Lost and found autolust in Beijing, China

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Beijing, China: There are no two ways about it, China is hungry for wheels. No, not just glamorized, motorized rickshaws like the one pictured, but glitzy luxury machines as well. Just a few years ago, smoggy Beijing was mostly inhabited by one of the largest bike-riding populations on the planet.

It’s like someone flipped a switch and introduced automobiles here.

Now there is real money in China and driving something flashy garners respect. Porsche, Ferrari, Maserati, Lotus, Aston Martin and a host of other automakers have boutiques and dealerships scattered all over Beijing. Hell, I’ve seen more Ferraris in one day here than in several years living in Denver. The flashier – the better.

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People here are discovering automotive lust. Cars are big, personal statements of self wealth, importance, and insecurity. They are lavishly decorated, garishly flaunted and freakishly modified.  It’s mostly about flaunting, but there are some who truly lust after the automobile because they love these machines. I’ve met a few people who race, (properly) modify and worship cars just as much as my kinfolk.

It’s cool to see people in China digging speed and performance. A reoccurring theme here is the sheer amount of people who are paying for good cars. They pay in cash and they want what the rest of the world gets.

The thing is: what about the disproportionately large amount of lower middle-class and poor in China? How do they get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B?’ It’s all about the subways here. Mass transit has recently been upgraded in Beijing with a series of subways that make for the largest system on the planet.

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For about 30-cents you can get to several destinations in one of the largest cities in the world. Once you get the hang of it, and you don’t mind losing your personal space, it’s a pretty efficient system. There is good circulation, the subway trains are pretty fast and sometimes you get to “share” the personal space with a cute native. If you’re in to that sort of thing.

You can actually feel China adapt to the growth of their mobile citizens.

For more automotive craziness from around the world, check out this video of Roman battling traffic in India!