A 1990s Lotus Elan on the streets of Berlin, just a short walk from my old apartment. Photo Credit: Raphael Orlove

There was a really weird phrase in one of my German textbooks from back in high school that has stuck with me through its unintentionally-poor translation: “Germans live behind closed doors.”

What the textbook was trying to say is that Germans generally tend to close the door to their rooms rather than generally leave them open, as some Americans tend to do. It ended up sounding like all Germans are thematically and philosophically reserved, never letting other people into their internal lives. Much like most of the things I sort of half-learned in the years I took German in school, I didn’t quite realize how true it all was.


Germans really aren’t particularly open to strangers or foreigners or whomever. This thought came back to my mind when we noted that the fun-killers at Porsche arent’ putting a stick shift in the GT3 RS, though they’re letting it into the regular GT3:

Reader AfromanGTO put a pin on it:


That’s not totally wrong, but there is a side to Germans beyond what you usually think of their no-fun nature. The funlessness is sort of like how Germans sell themselves. German-made cars are pretty stern things. German-bought cars, by contrast, aren’t always so reserved. The 1990s Lotus Elan I spotted not far from my old apartment in Berlin (pictured above) was a reminder of that.

It’s sort of like an import/export divide. It’s hard to get to know, but it’s there. Trust me. I think.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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