Let’s face it: the car you drive matters more than you think. Just as the clothes you wear serve as a tacit form of self-expression, your car projects a distinct image. TLC’s What Not to Wear has taught us that there is an endless stream of people who dress poorly, genuinely unaware that they look unprofessional, dowdy or downright bad. Is it possible just as many are clueless about their cars?
Disclaimer: We are talking about anyone who has the luxury to choose the car they drive. For many, a vehicle is simply their means of transportation. But for others, i.e. those with the time and resources to be selective about their automobiles, their car is also an opportunity to outwardly express their individual style, preferences, profession, even their dreams or worldview.
Let’s do a little mental exercise. Take a minute to think about the following:
- Are you introverted or extraverted?
- Do you favor an Armani suit or a Brooks Brothers ensemble?
- Are you single, married?
- Have kids, dogs?
- Are you more at home at Pottery Barn or Ikea?
- Do you tend towards the simple or the complex?
- Would you rather blend into the background or stand out in the crowd?
- Are you a neat freak or a slob?
Considering your answers to the above, and imagine life without financial restrictions – what type of car would you choose? Is a two-seater going to rock your world? Or does a big-time off-roading SUV sound more like your life? Is a refined sedan for cruising and client lunching calling your name? How about a brand-spanking-new quintessential coupe?
If you’re not especially picky about the model, perhaps it’s the make that speaks to you. European-made vehicles tend to be more refined, highly engineered for functionality and boast sleekness, while Asian-made vehicles feature expected levels of functionality and a more severe design. Domestic vehicles, conversely, seem to follow short-term aesthetic trends and are built for decidedly American preferences and functionality, as in, six cup holders and more control buttons than an airplane.
So, let’s say you have a big new business meeting, you are dressed impeccably and you know your stuff – but you drive up in a Chevy Impala. Does this alter what the prospective client thinks of you? Or, what would you think if you were to have coffee with a rep from Greenpeace and she rolled into Starbucks behind the wheel of a Hummer? Believe it or not, first impressions count, and the car you drive has an impact.
At their core, cars are transportation. But, as we noted in an earlier post, since cars hit the American market in the early twentieth century, there have been plenty of autophiles, the kinds of people who swoon at the annual Ault Park Concours d’Elegance, to appreciate them as more than transportation. Some of the world’s most talented engineers and designers pour their energies into creating very specific and nuanced vehicles whose features communicate the lifestyle of their driver.
What does your car say about you?