Growing up I was never the kid that was desperate to get a driver's license. Cars were smelly and unpredictable. Our family car smelled of fumes and wet dog. There was dried dog spit along the window (we had a Golden Retriever who loooved cars!) and if I crossed over this one particular line in the vinyl seating my brother pushed me back to my side and/or complained to my mother. I liked horses. I would have preferred to own a few and ride everywhere but it wasn't practical. Instead I had my bicycle and I pretended it was a horse. It didn't nicker when it saw me coming but it was cheaper to feed.
Ok, that was almost 100% off track. Woop.
What I want to say is that I never paid attention to cars with quite the attention to detail that I have shown since I became a frequent bicyclist. Now I know the makes, the models, the habits. I give BMW drivers extra room. I worry a little less about Mercedes drivers who seem somewhat more easy-going. The little SMART cars will drive up the bike lane. The Prius is of course very quiet at traffic lights. But a big part of what I notice is who smells bad and who does not.
A late model Suburban doesn't smell a lot at all. Yes I know it has all new materials and yes it takes a huge amount of fuel to run. I'm not calling the thing a saint. But it doesn't smell all that much.
Contrast with the Karmann Ghia. The Karmann Ghia is tiny and cute. I assume it uses less fuel to run than does the Suburban. But GOD it smells SO BAD! I thought I would DIE that time I was stuck behind one at a red light. The exhaust fumes poured out to me and I started to hallucinate. I was seeing rows of city buses (a personal bugbear) hurtle towards me and then veer off to left or right by the time the light finally changed. My head started to clear as the Karmann Ghia put distance between itself and me but the headache behind my eyes would last for the next several miles. Crazily enough I could follow the trail of the Karmann Ghia like a bloodhound. Long after it had disappeared I knew where it had turned and what lane it had been in.
Because it smelled AWFUL.
I know what you're thinking. You say "bicycles smell too. I remember this one bicyclist that smelled SO BAD that, he was all covered in dirty rags and pulling this huge trailer piled high with wet blankets.."
Yeah well that guy was homeless. The smell was totally unrelated to the bicycle.