In defence of supercars and their owners
As if Metro Vancouverites didn’t have enough to feel depressed about — what with a dysfunctional legislature, mediocre pro sport teams, a housing affordability crisis, and the onset of winter rains — my colleague Douglas Todd has brought to light another dark cloud hanging over paradise lost.
“Living in a supercar capital is bad for health,” warned the headline of his recent column in which he posited that the prevalence of luxury vehicles on city streets is adding to your daily mental burden.
We’ve all been there, right? It’s one of those dark-at-5 p.m., rain-streaked November nights and you’re lined up for the Broadway B-Line, only to see over-crowded bus after over-crowded bus splash by. Suddenly, the whine of a supercar breaks the monotony of the falling rain. You and your fellow Compass-card clutching comrades watch with beady eyes as the sleek machine prances by. The final indignity? A green, reflective ‘N’ taped to the carbon fibre bodywork winks mockingly at you.
Oh, the inhumanity! It’s enough to make you sell your signed, first-edition of Das Kapital and move to Finland, an enchanted land that Todd cites as devoid of the politics of envy that plague the Western World, and where the citizens, presumably, get around on unicorns, magic carpets and pumpkin stagecoaches.
Not surprisingly, the comments section accompanying his column on vancouversun.com ran the polarizing gamut you’d expect when one mischievously lights the fuse on the class-warfare powder keg. Throw in some racial overtones and it’s like chum in the water for tedious trolling. To be fair, some comments are earnest, even well-crafted in both praise and condemnation of the spirit of Todd’s observations.
As Vancouver Sun Driving editor, I fielded a number of emails, texts and calls from my constituents following the publication of the column, the vast majority of whom decried what they perceived as a biased attack on supercar owners and/or those who aspire to supercar ownership. (In the spirit of full disclosure, while my teenage peers had posters of Cheryl Ladd, Lita Ford and Tawny Kitaen on their bedroom walls, my midnight fantasies were stoked by Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches.)
That said, I’ll defend Todd’s right to put forth such an opinion as I know it is one held by some Vancouverites, the motivation of which is somewhat immaterial to the discussion. And as an opinion writer, Mr. Todd succeeded in job one of that position, which is to be provocative, spur debate and invite reflection.
Likewise, I’ll defend supercar owners and those who aspire to be one, the former group’s charity and fundraising efforts something readers of The Sun Driving section know all about through stories I’ve written over the years.
There’s the annual Diamond Rally, in which supercar owners have raised tens of thousands of dollars for causes ranging from cancer research to Canuck Place to Dress for Success.
We’ve published numerous stories about supercar owners volunteering their time, vehicle and gas to give a terminally ill child a ride in a supercar, often through a partnership with Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada. Just last month, I reported on the second annual Aidan’s Cup, a Children’s Wish event sponsored by BMO and Scenic Rush among others, that paid legacy to Aidan MacAuley, a North Vancouver teen who experienced just such a ride, and for a couple of hours was freed from the reality and pain of the cancer that would soon take his life.
Which brings us to Kevin Gordon. The 30-something Vancouver tech entrepreneur was one of those who sent me a text after reading Todd’s column. Driving readers might remember Gordon and the inspiring story about him buying his dream car.
“Almost all of the media I see centring around supercars is negative,” he wrote. “I feel like there is an opportunity for us to highlight another side of the supercar community, the one focused on paying it forward, kindness, empathy and respect.”
Those are all positive attributes that Todd so often eloquently writes about in his column, and I can’t help but think he would be very impressed upon meeting Gordon, a self-made good guy whose parents didn’t give him money to buy a supercar — they gave him a love of cars and a hard-work ethos. He recently bought his dream car after selling his start-up company — in other words, the old-fashioned way: he earned it.
He is also full of gratitude and giving back, two more sentiments Todd champions. To that end, Gordon has created a not-for-profit movement called the Driven Project, in which he takes people for a ride in his one-of-a-kind Lamborghini Huracan Performante, free of charge, in hopes of showing them that “even the wildest dreams are reachable if you are willing to chase them.” (check it out on Instagram @drivenproject).
Gordon hopes that my columnist colleague will take up an offer for just such a ride with him so he can show him a side of a supercar owner he otherwise might not know about.
I’ve already got the headline: “Mr. Todd’s wild ride.”