When I was growing up, I thought my dad was extra popular and well known in our neighborhood. As we would drive through our narrow streets lined with park cars, other drivers would stop and wave to my dad, and he would wave back. At some point, I asked my dad, “do we know that person?”

The reply was always, “no.” So who the heck were all these people?

The answer, of course, was that each driver was courteously letting the other pass by on the narrow street as they approached each other. They signaled each other with a quick wave of the hand.

I thought that waving was a really nice thing to do because I was a naïve little kid. I still do, partly because I’m now a naïve adult.

Other than 4-way stops where no one knows who should go first, I see the wave most often today as a sign of recognition or acknowledgement (I’m going to ignore the single-finger salute for now). The most common is with motorcyclists as they pass each other.

Certain car makes will also wave to each other, such Corvettes. Sometimes it is with an entire manufacturer, such as with Porsche.

The feeling of recognition and connection with another driver certainly gives me the warm fuzzies, but it’s not all rainbows and unicorns down at the farm.

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
–George Orwell

For example, it seems as if cruiser-bike motorcyclists only begrudgingly acknowledge those on sport bikes. A few years ago a friend wrote an article in a car club newsletter about the hierarchy of waving while driving a Porsche. It was funny and annoying at the same time, revealing a caste system in the sports car world. It’s especially annoying to me since my beloved front-engined, water-cooled Porsches (924/944/968/928) are apparently at the bottom of the totem pole.

Would a Toyota Prius owner wave or try to run down a Chevy Volt owner? What happens when a Viper and a Cobra find themselves on the same street? Will anyone ever wave to a Pontiac Aztek?

Sports car ownership is not an egalitarian society, but a bit of courtesy and civility would be nice.

Reventon and Veyron should be Crayola colors
Volkswagens that share the same garage.

And so I’m pleasantly surprised that Subaru Impreza owners also acknowledge each other with friendly waves. I’ve seen other niche models such as VW Beetles and Smart cars wave to each other as well.

I like to take it a step further and give recognition based on a certain class of sports cars. For example, a car most often cross-shopped and compared with the Subaru WRX STI is the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO. When I see an EVO as I’m driving in my STI, I want to wave to say, “Hi! I’m your evil nemesis! How’re ya doin’ today?” So far I’ve just received funny looks when I’ve done this, but I’m going to keep trying.

I’m sure the owners of Camaros and Mustangs (and Challengers, if you’re into garage à trois) would rather see human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together, and mass hysteria than wave to each other, but I’d be happy with a healthy respect for similar performance vehicles.

Theme music from Louis Armstrong

Can you see a world where a 911 and Corvette share the same driveway? Where a Lamborghini will park next to a Ferrari at a Wendy’s? Where a BMW Isetta, a Fiat 500, a Mini Cooper, a Goggomobil, a Messerschmitt, a Subaru 360, a Vespa 400, and an Atlas all park in the same two-car garage?

BMW Isetta at the Dream Cruise
That bicycle should really be passing the Isetta on the left.

“Can we all get along?”
–Rodney King

I don’t expect the day is coming soon when a Ferrari FF (or Lamborghini Aventador) driver will acknowledge me in my Subaru STI just because we’re driving all-wheel drive vehicles, but a friendly (and sometimes cranky) enthusiast can always dream.

Crankiness Rating: 3 out 11 (A soft sell gives me warm fuzzies, too.)