Be Happy With the Car You Drive

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the latest, most tricked out version of your vehicle, but you might be better off with something that’ll last. Here are some vehicles that will make it through any apocalypse without so much as a scratch on them.

The “what do carjackers do with the cars they steal” is a question that many people have been asking. In order to answer this question, we need to know what carjacking is. Carjacking is when someone steals a car from its owner and then drives away in it.

A Lamborghini, Lotus, or Land Rover is something that every guy fantasizes about driving. We sometimes believe that a new bike will make us more manly. If you’re always yearning for a new pair of wheels, a shift in perspective could be all you need to view your automobile in a new light.

My wife and I traded in our old car about a month ago. It was a sporty red 2009 Pontiac Vibe, which was essentially a Toyota Matrix rebadged. We adored the automobile, and it served us well for many years. But the moment had come for a shift. We replaced it with a Toyota Sienna. Yes, you read it correctly—


The switch was driven by the impending arrival of our third kid. Our third child is coming this spring, and having three children necessitates the purchase of a child-hauling car.

I moped about for a week, grateful for the utilitarian new wheels but oddly middle-aged and dandruffy. I promised I’d never go behind the wheel of a minivan.

In National Lampoon’s Vacation, I pictured my face morphing into Clark Griswold’s. In 1983, he was driving a wood-paneled station wagon. But the inference was clear when Christy Brinkley drove up behind him in her Ferrari: the guys who drive what you drive only go to Walley World.

Then I began to ponder. A minivan is decent from a particular standpoint. Not just respectable, but also hip. I’m not as swift or as fierce as I once was. I run in business-oriented literary circles, and I’m not attempting to be Dominic Toretto, the elite street-racer and ex-convict. To be honest, I don’t have his abs.

So, what makes the minivan respectable? It’s perfect for where I’m at in life right now. A self-assured guy understands who he is and isn’t attempting to be anyone other than himself.

That understanding contributes significantly to a man’s satisfaction with his automobile.

Consider the seven major phases of a man’s life in terms of vehicles:

1. The First Automobiles

A young man’s first automobile is his passport to independence. Even if it’s a complete clunker, he’s no longer receiving a ride to the autumn dance with his girlfriend in the backseat and his mother behind the wheel.

It’s about more than dating freedom when you get your first automobile. It’s the Gentile version of a bar mitzvah, a Jewish coming-of-age ceremony. You’re no longer a boy when you drive your own automobile; you’re a young man. The first autos increase the level of responsibility. You are responsible for purchasing your own fuel. You discover how to change a flat tire. To pay for the insurance, you get a part-time work.

If you ask any guy about his first automobile, he’ll tell you a tale. As a senior in high school, I purchased my first automobile. It was a Volvo 164E from 1972. I added surf racks to the top, and when I went to college, I was able to fit everything I had in or on it. Even though it was a Volvo, I rode in elegance.


2. Cars with Limited Liability

This stage does not imply that a guy is careless. It indicates he’s started his first real work, has some disposable cash, and is solely responsible for himself. No one opposes if he invests a lot of money or time on his automobile.

A guy with little duties does not need to transport others. Maybe a date with a girlfriend. Or a traveling companion. However, there are no baby car seats available. Only the wide road and the top down.

During this time, I drove two distinct cars: a two-seater Honda CRX and, subsequently, a Jeep Wrangler. Both autos are fantastic.

3. Automobiles of Economic Necessity

Here comes the wife. Mortgage. Kids. Changes in employment. Debt consolidation. All of a man’s grownup obligations throughout life. A guy does not necessarily drive what he wants at this stage of car ownership. He just drives what he needs.

That’s admirable, and there’s no need to apologize. He knows that his money is better spent elsewhere than on an automobile, therefore he drives what is most cost-effective for his family.

During this time, I drove a variety of vehicles. For a time, I drove a brown Honda Accord, which was drab but utilitarian. And there’s a 17-year-old Mazda pickup vehicle that’s almost antique. It had been dented and scratched, and the heater was ineffective in the cold. However, I purchased it from a mechanic. For five years, the ancient vehicle ran without a hitch.

4. Cars for Necessity in the Family

The size of a man’s automobile is sometimes determined by the size of his family. You may or may not enjoy your vehicle at this point, but you must drive it because of your family.

With our Sienna, we’re now at this point. A minivan may have a negative connotation, but the kids like it. They’ve already taken their seats in the rear. On vacations, they have plenty of space to spread out. And they’re looking forward to the baby’s arrival, wondering who will get to sit close to the newcomer.

Man, if you’re driving a vehicle out of need for your family, drive it with pride. You’re making the proper decision.

5. Work Vehicles

There are times when a guy is required to drive a certain car just due to his employment. You may be a smooth-riding Hollywood star who need a Harley Davidson. If that’s the case, congratulations, Peter Fonda.

However, the majority of males work in regular jobs. I have a friend that travels to work for 50 minutes each way. He only drives a Prius because it gets decent gas economy.


6. Arrival Vehicles

A man’s life may come to a point where he has sufficient discretionary cash to drive whatever automobile he desires. He can drive the automobile he’s always wanted within the confines of employment or retirement.

At this point, an automobile doesn’t have to be fancy or even new. A 1965 Mustang convertible belongs to a buddy. Sure, it spends most of his days in his garage. The automobile, on the other hand, conveys pride of possession. It’s a mark of distinction for a job well done on some sound real estate investments.


Another guy just got a Honda Pilot with all-wheel drive. He desired a car in which he and his wife could safely go to visit their grandkids, which was six hours distant and required driving on icy roads in the winter.

That, too, is an arriving vehicle. He loves the vehicle since it does precisely what he desires.

7. The Very Last Cars

At the age of 91, one of my grandfathers passed away. He was so weak in the months leading up to his death that he could hardly talk. He did, however, retain his driver’s license. It had been two years since he had used it. Nonetheless, he was pleased that he could still drive lawfully in principle.

In his late eighties, my other grandpa went into a retirement facility. He sold his final automobile to a grandchild and then went out and purchased a mountain bike the following day.

He didn’t even ride his bike twice. “In case I need to travel someplace in a hurry,” he added, he kept it.

What is the guiding principle? A guy enjoys having wheels. Period.

Whatever kind of vehicle you drive, you’re likely to have specific sentiments about it. It’s comforting to know you’re driving the perfect vehicle for your stage of life. Each stage of a man’s life requires the correct automobile. So, guys, keep going—

and drive with pride

What automobile do you now drive, what cars have you drove at various points in your life, and what car do you aspire to drive one day?

What automobile do you now drive, what cars have you drove at various points in your life, and what car do you aspire to drive one day?

If you’ve loved Marcus Brotherton’s guest contributions over the years, you’ll be happy to learn that he’ll be joining us as one of our regular writers, delivering an original essay to the site once a month. Marcus is the author or co-author of more than 25 New York Times bestseller books, including We Who Are Alive & Remain, which features 20 of the last remaining Band of Brothers members. He also writes a blog called Men Who Lead Well. I’ve always admired Marcus’s perspective on life and the insights he’s gained through his countless conversations with WWII veterans, and we’re fortunate to have him as a regular contributor here. Please accept Marcus’s warm greeting!



The “happy the cat” is a video that shows a happy cat who is not afraid of anything. It is a good reminder to be happy with what you drive.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I be happy with my car?

A: The answer to your question is found in the lyrics of Fuck It, I Dont Want You Anymore.

Can a car make you happy?

A: Yes, buying a car could make you happy if it is something that satisfies your needs and budget.

Why Does driving make you happy?

A: Driving makes you happy because you get to see the world go by and its a great feeling of freedom.

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