The Rich People’s Ten

Here’s an article for those who want to pass for wealthy:

What does the car you drive say about how well you’re doing? There are particular brands that suggest the person behind the wheel is a high earner, according to a new report. It has revealed the 10 vehicles makes that are owned by those who earn in excess of £75,000 a year.

Well, two things jump to mind immediately.  Firstly:  in these Bidenflation times, 75k (UK, Euro or US) isn’t “wealthy” anymore.  (175k, and now you’re getting close.)  Secondly:  the truly wealthy don’t care about how they look — in fact, they often try to disguise their wealth because they don’t want to be targets.  (And ignore the article’s tinges of wealth envy;  they’re Brits, and wealth envy seems to be genetic Over There.)

But just for the hell of it, let’s go with the DM’s definition.  Here are their top ten:

1. BMW – 16%

2. Audi – 15%

3. Ford – 14%

4. Mercedes – 12%

=5. Toyota – 8%

=5. Volvo – 8%

=7. Nissan – 7%

=7, Vauxhall – 7%

=7. Volkswagen – 7%

10. Land Rover – 6%

Unlike my normal outpourings on this website, wherein I just read SOTI and then offer an opinion thereon, I decided to do some actual research for this one.

You see, I live in an upscale area, loosely defined as North Dallas Metro (north Dallas, Plano, Frisco, Allen — and, in a stretch, McKinney, Parker and Fairview).  There are areas of all the above that are not high-income enclaves — e.g. where I live — but within these areas there are also enclaves where the cops will pull you over just for driving around in a car that isn’t one of the models I list below.  (Pickups with trailers full of lawn equipment, for obvious reasons, get a pass.)  Areas such as Park Cities (Highland- and University Park) and Turtle Creek in north Dallas;  Willow Bend, Normandy Estates, Kings Ridge and Wolf Creek in Plano;  and Adriatica in McKinney:  all are examples of said enclaves of wealth.  Total population of the areas (estimate):  about 1.25 million.

So yesterday I took a long drive around some of these places (except where I was stopped by gates, Q.E.D.) and took a highly unscientific but I think nevertheless representative survey of what kind of car these knobs are driving.  I included the doctors’ parking garage at Plano Medical City, street parking on Plano West and the valet parking area at Willow Bend Mall, just for the hell of it.

What struck me is that you can’t just group the cars by brand;  you have to include the model for the study to make any sense at all.  (Example:  Audis are like Fords in Plano — but the Audi A8 and S8 aren’t;  ditto, Mercedes are like Chevy — but Maybach aren’t;  and Maseratis and Porsches are commonplace, until you get to the Quattroporte and upper-end 911s, which are not so common.)

Here’s what you need to drive in this North Dallas Metro area if you want people to think you actually live there instead of just driving through:

  • Mercedes G-wagen (G550 or the AMG, $150k):  I counted half a dozen of them, all driven by women, i.e. they’re the family’s second car, ditto
  • Audi Q7/8 SUV ($80k):  lost count, easily more than twenty though, but every single one was driven by Mommy, as were
  • Range Rover ($130k):  about a dozen of the big ones (forgotten which model), three of which were parked outside the Beretta Gallery in Highland Park, and two outside the Orvis store on Preston Rd
  • Bentley ($250k+):  two Continentals and two Bentaygas;  one Continental was parked outside my Sooper-Seekrit address when I picked up my mail
  • Maybach ($175k+):  I counted two sedans and two SUVs — all parked outside the North Point Mall
  • Mercedes S500 or SL 500 ($125k+):  lost count, more than ten parked just in Legacy West — they are the Audi A4 of Plano
  • BMW 7-series ($120k+):  maybe a dozen
  • Porsche 911 Turbo ($200k+):  five — one was parked in the student parking lot at Plano West High School
  • Rolls Royce:  only one, parked in the driveway of a house in Willow Bend
  • Tesla:  almost as popular as Ford F-150 trucks, out here (ugh)
  • Ferrari:  only one 488 in the doctors’ lot at Baylor Hospital;  I suspect that Ferraris are mostly weekend cars, not everyday drivers.
  • And on the above note:  I suspect that a Saturday morning drive would reveal a lot more high-end car models than as indicated, because there are a sprinkling of “exotics” (Lambo, Maserati GT, Aston Martin and so on) which I’ve seen on a regular basis during my travels herein.

Some other brands were represented, but Lexus and the smaller Mercedes sedans and SUVs are a dime a dozen, and as for the smaller BMWs… think VW in any German city as a definition of popularity.  There are a ton of the bigger, high-end SUVs:  Toyota, GMC Denali, Escalade etc.  Cadillacs (outside of the Escalade) seem to be almost non-existent, at least while I was driving around.  I saw one Caddy CT (4? 5?) in Plano West.

Hardly any Jaguars, of any stripe.

I remember driving Mr. Free Market around a few of these Rich Phartte areas, and his comment was that the houses’ architecture was pretty Nouveau Riche;  but as I told him, there’s almost no Old Money in the North Dallas Metro (as Brits would define it);  wealth outside the Awl Bidness is generally self-made or else first-generation-inherited, e.g. Troy Aikman (north Dallas) and G.W. Bush (Bluff View/Preston Hollow).

Anyway, there you have it:  what to drive in the North Dallas Metro area if you want to announce that you’re wealthy.


  1. My sister is quite wealthy, and lives in North Dallas, but she keeps it low key and drives one of those giant Lexus SUVs.

  2. Mr Free Market is a man of astute judgement. Over here the Old Money might well be driving a Fiat 500 or VW Golf, with the Rolls coming out for special occasions. It will be the footballers’ wives driving the Range Rovers and Bentaygas (I tried getting into a Bentayga at one Goodwood FOS and I could barely get my leg in).

  3. In my area, the rich people drive either a F-350 or a large cargo van. Typically they’ll have a sign on the door for such and such A/C repair, plumbing, construction, etc. The guy that built my fence ten years back drove a F-350 with custom wrap that easily cost $100k. From a fence building business. Lived in a much nicer house than I did too.

    F-250’s (along with Chevy and Dodge 2500’s) are for middle class peeps who weekend tow travel trailers and boats. Old money is defined as the peeps who drive 10 year old trucks while noveau rich drive brand spanking new with 8 year loans. The wives drive Toyotas, either sedans or SUVs. And so it goes.

  4. You left off a category = Electric Cars. Around here in the upscale Tony Suburbs of Boston many people have traded their worn Teslas for Rivians and Lucids. There are 3 Rivians in my neighborhood alone. and one more place to watch. The Town dump on trash day. That’s where you see people arrive with a Mercedes S class with a trunk full of trash bins ( Pretend rich – because it’s likely their only car).
    Wealthy tend to have 4 or 5 Vehicles or more at their disposal. ( or they subscribe to a service to remove the trash ) but then they miss out on the social interaction that seems to take place every week at the Dump on Saturday afternoon.

    … and yes early Saturday morning is when people take the Toys out of the barn for exercise.

  5. “The Millionaire Next Door” is well worth a read. Maybe it’s outdated now with its examples but I’m sure the concepts remain the same. The book was written by a couple of economists or some other academic professors who sought to find what habits and such were common among the wealthy. The overwhelming themes that I found in the book when I read it decades ago is that the wealthy are frugal. They use debt as a tool to earn more money and avoid spending money on things that do not appreciate in value. The millionaires they found typically drove a car that was bought used and about 2-3 years old after it was built. The major hit of depreciation already hit the car. They paid cash for the car so they had no car loan to pay back. They kept the car until it was too expensive to repair or maintain it. They generally abhorred debt of any kind and paid it off as fast as possible. one quote that stuck with me was that one of their millionaires that was part of the study as he said only drank two kinds of beer, cheap and free. Maybe that’s too austere for many of us.

  6. I am not a car person by any means

    I will happily spend excessive amounts on guns, clothes and Western boots, but not on cars

    My wife and I could write a check for any of the cars you list, but we don’t

    I would like for her to replace her 19 year old Mercedes C-320 with a new Mercedes or Audi, but I haven’t been able to twist her arm into doing so

    But I see an abundance of the very expensive cars when I drive up to our club for dinner or to work out

    The reality is that many, and possibly most, of those very same attractive cars have promissory notes or expensive leases attached to them

    I haven’t had a car note in over 20 years and even the fairly modest one I had was quite a PITA

    So I get a chuckle when I see people driving expensive cars because I know the cold hard truth that their owners usually pay a high price every month to project the image of wealth

  7. There I got all excited to discover I was wealthy when I saw Toyota on the list. Then I remembered mine is a ’98.

  8. When a woman hits 40 or so in Plano, they issue her a Lexus RX350. They are as ubiquitous as F-150s.

    I just moved back here and haven’t met my alley neighbors yet, but there are 3 Rx350s in my alley alone. Matter of fact, the ex wife appears to have bought yet another, now that accounts are settled.

    Before 40, with kids, they tend to drive Tahoes.

  9. When just starting out after a stint in the service a half century ago, I knew a gentleman from Olde Money, who was a very successful executive in marketing. He drove a ’58 Chromemobile as his daily driver because it was comfortable and reliable, and he knew it would always be where he left it.
    He did have a few toys in the garage, but they were mostly used by his kids (under supervision).

  10. My latest Shock Of The Year!:
    Eugene, Oregon.
    This afternoon, I pulled into a parking spot at our local-owned family-operated Farm And Ranch supply…
    … and across the street, both major dealerships were vacant, empty.
    Kia, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Hyundai, Volvo, all gone.
    The only thing remaining… fluttering triangle flags.
    Next door, the abandoned equipment trailer lot is available for ‘rent or lease’.
    On a related note… job suggestion?:
    My 16yo nephew is home-schooled by two of the most intelligent and down-to-earth people I know.
    Very active in their church, he also holds ‘Black Belt’ status in at least two types of Karate-style martial arts.
    Raised in the mountains east of Sacramento, California, he is fluent in Japanese, and is getting there with Italian.
    The kid thinks he wants to be a Highway Patrol.
    He thrives on my stories of six years in the early-1970s with California Bureau Of Narcotics Enforcement and two years with the USMarshals Service.
    I appreciate any suggestions for inflation-proof occupations for his next half-century of earning.
    I think he would do just fine going to university as a pre-military student in engineering, law, medical… then completing his active-duty obligation of probably six years or so.
    That would be my second choice for him.
    First choice — mechanic to keep old vehicles going another few years.
    I stand 6’3″/191cm, the youngster looks me square in the eye.
    I bench 275#/125kg, he can almost curl my loaded barbell with one hand.
    He is utterly without any hint of arrogance, he tries to learn from every adult around him.
    Where would you start him?

    1. Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist; Navy Corpsman with Marine Corps Force Recon, Air Force Pararescue, Navy SWCC Boat (Special Warfare Combat Crewmen). None are easy, but he doesn’t sound like he’s interested in easy.

      I’d stay away from Federal Law Enforcement.

Comments are closed.