By on November 17, 2011

A hooptie is a once-semi-luxurious car that’s depreciated down to just-above-scrap value and is getting its final owner some quality, low-buck miles before being crushed. The Buick Electra 225 was the archetypal hooptie of the 1980s and 1990s, but how about today? More importantly, which current models will be the hoopties of 2025?


Sir Mix-a-Lot pretty much said all there was to say about the Electra as Über Hooptie of 20 years back, and other hoopties of that era are measured by their similarity to the Deuce-and-a-Quarter.
I think the Chrysler LH (Dodge Intrepid, Eagle Vision, Chrysler LHS/Concorde/300M/New Yorker) is the King of the Hoopties in 2011. If you see a big car with red tape for taillight lenses doing 90 on the highway with a space-saver spare on the front nowadays, it’s probably an LH.
The LH has all the hooptie qualities: it was a powerful, luxurious machine when new, the build quality was bad enough that non-essential components such as window regulators and weatherstripping crapped out in a hurrry, the paint and trim looks like hell after a decade or so, yet the running gear is tough enough to keep the thing surviving in true cockroach fashion. Like the Electra of the late 1960s, the LH started life as a good-looking car; it’s faded glory that really gives a car an edge in the hooptie battles.
Another indication of hooptieness is the quantities you spot in the high-turnover self-service junkyards. These days, the LH is outnumbered in yards’ Chrysler sections only by the Neon. Vast junkyard parts availability is critical for hooptie survival, because a hooptie’s owner never has more than 100 bucks in cash at any one moment.
A case could be made for the GM H Platform cars as King of the Hoopties, particularly the LeSabre of the 1990s, and the ’92-up Panther Grand Marquis makes a strong hooptie statement as well. I still say that, were Sir Mix-a-Lot 20 years younger and just starting out, “My Hooptie” would have featured a ’97 Concorde.
However, maybe this debate needs a real wild card. The late-80s/early-90s Toyota Camry is second only to the Chrysler LH in the 90-MPH-with-space-saver-spare count on America’s highways today, and it looks particularly unsavory with faded paint, a trashbag for side glass, and a coat hanger for a radio antenna. This generation of Camry was essentially immortal, which means that members of the hooptie-driving demographic can get away with the usual 60,000-mile oil changes, curb-bashing, and general duct-tape maintenance. The Camry isn’t exactly glamorous, but it has always been a sufficiently upscale car that a wretched one looks especially terrible.
What about the King Hooptie of 2025? Jonny Lieberman suggests the V6-equipped Chrysler 300, and I think he may be onto something. Perhaps a truck? Hyundai Sonata?

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109 Comments on “Question of the Day: Hoopties Past, Present… and Future?...”


  • avatar
    MarkP

    Don’t forget the big, expensive SUVs. Escalade anyone?

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, excellent King Hooptie candidate, though perhaps not commonplace enough. To be King Hooptie, a vehicle must be ubiquitous. However, the horror of an Escalade on one or more space-saver spares might compensate for its lack of numbers, circa 2021.

      How about the Tahoe?

      • 0 avatar
        mad_science

        GMT800 and 900s (trucks or SUVs) with ridiculously under-muffled exhaust and cheapest-available 20-24″ wheels are definitely on their way there.

        Right now they’re more like working-class neighborhood staples. They’re cheap (particularly when gas spikes) and super-cheap to maintain/modify due to volume.

        Give ‘em another 5-10 years and they’ll settle a couple notches lower on the food chain.

      • 0 avatar
        RedStapler

        Full size GMs with the full “Ghetto Package” of too much stereo, a bunch of plastichrome “accents” from Vato-Zone and cheap pizza cutter Dubs from the Rent to Own Rims store are a strong contender for the current Hooptie title.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        Who cares if it’s an Escalade, Tahoe, or Yukon. To be a King Hooptie, just throw some Cadillac badges on it!

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      I agree with the GM comment. I think H-Body cars are the hooptie-du-jour.

      Tomorrow’s have to mostly come from Acura and Infiniti. 5-10 year old ones are all over the place here as college cars currently, with their next stop being Hooptieville. They are almost certainly going to mechanically last at least another decade, even with poor maintenance, and there are so many gizmos on them that will go bad and not get fixed, well, there you go. Hooptie gold.

      I know this to be true because of the more aspirational hoodrats moving to last-gen Acura CLs, pre-facelift current RLs, and some very beat-up G35s and I35s running around, no doubt having been passed on after their affluent previous owners (NJ or NY college kids that graduated and got an even nicer car from the ‘rents for graduation) needing to dump them quickly.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Thanks for explaining a word that means absolutely nothing to me, along with the term “hoon” or “hooning”. These words are not and have never been and will not be in my vocabulary.

    To me, “hooptie” is what my friends and I just call a “bomb”, as in “bombing around” in old, beat-up, rusted-out cars back in the day!

    Still kind of funny, just the same.

    • 0 avatar
      jason

      LOL, I’m not always a fan of modern slang either, but like it or not, it’s now in your vocabulary…

    • 0 avatar

      “Hooptie” is just the current term for “jalopy” or “beater,” with more gangster/ghetto overtones.

      “Hoon” is a New Zealand term for “person who drives a car in a maniacal/unsafe manner.” I must take partial blame/credit for the popularity of this term; a NZ newspaper referred to some WRX street racers as “stupid hoons” back in ’07 or so, and those of us at Jalopnik (Mike Spinelli, Davey Johnson, Jonny Lieberman, me) got obsessed with the term.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        When I first read the term “hoon” on this website, I wondered what it meant. I foolishly thought it meant “moon” as in “mooning”, but perhaps not dropping one’s drawers or something! What did I know?

      • 0 avatar
        fastwagon

        “Beater” is still current, and works better in terms of linguistic considerations. “Hooptie” sounds another bad bit of lexical creativity for the sake of novelty or some other illegitimate consideration. This is the tradition that brought us “womyn” and “herstory.”

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      Zackman….Thanks..your not alone. I’ve read every word in the 65 Impala project. Up untill five minutes ago, I didn’t have a clue what a “hooptie” was or is.

      Back in the day RF had to define “hoon” for us less informed folks.

      Maybe its a Canadian thing, but up here we call big old car a “sled”. Now if it includes duct tape,tie down straps,mismatch wheels,and or a space saver its a “beater”. If it only driven in the winter while your other car, old car, Motorcycle,Mustang,Camaro,Tuner, whatever sits in the garage it then callled a” Winter Beater”

      The number one most common, “hooptie” seen up here is a late nineties W car mostly the Grand Prix, followed by the Regal.

      Predicting whats going to be around in 14 years? It all comes down to rust. If the sub frame,and the shock towers hold up, and the availibilty of cheap parts doesn’t change, the Impalas will rule,the hooptie world.

      There I used “hooptie” twice.

    • 0 avatar
      SimonAlberta

      Zackman – well, I hear you and all but….wouldn’t “bombing around” have been ridiculous modern slang a generation or two? Bombing??? WTH does it even mean?

      BTW, I AGREE with you…just saying that maybe we’re both sliding toward the curmudgeon end of the scale, huh?

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “maybe we’re both sliding toward the curmudgeon end of the scale, huh?”

        S-I-G-H…

        Everything is relative, isn’t it? But in “hooning”, what does an NZ-term have to do with the USA? Aren’t there only about a hundred people besides film makers who live there? C’mon! NOT a term relative to the rest of the world. Yeah, yeah, I’m kidding about NZ!

    • 0 avatar
      TCragg

      My buddy lives at 7 Mile and Livernois in Detroit. He’s been telling me about hoopties for the past 15 years.

  • avatar

    There always seem to be some old DeVilles around with that hooptie look. I don’t know that those Northstars will actually last long enough to get proper consideration, but maybe the last-gen DeVille/DTS deserves a nomination?

  • avatar
    DDAK

    1990′s Buicks still seem to be all over the place. It takes a special car to capture the hat-wearing oldsters and the commuter-college crowd…

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      “It takes a special car to capture the hat-wearing oldsters…”

      Hmmm…I guess I’m one of them, as I do wear fedoras year ’round, both straw and felt, although I drive an Impala and MX5! Incidentally, I have plenty of “hat” room in my MX5 with the top up!

      I’ll look at that comment as a compliment!

    • 0 avatar
      ultramatic

      LOL, my friend drove his mom’s old 1987 Park Avenue in high school that we nicknamed Jacques, perhaps because it reminded us of something an elderly Frenchman might drive. It had the 3800, of course, and got amazing MPG. It might have been one of the most underrated cars GM built in the 80′s, with it’s cool reverse-hinged hood, fiber optic headlamp indicators, and wafting ride.

      I used to fall asleep in it on the way to and from mountain bike rides.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    What you forgot to mention of hoopties of yore that I found particularly endearing was the old metal gas cap that continually got left on the pump of some forgotten Sunoco. Thereby the owner, being too cheap and too busy to buy a new cap at the NAPA, shoves an oily rag into the chamber thereby turning their car into a rolling Molotov cocktail.

    May I suggest for supreme hooptie status, GM’s A-body series of craptacular cars; the Buick Century being the most prominent, but for honorable mention the late 80′s COTY Pontiac 6000, the Olds Cutlass Ciera, and my favorite, the Chevy Celebrity.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      Put “dubz” on it and it’s called a Scraper. A-Bodies pretty much had that market cornered, due to low resale. A Scraper is an old car, usually a GM, that is worth less than the $2000+ chrome 18-20″ wheels slapped on it.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Have no words to discribe something that hideous. Never understood my Soldiers spending real car money on DubleDubz for their ’01 Chevy Impala POS. Best (worse) I ever witnessed were the 22″ spinerz, gold on chrome, smashed underneath an ’85/6 Chrysler New Yorker, which itself was gold. The wheels were easily $10K as was the installation of the new suspension, lift-kit and metallic paint. I will say though, he was terribly proud of that car and took good care of it.

  • avatar
    NN

    the Lincoln Navigator, by being styled in a more baroque and fat-assed fashion than the Escalade, will rule this roost (and already does to a certain extent).

  • avatar
    turbobrick

    Escalades and Navigators. I don’t think that Cadillac passenger cars with Northstars are going to survive until 2025 at the hands of the space-saver crowd. Escalade on the other hand can take more of a beating, and continue it’s wretched existence on this earth much longer.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      +1 on the Detroit truck based ‘luxury’ SUV’s. I see plenty around already that run on MEGA-BLING alloy wheels and rubber band tires, with dents and scuffs all over them. The only thing that will kill these off in quick order is if gas gets to $10 a gallon.

    • 0 avatar
      BigDuke6

      +1 Except Navigators aren’t quite ubiquitous as MM suggests, so I’ll say Explorers for the future Hooptie King. (Why is spell-check underlining hooptie? It IS a word now, isn’t it?!)

      • 0 avatar
        scottcom36

        True, but there are/will be plenty of Expeditions, Suburbans and Yukons available to donate parts to the Navigators and Escalades. The hooptie drivers won’t be so concerned with the model-specific doodads that aren’t directly involved in making the car go.

      • 0 avatar
        turbobrick

        And that’s exactly why those luxo-trucks have such a long life ahead of them. Plenty of lower caste organ donors waiting at the junk yard. I think the progression is “new car – used car – tasteless blingmobile – full on hooptie”. Lincoln LS and Cadillac DeVille have great promise in them, but they seem to be too fragile to last very long after the owners have painted them purple and put rented wheels on them. Town Cars do much better.

  • avatar
    Boff

    Gotta consider the last of the ovoid Tauruses as well, at least here in the Detroit area (aka hooptie heaven).

  • avatar
    DDayJ

    Keeping with Buick; the non-Northstar Lucerne, as well as the 3800 powered Park Avenues and LeSabres that it replaced.

  • avatar
    YesiDriveaHyundai

    The Chrysler 300 is dead on. Caddilac DTS, STS, Escalade. Old Town Cars.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    Second-generation Olds Aurora – not only is it GM, but it’s a dead brand too.

    Third-gen 2002-2006 Infiniti Q45 – great car but so few were sold that parts will soon become scarce and people won’t bother to keep them maintained.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      Much as I hate this, yes… The previous generations of both cars have proved this to be entirely accurate. These specific generations were and still are two of my favorite vehicles ever made. My mom’s ’02 Aurora still only has 67k on it. But it’s just about ready for the dump. I suppose a Camry will replace it, and it will be sold on for $2500 or less to the next “loving” owner in the next year or so. Shame.

  • avatar
    AMC_CJ

    Late model Nissan Altimas and Maximas seem to be taking over as hoopties around here, and I’m talking about cars that look barely paid for they’re so new. Bashed up fenders, taped on tail lights, all on a 06′, maybe 05 car. Usually sitting on some cheezy oversized rims.

    I think it has mostly to do with the certain market that buys them. They’re more flashy then a Honda or a Toyota, but I don’t think the owners can afford anything else beyond the car and rim payment.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    the twice previous gen taurus is another modern day hooptie, i have seen several sub $2000 on CL in the 2001-2005 year range. I doubt those will last as long as a LH though as disposable that they are.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The LH is the disposable one of the bunch, no 2.7′s in Taurus. Around here on CL you’ll find a lot more LH’s in that under 2K price range but most of them need an engine or trans and after trying to sell them for more than scrap value for months they will eventually end up going to the scrap pile. Because the LH is a disposable car didn’t sell all that well they will never achieve true mass hooptie status.

  • avatar
    jtk

    First and 2nd gen GM W-Body cars get my vote: Buick Regal/Century, Olds Cutlass Supreme, Grand Prix (especially non-GTP), Lumina, Monte Carlo, Olds Intrigue.

    I especially see a lot of Monte Carlos hooptied up around Chicago.

  • avatar
    morbo

    90′s era Explorers. Eddie Baurer Trim. Taped taillights. Dented liftgate. 3 Oversized rims and 1 stock rim with the 15 year stock rubber that was one the car from day one as the spare. With bullet holes on one side and a caved in fron right fender from having smashed and ran from someone/something.

    This is a thing I have seen, in the real world. Galloway, NJ, 2007.

    Also why I no longer live in Galloway, NJ 2011.

  • avatar
    jason

    Around NE Florida the overwhelming choice for hoopties are the panthers. Ex-cop cars and the occasional ex-taxi are very common around here. The style here is a super cheap paint job (over the police livery) either in black or a gaudy candy shade and super dark tinted windows. Stock painted steel wheels with no caps are the norm–occasional lift kits and 22′s or 24′s for the more well-healed hooptie pilots. In the northeast us and the midwest these are probably getting rarer due to rust, but down here newer cars don’t rust. I think these will remain an important hooptigraphic just because their truck-like drivetrains are so tough and they were made for so long.

    Front-drive impalas are the present day city cop cars and also really popular in the inner city, though they are still a bit too new to be completely clapped out yet. They are going to be the next generation of hoopties.

    Following that will be the V6 chargers, 300′s and whatever that butt-ugly wagon-charger was.

    As noted, one of the essential qualities of a hooptie is that they were produced in large numbers and are dominant in the self service yards. Lots of pathers there now, decent number of impalas so far.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    nothing says last-gasp whiskey tango luxury like a Panther chassis.

  • avatar
    RayH

    The hoopties of 2025 will probably be small cars, I say 2005 and up Focus, Sentra, Versa, Accent, Cobalt ect. We can disagree how much gas will cost and why all we want, but as safe general consensus, it will cost more.

    Those technically aren’t hoopties since they aren’t near~luxury, but most of them have power windows!

    In Ohio, anything GM with a 3.8 engine pre 1998 seems to have obtained majority hooptie status, especially Buicks. A close second would be pre 2000 Taurus. I think LHS cars and Panthers are tied for third.

  • avatar
    DaveDFW

    Have some higher aspirations for fallen status! Around here, 90% of the 1990′s W140 Benzes still on the road are pure hooptie.

  • avatar
    Marko

    Jeep Grand Cherokees seem to follow a lifecycle from yuppie-mobile to bro-truck (not necessarily bro-dozer, though they certainly exist) to hooptie. I expect them to continue to do so in the future.

    The same could be said of lots of trucks, though.

    Also, in areas with no emissions inspection (or just sketchy garages), the Mazda Millenia will make the perfect hooptie. (The wretched emissions system makes it “undesirable” and thus cheap.) Everything that applies to Murilee’s description of LH’s also applies to the Millenia.

    Though the Millenia will be twenty-something years old by then and probably rusted out – so I’m sure the Mazda6 will continue the “tradition” of sorts.

    • 0 avatar
      RedStapler

      The newer Cherokees 2005+ all have IFS and cost significantly more to lift that the older front axle models. The full “compensator” package of 6-8″ of lift and 33+ Mud Tires that never leave the pavement gets cost prohibitive with the newer Grands. The only future Bro-dozer candidates will be Ford & Dodge 3/4+ Ton PUs and Wranglers.

    • 0 avatar
      Marko

      I’d like to add a few more:

      - Anything Saab. Early examples of the 9-5 are already turning into hoopties in my area. Rapid depreciation, iffy reputation, and semi-luxury “status” attract the hooptie crowd.

      - Mitsubishis of all sorts, especially Galants (as others have mentioned), Endeavors, and Eclipses. The Galant is a zombie model that will be made until safety standards kill it, much like the Chevy Astro, ensuring a plentiful supply of hoopties and parts. If any Diamantes survive, they will certainly be hoopties.

      - Nissan Armada – they will probably still be made in 2025, ensuring a good part supply!

    • 0 avatar
      Pinkerton1

      I like Steven Lang’s formula (further down). The Grand Cherokee and possibly more-so the XJ have great beater potential for cold weather duty. The horrid electrical system fleshes out any fussy first owners, putting the long-lived truck on the fast-track down the food chain.
      1. A good long model run. Cash for clunkers killed many, but not all.
      2. Terrible initial depreciation. Moderate fleet sales numbers.
      3. Legendary drive-train with the 4.0, but awful interior quality.
      4. Room for your crew, and a canoe.
      5. There are whole catalogs devoted to serving the aftermarket.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I’m with Zackman in that I always thought Hooptie=bomb.

    FWIW, I had a 1991 4 door Buick LeSabre Custom coupe. It was a coupe by default because neither of the doors on the driver’s side worked. I remember my friend started carping about being bored, but didn’t want to go anywhere. A couple other friends pushed him in the back and sat next to him. He wasn’t going anywhere.

    What made it better was that I only spent $700 on it and it lasted until my aunt helped me with a loan on a decent car for graduation. Note: she made one payment as a birthday present (graduation and birthday were around the same time) and the rest was my responsibility.

  • avatar

    Did I mention that the LH has Car of the Year honors? Chrysler 300M, 2004!

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Present:
    The W-body reigns supreme around here.
    H-bodies will thrive till the body or interior stench becomes unbearable. Let’s just say anything with a 3800/3400 V6. LH’s, I don’t see their trans/engines lasting too much longer. “Pair of slippers” Taurii drive till the subframe falls out on the street. Ex-service Panthers. Expeditions, Explorers, Grand Cherokee with broken 4WD, and other SUV’s with the cracked leather option. Don’t forget the minivans like the Montana, and Caravan.

    Future:
    Broke-ass hooptie drivers aren’t going to put $5+ a gallon in a gas-sucking hog. Also, the usual fare isn’t selling too well these days. I see Cruze becoming popular and the “Hooptie”, as you know it, dying off.

  • avatar
    rustyra24

    The 76 Celica LB that unfortunately was put to death by crusher actually had the word hooptie scratched into hood. I bought it from a 16 year old kid. It matched the description.

  • avatar
    400 N

    According the Wikipedia, the term is “more urban” ie ghetto version of jalopy, “which gained some popularity from the humorous song “My hooptie” by Sir Mix-a-Lot.”

    I was introduced to the term hooptie by a mid-90′s comedy show called Home Boys in Outer Space. Hilarious. They called their space craft da Hooptie.

  • avatar
    mad_science

    Regarding gas mileage for future hoopties…that’s the point!

    The typical hoopty owner gets a sweet deal on their supposedly high-class ride, while completely blind to future cost of ownership.

    If/when gas is crazy expensive, people with >1/2 a brain will be offloading their 12 year old 13mpg SUVs for crazy cheap. Guess who’ll be buying?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      It isn’t really a failure of their intellect, it’s an acknowledgment of their poverty and traditional mild driving pattern. The reason a 9 MPG Brougham was OK was that you only drove it 10-15 miles a day and maybe if you were off 20-30 miles for some serious visiting or touring. It was bought by people who live in the inner-city and rarely travel to the suburbs or beyond for work.

      There are sociology studies that explain why these cars were purchased over similarly aged vehicles with better mileage or much younger vehicles that all fell within the price range. In most cases it’s a status symbol more than anything. Especially as model cycles became longer the cars themselves visually aged less. Also if you drive far less than your more affluent suburban counterpart the need to worry about fuel economy is mitigated substantially.

  • avatar
    aristurtle

    I’m thinking that the current up-and-coming hooptie is the Chevy Lumina. Indeed, a friend of mine owns a pretty hooptly example; her criteria for purchase was “cheap enough to buy outright, even though I have no job and no money”.

    Although, really, most unremarkable domestic midsized cars end up in this category. They aren’t great on gas the way an old Metro or even Cavalier would be, and they aren’t well-built to begin with, so once they get a couple hundred thousand miles on them they go for just over the Crusher Price Floor on CL.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Mine is a ’99 gold aurora. It has 437k miles. The paint is pealing off the bumper and hood from a cheap deer colision fix. It has cadillac wheels. The paint below the fuel door is bubbling. The catalytic converter sounds like it has marbles in it. The rear sway bar is broken. One of the front shocks doesn’t seem right. The antenna is permanently up. The headliner is wrinkling on the pillars, the corners of the dash are cracked. The interior lights don’t work, and the fuel tank level is dysfunctional. It’s an awesome car. Way nicer than buddys ’95.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      437K miles, on a ’99?

      Do you leave if running on a dynamometer with a brick on the gas pedal when you go to bed at night?

      I thought my recent 28K mile year was bad.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I think the early LX cars are already almost at Hooptie-dom. There’s a V6 300 running around my home town with tinted windows and a mismatched rear door, I’m very surprised it’s still on stock rims.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      The early police package Chargers are starting to hit the surplus auctions and these will follow the CVPI into Hooptiedom legend. These cars are big, cheap and rear-wheel drive. Large, RWD sedans are favored by the big rims crowd.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    I am fairly sure my next hooptie will be a 2011~ F-150 once they hit the sub $3000 range somewhere around 10-12 years from now.

  • avatar
    George B

    I could see the 2011 Chevrolet Malibu and related dead brand Saturn Aura, Pontiac G6 and Saab 9-3 as future hoopties. Many were built so junk yard parts will be available and their engines and transmissions are tough enough to outlast the rest of the car. Lots of potential for swapping parts from other worn out or wrecked GM cars to customize a low budget ‘bu.

    The Acura TL has low-volume hooptie potential. Ugly forces the used price way down and Honda Accord parts will be available to keep one running. Repaint an Acura TL flat black and the ugly just makes it look extra sinister.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    The next hoopties in 2025 will be:
    Lincoln MKT
    Ford Flex
    Ford Escape
    Mercury Mountaineer
    Ford Explorer
    Jeep Grand Cherokee
    Chrysler 300

    Toyota, Honda and Nissan will still be on the road, but the exclusivity of a big domestic hooptie will trump anything Japanese or South Korean. There is a sense of nostalgia in hoopties and there isn’t anything nostalgic about Camrys and Accords.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    I guess a lot of it depends on your or your area’s definition of a Hooptie. Around here a requirement is that it is RWD so you can do hoops (donuts) they way god intended in a forward gear. So by that definition a LH can never be anything more than just a beater and since they cant’ handle going 20k,30k, or more miles w/o an oil change, the other important quality for a hooptie they will not qualify. The fact that they are showing up heavily in self serve yard also means there just aren’t going to be any left.

    By the definition common around here the only hoopties with be Panthers. Early LX cars are certainly good candidates but I doubt we will see many of those still on the road in 2025. If we allow FWD in and don’t look for the “luxury” angle since that part was never a big part of the def around here the winners or losers, depending on how you look at it, will be Vulcan powered Tauurses and 3.8 powered W bodies.

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned 90′s full size 2 door Blazers and Yukons. These are top of the hooptie heap in Phoenix. Lifted or slammed using questionable methods and always, always decked out with 24 inch chrome rims. Other popular modifications include euro tail lights, electric green velour seat covers, chrome Pep Boys door guards, and a sun scorched black paint job. The triangular knife blade chrome rims are so ubiquitous on these vehicles that if archelologists unearthed our city as it stands today they would be certain that these wheels were equipped stock on every full size GM SUV that rolled out of the factory.

  • avatar
    texan01

    I guess both my cars are hoopties. One’s a 77 Chevelle sedan, that I’d guess is now more well-used beater since it has matching tires and still sports the steelies and matching factory hubcaps it came with from the factory, oh and is all original paint faded from bright metallic green to silverish greenish. Mechanically its in like new condition, cosmetically it’s tired.

    The other is a nearly new looking 95 Explorer, with 300k miles on the clock. Looks good, drives good, with a somewhat tired 4.0. I get people wanting to give me $500 for it from time to time. I’ve owned it 10 years, and I ‘ve kind of grown attached to the box on wheels appliance. It’s kind of like that cheap convertible hand-truck. yeah it sucks at carrying big stuff, but it’ll get the job done if you are creative.

    The best Hoopties in N. Dallas are Panthers, 300s, Grand Ams and Civics. With the occasional 1st/2nd gen Explorer tossed in with wrong-offset wheels that tuck way under.

    • 0 avatar
      87CE 95PV Type Я

      I am going to say your 77 Chevelle is too old to be a hooptie. In Upstate New York most of the vehicles are from within the last 20 years and I agree 1st-2nd and even some 3rd gen Explorers are hoopties. I myself have a 1995 Plymouth Voyager which is not as rugged as a similar vintage Camry and I have noticed less and less minivans like mine crawling around or even in junkyards.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    Right now Hoopties.

    -Northstar Cadillacs. All of them from the 90′s. Devilles, SLS/STS’s, Eldorados. They have extremely low purchase prices, they’ve got “swag”, they make nice noises, and they blow up constantly.

    -Last Buick Riviera. Ahh, let me just get the GM’s out of the way. Buick Riviera, Oldsmobile Aurora, final 88 LSS’s, Park Avenues!

    -Chrysler 300M. (LH car.)

    -Acura Legend, Gen2. Fairly reliable, but ancient at this point and cheap.

    -Volvo S80 T6. I’ve noticed T6′s are actually getting cheaper than base model 2.9′s at this point despite the presence of two turbochargers. I saw one that looked relatively decent (one dent on rear fender) for sale for $2,700 on my local craigslist. 136k miles, 2001 model, for less than you can get a halfway-decent running EG Civic for. Why? TERRIBLE CARS. But big, comfy, fast – these will get sold at buy-here-pay-here’s, run low on oil until the motors blow (which they will, because they are TERRIBLE), and crushed.

    -Saab 9-5.

    That’s what I have right now.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      You forgot the most ubiquitous, the ’95-’04 Pontiac Grand Am and its sibiling, the Pontiac 6. Especially the Batmobile-esque “GT”s with their fake hood scoops and in the Grand-Am, the “supercharged” 3.4L V6 which bumped a whopping 5 extra HP for an extra $5K.

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    Also, does anyone really believe V6 300′s or Chargers will be RUNNING in 2025?

    Come on.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, they’re way better built than the 15-year-old Chryslers on the road today. Unless gas is $50/gallon, they’ll be around.

      • 0 avatar
        aristurtle

        The 2.7L V6 has a problem where the water pump starts to feed coolant into the engine oil after a hundred thousand miles or so. This is compounded by how difficult it is to replace the water pump (I have done clutch jobs that were easier; it’s your typical $1500 labor/$20 part problem).

        This is going to take the lowest-end 300/Chargers (and V6 Sebrings and Avengers; I saw the problem firsthand on a friend’s V6 Sebring) off the road early.

        (There was a class action suit about this, which Chrysler lost, but of course it was against Chrysler/Old Carco, not against Fiat/New Chrysler.)

        The 3.5L V6 isn’t as bad, though, and I think that’s what most V6 Charger/300 had. The 2.7L was for the cheap stripper/rental models.

  • avatar
    Jordan Tenenbaum

    While I cannot confirm this about the other LH cars, I can, without a doubt, tell you that the LHS has a full-size spare.

    I have a `96, and surprisingly, everything still works, including the A/C.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    My 600$ 94 Ranger 4×4 ?

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    Old Camaros always seemed to end up as rolling heaps. I wont be surprised if the current generation follows this pattern.

  • avatar
    crinklesmith

    I was just thinking about this the other day. As far as current hoopties, the Panther of course laps the field down here in “tha’ durty souf”, but the LH’s are certainly frontrunners in the pack. I would say that older Japanese luxo iron seems to be quite popular hooptie material as well, especially mid 90′s Infiniti’s. Q45′s and the Maxima based one are quite numerous, and a few G20′s and M30′s are still hanging on. Not nearly as many Lexus products from that vintage are hooped out yet, their rightful owners seem to hold on to them longer. Also, GM stuff abounds, and having actually owned a H-body hooptie myself, I’ll say the GM v-6 fwd crap is fantastic hooptie material. German iron, 80′s era Benzes, especially the 190′s, and 90′s era BMW 3 series, and a ludicrous number of W124 sedans exist. (We have a vibrant Hatian community in the south end of the state, and they seem to have a monopoly on W124 sedans, they love the things.)

    Future hoops? The current Panther hoopties will still be around, as well as the W124′s. Mid decade Buicks, Monte Carlos, and Fusions, every Escalade made, and the Denalis, pretty much all the Domestic luxury and midsize sedans before the post bailout “renaissance”.

    • 0 avatar
      KalapanaBlack

      This reminds me… Just last Friday I saw a MINT maroon M30 convertible about 20 miles outside of and heading toward DC on 270. Had NJ plates. I was shocked at how nice it looked. Most of these have billowing, taped-up tops, rust everywhere, mismatched wheels and body parts, etc… This thing looked like it was 1992 and had just rolled out of the Zen-themed showroom.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    I guess my first car in high school could be considered a hooptie. It was a ’68 Chrysler Newport 4 door sedan. Faded, very dull metallic blue paint that was worn down to the primer below it in spots, missing wheel covers (at least one), the driver’s seat was worn through, the interior OK otherwise, just a bit scorched by the sun in places like the dash and had retreads, remember those?

    It ran, the muffler barely existed and I had wrapped it with cut up coffee cans and wire to keep it together, LOL.

    As for the current and potential hoopties, the midsize and larger semi luxury to luxury vehicles of all persuasions to be king hooptie, but just about any car that still runs but has seen better days in the looks and maintenance department.

    most any large domestic SUV, CUV, large car like some of the current Cadillacs, Buicks and former Old’s vehicles especially. Cars like old Buick Electras from the 1990′s onwards to be one example.

    Around Seattle, I’ve seen some older Lexi and Infinities, usually the 15-20 YO models hit hooptie status by their dilapidated condition and I’m sure some as new as 10 years old may have hit this status as well by now, usually with weathered, baked paint and some dents at the very least and I’ve seen some old large RWD Cadillac B body Fleetwood Braughams and their other B body brethren hit hooptie status. I do see the occasional early H bodies in hooptie status today but as for the future, dunno, I’d say the Ford Flex/Edge might hit hooptie status, any of the current Cadillacs or any of the last of the Oldsmobiles or Pontiacs or any of the current Buicks may hit hooptie status as they age and owners cease to take care of them.

    I once came across a guy who could not get his well worn Camry to start so it was obviously well on its way to hooptie status.

    As for the term hooptie and hoon, I only heard both sometime I think this year and figured out what they meant, more or less by how they were used here in TTAC, which is where I first heard both to begin with that I recall.

  • avatar
    210delray

    The local college here is the University of Virginia, and the sports teams are officially called the Cavaliers, but nicknamed the “Wahoos” or “Hoos” for short. (A wahoo is actually a species of fish.)

    There’s a cab company here that has some RWD 80s Devilles or Fleetwoods painted hot pink (some stretched into limos) that have the name “Wahooptie” emblazoned on their sides.

  • avatar
    Civarlo

    My nomination: the Mitsubishi Galant. In my region (southeastern US), the surviving 1994-2003 models reached hooptitude long ago, and the Pontiac-nose’ed 2004+ models aren’t far behind. Even the 2007+ models get the hooptie stink on them surprisingly quick.

    Of late, this model got dealt a crummy hand. When new, the Galant goes straight to a rental fleet and does 1-2 years there. When the rental agency is done with it, off the Galant goes to a buy-here-pay-here outfit where it gets sold to some maintenance-neglecting welfare case with a credit score somewhere around room temperature. The new owner can then find plenty of dough to put 20-22-inch chrome rims and fake fender portholes on the hapless Galant, but claims he/she cannot afford the 30K/60K/90K-mile maintenance invervals. Go figure. No wonder this model’s reputation gets soiled.

    • 0 avatar

      The Galant has hoopty potential, but they’re pretty uncommon. There are some pretty hooptified Diamantes out there right now.

    • 0 avatar
      turbobrick

      Galants were/are doomed for hooptitude the moment the keys are handed to the owners. They are the automotive version of bad credit card debt. The car might pass from posessor to posessor, but it will remain the property of the bank until the sweet relief of a total loss wreck.

  • avatar
    mac

    You hit the nail on the head, the ’88-’91 Camry (and, to a lesser extent, the Lexus ES 250 from the same years, and the ’92-’96 Camry) is the king of Hoopties today, and will only become moreso over the next few years as it’s fellow early 90′s brethren start disappearing from the roads.

    Why?

    1) It was the best selling car in America. They’re EVERYWHERE, over 20 years later, and junkyard parts are plentiful.

    2) The critical parts – engine and transmission – are bulletproof and imortal. People talk about the 22R in hushed tones, but the 3SFE can take even more abuse.

    3) Size. The styling hides it, but they’re fairly large cars. Legroom is ample, three people comfortably fit across the rear seat, and the trunk is cavernous.

    4) Fuel milage. For such a large car, the milage is surprisingly good. I got just a hair under 30mph in city traffic, and >40mpg on the highway, if I kept it under 65mph. (closer to 30mpg at 75-80mph on the freeway – what’s more important to an impoverished college student driving cross-country: Saving 25% on fuel, or arriving ~15% faster?)

    I inherited my grandfather’s 5-speed ’90 Camry when I turned 16, and proceded to beat the &$#% out of it like there was no tomorrow. It’s lived through my teenage abuses, 21 years of Wisconsin and Minnesota winters, and about 10 trips over the rockies. Even though secondary systems are starting to drop out (AC two years ago, power steering pump last winter, etc) and the rust is becoming quite bad, it has never, ever failed to get me where I needed to go. Nowadays the Miata gets a lot more action, but when I need to haul around large objects or more than a single passenger, the Camry’s engine roars to life on the first turn of the key, even if it’s been sitting for over a month out on the curb.

  • avatar
    PJ McCombs

    I used to live in California’s East Bay, and the kings of hoopties seemed to be GM’s FWD C- and H-platforms: LeSabres, Park Avenues, Olds 88s, Bonnevilles, etc.

    I think it’s an extremely safe bet that the hoopties of 2025 will mostly be Chrysler’s LX cars. The last time I was Stateside, there were already heaps of 2.7 Chargers and 300s wheezing through Flowmasters on mismatched 22s, surely their pre-hoopty period.

    Interestingly, hoopties here in Australia pretty much follow the same vehicular template: clapped-out Commodores and Falcons on dodgy chrome rims with peeling window tint.

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Chrysler: all hoopties, all the time.

    I nominate the PT Cruiser with N/A engine and 5-speed transmission– in wagon format, with no tint. That that LX swagg, playa– not the LX chassis.

  • avatar
    360joules

    In my area of the Northwest a hooptie is a sub-$1000 automobile that is disposable upon arrest. Up to 30% of the drivers in my community are either driving without insurance, driving while suspended, or both. These clapped out beauties are never claimed from impound.

  • avatar
    Joe McKinney

    I don’t think anyone has mentioned minivans. You rarely ever see decent looking minivans that over ten years old. By the time they are 15-20 years old the ones that are still running are all hooptied out.

    • 0 avatar
      87CE 95PV Type Я

      As a I proud owner of the family’s 1995 Plymouth Voyager (owned since new) I agree that most of its brethern are in the hooptie status, but the 2nd gens are joining the 1st gens and becoming too old to be hoopties since these minivans are not bullet proof nor exactly cheap to keep running. Also, finding 1st-2nd gens in the junkyard is getting harder, but if you own a 3rd gen it is easy and if you own a 4rd gen it is getting easier.

      I have heard people (not always in a joking manner) call my Voyager and to a certain extent I guess its driver anything from a Trailer Park Staple to Mobile Meth Lab and a few other phrases I rather not repeat.

      When you drive vehicles until the wheels fall off as my family does you get to experience every socioeconomic level the vehicle falls through on the way down to the scrap heap.

      I did mention Pontiac Montana SV6s by the way.

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    No wonder I receive predatory looks from all the low-rent types in my neighborhood: I guess I’ll never want for buyers when I finally do part with my ’96 Roadmaster.

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Well, let’s look at the key ingredients for a future hooptie.

    1) Long model run… far longer than can be justified in any way but amortization.

    2) Strong depreciation with a healthy boost from fleet sales.

    3) Slight luxury bent. Interior materials not as durable as the rest of the car.

    4) Plenty of room.

    5) An affinity for having ‘tacky’ parts put on. Most of which are Walmart versions of bling.

    And the winner is!!!!

    Chevy Impala – Should be a 10 year model run for the current generation. Already a fleet queen. Plenty of upscale models that offer leather. Strong powertrains. Lots of space. One of the more popular cars for those seeking a bit of bling.

    It also has relatively good fuel economy which should help it’s future hooptie factor even more in the next decade and change.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Sounds like the majority of the W-bodys will fit that description. Especially the one’s with 3800s. That engine was produced for an insanely long amount of time.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Wow! Does that mean I have to donate my 2004 Impala to Murilee when I’m ready for a new car? Oh, the humanity!

      EDIT: Beaten by Educator Dan AGAIN!

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        Though Zachman you could look at it as if you got the modification bug you’d have lots of places to look for parts. Imagine swaybars off an SS model, or dual exahusts or…

  • avatar
    87CE 95PV Type Я

    These are all good answers and I look forward to the future so we can see how much of this is true.

    Pontiac Montana SV6s and their brthern will be the Hoopties of the future.

    It is making me feel older, but the oldest of the 4th generation Caravans are becoming hoopties while the 3rd generations have been in that stage for about 8 years with many ending up in junkyards. Meanwhile I drive a 1995 Voyager which I really enjoy and have seen it go from chic, to trailer park staple, to survivor since it is one of the oldest vehicles on the roads in Upstate New York.

  • avatar
    The Dark One

    Around 10 years ago I would chuckle when my Mother-In-Law refered to her brand new Nissan Xterra as her “Whoop-Tee”; obviously she was clueless on several levels.

  • avatar
    stereorobb

    Hoopties! Aaah the junker we eather love or hate. Here in Florida in my region I remember when I first started driving in 2000, the hooptie car of choice was usually beat up 1980s Nissan maximas and stanzas -remember those? And square body Mazda 929s which are virtually all but extinct now, also anything full size and American that was RWD with a v8, (my personal hooptie choice when I was younger) I had a 87 box Chevy caprice, and a 92 Buick roadmaster which both started out as really decent cars but by the time I was finished with them they looked like every other one on the road, taped tail lights, no hubcaps, missing glass, no muffler, cracked leather seats, only starting when they want to etc. my own hoopties were pretty standard for the day lol. Now the old 80s box Chevys are becoming classic cars and people are starting to love them again, but not so for the big butt Buick roadmaster.

    Currently hoopties are like stated above, eather semi luxury or very tired dogged out full luxury, stuff like the early rounded Lincoln town cars, first of the FWD v8 devilles, early Lincoln navigators are really starting to go downhill with that hideous red paint that looks like tanned peeling skin, garbage bagged windows, a zillion miles on them, blown rear air shocks so the bumpers are almost scraping the ground etc. I really don’t think well see early navigators anymore in a few years. The old infinity q45 were big hoopties a few years ago but they are so old now they simply don’t exist, another Car that has taken a HUGE turn for hooptie status is the Lexus Ls400, which is sad cause its my car of choice and I’ve had 3 of them. My current car is a 95 Ls400 but its absolutely immaculate and is perfect as a almost 20 year old car can get, the early 90-94 models though have achieved true hooptie status, the early ones have been considered old now for a decade and are still hanging on at almost 25 years old and 500k miles on them, with bulletproof engine and drive trains but everything else goes on them, what IS killing off the old ls400s is the $800 timing belt job and the $900 starter replacement that most people won’t bother with on a tired beat up 800 dollar Lexus and now there starting to fade away.

    Remember the golden rules for hoopties

    They gotta haul people
    They have to be very cheap to buy
    They have to have some sort of status even if its faided out
    They have to be fun to drive
    They have to run on next to no matinence for awhile
    And they have to be easy to throw away

    I would go as far as to say for at least Florida, the Lexus Ls400 is the true king of the hoopties, cause its a luxury car, there old enough now that most people don’t pay attention to or care about anymore so you can get one dirt cheap, you can absolutely drive them to death or till the wheels fall off (this happened to my first one, a 1990 model btw), they are RWD and surprisingly fast and handle well with the v8 engine so there’s the fun factor, and when they start to go they look absolutely horrible.

    Another example of a Florida hooptie that’s a common sight is the 95-01 BMW 740il. Seems like I pass one that looks like a rolling wreck every 5 cars, they don’t live as long as the Lexus though. Big body SEL Mercedes were everyware as hoopties a few years ago but there another one of those cars that are just so old now they Are not around anymore which is also sad cause I always had a soft spot for a big tired old Benz with worn out interiors and peeling paint. Unlike the bimmers the classic SEL Benz, even in there final days on the road, had soul charicter and a nostalgic feel. I know cash for clunkers took alot of them which is probably why I saw them everyware a few years ago but don’t anymore.

    Hoopties of 2025-2030?

    ANYTHING American from this era that’s larger, the Chrysler 300c has future hooptie written all over it as well as the chargers, avengers, darts, but especially the challengers cause there ment to be abused.
    The last of the panther platform fords if there’s any of them left
    I think the current Hyundai genesis and azura will also be bigtime stink bomb hoopties of the future
    Ford flex, the Lincoln mkx, all those weird crossover caddy wagons if they last that long. The Buick lacrosse and Lucerne will be the dirty taillight taped garbage bagged window hoopties for sure by then. The Chevy Malibus and cameros will also be horrible in the future, the camero already looks ugly as hell. Another doozy will be the current mustang, -think about how grotesque looking most 1995-04 mustangs look already!

    What I DON’T think well see on the roads 15-20 years from now is the current Honda and toyotas. They are not as well made as they were in the early 90s and I’m already seeing the 2004-06ish ones running around looking like ass. Same goes for the maxima. But I think we’re still gunna see alot of the 2003-2007 Altima only cause they made so damn many of them

    As for the euro and Japanese luxury cars well, like now as pretty as they are, the BMW 745li is still unreliable dog poop and now they don’t even hold up as well as there predecessors but I think we’ll see alot of the lower end 5 series and 3 series around. I think we’ll see tired ready for the crusher 2004-2007 CLS550s running around. The current non air suspension s550s will still be here as hoopties. Just forget about seeing old Audi anything considering they’ve always turned into crap after 10 years, along with Volkswagen passats and CCs. Idk about the current jaguars but if there built anything like the x-type and s-type of ten years ago, forget it!

    Now, over the last few years it seems like Infiniti has really stepped up there game and Lexus has taken a major backslide in quality. I don’t think we’re gunna see too many 20 year old Ls460s 20 years from now but the GS has some hooptie future, as dose the IS. I do think well see alot more beat up m45s and g37s on the road and they have styling that may look sharp and edgy now, but are gonna look dated and stupid in a few years thus adding to the hooptie effect. Same goes for the current Acura line, but I think we’ll be seeing alot more 2012-2013 Acuras in primer flat black, with fart microphone exhaust all riced out than as true hoopties

    So hoopties of 2025? I think I’ve about covered everything but only time itself can truly awnser that question to see what survives the elements, wear and tear, human neglect etc. should be interesting to see what rolling wrecks of the future will be.


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