The season for tossing around the pigskin and gorging yourself on pig products in the shadow of stadiums is here, and in that spirit we've identified the ten best vehicles for serious tailgating. With the help of our grill-happy readers we've put together a list of cars, trucks and vans that meet the requirements for your meaty adventures. Whether you're a Boomer Sooner or a Cheesehead, you'll surely be able to step up your off-the-field game by investing in one of the ten tailgating vehicles below.
Ideal for your casual tailgater, the 2009 Honda Ridgeline almost perfectly fits the bill. The spacious interior comfortably fits five normal-sized passengers and the bed is just large enough to hold a few seats with the tailgate fully extended. Though the Ridgeline isn't massively powerful, it has a massive storage area below the truck's bed, which is big enough to hold a cooler, beverages, ice and whatever else you need for a good day of tailgating with 80Honda and three of your friends.
One of the few purpose-built tailgating vehicles in existence, Ford of Australia took one of their liquid gas-powered Falcon Utes and added a giant cylinder on the back that looks like an LPG tank to create the Barby Ute. The doors of that cylinder open up to reveal a fully-functioning, gas-powered BBQ pit. Though they may grill shrimp and watch Australian rules football, we tip our hat first to the Aussies for creating such an ideal tailgating vehicle and second to LTDScott for finding it.
You'd have to have a serious stake in steak to build a gigantic grille onto the bed of an 18-wheeler, so it is no surprise that the crew behind the "Big Taste Grill" is employed by Johnsonville Brats. The self-proclaimed World's Largest Grill, the BTG's grill lid alone weighs 6,000 pounds and requires hydraulics to open it. Capable of producing 440,000 BTUs of power, this meat machine is capable of cooking 2,500 brats an hour. If you have the means, and own a meat company, Bpapa9013 highly recommends it. [Photo: Flickr]
Having been part of the first ever tailgate in the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, we can say for sure that this truck is built for tailgating. The new Ram features the "Ram Box" storage system in each sidewall, which has enough space to hold more than three dozen 12-oz beverages. It's so large that the editor of PickupTrucks.com nearly fits inside of it. Does that mean it holds seven passengers? [Photo: AutoBlog]
This is sort of a no-brainer when it comes to camping outside of the stadium. The recreational vehicle, like UDMAN's ride pictured here, has a number of distinct advantages. The RV typically comes complete with a small kitchen, space is almost unparalleled, it is much easier to setup a television inside and it has a water closet for when you realize you need somewhere to put what's left of all that Coors Light you drank. It also ensures you have a comfortable place to sleep if you want to show up a few days early to get the best grilling location.
Older SUVs represent a great, relatively inexpensive choice for a single-purpose tailgating vehicle. Though an old Land Cruiser or Suburban is an admirable choice, there's something classic about the Jeep Wagoneer. Maybe it's just the wood paneling, but the Wagoneer feels more like a portable living room than a truck. The most important feature is that the Wagoneer, unlike other SUVs, has a dropping tailgate that significantly extends the cabin space within the Jeep for pres and company to setup an inflatable couch and a portable TV.
While we agree with the conventional wisdom that says the Pontiac Aztec was a Hindenbergesque vehicle that would only appeal to blind drivers, Foo2rama makes a good point about the vehicle's usefulness as a tailgating rig. There's a built-in air compressor for blowing up inflatable chairs, a 10-speaker stereo system with rear controls, a two-piece tailgate with molded cupholders and seating grooves, and a removable cargo tray that holds up to 400 pounds of stuff. It may be ugly, but it is hard worker.
When local school districts auction off their old buses it's time for the serious tailgater to strike. As Cognitive_Friction knows, a school bus is basically a long, covered space in which a true artist can craft their ultimate tailgating ride. Outfitted with tables, chairs, televisions, grilling gear, beanbag toss, refrigerators and other essentials, the school bus has most of the utility of the RV with the novelty of... a giant school bus. Paint it in your team's favorite colors and there will be no mistaking who you support. [Photo: Flickr]
Commenter Slantsick hit the nail on the head with his suggestion of the classic, tailgated station wagon. Before fancy hatches were popular, you couldn't sell a station wagon without a keen tailgate. For those who want to look stylish when not tailgating but have the utility for Saturdays and Sundays, the 1950s-era wagon is hard to top. It's also significantly cheaper than retrofitting an 18-wheeler. Loyter's University of Utah red vintage Chevy II wagon is a classic example of why this may be the ultimate Jalopnik tailgating vehicle.
Striking the best balance between utility, cost and insane conviction is the ambulance converted into the supreme tailgating vehicle. It has storage. It has power. It has space. They're easy to pick up at auctions. They look cool. They have sirens. They're freaking ambulances! The University of Toledo Jambulence has more features than we can possibly list, but let's just say a super-quiet generator, LCD televisions and touchscreen computers all equal good times. Husker fans have the Big Red Meat Wagon, which comes with a "wiener slinger" and other strange devices that we are sure makes tailgating all that much more fun. We wouldn't be surprised to hear that PeteJayhawk is looking for one pre-painted in KU colors.
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