Are We Our Own Worst Enemy ?


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There are many aspects to cars that are enjoyable: exterior and interior design, mechanics, speed, handling, noise, statistics, mobility, sport, etc. These are the exciting attributes that stimulate our passion for the automobile and keeps the culture alive and flourishing among us. On the other hand, there are also negative characteristics and connotations with the automobile: pollution, traffic, the need for fossil fuels (for now), maintenance, high initial cost, destructive image, danger, etc. Nonetheless, we choose to either ignore or tolerate these discouraging properties that come with owning a vehicle by focusing on the positive. Although sometimes, the reality sets in and the whole notion of exciting, quirky, and fun cars becomes discouraging and disappointing.

People who describe themselves as “enthusiasts” of anything (be it cars, bikes, sports, etc), have a passion that stems from somewhere. It could stem from an influential person sharing the same passion, how they were brought up, or even an event that took place in their life. Nevertheless, there was/is something in one’s life that nurtured their passion enough for them to call themselves an “enthusiast”. After becoming immersed in the various cultures and subcultures of that particular passion, a general consensus and idea of what makes it enjoyable is made. For car enthusiasts in particular, it is fascinating and exciting to know that you are in control of a mechanical object capable of incomprehensible speeds that are impossible for any human to achieve on their own. Not to mention, it’s polarizing to see beautifully sculpted cars by Pininfarina, Zagato, Fisker, and Callum (to name a few). Unfortunately, there are many cars that are hard to obtain and are left to be desired.

Unless you are financially sound, it is hard to justify having a second weekend/track car due to cost and storage issues. Therefore, the majority of people only have one daily driver that’s expected to be reliable, get reasonable fuel economy, and yet fulfill your needs as car enthusiasts. However, there are many of us that strive to huaving something better. By “better”, for lack of a better word, I mean something that is more effective at satisfying our wants and needs. This usually means obtaining a car that is higher up in the “aspirational” ladder. This “aspirational ladder” is different for everyone, as not everyone has the same preference for vehicles. One person might aspire to own an Aventador, while another has their eye on a RS6 Avant. It is human nature to want more than what we already have. It is this lust for something better that can lead to disappointment.

Conversely, an argument can be made that there are people who are, and will continue to be satisfied with the vehicle that they are currently driving. Most likely, there are people who have climbed that ladder, and have finally obtained the car that suits their needs and wants perfectly. As people get older their desires change, new products enter the market, and their financial and personal circumstance changes as well. so it might not be the exact car that they had as a poster on their bedroom wall. But, it is a vehicle that makes them happy in a way that only an auto enthusiast can experience from a car; That “fizzy” feeling that James May describes.

I am not suggesting that because at times it is disappointing that I do not own an Aventador or RS6 Avant that I am beginning to dislike cars. In fact, it is because of these desirable yet rarely obtained cars that I have a love of car culture. All I am saying is that I hope to climb this ladder to where I reach a point of content with the car(s) that I own. But for many in their lifetime that is a difficult, if not impossible, state of mind to attain.

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