First of all, I want to thank you for the feedback I got from my last post, it was really heartwarming and I hope I can repay the favor by being a helpful, positive contributor to this community. If you're ready for more hit-and-miss, self depreciating humor and weird hip-hop-isms, I aim not to disappoint you.
In order to provide context to what follows, allow me to start with a footnote:
- I'm the type of guy who will give thumbs up in the middle of the street to an old CRX VTi or 306 GTi-6, because they're left-field, cool and they're for those in the know. I don't really pull out my phone to snap a pic of a Lambo because I think "this /&$%# doesn't even like cars or knows how to drive properly, if I had a supercar I'd cherish it, and he just wants to impress girls". This last opinion is, of course, 50% legit and 50% hater-ism and jealousy.
-I also am not ashamed to expose all my nerdiness to some stranger at a gas station if this person has a car I'd like to talk about.
Unlike most common interests, like sports, arts, etc, which are basically ignored by people who aren't fans, cars, given their usefulness and the fact that they are, as much as we forget it sometimes, consumer goods, are part of basically everyone's lives. As much as I'm the "car PhD" in my group of friends (I get random calls asking stuff like "man, there's this rainbow-y puddle underneath my car, this is ok, right?"), even the unwashed masses drive and have opinions on cars.
I don't actually think there's a huge correlation between being an enthusiast and a good/safe driver on the road (although it baffles me how little attention some people pay to driving, it's like they're passengers, but in the driver's seat), I just find it funny to analyze the differences in the way we look at cars in general and I'm sure a lot of people will relate, should anyone actually read this.
1- People always assume my cars were much more expensive than they actually were, to the point of making me feel a little ashamed sometimes: This one is simple. "Normal" people assume any car with a premium badge is expensive (I really feel ashamed when people refer to my car as "your BMW", like I bought a 500k km 316i to impress girls or something). They also assume leather seats, no matter in which car they are fitted in, mean "Rolls Royce". Finally, I don't think they're used to seeing a well-kept car, unless it's new.
2- They can't tell between the "special" and "normal" versions of any given car. This one I really don't understand. No one understands why I would stop to look at an E46 M3 because I apparently "have that same car". Even taking into account that older cars, I think, usually have a more subdued distinction (body-kits, rims, etc, were less "in your face" in the past, although I guess it can be argued that this is offset by the proliferation of "sport packs", which aren't usually so different from the actual halo versions) between the "interesting" and the "regular" versions, for me, it's so so obvious that a Mercedes AMG is not just some taxi and that an Alfa 156 GTA is worthy of making a scene.
Saw this pic, thought it looked cool, then realized it's in a shop and can't resist saying it's in its natural habitat
3- Noise = speed. Especially at night, pedestrians look at me like I'm a serial killer in the making, with no regard whatsoever for human life, if I downshift and touch the gas, even if I'm actually doing 20km/h. Passengers also say "slow down man, stop doing that crazy stuff" at the slightest hint of engine noise (side note: I loved the fact that passengers can't see the speedometer in Alfas, keeps them guessing).
4- This one might be exclusive to my group of friends, but they don't really understand downshifts. They think I use the gearbox "too much" and that I sometimes "go too hard on the brakes", when I downshift, not touching or barely touching the brakes.
5- Even though they all have driven (or were driven) at some very high speeds once or twice or know "that guy who has a Ferrari that does 400 km/h" (I've actually heard this one, referring to a 360 Modena), they are terrified of oversteer, even a slight tail movement in a wet roundabout doing 30km/h.
I'm sure that, if I thought about this for longer, and harder (pause), I'd stretch this list to 20 or more topics, but I'd like to hear about other people's examples of these differences when it comes to looking at cars. I guess somewhere along the way I turned this, maybe, a bit into "stupid sh*t said by non-car people about cars", but either way, that can also be a very funny topic, so feel free to share your favorite examples of that, as well.