Roaring engines. Sleek, a sporty – or maybe even beefy? – look and horsepower that makes your head spin. The excitement of cars. There is just something about those fast and manly looking “steel horses” that cause a man’s heart to beat faster. It’s a field clearly dominated by men. It always has been, and while not saying that it needs to be just like that, it most likely always will be. But what is behind this phenomenon?

Part of Identification – It’s Genetics

Men have relationships with their cars that go deep. It is almost therapeutic. They care about their maintenance and upkeep. And they deeply care about how a car makes them feel. Is the fascination for cars in their genes? One could pretty much say so. It doesn’t matter if it is a well-kept old-timer, a brand new sports car, or a beefy looking truck. Of course, each man is different, and so each car preference says something about who they are as an individual. But the reality is: This vehicle needs to show, to be something.

Chevi 31 Apache

Chevrolet 31 Apache made in 1958 – Venice, USA

Often, it’s a combination of the spirit of time, the classic look, and the value of an old-timer that increases over decades that fascinates. Cars like the above-depicted Chevrolet 31 Apache show class, style and a certain way of life. A man who owns this car certainly has good taste and appreciates the finer, even more conservative things in life. It says a lot about his character. A gentlemen? One would assume so.

Cars are toys, a hobby, often times even more. Although many men won’t admit it, deep down inside they know it: A nice car is part of their identity, part of who they are. In addition, they demonstrate this by the way they speak about and treat their precious, spot-free treasures. It says a lot about them.

The way I drive, the way I handle a car, is an expression of my inner feelings. – Lewis Hamilton

Men want to create. Having a car that they can improve in value and look gives them a great feeling of achievement. They created something unique – just like their identity. Fixing up cars for hours has proven to be therapeutic for many men. It’s peaceful. It’s quiet – as they are creating their ideal status symbol. Of, as Enzo Ferrari says it: “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

The world seems chaotic at times. Tuning cars is an outlet where results – control, personal perfection and completeness  – can be achieved, for a man’s personal satisfaction.

Masculinity Through Technology

Frisco Spider

Red Ferrari 458 Spider, Union Square – San Francisco, USA

Undoubtedly, cars are associated with masculinity. Who wouldn’t think “real man” when looking at this fiery red FerrariYet, not any kind of driving machine does the trick. It needs to have an impressive look. It needs to be a sophisticated brand. It’s men’s naturally competitive nature that establishes the need to drive a car that turns heads – and ultimately defines their manliness.

The fact is I don’t drive just to get from A to B. I enjoy feeling the car’s reactions, becoming part of it. – Enzo Ferrari

We could go back to Freudian theories here, where men see cars as something they can possess and impress women with. And, in fact, studies have shown that women do indeed have a primeval physiological response to the roaring engine of a luxury car, whether they like to admit it or not. Isn’t that interesting?

Empowerment Through Speed and Ownership

Lexus LC 500

The left front part of the Lexus LC 500 on the Auto Show – Los Angeles, USA

Cars are men’s partners in crime. They are a source of pride; of empowerment; of ownership. Also, they are a source of investment and, hence, status. This luxury Lexus LC 500 is a prime example. Vehicles represent who men are and where they stand in life. And who can blame them? Each and every one of us expresses this differently. “Mobile works of art” is how Chris Bangle from BMW once put it. In fact, cars might be men’s natural form of art.

A steel horse needs to be faster and better. And really, it goes back to a man’s personal perception about himself. Some of them truly just want to better themselves; a valuable car, symbolically, might be the first step towards showing exactly that. Dale Earnhardt hits the nail on the head:

It’s a never ending battle of making your cars better and also trying to better yourself.

Undeniably, a certain energy comes with cars. Is it the thrill of racing? It’s a need for speed. A need to succeed – and that makes them better, ultimately. Men design cars, and as long as they do, there will always be that fascination with them.