I recall Brock Yates, while still with Car and Driver, having penned a column that made me feel crummy. Apparently, according to Brock, because I’m not an especially gifted track driver, and because I can’t name every Formula One driver who ever finished a race, I am not a real “car guy.”
I would argue that if you can’t drive stick, and don’t spend at least a little time each week trolling used-car lots, you’re not a car guy. But, my definition probably isn’t much fairer than Brock’s.
Guys around the Consumer Guide office might suggest that if you don’t know the origins of the Cologne V6, can’t feel the difference between a torque-converter and a dual-clutch transmission in operation, or can’t explain the benefits of direct injection, you might not be a car guy.
The farce here is attempting to define “car guy” at all. Is a James Joyce fan any more of a book lover than a Vonnegut guy? And so it goes in car land. The only real frauds are the people into one thing ripping on guys into something else. I’ve noted my disdain for the Neanderthals who still use terms like “rice burner,” but the guys out there building rocket-fast Civics who rip on muscle-car guys are idiots, too.
In search of broader, less exclusionary defining points, I have crafted the following list of reasons why you might not be a car guy. If you find that three or more of the following points apply to you, I would suggest that your heart lies elsewhere in the broad spectrum of special-interest life distractions. And hey, that’s fine—just don’t ask me to explain any Lucas “Prince of Darkness” jokes to you.
You might not be a car guy if . . .
- You’ve never, even for an instant, considered seeking out a decent-condition retired police car for use as a daily driver.
- You’ve never, even for an instant, considered seeking out a decent-condition Checker Marathon for use as a daily driver.
- You’re not almost as interested in getting seat time in a Cord 810 as you are a Bugatti Veyron.
- You’re not nearly as interested in getting seat time in a Unimog as you are a Bugatti Veyron.
- You categorically reject wagons as cool.
- You’ve never worried that, if given the chance, you would not know how to drive a Model T. (Many cool YouTube videos cover this, by the way.)
- You’ve never paused for a moment to contemplate the complexity of the Volkswagen W8 (or W12, or W16).
- You’ve ever referred to an Acura NSX, Nissan 300ZX, or Toyota Supra as a “ricer.”
- You don’t know which car has “. . . a cop motor, a 440 cubic-inch plant. It’s got cop tires, cop suspension, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters, so it’ll run good on regular gas.”
- You don’t keep a running (and ever-changing) mental list of the first five cars you’d buy immediately after a big lottery payday.