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Boring Cars Are Eyesores

Illustration: Jason Torchinsky

That story about a man’s fight with his homeowner’s association over his patina’d truck was hardly the first time we’ve reported on a draconian HOA hating a cool car. These stories always play out the same way: someone lives in a neighborhood, someone has a car that doesn’t look like every other car out there, someone else freaks out.

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The underlying message of all of these situations is that there is an acceptable look for a car that meets common standards of decency, and any outlier is an “eyesore,” that must be dealt with.

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I say fuck that. It’s the boring cars that are the eyesores.

We’ve been accepting the common wisdom that a silver Toyota Camry or a white GMC Acadia is just fine, while a yellow car is a problem, or a custom car is a problem, or a specific type of work vehicle is a problem. We accept that there’s a sound logic behind these decisions, when, really, if we stop and try to scrutinize the actual reasons why this is the case, all we can really find is the aesthetic preferences of people seemingly afraid to allow their eyes to be stimulated in any way.

There’s no rational reason why we should consider a well-maintained but brightly-painted car to be a visual problem. Same goes for a nice old vintage fire engine, or a novel bit of custom bodywork. I’m not advocating for dangerous messes, just that interesting things have value, and all those people who complain about seeing something that’s not a black Suburban are fools.

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In fact, I think it’s time that those of us who agree that interesting cars are not the problem should be more vocal about our tastes. It’s time to push back, and declare that boring vehicles are a real problem, and reduce property values.

Think about it: you can easily argue that having driveway after driveway filled with grayscale, indistinguishable crossovers and the occasional sedan is detrimental to a neighborhood’s visual appeal.

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The unbroken visual monotony can make a vibrant community feel like a gulag, dead inside and without soul.

I practice what I preach
I practice what I preach
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Interesting cars scattered around a neighborhood suggest a rich variety of people who own those cars. Unique, engaging people willing to make the driving part of their lives joyful. Without them, the world can seem like a miserable, meaningless slog.

If you live somewhere were people are side-eyeing your unusual car choices, I urge you to not remain quiet! Stand up for the value of interesting vehicles, and fight against the status quo that wants to see the streets of our nation melt into an anonymous gray sludge!

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Boring cars are the problem. Interesting cars are the answer. Don’t let your HOA tell you otherwise.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

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DISCUSSION

hlorell
Hayden Lorell

I am a drama queen admittedly...

But I have honest-to-god, merged into another (slower) lane on the highway so I could follow a better looking car in traffic.

Yesterday for example, following a 10 year old Sequoia, doing 20MPH in a rolling parking lot. I come up behind a drop-top vantage on my right, crawling along at like 15MPH, and I merged in behind it, just so I could look at the vantage rather than the horrible (gold) yota.

Give me something nice to look at, and if not nice, interesting.