I’m always leery and a bit stand-offish when I meet somebody called ‘Peugeot Pete’ or ‘Mustang Maurie’ or ‘GM Jeremy’.
See, you don’t get a handle like that unless you’re totally devoted to a particular make or model and that, my friends, makes me a bit squirmy. Because in my experience, that level of devotion usually comes at the expense of anything approaching rational thought or independent assessment. Not to mention you’ll be unable to talk to the bastard about anything else.
When people stop questioning why things happen the way they do, why they do things the way they do, or when they give up on the notion of being at least slightly analytical, then I start to lose interest in seeing them fed and clothed. It’s why climate-change deniers make me wanna take them out the back and stand on their soft bits. Maybe they’re right, maybe science has got it wrong.
But shouldn’t we at least look at the possible consequences and make whatever changes we can? Seems to me that to simply put your fingers in your ears and go “LA-LA-LA” because it’s not what you want to hear is worthy of a smack in the chops. Purely in the interests of further education, of course.
And I see a lot of this ear-fingering and la-la-la-ing when it comes to the cars people choose to buy. Not that I much give a bugger who drives what, but people who slavishly buy the same brand they’ve always had stagger me.
My own sister – bless her – is an example. She’s a Volkswagen girl, I she’ll proudly tell you. But when I point out that the air-cooled Beetle she owned 30 years ago bears absolutely zero resemblance to the Jetta she’s just bought (her third VW on the trot) she looks at me like I’m some kind of romance-free zone.
Now, I’m not saying she shouldn’t have bought a Jetta (God knows it was cheap enough), but to do so without even looking through a showroom window at the alternatives (or, heaven forbid, asking her road-testing big brother for an opinion) just makes me question her sanity. More. She may have settled on a Jetta anyway, she may have fallen for a different make and model altogether. But as it stands, she’ll never know.
Same goes for a couple of mates of mine who are into Saabs. They’ve owned these cock-eyed little Swedes for decades now and got the bug with the 99 and 900 models. Again, don’t get me wrong, I love those early Saabs and could make a case for a 900 Aero (dark grey with tan interior) for myself, but the later stuff that these guys continued to buy (finishing upside-down in their lease every time) just didn’t add up.
Those 9-3s and 9-5s built under GM ownership were a pox. They weren’t real Saabs. They weren’t even proper imitations. But the way my mates approached it, they were the only cars they could possibly consider. From where I stand, that makes them the cars that put the Dog into Dogma.
We have never had such a rich choice when it comes to buying a car. But to deny yourself that choice, to deliberately make a poor decision, purely on the basis of some twisted notion of self, allegedly represented by an inanimate object, is just plain dumb.
The brands offered to us now are countless, the models endless and the variations in specification could sink a boat. Pity it wasn’t the boat loaded with Saab 9-3s.
Get your free weekly report from the world of fast cars - subscribe to the MOTOR newsletter!