CARS ARE PEOPLE TOO: WHY WE ATTACH HUMAN TRAITS TO OUR CARS

The most famous car with a human personality was probably Herbie the Love Bug. Herbie was an old school Volkswagen Beetle that had all of the noble traits that make humans a great species.

Not bad for an underpowered car with a history of rollovers.

Christine was the most famous evil car ever made for the movies. This particular 1958 Plymouth was a stone cold killer b***h. To know her was to be killed by her, even if you did everything right for this murderous finned psycho-car.

Somewhere far short of Hollywood fantasy is the truth about our relationships with our vehicles. We like to humanize our rides and, at some very simple level, the labels apply to our four-wheeled friends.

A car relationship is based upon dependability and trust.

We trust that they will dependable enough to get us from point A to point B every time. Most of the time it works out fine, but sometimes the bonds of trust are broken and we end up half way to point B with the hood up.

This is a test for the human-car relationship and it will either end up in divorce court, or with a renewed sense of belief in the vehicle. This will largely be determined by the ease of repair, or size of the repair bill. Resentment will grow exponentially with bigger numbers on that repair invoice.

We like to give names to our cars if they have been around for awhile. Rusty is a common name for a vehicle that has taken metal oxidation to the next level. The kind of level that prompted Neil Young to title an album 'Rust Never Sleeps'-and Neil knows his stuff.

Names based upon color are also fairly common, especially in old trucks. For example, I have known several old trucks named Red by several different owners. It just fits an old pickup very well.

Women typically like to give a female name to their vehicles because gender assignment is a little less critical for something like a Honda that never had actual parents. A vehicle can be whatever the owner decides for it, and that includes a pancake if euthanasia becomes the final option for a tired car.

We attach certain rituals to our old cars to keep them on the road. Mechanical quirks might mean that an owner might have to pump the gas three (and only three) times to get the fuel/air mixture ideal enough to start the car. It adds a personality to the vehicle even if it means that internal parts are in dire need of replacement.

Maybe the car looks like rolling junk but it will start at forty below. These are the moments of greatness for cars and the moment when Rusty gets a name change to Trusty. You don't get any warmer and fuzzier than these moments, especially if the old girl still has a great heater.

But maybe the wipers stop working during a monsoon and the relationship gets a little strained. Name choices for the car might come from George Carlin's famous seven words list. This might be the end of a beautiful friendship.The bottom line is that we love our cars and they are a literal and figurative part of a life journey.

And getting there is half the fun with our four-wheeled buddies.

COMMENTS

ADRIANA: "FYI. ... my sister's Valiant is called Audrey!"

PENNY: ":)"

DENNIS"My car is a Model T Ford, so naturally I call it "Lizzie".