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A lot of cars aren't even badged in Europe (archive)

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Posted by Nicole Hamilton on August 19, 2000 at 14:47:13:

In Reply to: Not all modifications = improvements. posted by JEM on August 18, 2000 at 22:08:09:

Some people have a problem with the idea of spending money on invisible modifications. They want to hang their money out where people can see it, even if it's silly blue headlight bulbs. They want a car that screams "Hey, I'm different".

Doesn't much matter to me.

Nor to me. Nor, apparently, to a lot of wealthier people in Europe. We noticed a lot of the big BMWs and Mercedes have no markings at all to indicate what they are or, more particularly, what engine is inside. The way to recognize a 540 or S500 wasn't by the badging (unless it was for export), it was by the fact there wasn't any badging.

When we asked, we were told that ostentatious display is considered tacky. Much more interesting in Europe is having it sort of "dawn" on people unexpectedly what you have. If someone didn't figure it out, well, all they figured is that was some uncouth dolt they didn't care to impress. They weren't part of the club.

Wealth, at least in Europe, is something to acquire, not show off. But of course, there are probably any number of folks here that can attest that that's true at some level here in the US as well. The fact of the matter is, you really can't guess whether someone's got money just to look at them -- and generally speaking, that's kind of the way a lot of folks prefer it.

So I asked, was this why they offered the option of ordering an M5 without badging. Well, duh! I got kind of a funny look, like well, certainly, if I had any taste whatsoever, the answer should be obvious. :)

Perhaps offering some additional insight into this matter of taste, I should add my 13-yo son absolutely could not grasp this! Why, he kept asking the entire trip, would anyone in their right mind buy an expensive car and not want people to know? I promise, there was just no explanation he was ready to accept.


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