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Petrolheads and Automotive Enthusiasts

Some time ago, my fellow blogger Lewis wrote about full-time and part-time drivers and the differences between them.  Now, I’ve already responded to this post once, but a second bit of comment is called for.  Not all full-time drivers are the same.  They can be split into “petrolheads” and “automotive enthusiasts”.

“Petrolheads” are the full-time drivers we all love to hate.  In their mildest version, they are all about power and performance – they want something that goes fast and hard.  They hate to be overtaken. They get passionate about whether the car sports a blue oval or a red lion.  They like to modify their exhausts so the entire neighbourhood can hear just how good their engine is. They may even, like our next-door neighbours once did with their new Ford Ranger, decide to demonstrate burnouts in the mud in the small hours of the morning (said neighbour also demonstrated brand new chainsaw at 3:00 a.m. on that particular night).

There are several subspecies of petrolhead. Some are Fulltimeus petrolheadus redneckii. These ones believe that size counts – size of engine, size of vehicle, etc.  They don’t mind their cars a bit rough around the edges at times. Think muscle cars. Think flame decals and go-faster racing stripes.  Think Dukes of Hazzard horns. Got the picture? The other subspecies of petrolhead is Fulltimeus petrolheadus boyracerae.  These ones are all about sleek looks and speed. They are the ones that do drag races on the public roads and pour oil on the tarmac in the middle of the intersections. Think booming stereos and very serious body kit, especially massive spoilers.

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Petrolheads value their cars for what they can do, for the most part.  The car is a means to an end, and they often have half an eye out for a new one that is bigger, better, noisier, sleeker, lower, etc. If they tinker with cars (something more likely in the F. petrolheadus redneckii subspecies) it’s to throw in some performance-enhancing modification or customisation. Or a new sound system that’s likely to register on nearby seismographs.

Then you have the automotive enthusiasts.  These are the ones who get emotionally attached to their cars- usually one particular vehicle that they’ve had for diddly-umpteen years.  They can also get passionate about a particular marque but, unlike their petrolhead siblings, tend to hunt out older classic versions of their favourites. They give their cars nicknames but wouldn’t dream about getting this name spraypainted across the bonnet. Nor would they violate the integrity of a classic with some vulgar modification such as a big bore exhaust or a bonnet-blower (don’t even talk about spoilers).  A personalised plate is probably about as far as it goes. When they drive their precious vehicle, which is usually saved for weekends or holidays, they are quite content to potter along at a smooth, sedate pace.

morrieAutomotive enthusiasts do tinker with their cars, usually doing restoration work or their own repairs on a vehicle they’ve owned since 1980 something or earlier (“You can’t do your own repairs on these modern electronic computerised thingies the way you can with old classics like my wee beauty.”).  If they brag about their cars, it’s about how many kilometres they’ve managed to clock up “without any mechanical trouble; they just don’t make them how they used to.”

Cross-breeds between petrolheads and automotive enthusiasts do exist. Females of both species have been spotted from time to time.