One of the things I dislike most about being a car enthusiast is the confusion between people that buy cars to show off and people that genuinely love interesting cars.
There is a massive difference between the two and the amount you spend on cars is not in any way related to whether you are a car enthusiast or not.
I have never been interested in buying cars to project an image or as a status symbol / impress people. I find this shallow and more often than not the person in question is an exquisite bore that has no real interest in cars at all, they are overly concerned with the image they project.
Car enthusiasts are not swayed by price and are likely to find an old Peugeot 205 GTI as interesting as a new Porsche. I’ve read numerous forum posts describing the elitist atmosphere at events run by the Ferrari owners club, where a classic Ferrari 308 was denounced as a good “entry level” car. Why is this attitude prevalent? It’s alienating and demeaning. Would a more modern and expensive model be considered superior just because it cost more money?
It’s ironic when you think that Enzo Ferrari hated his customers and only built road cars to fund his love of racing. I can see why if these were the types of snobs that he had to deal with!
The same atmosphere seems to rule the Goodwood Festival Of Speed these days. Packed with celebrities that couldn’t tell a catalytic converter from a carburettor. But as they have spent loads of money on a brand new Mercedes they are now considered a car “enthusiast”. Their new car was most likely bought as a status symbol more than anything else.
Top Gear can be blamed for creating these lowest common denominator car enthusiasts. I’d much rather speak to someone with a passion for interesting cars instead of someone with a passion for money and an interest in showing off.
Whilst digging around on this subject I found a great quote on the BMW e46 forums:
An enthusiast isn’t distracted by propaganda. An enthusiast enjoys every vehicle for what it has to offer, and doesn’t waste time trying to define what a car is not. An enthusiast transcends brand names, and has a decent knowledge of things automotive. Lastly, an enthusiast is not a trend-hippie. www.e46fanatics.com
No mention of showing off or money, I think that sums it up nicely.