By on September 27, 2013

When I was around six years old someone told me girls were icky. I’m not going to lie and say that I have ever completely overcome that. Four decades later I can tell you that for the most part girls are OK, but on some levels they remain strange, unknowable creatures. To attempt to understand them is to flirt with madness. They like things I could never like, “The Real Housewives,” cats, and leafy green vegetables are just a few examples and, what is worse, they have the expectation that if they bring these things into the home that I will somehow learn to like them too. In the 1970s, marketers discovered that women wield a considerable amount of control over the household finances and they began to target of their ads directly at them. They also began to introduce a lot of products intended specifically to appeal to women and, although it is acceptable for a woman to purchase products not specifically aimed at them, it is a major mistake for a guy to ever buy something aimed at the female market. Picked up a box of tampons for your wife at the drug store lately? Then you know the shame involved. So, listen up now, this is the important part – the car companies are targeting our women folk and if you aren’t careful, you might just end up driving a “girls’ car.”

I put “girls’ car” in quotes because it is one of those things that us traditional cavemen, men who were raised in the days when manly heroes like John Wayne and Rock Hudson were still on the silver screen, understand without it being explicitly explained. I don’t know what it is, whether it is a particular shape, body line, color or model name that sets off my inner alarm bell but I know that it is there and that it has saved me innumerable times. Today’s young men, however, suffer from the undue influence of a left wing media that has bombarded them from birth with images of smart, authoritative women contrasted by weak, buffoonish men and I thought that, in order to save them from an embarrassing mistake, we might take a stab at defining it once and for all. I don’t think this is going to be an easy task and I think we are going to have some disagreements along the way, but we are men and we must do the difficult.

Let me begin the discussion with the 1987 Nissan Pulsar NX. Built on the Nissan Sentra chassis, the Pulsar NX is a cute little liftback coupe and even an optional Turbo engine for added performance. Nissan also offered an optional “sportbak” – a canopy that should totally have made us compare it to the decideldly many El Camino – but despite these manly touches this thing just screams “girls’ car.” A lot of cars get better with age, I don’t know why that is, maybe because the boys have broken up all the other toys from that era and we don’t have those to compare to this, but no, my alarm bell is ringing and I wouldn’t drive this if you gave it to me. I’d take it if you gave it to me, sure, but I’d trade it off on a ’74 two stroke Yamaha enduro or something really manly and then ride that to school in the rain.

1st_Toyota_Paseo

Let’s talk about the Toyota “Paseo” next. This little car was a derivative of the Toyota Tercel and should have been a budget alternative to the Toyota Celica, a car that started out as, if not a man’s car at least something fairly androgynous but morphed into a girl’s car once they spun the Supra off into its own design. I thought for a while that the only problem with this otherwise fine looking car was its name, “Passeo.” Say it with my now, “Pass-ay-oh” even if you have the accent of Ricardo Monteblan in the Wrath of Khan the word ends up sounding like “blah-say-oh.” That’s the problem, right? No. In Japan, this car is called the “Cynos.” Look at the car now and say in your best Arnold Schwarzenegger voice “Cynos.” Did it make the car more manly? No, it didn’t, sorry.

1986_ford_exp-pic-5485743831297867778

The Japanese are not the only offenders. Ford hit us with the EXP and then followed that up with the ZX2. Hey, look, nothing against you guys who like these, but back in the day most of the guys I knew who just had to have a small sporty Ford opted for the more practical Escort GT for whatever reason – maybe so they had an easier time loading their pre-ban assault rifles and ammo boxes in the back. Sure, these things look like fun, but don’t be fooled. While nobody will try and collect your man card if you buy one of these, peope will still know and your email address will be spammed with ads for herbal Viagara and Christian dating sites.

1988 Dodge Shadow

Two cars I won’t be mentioning here are the Nissan 200SX and the Dodge Shadow. Both of these hatches were totally cool, especially when equipped with Turbos like the ones I had and they both had lots of room in back for my parachutes, spear-fishing gear and all those MREs I bought at the military surplus store in case I got trapped out in the wilderness when I took the cars up logging roads those times I went looking for bears to wrestle. No, not those cars, they were totally manly. Cute, but manly.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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230 Comments on “TTAC Manly Men Discuss “Girls’ Cars”...”


  • avatar
    Skink

    This topic doesn’t seem cruel, as compared to the post many regarded to be lesbian bashing. This ‘girls’ car’ notion is well-trod ground. I’m eager to read something new and insightful in the comments.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    As long as women are happy I don’t give a shit.

  • avatar
    MissM

    I’ll admit it. After reading the first paragraph I was rather insulted. Clicking “read on” and finishing the piece did however illicit a chuckle. Well done?

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      I didn’t bother, much value as there may lay.

      Shame in buying tampons for my wife? What am I, 12?

      That’s where this article ended for me.

      • 0 avatar

        Yup. I remember having to buy adult diapers for my now deceased father. And before that, for my now deceased mother.

      • 0 avatar
        SoCalledMillennial

        Glad to see others shared my reaction. I’ve complained in the past about TTAC being a boys club… a lot of commenters really seem to resent women. I usually like Thomas’ articles so I’m inclined to look past this one.

        • 0 avatar

          Sometimes humor falls flat and I am sorry if I truly offended anyone.

          This is just a silly little example in an article that was supposed to point out how stupid some of these preconceptions are – I mean really, I’m in my 40s and still think girls are “icky?” Husbands and fathers do things they don’t want to do everyday of their lives because the people they care for need their help. That’s the actual definition of “manhood.” In real life I wouldn’t feel any worse about buying a box tampons than I do about buying and driving my latest mini-van.

          At the very least, thanks for the vote of confidence in your comment as well. I don’t feel like telling sad stories everyday and I thought this was a fun change of pace when I was writing it.

          • 0 avatar
            ClutchCarGo

            Kudos to you for reading and responding to comments. It’s nice to know that these comments aren’t trees falling in the forest.

            I think that the negative responses are a result of readers not knowing how to take this post. Most of your pieces have been so based in your personal experiences (and not all sad, btw) that when you try to break the pattern it’s not recognized as such. A piece like this needs a much higher level of snark, a la Doug DeMuro, to make it clear from the opening lines that this is going to be a playful look at a highly subjective topic, to be taken seriously only by those who lack a funny bone.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatist

            The ‘icky ‘ tag sort of got me. I really like women, not icky at all.

            No the guy car /girl car can be a fun subject, evolutionary psychology explains much of the difference in behavior and approach (despite what certain radical feminists might believe) . This is a good thing and can be fun to play with.

            True my wife is happy to join me in my Jeep and get plenty muddy but then she’ll clean up and look pretty good in a miniskirt (an attribute I can’t claim) . That’s fine with me

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Well, I think they’re plenty icky until about 3rd grade when they’re past that phase of ALWAYS EFFIN’ KICKING YOU.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @Kenmore, the elementary principal laughs heartily at your assertion. ;)

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            I still have keloids on my shins from Second Grade Sally.

          • 0 avatar
            Blackcloud_9

            I was a little worried at the outset of the article but as I read on, it was clear that your tongue was firmly planted in your cheek.

            People may wish to dismiss the notion “girly vs. manly” cars, however, automakers do not. One of the reasons New Beetle was pulled from the VW line-up and re-emerged in its current brawnier form is due to its perception as a “girls’s” car.

            Another example is when Chryco discovered that the majority of buyers for the Jeep Liberty were women, they introduced a Dodge variant with a lower, meaner stance and gave it a very masculine name, the Nitro (can’t get much manlier than explosives). It’s long been said that it is OK for a woman to buy a manly car but not as OK for a man to buy what is perceived as a girly car.

            Is the perception sexist? Probably. Should it be justified? Probably not. But, it is out there

          • 0 avatar
            Willyam

            Not flat at all, sir…but even today, within the last few years, I’ve had discussions like this with coworkers.

            Yes, buying “supplies” for the wife or daughters happens, and I laugh at it, because first of all who cares what random people at the drug store think, and second, I’m happy to prove that there is actually a female back at my place at all! However, I’ve heard guys say even recently that they would never do this. A coworker asked her husband to rent “Sound Of Music”, and he told her he didn’t want people to think him, uh, unmanly or something. So random strangers sometimes control our behaviors, like what car we’ll be seen in.

            I’m guilty. Every year at the auto-show I’d marvel at all the colors of Beetles (new and new-new) and how they really did sort of bring back the nostalgia for the blue one my dad had. I really kind of wanted one because rather than choosing gray or silver, I could totally spec out the outside, inside, transmission, audio, diesel or gas, wheels, and be really different. Did I? No way. Read about the vandalized Beetle that became national news. It demonstrates how something slightly too “cute” can be forced into a limited market, or even be despised enough to be defiled.

            Was my dad’s sixties Beetle a girls car? Nah. Probably because of the danger involved in driving one anywhere.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Not “offensive” but you are usually above doofus comments like “left wing media”. Today there is no shortage of hard right media. Fox has the cable covered, papers like the NY Post are plentiful, and talk radio has long been dominated by the hyper-conservative. More than enough to counter MSNBC and the editorial page of the Times…

          • 0 avatar
            WildcatMatt

            I think the main issue is that one has to read all the way to the end of the article before everything comes into perspective.

            That’s good writing, but by that time the TL;DR crowd and those who go out of their way to be offended are long gone and the point will be missed.

        • 0 avatar
          April

          I’ve noticed that too.

          :(

          • 0 avatar
            thejesus

            i’m pretty sure the ‘left wing media’ was part of the joke. really obviously so.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “really obviously so.”

            Well, yeah, you’re jesus. Of course it’s obvious to you… your old man is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent and all that. And I’m assuming you talk.

            Christ, get a clue.

  • avatar
    SteelyMoose

    I would add the Toyota Solara to the list.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      I’m going to single out the last version Solara convertible. I see more women driving them than guys, and I have to wonder why they chose this over a six cylinder Mustang convertible. I wonder if they even drove the Mustang before buying the Toyota. I conclude that they see the Mustang as being too associated with guys or adolescents men, and don’t want that stigma. And that’s a shame, because the Mustang was designed partly to be a convertible, so vision rearward was considered (lower rearseat headrests, larger rear windscreen) and partially lined top. Solara convertible seems like the aftermarket-converted afterthought that it was.One reason why buyers shouldn’t attach gender to cars, they should just drive all of them to see which one suits them best.

  • avatar
    krayzie

    Toyota Paseo? Try Toyota Sera.

  • avatar
    afflo

    The CUV seems like the ultimate female-car. High seat so women feel less intimidated in traffic, four doors to take children, girlfriends along, large cargo area for shopping.

    The ultimate supposed girl car, the Miata, seems to always have a middle aged guy who is happy as a cat in a tuna cannery – he’s so glad he can drive something with no back seats now that the kids are older.

    The list of things women *generally* DON’T like seem to include:

    - low seats
    - two doors
    - “angry” styling
    - manual transmissions
    - performance variants (i.e. MazdaSpeed, SS, Si, whatever…)

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      CUVs and even full-sizers. Where I live you often see the Expeditions and Lexii 570 being driven by middle-aged (but looking younger) bottle blondes.

      • 0 avatar

        Especially SUVs.

        I have also known plenty of women who drive stick shifts, including my sister (FR-S), and my most important ex-girlfriend.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Lol. Where I am, the “bottle blondes” you speak of seem to be in X5′s, Cayennes and ML 350′s. At the same time, though, I’ll see another similar-looking woman in a Shelby GT500 or a RAM Long Horn.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Speaking of which I know of three women in GT500s A blonde with a red/white (color/stripe) coupe, a brunette with a white/blue coupe and another brunette with a grey/black coupe. The last one traded in her late model Mach for a GT500.

        • 0 avatar
          thejesus

          Someone sent out a memo here in Vancouver and import SUV’s are definitely chick cars…I’m gonna put the Audi/BMW/Merc/Porsche variants at 80% female drivers. The last Mustang I saw was a GT with a ‘Brony’ license plate though so, obviously, all bets are off…world dun got all mixed up.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Two seats is why I don’t think the EXP fits.

      I’ve actually known a lot of women with stickshift cars. Based on my experience men are more afraid of stickshift cars, if they don’t know how to shift yet, because they are afraid of something that will make it look like they don’t know how to drive.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Me and my two brothers all took turns driving around an 85 Mercury LN7 (EXP clone). Manual steering, 5-speed, two rock-hard vinyl (black) seats, winder windows, no AC and no back seat. I rode from Cleveland to Chicago on the lack of a back seat and sweltered many hot days inside of that torture machine. Was pretty reliable given that there wasn’t much to break.
        If this is considered a girl’s car, most girls have bigger brass balls than most men I’ve ever met. In fact a girly girl’s daddy I knew bought her an Escort GT.
        That and the Nissan NX was sweet. I call shenanagins on the whole article.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        In my experience, men are more likely to want to learn to drive stick, but women are less worried about embarrassment while they’re learning. Personally, my mother taught me the basics in her New Beetle 1.8T – certainly a ‘girly car’, but fast enough to beat up on riced Hondas and hooptie-ass third-gen Camaros – and when I could afford a more reliable second car to (hopefully) complement my horrible Volvo wagon, I went out and bought… another Volvo wagon, this one a five-speed 850.

        I still love that shifter, thinking back on it. One of the best efforts I’ve seen outside of a Honda.

        • 0 avatar
          April

          My Dad got me hooked on manual transmissions by showing me how to shift gears in my 1981 VW Bug (Mexican grey market import) without using the clutch.

          Vroom Click Vroom Click…

          :)

      • 0 avatar
        thejesus

        I’m sorry, you have a typo in your response. You should have said ‘men’ are more afraid of stick shift cars. Men are not afraid of them. And women that can drive them are just plain sexy…must be why I fall for women from anywhere but Canada/US where the overwhelming norm is a stick and three pedals.

    • 0 avatar
      kvndoom

      It’s going to be fun watching my stepdaughter grow up, because she loves all those things you mentioned… She’s not my child by birth but her tastes and her moms are wildly different.

      She’s getting the ’05 Focus ST when she turns 16 in a couple years. So she will have the means and time to master driving a real transmission. It’s hilarious when she says “I can’t wait to learn how to drive stick so I can drive Kevin’s cars!”

      Make me proud, little one. :)

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      afflo – not my wife; she likes two doors, sporty styling, and the high power variants. Ok, she wants an automatic, but has no issue with my driving a stick. Its all in who you marry. Look carefully guys: those annoying traits don’t go away with a ring. So if her car is dented and dirty, don’t expect her to suddenly be concerned with keeping a car nice. If she leases a snot brand every three years like clockwork, forget any money-saving ideas like buying pedestrian brands and owning them for 10 years. It ain’t gonna happen…

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        First off, April – I learned how to drive a standard from my mom… Dad can’t stand stuck shifts, and mom loves them (or rather did – her knees aren’t what they were) and had a bright orange bug in college.

        My wife is the anti-car-nut. Her car is about as unenthusiast-minded as you can get – a metallic gray Versa hatchback with a CVT. Nobody’s perfect… But she makes up for it in frugality – she’s only put 55k miles on it in 5 years, and plans to drive the wheels off before she buys another car.

        She HATES my car – doesnt understand why I’d want something with two doors, where you have to shift your own gears, and those leather seats are sticky, and the sunroof messes up her hair. She hates it less than she hates driving when we’re out together, so she mostly gets over it.

        She won’t even consider riding pillion on the Triumph! It’s got two fewer doors than my car, and the whole thing is an open sunroof!

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Perhaps you may have noticed that most of my Last Rides™ stories have the protagonist portrayed by a male. There is a reason behind this. Look around. Girls don’t do OLD. You are therefore wrong about all the cars you mentioned. I would drive the hell out of that Sportbak. It would be quite useful for transporting my retired washing machines, pianos, etc.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxIhvB1iS0E

    I tried to think of a current chick car, and it was tough. The tC? No. That’s sorta manly. The Miata (of course)? No. Too many racing men. Probably the closest thing would be a Mini or a Fiat.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      I could be wrong because I have not seen one in years but I think VW still makes the new Beetle.

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        If you’re going to earmark the New Beetle, let me separate the early model( single instrument, flower vase, oversize distance from rear edge of IP to winshield glass – girls car) from the 2011 forward redesign (lower roof, full(for VW) instruments package, no vase in sight – mans car). VW was aiming the redesign to attract more men, and considering what they started with, IMO they succeeded.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          That’s just it. Where the 1998-2011 design was called “New Beetle”, the 2012 and forward design is not. It’s the new “Beetle”, but it’s not the “New Beetle”….if you get what I’m saying.

        • 0 avatar
          ezeolla

          Compared to what they started with, they definitely succeeded. Compared to the rest of the auto market, it’s still a girl’s car

        • 0 avatar
          FuzzyPlushroom

          I haven’t driven a new Beetle yet, but I’ve driven the family New Beetle extensively. The new car certainly seems ergonomically superior, aside from that one time every couple weeks when you need to bring a pizza home, but I’ll be honest, I miss the pen holder.

          Sorry, that’s a bud vase? Oh, whatever it is. Pen holder.

    • 0 avatar

      Now that is an interesting assertion. My original version had a sentence about how time seems to take away a lot of a car’s girlishness. I ended up cutting it because of flow and because I really just wanted this article to be fun rather than a real analysis of one of the odd side-effects of how cars are marketed.

      What sparked this article was Ronnie’s article last week about the Mustang II. Someone commented that they would never have purchased one because it was what the women in Charlie’s Angels drove and that it was a “girls’ car.” It made me think that I too had always thought of certain cars as girls’ cars, but never really thought about why that was or how I could tell them from any other car on the lot.

      I also thought this article might serve as an light hearted rebuttal to some of the comments I saw in Jack’s recent thread about the elimination of comments on the Popular Science website. I’m not sure if it was intended as a joke but I think the fact that someone noted that the person who made that decision was a woman was a bit silly.

      Besides, its Friday and I just wanted to get us talking about something fun for a while. Lately, it seems like the only articles that get a lot of comments are political and with what is happening in DC right now, I’m sick of politics so let’s talk about sexism!

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        >>but I think the fact that someone noted that the person who made that decision was a woman was a bit silly.<<

        I don't think we actually know who made the decision, altho a woman did write the article. The problem with the author is that she has no background in science – women’s studies – and amply shows it by advancing the dumbest argument I've seen in a long time. When debate is silenced science becomes religion.

      • 0 avatar

        The mention of mustang reminds me that the original mustang was a girl’s car. But the second iteration, the ’67, was distinctly masculine. Both Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich had ’67 Mustangs.

        Frankly, for myself, I don’t give an F which gender a car is associated with when it comes to my purchases. I just want good handling, economy, and reliability. The only car I ever bought new was a ’93 Saturn. Probably a girl’s car. But one of my buddies, a former race driver, loved taking that thing around the track at Summit Point.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      The tC? Yeah, actually you’ve got a pretty big winner here. Especially with the FR-S on the showroom floor.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Heh… I have a buddy that used to own a TC before traded up to an FR-S, when I had to go get parts at the local Toyota stealership they had a TC with a large sign saying ”Take this home to your daughter today”.

      I used rib him about his girly car and used that sign as proof that the TC is a chick car.

      One that seems to have been missed on the list, Ford Probe, a lot of beer swilling red meat chewing cowboy killer inhaling manly men’s men I’ve known considered the 2nd gen car to be exclusively the domain of the the fairer sex.

    • 0 avatar
      This Is Dawg

      Current girl cars in north texas: VW Jetta, Corolla, Nissan Rogue, Chrysler Crossfire (maybe not that current), every non-coupe Mercedes, all ages of female in the Lexus RX300 (I’ve literally seen 3 males driving them out of the 3000+ I’ve seen since they came out.)And the odd punk chick in the modded civic, I see a surprising amount of those.

    • 0 avatar
      AllThumbs

      Well, my 77 year old mom has a tC. She calls it a “sports car,” and that’s why she bought it. She has ALWAYS bought manuals, even though she burns up clutches, because they are more “economical.” YOU try to make her do the math in terms of how much new clutches cost vs her low mileage driving habits. Good luck.

  • avatar
    jimmyy

    What I am seeing on the coasts:

    Young women tend to go for the Corolla. Also, the Civic and Fit. I wonder if the new Corolla design’s aggressiveness will turn the young women off. If so, that would be a big blow to Toyota.

    Mothers flock to the CRV and Pilot. Observation … I would not be surprised if Honda is among the most popular brands purchased by women. Seems like women are into simplicity and turned off by all the technological garbage being piled on by other brands. Honda seems to win the simplicity battle.

    Just yesterday, I was observing a Corolla all dolled up at the light.

    Sometimes, I drive my Pilot, I feel like it is a girls car. I bought it in Black, then got the more rugged looking LX in an attempt to make it not look like a mom mobile.

    • 0 avatar
      strafer

      Young women seem to be flocking to Hyundai Elantra where I live.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        My grand daughter flocked to the 2011 Elantra. At that time she was 18 and graduating from High School. It became her graduation gift and for commuting to college in the years to come.

        OTOH, my wife’s 2008 Highlander Limited was a girlie car. That was followed by her 2012 Grand Cherokee Overland Summit, an even more girlie car that is rugged, capable, yet feminine, right down to the stitching on the leather interior.

        The 2008 Highlander continues to be a girlie car since my 16 year old grand daughter now uses it as her daily driver.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          You forgot to say “Japan-Built Highlander” LOL

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            LOL! golden2husky, that was to distinguish between my wife’s much better Highlander and her sisters’ much recalled Highlanders.

            You gotta be real careful here with some of these jokers that parse every word you commit to digital ink. For their edification I try to be explicit.

            But even that has become a moot point since all three of her sisters bought a 2014 Grand Cherokee (each) in March or April of this year.

            Seems like the oldest sister is the guinea pig, and if it works for her than the younger sisters also jump on the bandwagon.

    • 0 avatar
      JD321

      I see young women going for the Elantra and Civic…Older women go for the CR-V, Pilot, and Grand Cherokee. Are these “Chick” cars?

      An associate of mine is Lesbian and she just traded her 4Runner for an Outback. I ask if Subaru was a “Lesbian” thing and she answered “What the hell does that even mean”. I doubt most people follow vapid trends and stereotypes like the Madison Ave Advertising Maggots want…Especially now with the Internet, even vapid people are far less “programmable”.

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    Any Saturn ever made. Big SUVs and small SUVs (as afflo mentioned) especially. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is not a girls car. I don’t get it.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      Most useful car I ever owned was a Saturn Vue (when it wasn’t broken). It didn’t look girly when I was outr putting up fence with it hauling my tool trailer. The Saturn SL also fit the definition of dependable and economical. I admit my wife was the first Saturn nut but I don’t think it was a girls car.
      Not sure I know what that means any more.

  • avatar
    joeveto3

    The whole notion of “girls’” cars and “boys’”…I mean “Men’s” cars has always irritated me. And yet, I get it. It hasn’t stopped me from owning Miatas, an MR-2 (non-turbo, second gen), and a handful of Fieros.

    But if I owned an F-150 would I be more manly? When I drove the minivan was I immediately more apt to squeeze a pup out? If a big mamma 30 years past her prime jumps out, well, she can’t jump, but she gingerly makes her way out of a Jaguar (Jag-wire to her) is she any more sexy?

    Don’t the demographics show that women buy a crazy number of Jeep Wranglers and Pick-ups. Are they all “questionable? ” Are they the one Katy wrote about?

    If you saw Ray Lewis riding his 150cc scooter down Main Street, would you think any less of him? If you did, would you tell him?

    If so, you MUST be driving a domestic pick-up of some sort. Probably a Ram with a lift kit. Diesel.

    *Mr. Lewis, if you are reading this, that was pure sarcasm and I meant no harm. I know you would never be caught dead on a scooter (less than 250cc). So if you see me, please don’t rip me out of my Prius and break me in two.

    • 0 avatar
      jimmyy

      On the coasts a Miata is usually considered a car favored by the gay community.

      • 0 avatar

        Well, if I had a small sports car I’d be happy too…

      • 0 avatar
        snakebit

        Let me get this right,’jimmyy’. You did a survey of both the Atlantic Seaboard driver and their counterpart up and down the Pacific Coast, and your statement is the result?. I interpret this to mean, according to you, that the Miata is not just a girls car(our topic here), but goes one step further into gay territory.

        Let me guess. You’re neither a scientist nor a pollster. I’m also going to guess, with much more certainty, that you couldn’t tell the difference between owning a Miata and owning an MGB, and also think that the Advocate is the official publication of the Tea Party.

        First, you’d never look at a friends wife driving an Expedition, or Ram pickup, and think, “she looks pretty butch in that truck”. Or a co-worker of yours, someone you know well,driving a Miata and think,’I didn’t know (Joe, Robert, etc) was gay. So what possessed you to blurt out demographics of a population(Miata owners) that you don’t know from Adam? The Gay population is no more monolithic than any other group when it comes to buying cars.

        Maybe, your perception of Miatas is that they’re un-manly, but would you think better of guys driving Austin-Healey’s or Triumphs. You shouldn’t, because the Miata (and also the Honda S2000 and BMW Z-cars) came out as distillations of the good things, and bad, of past two-seaters. The engineering of these roadsters is all about incorporating the good parts (the thrill of an open small car, the power, the sheer fun factor), and keeping out the bad (leaky, difficult to raise tops, dodgy electric systems, tempermental carburetors).

        I think, ‘jimmyy’, that you were expecting a ‘pass’ on your comment, maybe adding a little humor to Friday postings, but for this member of the TTAC community, humor doesn’t stand in for ‘truth’ and bias.

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        http://www.cartalk.com/content/ultimate-gay-and-lesbian-cars-all-time-16

        A little out of date, but no surprises.

      • 0 avatar
        kenzter

        As a gay living in SoCal (a coast) I cannot name one acquaintance that owns a Miata. My friends are all over the place…a couple of Volts, Jetta’s, Tahoe’s, 3 series, Prii, Tacoma’s… damn near everything except a Miata. The closest would be a Solstice GXP, and he’d drive circles around your little minivan based fleet. I drive a Silverado. But hey, you’re the expert on the coasts.

      • 0 avatar

        When I would drive my Miata around a 15 MPH hairpin at 45 MPH, I recall being very happy.

      • 0 avatar
        glwillia

        Pretty much every Miata I’ve ever seen is owned by a 60 something straight married guy. The gays I’ve known tend to drive anything from a manual Fit to a Volkswagen EOS to a Subaru WRX to a Dodge RAM to the ubiquitous MkIV Jetta and E46 convertible. I’ve also known 3 different gay men who drive blue 3-door Toyota Yarises, for some reason.

        For the record, I’m gay and want a Miata, but I’m also very non-stereotypical (listen to metal, work on my car, no fashion sense, etc.) so take that as you will. And my current car is a W124 E420.

    • 0 avatar
      Joe McKinney

      I live in a small town in a rural area where lots of women drive pickups. I have seen a few of these with a bumper sticker that says, “Silly Boys, Trucks Are For Girls”.

      How’s that for reversing gender streotypes?

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Whenever I go to meetings in Northern Michigan, I park my seafoam green/blue hybrid in a sea of giant trucks driven by gun toting women.

        • 0 avatar
          Joe McKinney

          I live in Alabama. The women here like to shoot and hunt also. The local sporting goods store always have several ladies model shotguns and deer rifles finished in pink camolauge.

          • 0 avatar
            ash78

            I was just going to comment on the “trucks are for girls” stickers, but I live in AL, too. I think it’s mostly the same batch of girls, usually with a 3-foot “A” (for UA) and a big pink Buck or “Bone Collector” sticker on the back.

            It’s like they’re overcompensating worse than men ever did :D

      • 0 avatar
        Willyam

        Me too. Lifted chrome monsters driven by dudes, meh, trying too hard.

        Truck with some scratches and dings, driven by cowgirl? Oh yeah.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        Granddaughter just left for school today in Florida. She hunts and fishes but today she is driving my old S10 from Texas to Florida. Stereotypes may start out with some validity somewhere. However, before it’s all said and done they suck.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Bah Fieros and Miatas are manly because you can stuff 427 cubic inches of V8 awesomeness in them thanks to GM same with the Pontiac Solstice.

      The MR2 gets the manly nod as well since manliness is just a big by huge laggy old school turbocharged porsche power delivery turbocharger away.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I want to see Ray Lewis riding a scooter now.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      “Don’t the demographics show that women buy a crazy number of Jeep Wranglers and Pick-ups.”

      Jeep LIBERTY.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    Not sure the cars you mention are girl cars. They just seem weird and oudated, probably because they are. And these cars were not really succesful in sales. and since you say, rightfully, women hav emuch influence on the family car purchase, thsi alone proves they are not girls cars.

    A 2-door is just not practical, neiter for men nor women. tha tis th ereason they (thankfully ) disappeared. 2-door cars were jsut a rip-off so t e manufacturer could charge you an additional $500 to get the missing doors.

    VW Beetle is a girl car.

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      If you think car ownership is all about practicallity then you just don’t get it!

      “A 2-door is just not practical, neiter for men nor women. tha tis th ereason they (thankfully ) disappeared. 2-door cars were jsut a rip-off so t e manufacturer could charge you an additional $500 to get the missing doors.”

      WTF??

  • avatar
    LeeK

    How about going by data, rather than stereotypical assertions? What cars appeal to women and why? What properties make them that way? Volkswagen’s New Beetle had a 66% female purchase uptake during its lifetime. The replacement Beetle less so, because VW designers “butched it up”, and now it looks like VW has lost those potential sales. It appears to me that Minis appeal to women more than than men. Is it because they’re “cute”? Or a wider variety of colors? The same with the Fiat 500.

    Men buy cars and are just as influenced by the “left wing media” (Really? Advertising agencies who make these ads and conduct the campaigns are left wing?) as women are. We see ads with big pickup trucks crushing boulders and doing macho things like hauling cattle, yet the myriad pickup trucks I see around me every day are usually filled with lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and rakes. Gigantic Chevy Suburbans are piloted by tiny women at the helm as they take their children to school. Nothing very girly about those.

    I know what you’re getting at Thomas, (my piggish male auto enthusiast friends used to derisively refer to Pontiac Sunbirds as “secretary’s cars”) but there’s an underlying assertion that a car is lousy because it caters to women. No, the Pulsar was a lousy car because it was, well, lousy. We chide men for buying minivans, even when it happens to be the perfect type of vehicle that suits their needs at that point in their lives. For some reason, we attribute emasculating characteristics to a man who drives a minivan rather than an Explorer.

    What do women want in a car? Above all, they want safety and reliability, at least that’s what they tell me in the many conversations I’ve had with them on the subject. Breaking down on the side of the road is a terrifying prospect to them, for good reason. Women like the upright sitting position and higher seats of a CUV because it makes snapping and unsnapping kids into their car seats easier. It also lets them see further down the road or at the elemtary school pickup line. Auto manufacturers ignore women’s needs are their peril. There was some statistic I saw a couple of years ago that stated that a very large percentage (80? 90? I don’t remember) of new car purchases were influenced by the input of a woman such as a wife or girlfriend.

    Not every car that women drive has to be equipped with Ronal bears for wheels. When I met my wife, she was driving a Nissan Pathfinder 4×4. Since we’ve been married, she has had three sports cars, a luxury car, and is now back in a honking big SUV, which she tells me makes her happiest. As the old saying goes, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I was wondering when someone was going to cite the Sunbird/Sunfire as “chick car”. I had at GT model for 7 years, it was a great car for me. Enough power and handling (for a FWD econo car base) to keep me happy in traffic and a decent size for parking downtown. If it hadn’t finally succumbed to rust and unavailability of certain parts, it would still be on the road today.

      Mine was red with a black interior, and while friends would joke with me about my “chick car”, I could have cared less what other people thought about it. It worked for me.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    The only Hummer in my work lot is owned by a woman. A tall, willowy, lavishly feminine woman.

    Her husband owns a *nasal sound* WRX.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Lexus RX350 and any Porsche with an automatic.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Talk about a bunch of sour people commenting on this today. You guys are taking this article way way too seriously. Thom is just poking a little fun and trying to make Friday a little more interesting. Instead we’re getting all the “practical” and “give me statistics” and “I’m insulted” comments.

    Thom…left wing media has created those comments in people :)

    Why in the hell do we have to be soooo PC?

  • avatar
    jz78817

    always amusing to watch men try to explain what women want.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    CUV’s are the current girl car of choice. CRV’s, RAV4′s, Murano’s, SantaFe’s etc etc.. Little cars seem to be a mix of retirees and young folk (as far as I can tell).

  • avatar
    zeru57

    Easily one of the worst articles on this site in a long time. A topic like this one could be genuinely interesting, instead we get worthless platitudes and a couple pictures of random 80′s cars.

    A better tack would be to look at how car makers have attempted to market to women, including the downright derogatory depictions of women drivers, and what sorts of cars women have actually purchased and why. As others have pointed out, the Saturn focus on a respectful, non-combative sales force engendered loyalty and enthusiasm among some women, as does the Volvo focus on safety and practicality (despite Volvo desperately trying to sweep the latter under the rug). See also Subaru/Toyota. Practicality and reliability also seems to be a motivator for women who buy trucks, SUVs or minivans. Despite that, there are women who love owning Mustangs or roadsters. The “New Beetle” was viewed by both men and women as “cute” and for that reason, several women I knew didn’t want to be caught dead in one, while others tooled along happily.

    And never mind that practicality and reliability are things that motivate male car purchasers as well.

    But anyway, a post like that would have taken research and effort. Why do that when you can just toss off some vaguely provocative, meaningless statements in a half hour, plus the time to upload the photos?

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      Oh please, it is better than the hollow “test drives” we are fed by some of the biased authors on here at times.

      “And never mind that practicality and reliability are things that motivate male car purchasers as well.”

      Better not let your Consumer Reports subscription run out, you might have a hard time buying your next car since obviously you aren’t comfortable making a decision based on your own feelings towards a car.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      With 8 out of 10 women being involed in the car buying process, car makers likely gear about as many ads to women as men. Or just a general audience and hit on brand values. I don’t have the data though.

      As many female sterotypes as there are in car ads, there are plenty of male stereotypes too. If the ads are true, all Chevy truck drivers are clean cut, business owning, manual labor doing, cowboy hate wearing ‘Mericans that like country music. Ford truck drivers on the other hand must just shout “Ecoboost!” and “Get, it, got it, good” like Denis Leary.

    • 0 avatar
      thejesus

      Or, you know, you coulda just got the joke and made the whole thing easier on all of us.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    My wife says the luxo trucks are chick cars. She is driving an F-150 Platinum today, so maybe that’s why she thinks its a chick car.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    James Bond would not be caught driving one of those.

    Nor Vladimir Putin.

  • avatar
    cdnsfan27

    My wife definately likes to sit higher up. She has had a 4Runner, Freestyle and now an Escape.

    It has been my experience in car sales that most women want safety, reliability and ease of use in their vehicles. They are extremely busy and just want you to make at least one part of their lives easier.

    Younger women and trophy wives go for the traditional chick cars, moms go for practical.

    As for my friends in the gay community they go for cute and impractical such as SLK, Eos, 128, Beetle Cabrio and such. They tend to have more disposable income and enjoy a bit of flashiness.

  • avatar
    cgraham

    My first car was a ’99 Paseo
    My second, a speed6
    My third, a Tacoma
    Compensate, then overcompensate?
    I think colour has a lot to do with ‘girl cars.’ White has always made, in my mind at least, a vehicle more attractive to the feminine persuasion, while black seems more manly.

  • avatar
    spyked

    Based on what I see in DC/NOVA, I’d say girl cars are SUVS (real Suburban truck based and crossovers). They are minivans really.

    I remember back in the 80s when women got their own trim lines for cars. Camaro Berlinetta, Thunderbird Elan, Mercury (anything).

  • avatar
    ...m...

    …four-seat convertibles are the quintessential chick car: pontiac sunfire, nissan murano crosscabriolet, et al…i challenge anyone to name a four-seat convertible which isn’t at heart a chick car, and no, topless CJ/FJ/thing utility wagons don’t count…

  • avatar
    raph

    Huh in that angled shot of the EXP I see a rather strong resemblance to the Mustang of the day, the manliest car in Ford’s line-up. Hmmmmm… Perhaps all those Camaro, Firebird and most prominently late model GTO guys were right, if you choose a Mustang over the more manly GM counter parts you might have a little lace in your underwear.

    Yes I’m being facetious.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “us traditional cavemen, men who were raised in the days when manly heroes like John Wayne and Rock Hudson were still on the silver screen”

    This part of the post encapulates why the whole notion of manly image is bogus, whether applied to cars or actors. What counts is what’s inside, not what is displayed on the outside or is projected onto something or someone.

  • avatar
    Mr Imperial

    The only true chick car unabashedly made and marketed for women: Dodge’s La Femme.

    http://www.allpar.com/model/lafemme.html

    Fiat is trying to do a his’ and hers’ 500 in my opinion. The base 500 for her, and the rip-roarin’ 500 Abarth for him.

    The old-guard way of marketing still is trying to figure out what women want in a car, but a one-size-fits-all approach to ALL women is fundamentally flawed, just like the same approach for all men doesn’t work either.

    I’m a thirty-something american man, and I readily acknowledge that I prefer a big honkin’ V8 in the front driving the rear wheels. I know that some other men prefer a turbocharged four-banger driving all four wheels, whereas some other men prefer a simple six-cylinder that can cruse all day long with 30 mpg.

    One size fits all has never, and will never work.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’d argue most of the models sold in 2013 are at best “unisex” or feminine/metrosexual. Very few testosterone induced rough and tumble models left, Corvette, Charger, maybe Camaro, some trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Imperial

      Viper and the whole SRT line of Grand Cherokees, Chargers, Challengers, 300s, are testosterone-fortified.

      Shelby Mustangs likewise.

      Corvette ZR1′s and Camaro ZL1′s under the GM banner.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I did forget about Viper, but most of the Chrysler lineup you mention is unisex as is Mustang IMO based on looks alone. Corvette regardless of trim package falls into the “manly” category, I can’t decide if Camaro is more unisex or masculine based on looks. Leaning away from unisex but not quite rough and tumble.

        • 0 avatar
          Mr Imperial

          I can see your point-the underlying vehicle is pretty much the same-

          The maufacturers install “manly” paint/stripes/spoiler/wings/wheels/badges/scoops/etc. to make a visual statement of its top-dog status (on top of the more powerful engine).

          I like how the SRT Charger looks more menancing than the base model. Of course, not everyone shares that opinion.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree mfgs attempt to put cheap “manly” bits on models in sport packages but I see it as lipstick on a pig. No matter the mod, cars based on their size and styling seem to convey a message, putting a hood scoop on a Mini or Fiat 500 does not make it more masculine by any stretch of the imagination.

            I think the stock Charger looks menacing while the 300 looks more refined in comparison (as it should be). The SRT Charger, seems to just add on 70s looking Mopar bits to it (which is fine), but the basic car design is already there without the upped trim.

          • 0 avatar
            afflo

            When I see stock chargers, I look for “EXEMPT” license plates and hidden lights. Those have become the new Crown Vic.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            That’s true Afflo.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          The 2013 and 2014 Mustangs appear to have been an attempt to buck the “unisex” trend as they favor the Shelby’s big mouth bass styling.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I might agree with you on that vs the previous Mustang styling. Mustang to me is a car you almost have to style right down the middle because it has been consistently popular with both sexes as long as I can remember and from both Ford’s POV and the owner’s there’s nothing wrong with it. Camaro back in the day went something along the lines of, the aero was “girly” or I’d say unisex according to the IROC owners, and the IROC owners were a negative sterotype among the aero Camaro owners (and well, everyone else too)

  • avatar
    mikey

    I’m a 59 year old,life long blue collar,beer drinking, grandfather of three. I own a Mustang convertible six auto, no mods,no stripes. I guess you might call it girly. The other summer toy is a 426 hp Six speed Camaro. No stripes,no mods, its about as far from girly as you can get.

    I may have to make a choice soon. I’m leaning towards the keeping the Stang

    Oh! Oh!…Is my “Man Card” in jeprody?

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Sorry to break it to you, but your “Man Card” has just been upgraded to lifetime membership. The Mustang only placed you into an additional category – sensible.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Oh I don’t know, the current Camaro is probably the most girly of all the current crop of Pony cars even in SS form, I see a lot of chicks driving them. Most manly is the Challenger, then the Mustang, of course only in V8 form. :)

      But you are a 59yo hard working grandfather, you earned your man card early on and now you can proudly say F— Off to anyone trying to take it away!

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Not sure they make many man cars anymore. Girls have been into trucks around here forever now. They have also seemed to take over the 911 and even higher level of sports cars around here.

    If you built it, or rebuilt it – it may be a man car.

    Otherwise, you are pretty much stuck with a panther or a brown diesel wagon if you want a man car.

    :)

  • avatar
    Jeff Waingrow

    Don’t want to cause you any more angst than you’re already suffering, but Rock Hudson was gay. Let me get back to you on John Wayne. Meanwhile, just to play it safe, avoid pink at all costs.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    When I see girls driving 1/2 ton trucks, I have to assume it’s borrow from some dude while her Civic is getting new ball joints. But then I spot the “Sorry Boys, Trucks Are For Girls” sticker. Now I’m looking for the “Girls Rule” or “Fast Ball Pitcher” stickers and assume she plays for the other team…

    But I originally put the 1st gen MR2 into the girly category, until I drove one. Then I owned one. My sticker should have read, “Sorry Girls, MR2s Are For Boys That Can Toss It Into An Offcamber, Decreasing Radius And Exit On A 4-Wheel-Drift”. That car was blast and I drove it like it was stolen. I let everyone drive and they couldn’t believe it either. But then it did get stolen. Never got it back, but it had been stolen previously. Good times.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    That EXP brings back memories, I always liked it, exactly like the one in your pic. Girl car? Maybe… but back then they were cool.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s amazing just how many good looking cars got produced in that era. I’m sure Ford never intended them to sell in really high numbers, but the fact that they went ahead and made them anyhow says something good about the market back in the day.

      I’m not sure what the engines were, but if they had dumped in the turbo engine from the SVO Mastang it would have been a real big league winner.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Wasn’t the EXP an FWD chassis sourced from the Escort? Seems to me it was intended as a sportier take on the Escort chassis.

        • 0 avatar
          geeber

          The EXP was a two-seat, re-bodied Escort. The original 1982-85 models featured the “frog-eye” front and a weak engine. The first EXPs had a flat back window, while the companion Mercury LN7 featured the “bubbleback” rear window.

          The model in the photo is one of the 1986-88 EXPs, which featured a much more attractive front end with flush-mounted headlights and revamped rear bumpers. You also got a more attractive dashboard, better engines and superior chassis tuning with these EXPs.

          Ford also discontinued the Mercury LN7, but put its bubbleback rear window on these revamped EXPs.

          I wouldn’t mind having one of the 1986-88 models.

        • 0 avatar
          racer-esq.

          It was the Escort CRX.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            The only EXP owner I knew was my Grandmother who bought one new while she was in her 60s. She didn’t find out that it required “sports car” insurance because of the two seat configuration until after she had signed the paperwork. Boy was she mad! She didn’t keep it long but sold it to her youngest daughter to commute to work in.

            I remember Grandma saying: “If I was going to be charged sports car insurance, at least have it be a Mustang or something.”

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        The EXP had the same engine and suspension as the Escort GT, which was a not terribly bad car for its time. Where I grew up there were TONS of them, it was cheap and fun to drive, decently reliable, kind of a cheaper GTI.

        • 0 avatar
          jdowmiller

          I had an ’89 Escort GT for a couple years in the early ’90s until it literally fell apart. Absolutely everything broke, including the amazing motorized seat belts.

          My friend had a ’90 and we would go on drives out in the country in central Ohio and get those speedo needles pegged well past the 85 mph mark….going down a hill, of course…and with a tailwind.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            I never see Escorts any more, yet I still see a handful of 2nd gen J-bodies.

            Clearly this means that all Ford Escorts were built like garbage. Then again, when my mom owned a ’84 wagon, she had to retire it because the floors rusted so badly we would have put our feet through the floor.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    The VW Cabriolet was once the quintessential chick car . Nowadays it seems to be replaced by the Chrysler Sebring convertible . Or any brand of SUV .

  • avatar
    JimR

    Affordable two-door coupes are a disappearing treasure. You know it costs more to produce and package metal to an aesthetic, and know why budget models and model variants like these are less common. And if you dig a little deeper, you know exactly why each of these cars has something lost and missed in today’s market.

    TTAC can do better than this clanger of a tribute to automotive commoditization.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Remember when all most all cars were available in all configurations? Coupe, convertible, sedan, and wagon? Yeah those days aren’t coming back although with the hotter segments of the market I’d like to see manufacturers try.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        The only vehicles that come to mind as being available in all four of those body styles are the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the BMW 3-Series/4-Series. The 5-Series/6-Series would also count if BMW had given us the wagon instead of that hideous liftback thing.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I was thinking Ford Fairmont, but it never had a convertible version. Unless you count the related Mustang.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @bball, I meant right now, historically many cars like the Chevy II were available in all configurations.

            Imagine today a Chevy Cruse and Ford Focus in coupe, convertible, sedan, station wagon, and hatchback configurations. I personally think that would be really freaking cool. Turbo diesel convertible anyone? Focus ST coupe?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I would like a 2-door Flex, just sayin. Ford continues to tease me with the Fusion wagon as well. Its bad enough I have to see pictures, but I’ve seen them around Dearborn as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            I saw a number of Fusion (Mondeo) wagons when I was in Europe a few weeks ago. Not bad looking, but the large greenhouse looked somewhat incongruous with the rest of the styling.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    If certain men won’t drive the MX-5, Mini Cooper or 500 because they look “girly”, then that just makes them well-kept secrets for the rest of us…no?

    • 0 avatar
      vwgolf420

      One of the demographics to which these three models seem to hold appeal–at least here in B’ham, Alabama–are empty nester/early retirement age men, undoubtedly nostalgic for their old Italian & British cars of the 1960s & 70s.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    AFAIC, the only certifiably manly-man vehicle is a RAM 3500 pickup with the Cummins diesel and dually rear wheels . . . and their counterparts from Ford and GM (although the Cummins diesel is the manly-maniest, IMHO).

    When I met my (future) wife in 1973, she was driving an AMC Javelin with the 340 cube V-8 (American Motors’ “pony car”); and I was driving a VW Karmann Ghia (albeit with dual Holleys and header exhaust).

    So, how does that compute? :-)

  • avatar
    Toad

    “Two cars I won’t be mentioning here are the Nissan 200SX and the Dodge Shadow. Both of these hatches were totally cool, especially when equipped with Turbos like the ones I had…”

    I can appreciate being fond of a car from your youth, but under no circumstances can a K car be “totally cool.” The Shadow was a cheap penalty box with styling by Lego. There are many cars from that era that would be fun to drive and/or own today, but there is no way the Shadow is one of them. The turbo just puts lipstick on a pig.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ll be in the bathroom crying now…

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @Toad, nah man, the application of enough power to a vehicle no matter how pedestrian or out of date makes it interesting. I.E. stuffing the 300hp 3.6 DI VVT V6 into the W-Impala makes it interesting regardless of it being an over 20 year old design.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Not all Dodge Shadows were of the lipstick shorn pig variety

      http://www.allpar.com/model/csx.html The Shadow CSX was pretty good for its day.

    • 0 avatar
      friedclams

      Shadow was not a K car, different platform. Just to be correct about it.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I thought the Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance were based on a cut-down K-car platform. There were supposed to replace the old Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon, which were on a different platform.

        By the mid-1980s, Chrysler was down to three platforms for its passenger cars:

        The Omni and Horizon, which, if I recall correctly, were built on the “L” platform.

        The versatile K platform, which encompassed everything from the Plymouth Reliant to the minivans to the Chrysler LeBaron to the Dodge Daytona.

        The old M-body, which was the Dodge Diplomat and Chrysler Fifth Avenue.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Ok it’s an inherently offensive topic, so I have to jump in. Tampons; I always tote them with pride. Yes, I have regular access to a vagina and participate in its upkeep. EXP’s; only owner I ever knew was a woman, and I hit it. Paseo; OMG penalty box. More of a non gender specific fools car. Subies; see my avatar and meet me on the packed wet clay of a rallycross or STFU!

  • avatar
    05lgt

    About the Miata; the 90′s called and they want their stereotype back. It’s bad enough I live in a country where almost half of us feel it’s ok to discriminate against this minority and a significant portion feel entitled/required to emotionally or even physically assault any LGBT they encounter. I won’t condone through silence. Find peace in who you are and stop hating.

  • avatar
    Fordson

    Nobody going to say Jettas are a chick car…but for the most part good-looking chicks – ? I thought this was common knowledge…

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    Women drive practical but trendy cars. Is that so hard to understand?

  • avatar
    slance66

    Ahh the Pulsar. I have a unique memory with that car. As a teenager, a young 20-something girl was tasked with watching over me and my younger sister while my parents vacationed. She had a new Pulsar, recently purchased, with justifiable pride. I insisted that anything made after 1972 (except a black 76-78 Trans Am) and anything without a V8 was crap, that should be disparaged. So I did. Rudely (“New Nissan Pulsar, I’d rather walk” in jingle form). I upset the lovely young woman. So if she’s reading, I’m truly sorry. The car was fine. Girl cars have their place. There’s one in my garage now (RX 350).

  • avatar
    April

    Discuss “girl cars” with the audience being 99 percent men…

    Brilliant.

    o_O

  • avatar
    burgersandbeer

    E46 convertibles. MKIV jetta. Can’t believe those haven’t come up after so many comments.

    • 0 avatar
      glwillia

      I’d say any late-model base 3-series with no options except for the automatic. Those seem to be leased by predominantly 40-year-old women, and the front wheels are usually coated in brake dust and curb rashed.

  • avatar
    Slow_Joe_Crow

    You missed out on one of the most extreme examples of a “chick car” the Geo Storm, whose buying demographic was almost entirely unmarried women aged 18 to 25.

  • avatar
    davew833

    After putting out predecessors that were definitely “manly” or at least appealed to both genders equally, I think Honda and Lexus both moved well into the “chick car” zone– Lexus by following up the SC300/400 with the SC430, and Honda by following the beloved CRX with the Del Sol. I keep thinking of Kristianna Loken in red leather driving a silver SC430 in “Terminator Salvation”. Could there have been any more perfect “chick car” for her?

    I remember when I worked for the local Infiniti dealership in 1992 and we got as a trade- in a 1988 VW Cabriolet in cherry red with white leather interior. One of the things I loved about that job was getting to drive various interesting trade- ins, but I must admit to slight embarrassment when one of the salesmen threw me the keys to the Cabrio and asked me to take it down the street for gas.

    I really tried to like the Del Sol, but after the CRX, it just didn’t cut it with me.

    As a single, 40-something guy, it seems most of the women in my same demographic (single, 30 to 45-ish, college graduates with no kids) drive new or fairly new 4-door Honda Civics or Toyota Corollas in white, gray, or beige. My Girlfriend drives a 2009 Toyota Corolla sedan in refrigerator white, but in all fairness to her, she also owns a ’96 Ford F250 diesel and still has her first car, which is a ’66 Buick with flames painted on it! It’s long been a “backyard queen” though.

  • avatar
    April

    My “girl cars”…

    1977 Chevrolet Chevette 2 Door hatchback (first car)
    1982 Chevrolet S10 extended cab (new)
    1981 Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle (Mexican grey market)
    1977 Datsun 280Z (5-speed)
    1986 Chevrolet Cavalier 4-Door (new)
    1988 Plymouth Sundance 2-Door Hatchback (new)
    1989 Dodge Shadow 4-Door Hatchback (new)
    1991 Ford Escort 2-Door Hatch (new)
    1992 Ford Tempo 2-door coupe (new)
    1995 Mazda B2300 Truck (new)
    1991 Toyota Celica coupe.
    1977 Subaru GF Hardtop
    1978 Subaru DL Coupe
    1993 Subaru Loyale Sedan (yes, I was on a Subaru kick) :D
    1981 Toyota Starlet
    1985 Datsun King Cab pickup
    2002 Toyota Tundra pickup (new)
    1990 Geo Metro
    1995 Ford F-150 Truck
    2000 Ford Taurus sedan
    1997 Honda Accord sedan (present car)

  • avatar
    jbltg

    These cars strike me as merely shitty, but not effeminate in any particular way.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    Why does this discussion remind me of this:

    I guess links don’t appear. (this is on topic, not spam)

    youtube-dot-com/watch?v=EYa7wDCTTQ0

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    I think that for the most part “girl cars” do not carry the same stigma anymore. I think that stigma has been replaced by the “gay” car. Men seem to be more fixated on the implication that they play on the “other team”.
    Most guys I know would tend to rate any hybrid as not being manly. A vehicle must be big and/or fast and consume hydrocarbons at an alarming rate and global warming be damned. Manly men will just buy fast boats when those ice caps melt. Mind you, I’m at the young end of the baby-boomer demographic so WTF do I know about the latest trends.

    Minivans seem to have the stigma that you have given up on life since you have kids. That applies equally to both sexes since most women I know with kids have “crossed over” to cough hack CUV’s.

    My wife used to hate my new pickup because of its large size. I wish I could make a sexual linkage to that remark but since we need to avoid offending anyone with sexual innuendo, I’ll not mention anything about size matters.
    I do see women in trucks all of the time but on the subject of substitutions, the 1/2 ton crewcab has become the new family SUV. It looks manly, the wife likes it, and it packs kids around. It has become the androgynous vehicle of our times.
    Now that I’ve let that secret is out, I’ll loose my “man-card”.

    Is there a truly manly truck left? The only one that seems to retain that image would be a Ram Cummins with a stick shift.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    A completely under appreciated girl’s car is the BMW 3 series. Seems incongruous but in the real world roads I drive, that’s who”‘s driving them.

    Miatas? Always have been, always will be middle aged dudes’ cars. Yes I own one and I pay attention to who’s driving the others.

    Another women’s car is the VW Jetta. Its male counterpart is the Golf or GTI.

    My favorite is a couple I know. Husband is a very blue collar down to earth guy who drives a VW CC which he replaced his F150 with because after all those years in the truck he was sick of it and wanted some comfort and decent gas mileage. His wife drives a V8 Charger.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Lou, I agree with you statements. Really how manly is a big large full size pickup with heated and cooled leather seats, auto transmission, power windows & locks, and loaded. Nothing wrong with owning a truck like that, but size and power does not equal manhood unless you have an insatiable appetite to feed your ego. Many equate smaller trucks, cars, and crossovers as feminine. Size does not equal gender. My wife just bought a new CRV but I have no problems driving it. Now on the other hand I would never drive a hot pink, purple, rose, orange, or other such colored vehicle nor would my wife. I see this as a fun article and not offensive. By the way we have a female Bengal cat as a pet who is anything but a boring pet.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    ULTIMATE CHICK CAR ca. 2013:

    Alfa! Romeo! 4! C!

    It’s just the little red puppy penis of motor vehicles!

    Curse my sclerotic brain… how could this have so long eluded me?

  • avatar
    thelaine

    I’m sure there are plenty of women who drive Ford Rangers, but in my 150 years (give or take), I’ve never seen it.

  • avatar
    dualref

    You know what they say, Happy Wife, Happy Life…. Consider the alternative!

  • avatar
    Bob

    I had a Girl car, a 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe. The best part about having a Girl car is that women actually look at it and notice it! No women cared when I had a Subaru WRX STi, it only attracted men with questions and comments.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    You take the Sportbak right off this list! It’s cool and interesting, and not a girls’ car! The other variants, fine.

    To this list you must add the following:

    Lexus SC430
    Civic Del Sol
    Celica convertible
    VW New Beetle
    Suzuki X-90
    Suzuki Kizashi
    Saab 9-3 cabrio
    VW Cabrio
    Mercedes ML, 1st gen
    Nissan Rogue
    Mitsubishi Eclipse cabrio
    Audi Q5
    PT Cruiser
    Pacifica
    Any Scion
    Any Smart
    Any Mini in a girly color combo

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Terrific article ! .

    If it wasn’t terrific , there would not be over 200 replies .

    Proving once again that Thomas is a good Wordsmith .

    Look at my avatar ~ the Metropolitan Nash ,like the ’55 Dodge Fem , was built and marketed for Women , to me it’s a fun little Sports Coupe , I run it way too fast and hard and love every minute of it =8-) .

    (the 6 broken wheels notwithstanding)

    SWMBO came home about 10 years ago and asked me to buy her an old Mercedes Diesel . I was amazed and made sure she understood they’re slow , noisy & smelly , she loves it and so do I .

    I happen to know some Gay Car Guys and only one or two would be considered un manly if you met them in person .

    Being a Child of the 1950′s , I rather like Pastel colors on cars .

    Keep the fun comments coming .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    AllThumbs

    I had a ten year old Paseo as a commuting car in about 03-04. It was a great car. Completely reliable, great gas mileage, very versatile, decent punch if and when you revved it to death, and dirt cheap to buy and operate.

    I confess, however, that AT THAT TIME I did occasionally feel like that car wasn’t “manly” enough. Maybe it’s because I bought it because I realized that commuting in a suit in my other car, a ’70 El Camino with its 12 mpg and no AC, was insane and thus the immediate comparison of the Paseo to a 396 SS was so stark. Or maybe it’s because I was more of a jerk then. In any case, although I now consider a sentiment like that to be ridiculous, reading this article reminded me that it was mine.

  • avatar
    Acd

    When my daughter turned two and wanted a pink Cozy Coupe I printed off some Alfa Romeo emblems and put them on it, turning it into her Alfa. So now ahe can say her first “car” was an Alfa Romeo. Four years later she still calls it an Alfa.

    And my four cylinder Z3 is kind of a girl car.


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