In vehicles, all else being roughly equal, I go for sound over everything else. So let's look at the other stuff:
- Performance. Well, going fast is fun, but unless I take it to a track it's not particularly legal, and potentially unsafe. Accelerating fast is also fairly meaningless - I can break the national speed limit in around 3 seconds from a standing start on my bike already, and there aren't many things on the road that can give me a run for my money. I'm not interested in particularly good cornering - it would just encourage me to take corners particularly fast.
- Looks/Status. Looks are nice, certainly in a vehicle by itself, but you add a driver or rider and then it's also about status and they're posing. No thanks, not for me.
- Reliability. Well, clearly the vehicle should be reliable. I don't have the time, patience or skills to run something that requires a lot of maintenance, but I don't believe buying a new vehicle will necessarily get you a reliable vehicle. A little knowledge of the mechanics of cars, plus knowledge on what is a reliable make (and sometimes model) of car are usually sufficient.
- Convenience/Versatility. Given I'm a single guy, I don't generally need a great deal of versatility, but I do like convenience. I am lazy. I also like being able to give lifts to my friends.
- Safety. I have no dependants, so as long as I'm fully aware of the risks I take in choosing to drive/ride a particular vehicle in a particular manner in particular conditions, it's not a real concern. Plus, you know, I have a motorbike. Yes, I can get horribly maimed, but it's a conscious risk.
- Cost. Given I'm not bothered by most of the things most normal people are bothered by - looks/status, performance, safety etc - that means I don't need to spend loads of money on a vehicle. Good thing too, as I powerfully dislike spending money unnecessarily. In fact, one might go as far as to say that because I dislike spending money unnecessarily, the rest of my requirements have been moulded to account for this :)
So what does that leave? Well, I figured that in order to get a car with the sound I wanted, I would either have to do something to this car, or buy a much more expensive car that made the sound I wanted. Given that this car has proven comparatively cheap to run (LPG, pretty reliable now I've had the brakes, engine, bushes and exhaust looked at) to the alternative, I decided the cheapest way to get what I want was to modify this car. So that's what I did - not for performance, looks, status or anything else, but just for sound.
I've been this way with HiFi too - it's some sort of primeval need to have a powerful sound. It's exciting and exhilarating.
Unfortunately, my desire for a powerful sound comes into direct conflict with the idea of getting an electric vehicle (otherwise ideal in terms of reliability and cost to run etc). Phooey.
I've also, for some time, been considering getting a cruiser, not so much because of the look (although it will probably suit me better than the Blackbird) but because of the noise. I wonder if I should consider 'auditioning' bikes, and just do it with my eyes closed to begin with? ;)