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Confessions Of A Car Snob

September 10, 2018

I didn’t mean to be a snob. I mean I didn’t start out to be one. In fact, I thought I was doing the exact opposite. I once owned a 1966 Mustang.It was the closest I’ve ever come to having a having a desirable car.

It wasn’t a great car. It had a tow hitch on the back when I bought it. But, I loved that car.

Most of my cars have been practical. I’ve owned minivans and Suburbans. I’ve owned two Honda Civics. I do have two what could be considered luxury vehicles parked in ront of my house. A Chrysler New Yorker 5th Avenue and a Lexus ES 300. I say they could be considered luxury cars if they weren’t both over 20 years old and showing their age.

My favorite vehicle was a 1978 F250 pickup. It was best described as “mostly green.” It had manual windows and locks. No air conditioning. It never had a radio. The engine was in great shape, but the body wasn’t. It was also one of the few vehicles I’ve had that had a standard transmission. I taught my two oldest girls to drive stick in that old truck. We had to sell it prior to a move a few years ago prior to a move out of state.

Recently I was driving a 2006 Grand Prix. Again, a fairly practical car. I’d done a bit of work on it, mostly to fix a leak in the cooling system. Being a neutral gray, it was pretty non-descript. You would probably not have even noticed me if you drove past me.

I recently sold it to my 18 year old son. He moved out last month and has been riding a moped. That’s great in the summer, but Utah winters don’t mix well with two wheeled “open air” vehicles.

My daily ride became a 1994 Dodge Dakota. The body is in tough shape, but the engine is great. The radio doesn’t work. The air conditioning is broken. It has manual windows and locks. It’s best described as “mostly green.”

The great thing about driving an old truck, especially one that has a few dents and fading paint, is commuting on the freeway. In a typical commuter car, if you want to merge on the freeway, you look for an open spot, turn on your blinker and then merge when it’s clear. When you drive what most people would call a “beater” you just merge. Oh sure, I still signal, I still try to be a courteous driver. But, where in a Pontiac Grand Prix, some of the Utah drivers attempt to intimidate me, by speeding up once my signal is on, in an old “mostly green” Dodge Dakota, they give me plenty of room. They make a space.

I was driving through Northern Orem Utah recently and saw an old Ford truck. Probably a 1978. It had plenty of rust and looked awesome. Then, I noticed it had an antique license plate. Utah lets you get a special plate for vehicles older than 20 years. Many of my cars have been older than 20 years. So, I’ve considered if I would ever want to get a classic license plate.

It’s never appealed to me. In fact, as I looked at the aging truck with the new looking classic license plate, I found myself making jusgements about the owner that I’d never met. Why would he ruin a great looking truck like that?

And then I realized I’d become a snob. I’d become a car snob. And I hadn’t recognized it because I wasn’t the typical car snob. I workw ith a guy who owns a Corvette. He takes great care of his car and is rightly proud of how it looks.

I care about how my car looks as well. But, where he’s interested in making sure his car looks nice, I’m proud of how bad my car looks. He is rightly proud of a classic Corvette C4. I’m equally proud of a beat up pickup with a clam shell on the back.

I’ll probably get the radio fixed at some point. The worst of the summer heat in the high mountain desert of Utah is over for the year, so I may wait to fix the AC until next spring.

I still don’t think I’ll ever get an “old guy” plate, but I have a better understanding of that guy in North Orem who did.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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