Know Your Auto Memes

According to the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, a meme is a form of cultural propagation. Internet memes behave much like DNA does in an organism's body; memes spread from person to person through various mediums. Over the past decade, memes have amassed a significant amount of popularity, rapidly becoming an internet sensation. There are many forums, websites, and social media pages dedicated to memes alone. There are memes for nearly everything a person can imagine, from animal memes to car memes. Through constant sharing among people, memes can quickly go viral, especially amongst small communities like car enthusiasts.

VTec Just Kicked In

The 'VTec Just Kicked In' meme is a reference to a special technology used in the engines of many Honda cars. VTec is a technology allowing Honda vehicles to rapidly gain speed after a certain revolution per minute (RPM) limit has been reached. Due to its reference to speed, many VTec memes are used to describe quickly changing situations or situations in which speed is involved. The phrase, and its memes, are most commonly associated with the website 4chan and originated as a negative phrase towards Japanese cars. Though the phrase has become funny over time, it originally poked fun at many Honda owners who believed they had high-performing cars. People often used to use the meme to make fun of when Honda owners found themselves in unfortunate situations that may have been a result of speeding or recklessness.

You Get a Car Oprah


The 'You Get a Car Oprah' meme originated from a 2004 giveaway Oprah Winfrey did on her talk show the Oprah Show. During the giveaway, Oprah Winfrey gave every audience member of the show a brand new Pontiac G6 while shouting "you get a car" to individual members of the audience. Due to the level of noise in the television studio, resulting from the screams of audience members, Oprah needed to scream what she was saying and enthusiastically did so. Many of the memes of the event mock the event and use other objects, aside from cars, to make a mockery of the episode. On forums, such as Reddit, memes have been made with the lines "you get an upvote." During times of epidemics memes with the lines "you get the flu" have been used to lighten people's moods.

Dashcam Footage


'Dashcam Footage' memes spawned from the use of dashboard cameras in a variety of cars all over the world. Dashboard cameras, also known as dashcams, receive their name from their dashboard mounting point. However, there are many other places dashcams can be mounted in a vehicle. The main purpose of a dashboard camera, although many do end up recording spontaneous events, is to record video for evidence of a car accident or vandalism.

Dashboard cameras, though used throughout the world and with law enforcement, are especially popular in many Asian countries, including Russia. In a 2012 study done by Animal New York, researchers believed dashcams were utilized more in Russia due to higher insurance premiums and the higher occurrence of hit-and-run accidents. Dashcam memes may have resulted from a LiveJournal community started in 2011 to analyze dashcam videos.

Russian Drivers


'Russian Drivers' memes and 'Dashcam Footage' memes share a relation. Though they are not the same, many dashcam memes involve drivers from Russia, due to the countries wide use of dashcams. Russian driver memes also stem far beyond dashboard cameras, and some make fun of Russian occurrences, such as potholes. Russian driver memes can also relate to common stereotypes individuals have of Russians, such as Russia's association with bears. Many memes also focus on the former Soviet Union.

Because Race Car


'Because Racecar' is a meme that developed from a Craigslist listing for a Mazda MX-3 with a stripped interior. The seller of the MX-3, which also did not run due to a faulty motor, explained the interior was stripped 'because racecar,' a phrase that was very understandable because many racecars have stripped interior and are missing common parts to save weight. The phrase later gained popularity on Jalopnik, where commenters used the phrase to answer 'dumb' questions about cars. Not long after, in March 2011, a website was created to house memes of the phrase. Today, there are Facebook and Instagram pages dedicated to the phrase.

The phrase, which has always had sarcastic undertones, is now commonly used to answer questions individuals do not feel like answering, whether the questions are valid or not. Valid questions, such as why a car is missing a catalytic converter, can be answered using the phrase. Seemingly invalid questions, such as why someone is towing a four-wheeler with a Chevy Corvette, can also be answered using the phrase.