Cars are the ultimate status symbol.
When I drive my friend's BMW, people who see me in it think that I'm rich and tend to pay me a little more attention.
(Except when I drive my other friend's BMW 318i in which people probably look at me and think "Oh.. here's a young fool who couldn't afford a PROPER BMW and had to settle for the cheapest 318i instead of a 325i").
But when I drive my OWN Proton Waja, people DON'T see me in it. Simply because they just don't bother looking at the poor man driving the Proton Waja.
My father always tells me
"Don't be deceived by the cars people drive. Just because he drives a BMW doesn't mean he's rich. It could just mean that he's willing to borrow money just to put on a good front or that his company's giving him a car to drive".
He told me the story of one of his friends who once bought a very expensive car that he couldn't afford just to show bankers that he was "Financially Okay" when he really wasn't. He ended up selling the car a few years later after defaulting on the loan.
So with this perspective. I started trying to pay attention to what people drive and who they really are.
My partner from Singapore (Ming), once told me that he heard a lot of Penang people are very very rich but they just never show it.
I told him that I doubt that the rich in Penang are anywhere close to the rich in KL but how would I ever know anyway.
My mind thought back to the time when I met this Penangnite in his forties that I knew was filty rich.
He had inherited a fortune in property from his father that was put in a family trust. His share of that trust alone was worth millions... not just a few millions... but tens or maybe even hundreds of millions (who knows)?.
But what car did he drive?
A PROTON SAGA that was almost as old as I am.
So I started looking online at what the richest people in the world drove.
Of course, there are among the super-rich in the world that were willing to splash money on Bentleys, Maybachs and Ferraris.
Some like Prince Waleed take it another step higher by having his car custom-made to be covered with diamonds costing approximately RM17,520,000.
And rightfully so!
If you've made your money (in honest ways of course), you deserve to splash every cent of it.
But then there are the super-rich who don't splash their money on cars but put their money on other causes.
Take for example Warren Buffet, the 2nd Richest Man in the World worth an estimated $44 billion .
He drives a 2001 Lincoln Town Car which is honestly... nothing to shout about. So where does he spend his money then?
It was recently reported that Warren Buffet was going to donate $37 billion of his fortune to charity.
What about the other richest men in the world like Ingvar Kamprad who owns IKEA and is estimated to be worth $23 billion.
Well he drives... THIS
An old Volvo that he has had since 1993, long before most of us reading this blog knew how to say the word "Kinky".
Then there's Jim Walton of the Wal-Mart family who's worth $18.2 billion but drives a PICKUP TRUCK.
Oh but lets not forget Paul Allen, Co-Founder of Microsoft who's worth $21 billion and drives an old 1988 Porsche.Now an old Porsche like that is too old to be put in the class of today's luxury cars and too new to be considered a 'classic' or 'antique' car. So... it's just a car... and it doesn't matter if it's a Porsche.
And finally, lets also look at Steve Ballmer, another Microsoft billionaire worth $12.1 billion but drives this...That's right.. no Maybachs, no Ferraris, not even Mercedes 0r BMWs... and they have all the money in the world.
I guess some people love to spend on flashy cars.... and some don't.
As for Stewie... Stewie loves cars...