I’ve long said that most people love to belong to something. Whether it’s a club, a devout loyalty to a brand, or whatever. Everyone likes to belong somehow when it comes to automotive things. There’s seems to be an unofficial hierarchy to it. The base layer is “car guy” or “car gal.” Next up is generally your type of activity, say on road or off road. Then maybe your brand loyalty, then perhaps your model loyalty. Looks at this oversimplified pyramid I made, for example.
However, if you’re really into cars or trucks (or anything frankly), take your blinders off and see what else is out there. Don’t just stick with one thing. There’s a world of automotive things to appreciate and enjoy.
I was at an event this weekend, and i’d guess 70% of the people in attendance owned a Toyota Tacoma or 4Runner. Add Jeep owners to that mix, and you’re probably looking at 90% of the total attendance. Now, I have zero problems with that. However, people need to remember that there is a whole world of vehicles out there; a whole world of things that will bring you joy, take you on adventures, and enrich your life as a gearhead. Just always remember that.
I brought our 1992 Mitsubishi Pajero. I’m going to guess that most people in attendance had never seen one. I got a lot of people who came up to me and said, “That thing is awesome!” or “What is it?” I always appreciate the compliment; I really do, and I love to answer questions about it. And I really feel like real gearheads get it. Whether you drive a 4Runner, a Hyundai Accent, a Nissan Frontier, or a Ford Fusion—if you can appreciate someone else’s automotive passion, then I say, good on you. If you’re a brand snob, a narrow-minded fanboy, or are unwilling to accept someone else’s passion project, then maybe it’s time to open your eyes to the fact that there are people who love all sorts of cars, trucks, etc.
Listen, I get it. I have four Mitsubishis and a Toyota. I jokingly call myself a fringe lunatic (which, frankly, isn’t much of a joke). But I absolutely love seeing people doing cool stuff with all sorts of vehicles big and small, on- or off-road, from just about every brand. At the event I was at over the weekend, there was a dude with a lifted 4WD Chevrolet Astro van. Hell yes. There were people with great Jeeps, Toyotas, Nissans, Fords, Mitsubishis, and all sorts of other vehicles, too. I talked to people who were stoked about their Jeeps on 37″ tires, their Mitsubishi Lancer EVO 8 rally car, their custom Ford vans, and pretty much everything in between. This is what car culture is all about. Respect and appreciation. Sure, we can give each other shit from time to time—it’s what we do! But just remember, just because you’re not a fan (or owner) of a certain brand doesn’t mean you can’t appreciate someone else’s passion for their vehicle.
Remember, regardless of what you drive (or how you drive it), we all have a common thread. We’re gearheads. We all have the same passion when it comes down to it. Sure, we might prefer one brand to another—and that’s fine. But just be sure to appreciate what your fellow gearhead is doing, regardless of make, model, or method (e.g. on- or off-road). We’re all cut from the same fabric, and we all should be respected for it.