If you’ve ever spent some time in the greater Los Angeles area, you’ll notice that exotic, rare, and otherwise unobtainable cars in the rest of the country are the norm, which means that if you want to be noticed, you’ll need something that takes people utterly by surprise—something like this bone stock Ford Escape with a vinyl wrap. No, I’m not kidding.
If you’re not in on the joke, don’t worry. I didn’t get it either until it was explained to me, which is objectively the worst way to end a joke. This 2006 Ford Escape hybrid is wrapped in custom Aviato livery, Aviato being the startup of anti-hero and lovable jerk Erlich Bachman from HBO’s Silicon Valley.
If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can now rent this car from Turo—a startup in itself—which is basically a crowd-sourced option for interesting rental cars. While this car has been available in the San Francisco area for a few months, it’s the first time that those in LA will get the chance to drive it.
I was told by Turo that this Ford Escape was wrapped by Silicon Valley’s creative team to look exactly like the one used by the actors in the show. As I’ve been living in a damp cave for the past several years, I haven’t been up to date on my consumption of television, and therefore didn’t really think that it would be such a big deal to rent some crappy car from a show I’ve never seen, until I got to see the car up close and realize how very wrong I was.
As I reached the Turo lot near the Los Angeles International Airport to pick up a car that was a lot less practical and more expensive than the $49 per day Ford Escape, I noticed that even in a hotel parking lot with minimal foot traffic, the car got a startling amount of attention.
Holding-hand couples did double takes and smirked at the car, took selfies and one person yelled “OH SHIT DUDE! AVIATOOOOOO!” This occurred in the span of the 20 or so minutes that it took for me to fit my carry-on into my rented Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, a car that got one strange passerby to tell me that he’s glad Pontiac decided to finally bring back the Fiero, while the likely $6,000 Ford Escape was a goddamn A-lister by comparison.
It was a joke that the privileged, premium cable-having Los Angelinos were all in on, and I wager that it’s well worth the price of admission for those that have egos big enough to need validation, but small enough that they realize that the joke is likely on them.
The car itself is little more than a standard, run-of-the-mill Escape hybrid with more than 80,000 miles on it. It’s in extremely good shape for the year and mileage, and the drivetrain, while not snappy or driver-oriented, will do just fine in the stop-and-go traffic on the 405.
The only drawback on this hipster magnet, however, is no billionaire doors.