The Oak Ridge Boys used to sing about how hard it was to be cool in a mini van. Sometimes it seems it’s hard to be cool in any car – 20 percent of all cars today are white, 20 percent are silver and 20 percent are black. That gives you an idea of how homogenous most of the current crop of cars is. It’s hard to be cool in the midst of these kinds of statistics.
However, there are exceptions. There are some cool cars being made today and there have certainly been some extremely cool cars that hit the streets in the years gone by. Let’s take a look at some of the best. You’ll find that these fall into a few categories, like cars you could drive today without many hassles; cars you might drive, if you have the right connection; and cars you can only dream of driving.
1. Ford Model T
(Source: Don O’Brien via Flickr Creative Commons)
In U.S. history we all learn about the “shot heard around the world.” This is essentially the automotive equivalent. This is where the revolution started in 1908 and by 1918, half of all the cars in the U.S. were Model Ts. I’d say that this is one of the cars you can only dream of driving, mainly because if you ever did find yourself behind the wheel, it would prove to be a nightmare to drive. It takes a lot of skill.
2. VW Beetle
(Source: Mikael Miettinen via Flickr Creative Commons)
If half the cars were Model Ts in 1918, it seemed that about half were VW Beetles in the 1960s. This design is so cool that after the originals left the U.S. market in 1977, Volkswagen resurrected the basic design for the 1998 New Beetle. There are, of course, lots of these still on the road, so you shouldn’t have any trouble taking one on a spin. If you can find one painted with Love Generation Flower Power paint, that would be super cool.
3. Porsche 911
(Source: Eddie Clio via Flickr Creative Commons)
When someone utters the word “Porsche” this is the ride that comes to mind. Please, don’t mention the Cayenne in the same sentence. Since it was originally introduced in 1963 this has been about as close as most of us will get to driving a race car. The engineers as Porsche have been continually improving it, but it’s hard to beat the original body style. A little fast talking should get you into the 911 down the street, or head to the dealer and take a “test drive.”
4. Ed Roth’s Road Agent
Back in the 1960s, guys with vision were designing hot rods for auto shows and this ride represents the pinnacle of that movement. Ed “Big Daddy” Roth is an American artists and innovator like no other. This sweet ride sports a bubble top that would make George Jetson feel at home. It sold for $154,000 back in 2010. We won’t have a chance to ever drive this one.
5. Ford Mustang
(Source: Didier Lahousse via Flickr Creative Commons)
There have been a lot of fantastic American muscle cars over the years, but I’m giving the edge to the ‘Stang for its iconic position in our culture. And, picking up on that theme, I recommend the 1968 fastback like the one Steve McQueen piloted in “Bullit.” Of course, if you want to do your test drive properly, you’ll air it out on the hills of San Francisco. This should totally doable.
6. Mercedes-Benz W115
I’m killing the proverbial “two birds with one stone” with this ride. First, a classic Mercedes-Benz has to make the list and second, we definitely need a James Bond car. Bingo, Mr. Shaken Not Stirred drives this one in “The Man With The Golden Gun.”
7. Jeep CJ
(Source: Matt Morgan via Flickr Creative Commons)
Several of the rides mentioned so far have made the list because of the speed at which they can move you from Point A to Point B. The Jeep CJ represents a different kind of driving thrill. At least once in our lives, we need to point our vehicle off the black top and up a mountainside. This is the classic ride to get that done. Find someone who is selling his and take it for a spin across a few creeks and beyond the end of a gravel road.
A buddy of mine put together his bucket list of “must drive” cars and there were no fewer than 100 vehicles on it. With this list, we’ve covered seven cool cars in a variety of categories: historic, famous, iconic, fast, rugged and more. Now you just need to put the pedal to the metal.