10 Cars That Say ‘I Am Compensating for Something’

A custom truck at SEMA 2016 shows us its masculine side
A custom truck at SEMA 2016 shows us its masculine side | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Have you ever felt the need to convey to those around you that you’ve made something of yourself, even if you haven’t? We’re not referring to using your mid-life crisis as an excuse to buy a muscle car because that’s age-specific. Feeling the need to overcompensate can come at any age. It’s those who want to show the world outside their windshield they have the performance, power, and pay grade of someone who has done something with their lives.

Unfortunately, this plan doesn’t always translate well to the gawkers on street corners. While most people will surely salivate over a $100,000 sports car, they will be quick to make a few assumptions about the person behind the wheel, as well. Big-ticket purchases always raise the question of whether people are compensating for an area of their lives that’s lacking, and cars are almost always a dead giveaway.

May it be erectile dysfunction, menopause-fueled mood swings, a nasty divorce, angst-ridden millionaire rebellion, or the undying need to be noticed, what you drive can say a lot about your inner self. Granted, there certainly are plenty of buyers out there who purchase a particular vehicle based on many reasons. But pulling up in a Giallo yellow Ferrari might raise a few questions about ulterior motives.

Here are 10 examples of what overcompensation in the automotive market looks like. While cars, such as the Challenger Hellcat, seem like an obvious choice, they are still subtle enough to be labeled as exempt. Remember, just because your life might be going to hell in a hand basket, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world needs to know it.

1. Dartz Black Shark

Dartz Prombron Black Shark
Dartz Prombron Black Shark | Dartz

Featuring an AMG V12 twin-turbo engine that boasts over 1,500 horsepower, this tank of an SUV is truly something else. Not only does it strike one of the most imposing presences on the road, but it has to be one of the most heavily armored machines on the planet.

While retractable door handles, shock devices, and a kevlar/titanium blended body keep both vandals and landmines at bay, a set of rotating bulletproof grills made out of Soviet-grade B7 armor guard the nose. Climbing inside requires both fingerprint and retina scans, and a DARTZ V2+ app permits 24/7 remote monitoring via on-board cameras. Nothing says someone has insecurity issues quite like owning a vehicle with fire and toxin detectors, a mine/bomb scanner, and laser lights.

2. Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG

Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG
Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG | Mercedes-Benz

First launched in 1979, the G65 started life as a slow, simple, and rugged off-roader that was more accustomed to U.N. rescue missions than bikini-clad mansion baths in Beverly Hills. But how times have changed, especially now that AMG has found a way to fit a twin-turbo 621 horsepower V12 beneath the bonnet of the $220,400 German SUV.

Torque now peaks at 738 pound-feet. Packages include things, such as diamond-stitched Nappa leather AMG seats, carbon fiber trim pieces, and bespoke 20-inch AMG wheels. It’s a vehicle that is equal parts off-road-ready, power-hungry, and asinine, making it a prime example of how compensating appeals to all kinds of car buyers.

3. Lamborghini Aventador LP750-4

Lamborghini’s leading supercar comes loaded with a 6.5-liter V12 that cranks out 750 horsepower at 8,400 RPM. Featuring a Formula 1 inspired gearbox, and magnetorheological push-rod spring and damper suspension, the Italian supercar hits 60 MPH in just 2.6 seconds. That easily puts it in Porsche 918, McLaren P1, and Ferrari LaFerrari territory. But instead of receiving electrical assistance like other supercars in this high-dollar cage fight, the LP750-4 retains one of the most potent naturally aspirated engines ever to legally hit the streets.

4. Youabian Puma

Youabian Puma
Youabian Puma | Puma Automobiles

This strange, fish-like 4×4 contraption is the automotive brainchild of Dr. Kambiz Youabian, a California-based cosmetic surgeon who liked the idea of injecting a sports car with monster truck chromosomes. Badged as “the Puma,” this automotive mutant features a 505 horsepower Chevy LS7 engine, an interior that pulls heavily from Volvo’s parts department, and body styling that is beyond bizarre.

Standing at 72 inches tall, 93 inches wide, and 242 inches long, the Puma is truly a massive machine, giving further cause for us to include it. Still not convinced it’s a vehicle designed for someone with an overcompensation complex? A whopping $900,000 price tag will help prove our point.

5. Rolls-Royce Phantom

2016 Rolls-Royce Phantom
Rolls-Royce Phantom | Rolls-Royce

Sporting a 6.75-liter V12 and enough bespoke interior accents to make even the most snobbish individual smile, the latest generation of the Rolls-Royce Phantom is a perfect example of what happens when old money meets hidden insecurities.

The Phantom name has been around for almost a century now, yet it has only experienced seven chassis overhauls. Once BMW took the brand in 1998, all kinds of updates came rolling in. That made the latest version even more opulent in order to boost its appeal as a form of financially compensating for one’s successes and failures. Starting at a mere $417,825, the hand-crafted and chauffeur-ready Phantom is one of those vehicles that demands your attention and reminds commoners important people don’t drive themselves.

6. Dodge Power Wagon

2017 Ram Power Wagon Crew Cab 4x4
2017 Ram Power Wagon Crew Cab 4×4 | Ram

Someone once called the new generation of Ram’s Power Wagon a life-sized Tonka Truck. Loud and imposing presence aside, another reason for the Power Wagon making this cheat sheet are its vertical stripes. These graphics loudly display the words  “POWER WAGON” across the bed and along the tailgate, just to make sure no one misreads what they are glancing at.

The truck’s 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine cranks out 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque. And for 2017, there’s a beefier 11.5-inch axle (up from 10.5) out back, complete with 4.10:1 ratios. There’s also an integrated Warn winch, 2 inches of additional ground clearance over the standard Ram 2500, and its 17-inch forged wheels come wrapped in 33-inch Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac rubber. We have yet to see a single Power Wagon towing something outside of a trade show, putting it firmly into the bro-dozer area where its hardcore capabilities often go untouched.

7. Corvette C7.R

Corvette C7.R
Corvette C7.R | GM

GM only made 500 of these highly coveted Corvettes, which blend performance upgrades with a laundry list of one-off accents. Some of these include microfiber, suede, and wet carbon interior touches; custom sill plates; individually numbered placards; and all of the appropriate stitching. But outside of all the carbon clinging to everything from the brakes to the bonnet, the C7.R is not all that different as other Z06 models, especially because it sports the exact same powertrain.

This Corvette is an exclusive machine. Most of the people who are interested in obtaining one aren’t buying it to thrash around the track on the weekends — they have dedicated race cars for that task. It’s a car that’s too pretty to abuse, thus turning it into an attention-grabber like no other and landing it a spot on our list.

8. Lexus RC F

Molten Pearl orange paint makes the Lexus RC F all the more noticeable
Molten Pearl orange paint makes the Lexus RC F all the more noticeable | Micah Wright/Autos Cheat Sheet

Coming at you fully loaded at $80,000, the RC F is a lot of sports car for the money. It might have more creases and folds than an origami catfish, but we like how it takes such a strong step away from traditional Lexus styling cues. With its extendable spoiler, big orange brakes, and exposed carbon fiber accents, its a sports car engineered for grabbing attention and boosting confidence, especially when clad in Molten Pearl paint.

The 467 horsepower, 5.0-liter V8, and eight-speed Direct-Shift transmission make an interesting duo once filled with titanium valvetrain touches and torque vectoring rear diff upgrades. There is nothing subtle or slightly massaged about the way in which this coupe looks or performs. While the outstanding GS F sedan walks the line between stealthy and not, the RC F screams for attention in the same compensating tone as its owner.

9. Viper ACR

2016 Dodge Viper ACR
2016 Dodge Viper ACR | Dodge

According to the automaker, the optional ACR Extreme Aero Package delivers the most downforce of any production vehicle today, with almost an entire ton of pressure being the push point. The shelved rear wing measures more than 6 feet across, the front splitter has an extension, and the rear underbody diffuser features six removable strakes that are engineered to safely rub against the tarmac for additional stability.

With its 8.4-liter V10 generating 645 horsepower and 600 pound-feet of torque, the six-speed exclusive sports car is a force to be reckoned with. That is further emphasized by the kind of buyer it attracts. Mid-life crisis and erectile dysfunction got you down? Here’s a great way to make up for these maladies by compensating with a rare sports car.

10. Ford F-450 Platinum Super Duty

Ford F-450 Platinum Super Duty
Ford F-450 Platinum Super Duty | Ford

Ford’s F-450 is the big boy within the Super Duty lineup. Regardless of whether you opt for a gas or diesel engine, the Platinum configuration will make you look like you’re compensating for something. It’s a big ticket pickup that is just as flashy as it is pricey, a work truck engineered for the elite, complete with grilles the size of private islands and a price point to match.

First introduced in 1999, this behemoth is almost entirely made from aluminum now. And with a 6.7-liter turbo-diesel V8 installed makes for one of the most capable tow vehicles today. But all too often the 925 pound-torque curve in this truck is left untested. Instead of towing 32,500 pounds, you will see this pickup lifted and loaded down with party animals instead of livestock.