Journal: Which Car Do You Stare At Every Time You See It?

Which Car Do You Stare At Every Time You See It?

By Michael Banovsky
January 18, 2016

For me, being in and watching traffic roll by is often like staring at static. For instance, with the number sold, I’ve probably laid eyes on and forgotten more silver Honda Civics than I’ve seen Porsches in total.

Call it static, white noise, or whatever works for you, but these days, largely uninspiring modern designs and Peak Crossover has left our roads as tasteful as your nearest megamall parking lot.

Every now and then, however, the world conspires to send a bolt of different across your view. A tastefully-modified BMW, perhaps. Or a Nissan GT-R using launch control to humble a cabbie. If you’ve been lucky, maybe you’ve seen one of our video subjects out and about in the “real world”.

I’m a sucker for French cars in general, and the UFO-like Citroën SM in particular. Not many are out there wafting around, but I find that they appear more modern and fresh with each passing day.

As soon as one glides into view, its sleek and measured shape captivates me almost as if I’ve never seen one before. And if I can stop and stare for a bit, my next appointment will hopefully understand.

That said, I’m lucky: here at Petrolicious, being a bit late because of a chance encounter with an SM is understood. What car stops you in your tracks every time you see it?

Image Sources:, Federico Bajetti, Abhi Chaterjee, Stephen Heraldo

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3 years ago

Any of the awesome SEC series.

steve stills
steve stills(@steve-stills)
4 years ago

I feel very fortunate…i own so many desirable cars. No ferraris or lambos, but i have a 1998 Porsche 993 turbo s a 1993 carrera 4 1968 mercedes 280sl 1988 500sl 2003 sl 55 amg 1985 230ce 123 1964 mustang convertible 2 1300 gt junior alfa romeos and more. I drive a 2010 smart brabus every day….but i look forward to driving something special from my collection. I live in N.W london. Thankfully i have garages for most of these cars. Rest are under cover. Prefer older…more reliable more individual cars that appreciate in value and interest…

Stéphan Pascal
Stéphan Pascal(@stephan-pascal)
5 years ago

I grew up always riding my mother’s W123 or a good old 190… If I see other Benz enthusiasts who did a good job maintaining those youngtimers, I always tend to smile! 🙂 Otherwise I have to say, every AMG-tuned Mercedes gives me goosebumps… Let that 36 – 43 – 55 – 63 or 65 roar ;-)!

Tharanga Wijayaratna
Tharanga Wijayaratna(@kuseetha)
5 years ago

Alfa Romeo 164 Super facelift euro spec. In my opinion, it is one of the least photogenic cars ever. Never seen any looking good in photos, as good as it is in flesh. That makes it very special, among many I admire.

Reece Lindquist
Reece Lindquist(@reecelindquist)
5 years ago

Defiantly the Pagani Huayra. Every time I see that car it is just out of this world amazing!

Robert Hiermeier
Robert Hiermeier(@robhimes)
6 years ago

I love staring at my 85 911 Targa Carrera and any old Porsche.
I also love checking out old sports cars regardless of the brand.

6 years ago

Living in Atlanta, I see some pretty exotic steel everyday to the point that 911’s are almost commonplace (but I still want one). What really catches my eye are the well cared for, maybe mildly mod’d cars that used to be more common but are now getting rare, like a 240z, e21 320i, 2002, 3.0 CSi or maybe a nice TR-6. Something that is still obtainable and can be enjoyed if not a daily driver with the proper care.

Harri Theocleous
Harri Theocleous(@boxer6)
6 years ago

I’m a sucker for unassuming sporty cars of older times. Unfortunately there aren’t many left in Cyprus.
An 80s SAAB 900 Turbo.
A Peugeot 405 Mi16
And Lancias… I love Lancias

Amir Kakhsaz
Amir Kakhsaz(@zamirz)
6 years ago

Testarossa. In SoCal there’s a lot of everything, even the super rare stuff. But for me it will always be the red head. I see them now and again with that V12 humming at low RPM through the streets of Santa Monica or on Ventura Blvd. in the San Fernando Valley. Doesn’t matter what color, although black is sort of a buzzkill, I just stop and stare silently.

Marcus Ott
Marcus Ott(@marcus_ott)
6 years ago

I’m lucky to live in Vienna where some rather rare exotica can be seen at any time of the year. There’s a grey haired gentleman who drives his 275 GTB around town, like a proper car. SM’s always do it for me too, there is a couple of them about. Then the guy who street parks a Mk IX Jag in winter and an E-type in summer always stop to look at those. But the last car to really stop me in my tracks was a couple of weeks ago, first time I ever saw a Monteverdi 375 HS outside of a book.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
6 years ago

The glib answer is mine every time I walk into the garage. I think the last time walking down a street that a car stopped me dead in my tracks was just before Christmas 2014. A 4.5 litre Bentley was driving down the street driven by a man wearing tweeds. The significant thing though was he had the roof down and a Christmas tree on the back seat.

Linda N Brian Schick
Linda N Brian Schick(@sparkey60)
6 years ago

It would be easy to say any of the classic sports cars from the 60’s; and that would be true. But ,today, I enjoy staring at modern, mundane cars that were tastefully customized ( not by some dumb kid) and are elevated well above their mundane, boring cousins on the road.

Tom DesRochers
Tom DesRochers(@brown76)
6 years ago

Lincoln Mark III / IV / V and the contemporary Cadillacs. Basically any of the mile-long malaise luxo barges. When luxury meant complete isolation from the road.

I suspect autonomous cars will revisit that idea.

Filipe B.
Filipe B.(@jay-cee)
6 years ago

I don`t know why, but there is something about the Peugeot 504 Estate that just grabs my attention. They are not flashy, they are not the best looking thing in the world, but there is something about them that I just love.

6 years ago

Alfa Romeo GTV Bertone. The first time I saw that beauty, I chased it with my bike in Zurich. Since that day; every time I see it, I try to enjoy every second I’m looking at it.

Lost a great deal on one couple months ago. Going to buy one in the future for sure.

Frankie Scalise
Frankie Scalise(@cb360cafe)
6 years ago

Just about ANYTHING older than 1980. Here’s the thing, the cars that were the most prosaic from 50 years ago, that we seldom gave a second glance at when they were new or used up clunkers, NOW look so much more appealing. (to me anyway) 1962 Falcon? sure! 1965 Renault R4? YES! Even a stodgy 1973 Buick looks better than the current crop of sneakers they are putting out. Even the high end cars make me yawn. Oh, YES to just about any Citroen SM or DS always makes me stop and stare with my mouth hanging open.

Alexandre Goncalves
Alexandre Goncalves(@cacem)
6 years ago

In particular, the super rare (around here) 560 SEC , in general, every beautiful restored classic car (except MGs….)

Mitko Tenov
Mitko Tenov(@mitko_tenov)
6 years ago

Probably you don’t have it in the USA, but Renault Avantime is a car I stare at every time I see one. Absolutely stunning design. Masterpiece of modern car architecture for me.

Manish Patel
Manish Patel(@arkytec)
6 years ago

Subaru SVX

José Rebelo
José Rebelo(@jose-rebelo)
6 years ago

Two cars for each category. Classics: Alfa Romeo Montreal. I found myself staring at your photos for minutes at a time. And the unmistakable Lamborghini Countach. Modern cars: Peugeot RCZ R. I like the design, the shape, how it is well proportioned. At last, the Spyker C8 Aileron. Close battle against the Aston Martin Vanquish, but that interior…

Sam Person
Sam Person(@mrsamperson)
6 years ago

Tesla Model S. My second favorite car, behind the SM, and breathtaking to look at. Not to mention I know the driver is as fascinated and elated by it as I am when I’m not even in it.

Matt Duquette
Matt Duquette(@matt101590)
6 years ago

for classics I love an old Porsche, ones that show a bit of ware, usually driven by the original dentist that bought the car new in 1983. thoses 70s and 80s 911s are so cool to me. they represent a different time before 900 hp insane asylums for the uber rich. ur local dentist, doc, lawyer probably bought himself a Porsche and they all got worn differently. for new cars the F type Jag cant be beat, its ungodly and deserves sunday worship all the same. beautiful car a great sound and usually a guy as old as my dad behind the wheel to tip his golf cap at you while he appreciates its disappointing automatic gear box but you guys said stair at, and I cant take my eyes off those