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



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Don't laugh...these microcars are worth a lot of money today, more than some Corvettes....weird world, ain't it?
  • modvptnlmodvptnl Member Posts: 1,352
    I think the show was Family Matters and the main character, Steve Urkel, drove an Isetta through Carl's garage door(Carl was the big fat cop that Urkel tormented) Urkel's famous reply was always, "Did I do that?"

    God I hated that show, I have no idea why I know so much about it.
  • rancheroranchero Member Posts: 25
    my candidate for the ideal fairfield/lake forest/ladue/bel air daily driver when you can afford anything: a decent el camino, caballero or ranchero. they are nice, comfortable rides and can have plenty of convenience options, but the snobs everywhere look down on the drivers of them as "white trash". the late model (82 to 87) el camino/caballeros are almost modern. they are very nice to drive. there could sure be a lot of pleasure in driving your elky to the country club - the bed is a great golf club carrier.
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    I've been hiding out and hadn't been in the Classics conference in a while - I've been missing all the fun!

    Now, folks, I see a lot of really excellent suggestions here - I mean it's awfully hard to argue against a Trabant, but let me have a go at this...

    I figure any car where they have to stop and try to figure out what it is takes away from the effect. There's that momentary curiousity factor - you've given them a brief moment of pleasure. Likewise, if you are in an old Fairmont, say or a Gremlin - again, wonderful choices - they already say "I'm just a schlep." No what you want is something that cries pretentious while being quite awful - I'd recommend a 78 Cordoba with rust and riped Corinthian leather. If you find a Cordoba at all, the rust and rips should already be there, no problem.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    for some reason, that makes me think of the Rambler Marlin. Now there's a whale of a car that would certainly evoke some response-maybe done up in a primer gray with low-rider mechanicals and a loud, smoking exhaust. Maybe some old Nixon-Agnew bumper stickers as well...
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    Yeah, and some duct tape over the obvious rust spots!
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Member Posts: 219
    Save some of that duct tape to cover the rips in the vinyl seats.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    Nixon-Agnew bumper stickers-also some that say "Nixon Knew" and "Impeachment with Honor". These could be torn in pices to cover the individual rust spots. Kinda like bandaids...
    Some of those country club types might still be offended by the "Nixon Knew" ones though...
  • jeijei Member Posts: 143
    How about at 7- to 10- year old Chevy or Dodge "conversion" van? You know, with wheel flares and running boards sticking out way beyond stock wheels and tires. It should be brown with complicated, overdone tape graphics. With 3 tinted aftermarket windows on each side with little sliders at the bottom and venetian blinds. Don't forget a windshield visor, and a rigid spare tire cover with airbrushed painting and chrome band.
    Any ideas about bumper stickers, accessories or other embellishments?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    It would be the complete package if you lived in it.
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    Stop jibber-jabbering about no sissy-van, fool! There is only one fan helluva tough enough to tackle this topic fool!
  • cenotaphcenotaph Member Posts: 3
    Great choice. The only problem is that there's a good chance that none of them would know what it was.
  • gitarzangitarzan Member Posts: 66
    This board has lain fallow for a long time...

    FWIW, I'd get a early 1960's medium to large, unrestored American made car.

    A 1960-61 Galaxy, 62-63-64 Rambler American or Classic, 60-61-62 Chevy Belair, 61 Fury.

    Or any Corvair, if you can find an unrestored one.

    Or any former police car, especially if the paint still belies it's previous life as a cop car. One with a spotlight still on it.

    It must be unrestored, American and a beater. Still Cool but a beater.
  • bhill2bhill2 Member Posts: 2,458
    I agree with gitarzan that the car should be large, American made, and unrestored, but I'm afraid that if you go back to the '60s you are getting uncomfortably close to classic territory. Especially the 60-62 Belair. I would recommend a '70s job, as they were even bigger, styled with less taste, and tended to have really big chrome bumpers. My best recommendation would be a 74 or 75 Cadillac if it was nice and ratty. They were huge, ostentacious, and ugly enough to scare puppies.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, no, you can buy old 60s 4-door sedans really cheap. They'll never be classics so the price stays remarkably low. Especially 4-doo,r 6 cylinder cars. And 70s and 80s 4-doors are practically give aways right now. You can get a lot of metal for not much money these days.
  • gitarzangitarzan Member Posts: 66
    I used to have a 1979 Lincoln Continental Coupe. The last of the BIG ones. It had a vinyl top that had rotted away and it's backside was crumpled just a little where it was hit by an ambulance. Luxurious inside, ratty outside, like an old crumbling mansion on wheels.

    It was a nice ride and made me feel kind of "funkier than thou" when I drove it through our fair city's snootier suburbs. The yups parked their Beemers away from it.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    I'm not clear on the goal of the original poster. Is it to have something that not only the RR crowd but anybody in their right mind would find obnoxious, like the Pacer that someone mentioned? Or is it that you want to be able to see yourself as cooler than the snobs yet on a lower budget?

    My choice would be the latter. Anybody can just be gross. That doesn't strike me as much of an accomplishment. The world's full of hideous cars. But depending on your transportation needs and your budget, there's a huge array of relatively low-budget sportscars and motorcycles, and any decent pick-up or van has to be respected as well, even by the upper crusters, and in fact they all probably own at least one rough old truck for hauling hay to their horses and such.

    The richest people I've known used inconspicuous, low-key cars to get around most of the time. Only poseurs and drug dealers drive expensive machines exclusively.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    what do you mean by "reverse chic"?

    Is it just the worst taste possible or is it the chic of a different culture?
  • wevkwevk Member Posts: 179
    I knew a fellow who had a beater Chevy PU. Whenever he spotted a fancy new car that the owner had parked (sideways in the slot) way out in the far reaches of the parking lot to avoid dings, he would park right next to it-real close. One can imagine the panic and terror of the car owner as he approached his pride and joy!
  • robert08robert08 Member Posts: 3
    I've read several posts here and I have to agree with Bob and Dave, posts 65&67... Nothing makes a better statement of tasteless ostentation as a ratty Lincoln or Cadillac from the Disco Era! I have a 76 Continental Town Car that I've added copious amounts of duct tape to the vinyl roof to keep it intact. That car is great to tool around town in and is sure to bring feelings of disgust to every social climbing soul within sight!
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    That was great fun when I had my Fiat 128. Some slick, tacky Corvette taking up a space and 3/4, and I'd just park in the remaining 1/4. Sometimes I had to slither out the passenger door. One of the rules of the game, of course, is that I had to be totally legally parked. Couldn't go over the line. That 128 was narrower than the handlebars of the average Schwinn. And of course I'd never actually endanger the paint job on the slob's pride and joy. It was just my way of ridiculing the way he protected his baby at the expense of others.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Regarding your question in post #69, the two are often the same, especially and always when you're talking youth culture.

    Speaking of artistic Fiat parking, years ago a Fiat boxed in my father by parking right on his rear bumper. Dad carefully backed his car, a Torino with a 400, against the Fiat and pushed it back just far enough to get out, which was just far enough to block a parking lot entrance.

    This manly display of torque really impressed my brother and I. Don't know what it did for the Fiat driver, or the first guy who tried to leave the parking lot, but I have a feeling they met.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    I think they're pretty different, and that's why I was asking the original poster what he was after; to find a style that would inspire a. disgust, or b. (perhaps grudging) respect.

    The RR people are sending a complex message: I'm rich, I'm extravagant, I've conformed to a certain style that rich people are supposed to conform to. The poster wants to counter their message but which part of it? Does he want to merely pick something that they won't like - a pretty empty statement - or does he want to express something positive about *himself*; refute their statement?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Okay, I see your question. To refute their ostentation he'd have to somehow communicate that he's got the discretionary income but won't spend it on a status symbol.

    That's tricky. Driving a beater would only inspire their contempt, and driving a desirable car means you're one of them--although I'm not entirely convinced you have to be a social climber to drive a great car. I just moved up one notch in price and the difference in engineering, feel and overall performance is gratifying, especially to someone who's driven beaters most of his life. Granted, at some point in the price range you probably reach a point of diminishing returns.

    I think the idea of using the Rolls as a bogey is a little outdated. Nowadays the car of choice would be a big Mercedes or BMW.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Right...owning a new Rolls is almost a testament to not having a clue about what a good car is worth.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Speaking of ostentation, I've always thought the '50s Jag Mark VII sedans, the big ones that look kind of like a '30s Rolls, were the most affordable way to make a big entrance. Classic looks, available and fairly cheap.
  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    A reverse Chic car is more than just a beater. Any car can be made a beater. The classifieds are filled with ads for Pontiac 6000s, Dodge K cars, Ford Tempos, etc. A car with reverse chic has to be the sine qua non of beaterdom. Pinto vans with the porthole window. Vegas. An El Camino with a plywood bed and an "I Brake for Bass" bumper sticker. A reverse chic car is a beater that commands attention for being a beater. Take any car from the [non-permissible content removed] page( and add about 30 years of body rot. That would be a good reverse chic car. Take any beat up car and paint it with pink & purple dayglo acrylic paint. The car should make people afraid that you might park next to them, and beater cooties will rub off on their brand new Jag VDP. THAT makes it a good reverse chic car.
  • 404c404c Member Posts: 146
    ...a beater Peugeot 403 Convertible. Just like Columbo's. They are a bit pricey nowadays and only 2050 were made, but with the right (heavy) patina it shows both impeccable taste and downmarket frugality.

    Plus it looks a lot like a RR Corniche. Think about it.
  • grunschevgrunschev Member Posts: 106
    I've had a car in mind that might fit the topic here, in a way. I call it my "urban warrior" car. You can park it anywhere without fear of damage, it goes well enough to get you on the highway, it will carry all the passengers or groceries you need.

    I'm thinking 72 or 73 Cadillac, the big one (Sedan Deville?). But each body panel must be a different color; add big steel push bars front and back; rusted out muffler.

    Nobody in their right mind would cut you off in traffic in one of these. They weigh about as much as a Ford Exhibition (er, ah, Expedition). Park it in the "compact" spots at the local multiplex; so what if it takes up three spaces?

    One of these days I'm going to get one.

  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    My friend had one.... Mostly primer gray.
    We called it "The Tuna Boat"
    for reasons that are both obvious and unnecessary to go into here in polite company.

    He always threatened to rope an old tire to the nose and another one to the tail to bull through traffic with.

    He never had any trouble anyhow... the traffic just parted for this thing.
  • gitarzangitarzan Member Posts: 66
    There are beaters and there are BEATERS. John Bono (#78) is right. Just as there is a difference between a piece of old furniture and an antique, there's a chasm between a p.o.j. and a cool p.o.j.

    The Bluesmobile of movie fame was a cool p.o.j. It was an ugly ex cop car and that fact was obvious. But it ran good.

    Any rustbucket that really runs good is a cool p.o.j.

    In the late 70's I used to have a 68 Camaro convertible with a glazed-over back window and a ton of Bondo. They owner before me had spray painted it by hand using cans of spray. It had a 327 and two speed auto. It ran great and was beater to the nth degree. I did nothing but put Gas in it and gap the points about every 6 months. It was a beater but it was cool. Everybody loved riding in it.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    OK, I went back to the very first post, and it seems this all got started asking what to do when Rolls Royces are as common as Hondas. While I take pleasure in offending anyone who would get upset at my 1978 Mercury beside their beautiful Bently, I have another suggestion. How about a true classic? Lets face it, people don't enjoy beaters all that much, so why not a 63 split window Sting Ray Vette, 55 T-Bird or even a 1930's Auburn? It's a lot nicer than a Trabant, and won't get lost in the crowd!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Problem is, that Vette will get stolen, the 30s Auburn will break down and the 55 T-Bird will torture you after a few hours drive....they are clumsy cars with very hot interiors.

    I think the spirit of this discussion is what they call in France the "Baker's Car". This quaint phrase refers to a car that was once expensive but has depreciated so much that even a baker can own it....yet the uninformed public THINKS you are rich because they don't know about car values.

    Examples of current Baker's Cars would be something like a Mercedes 450SL, a 70s Rolls Royce/Bentley, and of course just about any old Cadillac (if you are in Florida or Las Vegas where people respond favorably to this type of car). The aforementioned cars are cheap to buy because maintenance is so high.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    what's your budget?

    It's probably a question that will never be answered because I think the guy quit reading replies to his orginal query pretty earlt on.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,598
    ...up the street from me for sale. It's been sitting at the curb for ages with a sign on it. It looks nice, except for a busted out window that's been carboarded up, and some serious rust in the rocker panel. I don't know when is the last time the thing's been moved, and the shattered window glass is still scattered on the street just below the window.

    About 500 feet up the road is a '65-66 Coupe DeVille that, except for a crumpled in headlight protrusion up front and a crumpled in taillight protrusion in the rear (at least I think "protrusion" is the correct word...the fenders on these cars actually extended out further than the centers of them), would be a really nice car.

    I just think it's kinda funny to see these former status symbols just sitting alongside the road, in a townhouse community, just waiting for people to run into them and throw things at them. I learned my lesson in that respect...someone egged my Gran Fury last weekend!

  • chris191chris191 Member Posts: 14
    1) Studebaker Daytona wagon w/sliding rear roof.
    2) International 2wd Pick-up
    3) Lowered mid-'90s dually Chevy PU w/polished aluminum wheels and limosine tinted glass
    4) Late '70s Fiat 131 "Mirafiori" 4dr sedan
    5) Early '80s Mercury Zephyr w/302V8 and factory dual exhaust
    6) Clean '74 BMW Bavaria sedan (must burn oil)
    7) '73 Pontiac Grand Am in white with all options
    8) Any white van previously used by municipality or even better by a dry cleaner or plumber w/ the company name/logo in faded paint
    9) delivery van
    10) old Caddy/Pontiac/Olds ambulance or hearse station wagon conversion

    If money is no object: period-correct, race-prepped 1966 Mustang GT350
  • dpwestlakedpwestlake Member Posts: 207
    What about a pre '67 Saab? it was a 3 cyl stroker. The later ones (post 65) were 33:1 oil ratio, but the earlier ones were a blue haze emitting 24:1
  • dweezildweezil Member Posts: 271
    Mini Motor Home from the 70's. Perfect size for daily driving and as someone wanted a few posts back:you can live in it!!!!
    I didn't see anyone mention Ford Granada or MustangII, especially the "Stallion" edition. I sort of agree with one or several others that the car itself has to have pretensions, as well.
    This just in:a low rider Cutlass Supreme, bondoed, primed [in places] and whose fenders and hood have been replaced with different color pieces from the local Pick A Part? Oh yeah, it has to have the missing grille look.A chilling reminder that there IS another world beyond the restricted access guard shack!!
    Chevette 4 door;Cavalier station wagon [the LEAST stolen vehicle a few years back]Pontiac Phoenix 4 door hatchback[two tone; do it yourself if you have to....with a BRUSH not a roller. If you REALLY want to blow your budget add a racing stripe to the hood].
    Great site for something similar:
    a genuine scream!!!!
    Guess this gives me a goose because I'm such an "antisocialist" [it's a lifestyle choice not a political philosophy].Best; Dave
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,598
    ...are the ones from the 70's that tried, impudently, to be "European" styled.

    The king of these would be the Lincoln Versailles. But a Granada or a Monarch works nicely, as well. Then there's Chrysler's answer to the Granada/Monarch...the Aspen and Volare. Make sure you get the Aspen Special Edition though, with all the fake molded woodgrain on the door panels.

    The old Dodge Dart Special Edition/Plymout Valiant Brougham make excellent stand-ins, as well, and they could be VERY well equipped...shag carpeting, crushed velour seats, more padded vinyl than just about any safetymobile concept of the time!

    GM didn't jump on the compact luxury bandwagon in quite the same way, though, although their most notable, the first-gen Seville, was a noble attempt. Basically a leathered-up 4200 lb Nova with an Olds 350, it influenced GM style for years to come. It's also too tasteful, I think, to be grouped with these other cars. I have seen some luxury versions of the Omega, Phoenix, Nova, and Skylark, but their exteriors just aren't as ostentatious as an Aspen/Volare or Granada/Monarch/Versailles.

  • johnbonojohnbono Member Posts: 80
    what's your budget?

    My budget? Well, if I was buying, I would say the max for a reverse chic car is 4K. That is the absolute ceiling. The optimum price would be only 1K. And two tone Omnis would be great reverse chic cars. Another fav of mine would be a heavily bondoed Chrysler Cordoba, with Donna Summer playing loudly in the 8 track.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh, that real Corinthian leather, how I long for it!

    I think a Checker Marathon is the way to go. First of all, no one at the club will know what the hell it is. Secondly, it is very roomy and practical. Thirdly, most of them use Chevy drivetrains so maintenance is a snap.
  • C13C13 Member Posts: 390
    So to you, reverse-chic means 'un-chic', or tacky.

    To me it means more sophisticated than the pseudo-sophistos.

    To each, his own.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    How bout a Cimmaron?
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,598
    For example, a few years back, when my '68 Dart was my daily driver, I was parked outside a club in Georgetown, DC, waiting for some friends. Fairly upscale area.

    Well, compared to the sameness of the BMW's, the Audis, the Benzes, etc (this was around 1996, and remember, most of those cars were very boxy back then), the Dart actually looked muscular. Back then it was in much better shape (before the hit-and-runs, etc), so it didn't look junky.

    Well, I actually got a lot of compliments (geniune ones too, not sarcastic ones!).

    I know I'm in the minority here, but I actually think cars like the Cordoba, Monte Carlo, Magnum, etc are pretty classy. I think Ford went a bit too far with the Torino Elite and downsized T-bird. And when they downsized it again in 1980 to the Fairmont chassis, it looked really tacky.

    My grandparents (from the Ford side of the family) bought a 2-tone brown/beige Granada coupe in 1981, first year of the Fox (Fairmont) style. That car may look tacky today, but it got sooo many compliments back in its day.

    One time, they went out to eat at a mall that was going down-hill real fast, and some of the locals were actually hollering across the parking lot "LOOK!! The NEW GRANADA!!".

    In 6th grade, I went to a private school where you had to pay extra for the bus. Normally, my grandfather from the GM side of the family would pick me up, either in his '76 GMC crew cab, or the '82 Malibu wagon. Well, this one day, my Ford grandfather picks me up, in the Granada, and one of my classmates looked out the window at the car and said "Is your grandfather rich or something?? That's the nicest car out there!!" And this kid's parents drove one of those big Mercedes S-classes!

    And I have to admit, to this day, I kinda like the '81-82 Granada/Cougar (non-XR7) coupe. Kinda classy and formal, and one of the better interpretations of the Fox chassis. Too bad that their engines were mainly limited to 200-sixes, underpowered 4.2 V-8's, and a sprinkling of 3.8's. Throw a 5.0 under the hood, and I'm sure those things would fly (they were pretty lightweight)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    REverse Chic doesn't mean "crummy" to me, no. I was thinking the term is most effective when used to describe a car that gets LOTS of attention for very little money...after all, being "chic" means being looked at a lot.
  • lokkilokki Member Posts: 1,200
    I suspect he did it for effect. I had a coworker in the 80's who was a cheapskate. He never stopped talking about that truck of Sam's.

    I finally shut him up. I told him that if you were rich it was easy to drive an old vehicle like that. New cars with warranties are for poor people.

    Burn a hole in the seat? Put in a new one. The transmission falls out? Put in a new one. It's easy to drive an old clunker when you have enough money to put a new clunk in it.

    My all time personal dream 'status' car would be a black or white (doesn't matter) Lincoln Continental. Whether it should be a convertible or not, depends on my mood. THOSE were cars. A neighbor had one.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Lokki you hit the nail on the head. As one of the working poor I can't afford to pay for a new transmission, especially if it's been three months since I had a sale. Sure new cars cost more but the pain gets spread out over EZ payments. Even routine maintenance is covered for three years--four if it's an Audi--once you reach a certain price point.

    Well with the current definition of reverse chic I'd have to go with a BRG Jag Mark X. With the typical tired '80s Jag you look like a poseur, but with a clean Mark X you get your share of admiring--or at least curious--looks. The car does have presence.
  • im_brentwoodim_brentwood Member Posts: 4,883
    I GOT the car!

    My Vauxhall! Thing turns WAY more heads than any of the modern Jags that live inthe same household.

    And a benefit? I go to City Walk over at Universal studios a lot to hit the bars..etc..

    We usually Valet it at the hard rock hotel where it gets parked RIGHT up front.

    A car I spent 7 years looking for, it just happened to be a very good buy. Not bad for $2,600 or so,huh? :)


  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well, it has a face only a mother could love, but I will agree it is DIFFERENT! You definitely get a lot of stares for not a lot of money, but in my own little sensory world I put curiosity and admiration into different categories.

    Still, I like weirdo cars...I am a charter member of the Arcane Car Club of San Francisco, so I don't want you to think I'm turning my back on the freakier cars of automotive history.
  • badtoybadtoy Member Posts: 343
    in two-tone pastel, the way Americans cars were in the 50s. That would soften the appearance quite a bit (black is just too severe with those curving lines).

    But is kind of half-hearted compared to, say, a '59 Caddy or Buick.
This discussion has been closed.