Hooniverse Asks- Do you Deny Yourself Car Brands Because of their Owner's Reputations?

Ricers, BMW douchebags, white belt and matching shoes Buick drivers, many cars and their owners are burdened with stereotypes. While you don’t necessarily have to possess those attributes to drive one, you know that eventually, either you’ll turn into that stereotype, or somebody will peg you as “one of those whatever-drivers.” Because of that, are there particular cars or car makers that you would never consider for fear of being either associated or assimilated?
I had a friend, a few years back, that refused to buy a Lotus because his vision of the kind of guy that drove the plastic sports cars was a dude who couldn’t manage to button his shirt past his sternum, filled in that space with gold chains, and rocked the porn-stche and coke spoon. Eventually he broke down and picked up an Elan S2 Coupe, but he never looked comfortable being seen in it.
Of course BMW carries a reputation for douchebaggery, especially the newer models when fitted with rubberband-wrapped donks, and emitting  a testicle-bouncing bass beat through their darker than the inside of a well-digger’s ass tinted windows. Like cogency in people, the douche fades with time, and most 20-year old Bimmers exude a different aura- that of a cosmopolitan well past their prime.
On the other end of the scale, driving a Ford Focus implies you might just have given up, and a Camry says you had oatmeal for breakfast, again. Porsches have a similar vibe as the rondel brand, but their drivers are seen as even more assholier.
So, there’s lots of baggage that some cars have to carry, despite their tiny trunks. A lot of that is not the car’s fault, but that of the owner, who has, over the years, engendered the negative stereotype through thought and deed. And that brings us back to you and your off-limits list. Is there a car, or a brand that you specifically refuse to ever own so that no one can accuse you of being one of those guys?
Image sources: [Blanked As Ordered, The Ultimate Douchebag Machine]

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  1. B3NN3TT Avatar

    Hey, I take umbrage to the insinuation that a Ford Focus means you've given up. I mean, even the basest of the base model Focus' at least had a fully independent suspension. No, I'd leave that honor to the Chevy Cobalt.

    1. Tim Odell Avatar
      Tim Odell

      The Cobalt SS begs to differ.

      1. nitroracer Avatar

        The focus svt begs to out corner your ss – its a shame they can't hold their own in a straight line though.

        1. Tim Odell Avatar
          Tim Odell

          Cobalt's also still available (at least as a '10 model).
          Focus SVT hasn't been around since '04.

          1. B3NN3TT Avatar

            Call it exclusivity!
            Usually when I see someone driving a Cobalt SS, it tells me that their boyfriend has an F-body.

          2. Tim Odell Avatar
            Tim Odell

            So true.
            Still, I'd take a Cobalt SS over a Civic Si or GTI for sporty commuter duty.

    2. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

      My sister shopped Focii and Cobalts against one another when she bought her current vehicle, and she wound up in the Cobalt. The Focus felt tinny and cheap compared to the Cobalt (the Cobalt actually does have better interior materials than at least one competitor), and the Cobalt had a better EPA fuel mileage rating. Not to mention that with the right wheels and tires, a Cobalt coupe isn't a horrible looking little ride, and you can usually pick one up for under $15k brand new. Not too shabby.

  2. tiberiuswise Avatar

    I guess I owe an apology to Mustang fans out there. If it helps, I assure you the mullet is long gone.

  3. Ash78 Avatar

    Chrysler: It's either wanna-be gangstas in their Aspens/300s on 24" rims…or minivan drivers.
    BMW: Too easy.
    Subaru: Many models scream "nonconformist" a little too loudly, even in places where everyone drives one.
    Mercedes: Maybe as a gift to myself when the kids finish college (in 2032-2040). If I still have hair, probably BMW.
    Lexus: "I phoned in my buying decision. In fact, I'm phoning something else in right now!"
    All of the above offer some great cars, so I'm sticking purely to the baggage demonstrated by my peers. And, of course, any of the above 15+ years old is perfectly okay 😀

  4. scroggzilla Avatar

    No, I deny myself car brands because of my budget.

  5. tenbeers Avatar

    What if you've given up, had oatmeal for breakfast, *and* are an asshole?

    1. Alff Avatar

      Then you run for Congress.

      1. Josh Avatar

        Epic! That is going on my wall in my cubicle.

      2. tenbeers Avatar

        Unfortunately I lack other key traits such as "completely inept" and "selfish liar".
        Well, I'm somewhat inept.

  6. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    15 years worth of ElCamino ownership says, "I don't give a crap what you think this car says about me."

  7. Alff Avatar

    I'd never buy a BMW because I'd hate for someone to pull up next to me at a light, look at what I'm driving and think, "That guy is superficial."

  8. lilwillie Avatar

    I've stayed away from "Vettes for a long time. By the time I do get one I will be a gray haired old asshole like most 'Vette owners are.

  9. jjd241 Avatar

    It's a shame that the Miata got tagged with the "Chick Car" label. Seems like they are pretty nice rides.

    1. Mechanically Inept Avatar

      Men who are not insecure in their manliness drive Miatas. I don't know if I'd drive one, though.
      Hey, at least I'm secure in my insecurity.

    2. Cynicist Avatar

      This is the only one that bothers me., but I'd have a heal lof a time proving to my friends that it's a damn capable car.
      Well, that and the whole "die if you're in a rollover without a rollbar, die in mild rear-ends if you have a rollbar" problem. Actually, it's this one that's making me consider the 240SX. I really want a two-seater.

  10. Josh Avatar

    I drive a Subaru Baja and I get a lot a lot of manly women telling me my trucklet is cute. I drive it because it fits my lifestyle… I mean the activities…. screw it I am not gay leave me the hell alone.

    1. SSurfer321 Avatar

      You're a bigger man than I am. IF I drove a Baja, I would never post it for the world to see.

    2. Alff Avatar

      Hey, you're kinda cute.

  11. B72 Avatar

    I would never buy a Smart car, because I'm not kept up at night by fears of my inability to find parking.

  12. KAH Avatar

    Right now I'm struggling with the fact that I like the CTS-V Wagon but its a Cadillac it so much cooler than 3 or 5 Series wagon but its a firkin Cadillac! GM Stop Messing With My Mind you build crap and the Cadillac it is big expensive ugly crap sold to people who think they own the road. BMW you build the Ultimate Driving Machine so why is the but now to many of your cars are looking like jelly beans and you are talking about ¿Joy?

    1. KAH Avatar

      I need a proof reader

    2. Cynicist Avatar

      The whole "joy" thing is because the Ultimate Driving Machine does not drive itself or come in front-wheel-drive. They're just preparing for the future.

  13. P161911 Avatar

    Just about every car I have owned falls into some sort of stereotype. I really hope i don't fit any of those. I had two Corvettes, both before I was 30. I had a Z-28 convertible, but no mullet, double wide, rebel flag, or cinder blocks for jackstands. I've had 3 BMWs in the last 5 years, the current 96 Z3/M is the newest, the others were a 88 750iL and a 87 325. I was known to drive a PCH/basket case 67 Imperial convertible for a while around 2000-2002. I've also usually had a weekend truck of some sort, these have been a 79 K5 Blazer, a 88 Bronco, a 79 Ford Ranchero (traded the 88 BMW 750iL for it), a jacked up Chevy K10, and a beat up old 88 F150 long bed extended cab. In other words, I DON"T CARE! I just try to avoid normal and boring vehicles.

    1. Mechanically Inept Avatar

      Pretty much all pre-2002 BMWs get an exemption from me. Even if they're often owned by douches, cars like the E21/34/39 M5, E30/36/46 M3, and M Coupe are cool enough on their own that I'd be happy to drive one. Same goes for standard E30s, 2002s, E21s, etc. Those were real driver's cars, provided they're equipped with manual transmissions.

  14. That Guy Avatar
    That Guy

    How the stereotypes fly in New England.
    VW: Teenaged pothead
    Subaru: Lesbian (Especially the outback)
    Buick, Mercury, Cadillac: Old person who can't drive
    Honda, Acura, Nissan, Dodge: Young person who can't drive
    BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus (New): Rich prick
    Volvo and Saab: Extremely boring person.
    Chevy, Ford, Toyota are fairly neutral.
    Dodge Ram: You have a tiny dick
    Corvette: You're a douche who actually thinks that's a good sportscar.
    Mustang: Boring middle class guy who thinks he's hot shit

    1. Blaster_Bob Avatar

      When did the Corvette become a poor sports car?

      1. mdharrell Avatar


    2. DanRoth Avatar

      That's the best you can do? No regional references? C'mon, take another bite at the apple…these stereotypes are poor imitations of *REAL* stereotypes here in New England.

  15. Jim 7 Avatar
    Jim 7

    There are far too many clubs that I won’t join. Prius. BMW. Camaro/Firebird. Most Porsches.
    I’ve yet to meet a nice person driving a Maserati Quatroporte.
    I refuse to consider a Bentley GT, but I would drive an old Rolls in an ironic manner.
    My car choices improve as the new car smell fades and is replaced by A/C mold and burning oil.

    1. Mechanically Inept Avatar

      Would a ratty, $1200 924S that doesn't run, and smells of mildew, gasoline and exhaust fumes on the inside get an exemption?

      1. Jim 7 Avatar
        Jim 7

        924s, 944s, 968s, 928s ALL get an exemption, as do 914s and Boxsters. Any Porsche that a snob will malign as "not a real Porsche" is okay in my book.

  16. Texan_Idiot25 Avatar

    Hondas, obviously. I barely mention the CRX is technically a "Honda Civic CRX", it's just too saddening.

  17. nitroracer Avatar

    I have driven plenty of sterotyped cars and enjoyed all of them. Just don't go find their group of owners on-line who are single minded and annoy the crap out of you. LS1 Tech would be great if I could find some answers to TECH-nical questions but I have found a bunch of V8 loving – import hating people. Miatas are a blast to drive, and having owned two I must be twice as gay. And my mercury grand marquis was a hoot with the 5.0HO swapped in, even took it to an autocross. Lets see grandma do that.

  18. buzzboy7 Avatar

    Nope, I don't care what the average owner is like, because there is a good chance that it's not me. I drove a 74 Käfer for a year and a half and even though I put big tires and a 3" lift and straight pipe I still got called a hippie(long hair might help there). Silly is what it is. I usually look at Jeep owners as the "look at me" type in a way that some ignorant person might think "he's cool because he goes offroading" but I have learned that here and there you meet a Jeep guy who's actually taken it on ground rougher than the "soft shoulder" I see everywhere around here. And then there's the Fox Body guys, who all seem to want to be a Miami coke lord "in the 5.0 with the ragtop down" so their hair can blow. Not all fox body guys are like that, but man if that's not a big percentage of them.
    The worst thing is not to be looked down on for the reputation of the certain brand but to be looked down on by other car guys for driving what you drive. Like driving a hybrid. Real car guys know better and then label you as a rah-tard. These are the cars I won't drive. The ones that the public may think of as "so cool" or "green" or "new and technologically advanced". I would never be caught dead behind the wheel of a slusher-equipped japanese sedan, that is just wrong.
    So the moral of the story, if you think a car brand carries a bad reputation, buy one and change the way others think about that brand, don't be stereotypical but at the same time, stay away from the true crap.

  19. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

    I couldn't give a rat's ass what someone else thinks my car says about me. I've had all sorts of douchey, assholey, and gay cars in my garage, and have driven every single one proudly. If you're worried about what your car says about you, maybe you should examine yourself more closely. I kind of compare it to the dickheads at work that talk trash when you wear certain colored shirts. No, a pink shirt does not mean I'm on the prowl for men, but so the fuck what if I am, what business is it of yours? Some people are just morons, and we just have to realize it, accept it, and move on with our lives. Drive what you want.

    1. BPR Avatar

      How do the other Trailblazer owners feel?

      1. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

        Dude, I've had a 3 Series (douche), an SLK (douche), a Miata (gay), an Integra (ricer douche), and a Metro (dork), among other things. The Trailblazers don't really have a stereotype that I'm familiar with. At least not to the extent of the others.

        1. BPR Avatar

          Sounds like you’ve had a cool set of rides! Let’s see, I’ve had an alfetta sedan (impractical iconoclast), and Audi 200 quattro turbo (iconoclastic douche), a Dodge Durango (wasteful environment hater) and a forester sport (ghetto turbo for women who like women) just to name a few.
          In the spirit of fun, and remembering the earlier article about them, I nominate Trailblazer owners for the stereotype of “mildly sensitive about their rides”.

        2. Mechanically Inept Avatar

          It's about time you get a minivan, then.

          1. soo΄pәr-bādd75 Avatar

            Nah, not quite ready for that just yet. Although the comfort and ability to carry sheets of plywood has made me think about it once or twice.

          2. Mechanically Inept Avatar

            It's worth it, despite the image. I took the second row out of my Caravan and left the third row in, which gives me tons of cargo space, and seating for 5 with tons of rear legroom. And I put a beanbag where the second row was. There is no better car for high school.

    2. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

      well said.

    3. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      You rock.

  20. Manic_King Avatar

    I'm a bit contrarian and….no, I don't care what people think.
    Just 2 weeks ago someone told me that he couldn't drive what I'm driving because 'it's a girly car' (A3 sportback) and I asked him 'why should I care who else is buying these?' and that guy couldn't really answer to that…..
    I've always liked Corvettes, now after couple of years of reading US centric car blogs I'm not sure do I still want one, but not because of reputation of goldchaininess but because of quality issues.
    But I'm sure still want 911/Boxter/E46 M3 even if these are prime dousche car candidates in many places.

    1. BPR Avatar

      I was driving a classic mini a few weeks back, and someone starts talking to me about “isn’t that environmentally irresponsible”?
      I said “how so”?
      “uhhh..doesn’t it get bad mileage”?
      Not everyone gets this car stuff.

  21. Bo Darville Avatar
    Bo Darville

    I almost bought an Escalade when gas was over $4 because used they were almost free, and I need (that's right, I need it) a 4wd SUV anyway. The Escalades were the same price as Suburbans, so why not? I will admit though that the reputation owners have was the biggest check in the "no" column. Anyway, I didn't act quickly enough and the prices went back up. I briefly felt the same concern before I bought my BMW, but I love it too much to be deterred by others. I do try and keep coworkers in the dark about it though, but that's for a whole different set of reasons. And for the record, I don't drive any worse now than I did when I had a Nissan, and considerably better than when I was 18 in a G20 and certain I was the best driver ever.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      The Escalade is my guilty pleasure… An extremely comfortable car for long trips.

      1. Bo Darville Avatar
        Bo Darville

        Just waiting for gas to go up again and I'll have either an Escalade ESV or a Navigator L in the garage. Long trip comfort and ability to haul people and gear are my two primary criteria, with deep snow capability a close 3rd.

  22. Dr_Dangerously Avatar

    Only (non-classic) Porsche I would own is a GT2/GT2 RS
    all others are douche bags.

  23. MarionCobretti Avatar

    I guess the answer to this question is "no," as I've owned a Miata, which would suggest I am a gay hairdresser, and currently own a Firebird Formula, which would suggest I am an upwardly mobile entry-level associate in the methamphetamine industry. I'm neither.

    1. nofrillls Avatar

      It actually takes a man to be man enough to man a Miata (unless you're a woman). I manned one for several years, loved every second, even when dudes were dumping beer on me from the windows of lifted trucks. Can't wait to get another some day.

  24. Malcom Avatar

    I've owned two VW Rabbit convertibles. Once I was at a red light and saw my buddy stop behind me – so I waved. He didn't wave back and I realized it wasn't my buddy, but a total stranger. So here I was, sitting in my $200 triple-white rabbit convertible waving and smiling at a guy I didn't know……
    I sold that car a few weeks later to someone at work. He later told me he never drove it with the top down because it was too embarrassing. At least I made a profit.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I was going to say pretty much any watercooled VW convertible would be the one vehicle I wouldn't buy. I wouldn't even feel right driving one unless my wife was sitting next to me so everyone would know I was just driving her car. I wonder what percentage VW convertible buyers are single straight males? It has to be in the single digits.

    2. Alff Avatar

      Sometimes bucking a car's image pays. The best car I've ever had was a Rabbit convertible. Not only was it easy on the college budget and could generally be repaired in the parking lot of whatever hole I rented, the ladies loved it. Ghey rep or no, that car saw more hetero action than any vehicle I've had since.

  25. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Vettes and Vipers, for sure.
    They're both awesome performance bargains. But…I…just…can't
    Beyond that, I'm pretty shameless. I'm told WRXs are driven by spikey haired asshats and Jeeps are for compensators/girls/gay dudes. My hair might be considered spikey…but that's about it.

    1. Alff Avatar

      I believe that you once took offense to one of my posts over at that other place involving Subaru drivers and hair gel. Let me take this opportunity to apologize, as no offense was meant and to point out that 1) I sometimes use hair gel and 2) my Legacy GT is essentially a WRX for guys with familial responsibilities.
      Oh, the Legacy replaced a Jeep. My wife and children will be shocked to learn of my secret life.

      1. Tim Odell Avatar
        Tim Odell

        Dude…no apology needed. In fact, the most offensive thing going on here is the assumption that I'd actually take offense if someone were to make a WRX + spikey hair crack.
        If Subaru would pull their heads out of their asses and sell an actual Legacy wagon it'd be replacing our WRXagon for sure. Unfortunately they dropped the Legacy wagon and decided the Outback needed to look like every other crossover on the road, ensuring a non-purchase from the _Science family.
        As such, the plan for the _Science driveway over the next 2 years is to replace the Wrangler and Country Sedan with a Wagoneer that'll roll the classic + offroad + big wagon + towing duties all into one. The Falcon and WRX will continue in daily driver duties.

  26. Han_Solex Avatar

    I think water-cooled Porsches are sort of the cutting edge here for me. I've always kind of had a fantasy about using a Carrera Turbo or 4S as a ski vehicle. It usually involves heading up to St. Moritz with the passenger seat occupied by a minx-y female. And I'm not sure how I could pull that off without being a total jackass. What a conundrum …

  27. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    There's only one car the wife will never let me own, the El Camino. It doesn't really function very well in either class. As for me personally, I probably couldn't bring myself to drive late model muscle cars. Too much heft… I've driven a Prius to work, found it too distracting but neat to conserve fuel in. I've driven a Smart, finding it to be useless.
    I have reached the point in my life where I don't really care what others think, if they need to judge me based on what I drive go right ahead. Who gives a shit.
    And I am thinking about finding a Miata for commuting duties because I figure I'll have fun getting decent gas mileage.

  28. Maymar Avatar

    There's not much that bothers me – I won't ever own a Lamborghini post-1992 (only partially because of budgetary reasons), since I think they're poseurmobiles (but that's as much about the car than the owner). And every time I've driven a Hummer, I've always felt like people are looking at me like I'm that guy, you know, a Hummer owner – even in the H3, which I sort of like. Then again, it wouldn't stop me from buying an H1, and I still drive white Chevy Expresses, in spite of feeling like I'm behind the wheel of a pedovan.

  29. Eggwich Avatar

    No, I don't, but I do my share of Judging Others. I do deny great cars due to parts, maintenance, and insurance costs all the time, though.

  30. dmilligan Avatar

    I've always loathed VW bugs and their offspring, I just can't stand 'em. They're just a crap Kraut can that's ugly, uncomfortable and noisy.
    I've also despised Cadillacs for decades, mostly because of the people who drive them, but the new CTS series is changing my mind, perhaps. I'd like to play with one for a while and see how they really are.
    I dislike Dodge RAMs because nearly everyone who drives one seem like they're trying to prove how big their dicks are. I'm unimpressed.

  31. Bo Darville Avatar
    Bo Darville

    I have a friend who has a late-model Porsche Carrera 4s cabriolet, an H2 with 24s and extra chrome, and an X5. He basically shopped straight out of the douchebag catalog. I would have guessed he would be a world-class a-hole, but he's a surprisingly nice guy and extremely generous. Sometimes I wonder if he's just being ironic.

  32. Balestra Avatar

    Don't like to say never, but rule of thumb: Toyota. Other than MR2s and Supras they don't move me. As for 'Merican muscle, german douches, gary-haired assholes, I don't give a damn. They're all in my dream garage. Yes I love Corvettes, Vipers, 850s, CLs AND aircooled Chevy's and Falcons. I love cars. Fuck the haters.

  33. Anastos Avatar

    Buy whatever you like and screw what anyone else says.

  34. dragon951 Avatar

    I haven't let it stop me, but the stigma of the Porsche driver has always irked me a bit. Every time get asked what car I drive the conversation goes something like this:
    Person: So what do you drive?
    Me: A 951.
    Person: I don't know who makes that.
    Me: Let's keep it that way.

    Of course, it's always fun to park next to a brand new 911 and watch the suit's confusion as I get out in my gas station sandals, ragged $12 cargo shorts and stained t-shirt. I usually (well, that one time it happened) cap it off with: "nice tie." I don't understand the kind of person who would buy a Porsche, and never crawl under it to appreciate the sheer ridiculousness of the engineering.
    Also, I am probably a bit of a d-bag like the rest of them, and who likes being reminded of that?

    1. Mechanically Inept Avatar

      Oh. I like to go out of my way to tell people that I drive a Porsche. I like to show them the key, and ask, "what does it say on there, again? Oh, yeah, PORSH!" Usually they're in a state of disbelief, as most 18 year olds don't drive a PORSH. It's a nice segway into telling them that it's really a $1200 pile of crap that doesn't run, as well as the story of how I've always wanted one, then got one, then got a job to pay for parts, etc. Also, the stereotype of the douchebag Porsche driver is mostly true, particularly for Cayenne drivers, and anyone with an automatic Porsche.
      Come to think of it, I need a bumper sticker for my (mommy's) minivan, saying "My other car is a PORSH"

  35. Slowandlow Avatar

    I drive a Miata, but I am not gay. So either the owner's reputations didn't stop me, or I've been lying to myself all this time.

  36. smokyburnout Avatar

    I intentionally cross-shopped only Mercedeses with terrible paint because I figured if people saw me driving a 30-year-old car with perfect paint, they would assume I'm a punk-ass rich kid whose daddy bought him a classic. That doesn't come in handy when you're job-hunting, or when you need to get an estimate something.
    If I ever do become a rich asshole, though, I'm making an appointment at a body shop.

  37. ptschett Avatar

    I must admit hard feelings toward MItsubishi due to a d-bag roommate's d-bag friend who drove a mid-90's Galant.
    Also, not exactly owner reputation, but my family was Olds/Pontiac people since long before my time, and I still judge Chevys as too plain and Buicks as too geriatric. Somehow this doesn't translate to the other domestic companies; in fact I can be more interested in a Plymouth vs. an equivalent Dodge, and while I like Mercury I don't feel like I'm losing anything with a Ford instead.

  38. nofrillls Avatar

    BMWs–They're not just for wealthy d-bags anymore. They're for poor d-bags and d-bagesses trying to look like wealthy d-bags. The paint is still shiny, the gearbox is automatic and the drivetrain is oilslicked because they don't factor-in the maintenance costs of a used BMW.
    I know, this is unfair. I know some great people that drive BMWs. I just want the performance without the badge, though. Is that so wrong?

  39. Mad_Hungarian Avatar

    I owned a BMW once, in the early 90's. It was a '74 Bavaria, which was already semi-collectible then, but most people saw it as just another BMW sedan. My daughter was playing tee ball then and the team drew from both sides of "the tracks", so to speak, in the neighborhood. One of the other dads was a bruiser of a steelworker and he took to greeting me at every game, "here comes that lawyer in his BMW." Yes that is what I do for a living but I realized I had made a grievous error by allowing myself to be typecast. I sold the BMW and got a '74 Buick Electra, yeah really, which I liked much better anyway. No more BMW's.

  40. Jim-Bob Avatar

    I’ll drive anything, reputation be damned. Why? Well, other people’s opinions are not that important to me. Most other people are inferior to me in terms of vision and intelligence, so I see no need to let their opinions impact my buying decisions. Let them be the Lemmings cowering in fear of rejection. I will just be me, and if there are other people who think what I like is cool, well then they will be my peer group.

  41. Mechanically Inept Avatar

    I drive a Dodge Caravan and a Porsche. Does that make me a douchebag soccer mom? I have picked up my sister from soccer practice in the minivan before; as an 18-year old male, that was somewhat demeaning.

    1. dragon951 Avatar

      You could achieve the same end by just settling on a Cayenne.