None of this is rational, of course. So where do our allegiances come from? Market research for that crash-and-burn magazine for fans of modified cars, the defunct Max Power, revealed that brand allegiances can be set when you're as young as 14. It might be through the car your dad drove or a car in a TV show; all manner of influences can be at work. Whatever, they take root firmly.
Your personality can be a factor, too. Do you want to identify with success, for example, or do you favour the underdog? I was under the dad-car influence, to begin with, so Ford Zephyrs were the bees' knees, but that changed when I was given a car at that crucial age of 14. It was just 10 years old, equivalent to a car on an '07 plate today which hardly seems old at all, but cars didn't last so well back then and it was utterly rotten. Giant holes in the front wings, disappearing sills, road visible through floor… it was shockingly crusty.
Not long before coming into my possession, this 1959 Hillman Minx Series III had been taking two friends and me to school regularly. MOT failure finished it off, it sat mouldering in my friends' parents' driveway and then, knowing I would like a car to tinker with, the parents gave it to me. My father drove it the half mile from their house to ours, crossing fingers the whole way, and I set about it with fibreglass, aluminium sheet, pop rivets and aerosol paint.