The 12 Types of Car Enthusiast

Car enthusiasts are great.

Wherever you go in the world, you’ll find car-obsessed people. Every nation, country and city has its own homegrown car culture. You’ll find car lovers wrenching at garages, having fun at local car meets, lovingly washing their motors or even just reading about automotive history at the local library.

When we talk about car lovers, we mean everyone who takes an interest in cars – from the people who like to drive to the people who live, breathe, and eat car parts. One of the best things about car enthusiasts is that there are so many different types of them.

Before we begin…

What is a Car Enthusiast?

A car enthusiast is someone who enjoys cars or anything about the automotive world. They enjoy learning about cars, messing around with cars, discussing them and generally just being involved in the automotive community. 

It’s important to note that there is no strict definition of a car enthusiast. If you love cars, you’re a car enthusiast. You don’t have to be a master mechanic or an ex-Formula 1 racing driver.

But, enough of that – here are the twelve different types of car enthusiasts that I have had the pleasure of meeting!

1. The Detailer

For detailers and their cars, first impressions are incredibly important. Detailers are experts at cleaning cars and making them look fresh out of the showroom.

They polish, vacuum, pressure wash and apply wax to make a vehicle look as good as it possibly can. They will always have the latest sprays, shampoos and drying towels to complete the job.

Detailing cars is a very satisfying process that can be achieved with minimal investment, making it one of the most popular careers for car enthusiasts.

You will find detailers travelling to customers or browsing online for the best detailing solutions. Also, music is very important to detailers – they will need the perfect playlist of songs to back them up during a detail.

When they’re out and about, they’ll always have a bottle of quick detailer spray and a microfibre cloth in the glovebox. They just can’t help but clean their car as soon as there is dirt or dust buildup!

Detailing is a fine art and detailers are accomplished artists. Their attention to detail is second to none. If you are lucky enough to have one as a friend, don’t expect unlimited free details. Their work has serious value. It can take up to 4-5 hours for a full wash and valet!

2. The Purist

Car purists are obsessed with the perfect driving experience.

They want to feel completely in control of the inputs of a vehicle and tend to disregard fancy infotainment systems and self-driving technology. They yearn for that perfect blend between enthusiast and machine.

As such, you’ll find them driving purist cars with manual transmissions – some popular examples include the Mazda MX5 and Subaru WRX STI. They hate automatic cars!

Purists know everything about the drivetrain and the chassis of their respective vehicles, and why they should work in perfect harmony. They will turn off lane-assist technology and Apple CarPlay in favour of the minimalist driving experience: Just them, their machine and the road.

Purists are avid members of their preferred car club. They will visit meets, answer questions on forums and purchase magazines to keep updated on the latest car news.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is their go-to quote when talking about new cars – but if a warning light appears on their dashboard, they will be the first to contact an independent specialist to diagnose and fix the problem.

Long live the purists!

3. The Mechanic

The Mechanic is obsessed with keeping their own car running smoothly. If they have the time, they might even help friends out too!

They might be a professional mechanic or a self-taught DIY mechanic, and they can work with the most basic tools to achieve a repair or modification.

Whether they run their own business or just help out friends every once in a while, their passion for cars can make them some serious money. Being a good mechanic takes serious skill, knowledge and hands-on experience. That’s why they take so much pride in what they do.

They know how to fix most common car problems and they’ll be able to reassure drivers on how to avoid them in the future. If you know a great mechanic, don’t take them for granted – they’re one in a million.

4. The Cautious One

Cautious car enthusiasts are exactly that – cautious. They’re careful about giving their car away to friends or mechanics, and they will always check the odometer when their car is returned.

They will also be careful when out on the roads. They very rarely break the speed limit and they will restrict themselves to the slow lane of the motorway. Don’t expect them to do burnouts or take part in any drifting shenanigans – they care far too much about the condition of their tyres and whether they are road legal or not.

But this cautiousness comes from a good place. They might want to be as safe as possible for the benefit of themselves and other road users. They might be really passionate about their car and its appearance.

Their car is an extension of themselves: and they work hard to keep it looking great and performing at its best.

Of course, there can be downsides to being too cautious as a car enthusiast. Sometimes they can be too afraid to drive their car at all – which really puts a damper on the ownership experience.

If you know a car enthusiast who is too cautious, see if you can persuade them to drive with you more often. Cars are designed to be driven!

5. The Track Obsessive

The track obsessive has a habit of booking track days and sharing photos of previous track day exploits on social media. You’ll find this species out in the wild on any given Sunday with four spare wheels in the boot and a knackered helmet in the footwell.

Track obsessives will never own just one car. They might own a standard daily commuter or a family wagon for good fuel economy and a predictable ride to work.

But in the garage awaits a modified hunk of metal with dents, scratches and cable ties hanging off parts. This is their track car (or, track weapon).

They’re fun and always up for anything to do with cars. They’re used to carrying out roadside repairs and they’re very knowledgeable about racing control and drifting dynamics.

If they’re serious about their track days, they will already have a unit to house their cars and a trailer to carry them to and from the track. Oh – and they will probably have a YouTube channel to document their track days. Good on them!

6. The McDonald’s Addict

As soon as they pass their driving test, the McDonald’s addict will head straight to the drive-thru and loiter in the car park with two mayo chickens and a milkshake in tow.

Passing your driving test unleashes a world of freedom and possibility in your life. You could head to the beach. You could go on a camping road trip. You can even drive into different countries and explore their culture.

Yet it’s basically a rite of passage to head straight to the local McDonald’s. The McDonald’s addict will continue visiting the golden arches regularly throughout their driving life.

It’s easy, cheap and fills you up. It’s a convenient location to meet fellow car enthusiasts. Best of all, it’s open 24 hours. Oh, and they’re probably driving a Vauxhall Corsa. That’s all.

7. The Road Tripper

The road tripper loves driving for driving’s sake. 

Whether it’s a road trip across the country or bashing through the back roads on a Sunday afternoon, they feel most at home with the open road in front of them and their favourite tunes blasting.

They love planning road trips: the route, the rest stops, the beautiful views and the perfect destination. They dislike being on other people’s schedules. The best part about being a road tripper is seeing things that you usually wouldn’t see.

Owning a car allows you to experience nature, culture and beautiful scenery that you just don’t get at home. Road trips can also be relatively cheap: just fill up the tank and you’re good to go.

If a road tripper invites you on an excursion, do it! It might just be the best experience of your life so far.

8. The Show-Off

The show-off loves to purchase exotic cars and parade them on busy city roads.

They gravitate towards well-made luxury motors with exceptional horsepower and a 0-60mph figure that would make your eyes water.

There is no chance that they would carry out any repairs solo and risk voiding the dealership warranty. When an issue arises, it’s straight to an approved garage. They also wouldn’t go near aftermarket modifications: their supercar has all it needs and more to be a force to be reckoned with on the road.

Exotic cars are guaranteed to turn heads, and the show-off loves the attention. Their supercar might be a status symbol, or it could be something they have wanted to own since they were a child.

They’re usually more than happy to chat to anyone about their ride and let passers-by take pictures. If I know one thing about show-offs: they certainly make for a lot of fun when you see their rare cars out and about in your sleepy local area.

9. The Caring One

Car enthusiasts are known to be very caring people.

They care about their friends and their friend’s well-being. Though, every so often, you’ll find an exceptionally caring individual: the caring one. When you’re in a poor mood, they’re always there to offer you a long drive.

They’re happy to crack open a beer and talk about whatever problems you might be facing. They might understand exactly what you’re going through and be able to offer advice.

Likewise, they’re happy to help you out if you run into any issues with your car. Can’t get that rusted bolt off? No problem – they will arrive armed with copious amounts of WD-40.

They will also help to answer questions and set you on the right path. They might not get much in return – but they deserve the world. If you have a caring car enthusiast in your life, make sure that you tell them how much you appreciate them.

10. The Modder

Ah, the humble modder. They love to work on cars and they will take any opportunity to modify their vehicle. 

Whether it’s routine maintenance or an exotic new spoiler installation, you can almost always find them wrenching away on the driveway. If you can’t find them at home, they will be getting greasy at a local garage (almost always owned by a friend of a friend).

Modders have a unique ability to make things work. They don’t need professional tools and garage equipment. I’ve met plenty who swear by cable ties and an old socket set that they were gifted 20 years ago.

Even when a modification might seem impossible, they will find a way to make it work. Their determination knows no bounds! They might not have had a lot of formal training when it comes to mechanics, but they’re always willing to learn more about how things work and get stuck in.

If you ever need help repairing or modifying your car, modders will be the first to lend a hand.

11. The Collector

The Collector is a classic car fanatic. It doesn’t have to be expensive vintage sportscars from bygone times – it could be run-of-the-mill hatchbacks from the mid-2000s.

They have unique tastes and usually don’t indulge in cars that aren’t at least ten years old with shades of patina. For this reason, they typically hate SUVs.

This person might have an entire garage (or barn) full of old cars that haven’t been driven in years. They might have some rare vintage models, but it’s doubtful that they run and drive.

They will have lots of projects ongoing at once: which means it’s rare for a collector to actually finish a project car. Collectors will have some mechanical knowledge built up through years of classic car magazine subscriptions and YouTube videos.

Their overall knowledge of cars and automotive history will be immense. If you can pick the brains of a collector, we would encourage you to do so!

12. The Cheapskate

The cheapskate will never pay full price for a car or a service.

You can usually find them searching Facebook marketplace or Gumtree for dodgy deals and heavily discounted parts. This person is always looking for a deal and has great negotiating skills.

They will haggle with anyone: even their own family members and friends. Their frugal nature means they have plenty of disposable cash to spend on new vehicles and modifications – but don’t expect them to splash this cash willingly.

They can give you some great tips on making your money go further, and they’re really helpful to have around when looking to purchase a new car.

Final thoughts

There you have it – the 12 types of car people that I have had the pleasure of meeting.

It really goes to show that every car lover is unique: they have different passions, interests and influences.

How boring would it be if we all liked the same cars?

Did we leave you out? Let us know which type of car enthusiast you are below!

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