What is T-Nation's opinion on the value of having a sweet car? What are the benefits? What car do YOU drive? Is it important to your self-esteem to drive a nice car?
My story goes like this (Long post ahead) :
I never had a car growing up in Manhattan because we didn't need one and frankly its more of a negative than a positive in that urban environment. No parking, highest insurance rates in the US, great public transportation, etc.
Ok, ff to college. I went to a big state college out in the country and almost everyone had a car, and I basically had to mooch rides to go anywhere or else face the prospect of taking the bus or a 20-30 minute walk to go to the 7-11 or the liquor store or supermarket, whatever. I also endured dozens 4-5 hour bus rides on smelly buses to go back and forth from home and I HATED it. I really hated the lack of freedom to move around not having a car imposed on me.
However, not being a car owner myself, I snickered at friends and relatives who spent way more than they should have on cars they had to work their butt off just to pay for.
This continued into adulthood, where every financial book I read says that an expensive car is an unnecessary luxury and you're better off putting the money into IRAs or bonds etc.
So I bought a 91 Taurus and a 95 Intrepid and felt secure that I was doing the right thing financially.
FF to last spring when my Intrepid died and I started leasing a 2005 Grand Cherokee. It felt pretty good to have a brand new car, especially a shiny new black SUV. I got a BJ in it from a girl I picked up the first Saturday I owned it. I received compliments on it from people I went to HS with I hadn't seen in 13-14 yrs. Even my students thought it was a cool car.
But, I ran into a problem once I bought a condo. The mortgage, combined with a monthly cost of approx $ 950 for the Jeep ($326 lease; $200 insurance; $130 tolls; approx $300/mo gas-I have a long commute) was KILLING me financially.
SO I swapped the lease and now drive a used 98 Camry, a sound financial decision for sure. Legendary reliability and quality, 30 MPG, good resale value, etc.
But its different now. Its not the same thing walking up to my Camry than it was to my Jeep.
My friend told me that men get a lot of validation from their possessions, especially cars. He gave me an example: how would I feel if I pulled up to a club in a Mercedes 500 SL compared to my Camry? Would I feel more or less confident? Of course I'd feel more confident and cocky.
Even my mother, a hardcore Socialist, says that driving a nice car is important and that I shouldn't have gotten rid of the Jeep. She says its important for a man to have a nice car.
So now I'm wondering what do other T-people think about guys owning nice cars and how important is it? Is it a sign of weakness to get validation and confidence from a car?
It doesn't help that I live in NJ and seemingly everyone has a nice car. I live in a working class, primarily black and latino neighborhood, and my block has an M3, a Chrysler 300, a Porsche, a BMW 3 series, and a couple of new cars.
If I want a sweet car, I'd definitely have to get a 2nd job to pay for it.
I have to admit I'd love to have an M3, an Audi S4, a 350 ZX, a Chrysler 300 or Dodge Charger, etc etc.
I'll stop here and look forward for thoughts from my T-brethren.