Do we need new terms for people who like all kinds of vehicles?

Our Toyota Yaris and Jeep Cherokee

If you’re like us and love lifted trucks as much as lowered hatchbacks; the sound of a hairy-chested V8 as well as the growl of a well-tuned four-banger; an epic off-road trip and an amazing road course, then you might feel like you’ve got a bit of an identity crisis. You don’t fit into a single slot, but rather all of them. Do we need a new term to describe people who like all kinds of vehicles—cars and trucks and everything in between?

 A need to identify

People love to self identify with things. I’m an off roader. I’m a stance guy. I’m a Jeeper. I’m a autocrosser. I’m an overlander. I’m a Chevy guy. I’m a Toyota gal. But what do you call someone who simply has a love affair with all things automotive?

Sure, auto enthusiast isn’t bad, but I always associate that with cars (not trucks). Gearhead is probably the most all-encompassing term; petrolhead if you speak the Queen’s English … but that doesn’t include the diesel enthusiast. Sure there is car guy/car girl, but that calls out cars specifically. When people ask me what kind of cars I like, I simply say that I’m a fan of anything with wheels and an engine. But what do you call someone like that? But do we even need to give it a label?

What’s wine got to do with it?

This might sound like a stretch, but follow me here. While at a winery in New Zealand in September, we were talking at length with a wise gentlemen who knew a thing or two about wine, wine making, and generally all things vino related. He poured us a taste of syrah, and my wife asked, “Is this considered a cold-weather syrah or more of a warm-weather variety?”

The gentleman briefly went into a story about the vineyard’s elevation, location, and climate. But stopped and noted that people, specifically Americans, seemed to have a need to be able to slot everything into some sort of classification. He said, “Why can’t we just enjoy the wine without needing to micro classify it? Can’t it just be a syrah?” He certainly wasn’t rude about it (despite saying, “I hope this doesn’t sound rude, but …”), and we really started to talk about this.

Look at the mess in music

This got me to thinking about music. People just seem to have to give it a classification. The group Old Crow Medicine Show aren’t country, they’re alt country. County Crows aren’t just rock, they’re American trad rock. Apparently there’s a difference between cool jazz and smooth jazz. Sorry—can’t elaborate on that one.

So what should it be?

So other than “gearhead,” there isn’t really a great term to describe the all-encompassing automotive addict. But does there need to be?

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