The Ultimate Gentleman’s Car
I spent the moments before falling asleep last night imagining the future automotive inhabitants of my garage, as I often do. Except this night was different. I have a fantasy lineup of about twelve cars and for once I took the issue further- thinking about insurance costs, specialty tools, storage, and the amount of time required to be an active poster on twelve online automotive forums. It was a night terror most unwelcome.
But it got me to thinking; could a gentleman survive with one car alone?
At first I dismissed the idea as preposterous. There was simply no way one car could fulfill a modern gentleman’s automotive demands in both business and pleasure.
And yet… there has to be a way for men to streamline their stables without sacrificing all the benefits of keeping a variety of cars in the garage.
I won’t point to one vehicle as the “ultimate gentleman’s car.” If I do that, everyone will buy the same thing and strip club valets across the globe will curse my name… and I still owe Louie at Sapphire for not calling the cops that time I put my grandfather’s Mercedes through the front door.
Instead I present this guide to steer the discerning gentleman through the modern maze of motorcars, and better prepare him to select what will be his own Ultimate Gentleman’s Car.
Your gentleman’s car has to be unique, stylish, and functional…ish. Just like you, it’s got to have a big presence without being too flamboyant. Subtle but exceptional; something an off-duty superhero would drive. An engaging ride but not too strenuous- you can’t look flustered when you roll up to P.F. Chang’s with a hot date.
Anyway, you’ll have ten or fifteen motorcycles for when you really need to get the adrenaline pumping… those things cost nothing to insure and take up less room than that home gym you ordered online.
Red, Black, Yellow, Any color Crayola had a contest to name
I know what you’re thinking, red’s a classic. But it’s just too sexy for the truly distinguished. Red wants attention, and a gentleman has to pretend he doesn’t. Don’t worry, there’s an exception here for vintage Ferraris (see below). Glossy black is another old stand-by and because of that it’s getting played out, with silver coming close behind it. Everyone’s seen the Black Paint/Black Rims thing and now it looks like you’re either an undercover cop or about to be arrested by one. Yellows, lime greens, oranges, and the like are best left on the set of the next “Transformers” movie.
You might think a Lamborghini is the ultimate status symbol, and when you pop that door into the sky you’ll be the envy of every twelve-year-old on your block. But chicks will think you’re compensating for something you can’t raise, so “raging bulls” are out. Remember you don’t demand attention; it just, seems to find you. Ferraris are a bit less gaudy, but still carry some unfortunate eurotrash ambiance. That is, unless it’s at least thirty years old and not a Mondial 8. A well cared-for Ferrari from the 60′s or 70′s exudes classiness and any woman who doesn’t agree won’t get along with you in the long run anyway. You can even get away with a red one.
Brand New Cars
Any cock with a credit card can rent a Continental GT and pretend he’s Jay-Z for 24 hours. You’re much more original than that. Besides, pretty much all car companies are owned by Volkswagen these days. That means even some of the most exclusive modern supercars share parts with the Passat. Yuck. Step outside the box and bypass new car dealers when searching for your ultimate gentleman’s car.
A couple decades ago GM pulled the marketing coup of the millennium by creating a vehicle that appealed to soccer mums, the U.S. government, and rap stars. I’m talking about the Chevy Suburban of course, and it’s monolithic variants (Tahoe, Yukon, Escalade). If you have one of these, I won’t hold it against you. They were the “it” car in the 90’s-00’s and are comfortable as your favorite basement couch. But let’s be honest, we all look like an idiots getting 10 miles-per-gallon while we haul seven empty seats around. Less is more here, it’s time to downsize.
Big blowers protruding from the hood and exhausts audible for miles might get nods in Laconia, New Hampshire but everyone else gives those cars the finger. If somebody taps your window and asks if you liked “Fast & Furious” don’t panic, just sell your vehicle and start over.
Matte Black or White, Blue, British Racing Green, Maroon
Flat colors are hard to apply properly and while few people will appreciate that fact on its own, a nicely executed flat black, white or green will really set your car apart. Best of all it works on svelte and angular vehicles alike. If you need some gloss in your floss, blue is the new silver and maroon is the new red. Not “Carolina Tar Heels” powder blue, that stays on basketball jerseys and pimp hats. I’m talking about a nice, deep and glossy blue that might match your date’s dress. Now maroon, you forgot that color exists didn’t you? What about the other word for maroon- “crimson.” Oh yeah, now that sounds cool. Not only does the name roll off the tongue nicely but the color itself a great subtle eye-catcher. Not quite red, but not camouflaged in storm clouds like the rest of the acceptable palette. The perfect look for a gentleman with just a touch more joie de vivre.
Reserve is rooted deep in British culture, and it shows in their vehicle designs. Even the quarter-million-dollar Aston Martin doesn’t scream for attention. …Or does it? That’s what’s great about these vehicles. They behave just like a gentleman, commanding attention without anyone realizing it. While the guy who pulled up to the party in a Murciélago will have a lampshade on his head within an hour, he who arrives in a DBS will have a bikini model’s ass in one hand and free gin martini in the other in as much time.
The only downside of cars from the Imperial Isle is that you’ll invariably spend more effort under the hood than you will trying to pull dates at the bar- not ideal when it makes you late for the Cannes Film Festival or whatever other gala you gentlemanly types might attend.
Fashion is cyclical, and old stuff is cool again. Pristine cars from a bygone era are always sexy and get nods of approval from just about everybody. Don’t go too crazy- a Packard or Duesenberg from the 1930′s heads into “creepily-eccentric” territory. But a nice European import from the 60′s or 70′s makes it look like you’ve got good taste coming out your ears. Find a car that utilizes a leather strap to secure the hood and by god, you’ve got yourself a winner. If you go for the “ironic” look, you might be able to pull off something from the 80′s but only if you’re brave enough to sport an Adidas track suit in public.
You see more Beemers and Benzes in a day than suits in a skyscraper. But when’s the last time you saw a Weismann MF5, Spyker C8 Aileron, or Noble M600? Cars from boutique brands are like exotic pets- hard to get your hands on and even harder to take care of, making them most gentlemanly indeed. If you want extra points, get an electric Tesla to be individual and environmental. If that doesn’t get you laid you might be beyond saving.
While vinyl graphics and aluminum wings are no-fly zones, clever personal tweaks show your attention to detail and demand for perfection. Upgraded wheels (but not too big), slight lowering, or a stock-looking stereo that flips out to a monitor are choice examples. Fit an ejector seat or a bulletproof deflector screen and you’ll have Miss Moneypenny in your lap before you can say “Yeah, Baby.”