Some cars are hard to explain. The Bugatti Veyron, for instance, because of the sheer figures and engineering you have to convey with something as clumsy as words. The Toyota CH-R, because… well, not even Toyota knows what it is which is why they just called it the Compact High-Rider. The Lada Niva, because everyone would be too busy laughing and rocking it from side to side with their bare hands. And the Pagani Huayra, because you’d never get past the name without someone saying “Bless you”. Or offering a vomit bag.
My car, however, isn’t any of those. It’s a 1999 Mitsubishi Verada. Yes, it is related to the Mitsubishi Magna, in that it’s a big, four-door slab of Australian-made sedan, but there are quite a few crucial differences.
It has a V6 engine. It has separate parking lights on the front bumper, which I like to turn on whenever the sun decides to hide its face for a moment, because they look good and classy. And round the back, in the usual manner of luxury sedans at the time, the lights carry on to the boot face. Meanwhile inside, there is velour and wood veneer and climate-controlled air-conditioning. I could go on and on.
And yet, every time - without exception - when I introduce it to someone, they say, “So mate, you’ve got yourself a Magna!” This is akin to spending a lot of money at Michael Hill on a genuine Seiko watch only to be told by your friends that it’s a fake. Repeatedly.
Well, recently my wife and I bought a 2015 Volkswagen Polo GTi and finally, I thought, here is a car that not even my mother could mistake for anything else - it’s obviously smaller than its brother, the Golf, and obviously a lot bigger than the Up!.
Turns out I was wrong. "So this is a Golf?"
If I had the leopard-skin patterned spectacles of a marketing person, I would probably call this product shadow, or something, where a brand’s lesser things struggle to make it out on their own because of the brand’s more famous thing. But whatever, it’s annoying if you happen to own one of the “lesser things”.
And the very definition of famous means there are more lesser things. So chances are, you have one.
I can’t possibly come up with all of them, so what’s your car’s mistaken identity?