I'm just going to get this out of the way: I drive a horrible car. In almost every respect. It's late nineties and beige, with a slushbox, bad gas mileage (without the accompanying fun), large, slow, and unmanueverable. It's not even that reliable! That doesn't mean I'm not an enthusiast.

One of the hardest realizations I have come to recently is this: people will judge your enthusiasm for automotives by what you drive. In high-school, I was blessed enough to drive a Jeep Wrangler (TJ) with a soft-top. I dearly loved that Jeep—it was a gift from my uncle to my oldest brother, who passed it down when he left for college. I was the third owner. By the time I got it, it had dented fenders, scuffs in the paint, 100,000 miles on the clock, plenty of strange electrical gremlins, and a cracked windshield. I daily drove my Jeep. I was a true Jeep enthusiast who did his own wrenching, took care of his baby, and—most importantly—had a blast driving it. Memories were made in that Jeep. Practicality (and the terrain near where I live) however dictated that I kept it on 31" A/T tires, with no lift. One Christmas season, I posted a photo of my Jeep on a forum, and was thoroughly ridiculed for the fact that I kept it mostly stock. I was accused of being a "worthless DDer" and of "not being a true Jeeper." It hurt. I was a kid on a high-school budget who put most of his wages towards gas and insurance. A lift and 35" mud tires would not only have been a needless expense, it would have made my Jeep less fun to drive under normal conditions. I don't live in Moab!

Two cars down the line, most of my decisions have been made by practicality and overall budget constraints. As anybody who followed my car-buying saga earlier this year knows (http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/crowd-source-m… http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/car-shopping-b…), I looked at all sorts of cars. I tried to justify buying a 200,000 mile Datsun 280z. I tried to justify buying all sorts of "enthusiast" cars. I ended up buying a Saturn SL2, because it was cheap to run and insure. At least it was a 5-speed.

After some mechanical faults, the Saturn is gone, and I drive a Buick LeSabre. No, it isn't a car I would ever choose to own under normal conditions, but it was affordable.

I hate making my decisions based on money. I don't like driving a Buick any more than I liked driving a Saturn. I gave my heart to a BRG Triumph Spitfire a year ago, and I'm determined to own one someday—but for now, I need a car that will get me and my stuff back and forth to school. I don't have the money, time, or space to own a project right now—I'm working my way through college. I can't afford to insure a second car—it's hard enough to pay my bills as it is. I'm lucky to even have a car—most of the students at my school aren't allowed to have one on campus. I would sell my car and buy a better one, but sadly, "enthusiast cars" usually require a time commitment beyond what I can give. That's why I drive a Buick.

I not only daily-drive a boring, luxo-barge, beigemobile—it's my only car. It's a stage of life. I do all my own wrenching, though, and my browser history is full of ads for unloved and abandoned British roadsters and Z-cars. One day, I'll pull the trigger and drive my dream. But for now, I'll keep driving this ol' Buick, and I'll thank God that I can drive. I enjoy driving, even if it's a boring car—and that's what makes me an enthusiast. I don't appreciate the aesthetics behind bro-trucks, donks, or slammed cars, but I appreciate the fact that their owners care about the vehicles they drive and take joy in the act of driving.

In this world of boring cars, we need more people who care about their cars—more people for whom their car isn't just an appliance. Being an enthusiast is not about owning a rare or unique car—it's about taking pride in what you drive. Being an enthusiast is not about auto-crossing, tracking, or muddin'—it's about having fun and making driving enjoyable.

I daily drive a boring car, but don't you dare say I'm not an enthusiast.