QOTD: What's Your Preferred Redneck Ride?

qotd whats 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"?

  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.
  • MaintenanceCosts Chevy used to sell almost this exact color on the Sonic, Bolt, and Camaro, as "Shock." And I have a story about that.I bought my Bolt in 2019. Unsurprisingly the best deal came from the highest-volume Bolt dealer in my very EV-friendly area. They had huge inventory; I bought right when Chevy started offering major incentives, and the car had been priced too high to sell well until that point.Half the inventory had a nice mix of trims and colors, and I was able to find the exact dark-gray-on-white Premier I wanted. But the real mystery was the other half of the inventory. It was something like 40 cars, all Shock on black, split between LT and Premier. You could get an additional $2000 or so off the already low selling price if you bought one of them. (Neither my wife nor I thought the deal worth it.) The cars were real and in the flesh; a couple were out front, but behind the showroom, there was an entire row of them.When I took delivery, I asked the salesman how on earth they had ended up with so many. He told me in a low voice that a previous sales manager had screwed up order forms for a huge batch of cars that were supposed to be white, and that no one noticed until a couple transporters loaded with chartreuse Bolts actually showed up at the dealer. Long story short, there was no way to change the order. They eventually sold all the cars and you still see them more often than you'd expect in the area.
  • EAM3 Learned to drive in my parents' 1981 Maxima. Lovely car that seemed to do everything right. I can still hear the "Please turn off the lights" voice in my head since everyone wanted a demo of the newfangled talking car. A friend of the family had a manual transmission one and that thing was fun!
  • FreedMike That wagon is yummy.
  • Syke Thanks, somehow I missed that.