Ahh, Valentine’s Day, when we celebrate love. For many of us, one of our greatest loves is our car – sometimes it’s with a whole collection of cars; a sort of car harem. This kind of love is like any other: It manifests in how we treat the object of our affection and the things we do that show our obsession with it. Here are five ways that you can tell you or someone close to you might be a car lover.
Names, Gender, and Conversations
A sure sign someone is a car lover is a tendency to call the vehicle by a specific name (often, like a pet, this name will be an adjective like “Grumpy”). This will sometimes be punctuated by giving the vehicle a gender identity as well, referring to it as a “he” or “she.”
“Grumpy is a good ol’ girl. She is a bit finicky sometimes, but she’ll always get us there.”
A definite sign that someone is a car lover is a tendency to include the vehicle in the conversation when talking, or by referring to the car directly to ask its opinion.
“Dang, this is a long light, Grumpy. What do you think? Should we back up and move forward a couple of times and see if we can trigger it to change?”
There is a point where this kind of behavior towards a car is endearing, maybe even cute, but it can sometimes lead to wondering whether an appointment with a psychiatrist might be a good idea.
Car Wash Obsessions
Everyone with a new car will spend a lot of time washing it. This is normal and accepted behavior. Some people who are proud of their vehicle or who just love having a clean car will visit the car wash or park on their front lawn once or twice a week to give it a once-over. Truly obsessed car lovers, however, will not only wash their car by hand, every time, but will often not allow anyone else to participate and will wash the car nearly every time it even seems to hint at being dirty.
For those who have a personal connection with their car, hands-on time with it is important. Like a good dog or a child, the car needs petting and hugs to nurture it and keep that relationship alive through personal contact. This kind of attention comes naturally from a car lover.
Seeing phantom specs and creating make-believe problems to resolve are common car lover justifications for this constant cleaning.
“I think the wax I put on last week needs a little touch up.”
Auto Show Attendance
It’s not unusual for those who enjoy vehicles to attend a car show occasionally or see an automotive museum once in a while. For the car lover, though, the calendar revolves around these events. Whole vacations are planned around auto museums, major car shows and the like. Many car lovers, of course, have a vehicle they’ll perhaps enter in some of those shows, but it’s not a requirement.
Some people, for example, plan whole family vacations around the North American International Auto Show in Detroit every January, or the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California every summer. Many automotive lovers have vacation plans that involve a visit to the Corvette Museum in Indiana or a Mecum auto auction in Las Vegas.
Those of us who professionally report on and talk about cars for a living have often run into enthusiasts who fake press credentials just to get in early to see the new unveils at an auto show. These are the truly over-the-top car lovers.
Faking Interest To Test Drive a Car
Some automotive nuts will lead a car salesman on and fake interest in buying just so they can test drive the car. They have no plans to buy it, but want to try it out. Maybe it’s the new version of the car they’re in love with, maybe it’s the car they want to own but cannot afford, or maybe they’re not in love with a specific car, but instead a brand or model.
There are, for example, thousands of Dodge Challenger enthusiasts who love the car but do not themselves own one. This is common when it comes to exotic or relatively rare or exclusive cars, such as Lamborghini or Maserati models. It also happens with what most would consider mundane cars and pickup trucks as well. We all know “that Ford guy” and the “will only buy a Toyota” person.
Owning a Pedal and Wheels Video Game Controller
If you or someone you know is a car lover, they probably own not just racing and driving video games, but also the full steering wheel and foot pedal controller set for them. These car lovers will invariably have names for the vehicles in their favorite racing game, will talk to their virtual cars directly, and probably watch the news or read the automotive press just to find out what the next version of their favorite games will have as vehicle additions.
Some of us might know someone who has a full-on driving simulator or racing simulation game in their home, complete with pneumatics and servos for bumping the seat around and simulating jumps and cornering with realistic movement and g-force stimulation.
So there you go. The top five ways to tell if you or your friend are car lovers. What kinds of things do your car nut friends do? Tell us about them!