QOTD: What's Your Preferred Redneck Ride?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd what s your preferred redneck ride

Forgive us for the gratuitous use of the R-word, but stereotypes loom so large that it’s the easiest way to describe this automotive subsegment. Unfair, perhaps, and potentially offensive to some, but that’s the way it is. Decades of conditioning — helped by our friends in Hollywood — have led us to associate certain vehicles with a certain socio-economic group of rural land owners.

Frankly, who doesn’t want to own a patch of God’s green earth and tear it up on lonely dirt roads in a rear-drive American car? Let’s see a show of hands.

Anyway, we’re not here to cast judgement on anyone, nor are we here to talk about any tweet-worthy social issues. We’re definitely steering clear of that. It’s the cars we’re interested in.

Your author doesn’t live in the South or Midwest, not even a rural area, but those aren’t prerequisites for redneck car ownership. (Man, do I wish there was a better word for this.) But that doesn’t mean there’s not a ’79-’81 Trans Am, complete with eagle and louvres, resting on a neighbor’s lawn. Because there is.

Sometimes the bitchin’ old Pontiac makes room for an early ’90s regular cab Silverado dually, which is an imposing vehicle in its own right. Just think of the impressive rooster tails that thing could throw up!

Having grown up in the country, and having watched far too many Dukes of Hazzard episodes in my youth (thank you, TNN), there’ll always be a soft spot in my heart for any 1970s Ford pickup, any rear-drive Mopar, plus the second-generation Camaro and Firebird. Only later in life did I discover it’s hard to find anyone who shares my particular love of the Chevy El Camino — a vehicle that could come in handy in so many situations. What’s their problem?

Sure, the Ford Ranchero fits the bill, too — not the early Falcon-based ones, anyway — but they’re not nearly as thick on the ground as the ubiquitous final-gen El Camino (the ’81 model’s single headlamps and face full of chrome make it the pick of that particular litter. The later eggcrate grille looks too low-rent.)

Yes, I’m most certainly a fan of the redneck automobile, as long as it stays factory not-so-fresh. No cheesy add-ons, please. Do you count yourself a member of this particular club? If so, what’s your personal preference?

I think we’re already pretty well-versed in what this subsegment entails, but let’s just lay down some basic parameters. Older (but perhaps not that much older) affordable, rear- or four-wheel-drive vehicles made in American and most likely found outside of the Northeast and Northwest. Maybe you feel an import or front-drive vehicle falls into this category. If so, convince us.

[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars, General Motors]

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  • MoparRocker74 MoparRocker74 on May 10, 2018

    I grew up in TN, even if I'm originally a Jersey kid. Coming from a blue collar background, a little redneck rubbed off on me...although its more in the vain of the Bandit, the Duke boys, etc. So my ideal 'redneck ride' would be your classic low buck hot rod. American, rwd, V8 power--likely hopped up, with a certain mix of wear and tear induced character but style and attitude. My top picks would be either a Plymouth Duster or a '72-93 shortbed 2wd Dodge truck. At least a 318 with mandatory cherry bomb glass packs, bonus points for old school sidepipes. Gotta have the California rake stance and some kind of Day 2 style mag wheels--Keystones, Cragars, slots, etc wrapped in RWL BFG T/As. Just get it running right, make sure the look isn't too fancy but has a certain character and have some fun raising hell.

  • Texex Texex on May 11, 2018

    Not to go all Gawker media on you... But, can we agree that "redneck" is a problematic term in same vein as "cracker", the "N" bomb and "cis"?

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.