I recently went on some nonsensical rant to a friend of mine about the (let’s be honest) abomination that Ford is calling the new “GT”. It’s awful, and it’s awful in spite of being an amazing machine. How is that even possible!? I mean, the Europeans have been getting 600hp out of twin turbo sixes for what, two or three decades now? This is not amazing Ford,and you’re putting the GT badge on it. It’s like putting the Shelby name on a Fiesta… oh…
Anyway, that’s not even the topic of this post. That rant got me thinking about my favorite cars, and why they’re my favorite. So for lack of having the 4-link build ready to post up, and not much to do for the next six hours, here are the cars I love…
The shop truck-
A shop truck is basically an old beater truck that someone pulled out of a bush, slapped a resto-mod motor kit in, and sprayed a layer of clear coat over the rust. Or in English, they’re American trucks usually from the late 40s to the early 70s, which have been mechanically retrofitted to use modern parts, but the wear and age that the vehicle has developed on the surface is left alone. These have been made popular by shops like Gas Monkey.
I love these trucks because, well, look at them. They’re bad ass. And now that they’ve become popular and niche, they usually have a ton of horsepower, and can lay the frame on the ground. I love the patina that these trucks have, and you’ll see a theme here with my other favorites, because it’s actually earned those miles. Every molecule of rust has seen fifty some-odd years of war, and peace, and love, and progress, and hate, and all that bullshit we try to ignore these days. These trucks have seen all of it, and the story is right there to tell on the hood…
Also, door art is the shit. Full stop.
What more do I need to say? Cadillac IS the american luxury car. For all its faults and GM owned-ness, they are still putting out beautiful, relevant, exciting vehicles after over 100 years. Now, I’m not the Longhorns-on-the-hood-cowboy-from-Dallas kind of Caddy guy. For example, here’s the inspiration for a Caddy I wanted to build:
And here’s another Caddy I wouldn’t mind owning…
It really amazes me to think these two cars came from the same company. But I digress. Both of these cars do it for me, as do most other Caddies out there. Whether it’s fins and wheel covers of old or the angles and grilles on the new, or the ostentatious bumpers on both. Cadillac has always announced itself to the world with plenty of sack. I can dig that.
Really? You thought I’d leave motorcycles out of my favorite car list? no. bleeping. chance. Motorcycles are the equivalent today to when caveman used to chase down saber toothed tigers on foot, punch them in the face, and then rode them around town. No. They’re more awesome than that. Remember back to that first time you went further on your bicycle than you were allowed? Like, WAY further? That tingly gut-feeling that kinda felt like you had to poop, but kinda like you were about to become something greater than yourself? It’s like that, it’s existential.
Motorcycles are so fundamental to my development as an enthusiast, as a wrencher, as a, dare I say, builder even, that I cannot do them justice by lumping them all into a single list item. One day soon I will share with you all (both) what 5 motorcycles every bike guy (girl) should own. Yes five. Yes at the same time, obv.
There is a fire-breathing 450hp V8 version of this car, and yet I prefer the six. There is a race tuned hardtop version of this car, but I prefer the convertible. There is a “Type-R” F-Type and yet I would rather drive the base model. This car goes against almost all of the things I stand for in a gas powered universe, and yet, I am so undeniably drawn to this car, so sure about what the designers imagined, that I know, without ever being near one in person, that this car is the distilled essence of driving. The experience while driving this car is what I imagine we all aspire to as gearheads… That feeling of Zen-calm. That feeling of being in the right place exactly when you should be, even when you’re getting lost on purpose. I feel that this car is what driving means to me, and to most people probably. It amazingly stirs up the same emotions usually reserved for royalty like the E-Type, or any motorcycle, or the GT40.
Careful now friends, we are on hallowed ground around this car. This car, above all others, is the pinnacle of automotive dopeness. This car is what David does when Goliath tells him to fuck off. Or when anyone tells an American to fuck off, for that matter. Once upon a time Ford tried to race in LeMans. And to do that, Ford wanted to buy Ferrari. Ford was promptly told to hoof it, at which point the GT40 was conceived. See, Ford wasn’t just refused the purchase, they were laughed out of the building. “Americans will never win LeMans” they were assured. So Ford started a team, built the GT40, and proceeded to stomp a mudhole in the entire European continent’s collective circuit-racing chest for four consecutive years in LeMans. I get all surly and puffy chested just thinking about it. We were absolute bad-asses back then.
I don’t even know all the amazing things the engineers and builders did to these cars but the story of the GT40 is some Apollo 13 level shit. There were four generations of the GT40, the first three being built cooperatively by the British and Americans, and the fourth STILL holds a record for being the only 100% American car to win LeMans, and in 1966 was the first American LeMans win since 1921!
Look at the lines on this car. This car is timeless. Is it 50 years old, or coming out next year?This car was one of the last truly beautiful designs to come from the hand-drawn era of automotive design, and still looks better than anything released this year (including that art-school-reject of a GT they’re trying to push on us now…)
The GT40 is a legend. No vehicle like this will ever happen again. It was built and driven by warriors, not accountants.
I don’t love just this car. I love everything it stood for. It was about true passion for the sport, not about endorsements or contract deals (at least in the pits). It was about defiance in the face of adversity. It was about standing up and doing what NOBODY believed could be done. To me, the GT40 and its crews were an inspiration. They proved that determination, willpower, and a shit-ton of money can make anything happen.
Well, there you have it… These are my favorite cars right now. Besides the GT40, they’ll probably change with time; they all have before… But it’s not about a certain model or brand is it? It about what the car does to us on the inside. It’s how they make us feel. It’s almost inexplicable. But we know it’s there. That feeling? Do you feel it? That’s the automotive soul.