“A-to-B Middlepersons”

“…personally cars are point a to b middlepersons…’Ohh that’s a ‘76 nestle convertible with a chrome cylinder piston doohickey? Interesting. And the tires still go in the same spots right?'”

This is a direct quote from a non-car-person friend of mine, effectively turning down an invitation to join me at the NY Auto Show in April. I love this guy, and we’ll hang out on a different day, but as a car person, of course a statement like this rattles me to my core. Aside from the natural “why don’t you like what I like” knee-jerk reaction, on an intellectual level I truly believe that somewhere in the world and all its history, there is a car that can connect with and bring out a sense of wonder in every individual. Cars are as varied and interesting as humans are, because cars spring from humans’ wildly messy and unpredictable organic minds.

It can be something rare and striking and beautiful and fast like an Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale, or something slow and square and utilitarian and simple like a first-generation Defender or Bronco.  It can be old and quirky, like a steam-powered Stanley, or new and comparatively mainstream, like a Mercedes E400 coupe. Speaking of Mercedes, there’s timeless simple beauty in something like a W113 “Pagoda” SL. Alternatively, there are cars strikingly and singularly of-their-era like a DeLorean.There are cars seemingly hewn from granite (like a Toyota Land Cruiser), and there are cars designed to only just complete their race and not turn a single extra lap (like a Lotus).  There are the newest, most contemporary, tech-laden cars like a Porsche Taycan or 918, and there are enduring, unchanging, but just-as-great classics like a Porsche 911 or Ford Mustang. There are cheap and cheerful, unexpectedly delightful cars like a first-generation VW GTI or an original Mini or a Mazda2, and there are drippingly extravagant cars bathed in absurd excess like a Bentley Mulsanne or a Bugatti Chiron. There are road cars, off-road cars, race cars, off-road race cars, gasoline-powered cars, diesel cars, compressed-natural-gas cars, hydrogen fuel-cell cars, hybrid cars, electric cars, coupes, sedans, trucks, crossovers, SUVs, 4x4s, 6x6s, and trikes…and then there’s whatever the BMW X6 is.

If the car universe isn’t interesting to you, that’s because you haven’t delved deeply enough into its wonders. And that, as they say, is a “you” problem.