In Defense of the Clone
Wherein I explore the intersection of stickers, cubic zirconia, and piecemeal dreams.
If you own a highly sought-after vehicle, it is easy to get frustrated when you see a clone of your ride. Typically a clone is made from a model of lesser performance or pedigree and dressed it up and altered it to ape the style and performance of your genuine article, but it can also be a frame-up replica. Anger is an understandable reaction to have when thinking of these fakers. You likely spent quite a bit of time and money researching and obtaining the perfect car for you. All that work and now some yokel with enough money to buy new bumpers and badges is stealing your glory. You have every right to dislike them.
I am here to tell you that you should be thanking them.
Let’s not forget our mother’s words of wisdom: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Whether it’s the dorky kid copying your childhood catchphrases or the weekend mechanic copying your car, the initial driver is the same. They want to be you. More immediately gratifying you get to say, “Yes, its real,” when asked at the gas station or parking lot. That’s just the best, isn’t it?
Since yours is real, and since you want to separate yourself from “them,” you get to form super-anal clubs with pretentious stickers and ill-fitting pastel polo shirts. Super fun! Think of all the meetups and one-make concourses you would miss out on if not for clones.
Thirdly, despite what you may think, clones are not destroying the value for your vehicle. On the contrary, they are enhancing the market for genuine articles such as yours. Cubic zirconias did not destroy the market for diamonds, nor have the reproduction posters/postcards/ties/mugs/shower curtains destroyed the value of the Mona Lisa or Starry Night. No, by making the vehicle more public and wanted, clones drive up the values of your vehicles. Feel free to tell the pretenders, “Thank you.”
Lastly, and least selfishly, when you see someone driving their clone around town, you are not seeing them drive a car. No, you are seeing them inside their dream that they have achieved and built piece by piece. The vehicle sparked the same amount of love and desire out of both of you. Circumstances conspired to require them to build a replica out of a more inexpensive car while you were able to get hold of the real deal. But now after much labor and effort they’ve got what they wanted and get to drive around in it. This should be recognized and celebrated, by both purists and the automotive community at large.
At the end of the day, owners of genuinely rare cars and owners of clones share the same love. Nobody is hurt here, and everyone gets some version of the car they love. The public, in turn, has more opportunity to see these cars and hopefully spark their own enthusiasms. So lets bury the hatchet between these groups. At the end of the day we’re all Petrolisti.