I like reading publications about cars, and I absolutely love watching videos about cars. I am fascinated at car shows and mesmerized during factory tours. I’m always happy to meet people who are like-minded and equally as passionate. But, I hate one thing about the hobby in particular; something most of us have encountered and tried to avoid: the one expert who knows everything!
Did I say “expert”? I mean the nimrod who goes on and on spewing misinformation and incorrect data. This is the person who isn’t into the hobby as deeply as I am, but says they are because it seems to be the manly thing to do. I call them “Yugos” because 100% of the time, they are a car enthusiast in the most minimal sense. When you encounter “that guy”, it’s difficult to enjoy an automotive conversation because you are constantly putting out fires and correcting information. Because of their bravado or assertiveness, it is assumed that they are the expert, in all actuality, they have never done more that flip through a magazine or two in the checkout line.
Mention a car and they immediately blurt out the wrong name or power stats. These people are also always eager to give their price (which is always 20% higher than it really is). I admit that real car enthusiasts can go on for hours talking about their favorite marque or the industry in general and the world receives us with a deep sigh and rolling eyes, but at least our facts are right and our arguments are based on well-researched information. No, I’m not talking about 30 minutes of Spike TV or a cruise through the annual Auto Show with the wife and kids. I mean subscriptions and crates of back issues in the basement. I mean hours in the garage tinkering. Phone calls to and emails from specialists and conversations with industry reps at special events.
There is one more personality I must warn you about: the “Actually” person. Just when you thought you were having a casual conversation about cars, there is always one guy who’s correcting everybody.
PERSON #1: “I am looking to buy a new Mustang. I may go with the 2-liter EcoBoost engine.”
ACTUALLY: “Actually, that’s a 2.3 liter engine, not a 2-liter…”
Hey, “Actually” person, you don’t have to go around the countryside defending every automotive fact for accuracy. You make others feel uncomfortable and make car guys/gals look bad. Pick your battles and let the small stuff go. Unless you are on a panel with John McElroy, your cronies don’t have to be spot on.
There is nothing wrong with having passion, that’s what drives us. Passion with misinformation or anal retention, however, drives us crazy. Your life will be filled with holiday parties and gatherings with pseudo-car enthusiasts and fact Nazis. You will be pulled into conversations and debates built on fallacy and opinion being presented as fact.
My remedy to you:
1.) Always food or drink in hand. There will be times when you will need to stuff your mouth with something. One reason is to keep you from a long soliloquy, the other is to avoid a conversation becoming a debate.
2.) Be ready to quote your favorite author or publication and ask where “Yugo” or “Actually” got their information.
3.) If you are the resident expert and you know your stuff, don’t be pulled into agreeing with a ”Yugo”. They will use you to validate their point. If it’s wrong, correct it. If it’s right, say: “…you got that one.”
4.) Car conversations are supposed to be times when we enjoy communing with others that share the passion. They are supposed to be relaxing and refreshing times. Make sure you keep it that way.
At all costs, pinpoint and avoid this person, but be ready. They will almost always make their way to you. By all means, on behalf of gearheads everywhere, don’t be that guy!!!