This might be more targeted towards American gearheads, but if we’re being really honest, driving ‘stick’ isn’t that impressive - most people have it down by the end of their first driving lesson, after all. Also, most non-petrolheads just think you’re weird for wanting to change gear yourself when an auto car can do it perfectly well. We know it usually adds much-needed driver involvement, but no one else gives a damn.
For a petrolhead, kicking the back out in a corner and gathering it up tidily is as close to driving nirvana as we’ll ever get. To the uninitiated it’s just the terrifying segue between happy cruising and an expensive bump.
Whether you’ve got high horsepower or you’re just planting your foot in an ancient hatchback after a downpour, spinning the wheels is inherently awesome. To outsiders, it has no discernible benefit to anyone or anything, which is why most people just consider it obnoxious.
It’s not just petrolheads who love handbrake turns, as we all know they’re the way to a teenage girl’s heart. But to everyone else they’re the pastime of hooligans who like to hang out in the car park of their local fast food establishment.
There’s an invisible line in time, where cars go from just being old to becoming classics. Even most non-petrolheads can appreciate a nice classic, but when you’re trying to explain why a low-powered Japanese hatchback from the 80s is an icon, you’ll just get looked at like a nutter.
That signature ‘whatitish’ will turn the head of any petrolhead within earshot, but it’s just another obnoxious announcement of your arrival to the rest of the world.
While we agree that a massive wing that does nothing beneficial is usually pointless, there are few things cooler to a petrolhead than functional aerodynamics, like what’s seen on the new Civic Type R. Getting up close to a car that’s been well designed in a wind tunnel and following the channels created to direct air around the car is fascinating. Outside the car world, it doesn’t matter if dat wing works or not, people will just think you’re an attention seeker.
One of the best ways to make someone regret sitting beside you at a party is to act like a human spreadsheet, and that is something petrolheads excel at. Whether it’s 0-62mph times, engine displacements, power figures or the like, most petrolheads will know their favourite car inside out. Some of your mates will be impressed, and the rest will just call you a geek.
This one goes out to anyone who’s ever been on a walk with their better half, and has suddenly looked up to say “I hear a Subaru!” You know from the look on their face they were so nearly impressed, before settling on the fact you’re just a loser…
Trying to explain why your interior looks like a gang of thieves has hacked it to pieces is often met with a bemused expression from those around us. That is, until another petrolhead walks past and acknowledges your because racecar commitment.