Welcome to Car Culture


Culture: the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social groups.

There are car people and there are those who own cars. Us car people, well, we’re an odd bunch. Many of us have devoted our lives to a seemingly innocuous form of transportation, spending our free time and professional time driving, working on, and enjoying the world of car culture. Spend a morning at a Cars & Coffee event in your hometown or better yet, head out to one of your local tracks and you’ll see throngs of men and women who are seemingly entranced by car culture. 

So, what does car culture mean anyways and where did it come from? Let’s discuss.

Seeing and Being Seen

First off, let’s lay down a car-centric definition of culture: Car culture is an interest in all brands and aspects of cardom, or it can be more directly related to a very specific type or style of automobile. 

To really trace the origins of car culture, you need to roll all the way back to the post-depression Golden Age of Hollywood. Remember, cars were not made affordable until some guy named Henry Ford perfected the art of mass-production on an assembly line in the 1910s. Although there had been automobile racing for as long as the car’s been around, normal people would not begin modifying their own cars for performance gains until well into the 1940s. Prohibition would see the invention of the highly modified “stock” car for outrunning the coppers, eventually turning into NASCAR but there was one group, however, that was modifying their cars in a mainstream way: Hollywood elites. 

While most of America was languishing in the great depression, Hollywood was enjoying its great Golden Age. Why? People needed some escapism from the bleakness of the world around them, and going to a movie house to watch people like Clark Gable and Rita Hayworth light up the screen gave them just the boost they needed. It was this group of actors and actresses and their highly modified luxury performance cars that would form the impetus of car culture. 

A photo of a 1935 Duesenberg JN car.
Photo Credits: jerrygarrett

Take Clark Gable for example. Gable had this stunning 1935 Duesenberg JN custom built by coachbuilders Bohman & Schwartz for his specific needs. In addition to a unique cloth top, Bohman & Schwartz would also modify this Dues’ to include a more powerfully tuned engine, chrome pipes on the exhaust and a set of whitewall Vogue Tyres. The interior and exterior, a stunning creme color, were also custom-built for Gable. Newspapers of the time would snap photos of Gable and his then-girlfriend Carol Lombard all over Los Angeles in this exact vehicle. Pumping gas, changing the oil, you name it.

Keep in mind, at a time when you could buy a ford for a few hundred dollars, this Dues’ was valued around $35,000! Modifying vehicles wasn’t just done by Gable, in fact, it started a sort of modification war within the circle of Hollywood elites. One would outdo the other with more power, more stunning looks, or unique designs. Suddenly, Hollywood elites were Duesenberg fans, Cadillac fans, or Mercedes-Benz fans and they were starting to separate into their own groups and you guessed it, cultures. The world noticed, and they wanted in. 

After World War II, the entire country was simply crazy for car culture. Rat rods, muscle cars, and everything in between would see a huge rise in prominence throughout the 1960s until one more key event changed car culture in America forever: importing and the fuel crisis of 1973. 

Suddenly, the best and brightest vehicles from countries like Germany and Japan, most of which utilized smaller, fuel-efficient engines, were much more desirable to American buyers. On the lower end of the spectrum, brands like Honda and Toyota offered high-quality automobiles for a cut-rate price. On the higher end, Porsche, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz offered high-end luxury, combined with sporting efficiency. 

Suddenly, the country was flooded with dozens of brands, and car-crazy people couldn’t get enough of it. It’s never let up!

Car Communities Aplenty

It’s hard to consolidate into a few paragraphs the absolute variety of vehicle interests out there these days but we’ll do our best. For the sake of argument, we’re going to say that the modern enthusiast falls into one of three categories:

  • Japanese / JDM
  • European 
  • Domestic Muscle
  • Electric 

Within these categories, there are dozens of different subgroups that people can belong to and people’s interests often vary by car type and purpose. For example, someone may track their Mazda Miata on the weekend, but drive an Accord for their commuter. Mostly, these groups are broken down by manufacturers. Take a look at your local Facebook groups and you’ll find groups that focus only on BMWs to groups of outdoor enthusiasts who meet up to take their Subarus off-roading. 

A Mazda Miata parked in the middle of the street.

You’ll also find automotive events throughout the world of car culture. From race events that feature the highest levels of manufacturer-sponsored racing teams, to groups of enthusiasts who compete in $1000 rust buckets for beer and glory, there is literally a car community for every kind of car enthusiast.

Builds and More Builds

What you’ll find is that most people who really envelop themselves in car culture are focused on improving their cars to do one specific thing. 

This could mean anything from building an off-road-ready Jeep that can hop boulders and cross some incredibly tough terrain, to a track-focused BMW 3 – Series or an LS-swapped Nissan 240SX drift car. Building a car to a purpose means that the types of events people attend often end up being just as much about getting together with friends, as it is about pushing their builds on the track or on the trail. This is where car culture is really formed and once you’re around people who live, breathe and eat cars, you’ll instantly understand just how easy it is to get swept up in the energy of it all. 

Of course, this means lots of trash talking and chiding between groups of people, especially those who are competing in events. The good news is that 99% of the time, this competition is wholeheartedly good-natured and everyone is just there to have fun. 

Xtreme Xperience Is Designed By Car Enthusiasts

We know, we know. You love your car and you think it’s the best thing to ever roll down the road. Here’s the thing though, we designed the Xtreme Xperience for everyone and that doesn’t just include non-car enthusiasts. That means you Mr. or Mrs. Car Enthusiast as well! 

You’ll get a chance to work with real racing instructors who have hundreds of hours of seat time and know the ins and outs of each track that you’re driving on. Not only that, but the tracks themselves are some of the best in the country, including Pikes Peak International Raceway, Portland International Raceway, and Sonoma Speedway to name a few. This isn’t some poorly paved back road, this is a bonafide track. 

Plus, you get to choose from some of the greatest supercars to ever live! Again, we know you love your car, but trust us. When you fire up that Porsche 911 GT3 RS or Audi R8 V10 Performance, you won’t be thinking about how much better YOUR car is. You’ll be thinking about hitting that next apex and nailing the exit properly. 

So, what are you waiting for? Tear it up with us out here at the track and join us for some serious fun!