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Reverse Chic, cars to get when everyone around you can afford a Rolls

johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
edited March 2014 in Rolls-Royce
I live in fairfield county, CT. Fairfield County
is one of the richest counties in the country,
filled w/old money types who have names that end in
"II" or "III" or "IV" or somesuch. As a result,
getting a car on the basis of it being distinctive
or exclusive based on its pricetag is an exercise
in futility. I learned this lesson when I bought
my Audi, pulled into the local YMCA, and wound up
parking in between a Jag and a Mercedes E-class, in
a parking lot dotted w/Range Rovers, Beemers, etc.
I've come to the unfortunate realization that if
I want a car that is *truly* distinctive, I have to
go to the other extreme and get a car that is sooo
cheap, sooo ugly, with such a rattling bucket of
bolts for a motor that the mere appearance of this
vehicle in Old Greenwich or New Canaan will make
drivers in s-class mercedes flee in terror, cause
spontaneous retching by Rolls-Royce owners, and
give Ferrari owners nightsweats that they might
find themselves parked next to this automotive
miscreant in a parking lot. Any Ideas?


  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    I have some ideas myself but I'd like to hear what other people might think.


    While copious amounts of bondo and primer would make a nice touch for this dream(nightmare?) vehicle, it should be able to stand on its own (de)merits.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    a Trabant - as fine an example of East German engineering as it would ever be your misfortune to meet. Not only can you demonstrate that you are so poor you couldn't afford a Yugo, you will be able to let all of the other drivers demonstrate their power sunroofs, electrically operated cabriolet tops and air conditioning. This because they would be rushing to avoid the copious amounts of black smoke that would be spewing forth from various parts of your car, even (occasionally) from the exhaust.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Early 80's. Built on same platform as the 5.0 Mustang, so all of the Mustang's performance goodies will fit. Get one with bondo and a torn Vinyl top, and show those european cars the meaning of "American Muscle."
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    Not my first pick but a good one, given the trabant as an example. The white color will turn gray from soot within seconds of any carwash or rainstorm, and is also a good platform if you own a carwash...just park it idling in front of the local country club.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think one of those 70s Lincoln "designer edition" cars would be great, especially if it was a bit tatty. You can buy them cheap, and they are HUGE and actually quite comfortable to drive around it as long as stopping or turning isn't a big thing.

    Barring that, a Checker Marathon would be nice, or an ex-police car or cab painted over by the Earl of Scheib.
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    Not my first pick but a good one, given the trabant as an example. The white color will turn gray from soot within seconds of any carwash or rainstorm, and is also a good platform if you own a carwash...just park it idling in front of the local country club.
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    No way...I want my 1980 Grand Fury in the original black and white, minus the light bar, and the police insignia painted over in red primer.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I bought a Ford ex-police car that was used in Marin County. In the back was a little sticker that said "Thanks for Not Smoking". (not easy with handcuffs on anyway...).
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    This is the perfect car for those who seek anti-class. The porthole window in the back panel is perfect for that 70's mod van look. Add some faded airbrush paint and a plush velvet interior to add to the decor, then mix in the pinto's explosive proclivities and you are guaranteed to have noone tailgating you in this polyester leisure suit of a car.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    A new 'old' Volkswagen from Beetlemex
    ( or the Beetle Farm.
    For around 10k, you get a brand new beetle
    (they get around EPA/DOT by replacing the
    pan with one from an older beetle) that
    is pretty darn modern (hydraulic lifters,
    oil filter, modern brakes, etc.). The
    Beetle Farm has a _very_ cool model that
    has a door-to-door sunroof that reaches from
    the top of the windshield to the rear window.

    The reason I vote for this answer is the lack
    of maintenance (at first at least, it is a new
    car after all) and in the case of the weird
    sunroof model, something that you never see
    in the U.S.

  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    The problem is that beetles are becoming collectible nowadays, and therefore have a certain cache to them. A Fairmont, on the other hand, has no such pretensions. With a Beetle you will wind up with a bunch of rich aging former hippies coming up to you and discussing how they loved driving their old beetle up to Woodstock. Ick!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    and you don't want THAT!
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    Here's a beetle variant. A baja speedster.
    Take an Intermeccanica (or some other kit car)
    Porsche speedster body / shortened VW pan and
    add in full blown set of high-end offroad
    baja bug stuff (Centerlines, raised with
    bus IRS, driving lights, etc,etc).

  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    a Citroen 2CV - the one with the peelback roof of course - you know cheap plastic that went from windshield all the way back and had to be rolled up and stored on the parcel shelf.

    Believe it or not I actually raced a 2CV when I lived in England. There was a class that was just for them - 65mph flat out and a 30 degree lean on any curve.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    If not a Beetle, how about the VW Thing, preferably in orange so that the rust will blend in.
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    I could see a 2CV in Europe definitely fitting the bill(I could see the sheer terror a MB driver on his face encountering this vehicle on the autobahn), but not in the Sstates. Imagine the following conversation:

    Buffy: So Muffy, how was your summer vacation?
    Muffy: Father took me to the south of france, nothing special.
    Buffy: Did you get anything while you were there?
    Muffy: Oh, yes! I saw hundreds of these *darling* little cars there, and I just had to have one! So I said to Father, "Father, that little car would look soooo cute next the Lamborghini in the garage, can I have one? And Father said, "Well you know Muffy, you already have the Lambo, and the Porsche, and the Bentley, do you really need a fourth car?", and I said, "But Daddy, it's so cute! and it will cost less than the cost of gas on the Learjet" And Father said, "Well Pumpkin, for you, sure".....

    I think you see my point here.
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    But just a straight Baja Beetle. Clipped fenders, raised suspension, the motor exposed in the rear w/ a cage...That has some fear potential.
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    A purple AMC Gremlin. This frankensteinian amalgamation of a car, a demoniacal splicing together of a Chevy Chevette and a Plymouth Volare is the perfect way to give the DuPonts nightmares that their daughter may one day wind up dating someone who drives this fairmont w/ trunkectomy.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You raced a 2CV? Did you bring along a magazine to read?
  • toomanychoicestoomanychoices Member Posts: 18
    My father, a physician, had a 74 Ford pickup (I don't know the model) that ran very nicely, but didn't contain a surface without a ding or dent.

    In the 1980s, he took sort of a perverse joy in parking this big blue behemoth next to the MBs, BMWs, Volvos, Caddy's, etc. that his colleagues drove. Not surprisingly, he would find that his colleagues always left him plenty of space on either side if he was one of the first to park!

    By the way, my father doesn't play golf, which also says a lot about his anti-chic mentality.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    I see the problem, back to the Trabant I guess.

    Reading while racing a 2CV - are you kidding!!!

    Don't forget that European courses are almost exclusively road courses. These 2CVs were stock (except for four point harnesses and a rollcage). That means those really grippy tires, and terrific suspension (not). I may not have got above 65mph but I have rarely felt less in control of a car (or more embarrassed at trying to slipstream down the main straight in front of the main grandstand.

    If anyone knows Brands Hatch circuit in England, imagine trying to push a 2CV around the club circuit at high (for a 2CV) speeds. If anyone doesn't know it, imagine steep gradients, fast bends and, joy of joys, adverse cambers.
  • dranoeldranoel Member Posts: 79
    In the late 60's an East German car was briefly imported into the US. It was the WARTBURG KNIGHT. It was really a hot car; 0-60 in 25.1 secs., top speed of 73 MPH. It had a 45 HP, two cycle, 3 cyl., 60.5 cu. in. engine. Wouldn't one of these beauties look good next to your neighbors Bentley?I think the name "WARTBURG" really says it all.
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    I just looked up a website on the trabant. Though the plastic body panels won't really do much to instill fear in Jag owners, that smoky, LOUD two stroke engine certainly makes up for it. If I get one, I'll be certain to mix the oil at 25:1 instead of 50:1 to enhance that effect.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    It reallyis an amazing vehicle, I am particularly keen on the idea of the fuel tank over the engine so that fuel can be supplied by gravity, thereby removing the need for a fuel pump.

    Now why doesn't everyone do that????
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Lots of fun reading this topic. I definitely think the Trabant and the Citroen 2CV would be great parked next to a bunch of snooty high rollers. [That extra 2-cycle oil's a great idead!]
    Well here's a little different thought. If you have the money, why not get some kind of a classic street rod that looks just like the original, but has all modern running gear from one of the high roller cars? Example: Saw this ad:Aclassic 35 Buick sedan, beautifully restored to original, with a big block Chevy motor and running gear-all quiet, classy and smooth, but with brute power and handling that would smoke any of those big dollar cars sitting there. There are lots of cars out there like this one-not just the "Hot rod" Fords and Chevies. You could enhance the "leaving the parking lot" experience by installing spark plugs in the tailpipes, and shooting flames back at your wealthy dowagers as you leave. [You could also add some 2-cycle oil]
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    Using an old classic sounds ok, except that a lot of folks who drive the expensive Euro Cars also if they are of Boomer age may also have a thing for street Rods(though of course, the closest they ever get to actually *building* one is handing over a check to a custom builder). Take a 350, wedge it in that primer'd chevy vega wagon, put spark plugs in the exhaust along with some 2-cycle oil in the gas and *then* you'd have something guaranteed to cause fear and loathing in the beemer crowd!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I have to ask....
    What the heck is that, a Yugo?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    chopped Honda 600 coupe, circa 1970.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I didn't know a 1970 Honda gave you enough car to chop anything off! I like the idea of an old beater of a pickup truck. Sam Walton (Rich Wal-Mart guru) drove an old 70's model Ford F-seres till he day he died. If anybody could have bought a Bently for each day of the week, he could have!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    The man didn't get rich paying $150,000 each for cars!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Occasionally I see a bright yellow '58 Buick four-door hardtop cruising through Atherton, home of million-dollar houses. It doesn't belch flames or anything--in fact, it's really nice, as nice as a '58 Buick can hope to be--but I have to think it still makes a powerful statement.
  • cadrubencadruben Member Posts: 3
    Just watching a couple of comedy movies could actually be of great inspiration. For instance;

    "Wayne's World": that AMC Pacer!

    "(Another) 48 Hours": that totally WRONG, beat-up baby blue '64 Caddy convertible (complete with a top with lots and lots of holes in it).

    "Uncle Buck": the big mid-seventies Mercury or whatever it was (much like those B-I-G Lincolns mentioned earlier). This car also produced LOTS of smoke and had other curiosities, like a big BANG when it fired up -- wouldn't that be fun when leaving your Beemer-filled parking lot?

    And of course the Trabant remains on top of the list. That two-stroke engine is a brilliant feature. You know, you can find these for free anywhere if you just take a walk through the East-German woods -- people just left these things there when their economy improved after the wall fell. And there were/are MILLIONS of them! I'm not too far from the eastern part of Germany (Holland) and I intend to get out there one day and take one home with me, just for fun!
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    1978 Mercury Colony Park Wagon. It's a station wagon version of the Grand Marquis. I have a sedan version of this car. Very cool!
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    I believe it was a early-mid 70's Merc. Cougar. The lovely what smoke it emitted was due to a blown headgasket, no doubt!
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Just flashed on that thing. How 'bout that to raise a few eyebrows in the country club parking lot? I'm sure it'd make enough smoke-and you could add a spark plug for flamethrower effect. Only trouble might be keeping it running. You wouldn't want to spend as much on that as your high-roller's car payment! Then again, maybe the spectacle of regular breakdowns in front of your friends might add to the effect. Greasy handshakes passed around, etc.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I didn't know they made cougar wagons. Anyway, it was nearly identical to my 78 Grand Marquis (cept for being a wagon) So I'm pretty sure it was a Colony Park. Couldn't find a pic of uncle bucks, but I did have this:

    Tell me if that wouldn't be the car with a different paint job and a wagon back end?

    P.S. Columbo's car was cool :-)
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Colombo's car is actually quite rare and sorta...sorta...valuable, but it's certainly weird enough for this type of operation. You could always hook up a small tank of kerosene to a bleed valve (like they use in aquarium air lines) and connect it to a small fitting drilled into your intake manifold. In this way, you just turn the little thumbscrew on your dash and the intake manifold will suck in the kerosene, emitting clouds of black smoke through your exhaust...and if the car's pointed properly, the soot from the exhaust will stick nicely to another car.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    I forgot to mention that the top should have some rips and tears, patched up with different colors of duct tape. By the way, just how many Peugeot convertibles are out there? I don't think I've ever seen one on the street.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    that I was right with my first suggestion.

    And I think I may even have found the 'perfect' Trabant.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, the deluxe model!
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    Of course Mr. Shiftright - I have standards you know!!!!
  • bubukittybubukitty Member Posts: 96
    Before moving to California a number of years ago, my family lived in Fairfield County CT in a town called Westport. We moved there from upstate NY (Rochester) where they liberally salt the roads every winter. We had two rust bucket Fords; a 1960 Custom 500 and a 1964 Galaxy 500, both decaying from the bottom up. Even back then (early '70's), the neighbors were in shock seeing our truly rustbucket Fords going down the road---really brought down the neighborhood! The 1960 Ford was so bad, that the gas tank straps holding in the tank rusted through and it fell out while my dad was coming home from work! (thank god he didn't ignite!). That certainly caused some talk in the neighborhood (my dad runs his cars into the ground--literaly).

    My choices for the current Fairfield County set would be much the same as we had a number of years about some non-descript american car (pick manufacturer) with major rust along the rocker panels and surface rust all over! That should get the country club set in a tither. Maybe an old Dodge Dart from the late '60's or early 70's with major rust hemmoraging and dents with major need of a ring and valve job would do fine!
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    Remembering back to the dim and distant days of my youth in the UK, a neighbour of ours had a car that would fit the bill perfectly. We often went for trips in it - the four adults and my neighbours older sister riding in the car - her brother and I riding in the hatchback part at the back.

    Believe me 7 people in that car, even if 3 were young kids is quite some achievement.

    What am I talking about?

    Well have a look for yourselves:
  • pttaylorpttaylor Member Posts: 34
    Wasn't there a little car that opened up from the front and looked like a lady bug??? I seem to recall it was made in France or Italy and was called an Issetta or something like that. Bizzzzarre Car.
  • pttaylorpttaylor Member Posts: 34
    I had a 1949 Nash that I drove on the sidewalk more than the street. It had that canvas top that rolled back and was that dreadful greyish brown that so many cars were painted just after WWII. So we spray painted "I took the BAJA" in bright yellow down each lots of attention, especially from the law! Then there was my old Henry J.....
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I just realized I lived reverse chic for years. My first car, a 1960 Corvair 4-door with three cans of STP in the took years for my social life to recover. 1961 Falcon station wagon...we made it across the Sierra Nevada in short bursts, the time it took to overheat. 1956 wasn't enough, I had two (at the same time!). Faded blue 1969 AMC Hornet 4-door...I sold it after I painted it, of course; then it was too ostentatious. 1965 Corvair, with dent. And probably another forty or so cars that embarrassed at least some of my neighbors. But, sadly, nothing that threw flames.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    might work with a little rust and some spray can work done just right. And that flame/smoke thrower exhaust is so easy to rig up. Could even take a torch and make a do it yourself sunroof. Hey that sounds really up class for the country club.
  • mpevznermpevzner Member Posts: 41
    I know a car so crappy, that Trabants, WARTburgs, Yugos, Ladas and "Aleko"-Moskvitch's are gonna look like a brand-new S Class Mercedes Benz. The car that I am speaking about is a real 'Masterpiece' of the eastern block engineering. It is actually a russian version of NSU Prince. A little funky-looking 2-door 2-cycle car with the most awful handling and reliability EVER produced on this planet. Most of these cars haven't made it over 20000 miles. I know that there are still maniacs driving these card and even overhauling the engines! I will fid a picture and post it here. Believe me, it's gonna be the most embarrasing car ever!
    Have fun
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    I believe the Isetta was a BMW of all things. I think Messershmidt(sp?) made a similar car. No it's not April Fools day yet, I'm serious.
  • andy_jordanandy_jordan Member Posts: 764
    I think you are right - it is starting to ring a bell. If I am dredging it up from the memory banks correctly I believe it was one of those that the turned into an orange on wheels for some commercial 20 years or so back. If I can drag even more up, I believe that the orange one evne made it to Beaulieu motor museum in England.
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