Quick Question: Which Section Of America Has The Best Cars?

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This started as a discussion on our Jalop-wide Slack channel, in between the rumors of who-likes-who and Raph’s constant sharing of pictures of infected toes and asking for medical advice that he knows damn well he could just Google on his own like the rest of us. The question was about which section of America has the best cars? And it’s a good question. Well, good enough to get people arguing, at least.

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So, if we divide the continental U.S. into five sections—Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, Northeastwest (just kidding, Northeast), and Southeast—how would you rank those sections in terms of their overall carscapes?

There was some argument made that Texas should be its own section, separate from the Southwest, and I’m noncommittal on that.

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Like any respectable gearhead, I have opinions here. For me, tops has to be the Southwest, because it’s a rust-free wonderland and in cities like Los Angeles, there’s a staggering variety and breadth of cars all over, from Tatras to Porsches to old Volgas to Lancias to supercars and home-built wonders—everything.

So, first is Southwest, then, maybe Northwest, since I once saw a Renault Caravelle being dailied out in Portland, and that says a lot. There seems to be a good amount of interesting cars there, density-wise, in the overall carscape.

Then I have to say the Southeast. It’s much better than I expected when I moved here, and in my little North Carolina town there’s even a family with only Citroëns. One of the best air-cooled Porsche collections was right here in Durham (well, the explosion hurt, but it’s not all gone), and even though it’s wet often in the Southeast, rust isn’t too big an issue.

I’ll go for Midwest next, since there’s Detroit’s very strong American car heritage, and some nice weirdos like King Midget collectors and AMC stans. Overall car population isn’t terribly interesting, but there are good pockets. Rust, though. Rust is brutal.

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Last I have to give to the Northeast. Sure, the big cities have their pockets and collections of cool cars and interesting stuff, and there’s collectors around New York with fantastic collections, but the overall carscape is pretty utilitarian.

So, in a list:

1. Southwest
2. Northwest
3. Southeast
4. Midwest
5. Northeast

Of course, I’m happy to be called out for these opinions, since that’s the whole point here—let’s get some healthy arguing going! I bet people will have beef with my Northwest rank, for some reason.

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Let’s hear how you rank things—and, for our readers in the rest of the world, thanks for putting up with this, and if you have any stereotypes about American regions, let’s hear them, because I bet they’re hilarious.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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DISCUSSION

Mach-inator
Mach-inator

Detroit has the best car culture. This is a hill I’m willing to die on.

Does any other city have a street like Woodward that people just know to cruise on the weekend?