We Need A Name For Non-Car People

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Lately I’ve been met with blank stares from so-called “friends” when I explain that I’m seriously considering buying this one first-generation Toyota MR2 with a busted A/C, semi-functional headlights, an exhaust leak and a very rough interior, and maybe some questionable brakes (I’m not sure yet) because it runs like a goddamn champion otherwise. Why wouldn’t I buy that car?


Some people will just never get it. And that’s fine, I guess. But I feel bad for them because they don’t know what they’re missing when they aren’t into cars—new cars, old cars, fast cars, weird cars, two-wheeled cars, three-wheeled cars. Even if you try to be a car evangelist, there’s just no convincing some people.

So we need a name for those folks. They have plenty of names for us. Car people. Car guys, car gals. Gearheads. Petrolheads, if you live in Great Britain. Wrenchers. Shadetree mechanics. Stang-bangers. Subros. Alfisti. Tifosi. Jaguardos. (I think.) Doug DeMuro’s Twitter followers. Jalops, even.

But we don’t have a name for the non-car people! I usually call those people Normals, with a capital N, because they’re happy driving their automatic Hyundais and RAV4s or whatever as long as those cars don’t cause them much trouble. But that’s kind of boring and obvious. Surely we can do better than that.

Motorcyclists have this figured out. A lot of them call car drivers “cagers,” which I love because it’s so accurate and derogatory. Car people need a similar term to describe the people, whether they drive or not, who don’t give a shit about cars. It doesn’t even have to be mean! It just needs to exist.

I welcome your thoughts on this matter.

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.


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