Next week, Barrett-Jackson holds its 40th annual collector car auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., featuring hundreds of rare, expensive machines. These aren't those. These are the other cars — the menagerie of pro-class weirdness preserving some inexplicable style and life choices.
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1949 Crosley Hook & Ladder Fire Truck
While it looks like something that would roll out of the local preschool, the Crosley was actually in service as a working fire engine at an Oklahoma amusement park until the 1960s, before it was given to the Shriners.
1984 Nissan Safari JDM-Spec Fire Truck
If you want something closer to a real firetruck, this Safari-based rig with 22,000 kilometers on its right-hand drive odometer awaits. The seller says in addition to acting as an attention-getter/call for help, "it could even be used as it was intended to be, as a working fire truck for a small town or rural community." Because how hard could it be to find parts for a Nissan Safari at the nearest O'Reilly's?
1994 Caddy Golf Cart
GM apparently gave these to 150 dealers, so they could easily go from green to green without having to stop the lap dances.
1984 Honda Zoe
While labeled a Honda, this is likely a Zoe Zipper, a three-wheeler buit in Japan with a 50cc Honda engine and sold to complete indifference in the United States. Despite its 5 hp engine, 45 mph top speed and general appearance, people have managed to accumulate 942 miles on this model. The Zoe's only claim to fame: It was once given away on "The Price Is Right," where it likely stands as the most disappointing Showcase Showdown award ever.
2003 Pontiac Sunfire Custom
Like Henry Schoolcraft finding the source of the Mississippi River, this 2003 Pontiac Sunfire customized for GM appears to be the headwaters from which a generation of Sunfires with ground effects kits, scissor doors and underlights have flowed. Included in the purchase: a Bonspeed "Speed Cult" bass guitar signed by Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony. Not included in the purchase: Self-esteem.
2003 Hummer H2 Custom
"Bro, here's what we're gonna do: We've got this cherry Hummer we're gonna totally pimp, with like sound and stuff, jack it up like 18 inches, then bolt a machine gun to its hood!"
"Brocephus, that's not badass enough. It needs somethin' else. Like...rockets."
"Rockets? Browesome! Hey Dad, where's your platinum card..."
1977 Leata Caballero
Our appreciation of all things Camino-ed and Caballero-esque stops right about...here. Steinbaugh Manufacturing built about 100 of these gems using a fully loaded Chevy Chevette as a donor. Thanks to options including an 8-track and CB radio, the original sticker hit $10,000, which only makes sense if the bed came filled with cocaine.
1984 Ford Ranger Bud Light Car
Bud Light presents "Real Men Of Genius." Today we salute you, Mr. Custom Beer-Can Car Builder. Those namby-pambys who outlawed open containers can't keep you off the streets if the car's one big can. You'll never thirst as you cruise to Sturgis with your built-in grill and room for your buddies. (Who needs to be married anyway?) Sure you get 10 miles to the gallon, there's no top if it starts to rain, and your beer gets flavored by the bugs in your teeth, but you're having a party 24/7. And the number on the side commemorates how much of this flavorless swill you had to drink to come up with the idea. So here's to you, Mr. Custom Beer-Can Car Builder. May you someday park next to the Wienermobile.