The luxury cars of UBC: a tale of two Vancouvers

There are two UBCs, just as there are two Vancouvers. Conspicuous consumption on campus is perhaps the canary in the mineshaft for divergent postgrad prospects. Meanwhile, there are hardly any Nissan GT-Rs in this town.

Privilege is on display at UBC.

"Hundred-thousand-dollar cars, everybody's got 'em!" Will Smith was talking about Miami, but you'd be forgiven for thinking he was talking about UBC. There's a lot of money up at the University of British Columbia; but, like the wealth in Vancouver itself, it is unevenly distributed, and it pops up right in your face.

University of Beautiful Cars documents the supercars that prowl the UBC campus –– you've got your Lamborghinis, your Ferraris (so many Ferraris), your McLarens... your McLarens with N-plates.



Just another day at UBC... #mclaren #ndriver #cashola #fatstacks #hesjealousofmytoyota

A photo posted by Andrew Yasumiishi (@ayasumiishi) onJun 21, 2014 at 9:11am PDT


While not every luxury car driven on UBC's campus is in the hands of a student, quite a few of them are. Though the only supercars I personally spotted was a black Ferrari driven by an older gentleman and a black Bentley GT driven by a middle-aged woman, a casual ride through the UBC campus brought me past numerous higher-end cars driven by teenagers; many of those cars shiny and new, and many with N-plates. After two dozen, I stopped counting the N-plated cars with sticker-prices above $50,000. If you're driving a status symbol by age 19; what, then, to quote the famous motivational poster, is the justification for higher education?

What are they driving?

Those whose families can afford to shop at the luxury-car dealerships on Burrard seem to favour BMW and Mercedes-Benz, though Porsche SUVs and hatchbacks are common sights as well.

The cars for which UBC is getting more and more famous are surely chosen for their status value rather than their performance: a Lamborghini Aventador is will not reach its operating potential while creeping from stoplight to stoplight.

It's not all sizzle and no steak, though. UBC is also home to performance-oriented yet understated vehicles; most commonly the drift-friendly Subaru Impreza and WRX.

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