Recently Out Sports ran an article about gay motor-racing car enthusiasts, and it struck a chord with me. Or rather, it put my mind into overdrive as I remembered how my own infatuation with cars rode in tandem with my own coming out.
Growing up in the South, where NASCAR is the unofficial second religion (after college football), the handsome NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon was a poster boy for many a closeted gay boy. And while Jeff Gordon, alas, was never “driving on our team,” there certainly were closeted gay men in the racing world. A documentary about one such driver, Harley Haywood, became a well-received film in 2018.
It wasn’t until the early 2000s when we had our first openly gay NASCAR driver with Stephen Rhodes, and now we have a new rising star in the NASCAR world with Devon Rouse who will be racing in Daytona this year.
Even Pixar was able to identify that there was an affinity for gay men and cars, when they gave us our very own car character, “Doc Hudson,” the older, classic, “never-been-married” car named after Rock Hudson (and the defunct automobile manufacturer, Hudson Motors) with an obsession for Luke Wilson’s character.
For many of us, cars are a thing of beauty, masculine expressions of design, and the speed and power they evoke remind us of the testosterone and virility of the male form. They are a natural extension of our own innate passion for men.
On a personal level, it was a mutual love for cars that sparked a conversation that lasted well into the night the first time I met my husband. Having met in a gay bar in West Hollywood, we continued talking as we walked to my new VW Jetta that was parked nearby, and with the violet backlit dashboard light of the interior imbued with that “new car smell” scent, we sat together romantically with just enough visibility to see each other and enjoy our first kisses. A weekend later our first real date was at the Los Angeles Car Show.
So, yes, cars and gay guys go together. Like peanut butter and chocolate, or cole slaw and chili on a hotdog, or any other two incongruous things that inexplicably make sense at some primal level.
Is there such a thing as a “gay car”? For a long while, the Mazda Miata had a certain gay connotation when it first “came out” in the 1990s; it was such a beautiful design, unlike anything else on the road, that the more sophisticated aesthetes among us sensed that it could only be meant for “us.” The Miata can trace its allure back to the unrivalled grace and stunning drop-dead-gorgeousness of the Alfa Romeo Giuletta. It was no surprise then, that in the recent Netflix series “The Politician” the gay lead character of Payton Hobart (played by Ben Platt) drove a Giuletta Spider.
#Pininfarina’s Giulietta in the new @netflix series @the_Politician 📽️. Once again, one of our beauties is a movie star: a white #alfaromeo Spider is the personal car of lead character Payton Hobart (played by @BenSPLATT), a student who cultivates the dream of the White House pic.twitter.com/ksnpMPY29O
— Pininfarina (@PininfarinaSpA) October 2, 2019
In everyday life, cars are often viewed as utilitarian tools. They get us from our home to our work and back. But if we take pride in our homes, decorating it with our own taste reflecting our personalities, surely there is a similar relationship with our cars. Among my own gay friends, German cars seem to be a long-standing fetish. I had a VW Jetta for years, as well as a BMW, while my husband tended more towards an Audi (TT coupe, metallic grey).
What cars do you have a fascination with?
Is there such a thing as a “gay car”? Let us know in the comments.
Heck, share a pic of your gay car or you with your gay car on our Facebook page.
This post is solely the opinion of this contributing writer and may not reflect the opinion of other writers, staff, or owners of Instinct Magazine.