QOTD: What's Your Automotive Guilty Pleasure?

Mark Stevenson
by Mark Stevenson
qotd what s your automotive guilty pleasure

I would never own a brown diesel all-wheel drive manual wagon. Never. I don’t care if I’m chastised by the inner circle of automotive know-it-alls by denouncing the auto journo unicorn. A brown diesel all-wheel drive manual wagon is the equivalent of gearhead hipsterdom. I’m not a fan of hipsters. They put way too much thought and effort into looking like bums and enjoying things no sensible human could actually enjoy.

But, I do have one guilty pleasure: white Broncos. Yes, the Al Cowlings Special. I’ve owned one and would have another in a heartbeat. They’re slow, loud, drink gas like an art degree dropout consumes PBR, and they’re prone to break in the most magnificent of ways possible. They also epitomize the “bigger is better” attitudes of the ’90s, whether said thing was truly better or not.

Yet, there’s nothing you can do to change my mind. My want is irrational and I’m not going to defend it.

There are other cars that, if you like them, will automatically invalidate your automotive equivalent of the man card. Like the Aveo. It’s not because they don’t fit some social norm within our own bubble. It’s because, for a wide variety of reasons, there are better options out there on practically every level for the same price.

So, Best & Brightest, car-centric tropes aside, what is your automotive guilty pleasure?

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6 of 292 comments
  • Illan Illan on May 19, 2015

    My Guilty pleasure would be a black Lincoln Mark viii LSC with:- -black chrome accenting -twin turbo Coyote -2,000 watts stereo -5 spoke 18"

  • Festiboi Festiboi on May 20, 2015

    Oh gosh, where to begin? I'm afraid that my car enthusiast card will be revoked after this list: 1990-1996 Chevrolet Lumina Van/Pontiac Trans Sport/Oldsmobile Silhouette: I was literally awestruck by these as a child; they looked like spaceships and were so cool for a geeky kid like me. The first glance I had of one was at night and the rear "elephant ear" taillights were like nothing else on the market at the time. As an adult, I totally respect them for how innovative they were. The plastic panels, integrated roof antenna, power sliding door, flip/fold rear seats were all very smart and ahead of their time. Would love to find one of these as a collector car. 1986-1991 Ford Taurus: Also revolutionary for its time; this car changed the way that Americans looked at and drove family sedans. A huge gamble for Ford, and a car that still looks good to this day; almost 30 years later. New design elements on it like flush windows and integrated halogen are things we take for granted today Too bad spotty build quality and weak engines/3 speed auto on some versions let it down. 1988-1993 Ford Falcon- Great Australian design as well; Euro looks, rear drive, and eventually, an available V8 engine on a family car is pretty sweet. I always liked the clean, honest to goodness look of this Falcon and simple, sleek lines. Like the American Taurus, too bad mediocre build quality let it down 1994-1997 Ford Aspire- Owned one of these in college. It was awful; slow, unreliable, and equipped with a terrible 3-speed auto. Every moving part on this car broke and every single trim piece discolored or warped after only a few years of ownership. But, I always liked the cute jelly bean styling, the fun colors, and as ridiculous as it sounds; this car had the best cloth seats I have ever found...on any car (with optional interior décor package)!!! Had loads of character; good and bad. 2004-2008 Chevrolet Aveo5- Gasp! Seriosuly, an Aveo? Think about it, it's 2004 and the only economy car options at the time were the first gen Kia Rio or second gen Hyundai Accent. Both third world, old school Korean designs. The Aveo, although Korean as well, lead the way with the tall, less is more, cram as much room into a small footprint as possible trend long before the Fit, Versa, Yaris, and Soul made it onto the scene. I liked the chunky looks, and loved the round circle VW Beetleish theme inside the car. At least someone had fun designing it. I've personally owned one back then and my husband now has one as well, and I like it better than my Fit. It's peppy, has a smooth ride, is more comfortable to sit in than the Honda, and at 83k miles has been reliable with no issues at all. Driven cross country in it, and absolutely love this car. 1992-1996 Toyota Camry- What the Taurus did for Ford; this car did for Toyota. It upped their family sedan game and just oozed with sophistication and dependability. The design has aged amazingly well and they are still plenty of them on the road; a tribute to their reliability. This car was like a mini-Lexus and built like a bank vault. Hate to say it, but this is one Camry that occasionally makes me turn my head. Much better than any other Camry following. 1997-2000 Toyota RAV4- Ahhhh, back to the days when crossover SUVs were new to the market and were small enough to fit in a compact space. This was an honest to goodness small "truck" and as we all know, was revolutionary in being the first mainstream crossover. The styling was fun, it was a hoot to drive, and from personal experience, was decent off-road with the 4WD. Also, the manual made the most of the smallish engine. It had loads of character that is lacking in most of today's crossovers 2000-2004 Ford Focus- This was the "it" car in high school for me. The new edge was daring and eye-catching. But the Focus not only looked good, but there were no compromises. The space age design hid a roomy interior that was roomier than some midsize cars, the handling and ride on this were almost BMW like, and the interior was a bizarre layout that actually worked and was ergonomic. Love, love this car!

    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on May 20, 2015

      About the Taurus: the 3 speed automatic was only standard on the stripper 4 cyl L model, most cars got the 3.0L with the 4 speed auto. The 3.0 L V-6 was and still is incredibly reliable and durable, only the 3.8L V-6 (88+) was failure prone. Ive had many Ford products with the 3.0L, Ive found it to be an excellent engine.

  • DownUnder2014 DownUnder2014 on May 22, 2015

    Not really guilty but here's a small list AC Cobra Mk III: I've always wanted one. AC Frua: I've always loved the design. Shame it was never fully developed because AC Cars didn't have enough cash at the time. Maserati Mistral: I don't know why. I just like it. And it's styled similarly to the Frua. Maserati Quattroporte II or III (has to be manual): Sat in a 1988 QP III in the junkyard once. Always wanted one, even though I know it's a headache to maintain. 1998-2002 Ford Falcon: Parents had one and I've always liked the 'New Edge' shape and also the robustness of the I-6's. Toyota Land Cruiser (40, 50 or 60 Series):I've always the old box Land Cruiser and also because the 50 Series is somewhat forgotten compared to the 40 and 60 Series. 1979-83 Toyota Hilux/Truck: My friend's neighbour had a 1981 and the stories that he told me are somewhat interesting. And I like the look of them. The 'Clarkson' Hilux (1984-88) is cool as well, but I prefer the 1979-83 models. 1970-79 Lincoln Continental (sedan):I've always wanted a big sedan to cruise around in! 1972-76 Lincoln Continental Mark IV: I saw one for sale. I wanted it but I couldn't have it because of space/time/money. Would be a nice and plush to motor in (even if the fuel economy is absymal) Rounded-Line Chevy/GMC Suburban (preferably manual) Pre-1996 F-Series Monteverdi High Speed: I like oddball cars. Monteverdi Safari: An early example of a luxury SUV. It's got a 440 in it which makes it even cooler for me. Porsche Cayenne GTS Turbo (must be manual): Because this one is a (somewhat) guilty pleasure of mine! And I like the first-gen a little more than the second-gen.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Jun 03, 2015

    IHC Scout.