A MAN and his wife were returning to their car after a quiet night out in the city when a distinctive, silver four-wheel-drive "Hummer" lookalike caught their eye.
The husband, 32, called out to the driver that he loved the car. The next thing he remembers is waking up in hospital with severe head injuries.
He allegedly had been knocked unconscious by the driver of what was, it appears, a 2007 Dodge Nitro in an undercover car park in Flinders Lane about 5am on September 9.
What prompted the driver to act so irrationally and violently?
Australian Psychological Society spokeswoman Heather Gridley says the Dodge driver might have suspected that the stranger was being sarcastic when praising his car.
Cars are symbols of power to many men, who do not react well if they are being ridiculed.
"It's often been talked about how the car is seen as a phallic symbol for men," Ms Gridley says.
"There's this whole notion of cars and what they are supposed to mean in terms of attraction. Cars are just another symbol of the power games men play. The black BMW or the hotted-up red sports car — they fit a lot of the stereotypes of who drives what, don't they?
"They're used as a symbol of success, their owners saying, 'I've got money'. But it can also be a symbol of bad taste."
The "old money" set usually felt no need to flaunt their wealth in the way that newly rich people did — especially gangsters.
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