A Man’s Classification Guide of Cars

There’s manly vehicles.

There’s ‘chick’ vehicles.

Then – according to Wayne (I’d link him but he hasn’t blogged in 14 years) – there’s ‘metro-sexual’ vehicles. It’s fair to ask what exactly makes Wayne an expert in such issues. I’ll allow him to answer that in the comments section below. (This should be fascinating.)

I think there probably ought to be a 4th category – kinda the ‘necessary evil’ category. Stuff like Honda Civics, Hyundai Sonatas, and other gas-conserving vehicles that aren’t completely ridiculous could go in this category. (No, the Yaris doesn’t go here. It’s completely ridiculous.)

Before we start categorizing, some general principles that we all can agree upon.

1. A mini-van will never, ever in any way ever be classified as a MANLY car. Ever.
It could be classified as either a CHICK or a NECESSARY EVIL (NE) depending on number of kids in family. If you have 2 or less children and you have a mini-van, you are on the bubble. Technically, you don’t NEED an mini-van. If you have no children, it’s a definite CHICK classification.

2. Any car that could fit in the back of a full-size pickup, will never, ever in any way be classified as a MANLY car. Ever.
There is one notable exception – the Mini-Cooper. I have yet to meet a guy who doesn’t like the Cooper. It’s a sweet ride. Got a cool name as well. The Yaris, Yugo, Geo, Smart Cars and the like will always be classified as CHICK cars.

3. Any car that comes with a flower vase is a CHICK vehicle. See VW Bug.

4. If it says “Jeep”, we’re going to give you the benefit of the doubt.
The Jeep Liberty raised some questions about the manliness of the Jeep. It’s a terrible drive, horrible off the road and marketed towards women. However, it’s still a Jeep. Every man born has wanted to own a Jeep at some point in his life. It’s instinct.

Questions We Need To Answer

Does the vehicle’s color have anything to do with classification?

This of course is part of the argument against classifying my current Xterra as a MANLY vehicle – it’s yellow. But so are some fire trucks and those are definitely MAN cars. So color alone can’t sink a car into the CHICK category.

Pink is the exception. Pink is NOT the new black when it comes to cars. You better be selling Mary Kay if you have a pink vehicle. That’s all I got to say about that.

Other colors that are ONLY CHICK:
Sea Foam Green – again see VW Bug.
Light Sky Blue

Does the personality or profession of the owner have anything to do with classification?

Yes, it can.

If you are an Electrical Engineer and enjoy reading power grids, you’re not going to pull off a yellow vehicle. Nor are you going to pull of a ‘fun’ vehicle. Stick with boring box cars or standard SUVs. Chances are you’re not going to pull off any color other than white or black or maybe silver. You know, the basic, boring colors of the vehicle palate.

If you are basically as cool as Chuck Norris (not cooler than Chuck as that is impossible…and it should be noted that most youth ministers fall in this category) then a color like…oh, I don’t know…say …. YELLOW actually works for you. It’s loud. It’s bright and positive. It screams that you are fun and not boring…the antithesis to engineer type of people.

This can also work in terms of types of cars. If you are a youth pastor and drive a mini-van, you could always fall back on the NE classification due to the number of students you drive around.

Does the usage of the car effect the classification?

Abso-freakin-lutely.

Let’s look at the Suburban.

Suburban driven by a soccer mom that never sees 4wd – CHICK.

Suburban that is full of ski gear, mountain climbing gear, and parachutes – MANLY.

Pink Mary Kay Suburban – CHICK.

Pink Mary Kay Suburban driven by husband going to store to get milk – candidate for divorce. (I actually saw this once at a Walgreens. I just kept staring at him. I had no idea what to say to him in order to console him. I do know that there would have been a throw stuff around the house kind of argument if it had been me. And I would have taken my bike or walked.)

Can accessories help classify a vehicle?

It can make the difference in the final vote. In some cases, like the Yaris, it won’t matter what you put on it. It is what it is and the best thing you can do is just man-up and deal with it. A mini-van will allows be a Chick car. Any man that argues differently is just delusional and deserves both our pity and insults. However, in Wayne’s ‘metro-sexual’ category, accessorization could make the difference.

Ski racks – manly.

Front grill protector – manly.

Antenna smiley face – chick.

“My kid is an honor student” bumper sticker – chick and candidate for running off the road.

Christian Fish Symbol – undecided at this point. Did your car make that decision or are you forcing Jesus up its tailpipe?

Trailer hitch – manly.

If you can see the spare tire – manly.

If spare tire is full-size – manly.

Donut spare – chick.

If you can see the spare tire AND it’s a donut – well, we may need a 5th category.

Width of tires – generally speaking, the wider, the more manly.

Ball cracking the window stickers – chick.

I’m sure you’ll have more so list away in the comments section.

Later next week – my history of cars and their classifications.

25 thoughts on “A Man’s Classification Guide of Cars

  1. Culture must play a part in classifying your vehicle – to the extent that culture provides context.

    Most guys are NOT driving around in red pickups (OK – Firetrucks and emergency vehicles fall outside this category, then again it’s in context). But here in Alabama most any man worth his weight and is a Roll Tide fan is going to drive a red pickup. It may even have an “A” or “Roll Tide” sticker on it somewhere. That will not make it less manly around here. Somewhere else? Yes. Not in Alabama.

    So I think we need to take culture as it relates to context into account.

  2. is there a classification for “cheap-paid-off-grandma-high-school
    car?”

    or perhaps this a necessary evil… as by your classification.

    also, what about trucks and i’ve seen some cars that have, “balls” what are thoughts on this?

  3. what about the volvo? ever noticed that the symbol on the front of the vehicle is the ‘man’ symbol??? or is the volvo fall into the accessory category?

    like my brother, he drives a 1990 volvo with a rack on top and it’s old and full of tools for his job. (nevermind the carseat in the back for his 16-month-old daughter.)

    but the brand-new volvos that look so yuppie that you really only see upper-class business people driving in?

    thoughts welcome…

  4. Heath’s rebuttal is long but worth reading. Still think it’s at the very best a NE.

    MikeS – I have a Roll Tide magnet on my car.

    Loren – definitely NE at this point.

    Jill – good question. Maybe we do need a 5th category. Like – Must be richer than God to drive. Porsche, BMW, Ferrari, Lexus, and Volvo could slam in here.

    Or is that a sub-set of chick?

  5. A volvo is not only expensive, it is also a high cost of ownership. So, I concur with the “more money than God” category — but there would be manly, chick, and metro-sexual sub-categories within that too…for instance, no man should drive a volvo SUV. This is akin to a man driving an xterra — which is chick/metro-sexual.

    And while I’m here I must defend my honor as an engineer who enjoys “reading power grids”. I can very much appreciate “fun” cars. However, let’s classify “fun”. Fun cars are well engineered and PERFORM. This means all, nay ALL, American cars are out. Any car that really is well-engineered and performs would be in the “must have more money than God” category.

    One might argue, though, that some American muscle cars are fun. I can see that — but American muscle cars are pretty much a flash back to the 70’s and 80’s — which I also am cool with.

    The only “expertise” I have on metro-sexual is its definition. From Wikipedia it is “a neologism generally applied to heterosexual men with a strong concern for their appearance, or whose lifestyles display attributes stereotypically seen among gay men.” The implications of this to various genres of cars is intuitively obvious. Arguably, though, metrosexual could fall under the chick category — I could easily defer to that opinion.

  6. I was going to mention the cow-balls thing, but Loren beat me to the punch.

    I did see my first Red-Mex a few weeks ago. This is a Mexican in a Redneck pickup. I was so caught up in the moment I almost did the gas spilling out of the your car while pumping thing.

  7. The manliest car I ever had was 1988 two-door Pathfinder that I bought in 1999 with 185,000 miles on it. Over the course of the 5 years I added another 100,000, ran it down to Mexico numerous times through mud and dirt, and it got me through some wicked snowstorms. Full size spare on the back.

    Most chick like car? My first car could fit in the back of a pick-up: a 1973 Opel GT, But the draw for me was the fact that Maxwell Smart drove the same car during the last season of Get Smart.

  8. Wayne – I concur with most of your point on American made cars not being fun. But I must make one point of contention – the Corvette. It, through the years, has always been one of those cars that most guys grow up watching and wishing for. From the very beginning of the Vette to now it continues to turn heads and put smiles on guys’ faces.

    And muscle cars go back farther than the 70’s. Try the 50’s. Case in point ’56-59 Chevy’s and the Mustangs. Got to love a Pony.

    Grant – yes, you have an Alabama sticker on your car, but it’s not a red truck, either.

  9. Mike — I agree with the Vette — I almost put it in a category alone, but it is, in my book, still a muscle car. The Mustangs got their start in 1964 and also fall into that classification.

    Pretty much everything in the 50’s that had a v-8 was a muscle car — but again, it was all RAW power — which is manly and can be fun. But my preference is refined power with fine-tuned control.

  10. As usual, Wayne has elements of brilliance sprinkled in with elements of …well…other stuff.

    Of American cars – I concur. Only the 60’s Vettes and the new revealed headlight design inspire.

    I’d throw into that mix the new Camaro design for next year – seen in the Transformer movie.

    The only Trans Am worth mentioning was the one in Smokey and the Bandit.

  11. The cow-ball feature – I’ve got mixed feelings about it.

    First, it’s funny but should only be put on big, monster mud trucks. Not mini-vans.

    Second, it’s provided a few uncomfortable conversations with my 8 and 5 year old daughter. Longer post coming on this story.

  12. cow balls on a mini-van — I love it!!! Actually, this COULD help Heath’s situation with his Yaris.

  13. Wayne – sorry, I mis-spoke and your are correct my friend, the mustangs came out in the 60’s. I was thinking my Dad had ’56, but it was a ’65. My bad.

    I still hold onto the muscle car as a whole is a man’s car. Anything with an “SS” after it (Camaro, Chevelle, Impala, etc.) needed all the manhood you had to keep it on the road. Also, any car that came with a Hemi under the hood and anytime a Hurst shifter was spotted it usually meant it required pure manhood to hang onto.

    I just think we need to be careful we don’t narrow the guidelines to our preferences and exclude some pure manhood-driving, adrenaline-pumping cars.

  14. they are items for awkward conversation, seen on a minority of redneck trucks [usually], i’ve seen them on a car once, which raises all kinds of other questions.

  15. OK…all this talk about cow balls has made me think of a twist on a SNL skit — “We need more cow balls! MORE COW BALLS!!”

    I am in soooo much trouble now.

  16. And yet we get one more post out of this mess.

    Wayne – when I got your text, I busted out laughing.

    Just imagine Christopher Walken saying it…

  17. I know you like to knock on Arkansas, but I have seen some of the most redneck vehicles in none other then…Colorado. I have seen more than one truck with diesel truck like pipes sticking up from behind the cab and not too few rust colored paint on it either. As for AL, I just haven’t spent enough time there, but I am sure it is comparable.

  18. I have a fever, and the only thing that can cure it is more cow balls!

    To jlo’s point — I don’t care where you go, there you are — er, i mean, you’ll find rednecks. I remember the first time I was driving around upstate new york — I was like HOLY COW (balls), this looks like the South — trailers with cars on blocks, etc…it was pretty funny.

  19. Pingback: Answering Wayne

  20. Before judging that pink Mary Kay suburban, you might want to ask, “How much income is that dude’s wife bringing in?”. He might be making a statement about how well he married by driving that.

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