There's little doubt that stereotypes are bad for our culture, but to say that they materialize out of thin air is somewhat naive. This applies just as much to car owners as it does to the rest of our society.
Are all Corvette drivers slightly obese, balding, middle-aged men in the midst of a midlife crisis? Probably not, but if a Corvette pulls up next to you in traffic, take a quick glance, and there's a pretty good chance you'll be looking at a guy who resembles a slightly younger Wilfred Brimley.
I spent nearly a decade as a valet at malls and restaurants before starting my own automotive blog. During this time I started asking myself a few questions: Why are Cadillacs driven by people who look like they probably saw the great depression come and go? Why are Porsche drivers such anal-retentive snobs? Why don't Jaguar drivers tip well? My coworkers and I even had a running joke about how strip clubs must hand out Scions as company cars.
The kind of car we choose to drive is a deeply personal decision with vast psychological implications. It's a subject you could easily write a book about. One thing I did not anticipate when researching this article was how hesitant people who work in car related businesses would be to discussing this topic. I talked to mechanics, valets and car wash attendants, none of whom were willing to go on the record for fear of offending their clientele. Except for one guy.
Nazar Aldulaimi owns a chain of San Diego car washes, is a professor of Arabic at the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and is a former manager of Rolls Royce Dubai. He's also currently at work on a book about this very subject and he's not afraid to let loose with his opinions on the topic.
"BMW drivers are arrogant and rude," he says about drivers of the famous German brand, and I would tend to agree. Does this fit the description of every BMW driver? Of course not. My roommate drives a BMW and he's probably one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. However, if you've ever owned a 3 Series, specifically an M3, then chances are you at one point had, or at least thought about getting, frosted tips. You also might own an Ed Hardy shirt.
"I don't think Corvette drivers are interested in speed or anything like that," says Aldulaimi, who also agrees with my contention that the 'Vette has always been America's flagship sports car, which means the decision to buy one is partially rooted in patriotism. Their owners spend their entire lives dreaming of owning a one, but when they finally have the means to buy one, their wild teenage years are far behind them.
Porsche 911 drivers tend to be a fairly specific breed too. They often get painted with the brush that they're trying to compensate for a lack of trouser furniture, with a $90,000, 400 horsepower car, but I don't buy this. Porsche drivers see themselves as having refined sensibilities. They might be doctors or investment bankers as opposed to the lawn care empire owning Corvette driver.
What about more reasonably priced cars? "Honda owners are practical people," says Aldulaimi. The same could be said of Toyota owners. There's a reason for that. Both companies build boring cars that make sense to and serve the purposes of people across all demographics.
If you've ever seen the SNL skit called The Lovers, which features a bearded Will Farrell and Rachel Dratch sitting in a hot tub in a New England lodge sharing all the details of their love life to anyone unfortunate enough to be in the hot tub with them, then you now know what your average Subaru Outback owner is like. In fact, in one episode, Farrell not so casually mentions that they once made love in the back of their vintage Subaru. Why do you think Crocodile Dundee was their spokesman for all those years?
As for Hybrid cars, Aldulaimi says that the average Prius driver is "very careful with their money but not necessarily the environment," suggesting that saving money on gas is a bigger motivator in the purchase of a Prius than being an environmental savior.
All of this has to be taken with a grain of salt. Does owning a Mercedes make you jackass? Of course not. None of these are absolutes. Like I said before, the type of car we choose to buy is a deeply personal one. Whether you realize is or not, it probably says as much about you as the clothes you choose to wear or the type of music you listen to. Whatever you drive, just be sure to tip the valet. He'll think highly of you no matter what car you drive.
This piece was written and submitted by a Jalopnik reader and may not express views held by Jalopnik or its staff. But maybe they will become our views. It all depends on whether or not this person wins by whit of your eyeballs in our reality show, "Who Wants to be America's Next Top Car Blogger?"