Vintage Car Guy: Vince Lupo
First car: 1983 Cutlass Supreme
Currently drives: 1963 Ford Falcon and 1965 Ford Thunderbird
My wife says I decide which car to drive depending on how I am feeling about my manhood. If I’m feeling really comfortable, I’ll ride my 1966 CB77 Honda Superhawk motorcycle. If I’m feeling moderately comfortable in my manhood, I’ll drive my 1963 Falcon. If I’m feeling a little vulnerable and need to pump up my manliness, I’ll drive the ‘65 T-bird.
My mechanic said that if he had the T-bird, he’d put it in a garage and drive it on a dry Sunday once a month. I would rather live with the car and drive it into the ground and enjoy it every day. Generally speaking, car collectors think that I am committing some sort of abomination. They say, ‘You park that outside?’ And I reply, ‘Yeah— just like a car!’
Art Car Guy: Bill McAllen
First car: cherry red 1972 Plymouth Duster
Currently drives: 2002 Mini Cooper
When the Mini Cooper was re-introduced in 2002, I didn’t need a new car but I decided I needed a Mini Cooper. I enjoy the way it feels, the way it fits like a glove and the handling. This is the first car I have really bonded with. It’s been a tradition for Mini Cooper owners to put an image on the top, such as the Union Jack or checkered flags. There’s a Bob Dylan song called ‘Leopard-skin Pillbox Hat.’ The song wasn’t my inspiration, but it’s the way the two images are put together: the conservative pillbox hat with the unexpected leopard skin. I have a funky, non-traditional car, and at the same time, I put the most famous painting in the world on top. I bought a copy of the ‘Mona Lisa’ on eBay, scanned it and sent it to Texas to a shop called Cooper Flags. I then had a custom car shop in Essex apply the graphic. I call her ‘Mona Cooper.’
Often men come up to me and say, ‘You have the Mona Lisa on your car.’ I just tell them that I always put women on top.
‘Green’ Car Guy: Dr. Lew Schon
Director of foot and ankle services and the Foot and Ankle Fellowship, Union Memorial Hospital; and keyboardist for the Stims, a rock’n’roll band of Union Memorial doctors
First car: 1971 Volkswagen Beetle
Currently drives: 2004 Toyota Prius
My wife and I have five boys ages 11 to 17, and if we go anywhere as a family, there’s no room for a suitcase. Maybe a lunch on your lap, but that’s it. Our main car is a 1996 Suburban. We feel horrible driving it— it’s socially, economically and environmentally irresponsible. There’s definitely Suburban guilt. The Prius helps alleviate that.
People stop me all the time and ask about the car. I let them take test drives and they’re surprised it’s zippy and fun. It’s got a GPS system and some voice-activated controls— there’s glamour to it. My wife and our boys have a discussion every day on who is going to drive it. We decide based on who is driving the most that day.
With the Prius, you can watch your mileage minute-by-minute. I have this game where I keep the a/c off because I know it will affect my mileage. It’s a competition to see how much I can take to get better mileage. The best I’ve had is 48 miles per gallon.
Sports Car Guy: Mark Bowden
National correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and the author of “Black Hawk Down,” “Killing Pablo” and other books.
First car: 1969 Volkswagen Beetle
Currently drives: 2003 Corvette z06
My beloved Uncle Cid had one of the original Corvette convertibles in the 1950s. When I was a teenager, he would let me drive around the suburbs of Chicago. To me, the Corvette epitomizes coolness. It’s every bit as good as a Ferrari. Jerry Bruckheimer [producer of ‘Black Hawk Down] has a Corvette. When the movie came out in 2001, I had the money to get one.
Gail, my wife, and I talked about it, and she was sensibly opposed for all the right reasons. The deal was that I could have it and she could ridicule me. It’s a fair deal. She makes numerous references to my middle-age status and failing body. The car is everything I’m not. It’s fast, sleek and sexy. I’m not.
Men love the Corvette. When I first bought it, every teenage boy within a 10-mile radius was in my garage. I have season tickets to the Philadelphia Eagles games and I park it in the lot. With 60,000 intoxicated men at the stadium, there is always a crowd around the car.
Minivan Guy: David Seyler
Vice president of transaction processing, Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Co., and father of 8-year-old triplets
First car: banana yellow, late ‘70s Grand Prix
Currently drives: 2002 Dodge Grand Caravan
My wife, Ginny, bought her Dodge Caravan when the kids were 3. I had a Nissan Maxima. We were able to get three car seats in the back, but it caused a lot of backaches to get three kids strapped in. When it came time to get rid of my car, I had settled on buying a Buick LeSabre and took Ginny and the kids to see it. The kids jumped in the back and it was immediately full. Ginny said, ‘This is ridiculous. Let’s go get another minivan.’
I had been one of those people who would yell at minivans in front of me on the road because they were too big, but now I am a complete convert. When my wife and I discovered we could hook up three sets of head- phones to the TV/DVD player that hangs between the driver and passenger seats, that was the best driving day ever!
SUV Guy: Tim Reinhart
Senior mortgage broker and retail sales manager, First Horizon Home Loans
First car: 1991 Jeep Cherokee
Currently drives: 2005 Hummer H2
I do a lot of waterfowl hunting on the Eastern Shore, so this is not a grocery-getter. Before the Hummer, I had a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, but I needed something a heck of a lot bigger.
People ask why I need something that big. Then they ride in the Hummer and love it. It’s nice to power over everybody on the highway. It’s big and rugged on the outside and super comfortable and plush on the inside. It’s a great mix of both worlds.
With the Hummer, there’s not a snowstorm that would ever keep me in. I was disappointed with last year’s snowfall. For the one decent storm we got, I drove around to find the worst roads I could possibly find.
Professional Driver Guy: Pat Grimsley
United Parcel Service driver
First car: 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Currently drives: 2004 Dodge Ram Hemi
For some strange reason, all the wives know when I’m coming up the driveway in the UPS truck, and they come out to meet me. Everybody wants to see the shorts.
Our daughter, Autumn, is a year and a half old, and she will point to a truck in a magazine and say, ‘Daddy.’ The baby likes my truck better than she likes my wife’s car [Kim is an attorney and drives an Audi]. But I don’t tell my wife that. She loves my truck, but it’s too big for her. She won’t drive it. Actually I haven’t let anyone else drive it yet. More than anyone, my mom wants to drive it.