They say you are what you eat, and that the clothes make the person, but what about what you drive? You may not realize it but whenever you step into a car there is usually someone taking notice. Whether that be fellow drivers or police officers, they are making a judgement call on you based on your vehicle for better or worse.
These drivers share their funny and sometimes downright rude stories where people judged them by their ride.
“I Called Her Beatrice”
“I called her Beatrice. She was my daily driver 1990 Chevy Lumina that I traded my Suzuki motorcycle for. And though she wasn’t a looker or a speed demon like my bike, she kept a poor undergrad such as myself safe and sound.
Keen-eyed car enthusiasts could easily notice that Beatrice appeared a little… damaged. Your prejudices aside, the facts were that she had indeed kissed (i.e. spun and side-impacted at high speed) two guard-rails on the interstate, an event which so traumatized the previous owner that he wouldn’t drive her anymore and actually felt safer on my old motorcycle than driving Beatrice. His loss.
The trade was made, I spent nearly $20 making Beatrice road-legal (aforementioned headlight mod, secured the bumper, “fixed” the window, etc.) and I was off to automotive bliss, no helmet necessary.
During the 6 months I owned Beatrice, I:
- was pulled over nearly a dozen times, and the two friends to whom I loaned her were also each pulled over immediately.None of us was actually ticketed, but all of us were questioned thoroughly and suspiciously. I’ve only been pulled over three other times in my entire life before or since. I have some bizarre stories, and I learned a lot about how cops profile drivers, which I still believe is reasonable given Beatrice’s rough looks;
- while driving was “flashed” twice by women I didn’t know (which has never before or since happened to me in another vehicle);
- “raced” off the line several times vs drivers of other hideous cars, resulting in the most pathetically hilarious drag races ever;
- was aggressively waved down by a friendly hitch-hiker (he turned out pretty cool);
- was helped out of a pinch by a car mechanic who only charged me $5;
- learned what it’s like to be partially soaked by rain while driving inside one’s car;
- learned how hard it is to stay awake on warm bench seats during a gently-swaying drive across Colorado and Utah’s lengthy, remote highways;
- added a huge skull & crossbones decal to Beatrice’s hood, which had the fun effect of making drivers of fancy cars in front of me move out the way immediately when they saw my aggressive wreck in their rearview mirrors;
- made friends with the guy who bought Beatrice from me for $1, and who later bragged to me that he turned a 100% profit, re-selling her for $2. We’re still in touch.
The cheap trick as she was, Beatrice turned out to be a lot of fun and a very comfortable ride. However, her unreliable tendencies and her penchant for making a scene everywhere we went were ultimately exhausting.
In the six months after I bought Beatrice, I graduated and landed a pretty good starter job. I upgraded to an Audi TT and have had all kinds of fun cars since then, each with their own stories.
But none quite like Beatrice. She was something special. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
There’s Just Something About A Porsche
My father was the eldest son of very poor Irish immigrants. As a result, he loved this country and when he managed to save for his first car it was made by Chevrolet. He absolutely was opposed to any type of non-American made cars.
When I graduated with my bachelor’s degree and was working my first full-time job which paid me more money than I ever made, I decided to trade in my Ford Maverick, which literally fell apart while I was driving it (the gear shift came off in my hands).
I wanted to buy a used Porsche.
My father absolutely flipped out. To appease him I bought a beautiful silver Chevy Camaro. My dad was so happy he would call me on a weekly basis to ask me how my car was doing.
Then a friend bought a used 914 Porsche and I was so envious I was green. My friend offered to introduce me to a friend of a friend who could get me a great deal on a similar used 914 Porsche.
I traded in my new silver Camaro and drove off in a bright orange 914 Porsche with black racing stripes and a black convertible top.
My dad was horrified and expressed his great disappointment in my decision to help destroy the US economy by purchasing a Porsche.
On the other hand, everywhere I went in St. Louis, Missouri driving that bright orange Porsche got me tons of attention. Especially when I took the top off the car.
All sorts of people of all ages would literally talk to me at stoplights when I parked the car or even in parking lots. It was crazy.
Back in St. Louis in those days, it was rare to see a lot of Porsche vehicles of any kind. St. Louis was a very conservative town and had large GM plants in the suburbs. It was common to see Camaros or Firebirds, but not bright orange Porsche being driven by a young woman in her 20s.
In retrospect, I was probably putting myself in constant danger driving around in that car, but at the time I was young and foolish.
Eventually, the car was completely destroyed by an inebriated driver who hit it at 3 am while parked in front of my house. It couldn’t be saved.
For a while I drove a black 911 Porsche, but I didn’t receive any noticeable different treatment. My father was still upset with me that I continued to buy non-US cars, but no one talked to me while I was sitting in traffic, or in parking lots, about my Porsche.
In the meantime, I will never forget that orange 914 Porsche. I was definitely treated differently and it was a memorable car to drive and own.
New Car, New You
“When I was a younger man with a beard and a long ponytail, I drove a rusty old Ford Taurus and then an even rustier old Toyota Tercel. I used to get pulled over for all kinds of reasons, valid or not, and since I was a new car owner I figured that it was just the way things were. I was a gigging musician and was driving a lot at night, which may have exacerbated the stops.
Then my family grew and I got a newer, non-rusty car that could fit two car seats, coinciding more or less with my shaving the beard and cutting the ponytail. Suddenly, the police stops all but ceased. I was counting the time between them in months or years instead of days or weeks.
I worked out that I was being profiled by the police based on the beard, ponytail, and rust on the car. I couldn’t say whether it was more because of the rusty cars or my appearance.
Also about the same time, I stopped getting hit on by gay men. Through my 20s it was just something that happened to me. I didn’t really care, and I just turned them down. As soon as the beard went, so did the approaches. I was 32 when I shaved, so maybe it was age too. But the suddenness with which it happened makes me think it was the beard.”
“When I was in my early 20s, I had a really shoddy truck. It was the late 90s, this was a late 80s Chevy S-10 with a noisy transmission and mismatching body panels. I was working at fancy places in a wealthy area as a temp. I was very good at my work, but I was once sent back to my agency to be replaced because my vehicle did not fit in.
Other times, I’ve been borrowing a car from my dad’s. My dad has nice cars, really nice ones. He has this one convertible corvette, it’s black, it’s a beautiful car. I borrowed it one evening to go to a friend’s. This was in a rougher neighborhood, and this car had no business there. All of the sudden, there are a bunch of people in the street wanting to see the car. I felt so out of place.
Another memorable time, I was looking to buy a car. I had a Nissan Sentra at the time, it was in good shape, a decent but modest car. I was also borrowing my dad’s car, a Lexus sedan. My then-husband thought it would be wiser to take the Lexus when we were looking for a new car, because ‘people with money get their way more.’ I was in favor of the Sentra because I thought I didn’t want to look like I had a ton of money to spend.
We went once in the Lexus, and a couple of weeks later in the Sentra. Same dealerships, the same types of cars we were looking at. We were definitely expected to be able to pay more when we were in the Lexus.
I find that this extrapolates time what type of clothes you are wearing, what the people you’re with look like. We may try not to be, but Americans and likely all humans judge very much by appearances.”
Nothing Wrong With This Dude’s Car…He’s Just Ugly
“Yes, and it ticks me off. I was handsome when I was young and it was easy to get girlfriends, but as I got older, I became increasingly ugly, and it reached a degree that I sometimes make babies cry, so I no longer get any attention at all from any woman.
I try very hard to draw their interest, so I told the pretty young cashier at the local gas bar that I was running out a room to stash my money in my house and that I was looking for a volunteer to help me count it all, and that I hope that it might be a girl who might also help me spend it, but she just laughed at me.
So I got a brilliant idea and I bought myself a fancy little red sports car to draw their attention, and I now only need to come near enough for them to see me driving the dang car and all it does is make them laugh at me.
I even noticed an old woman in a wheelchair on the sidewalk, and as I drove by her, I saw her laughing at me, and that is when I decided to get rid of the car.
I got to tell you, it would be easier for me to try and pull the teeth out of a hungry crocodile than get any sympathy from a woman.
So I decided to have one last try at being romantic and I placed an add on Craigslist, stating that I was looking for a wealthy woman to marry me, and to better my chances, I stated that I was not very fussy at all, and just as long as she insisted that I never do any work at all, that it didn’t matter to me if she was ugly as heck because I probably would not even notice, and that it also didn’t matter to me at all, if she was as mean as can be, and that she could yell at me as much as she likes because I never listen to women anyway.
And I got a response from a girl who likes to go hunting, and I asked her if she was sure that she had enough money to make sure I won’t have to work, and she assured me that she was going to make very sure that I will never work again.
I couldn’t believe my luck, and she invited me on a hunting trip for our first date, and when I told her that I had never fired a boomstick in my life, she told me that it didn’t matter because she was going to do al the shooting anyway.
All I got to do is go into the bush in front of her and make lots of noise to scare the deer out in the open. She also told me to make sure I wear a brown jacket because she did not want to mistake me for a black bear.
Imagine that, she is concerned for my safety, and I very nearly had given up being romantic.
Wish me luck, please”
Someone At The Chevy Dealership Missed Out!
In 2015, on an otherwise mundane Tuesday morning, I drove my twin girls to kindergarten in my wife’s Honda Odyssey. I was wearing gym shorts and a wrinkled T-shirt that I had slept in the night before. I hadn’t shaven, nor had I given my hair a brush.
So anyway, I walked into the dealership with a smile, but nobody cared. Salespeople looked at me but then looked away. So, I waited. Then I stayed longer, and even longer. My five o’clock shadow was darkening. So, I decided to ask the receptionist to send a salesperson my way, and 12 minutes later, one showed up.
Mr. Chevy Salesperson was tall and large, with an agitated look on his weathered face. His ‘I’m not going to let you waste my time’ smile showed signs of his two-coffee-cup morning. He looked down at me with squinted eyes, so, I dived in.
‘Hi. I’m here to look at a Corvette,’ I said.
‘Look, not buy,’ he replied.
‘No, no. It’s not like that. I’m about to get rid of my Mercedes convertible, and I’m thinking about going back to a Porsche, but Vettes have always intrigued me. Oh, and by the way, I just dropped my kids off at school, and I haven’t started my day yet, which is why I look like this,’ I say. Mind you, I live in Redondo Beach, and almost nobody dresses up in the beach community — especially creative entrepreneurs like myself.
So, my salesman looked at my Honda minivan in the accessible parking spot, eyed my disability (limited use of my left side) then smiled. But, before he could utter his first word to me, I said, ‘Oh, that’s my wife’s minivan. We have it for our kids.’
‘Well, you can look at the Vettes on this showroom floor, but you’re not getting into one without showing me paycheck stubs.’
‘Paystubs? I haven’t had a paycheck stub since the early 1990s. I own and/or co-own a few companies,’ I said.
He wasn’t budging.
‘No paychecks, no test-drive,’ he replied.
‘Listen, I work in the film industry and technology and most Corvettes are a lot less than the Porsche Carreras I’ve had. I can afford this.’
He still wasn’t buying it. So, I grew a smile and said, ‘Thank you for helping me decide to go back to Porsche.’
My salesman scoffed, then replied, ‘You are so welcome. Please do me a favor and swing back by with your new Porsche. I’d like to see it.’
‘I will,’ I assured him.
I got in my minivan and drove straight to the nearest Porsche dealer. However, walking into the Porsche showroom was a different experience than Chevrolet.
I was greeted right away and was invited on a test-drive within minutes, with absolutely no mention of paycheck stubs. The salesperson, a tall lanky, fit guy, treated me with nothing other than complete and total respect. I told him the same thing that I’d told the Chevy salesperson; that I was about to get rid of my Mercedes convertible, and I was looking to go back to Porsche, as I’d already bought four brand-new Porches over eight years from another dealer when I lived up in Westlake Village. He didn’t question any part of that. Instead, he took me on a test drive, one I told him I really didn’t even need. But, it was fun nonetheless.
However, they didn’t have the color I wanted, so we went back to the salesman‘s desk and ordered one from their incoming inventory. Sure, I had to wait 12 days, because it was on a boat en route from Germany, but it was worth the wait.
After getting my new Porsche Carrera 911, my first mission was to stop by the Chevy dealer to make sure my salesman saw my latest ride. ‘You asked me to stop by with my new Porsche, so I did.’
He stood there in shock for a long moment and then tried to hand me his business card. I chuckled, shook my head, wished him a good day, and then drove off in a brand new Porsche
A Great Car, A Great Deal, And A New Friend
My Rolls Royce. I bought it off Craigslist. I needed a 4-door car to pick up friends at the airport when they visited & I only had (3)2 seater sports cars (poor guy). I wanted to find a big, old Grandma drove to church boat, like a Ford LTD or Buick Park Avenue. I searched 4-door cars on Craigslist and found this beauty for sale for amazingly close to the money I had! On a lark, I called to meet the guy at a Starbucks.
HOW A REGULAR GUY BOUGHT A CAR OF ROYALTY
I drove up expecting to see a money pit needing repairs. What I saw took my breath away! Parked between a ubiquitous Camry and some soccer moms minivan filled with happy kids literally in soccer (football) gear, sat the most stately automobile finished in layers of burnt orange enamel! She was too beautiful to be parked like a Prius between these two cars!
(Warning graphic car language follows) I wanted to protect this car from door dings. I wanted to drink Dom Perignon, have a grey Poupon mustard (a 60s commercial). I wanted to be cool.
COOL LIKE STEVE MCQUEEN
Since I was a kid, I wanted a Rolls Royce. The movie The Yellow Rolls Royce was all about the car and its adventurous life (I met the present-day owner and sat inside this movie star as he told me his stories of the car!) The original Thomas Crown Affair had Steve McQueen driving a Rolls Royce filled with stolen loot in the trunk.
TV shows from Burke’s Law in the 60s to today’s Netflix hit The Umbrella Academy featured a ’Rolls’ as a co-star!
NO IMPULSE CONTROL
I knew I was a goner; I wanted this car. The owner gave me the keys and said, ‘Let’s go!’ I maneuvered out of that parking lot like the captain of the Queen Mary, trying not to bump into anything.
Out on the road, it was stately but strangely roadworthy. The owner explained to me that this was a Silver Shadow Il. It is the first year the Rolls-Royce built a car for a non-chauffeur. In other words, the owner was the driver. It had rack and pinion steering, self-leveling suspension, and an enormous V8, it felt like it could pull a yacht behind it or a trailer of polo ponies.
Driving down the highway I was the master of my universe, a captain of industry, I was somebody! Once my ego took charge I knew it would be necessary to do some deep breathing before I could negotiate.
MASTER OF NEGOTIATIONS
I asked him ‘Why are you selling the car?’ His response caught me by surprise. Instead of the usual, ‘I already have too many cars’ Or ‘I’m moving to a smaller estate and we just don’t have the room.’ His answer caught me completely unprepared.
He said to me, ‘I’m selling this to raise money for a Tibetan orphanage.’ At that point, I had no longer any interest in negotiating on price. We went to the bank, I withdrew my cash, I handed it to him, we went to AAA and I signed the title. An hour after pulling up at Starbucks, I had a new friend, a new cause, and a Rolls-Royce!
HOW I WAS TREATED DIFFERENTLY DRIVING A ROLLS ROYCE
Cars would stop at intersections and wave me through. I was a single Dad of a teenager at that time, so on my off weeks of custody, I would pull the Rolls out of the garage. All my dates LOVED that car. Valets would park it upfront with new Lamborghinis and Ferraris on Sand Hill Road. I would get preferred parking at concerts (remember those Pre-Covid days?!?) slinking in between the multimillion-dollar tour busses and limos (got backstage passes that way more than once!). Of course, I was a single guy and there were episodes inside and out, but a gentleman never tells.
WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
I didn’t drive it every day, it was too precious to me, although I only paid $8500 for the old gentleman. A beautiful friend who drank bubbly and ate pizza with me (off the hood to keep it warm) named him Lord Godfrey and it stuck.
At night sometimes I admit, I would go in by my garage and would just sit in the Connolly Leather hand-stitched seats, barefoot on the sheep’s wool carpets and just breathe in the delicious scent of leather, wool, petrol and…what was that scent?…Ah, yes! Old money!
There are many stories, but this is one of my favorites. An old flame came to town and I told her I’d pick her up at our crowded airport. (Again, Pre-pandemic).
I said, ‘I’ll meet you out front!’ (No word about what I was driving.) I put on a suit, a white shirt, and sunglasses ???? then headed out to the airport.
THE LADY AWAITS
The traffic cops were directing the chaos when I was driving up. I recognized her in the crowd from a distance, radiant as ever! How could we ever have broken up? I was in the outside lane, so I slowed and put my turn signal on to hopefully get across traffic.
To my surprise, one of the police blew his whistle, stopped traffic, clearing a path, and motioned me to the curb! I nodded thanks and pulled up in a stately manner.
I gave a slight, yet formal toot of the ‘in town’ horn. Surprised, she looked over and smiled that winning smile, like ‘Aha! The game’s afoot!’ (My former girlfriend and I did a lot of role-playing, so she went right into character.)
I hopped out (the cop was watching me out of the corner of his eye, I could feel it) walking briskly towards her.
I said in a loud voice, ‘Lady Wellington. How good to see you again.’ People started to stare. ‘Allow me to take your bag.’
As I took her wheeling suitcase, I kid you not, people were taking pictures on their smartphones! I murmured ‘Get in the backseat.’ As I moved to open the rear door with a slight bow.
‘Oh, Roger, there’s no need for that!’ She said with a flit of her hand. I closed the back door, put her bag in the front passenger seat and ran with urgency around the long beautiful bonnet with The glistening Spirit of Ecstasy tall and proud above the handmade Parthenon of a radiator, giving a furtive glance at the cop.
Sure enough, I heard the whistle blow and he again stopped traffic! I pulled out with a ‘whoosh!’ as we both burst out laughing hysterically!
One Word: YIKES
“Way back in the late 90s, when I was just starting my career in journalism, I drove a beat-up car. It was a 1985 Pontiac T 1000 that had survived a head-on collision with a semi. It was a Frankenstein car in that one of the doors was a different color, the front grill was obviously a replacement, and there were dents galore. It was an ugly car but I loved it because it was super reliable, was cheap on gas, and it also helped me sift out superficial people, as will soon learn.
I met a girl at a local golf tournament and I asked her if she’d like to catch dinner and a movie one night. She said sure so I picked her up the following weekend. As I led her out of her apartment, she took one look at my car, stopped, and said “wow, I thought reporters made more money than that.”
Yeah, the whole evening went to heck after that. At dinner, she was barely able to hold a conversation and excused herself to use the washroom twice. One of those visits lasted about 15 minutes. She asked if we could skip the movie and I said sure. I should’ve asked her if she wanted to walk home. She sure looked uncomfortable driving in the car with me, constantly looking out the window and make sure none of her friends saw her.”
Big Man In A Little Car
“Riding around in my wife’s little pink, Geo Metro convertible isn’t very masculine when I am in it alone. It doesn’t make much difference to me, but people can’t believe I am not embarrassed.
The only thing that people sometimes ask either me or my wife if we are sitting in it the engine running, is if everything is ok. I guess people hear the exhaust and don’t realize it doesn’t have that 4th cylinder that most little cars do, to not only smooth out the exhaust sound but the entire engine as well. 3 cylinder engines can’t be balanced as well as a 4 cylinder which also can’t be perfectly balanced. So when it’s running, the engine shakes pretty badly. Because of how bad the engine is jumping and shaking around when it’s idling, it makes the entire body both inside and out shake very noticeably to anyone close to it. The convertible top shakes, the windows the windshield, the radio antenna shakes so bad, that the top and middle of the antenna can’t keep up with each other. The hood and entire front jump up and down, while the truck wags like a dog’s tail. It is all over the place.
Since I am still currently parked with it doing what I described on the outside where people want to judge you, I may as well sit here and worry someone else if they worry about it.
The inside is also equally as bad. The entire dash and steering wheel kinda go up, down, side to side. The gear shifter is everywhere. There is nothing consistent about that. The seats clearly bounce on the bottom and back shakes forward and back, pretty bad. So that I guess people looking to give you trouble, will add to the list of reasons people unlike me or my wife and plenty of other people who own one of these, would want to drive a car like that.
I personally don’t care what people think. Yeah, it definitely is something you cannot ignore if you are riding in or driving it.”