My wife started this chain of thought in motion for me several years ago when we discussed our first car purchase as a married couple. We were fairly certain at the time that we wanted a Honda Accord, though a Toyota Camry or older Lexus were fair game as well.
Then came the color debate. I was all about silver or black. I think silver is classy. Black is obviously classic. But my wife hates silver cars. She's all about earth tones, so she was more into the champagne / beige look. But it was her explanation for her preferences that planted this little thoughtlet into the deep recesses of my brain.
Heather-ology goes a little something like this: Your car, your home, and your fashion are all means of self-expression. Not only are they opportunities to express one's self, they should be thematic. Example: earth-toned house is complemented by earth-toned car. Which means, no silver car for Daniel.
That conversation two years ago somehow transformed to a daily curiosity on my part. What does it mean to see a businessman driving down the streets of Las Colinas in a Jeep Wrangler? What about a suit in a pickup truck? Do different types of people actually drive cars that express their personalities?
What kind of person drives a Cadillac? Or the mystery of all mysteries… what freakish type of person drives a Pontiac? Are these real people? Do they realize they're paying someone to rob them blind?
What about Honda and Toyota owners? Are they merely the most practical people on earth, or do they actually possess some dimension of style? And while we're discussing Toyota, are Scion owners the coolest people on the planet?
Then there's German engineering. Is the Mercedes the new soccer mom brand? What types prefer BMW? Back to the Japanese, can you really take anyone seriously who drives a Mitsubishi?
Then there are the less interesting questions: What's the difference between a Ford and a Chevy owner? Are Lincoln drivers the only classy people who own American?
The questions get much more specific as I go. For example, what's the difference between a Jeep Wrangler owner and a Nissan Xterra owner? Is one more rugged than the other? What about Hummers versus Land Rovers? Does anyone seriously like Land Rovers, or do they just want the status symbol?
What does your car say about you? Does it say wealthy, practical, adrenaline junkie, slut, outdoor fanatic, sophisticated, boring, ignorant, poor, artistic, hi-tech, gullible, or intelligent?