Like any other hobby, being a car enthusiast has it's own set of stereotypes and misconceptions. Telling someone you're a car enthusiast can cause them to make some predetermined judgements against you.
Today we'll discuss the top 5 most common misconceptions people have when they think of a car enthusiasts.
1. You have to own a fast car
It's assumed that every car enthusiast has to own a fast car, and aspires to own one. This misconception is formed from a lazy generalisation about car culture that is constantly portrayed across various media, such as movies like Fast & Furious and video games like Need For Speed.
There are various reasons to become a car enthusiast and whole subcultures that exist within the larger culture as a whole. For example, classic cars are a notable group in the car community. Most of these guys couldn't care less about owning fast cars. They love putting in the work, resorting old cars as the decades pass by. Car collectors are another group in the car community who also don't value speed as a necessity. Ultimately the whole idea of speed being necessary to have fun is a complete lie.
2. You Have To Be Rich
"Only rich people can get into cars", I really despised it when my friends or co-workers would have that mindset. They would tell me: "Cars are an expensive hobby" or "It's not for normal people". If being a normal person means not doing what you love and to refuse to pursue happiness, then by no means do I want to be normal. Even then, this saying itself is rather shallow.
Getting into cars can be cheaper than you think. Keeping in mind, not everyone is going to start off owning the car of their dreams. But this doesn't mean that the first car you own is any less deserving of your love. You might start off by owning some old rusted city golf that you got for R15k and built it as much as you could, using parts that you found at your local junkyard.
There is a level of pride to be had when you are that determined. The same as your first job when you were in high school or studying as hard as you can to get that degree that you know will get you closer to your dreams.
Maybe as a kid, you too believed that being a car enthusiast meant growing up and buying some expensive super car, but as the years go on, you'd find these bedroom wall posters slowly being replaced by not something that is only more sensible, but that also has more value to you on a personal level.
3. We only Talk About Cars
If a non-car person has made it this far into the article, it may sound to you that we really are obsessed with cars. Given that, you aren't completely wrong, but understand that having multiple hobbies and interests are a thing too. After all, conversations aren't meant to be one-sided. If all our car talk comes across as intimidating, then change the subject. We aren't a-holes, we'll give into reason like any other human would.
We would love to hear what you're maybe passionate about and sometimes hearing someone's passions can allow us to collectively grow a respect between each other. Who knows, maybe we have something in common. And I myself, like static model building, photography and science, to name, but a few.
4. We aren't safe drivers
A lot of outsiders think every car enthusiast is part of some underground street racing organisation. We aren't. And coming back to point number 1, a lot of us aren't in it for speed anyway.
If anything, I've noticed most car enthusiasts are safer at driving than most other drivers on the road. That is, of course, just speculation and I have no statistical evidence to back up that assumption.
I don't think I've met a car enthusiast yet that has the amount of road rage to the degree I have seen by non-car enthusiasts. Honestly, I love driving too much to be overly phased and ticked off by every selfish move made by drivers on the road, and sitting in a car you love so much helps with that.
Also, loving the drive helps to prevent us from being distracted on our cell phone, which is a blessing in disguise.
5. Only guys can get into cars
The amount of guys in the car community vastly outnumbers girls with a 95% to 5% ratio. This is because cars are seen as a "guy thing", much in the same way that something like fashion is seen as a "girl thing".
However, I think attaching gender to hobbies is absurd. "Like, guess what? Here's a question for you: Do you like cars?" "Okay, did you answer yes? Cool" "What's your gender? Awesome". But guess what, that doesn't matter since you're already a car enthusiast. You just said you like cars.
It's our job as car enthusiasts, no matter the gender, to help and inspire all the incoming enthusiasts. So, go on then, smile and shake hands... it could be the start of a high-octane friendship.