Hey, we all have to go eventually, right? So ask yourself this: When the inevitable happens, do you want to check out in your sleep? Expire in the comfort of your own home, perhaps, surrounded by softly weeping loved ones? Or would you like to drive into that undiscovered country from which no hoon returns, shouting your furious defiance of the Reaper from behind the wheel? That's what we thought. With that in mind, we've prepared a list of the top seven cars we'd be proud to have in our obituaries.
Before we begin, we should mention that we firmly believe everyone should live forever or die trying, that you should always wear your seatbelt and obey nearly all traffic ordinances, and that suicide is just plain silly. Also, keep in mind we're not saying these cars are unsafe — far from it! — they're just your best choice for glory.
7.) 1929 Cord Phaeton
Frank Lloyd Wright, early reckless driver and gadabout, couldn't manage it, even when he plowed his into a local delivery truck. Instead, he went on to become America's foremost designer of leaky, planar mansions. Do you have the resourcefulness to find one of these and the temerity to succeed where Wright failed? Long, stately, elegant, and beautiful, the Cord will take all day to drive through the Pearly Gates, assuming that's where you're headed. At Jalopnik, we have no such illusions, but arriving at the nether fireside in one of these gorgeous things will give you style points. Especially since if you died in one in the first place, you probably checked out while henchmen stood on the running boards firing Thompson submachine guns while you sawed away at the enormous steering wheel and tried to run roadblocks while avoiding hit squads from rival Mafia families. It's either that or you suffered a myocardial infarction while riding in back upon hearing about the market crash, and if that's the case we don't even want to know you, you damn stinking fat cat.
6.) 1951 Mercury "Lead Sled"
What will you die of in this one? Whattya got? The postwar years were a time when cars and death truly became synonymous in the public mind. Many young folks were brought up to believe that merely turning the key in the ignition would cause their cars to fly off the nearest cliff and explode. While that's as true now as it was then, no contemporary automobile makes quite as good a coffin as a big ol' Merc "kustom" on whitewall tires. The '51 has never been in a bad neo-country song, so it gets the nod.
5.) 1993 Volvo 240 Wagon
Because if you manage to die in one of these — the automotive answer to "Why don't they just make the whole airplane the same way they make the black box?" — you're really trying. We believe effort should count for something in today's shoddy, lackadaisical world.
4.) 1970 Dodge Challenger
As legend has told us again and again, the 1970s were so godawful and pointless that any decent human being was taking whatever drugs were around (symbolic of rejecting society's oppressive values), jumping onto the nearest overpowered and bias-ply-tired two-door (symbolic of Freedom) and driving it right into the nearest bulldozer or train (symbolic of either the Uncaring Mainstream or of B-movie directors not being able to come up with an ending). Seeing as America is evidently determined to repeat the early 1970s, it's as valid a mode of protest as ever. Since the 2008 Challenger weighs roughly 32 tons, it would obliterate any bulldozer or train you ran it into, so best to just find a decent original. Truly, any Nixon-era Boss Mustang, Charger, or V-8 Challenger might do, but why mess with the classics?
3.) Stolen 1998-Present Ford Crown Victoria Cop Car
Funny how this works in the popular mind: If a cop dies in his car, he's almost certainly a hero who gave his life defending the people against evil forces who live outside of polite society. If someone steals a cop car, we assume he's a valiant rebel who is about to give his life defending the people against evil forces inside polite society. Everybody wins! And hey, since police departments are slowly phasing out their old fleets of Crown Vics, they won't mind so much if you take just one, especially if you tell them your plans guarantee you'll never do it again. Okay, so just maybe anyone who steals a cop car is a douchebag who took advantage of momentary institutional carelessness, but hey—this is you we're talking about. You're no douchebag, are you? And you'll be remembered forever as That One Guy Who Got Killed Because He Stole That Cop Car. In other words, a hero.
2.) Any Race Car, As Long As It's On The Track
Okay, it would suck. There you are, living the dream of going racing, when suddenly something goes wrong and not even your Promethean talents can do anything more than delay the inevitable. So much promise, taken from us so soon...We can only wonder what lofty heights you might have attained had you only lived. The only good thing we can take away from the incident is that it happened on the track, where you're supposed to race, not on the street like an arrogant jackass in some half-assed vodka-and-Red-Bull-fueled Richie Rich transcontinental civilian-endangerment street party.
1.) The Ferrari Enzo
Certainly you've noticed that people keep totaling these and walking away. Why, it's enough to make one think that life isn't fair. However, death is, in fact, fair. Everybody gets one, while not everyone gets a life. Therefore, it would be nice, just once, to see a headline that reads "FERRARI UNDAMAGED, ARROGANT RICH BASTARD DISMEMBERED IN HIGH-SPEED ENZO CRASH," and while we're not sure how exactly that's supposed to happen, we can dream, can't we?