I will freely admit that I have never been much of a “car guy”. To me a car has always been little more than an appliance. Not all that much different from a washing machine or a refrigerator. I spend a lot more time oohing and aahing over the latest Apple technology than I do over the latest offerings from any of the automakers.
Most men much under 55 are similar, I’ve found. (The exceptions are pickup truck guys, but they’re a different breed, entirely.)
This is definitely a generational thing. Almost all of the car guys I know are over the age of 60, which means that they started driving in the 1970s or earlier.
I started driving in 1984. It was around this time that cars all started looking more or less the same, and not very exciting at all.
For example, check out the “K Car”, a popular car of the 1980s. The K Car was basically a shoebox on wheels. Yet so many cars built during the 1980s followed this pattern.
Vehicles of the 1990s, 2000s, and beyond became even more uniform in shape and appearance. Can anyone really tell the difference between a Kia Sorento and a Toyota Highlander without looking at the grill emblem? I certainly can’t—and I drive the latter car.
Now look at these cars that Chevrolet put out in 1972: the Camaro SS, the Malibu convertible, etc. And (of course) the venerable El Camino.
Now these were cars worth getting excited about.
No—I wasn’t driving in 1972. (I was four years old.) But many of these cars were on the road well through my early adolescent years. Trouble was, they already represented the last of the fading classic car era.
Why are cars so similar today? We can blame Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards, as well as changes in the marketplace.
The era of the classic car is now over. And with it, I would argue, the era of the “car guy”.