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You Are What You Drive?

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  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,321
    The 7/11 clerk said, "You must be rich." "Why do you say that?" "Because, you drive an old nice car."

    And he was talking about my wife's 95 T Bird!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,505
    That's a good one. Not to be too much of a profiler, but was the clerk a longtime resident of this country?

    When I had an 89 S-class people used to either think it was almost new, or a vintage car. I have met people who thought my fintail was worth 30-50K, due to the price of a new MB. The opinions of non-car people can be amusing.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    You are so right, fintail. The fallacy of this thread's premise is that so many people are not "car folks", and have misconceptions about the value of certain cars. I became painfully aware of this when my wife once told me that some people she knew through our kids' school must "have bucks" because they drove a Mercedes. When I saw the car, it was about a 20 year old S Class, so I knew exactly how much "bucks" that car represented, but to her, it was a real wealth indicator...no matter how old or tired. So this topic is actually only accurate to those who know and understand the market. Otherwise, any Mercedes is an indicator of huge disposable income to many.

    This would make you a rich republican in our country, Fintail!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    I became painfully aware of this when my wife once told me that some people she knew through our kids' school must "have bucks" because they drove a Mercedes. When I saw the car, it was about a 20 year old S Class, so I knew exactly how much "bucks" that car represented, but to her, it was a real wealth indicator...no matter how old or tired.

    I think another thing that Mercedes Benz has going for it, and to a lesser degree BMW, is that the styles just don't age, like most other cars do. So a well-kept 20 year old Benz just doesn't LOOK like a 20 year old car to the "unwashed masses".

    Back in 2000, a private elementary school got built just up the street from me. I see a lot of expensive vehicles come and go from there, but I must be jaded, because my first though is "leased" My second though is usually "maxed out HELOC"! :P
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,971
    Remember last year when Edmunds got a 1984 Ferrari 308 for $28,000 to road test for a year? Valets were always leaving it parked in front of restaurants instead of hiding it in the alley around back with the rest of the customer's rides.

    You do have to have big bucks to maintain one of those however, so maybe even an old one deserves that aura.

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,505
    Properly maintaining an old MB might be a sign of healthy disposable income, anyway ;) :sick:

    My co-workers, most of whom have no knowledge of cars in any way, think my E55 is new...some have asked how I afford it, not knowing it cost the same as their Camry. As Andre says, the cars age well and the same basic styling cues can exist for 15-20 years, so if you keep the car shiny and tuned up, people can misread it. The W210 which came out for MY 1996 has many styling cues shared with a brand new E-class. Of course, then there are obsessives like me who can tell the year of a MB by the wheels or upholstery pattern or steering wheel, I probably am an enemy to the posers.

    Also on that note, when I tell people the fintail is worth maybe 5K on a good day, they don't believe me a bit. They look at me like I am dumb or crazy.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,505
    I live in the land of sparsely optioned 3ers, Cs and A4s - all of which scream "lease" to me. The official car of my zip code is any one of those, leased, owned by the under 35-crowd who needs it new, flashy-ish, and as cheap as possible.

    To me Escalades and overly blinged out Harleys driven by middle aged accountants scream "HELOC"
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,321
    I thought you lived outside of Bellevue. :blush:
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,505
    I'm not just there, I am in the west side (west of 405), where a beater is a 4 year old Range Rover. :shades:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    Ugh! I fear hiring any accountant who is reckless and self-destructive enough to drive a blinged-out Escalade, especially if it was purchased with a HELOC! I'd have far more respect for the guy in the well-kept Buick LeSabre. He's conservative and frugal with his money, so he should be with mine.

    The ex-boyfriend of a co-worker of mine just had his newish Jaguar repo'd. He's now driving his Mom's old Contour. So much for the flashy young executive!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,505
    Well, maybe not an accountant exactly...yeah, that wouldn't go well with financial responsibility. But the middle aged middle management suck who usually drives a beige Camry, but becomes a tough rebel in a big SUV or on a hog, and bought it on the inflated equity in the house he was lucky enough to be able to buy 20 years ago before the speculators priced so many out of the market (for now).

    I have respect for well kept older cars, too. And in my eyes, an old granny in a mint 20 year old MB says "money" a lot more than a 30 year old in a leased 3er.

    A guy in a cared for Contour is probably smarter than one in a used Jag financed at 9% for 84 months.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,847
    I'd have far more respect for the guy in the well-kept Buick LeSabre. He's conservative and frugal with his money, so he should be with mine.

    I remember reading years ago, that Buick was the car of choice for many investment bankers, particularly something like a LeSabre, Electra, or Riviera. While this may not be true anymore, at one time, evidently it sent just the right image, and tended to make the clients feel comfortable. A Ford, Chevy, or Plymouth just didn't come off as successful enough, while a Cadillac or Lincoln said that you were living too high off the hog, and perhaps taking advantage of people. I think a Chrysler indicated that you were either too much of a risk taker, or just behind the times. And a foreign luxury car just said that you weren't patriotic.

    I think Oldsmobile might have sent mixed images, with the Delta 88/Ninety Eight being deemed too conservative and the Toronado being considered too risky.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,614
    i seem to remember Buicks being referred to a 'doctors cars'.
    one of my bils is an md. he drives a passat 4motion wagon, a pretty practical choice. a doctor also live up the street. he drives a grey toyota carmy hybrid, a pretty unassuming choice.
  • HA!! Big Red Truck!!!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    I must have been living on some other planet, but this is a new accronym for me. Does it stand for "high end leased ? car" perhaps? Just guessing, but if by some wild chance that's close to correct, what does the "O" stand for?
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 39,971
    Home Equity Line of Credit.

    High End Leased Other Car could work.

    Introducing the new Dodge SubPrime. Hey, does that thing have a Heloc? :)

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,167
    Thanks for the answer.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    A Honda Natural Gas Vehicle (Civic) with FRTMOBL on the plate. But it's got nothing to do with his wealth, it's his political statement he's making. He wants to burn no foreign oil.....
  • Big red truck? I take it you DON'T drive a Mazda. :P
  • Or he's just a goofy proctologist....
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