QOTD: Youthful Recollections of Cool Cars Gone By?

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
qotd youthful recollections of cool cars gone by

Today we take a little trip down memory lane and consider the cars which impressed us most in our youth. And not the part of youth which contains a driver’s license and costly insurance, but the more formative experiences before that. Let’s talk foundational cool cars.

Think back to an earlier time in your life, when that one awesome car appeared on the television, in a glossy magazine, or perhaps in the neighbor’s driveway across the road. It was just so cool. You probably didn’t know much about it, but that didn’t matter. For whatever reason, it impressed you in a big way; maybe you drew it in your Trapper Keeper (or, for some of you, on a papyrus tablet).

My single-car recollection is a very clear one. It appeared seemingly out of nowhere, and all of the sudden TV marketing was everywhere. It’s the first memory I have of an excited conversation at school about a single car. “They are fast,” Andrew explained, facing backwards at his desk.

Shortly after that, I saw one for sale at the local Chrysler-Dodge-Plymouth-Jeep-Eagle-DeSoto dealer as my mom drove us by in the gen-two Grand Voyager, probably on our way to KFC. The Neon had such exciting, fresh marketing. It seemed like an attainable car for a young person, not something super expensive.

They came in two shapes, one of those an even faster Coupe. There were intense paint colors, fun looking wheels, frameless windows, and expressive graphics in the most popular Nineties colors.

The Neon had it all to nine-year-old me. It was modern, fresh, and exciting.

The reality of the Neon’s placement as very cheap economy car didn’t matter. How it drove didn’t come into play, either. It was the first new automotive product to really catch my eye, and I’ve remembered it ever since.

What was that one cool car that really got you excited when you were young?

[Images: Chrysler Corp.]

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  • Carlson Fan Carlson Fan on Mar 20, 2020

    First job around 15 or 16 years of age one of the butchers at the grocery store I worked at had a 78 Olds Cutlass Calais hard top. 260 V8, Bucket seats w/shift console, rally gages and those sexy Olds ralleye wheels! G Bodies were that perfect not too big, not too small size. Better than a Honda or Subarooo!!!!!

    • Volvo Volvo on Mar 20, 2020

      Until you mentioned the bucket seats I thought maybe I saw that car in a sopranos episode sitting outside the butcher shop. Trunk was decent sized as I remember.

  • JustVUEit JustVUEit on Mar 25, 2020

    I grew up in the Malaise era when size was king and bigger was better. As a Malaise era kid, it was big American land yachts, especially luxury cars of the day, that were the big draw. Anything with a driver's armrest full of switches qualified. My affinity was Cadillacs, especially the big shiny ones driven by all the neighborhood mobsters. So it is strange that the first generation Seville became "The One", in all its compact-sized glory. It had the looks, all the buttons, all the bells and whistles of the big Caddy's, but in a more reasonable size. And an FI engine to boot, even if it wasn't a monstrous 500 big american cubic inches. Yes, I was smitten.

  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...
  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.