In my life, I've mostly driven unique, older European cars. Some Japanese ones were in there for good measure, but they were the outliers. So how has this effected my life? On the one hand, I've met many really fascinating people, and have given and received lots of help over the last 20 plus years. On the other hand, my cars have cost me a few relationships, and have even been stumbling blocks with people I've met.

I have no idea why this pic is not oriented correctly, sorry!

It takes a certain type of person to want to drive a Triumph year round in Indianapolis, or Austin, or up in the mountains of New York. I also was a road racing cyclist for over 20 years, so my tolerance of suffering in the elements is a bit different. Now it takes a certain type of individual to want to date someone like me. It's almost like a script.

"That's a cool car, but it's so small. Aren't you scared driving it in traffic?" Translation: "I may ride in it for a short distance, but I really think it's suicidal and I'm a bit disturbed that you think it's perfectly fine."

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"Oh, no air conditioning. OK." IE: "You are nuts. We live in Texas!"

Typically this thread happens over the course of a few months. It always starts the same, the woman claims to not care, but she really does. Then she insists on wanting to drive everywhere. Then she resents having to, because she wants to have AC, and be dry, and be in a bigger car. Of course, this causes tension, and invariably the relationship dies.

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So my latest epiphany is that the next person I date has to be at least somewhat enthusiastic about cars. Not someone who acts like they are doing me a favor to grace me with their presence for a few hours while I'm working a race weekend. (Who would want to leave from all access in the paddock, pits, and garages at COTA during the SVRA Vintage Championships???) It's admittedly not everyone's cup of tea, but I'm learning cars are a great litmus test of how compatible I and my significant other are.

It's not about the cars, it's about respecting each other and compromising on important things. It's about me going to see a band I'm not stoked about, and her going to an event with my car club friends and I, because there will be cool non car people there to meet and lots of time we go to a non car related venue. It's a preview to how the relationship will be away from the car world.

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I view how a date or girlfriend feels about my cars and passion for them as a a measure of her character. Don't feign interest, but don't avoid them like the plague, either. Balance. If you need the flash, the latest, move on. But if you can appreciate the effort I put into the cars, the cool period touches, the thrill of a different experience from a Nissan Altima or Mazda 3 or Honda Accord, then hop in. Oh, and you have to love my dog, also.

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If she is willing to deal with some water dripping around the tops of the windows in my Triumph, me needing to change clothes in the summer before we go on a date, or actually enjoys a rally or two a year that ends up at a vineyard or great restaurant, then she's a keeper. But to hedge my bets, my Jag XJ6 which is weather proof, has AC and is a 4998lb tank is about to go back on the road...

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Happier days when the head gasket wasn't blown. I have enough projects with my cars, no need to have a relationship as another project.