The disappointment of buying your dream car only to discover that it’s not what you thought it would be can play out in much the same way as the five stages of grief.
First, there’s denial: the shock of disappointment can often express itself at first as a skepticism about our own experience. “It wasn’t the car,” we say, “it was the circumstances. That road was all wrong!”
As the realization comes, though, that it wasn’t some magical bad road, anger follows. The shattering of a dream can be frustrating and it can lead to resentment. Then comes the depression of all the money that has been sunk into a bad car.
That money reminds us, though! Sure, the car sucks now but if I just invest more money into it, all its flaws will evaporate like so much spilled gasoline. “If I can just get it back to how it was when it was new,” can be heard from many a classic-filled garage around the world. “If I just tune it properly, all will be well,” is the refrain of the sports car-laden carport.
Several thousand dollars later, we remember that we’re just in the fourth stage of grief: bargaining. At which point comes the final stage of dream car disappointment: acceptance. In the realm of cars, I think this stage probably expresses itself as the writing of a classified ad and the eventual sale of the vehicle.
So join us in our support group as we ask the room: Which car has most deprived you of the rollercoaster-like joy it promised on the road and provided you with the much crappier rollercoaster of emotion that follows from the realization that you’ve made a mistake instead?
Was it a classic car that you realized only too late was a dog? Was it a newer car that you thought would be more fun than it ended up being? For bonus points, has the disappointment ever been caused by a review that built up the car too much?
We’ve already written about some of the cars we’ve driven that turned out to be disappointments, but what about you? Feel free to chime in on the comments right below.