Last week, on our commute to her school, my daughter made a rather dismissive comment about cars. She said "Ian, cars aren't cool anymore". I've heard quite a few kids say that recently, and studies show that more and more kids are opting out of learning to drive, partially due to the financial climate, but also out of dissatisfaction.

And I think it's true that cars aren't cool anymore. There was a time when cars were cool - back in the 1920s, when most of them had an open cockpit, when you started them with a crank and when you needed to wear goggles and a heavy driving coat. But now? She's right - they aren't cool, and I think they're not very 'manly'.

My daughter made me realize that, as far as 'manly' commuting goes, driving a car leaves something to be desired: it's air conditioned, you sit in a comfy chair, you can drive in your shirt even in a blizzard, there's a radio, cupholders, GPS, etc. It's hardly 'Scott of the Antarctic'. The motorist's motto is something akin to "Hope the seat warmer is working" or "Glad I've got my coffee".

Meanwhile, those on bicycles and motorbikes have a different and much more rugged experience: you're out in the elements, you're on a saddle (how manly is that!), no radio, no cupholder (other than a cage with a bottle of near freezing water), no GPS, you must balance and wrestle the bike through rain, wind, snow. Your motto, like that of the Post Office is "Victory or Death". If you cycle more than half a mile you get more excitement than a motorist gets in a week.

Even car ads have a sort of desperation about them - they're all about danger, thrills and driving fast somewhere exotic, but when the ad gets to the interior, it always just looks kinda weak. And the outside... well, they all look the same - and they're almost always offered in shades of grey. And you know that when you actually drive it, it's not going to be an experience of driving like a bat out of hell on the Nurburgring - it's going to be pottering along at 5mph in bumper-to-bumper traffic while cyclists and bikers pass you by. The fact is, the modern car experience is slow, frustrating and BORING!

So, assuming other members buy the premise, what happened to make cars go all wimpy and boring? And when did it happen? Was there some key moment when the car lost its manliness? Why is it that modern cars just don't have that 'manliness quotient' anymore?

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Ummmm, no. Any car can be manly, it is up to the driver to bring it out of the vehicle. .

Perhaps.  Perhaps you can also be manly while wearing a cute demi-bra and pantie set.  Or maybe a nice chemise.  I'm not sold on the concept though.

Most of my friends race. From 24hr of Lemons to American Iron Horse to just local SCCA and NASA events. It really isn't the car. I've seen these guys take cars that most of you guys would laugh at and run them through the moves. Sure, the cars they fix up for the bigger races can do more, but I've seen them lap Porches in a Rabbit

No, I am saying that a man can use a tool efficiently and to the extremes of its ability and that most people who bitch and whine and cry about the superficials such as some manliness quotient or beauty honeslty don't know dick about the ability of the vehicle or tool in question nor would they be able to get a fraction of the utility out of that tool/vehicle.

What does any of that have to do with having a Neon as a daily driver?

It means that it isn't any of your business deciding some arbitrary manliness quotient to what any one else drives and that if you aren't getting your fill of manliness because of what you drive than your manliness is severly lacking in many other places.

So, you drive a chick car.  Got it.

ppssssssttttttt I think he drives a prius... 

What the hell did he just say? Seriuosly, I have no clue what was just said here.

I don't give a damn about beauty and nobility

I don't know about the "manly" part, I just know car design has taken a nose dive in the last ten or so years.

I believe there is so much competition car companies are terrified of taking risks, so they all come out focus-grouped to death and looking boringly similar similar.

They are all more or less more dependable than before; maybe that's the feedback they are getting: get me there I don't care how it looks.

I have a theory about how the first "box on wheels" came to be. I don't know which was the first but I'm talking about the Scion XB, Kia Soul, Nissan Cube and others like them.

I envision a car designer who loves his job more than just about anyone else but over time gets less and less enthusiastic. He takes great care to design the most incredible cars but his boss doesn't like them and says nobody would buy such a car. This goes on for many many years and this designer has hundreds of awesome car designs dismissed and they never see the light of day. One day he has had it and says to himself "F it, I'm going to draw a got dam box on some got dam wheels." He then draws basically a square box on a pair of wheels much like the car any three year old boy would draw. He sends this to his boss fully expecting to be yelled at or if he is lucky fired because he just can't take it any longer. As it turns out his no talent @ss clown of a boss thinks it is the absolute greatest design anyone has ever seen and the company moves forward in producing that box on wheels. Other manufactures see this design and since they have an endless number of no talent @ss clown management running things, think they too need a box on wheels. Now this incredible designer has new found fame and fortune (it's kind of a fairy tale so just bare with me) but hates it all because now this abomination of a vehicle is on the road and he is the one that cursed the streets with it's design.


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