When faced with the reality of their own mortality, men will do some funny things to convince the world – or, probably more accurately, themselves – that the best years of their life are not finished. One of the most popular outlets for that temporal frustration is the purchase of products that were more than likely designed for a testosterone-infused 21-year-old who still has hope for the future. And how better to fuel the delusions than with, well…fuel…and horsepower, and tire smoke, and spine-rattling suspension. I’m feeling younger already.
With a body made of fibreglass, rocker panels that require a high-kick for ingress, and room to comfortably fit 0.7 average adult humans, the Lotus Elise may just be one of the most impractical cars money can buy. But you know what? It’s loud. Not just sonically, though the Lotus-tuned Toyota 2-ZZ engine is that, but visually and even emotionally. Designed to do one thing fantastically well, the Elise has handling prowess that is unmatched by just about anything, ever. Want to go golfing? Better hope your passenger is willing to hold your clubs. Picking up groceries? Hope you like scrambled eggs. Driving the Elise tells the world that none of this bothers you. All the better to cover up your aging soul.
Going in completely the opposite direction, the Porsche 911 might actually be the perfect car for your midlife crisis. The 911 shows that you still have that fun spark, you enjoy the thrill of speed and the dangers of hugging curves, but you are old enough to appreciate the style and class of a refined and elegant vehicle. It has a gorgeous and comfortable interior, and firm yet supple suspension. Plus a back seat (for people you don’t like) and a real boot, albeit in the wrong place, means it’s practical. Or at least, it lets you argue its practicality to your friends and loved ones. Is it a sports car, or a luxury car? The 911 lets you have it both ways.