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You Are What You Drive?

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  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    ....would change from day to day depending on which car I drove. Heck, some days I even drive my girlfriend's LaCrosse.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,241
    So does that say you are an out of town businessman in a car he got at the airport? :P

    How about vehicle condition telling more of a story than the vehicle itself? And I don't mean faded paint, but more like if it has been washed in the past 12 months, if it has roadworthy tires and brakes, if the interior is full of garbage, etc. I think keeping a car relatively clean is akin to a person keeping themselves clean. It doesn't have to be concours, but a car with bald tires with a year's worth of grime, filled with fast food refuse says something...
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Well, if you want to talk about the condition I keep my cars in, all are meticulously cleaned, even my old Park Avenue. I even go to the extent of taking off the wire wheel covers off the car to clean the black steel rims underneath and give them a coat of wax. Any mechanical problems with any of my cars are dealt with immediately. Even a burned-out bulb in the interior drives me bananas. Eating, drinking, smoking, are forbidden in any of my cars.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    For a lot of people, a car is just an appliance to get them back and forth.

    Absolutely true!! And that person will be found in a Camry or Accord, maybe an Elantra or Sonata. All very good cars and very good values. Even very good decisions! But those cars define that person as exactly what you said - they could care less about a car, would prefer not to need one, but they do, so they want the least hassle, best value, and most reliability - but excitement matters not at all.

    When I see a Camry, which is probably the best "appliance for driving" out there, that's what I know about the person. You make my point!
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    "When I see a Camry, which is probably the best "appliance for driving" out there, that's what I know about the person. You make my point!"

    NV, the problem is that doesn't neccessarly mean that is really why that person is in that car. That's a particular stereotype you brought to the table, the person could be in that car for an entirely different reason. What if the guy's sports car's in the shop for repairs and that's the loaner they gave 'em? What if his brother gives him a massive discount on the car? Maybe he's driving the wife's car for some reason? Who knows?

    ....and all this is especially useless as to determine something relevent to a job interview.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    About old vs new cars...I think vehicle condition is more important than age if you want to guess about attributes of the driver. A nicely maintained 20 year old generic car is more impressive to me than a battered 3 year old Civic.

    I agree totally, Fintail. But, there are qualifiers. For example, I saw a 1980 Mercedes 420SEL at the curb today for sale, in decent shape. Straight body, looked like it ran ok. Didn't stop so don't know much else, but the price on the window was $1,000. And unless that car was really cherry, that's about the value I'd ascribe to it. And someone who had it as their driver in this condition, I'd think was either an oddball, hippie, or person "in transition". But not my Stock Broker.

    Now, between a 26 year old Mercedes and a 26 year old Honda in similar condition? I'd think more of the Honda owner, which is why I think an old old luxury car in distressed condition looks pathetic. And so does the driver.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    What if the guy's sports car's in the shop for repairs and that's the loaner they gave 'em? What if his brother gives him a massive discount on the car? Maybe he's driving the wife's car for some reason? Who knows?


    I know, and when I'm in a Rental Taurus, I have a concern about showing up at functions or appointments in it, because people tend to make this judgement about me, and it would be erroneous in this case. In fact, I've done that very thing a few times, once a client of mine arrived at the appointment at the same time, seeing me get out of the Taurus rental, and said, "Oh no, this just will not do for you, you look like you're in trouble". This has happened to me numerous times in various situations, which is why I have come to believe, it matters what I drive.

    Look, my Dr. went one day to visit with a Physical Therapy clinic to see if he wanted to refer patients to them. He happened to be in his daughters Subaru (yellow) that day for some odd reason. He's a big guy too. After the interview, he left, and they watched him get into this little yellow car, and made the determination that the Dr. must be wierd, because he was not a new Dr., had a thriving practice, yet drove a car that "just wasn't right for him". I was referred in to that clinic, and after the eval, the Dr. asked me how I liked my Dr. -- because he drove such an oddball car! I clued them in and they felt much better about him being "normal" after that.

    I am not saying it's right - just that it's real, and I've come to believe it over years of experience.
  • seminole_kevseminole_kev Posts: 1,722
    NV, gotta say, if anything all that does is continue to drive people to the safe camcord. Take the safe option so no one assumes something negative about you.

    Ugh. As a car nut, this is actually a disturbing line of thought/topic. Kind of dissapointing actually. God help you if you fell in love with a certain car at some time and pick it up later on in life (applies to me) or there is a particular feature or function that you demand/require that is only offered on a few, non-mainstream models.

    Everyone must conform.......
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Basically I don't think you can acurately look at someone's car, and decern "who" that person is.

    You can't reliably - but in certain cases, circles, professions, you can, and you expect it.

    I pay car allowances for many of my employees. In exchange, I have some say over what they drive, and I demand that they keep it in good condition, clean, and fairly current. It portrays an image of their success, competence and of our company when they are seen in a business setting. I could care less what the neighbors think of it, but at lunch - it can matter. If one of the executive's cars starts getting old looking, distressed, aged or very out of date, I will ask that they update the car. I'm paying for it. I can do that.

    No, you are not always right about a person from the car, especially in academia. It's a toss up. I have two tenured professors who live next to me, and she drives a Jag, and he drives an old Explorer. They could just as easily have an old Honda, you just can't tell in that realm, although, at the K-12 level, I sure see a lot of Cadillacs, BMW 7ers and Mercedes in the School Parking lot for Faculty!! What's up with that??
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I'll tell you one thing -- when I owned a beater, I had a lot less to worry about, my vehicle-related expenses were a lot lower, and I parked whereever I wanted to. In some ways, I miss those days...

    It certainly is a less stressful way of life, isn't it? Honestly though, even though I now drive a Lexus (and used to drive a Pinto Wagon at one point), the car is still my servant not my master. I don't park it in special places, I park close to the door. I refuse to let the car own me. If it gets hit, I get it fixed.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Apparently though I was one "type" of person when I drove it, and a completely different type of person when I drove my new car.....

    Indeed, to some, you were! Probably a scary kind of person in that old Caddy! :surprise:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    Well, if you want to talk about the condition I keep my cars in, all are meticulously cleaned, even my old Park Avenue. I even go to the extent of taking off the wire wheel covers off the car to clean the black steel rims underneath and give them a coat of wax. Any mechanical problems with any of my cars are dealt with immediately. Even a burned-out bulb in the interior drives me bananas. Eating, drinking, smoking, are forbidden in any of my cars.

    Lemko and I are a lot alike - we both wash our Rental Cars before we'll drive them if they're dirty! :confuse:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    God help you if you fell in love with a certain car at some time and pick it up later on in life (applies to me) or there is a particular feature or function that you demand/require that is only offered on a few, non-mainstream models.

    Still missing that AMC Concord 4WD, are ya Seminole??? I know, they don't make 'em anymore - best car you ever owned!! :P
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Oh, the guys at Enterprise love to rent a car to me as it comes back looking infinately nicer than I got it. Sad thing is I'm probably the only guy who will be nice to that rental car. I can't believe the way people beat on those cars.
  • pch101pch101 Posts: 582
    I refuse to let the car own me. If it gets hit, I get it fixed.

    I just suffered mild trauma reading this bit of sacrilege. I'm going to have take two aspirin, and call my doctor in the morning (but first, I'm running out to the garage to make sure that everything is OK...) :P
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,241
    I am pretty much the same way, I even shake out my floor mats weekly. And strangely enough, a year later they will still look brand new. Funny how 30 seconds of work can save $100. I wipe down the fintail every time I drive it, even though it is under a car cover. And certainly no eating and drinking in the car, especially the newer car.

    In regards to the thread topic, I will say how you care for what you drive is more telling than what you drive.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,241
    Ha...I've done that too. 2 weeks ago I had a Lexus ES loaner...they had washed it, but the windows were dirty, so I wiped them off when I got it home. That poor thing had also had a hard life in its 4K miles, a big gouge on the hood and interior wear were kind of sad.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    In regards to the thread topic, I will say how you care for what you drive is more telling than what you drive.

    I completely agree!! A very well cared for anything bespeaks of order ( if not obsession ) in the owner. If it's an older non-descript car (Saturn or something), it must be VERY well cared for to make any impression though. Usually a Saturn gets you negative points unless you're a young female college student.

    So, this morning, I looked for cars to profile. First one was a shiny black Altmia with a plane chrome license plate frame. That says younger female, probably in a lower end professional job, cares about what she drives quite a bit - likes how the Altima looks. This was the V-6, so she or her boyfriend cares about performance. The Chrome license plate frame says volumes - it means they "own" the car and care about how it looks.

    Next was an 06 Camry, also shiny black, clean, but no license plate frame on it at all. Most likely a rental then. If not, it's another female who considers this to be a luxury car to her, nicest one she's ever driven, but would never consider herself worthy of a Lexus - this is all you need, but she wants value, resale and reliability. IF she had a plain license plate frame on it, it would say in addition - "my car is important to me".

    Lastly was a Volvo XC-90 - kind of dirty, had a soldier ribbon on the back, dealer plate frame. This says middle age woman with dogs. Cares about comfort and safety, luxury and prestige. Needs SUV for the dogs, but doesn't want to be considered anti-environment. Volvos are accepted by all extremist groups......

    You never see a vanity plate on a Mercury Grand Marquis....
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Shoot, I shake 'em out every day! I still have the original floor mats in both my 1989 Cadillac Brougham and 1988 Buick Park Avenue. The Cadillac ones have an embroidered wreath on the driver's and front passenger's mat. The Park Ave has the square "GM" logo. I find the cleaner you keep a car, the easier and easier it is to clean it the next time.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    License plate frame? Ewww. Those say one of two things: "I bought this car at (insert dealer name here)" or "I spend my money on blingy trinkets instead of something useful like a pop charger."
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,241
    Yeah, I profile like that too sometimes. Stereotypes usually have a foundation in reality...and sometimes it is fun to be surprised when your profiling is wrong.

    Is it tradition there to remove the dealer frame when the car is paid for? Here, I think many people just leave them on. I have subtle 'AMG' frames on my car, and the 126 had plain chrome ones. The fintail has year of manufacture plates, so no frames, as they were uncommon back in the day.

    I am fairly OCD about the cosmetic condition of my cars...they are never really dirty. Everyone has something they obsess about. I don't wipe em down with a cloth diaper or anything, but I have used q-tips to clean out little dusty areas inside.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,241
    Most days I drive from one parking garage to another, so my shoes don't get dirty. On weekends when I might track dirt in, I shake the mats out when I am done. The AMG mats are odd, black with white border and silvery white model embroidering, so they look bad quickly if not cared for.

    And that's why I keep my cars clean...I never have to spend half a day detailing it, because I spend 10-20 minutes per week keeping it up.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Uh-oh. I guess I'm guilty as I have a nice chrome frame on my Seville STS' rear license plate with "Cadillac" in gold script. It used to be on my 1994 DeVille. I also have a chrome plate on the front of my 1989 Cadillac Brougham with the wreath and crest along with a chrome frame on the rear license plate with embossed black Cadillac script. I never would keep the dealer's frame on the car as they look super-tacky.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    The chrome plate works for the '89 Brougham since that is a car for aspirational pimps anyway, but bling frames look pretty trashy on a late-model STS. Might as well put gold-wire 22s on it if you're going to do that.

    I left the dealer frames on the Hyundai since I don't care enough to take them off. I did take them off of the Honda, though, and I removed the dealer decal from the trunklid the morning after I bought it. I was going to tell them not to put one on, but I forgot.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    Well, if you bought the CE instead of the S it means you were more intelligent, and thus not willing to pay extra for nada!

    As for Miata being a car driven by girlie guys, that is plain [non-permissible content removed] stupid statement. The Miata is a true sports car and can hold its own with any car on the track with equal or slightly more HP. Well, perhaps not a Lotus, but you get the drift.

    Yes, it may be that certain types tend to buy certain cars, but all too often I see very timid drivers with cars of massive HP. You know, the guy doing 60MPH on the freeway with his Mustang GT. And they start out around 2 MPH for the first 30 yards. There are plenty of miss-matches out there for cars. Cost is a limiting factor, or I would likely be driving a BMW right now instead of a PT. If I do get something pricer it would likely be the Cadillac CTS. But I have owned every sort of car imaginable from a German Taunus, then a Mustang, and an Opel, onward to Oldsmobiles from '76 Starfire :sick: and 98Regency, to a Stealth, Corolla and Miata. Throw in a Nissan/Datsun 510 and some others - oh yeah Honda motorcycles and ya got a split personality, no doubt. But I corner fast with all of them. :blush:
    -Loren :shades:
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    I also wipe down my classics each time I drive them. They never need a traditional "wash", as I dust them weekly, and do the wipe down as needed.
  • m1miatam1miata Posts: 4,556
    So what classics do you own? And they never require a full wash? Out of the road, don't they get oils, or bugs, along with other unidentified attaching objects to the paint?
    -Loren
  • fintailfintail Posts: 42,241
    Did you buy an old car?

    In the summer here, when it doesn't rain much, I wipe the car down weekly, and dust it every couple days. The worst part about MB is brake dust on the wheels...they get dirtier faster than any other car I know of. So every 2-3 days I'll wipe the wheels off.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    I remember seeing ads in the back of Motor Trend, C&D, etc. for shields that were supposed to prevent Mercedes wheels from getting grimed by brake dust. I don't know if they make them anymore. I imagine they'd reduce the amount of brake dust, but would also trap heat.
  • to help get rid of brake dust on alloy wheels is to put a couple of coats of polymer based wax, like zanio/zymol stuff, on them and then the brake dust won't really stick. What does stick will wipe off with a bit of tissue paper.
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