Classic Case Of Discrimination

by Sam Skelton
30 May 2017 3 min read
Classic Case Of Discrimination
Porsche 944 - no quarter given

I had to drive a Porsche Boxster the other week. And do you know something? I hated it.

I’ve never had much luck with Boxsters on loan for features; they always present issues such as failed alternators or impossible to access engine bays for photography. I don’t deny that they drive rather nicely, but they don’t in my opinion drive nicely enough to offset the misgivings I have as a result of my personal experience. Chief among which – and the main reason why I don’t like it – is the simple fact that nobody ever lets you out of side turnings.

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It’s not a snob value thing, either – it seems to be confined to certain marques. Ladyperson is trying to convince me to buy myself a Rolls-Royce or Bentley at present, and in all honesty she is pushing against an open door. I’ve always liked Crewe’s products, and so it seems do most people. Because when you’re driving a Silver Shadow, it feels like other motorists go out of their way to be courteous toward you. “After you” gestures abound, the flashing lights of friendship, and frankly if cars could bow and scrape I suspect many owners would induce it at the sight of a Spirit of Ecstasy.

It’s the same with cars which inspire fond memories of days gone by; I’ve never been carved up in a Capri, nor have I been boxed in while driving a ‘BGT. We seem to be more forgiving as a nation of the cars we collectively associate with a younger, happier, more carefree time. Perhaps those in their Euroboxes see such cars as relics of their own past, and are less inclined to drive in a way which might offend a younger version of themselves?

And yet I never get let out of junctions when I’m driving an old M3 or a 944.

I’ve never experimented with my theory in an old Audi but I think it might be the same. It affects modern Audis, certainly – in a past life I had access to an A4 TDi S-Line as a company car, and I may as well have been driving round in Nick Griffin, such was the reception I had on the road.

So is it a German disease? I’m not sure, because I’ve never had it in my mate’s E32 7-series and yet I was kept waiting in a Renault 5 GT Turbo. I think it’s something more specific. The cars in which I don’t get let out all have one thing in common: They’re all yuppie cars.

You’d think that prejudice against yuppie cars would have evaporated as rapidly as the era which begat them. But no, the prejudice is still there. City trader conveyances still have a form of tarmac stigma that means Mr Rep in his Mondeo would rather block your way than wave you through. And I’m not really sure why. There’s a lot of ill feeling toward Thatcherism and it would be easy to write off this phenomenon as a small-scale political stand, but that doesn’t explain why it applies to yuppie cars post 1990.

Could it be something as simple as jealousy? I think so. When these cars were bought by people who could afford to treat the asking prices as irrelevances, of course they would have bred contempt. While Mr Rep was saving hard for his Sierra Sapphire GLSi, young City boys were merrily crawling from the fourth 325i they’d parked in a hedge and getting straight onto the dealer for another. The perceived unfairness has boiled and bubbled for decades, and it’s still there simply because people don’t know how cheap these cars really are these days.

An Audi Quattro – an expensive example of the yuppie breed – is Focus money. A good BMW E30 325i can be had for five grand. And yuppie baiting hot hatches like the 205GTi and Golf GTi can still be had well within a four figure price bracket. These days, that Sierra Sapphire isn’t all that much cheaper than the cars Mr Rep dreamed of.

Perhaps education is the answer. But let’s face it, driving round in a Cinnabar Red E30 would be somewhat spoiled if you had it signwritten with how little it cost. Perhaps local papers are the way ahead? With the occasional article about cars we all dreamed of, we can re-educate the masses into seeing things as they really are.

But until then, consider this. If you want a yuppy-chariot you can drive without issues, you’ll always get let out in a Jaguar XJ-S…

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  • Saltash Cornwall says:

    When driving my 1964 Singer "Vogue" every one on the road smiles and lets me out of junctions etc , so I think it is a case of fond memories of times past

  • Northern Ireland says:

    Audi TT mk1, 3.2 DSG – no problem, except when I give way to others at junctions, they don't believe me and sit there waiting!

  • West Sussex says:

    Driving a '53 Morris Six, its treatment by modern-car drivers borders on the deferential; none of 'em know what it is but it looks different ! It's one of the nicest things about old-car ownership, for me.

  • Isle of Man says:

    Noticed this when I drove an SL600 and was treated like some sort of nazi invader……….replaced it with a Works Cooper S, complete with every bell, whistle, side skirt and stripe in the accessories brochure, and got smiles, waves and "after you" all over the place. Interestingly the 458 Spider gets equal measure of both.

  • Cumbria says:

    I have no problem in this regard with my Stag but no-one wants to let me out in my 90 year old Morris Cowley because they think I'll hold them up (which I probably will except in town traffic)

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