That question was obviously a result of my recent blog post about my Indonesian stingray rowstone belt, in which I also referenced my white smoke hornback saltwater crocodile belt, both belts being made out of unusually exotic leathers. Now I definitely think that stingray and crocodile fall in the realm of “normal” when considering types of belts, but when other people say “normal,” I imagine they’re thinking about less exotic leathers, like cowhide. I have an Italian full grain leather belt hand-crafted in Rutland, England by the British Belt Company, which they designed as part of a partnership with Massdrop. I actually got this belt for free because Massdrop (today known as just “Drop”) used to be partnered with Tempo Storm, and as part of the partnership, they sent me a care package with a bunch of Massdrop goodies. Back when they first sent me my samples, I did an unboxing and review of the Jessica GMK Plum custom keycap set and GMK Carbon add-on keycap kit, as well as a photoshoot and review of the NuForce EDC in-ear monitors. I was planning on doing a review of this belt as well, but Massdrop ended up not renewing their partnership with Tempo Storm, so I never actually got around to doing it. I used to wear this belt a lot when jeans were my pants of choice a few years ago—I would throw on this natural brown leather belt and wear brown leather boots to match. Nowadays, I’ve gotten quite a liking for slim-fit, ultra stretchy, Asian-made biker pants. They look slightly stiff and bulky on the outside, which makes them seem uncomfortable considering how tight they fit, but they’re actually the most comfortable and flexible pants I’ve ever worn. A vegetable-tanned, natural brown leather belt doesn’t really match too well with those kinds of pants, which is why I opted for black and white exotic skins. Regardless, the Italian leather belt is actually really nice. One of my favorite features about leather products is when the clean cuts are shown on the sides and aren’t covered up in any kind of glazing or edge paint; this belt by the British Belt Company shows those raw cuts. It also has an everlasting aroma of leather (I got this belt over two years ago and it still has the rich, pleasant leather smell), and it’s one of those leathers that develops a gorgeous patina over time. I believe you can snag one of these for less than $50, which makes it one of the most affordable leather products in my wardrobe, and if you’re a new leather goods enthusiast (or one on a tight budget), this is definitely a great starter item. Although I don’t actively wear mine anymore, I’ll be keeping it safely stored in my closet, because my dress preferences will almost certainly change as time goes on, and this belt may compliment some of my preferred outfits again in the future.
I post pictures of my truck on my website once in a while, and with my recent ravaging rant about the Tesla Cybertruck, people began to pick up on the fact that I might be a car guy. Unfortunately, they would be terribly wrong, because I just happen to like pickup trucks a little bit and am not really that knowledgeable about cars… but that didn’t stop people from asking me the age-old question, “What is your dream five-car garage?”
When other people are asked this, they list off their five favorite supercars. What’s interesting about asking me this question though, as opposed to anyone else, is that I actually hate supercars. I think they’re some of the most non-functional and non-practical machines in existence, and I would never buy a supercar unless I was provided one such that I could sell it and make a profit.
With that being said, in order to maximize my profits, my dream five-car garage would be a Bugatti La Voiture Noire, Rolls-Royce Sweptail, Bugatti Centodieci, Mercedes-Maybach Exelero, and Koenigsegg CCXR Trevita. At today’s market rates, I would sell all of them for just shy of US$50 million, instantly retire, and set myself up for the rest of my life. … Yes, I literally just Googled “the most expensive cars in the world.”
That would be a very boring way to answer that question, though, so I’m going to follow along with the spirit of the question and give you the perspective of what five vehicles would compose a dream five-car garage of a not-car-guy and someone who hates supercars.
#1. RAM 1500 Rebel
Right off the bat, a vehicle that is notably missing from this list is the GMC Canyon, the truck that I currently drive. When I first bought my truck, I thought it was the best truck ever, then a bunch of problems kept coming up, culminating in me discovering that there’s literally a class-action lawsuit against General Motors in regards to a defective transmission that my truck has. That, combined with the fact that every GMC service center that I’ve been to so far in Las Vegas seems to be wildly incompetent, and, even though I think GMC and Chevrolet trucks have the nicest exteriors, I never want to deal with GM ever again.
Instead, I want to swap out my daily driver with a RAM Rebel. I’ve always been a fan of this truck, and after I randomly got it as a rental vehicle when I went to Nebraska to meet up with Jordan King and go on a road trip to Minneapolis and basically test drove it for 1,000 miles, I received confirmation that the RAM Rebel is an awesome truck.
Similar to my current GMC Canyon, I would probably modify the RAM Rebel a moderate amount—enough to make it stand out from other RAM Rebels, but not so much that it looks like a ricer. I’d start with the functional essentials: a tonneau cover so I can use my bed for storage, bed liner so the stuff I keep in my bed doesn’t slide around too much, and ceramic tint on all windows so I don’t melt to death in the Las Vegas sun.
Something else I consider a borderline essential is a grille guard, which I ideally would get in the form of a full brush guard. I noticed that there aren’t really any grille guards available for the RAM Rebel (and I imagine that you can’t just stick a normal RAM 1500 brush guard on because the Rebel is wider), so I’m not sure how I would proceed there.
As for visual improvements, I’d stick with a conservative leveling kit (I think massive lifts look a bit silly and just put you at greater risk of rollovers); and get my tow hooks, brake calipers, and badges painted in matte gold (I initially thought about red tow hooks and calipers, but I realized that red is a bit overdone).
I’m actually more of a fan of the RAM 2500 Power Wagon than the Rebel, but the Power Wagon is just a bit too big to be realistically usable as a daily driver. Even my current mid-size truck is 220″ long with a crew cab configuration and an additional ~8″ of grille guard; when I park in parking lots, I can usually hang my bed over a divider or something, but when I park in parking garages, I back into the spot with literal inches to spare and I’m still dangerously close to jutting out into the road. The Rebel is almost 10″ longer than my GMC Canyon, and the Power Wagon is almost another 10″ longer than the Rebel… so it becomes safe to assume that I would have a lot of trouble managing the vehicle as a daily driver.
#2. Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
For some reason, I’m absolutely obsessed with the front fascia of modern-day Alfa Romeos. I love it so much that I almost bought an Alfa Romeo Giulia as my first vehicle back in 2018 before realizing that trucks are far more functional and useful, and got a pickup truck instead.
Even though I would use a RAM Rebel as my daily driver, there are still instances when having a much smaller vehicle is nice. Even in my narrow-body mid-size pickup truck, I’ve still had instances of trouble navigating in and out of small parking spaces in downtown areas of heavily-populated cities with small roads and tight parking lots. So, if I know I’m going somewhere where I know I’ll have troubles, I would use an Alfa Romeo Stelvio.
One of the reasons I’m going with a Stelvio instead of a Giulia is because I’m notoriously bad at avoiding obstacles in the road. That’s also one of the very many reasons why I got a pickup truck—having enough ground clearance and suspension travel means that I don’t have to worry too much about my apparent inability to see what’s in front of me. (To be clear, this is stuff like curbs and dips in the road; I’m not rampaging over literal solid obstructions in my path.) I wouldn’t say the Stelvio has a lot of ground clearance, but it’s definitely more than a sedan, which is helpful.
… And that’s about it. Those are the only two vehicles that I really need—one fun pickup truck and one nice-looking crossover. Of course, if I just end the list here, it would almost be as un-fun as just listing off the five most expensive cars in the world and saying that I would sell them all, so I’m going to continue… but the next one is a little unconventional.
#3. Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Airstream Atlas Touring Coach
One of the best parts of my job is that I get to work from anywhere I want. A fun fact about me that most people don’t know is that I was considering buying a Chevrolet Suburban, stripping out the second and third rows of seats, and converting the back into a little livable area with a mattress and desk. I would then live in my SUV, traveling the country and avoiding paying rent. I planned on booking an Airbnb once in a while if I wanted to settle down for a week or two, but otherwise, I would constantly be on the road, taking showers at public gyms and eating almost exclusively at restaurants.
After thinking more carefully about it, I realized that that kind of lifestyle doesn’t really fit my personality style. I also discovered how great of a city Las Vegas was (I had been living in Los Angeles prior to that point), decided to make Las Vegas my new home, and also received some housing benefits from my employer that would allow me to break even with housing costs. I ultimately settled down and lived a normal life, and just got a small pickup truck instead.
A part of me still wants to travel the country and live out of a vehicle, because I’m a very curious person who gets bored a lot and likes experiencing new things. I think the biggest part of that lifestyle that conflicted with my personality would be that I would always be going in and out of public places for food and hygiene; because I’m a very private person, I would feel uncomfortable doing so. The thing that would make it okay for me is if there was more to my vehicle than just a mattress and a desk. That is to say, if I lived out of an RV instead of just an SUV, then I think the mobile lifestyle would be fun.
Being a Class B+ RV, the Airstream Atlas would come with a complete bathroom with a stand-up shower, toilet, and sink built straight into the vehicle. I’m actually very comfortable with being in small spaces, so I feel like getting one of these RVs and experiencing something new everyday would make me very happy.
- My Louis Vuitton wallet drew too much unwanted attention. I’m usually someone who wants to go unnoticed so people don’t bother me, and I failed to realize that having a Louis Vuitton wallet draws attention from people who have an interest in designer goods. It also draws attention from people who don’t have an interest in designer goods, and they don’t realize that having a canvas Louis Vuitton wallet is probably one of the most entry-level designer pieces anyone can own, so they instead assume that I’m too rich for my own good.
- After using a Louis Vuitton wallet, I realized that I no longer want to support the brand. Louis Vuitton is an extremely overrated brand for the products they make and the price point at which they sell them. Some people don’t realize this, but Louis Vuitton canvas is literally a cotton canvas that’s coated with a type of plastic called polyvinyl chloride, better known by its abbreviation, PVC. The company claims that it’s more durable, but I’ve faced issues of the canvas cracking, while I’ve never faced an issue like that with full-grain leather. Even the quality of the edge glaze is poor and peels off too easily with normal use.
- I wanted to use an actual nice wallet, and one that was custom-designed and unique. I don’t really spend that much money, so when I do, I like to buy high-quality products that are long-lasting, luxurious, and nice to the touch. There’s no doubting that a nice, well-treated, full-grain leather product is far more pleasant to feel than PVC-coated canvas, so I wanted something made out of top-tier leather. I also wanted something that was custom-made specifically for me so I would know that nobody else in the world has something exactly like mine (which obviously wouldn’t be possible by just buying a pre-made Louis Vuitton wallet).