In the end it’s about driving.
The singular distillation of why I like cars is driving. The other bits like mechanicals and aesthetics matter too, but a car isn’t a car unless I can drive it. I’ll never be the type to purchase an automobile simply to store for the promise of future appreciation in value, not that I can afford such a type of car anyways.
Cars are meant to be driven.
It’s the spirit of driving that makes the ancillaries worth the while. The sheer costs to purchase and insurance a car, the physical labor to detail and maintain, and the psychological stress of city driving - all of that disappear from view when you’re sat in driver's seat on an open mountain road in the early morning, not another soul for miles.
I sold the ND MX-5 recently because the ancillaries have overshadowed the thrill of driving, chiefly the stress of commuting in San Francisco. The sliver of driving exhilaration I get from the neighboring mountain roads on weekends lost the battle hard against the traffic gridlock and parking nightmare I dealt with daily. The commuting grind can so suck the soul out of you that once the weekend arrived I often had no desire to get in the car.
As long as I live in San Francisco I don’t think I’ll ever commute by car again because it kills the joy of driving, and that’s the greatest shame for a person who has loved cars since childhood. The next vehicle I purchase will only see weekend duty: every drive will feel like a special occasion, and ownership will be a labor of love once again.