Home » The Joy Of Proving Car Owner Stereotypes Wrong: COTD

The Joy Of Proving Car Owner Stereotypes Wrong: COTD

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I find it fascinating that if you cruise through enough online car forums, you’re bound to run into people making assumptions about the kinds of people who drive certain cars. Pickup truck drivers try to be overly macho, Toyota Prius owners are environmentalists clogging up the passing lane, the guy driving a Bentley is a rich jerk, and so on. I’ve heard them all, even Subaru wagon lesbian jokes. Maybe that’s why it’s such a giggle being the direct opposite of what people assume.

Today, Thomas wrote about how you could buy a stately Bentley Arnage for less than the price of a new Honda Accord LX. That’s the brilliance of outrageously steep luxury car depreciation. You can look like a baller without having the income that would have been necessary to buy your ride new.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Rollin Hand reminds me of myself, getting a kick out of subverting expectations:

I would love to roll up to a gas station in one of these, early Van Halen blasting, while I am wearing sandals, cargo shorts and a t-shirt. People would stare, and I would love it.

I’ve gotten overly dressed up to drive some truly awful crapboxes and dressed down before hopping into vehicles worth more than my entire fleet combined. You never know how I’m going to roll up.

Next, let’s go back to yesterday. I’m going to nominate my first-ever COTD from another COTD. Why? Because we’re getting Toecutter’s origin story!

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S L1200
Suzuki

Adrian Clarke is this site’s gem. A shiny, cold, black gem that could lead to this world’s destruction and raise the dead back to life, but a gem none-the-less.

Regarding cheapness, I used to drive a Suzuki Sidekick with a manual transmission. Black. It was my step mother’s vehicle. As a broke college student, I hyper-miled it to extract as much out of the fuel as possible. When driven normally without any concern to efficiency, doing abut 65 mph on the highway, it got about 18-20 mpg. It was an out-of-tune POS and it’s drag coefficient of 0.48 made it a gas guzzler, in-spite of its Miata NC-like weight of 2,600 lbs and power-starved 4-cylinder engine. BUT if I drove it in the city, and shifted up at 1,500 rpm, and accelerated at 2/3 throttle, doing 35 mph in 5th gear, remaining cognizant of traffic lights and coasting where I could and having my foot on the throttle as seldom as possible, I could get 30-35 mpg on a good day with this driving tactic. It was a survival necessity, as my part time job wasn’t even enough to cover my textbooks.

This same vehicle could also do up to 100 mph. I remember when my father was using it for his nursing job, and got home late. I was already 5 minutes late for a final exam Junior year for an EM Fields course by the time I left the house. That is the morning I found out its top speed. Its speedometer only went to 85 mph, BUT in 5th gear, every 1,000 rpm equated to 20 mph. It topped out exactly at 5,000 rpm. I could literally see the needle on the fuel gauge decline in real time at that speed. I’d guestimate it got like 6 mpg at that speed. And at speed, this vehicle was VERY unstable. It felt like it was going to take off into the air and every crack and groove in the road made the steering wheel shimmy with a disturbing degree of violence. I got to the exam 30 minutes late, and managed to get a B, leaving the exam unfinished when the time was up. Had I not broken the law, I probably would have been too late to take the exam at all and failed the course.

Normally, when it’s not my vehicle, my default mode of driving is to obey all traffic laws. When it is my vehicle, all bets are off… That was an exceptional circumstance that required a judgement call. I chose correctly(and got lucky). I’ve never gotten a speeding ticket in my life, even if I’ve spent literally hundreds of hours at triple-digit speeds. But in this vehicle, I drove it to the best of my ability to extract as many miles out of each gallon of guzzoline as possible, because otherwise, I’d have been in a world of hurt.

Electrical problems sent that POS to the crusher, and I don’t at all miss it.

Harvey Park’s response was also golden:

So that’s the super villain toecutter’s origin story!

“You wanna know how I got these cars?”

You guys rock! Have a great weekend.

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Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
1 month ago

I have had multiple nannies with Mercedes Benz, so I’m always shocked to see someone with a Mercedes that is not a nanny.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 month ago

I drove a 1966 Thunderbird in high school and I’m a zoomer. It put a smile on old guys’ faces when I’d pull into car shows and disprove the notion that young’uns don’t care about classic cars… or at least, that’s what I like to think 🙂

Of course then an old lady rear-ended that car, so now I’m driving a 1990 Miata (and waiting on funds to restore the T-bird), whose most entertaining owner stereotypes mostly fizzled out a decade ago. I’m neither gay nor a hairdresser, but neither of those images are things deterring people from buying Miatas anymore. It almost seems it would be more fun to perfectly embody the old Miata stereotypes than to embody the current Miata stereotype of owners who insist you don’t have to be a gay hairdresser to like Miatas.

As a side note, the public reactions to the two cars are totally different. When I drove the ‘Bird, I got compliments, excited pointing, people asking if it was for sale, and conversations in parking lots with random friendly old guys telling stories of how they had one just like it back in the day. In the Miata I get yelled at by pedestrians, nearly run off the road by SUVs, honked at for no reason, honked at and “raced” by giggling teenagers with mullets in F-body Camaros, one guy walked up and punched my car, and I once narrowly avoided being coal-rolled by a diesel pickup because the wind had my back that day. I love both cars, and public reaction isn’t what I bought them for, but it’s interesting that in a 60s land yacht people smile and wave at you, while in a tiny sports car everyone wants to mess with you for varied reasons. And all that Miata stuff happened in the span of like 4 months, versus 7 years of Thunderbird ownership.

I guess people’s preconceived notions of Thunderbird owners are just “boomer” or maybe “cool grandma,” so all they see is a neat old car, whereas people are much quicker to jump to conclusions about who you are when they see you in a small red sports car.

Last edited 1 month ago by Austin Vail
Sklooner
Sklooner
1 month ago

I drive a lowered tuned Volvo wagon- and hoon it alot- I got pulled over and the cops were a bit confused finding a 57 year old was the one spinning the tires and blasting Rammstein

EXL500
EXL500
1 month ago

Years ago I got a ride in my friend’s Corniche convertible in Saugatuck. I was wearing a ribbed tank top, cut off jean shorts, and no shoes (he wanted me to experience the Wilton).

Jaws dropped when I got out to go to the public restroom in the middle of town.

It was so much fun!

Temple Of Toyoda
Temple Of Toyoda
1 month ago
Reply to  EXL500

Public restroom with no shoes?!!

EXL500
EXL500
1 month ago

It’s a very clean town, but yeah. In my defense it was long ago.

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 month ago
Reply to  EXL500

So THAT’S how you got foot herpes!

Carlos Ferreira
Carlos Ferreira
1 month ago

I have yet to have a Dodge Charger driver prove my stereotype wrong, but still hopeful.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
1 month ago

When I was a young man in the early 1980s, one of my mother’s friends hired me to do the errands for the summer. She was filthy rich thanks to the family business in oil industry and very loaded with lot of luxury items.

One day, she asked me to drive her Silver Wraith II to the Rolls-Royce service centre for the warranty service. Her chauffeur could do it himself, but she needed him for motoring her to the lunch party, meetings, and shopping that day. She didn’t trust any house staff to do this simple errand. Despite being informed by my “boss”, the staff at the service centre was understandably sceptical about a 17-year-old man entrusted to drive a very expensive Rolls-Royce.

Afterwards, I stopped by Taco Bell for lunch and regretted it big time. So many people were gawking at me and “my” Rolls while I ate a cheap lunch, wondering about me, “my” car, and my visit to the Taco Bell instead of fancy restaurants.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 month ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

At that point you gotta embrace the act and just say you really love Taco Bell and it reminds you of your roots.

Data
Data
1 month ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

You should have asked the gawkers if they had any Grey Poupon.

Silent But Deadly
Silent But Deadly
1 month ago

As someone who currently owns and drives a 1996 Suzuki Vitara (Sidekick) 4 dr hardtop, I both support and attest Toecutter’s story. Though it still makes me giggle…

Otter
Otter
1 month ago

Winter, 1988 Southern Illinois. My college music professor drove an MG Midget, which we always saw parked out front of the building. Class was an early morning period. We had gotten a foot of snow overnight, and there was a long, steep hill from town to campus. Saw some underclass classmates at breakfast and they said there was no way he was making it. I was a senior and knew this guy, who played the organ for chapel and had never been late for a gig–ever.
I told them we had better be safe and herded them all a quarter mile through the snow. The parking lot hadn’t even been plowed, but just as we arrived Dr. Carper swished up on ancient cross-country skis, wearing a Norwegian snowflake sweater and corduroy knickers like something out of a movie.
I do not judge people based on what they drive.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago

I would drive a Sidekick, Samurai or similar as a cheap off roader. I try to confound stereotypes by listening to hardbass or reggae in my pickup instead of the expected country music. I also have an anime girl bumper sticker.

Benkone
Benkone
1 month ago

This may be low hanging fruit, but when I was a BMW owner, I did, in fact, use my turn signals.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
1 month ago
Reply to  Benkone

Same here!

William Domer
William Domer
1 month ago
Reply to  Benkone

I think you may be lying

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 month ago

Lesbian Subaru owners! Thanks for making me do a coffee spit this am.
One of my best friends is a 65 yr old woman, friend of over 45 yrs. She has been married about 30 yrs. but separated from her husband decades ago.

A few years ago she bought an Outback.
The first thing her Mom, age 85 said was.

“Are you sure that you are not a lesbian?” Some stereotypes die hard.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Subaru:

How you come out without saying a thing.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Except how, hilariously, the WRX is almost the polar opposite of this.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

What can I say but exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.

EXL500
EXL500
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Exactly.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
1 month ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

That’s like my wife’s friend, short hair, into sports, drove either a Subaru wagon or a small pickup but totally straight we occasionally laugh at that, plus the number of times women have tried chatting up my wife.

JDS
JDS
1 month ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

When my “gay AF” daughter (her words, not mine) was old enough to start driving herself, she ended up with my ex-wife’s 2003 Subaru Forester. She called it the “rolling stereotype.” She also tarted it up with every leopard-print interior accessory she could find and a set of truck nuts, painted pink. I love it when people lean in to a joke.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 month ago
Reply to  JDS

Good for her.

Millermatic
Millermatic
1 month ago

“Subaru wagon lesbian jokes”

Huh. I must be out of it. I’ve never heard one. (Full disclosure… hetero male Outback owner).

Granola liberal yuppies and New Englanders, sure. But no lesbians. I probably fit the former in the eyes of most.

D M
D M
1 month ago
Reply to  Millermatic

It may vary regionally, but I’ve heard plenty of ignorant folks talk about “lesbarus” since at least the 90s. However, like many stereotypes, there is reason it exists.

I read an article somewhere years ago that said Subaru did some market research in the early 90s (I think) and found they were selling well to lesbians despite not gearing their marketing to them (why are we so popular with single female headed households?) They did the math, looked further and realized their function first, no nonsense, reliable vehicles with atypical styling have strong appeal to that demographic. They decided to lean into it using “stealth advertising” with ads that had license plates on foresters featuring Xena warrior princess references and the like.

Subaru didn’t set out to target lesbians, but they didn’t look a gift horse in the mouth. They also catered to the audience in subtle ways once they realized it existed. Savvy business move, really. They didn’t put out tone deaf ads saying “hey lesbians! Check out our butch cars” as one might expect from advertising nitwits, But rather put in a few subculture references that those “in the know” would get, but those outside the group wouldn’t even notice. A nudge and a wink just to let a historically marginalized group know that they are seen.

As a straight dude, despite reading a lot of car magazines and seeing a lot of car advertising during this time period, I had no idea until I read the article, years later. Which was entirely the intent. I personally don’t care what cars are popular with lesbians, but there are plenty of insecure people who wouldn’t want to drive a car that openly advertises to “those people” especially 30 years ago.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
1 month ago

Back in the pre-COVID days when I wintered in Florida I got to know a bunch of retired gear heads down there, most of whom had been auto techs or machinists or the odd engineer. They never bought a new car or bike ‘cept the engineer’s TDIs and bought their houses which were mostly a front for their even bigger shops out back decades ago. They had cheapness down to an art form, making a fastener on the lathe even though a well stocked hardware store was only 2 miles away.

Took a while, but eventually figured out they were all millionaires!

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
1 month ago

Thanks Mercedes!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 month ago

Remembering topping 80 in a souped-up Type ll, I sympathized with Toecutter’s plight—and chuckled, thinking, ‘Ok; I get why he’s obsessed with streamliners now!’

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
1 month ago

These cars are an interesting moment in North American automotive history. We will never again be allowed to have small, fuel efficient 4WD runabouts. The powers that be insist that we drive huge Ram PowerWagons, Ford Raptors, or Jeep Gladiators, with crew cabs, and monster engines, getting 10 MPG on a good day.

So there is a cult following for small Suzuki Sidekicks snd Samurais, Geo Trackers, or whatever mortal remains are left of them, in used car lots and junk yards across America. You can still get aftermarket for all of them pretty easily.

I’ve always like the manual versions of these cars, with all their idiosyncrasies. It’s worth the time to get one and play with it if you can. And because they are inherently so unstable, anyone who learns to drive on one, by necessity, will learn seat-of-the-pants vehicle dynamics. This will serve them well for the whole of their vehicular lives.

Last edited 1 month ago by Doctor Nine
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

I had a professor, a fairly well-known economist, who pretty much personified what we think when we hear professor – disheveled, often scatterbrained about mundane matters but brilliant at his work, etc. I eventually became his teaching assistant, and he’d do things like occasionally just forgetting to show up for class, leaving me to teach whatever was on tap for the day. Which I’d do, if poorly.

At the end of the semester, he invited me join him and his wife for dinner at their lake house, he’d drive.

Imagine my shock when he pulled up in a dilapidated but still functional manual Sidekick, top down. And yep, the ride was something else as he drove like a madman, jockeyed with traffic, all in this tiny largely open to the world SUV. But I’ll never forget how much he seemed to enjoy it; so unexpected.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  Doctor Nine

We will never again be allowed to have small, fuel efficient 4WD runabouts.

One might have said exactly the same thing about sedans in 1971.

Doctor Nine
Doctor Nine
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Some days I feel like it’s an actual conspiracy against common sense.

Then I remember the Will Rogers quote.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
1 month ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

The Vinfast VF 3 should fill that market gap nicely if it turns out to be any good. The EV revolution does at least come with the benefit of stepping around CAFE nonsense and giving us long-missing market segments back.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
1 month ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

One can hope.

NebraskaStig
NebraskaStig
1 month ago

Harvey Park’s comment is chef’s kiss

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
1 month ago
Reply to  NebraskaStig

Haha thank you kindly.

I had been wondering about Toecutter’s story because he’s made allusions about an interesting life, so that was cool.

Jb996
Jb996
1 month ago
Reply to  NebraskaStig

Why so Cirrus?

MiniDave
MiniDave
1 month ago

No, one of my best friends had one and he was a prince of a fellow – his wife OTOH…..It was her car, so maybe it does still fit……

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 month ago

“I find it fascinating that if you cruise through enough online car forums, you’re bound to run into people making assumptions about the kinds of people who drive certain cars.”

That’s a fun thought.

Two word counterpoint…

Cadillac Escalade.

They are terrible people.
No ifs ands or buts about it.

Last edited 1 month ago by Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago

Lincoln Navigator too, for those who want an enormous SUV but also think “well, I don’t want to draw attention to myself…” It’s almost as bad.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

I can only stretch my poor imagination so far.
Oof…
Who are these maniacs that can afford these tanks?
Why are they so aggressive when the world they live in has given them everything they want?

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 month ago

supposedly

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
1 month ago

Stop replying to yourself.
It’s weird.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
1 month ago

I do think that at this point, the people who own Ford Excursions are probably fairly non-stereotypical/interesting. Like they transport a Formula Ford race car in the back of it.

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
1 month ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Still have some seat bases from those when we built the assembly lines for the fronts, backs, and center rears of the latest model

Fred Fedurch
Fred Fedurch
1 month ago

My neighbour has an Escalade PU. He’s the salt of the Earth.

Then again, there’s a ’66 Tempest convertible in his garage that comes out on Sundays……..

EXL500
EXL500
1 month ago

I’m sure you expect a reply like this, but my dentist just recently got rid of his decade old Escalade, and he’s an absolute sweetheart.

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