Magazine article Reason

Editor's Note

Magazine article Reason

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

IF, AS THIS month's cover story suggests, we are what we drive, then I've got some explaining to do (see "Four-Wheel-Drive Fantasies," page 26). Consider the cars I've owned since I got my driver's license 22 years ago. They include a 1970 Chevy Impala with a rusted-out trunk and missing floorboards; a 1970 Plymouth Valiant boasting an exterior color that I'm sure was euphemistically dubbed something like "lustrous dung"; a 1979 Chevy Malibu with a non-working driver's side door; and a 1982 Toyota Tercel on which I used a padlock to secure the trunk.

It was well into the '90s--and the largest peacetime economic expansion in U.S. history --before I even owned a car that had been built in the decade in which I was driving it. That momentous occasion came in 1996, when my wife and I bought our first new car, a Nissan Sentra, precisely because it was the cheapest car on which we could easily lay our hands. Two years later, we supplemented that subcompact dream machine with another unabashedly low-end automobile, a Ford Escort wagon.

What do my cars say about me? First and foremost, that I don't care much about cars. (Fortunately, neither does my wife.) Wheels have never been particularly important to me, except as a strictly utilitarian means of transportation. In high school and the early years of my working life, I spent what little disposable income I had on other sources of gratification and self-fashioning, from travel to books to more education. Even now, though I'm flush enough to buy pretty much whatever I want, I remain interested in little more than minimal comfort, reliability, and style when it comes to cars.

This puts me at a distance from the vast number of people who see their vehicles as extensions of themselves. In his "defense of the SUV," Hans Eisenbeis looks in particular at the psychic lure of the massively popular sport utility vehicle as a personal marker. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.