You know the car.
“Flashy, making a scene, flaunting conventions.” (To quote Mr. Bookman, the hard-boiled library detective from Seinfeld)
Yup, we’re talking about the guy who wants everyone on the block to take notice of his ride.
Aftermarket parts, a burpy exhaust, decals, tinting – the kind of car no father wants to see his daughter get into.
A total heat score.
15 years ago the ride du jour for such characters was a Civic or Accord (Honda remains popular for this, but not nearly as much). Good handling and a peppy engine formed the backbone, while coffee can mufflers, ill-fitting rims, painted mirrors and purple, bubbled tinting made up the rest of the beast.
A close runner-up, usually less obvious and tricked-out than its Honda brethren, was the early 90s Nissan Maxima.
Since then, the scene has changed a bit and a new heat score has risen to the top (according to this writer’s completely non-scientific observations).
The Infiniti G35/G37, especially those made circa 2002-2010.
Once a fairly conservative intermediate luxury sedan/coupe, this V6-powered, rear-drive import is often seen with massive rims, a matte paint job, and an aftermarket exhaust that screams “Don’t pry in my business or we’ll both get in trouble.”
There’s nothing wrong with lavishing attention on used rear-drive imports with brawny engines – hell, who wouldn’t? – but the act of driving a car that gets you noticed while doing things you don’t want to be noticed doing… well, that seems counter-intuitive.
A former neighbour with a subtly done up early-2000s Accord taught me this lesson. If your otherwise plain ride is seen all over town making brief visits, but you’re not carrying a pizza box into the building, you’re more visible than you think.
Fellas: you can keep the G35 with the slammed suspension and 20-inch rims for social work, but for ‘business’ (whatever that might be, not trying to pry), maybe it would be a good idea to keep a 2008 Impala in reserve.