If you buy the right car, you can look like your paycheck has an extra zero at the end. Thankfully, Jalopnik readers know ten cars that are perfect for the job.
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Now, before we go on, we should say that the very rich often don’t buy very extravagant cars. You can see multimillionaires tooling around in nothing more than a Lincoln Town Car. It gets the job done and it doesn’t attract any attention. Rich people love that.
The problem is, these kinds of cars are so good at being the unassuming car of choice for the 1%, that if you buy one, people will just think you’re a cab driver.
There are more cars that are absolutely wonderful cars that most of the public doesn’t notice. We car enthusiasts can spot a VW Phaeton from blocks away, but the average person on the street thinks it’s a Jetta.
So you need something that’s a bit flashy, but not overly so. We think we found ten perfect cars for the job, but if you think there’s anything we forgot, let us know in Kinja below.
Photo Credit: fragment.fi
10.) Bentley Turbo R
You can get a fabulously exuberant Turbo R for around $20 grand, but any old Bentley will do. Most people will only spot the big grill, but everything inside is all hand-stitched leather and real wood. You will look like you made a lot of money on the stock market.
9.) 1980s Porsche 911
A non-turbo ‘80s 911 is not the prettiest Porsche ever made, but it’s air-cooled and we’ve never seen anyone driving one who doesn’t have a substantial retirement fund. Since Porsche aficionados are currently freaking out for Singer-esque earlier cars, these things aren't as expensive as you might think.
8.) Mercedes-Benz W126 S-Class
If you can find one of these that’s not rusty, beat up, or on sagging suspension, an ‘80s S-Class will make you look like you live in a mansion.
Suggested By: E39M5FTW, Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz
7.) BMW E38 7er
Every BMW 7-series seems to depreciate like crazy, so you can even get a Bangle-era 7er for reasonably cheap. The real buy is a late ‘90s model, which are only driven by the mafia these days. With a nice paintjob, people will give you more than a little respect in one.
Suggested By: ENZ0288, Photo Credit: BMW
6.) 1960s-1970s Mercedes Roadster
Mercedes roadsters were so absurdly expensive when they were new that they still exude a discernible gravitas. They were also built like tanks. A 1970s R107 is absolutely fine for looking and feeling like a retired bank owner, but if you can stretch to a 1960s SL, do so.
5.) 1930s Pierce-Arrow
If you want real luxury you have to go back to one of the Three P’s: Peerless, Packard, and Pierce-Arrow. At first glance, members of the unwashed masses may guess that it’s an old Ford, but when they see the huge chrome front, the spare tires, and the wafting brilliance of the ride, there will be no question that you’re some reclusive multi-millionaire living outside of town.
This straight-eight 1929 Model 125 is going for a mere $32,700.
4.) Jeep Grand Wagoneer
This one is a bit of a stealth pick, so we’ll let reader Pedro S explain.
This one is place specific, but a Jeep Grand Wagoner in good condition in Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, Aspen, Tahoe, or Montauk will let everyone think you are rolling in dough, especially if you dress the part with a pink shirt, or checkered pants.
Be sure to get a woody.
3.) 1990s-2000s Jaguar XJ
Old Jags depreciate like crazy, but the last generation of their limo-esque sedan looks even statelier than their current model. Look at this one in Casino Royale on Lake Como and you’ll understand. Even the generation previous to that one has old money written all over it.
2.) Austin-Healey 3000
We have never seen anyone but rich old dudes driving Austin-Healey 3000s. Give one a good paint job, fix all the chrome brightwork, and you’ll look like you drive this thing on the weekends, when you’re not making multi-million dollar acquisitions.
1.) Lotus Elise
Even though you can get these things for around $30 grand they undisputedly look like hundred-thousand dollar cars. There’s not much of an interior, but without question the outside matches a Ferrari for curb appeal.