Who can possibly explain the love of cars: that capricious and illogical vastness? It's an infection that reaches inside of people and sings to them in a heavenly language beyond the limited medium of words – and that's exactly why it's virtually impossible to explain the indefatigable love of cars to someone who apathetically views them as soulless lumps of nothing. But in the same breath, it's precisely because the love of cars cannot be described using words that the only thing capable of creating a car enthusiast is something that can communicate with people on that ambiguous and ineffable level: a special type of car.
It doesn't take someone with a dedicated Obvious Statement Detector to sense that I have just stated the obvious. But in fact, it is so obvious, that it doesn't actually occur to people. People get so entangled in trying to describe what words can't articulate that the fact that cars are the catalyst that creates car enthusiasts passes them by without notice.
I've said a couple of times before that when presented with someone who doesn't get the appeal of cars, there's one scenario that can help them understand: the bewitching sound and sight of an E-Type Jaguar, purring on by – accompanied by a car enthusiast gasping, just about managing to summon the energy in a state of trembling knees to point and say "that's why. That's why we love cars".
The Jaguar E-Type is a car that has the power to create a car enthusiast. Unless confronted with the most cold and clinical of creatures, the E-Type has all the ingredients required to beguile a sense of love into an ignorant heart of stone. It's one of the most beautiful things Planet Earth has ever seen, it sounds just as delectable as it looks, and it's dripping with more personality and charm than the large majority of cars from all of history.
But what other cars can create a car enthusiast? What profound machines can take responsibility for our petrolhead species? And, can one car – or one type of car – claim responsibility for creating the majority of car enthusiasts in the world today? Well, as is the way with these sorts of things, I haven't been able to stop wondering. And unfortunately for you guys, I have a habit of wondering all over the internet. But due to the abject subjectivity surrounding this topic, think of the following paragraphs as a group exercise: a voyage of self-discovery into the great unknown of our automotive conscience.
Firstly – and another obvious statement here – it's important to realise that the definition of the term "car enthusiast" is just as broad as the love of cars itself; some people love cars a little bit, whereas other people – like myself – love cars to an unhealthy degree. And usually, the more fervently a person yearns for cars, the harder it is to define exactly why that is. After all, if the only cars a person loves are the very fastest cars on the planet, then it's easier to pinpoint why that person loves cars. But there are no limits to how narrow or broad a person's passion for cars can be.
A broader passion will love things from across the spectrum, regardless of performance, or engineering provenance. It will be set to no guideline or predetermined creed. It will simply make you love cars to the point where you don't know how to do anything else.
Speaking from a personal perspective, my love for cars stretches from the omnipotence of the Bugatti Chiron – an easy one to understand and explain – to the remarkably humble and slightly shit Ford Anglia. I love speed, fun, charm, luxury, beauty, but above absolutely everything else, soul. If a car doesn't have soul, it doesn't matter how measurably good it is – it has failed for me. Perhaps that's why I struggle to connect with some of the more anodyne machines we see today, and why I abhor the coming of the electric revolution.
In a way then, asking yourself what you think the most important aspect about a car is can go quite a way to uncovering the mysteries of your own motoring passion – in its current form. As the critical part of that sentence implies, the origins of your automotive passion might be a completely different matter. Just like the most complex and confounding of diseases, the love of cars is constantly evolving within every one of us, making it hard to trace its roots.
Having a little rummage through our mind and reaching for our earliest motoring memories might help us determine what first gave us the car loving gene. In the early stages of being a car enthusiast, our young and impressionable beings are often influenced by something tangible.
We can all hazard a guess at which one of the infinitely many reasons why a person could love cars first grabbed our attention with an unrelenting grip. But perhaps the most impactful motoring experiences for the majority of us happened before our earliest memories.
The earliest years of a child's life are the time of the most shaping cognition. They say you can create a musician by playing a child classical music from infancy – a theory that has compelling evidence to substantiate it. So, applying that same logic, can you create a car enthusiast by surrounding a child with motoring related paraphernalia?
Perhaps it wouldn't require such an extreme influence, however. After all, when a child's born it's only a matter of time before someone sticks a toy car in their hand for them to play with. And be honest, how much fun can a kid have playing with toy cars?
I appreciate the fact that this is something that will happen more frequently with boys than girls. But if you look at the demographic of the industry, you will find that it is indeed dominated by men. That's not because the industry is sexist – so cock-hating feminists, feel free to fuck right off that misandristic bandwagon you've already jumped on – it simply means there are more men interested in cars than women. But perhaps the reason for that can be traced back to childhood.
This will inevitably lead to those aforementioned cock-hating feminists to partake in their favourite hobby: choosing to take offense at everything, and banging on about how the patriarchy is sexist, and therefore, all men are bastards. But leaving them in their own little world of twisted logic and triggered insanity, I genuine believe that playing with cars as a child might be the most common thing that creates a car enthusiast.
If that is the case, then that would make the humble toy car one of the most important cars in history. After all, without the creation of car enthusiasts, the industry as a whole would wither and die like a plant without soil, water, and sunlight.
I'm not the only one who thinks this. On a list of what he holds as the most important cars ever made, James May credited the toy car. I think you could call that "thinking outside the box, and thereby wrecking the future value".
I'm not deciding on behalf of everyone that the toy car is the sole creator of car enthusiasts. But despite how off-the-wall it might initially sound, I genuinely think toy cars have played a big role in shaping many car lovers out there - especially if that love for cars has been with a person for all of their memorable life. People might not have been aware of it happening, but the immense fun of playing with Hot Wheels on a Roadway Carpet may be the seed that flourished into what we now recognise as an undying love for cars.
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Written by: Angelo Uccello
Tribe: Speed Machines
Facebook: Speed Machines - DriveTribe