do they have to own a car worth noting?
Do they have to be able to wield at any important moment terms like “Naturally Aspirated” or acronyms for days like DCT or PDK?
Do they have to clock enough hours online oogling cars they will never own?
Here’s the issue. I don’t really fit any of those categories. By these standards, I would not be considered a “car guy”. I’m ok with that. But what do you do when you’re not enough “car guy” for the car guys, but know too much for the people who couldn’t care less?
I will never have the pride and time necessary to carry weight with the outspoken, opinionated car guys. Have you ever noticed the pissing contest that is associated with cars? Everybody knows which car is best and knows more about cars than the next guy. They spout off numbers and “car guy” phrases as they engage in arguments that will either never be settled or are impossible to settle. I understand it is invigorating for some. For me it is as useful as watching two old men slap each other. Funny, painfully slow, and a waste of time.
If I didn’t care at all, I could just stay away from that ridiculousness and be all “ignorance is bliss” and drive a Yaris while my soul deteriorated. But no, I just can’t die that slow, painful death. I care too much. I hate cars that suck. I drove a well-selling, well-known vanilla domestic 4-door sedan the other day and was shocked by how hollow it felt. There is literally nothing there. It was like driving a zombie that was too lazy to eat humans. To most people, it would be an acceptable driving experience. I couldn’t get back into my own car fast enough. So now I’m too picky for the “normal” people.
Horsepower seems to be one of the greatest dividing lines where I have made a home on top of the fence.
When you’re talking about the difference between 550 and 600 horsepower, I could really care less, I just know that much horsepower in general is awesome. And I can’t tell the difference. But I CAN tell the difference between 170 horsepower and 300. I upgraded my wife’s van from a Grand Caravan to a Nissan Quest and it’s amazing how different 235 is from 180. I guess my “middle of the road-ness” is reflected in the car I love so dearly and drive daily, the Infiniti G35x. It’s not casual enough to be a “normal” car, but not performance enough to be good enough for the die-hards. I think that’s exactly what makes it perfect for me. I can smoke the average joe, but I get better than 11 mpg and I’m not replacing back tires every three months. It comes stock with 306 hp, which is bumped up a bit on mine with a custom exhaust system. I can’t go back under 300 for a car again, now that I have had that power. So here we are again: that stipulation seems haughty for a normal person, and too low for a “real” car guy. I’m just hanging out here in the middle.
For all of you Mustang and Camaro people, I understand that they come in at a base level of around 300 hp. But I’m talking about cars that don’t suck. (Shots fired)
For real, they do NOTHING for me. Yes, even the GT500. I drove one with a manual transmission (if you can’t drive one, please don’t tell me you’re a car guy) and it felt like shifting a fork through a garbage disposal. I guess some people like that. I found nothing enjoyable about it.
Disclaimer: this does not reflect the opinions of Pure Pursuit as a whole. It is my opinion.
Back to the exhaust system. My car makes me feel things whenever I start it. It sounds like a giant pissed-off chainsaw. I pause and listen to it every time. That’s a big deal for me. No one starts their Camry just to hear it roar. The vanilla-mobile I previously mentioned sounded like a wind-up toy car in an aluminum can. So I care about how it sounds, but not enough to know the difference in sound between a turbocharger and a supercharger. I’d have a better shot than an average Joe, but not enough confidence to decypher with the big boys.
I’ll admit, I am a bit “snobbier” than I expected to become since working at Pure Pursuit, as we are Kansas City’s only enthusiast-only dealership, and we pretty much only stock beasts. I guess the average joe would say “snobbier”, I should call it “enlightened”. My wife will point out a base model from a luxury brand while we’re out driving and I give it 2 seconds of my time and brush it off like some expert. Absolute snobbery, but I can’t help it. When you look at AMG’s and M’s all day long, it takes more to impress you. Yet when we come across an AMG or a Turbo, I’m craning my neck and ignoring all safe driving procedures.
Cosmetics mean a lot to me, and performance can’t take their place.
I’m not crazy about M5’s, even though they are absolute behemoths when it comes to performance. They just don’t do it for me visually. I know, that sounds ridiculous. So naturally a “car guy” would suggest that I just drive a good looking car with no power if I don’t care that much, but I just couldn’t do it. For example, I think a Mitsubishi Eclipse is a pretty good looking car. I wanted one in high school. It looks good, but unless you do something crazy to it, it lacks real power. It doesn’t make my heart skip a beat when it starts. It looks nice, but it also is “nice” on the pissed-off scale. That’s not a good thing. One of the things that drives me crazy is when people say a car is “fast” because it “looks fast”. A Celica looks fast, but we all know there is nothing under the hood. So here we are again in the middle: Looking fast doesn’t do enough for me, but I don’t care if it’s truly fast like “real” car guys do.
I guess I will always be the middle man. I’ll know too much and too little at the same time. I’ll continue to go to car shows and know what’s actually awesome, and not be able to give you any stats or acronyms. I’ll continue to be enthusiastic while not being “in the know” enough to be an “enthusiast”. You know, I’m actually okay with that. Here’s what I know: I know what I like, even if I can’t explain it sufficiently for the die-hards. I am fortunate enough to drive a car that I continually fall more in love with every day and that still does enough to excite me. Not a lot of people can say that. Not everyone volunteers to drive to the grocery store for their wife just so that they can get another drive in. Not everyone looks forward to their drive to work because they know they’re going to get a good chunk of time in with their car. My middle-ness may be unconventional, but it works for me. I have found exactly what I’m looking for. And I’m ecstatic about it.
That’s “car-guy” enough for me.
About Pure Pursuit:
Pure Pursuit is Kansas City’s premier Luxury Sports Car Dealer. We Specialize in Mercedes- Benz AMG’s, BMW M’s, Audi S/RS, Porsche Turbo/S, and more. We ship Worldwide, and deliver concierge-level service that customers are raving about. See For Yourself Here!
About the Author: Grant Braaten is Digital Marketing Manager of Pure Pursuit Automotive. Grant is proud to be from the greatest city in the world, Kansas City, MO. His general distaste for being a cog in the corporate system led to him to contribute to three KC startups before founding his own Non-Profit. He has the honor of being the first employee at Pure Pursuit’s nationwide headquarters…Learn more about Grant here: http://purepursuitauto.com/project/grant-braaten-digital-marketing-manager/