It’s common knowledge that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Apparently, so is the illusion of wealth, because last week I asked you frugal freaks to find me cars that would fool your neighbors into thinking you’ve hit the lottery, and deliver you did. Clear your schedules.
10. 2003 Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG
This Mercedes-Benz S55 AMG is the German automaker’s answer to a question no one asked. It’s a long wheelbase super-sedan with nearly 500 horsepower on tap from its supercharged, hand-built V8 engine. It has massaging seats, and it’s the price of a Civic.
Sure, servicing might cost a bit more than you’d get on an economy car and you’ll spend more on fuel than several small countries, but a lighter foot and internet search for common problems will solve those problems in a jiffy. For the sheer luxury and performance, it’s nearly impossible to beat.
(Suggested by Sully)
9. 2004 Land Rover Discovery
This Land Rover Discovery is a car that can go to either the most wealthy individuals in our society, or the ones downtrodden enough to only afford a decrepit example that doubles as the world’s worst bachelor pad. It seems that the only thing separating the two is condition, and this one from Florida seems pretty solid, especially as a later model example.
It’s not the most reliable thing in the world by a far measure, but with a few tweaks to suspension and mechanical components, it can be an absolutely stellar overland vehicle or, at the very least, something that would absolutely fit in that upscale mall you were thrown out of because your shoes were out of season.
(Suggested by QuadPole)
8. 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL
This Mercedes-Benz SL is one of the best expressions of the German brand’s attention to detail and dependability. This was the last of the “built like a tank” SLs and bore the trademark, super 90's German styling, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the most stately and recognizable shapes in the automotive ether. The looks are just dated enough to be considered stylish by today’s hipster-chic, and the drivetrain will outlast your grandkids. What’s not to like?
(Suggested by Patrick Frawley)
7. 1999 Porsche Boxster
This Porsche Boxster’s runny egg headlights and weirdo styling and mid-engined layout screams eccentricity. That could means that you’re a set-in-your-ways millionaire, or that you’re a regular person that enjoys a good canyon carving Sunday drive. Since the latter is disappearing from society, it’s safe to say that others will assume you’re the former. Just don some flip flops, grab an overpriced sugary beverage from your favorite gluten-free farmer’s market, and bask in the glow of social proof.
(Suggested by Murphie)
6. 1973 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow
This Rolls Royce Silver Shadow isn’t just a car for rich people. It’s a car that, no matter who you are, evokes an emotion of class. It’s the old school way of doing things. It’s what you take to a hostile takeover to send a message to the opposing CEO that you are not fucking around.
This one might need new fuel lines and likely a host of other things, but for under the budget, it’s worth its price just to leave parked in your driveway as a constant reminder to anyone in the area that you’ve figured life out.
(Suggested by YALE70)
5. 2010 Jaguar XF
This Jaguar XF represents the British manufacturer’s line in the sand, in which they stopped making cars with the styling of a turn of the century steam train. There are no bad angles on this car, and while this one may be a little rough around the edges, the drivetrain should be just as dependable as anything you’d get on the economy car market for the price. Also, “taking the Jag” just sounds so much better than “taking the Camry,” doesn’t it?
(Suggested by RMCjr)
4. 2001 BMW 750iL
This BMW 750iL is for people who looked at the Mercedes S-Class and thought that the only thing missing from their luxury experience was the ability to do a 1g lateral skid. This car can’t exactly gets there, but it can get damn close with its staggered M-parallel wheels and its near optimal weight distribution. That V12 doesn’t hurt either.
(Suggested by elpaco13)
3. 2007 BMW 328i
This BMW 328i might be on the more pedestrian side of things, but having an understated car that can lay waste to its competition in the handling department is something that definitely screams rich.
It’s like saying that you have the resources to bury any opposition but you just choose not to, and that’s perhaps the greatest power move of all. Just make sure you actually have some cash in the very likely event that it breaks.
(Suggested by itsgotelectrolytes2)
2. 2001 Jaguar XJ8 Vanden Plas
This Jaguar XJ8 Vanden Plas is fancy, if only for the simple fact that its name has a silent s. Does your car carry a silent letter on its badge? No it does not. Your opinion is invalid.
(Suggested by Labcoatguy)
1. 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
I bet you didn’t think that the car that would make you look most like a fancypants brandy-sniffer was a three decade old Jeep, but I don’t make the rules. This Grand Wagoneer, on top of being associated with Skyler White, is something that you’ll see regularly making rounds through Newport and the Hamptons.
It’s dependable, stylish, horrible on gas, and just enough of a nuisance on the road that it requires someone with more money than brains. It’s also impossibly cool and I want one badly.
(Suggested by RJP)