You may have read the survey in Top Gear Australia magazine (current issue) that says sportscars or luxury cars generally don't add any attraction points to most men. Interesting.
Unfortunately, I think something has been missing from the picture for a long while now. Society has brought it upon itself to believe that men buy expensive cars simply to impress others. What nonsense.
I'm here to make a case for all the men (and women) that buy expensive sports, supercars or luxury cars because they choose to. Not because they want to impress others, but because they want that car. I am also going to shamelessly fill this article with photos of myself with expensive cars as an example of how gorgeous cars don't really do that much when it comes to attraction (but feel free to tell me otherwise).
In this job one of the benefits is seeing what it feels like to have a different car every week. One week you drive around in something James Bond would be happy with, the next week you've got a Kia Grand Carnival people mover. So not only do you see the difference in treatment but you also eventually realise how judgemental people can be. Let me give you a few examples.
Last year when the Jaguar XF first came out I had my hands on the very first one in Brisbane. Now remember, it's just a Jag, sure it looks very modern and expensive, but it's just a car.
I wasn't expecting much of a reaction, but I was blown away. First day in the XF and a friend and I went to grab some lunch, we decided to head to St Lucia, near the University of Queensland campus, we parked the car directly next to a restaurant and sat down for lunch.
In the hour that we sat there eating we watched five or six people stop and examine the car, nothing out of the ordinary but still interesting, however once we paid the bill and got up to leave, two rather attractive girls approached the car - "hey guys, nice car, can you take us for a ride?" - were they serious? I mean, who does that?
It was one of those movie moments where the two guys stare at each other and wonder what they should say "Sure..." - "Don't think so" both of us spoke at the same time. My friend was keen, I wasn't.
"Sorry girls, we're on a tight schedule (lie) we need to get out of here". "Oh, come on, guys, just up the road, we live five minutes away". Now I had a dilemma on my hands. At this point my friend was looking at me, wondering what the tight schedule was, with that "are you crazy" look on his face.
"Can't do it, have a great day though". We got inside the car and drove off, 30 seconds went past in silence but it finally came: "Dude, have you gone mad!" said one rather confused man.
I love cars. I really do, I love the way they look, I love the way they sound, I love everything about them. One thing I don't love is the stereotypical attention they get.
A while ago I was in a gorgeous red Ferrari 360 convertible driving around the Gold Coast, at one stage while we were stuck at a red light two girls walked past us, stopped, one of them wrote her number on a piece of paper and threw it inside the car. "Call me!" she yelled as we looked at her in disbelief.
Would any self-respecting man really call her?
That same week in the XF, I went to the Brisbane Chocolate Festival at Portside and there were absolutely no car parks left, but as soon as the manager saw the Jag, he came out, directed me to a reserved park right at the very front, next to a Porsche. Deferential treatment? Not at all.
Now that I've driven most supercars worth driving, I can honestly tell you, if you're looking at buying one to impress anyone, don't bother. Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Aston Martins, etc, they are all cars of beauty, power and finesse, but they are all, at the end of the day, just a car.
You should only buy them because YOU love them. This already holds true for the majority of owners.
My favourite story though is with the Aston Martin DBS, in Quantum Silver (James Bond's car) in Brisbane. Those familiar with the Brisbane night life scene have probably been to West End and Lychee Lounge in particular.
I usually have a policy of not taking supercars out at night unless they are under consistent supervision, so with that in mind I planned to park the DBS right out the front of Lychee Lounge so I could see it at all times.
You can of course hear the car coming kilometres away and as we approached the venue, I could see the first parking spot was free, literally right out the front. Perfect position, as the place was packed.
As I pulled in, I could see and even feel the glances, conversations had stopped, heads were turned. James Bond had arrived.
There is something enormously empowering about getting out of a $600,000 supercar in front of a crowd of people. Somehow you're now someone important, simply because you drive an ultra-expensive car. For the sake of my social study experiment, I was happy to play the part.
My friend and I sat down, I had a coffee and we stayed for a while. I realised I'd left my wallet in the car so I got up and walked outside towards the DBS, and there she was.
Between the DBS and I stood a girl no older than 25 in a red dress, stunning in every conceivable way possible. She looked so good, that the Aston was being humbled. I could once again feel that everyone in the lounge was starring, it was law of expectations in full force "Oh, of course, that's definitely his girlfriend, it all makes sense...". She wasn't.
I didn't really know why she was there, maybe she was admiring the car, maybe she was just standing there, but she was actually physically standing between me and the door so unless I intended to push her out of the way, I had to talk to her.
"Hi there, I need to open the door..." I said. "Oh, sorry (lie). Is this your car? Wow it's beautiful... " she looked me up and down "and you're so young, you must be doing something right" she said in the most intoxicating voice.
"Aw, yeah... I guess". I love my job.
"You know I've never been in a car like this, can you take me for a ride?" she said as she got one step closer to me.
It was the Jag situation all over again, only this time the car was six times the price and the girl, well, she looked like she was six times the price too.
"Umm... I'm here with a friend, maybe later?"
"I'm leaving now, give me a lift to my car? We'll talk on the way"
Argh! Men are hard-wired to respond to a situation like this with a big clear massive "Yes". Dammit, the whole point of my experiment was to see if this would happen, it wasn't to fall for it!
There was a five second pause, it felt like a week. "Sorry, can't do it at the moment" I said in the manliest voice I could muster. My internal organs were at this point rejecting me, they had gone into failure mode.
She smiled and walked away. I convinced my body I had made the right choice, walked back inside and sat down. I then realised I still didn't have my wallet!
You can say what you want and pretend it doesn't happen, but if you want to break it down to an evolutionary psychology level, mate selection can be influenced by the male's ability to care for his offspring. So an expensive car is going to increase the male's sex and reproductive value, but only to a degree.
In my experience of driving the world's most expensive and prestigious cars, female attention is increased dramatically, but it's hardly a good thing as most self respecting males would find it hard to be proud of that.
Now, what about the not so expensive cars?
Currently in my garage is a Suzuki Swift Sport, one of my favourite little cars to drive around town. I've had it for a week now and knowing I was going to write this article, I've been trying to subtly survey female opinion.
"Cool, I'll pick you up around 8pm" I said to a female friend of mine last weekend. "I'll bring the Swift." - "Oh... why? Bring your own car, it'll be more fun." she replied back.
I have tested the theory by going out on dates with the same girl with different cars. I distinctively remember picking my date up and going to dinner in a Kia Grand Carnival. The week before I had picked her up in a BMW and given she had no idea what I do, it made for a really interesting observation of character.
One thing I can tell you with utmost certainty is that everyday cars that blend in with the traffic do little to inspire any attention - from anyone.
Of course the point here is, when the time comes and you're buying your first Aston Martin or Lamborghini, make sure you're buying it for you.
More importantly though, next time you see a guy getting out of his expensive car, please take a moment to appreciate that he loves his car, he bought it because he loves it and he chose to buy it. He didn't buy it to impress you. He is not compensating for anything.
Many females I've questioned have told me that attractive cars make already attractive men more attractive (consistent with the Top Gear survey results) but have little to no affect on average or not-so average looking men.
As for the flip side, do expensive, sport or luxury cars make women more attractive to men? The clear consistent answer from our side of the fence is a big massive YES.
We can't help but to fall in love with a girl driving a Porsche 911 Turbo. We can't help but to love a girl as she screams past in her BMW M3 convertible. We are visual creatures and are pre-programmed to admire things of beauty. For most men, the pre-existing attraction to cars is a massive bonus when it comes to increasing our interest!
If you're female, I would really like to read your opinion so please leave a comment.
As for the men reading this, by all means let me know what you think and share any experiences you've had with cars and their social value.