What’s Father’s Day for, if not retelling stories about your dad’s glory days? The locales visited, the laws broken, and the vehicles that enabled all those violent delights. Yesterday, we asked you for the coolest cars your dads ever owned, and you gave us hundreds of answers. Here are some of the best.
A Jaguar E-Type Coupe
My dad has had a lot of cool cars, 442's, Euro-market M-tech kitted E28, BRZ series.yellow, and currently drives an A90 Supra 3.0 and 986 Boxster S. His coolest car however, is the 1967 Jaguar E-type coupe that he and his dad restored when they bought it from someone in Kansas who had crashed it racing a GTO, and he used as his daily for a decent period of time, in the Seattle and Monterey areas. He even took it with him when he was assigned to England, driving a USDM LHD E-type around London. At that time, he and my mom had a Jaguar S-type sedan also, but since the E-type was more reliable, it was their daily. So much so, that when I was born in England, he drove me home from the hospital, held in my mom’s arms in the passenger seat. That E-type was the first car I ever rode in, he wanted my love of cars to get off on the right foot. He’s currently restoring it. I can’t wait to be able to drive the first car I ever rode in.
Here it is in Monterey:
And here it is in freshly shipped into England, still wearing its Washington plates.
Click through to the original comment for actual, original photos of this E-Type, because they’re fantastic. Those classic film-photo colors, the haze of old film stock. Ten out of ten, no notes.
A Porsche 914
My dad and mom divorced when I was young. My dad’s first car purchase post-divorce as a Zambezi Green 914 1.8. I loved that car. He taught agriculture at a local high school. Right about when I hit kindergarten he traded it for a pick-up and a boat to open a water ski school while still teaching high school.
I ended up buying a 74 914 2.0L when I was in college. Worst car for someone paying their way through college. Sold it to survive. Now I can’t afford one.
Driving a 914 remains on my automotive bucket list. They’re from an era when companies hadn’t yet figured out emissions regulations, and had such tiny engines. I’ve never understood the appeal, and that itself is now the appeal for me. I need to get it.
An Intermeccanica Torino
1967 Intermeccanica Torino. Handmade body, Ford 289 HiPo drivetrain.
Less than 100 made, even fewer convertibles. His was chassis #8, making it the 5th production vehicle. His was maroon, here are some pics I found in white:
The Torino may look like an Alfa Romeo Spider, but its drivetrain more closely resembles that of a Cobra with its Ford V8. Their pricing, too, resembles the Shelby more than the Alfa — good luck getting your hands on one to replicate the sins of your father.
The Four-Door Sports Car
A Green on Tan base model 1997 Nissan Maxima. Not cool by any stretch of the imagination, but I watched the OG The Fast and The Furious and saw Vince’s car, a 4th gen Nissan Maxima. I realized it could be cool. And that started my weird obsession with finding a manual one that was in decent shape.
Gave it to his mechanic a month after he bought his Passat because constant wiring gremlins. Looked like this, sans spoiler
Back in the day, the Maxima wore 4DSC badges — the Four-Door Sports Car. It was supposed to be fun, fast, a more interesting alternative to the Camries of its era. Don’t get me started on Vince’s car, though. My friends have already had to suffer through that rant.
A Rolls-Styled Bug
Back in the 80s, he had a VW Bug with a Rolls Royce-style body kit like this:
It was broken, like, all the time.
Now, he has a bright yellow S2000. You all know what that looks like, so I’m not going to bother to post a picture, even though I probably spent as much time telling you why I’m not going to post a picture than it’d have taken to do so. But at this point, I’m committed to this course of action.
In my search for images for this slide, I discovered there are multiple Rolls-Royce front end kits for the VW Bug. How many people wanted that look? Was this really popular enough to warrant that many iterations?
A Garage Full Of Vintage Ferraris
I am one of the very lucky ones, because I got to grow up around some of the most beautiful cars in the world. I had a dad and step dad that were both into vintage racing and ferraris. Though they liked these old cars when they were just the “old cars” and not the objects of art we know today - so they drove the crap out of them. Of all the cars and money - I learned it comes and goes. I have only one and I feel lucky and blessed - it was all I got from either. but my 1975 GT4 Dino, aka BMBINA is still with me - I was brought home from the hospital after being born in this car. Other notables:
1966 Dino 206sp factory car that came in second overall/1st in class in the Targa Florio - the first of 16 made. sn 002 / raced under number 196.
275GTB4 - one of the early cars and it was hot rodded out - commonly used in many of the photos on google images, Muira p400 in black, 1959 Elva Formula Jr., 308GTS, Turner, Coventry Climax sports car, Turner Sportscar, Alexis Formula Jr., Sports 2000, Formula Ford, Datsun 510, briefly had a 250 California SWB for like a couple months, 400i with stick shift, 246 Dino, Allard M-type Drophead.
I was really very lucky and was surrounded by all the legends amongst our family friends. They really just drove them hard. I think Dad shared the 275 was like $15K when he bought it LOL! Thought that was a lot of money, then.
And I thought my dad was interesting with the RX-7s and M cars. This selection of vintage racers could be in a museum — or be a museum on its own.
Another FB RX-7
My dad was very successful, but having grown up worse than “dirt poor”, he was also very frugal. So while he’d routinely get invitations and calls from Porsche, etc to be picked up and take a test drive, he ended up getting an used 1983 Mazda Rx-7 as his midlife crisis car. It was that copper color and I thought it was the coolest ever. Even after I accidentally closed the door on my fingers.
All of this RX-7 talk is going to send me down a bad path. I’m already in the market for a sporty car. Why shouldn’t it be an early (though not carburetor-early) RX-7? The reliability, is why it shouldn’t, but I’m gonna start browsing classifieds anyway.
An Alfa Romeo Giulia Super
Take your pick:
1967 Alfa Giulia Super bought new...
or our 68 Vista Cruiser bought used and was our road trip vehicle and his work vehicle.
or in his later years prior to his passing a 1974 Alfa GTV.
Every single Alfa Giulia Super looks like it wants to be out on a rally stage. Even in base, stock trim, the proportions and front-end design just scream rally.
A Coupe De Ville
1976 Cadillac Coupe Deville.
Purchased brand new and started rusting within a year. My 6 year old self remembers him snapping Polaroids and sending them to GM to complain about it. Needless to say GM did not remedy the situation. For anyone.
Land Yacht awesome though.
Want to know a fun fact about the 1976 Coupe De Ville? It was four inches longer, tip to tail, than a 2022 Chevy Suburban. The Suburban is already a novelty oversized vehicle, but to put even more length into an otherwise smaller car? That’s camp.
A Honda Gold Wing
Coolest car. Either a blue MGB he had before kids were around or a 1956 Nomad he and I worked on in high school, but had to sell before it was finished because of kidney issues (my brother gave him a kidney, he’s still kicking).
Coolest vehicle. 1978 Honda Goldwing. IMO that old touring bike has aged pretty well. Round headlights, big Vetter faring, saddle bags, and trunk bag. I still think they look good and I’m partial to black. We did a few trips on it when I was younger. At one point we broke down on the Canadian border (literally, the clutch went out about 300 yards past customs). This was on the North Shore of Lake Superior in the mid 1990's, we were coming back from Thunder Bay and probably still at least 8 hours from home. A trucker hauling logs gave us a ride from the border to Two Harbors, about a four hour ride. They sat up front and talked about life and the land and work. I sat in back and drank Pepsis in the trucker’s sleeper cab. My dad still calls me every once in a while and asks “What was the truckers name?” Vince Utenberg was the name.
There was no vacancy in any hotel that weekend, but there was an old lady who used to run a boarding house who took us in. I remember hanging out with her, eating cookies, watching Matlock, getting some good second hand smoke (menthols), while we waited. Her name was Dorthy. A couple days later my mom and one of my brothers were able to come up and get us. A few weeks later that same brother and my dad borrowed a Toyota 4x4 SR5 (that was & is a cool truck) drove back up to that customs station and retrieved the Goldwing. The next year my parents went up and stayed with Dorothy in Two Harbors on purpose, apparently a lot of people she took in did that.
My dad got the Goldwing fixed and had probably another decade of good travels on it, but that North Shore trip when I was 12 was my last motorcycle trip with him, and since I’m a bad combo of adventurous and clumsy, probably my last motorcycle trip period. I like staying on this side of the dirt, so I’ll stick to adventures that are more likely to just screw up my joints—trail running, mountain biking that sort of thing.
When he sold the Goldwing, he bought a Honda Silverwing and is now on his second Silverwing. With what is basically a commuter scooter capable of highway speeds, he has traveled from Minnesota to New Brunswick on the Atlantic and Vancouver on the Pacific, with many other trips in between—Moab, Rocky Mountain National Park, Glacier. I’m probably forgetting a bunch.
It’s not the vehicle that makes you cool. It’s what you do with it.
A Gold Wing is inherently cool on its own, but a story like that certainly makes it even cooler. Modern GLs may be the ultimate touring bike, with their CVTs and fairings and Apple CarPlay, but you can still rack up the miles on an old one.
A Decades-Running Luxury Fleet
My dad was never a “car guy” but he did appreciate nice things, and did have some great cars. Over the years he went from US Luxobarges to Imports. Here are most of of them from when I was born on. All the pictures are stock, but are the same colors of the ones he had)
1978 Lincoln Mark V Diamond Jublee edition
1982 Seville with cabriolet roof. Plus he got the fake rear spare tire like the one below. It was the most MEH car I think he ever owned.
1986 BMW M6 (this may be the best car he ever owned, and was the vehicle that got me into being a true car enthusiast.) It had a CD player in the glove box. I looked forward to weekend drives to know end with my dad in this. Sad story with this one for another time.
1987 Cadillac Allante. Yes, my dad went from a BMW M6 to a silver Allante with red interior. It was the 80's, what can I say? Loved the digital gauges as a kid.
He made it up with the 1989 Lexus LS400. Purchased the year Lexus launched. I cannot stress how amazing this car was at the time. Absolute cocoon silence with no engine noise. The electroluminescent gauges. Beautiful interior. Drove it the longest of any car he ever owned.
1999 740i. Had to drive this home once after a party for my dad. This was the car that cemented that BMW of the era were just so much fun to drive. It made my 1995 Dodge Neon laughable by comparison! :D
2003 SC430. He loved this car. I think it was because the hardtop actually worked.
2007 S550. Got a deal on an S550 from a dealer friend. Glorious piece of automotive technology. It was the first (and only) car he ever bought which listed over $100,000.
2013 Lexus RX. The last car my dad ever owned. It just worked. He wasn’t driving as much and usually had my stepmom drive him at that point. It was quiet and reliable and exactly what he needed at that point in his life.
It was really fun listing these, and seeing just how much the car my dad owned at any given point reflected what was happening in his life at the time. He was a self made man, growing up in poverty in Puerto Rico and eventually owning a large manufacturing company he started himself.
His license plate on every one of these cars was a vanity plate: JIBARO. If you are Puerto Rican, I hope that the thought of that license plate on a Lexus, or a S Class will bring a smile to your face.
Your dad had a type, it seems: Big, comfortable, and luxurious. If you’ve built up an aerospace manufacturing empire, why not pony up for the finer things in life?
A Classic 4Runner
Easy answer for me: A 1987 4Runner, new. Blue - stock. With the rear roof that could be removed. Just a fantastic, endlessly fun, car. Not ours, but identical to it. And given how often we were driving up and down the west coast in that thing, it could easily be a scene from my youth.
Speaking of cars that are far too tempting for my budget, parking situation, or needs, we have the late-eighties 4Runner. Maybe they’re getting cheap now, with gas prices the way they are. This is a dangerous line of thinking to pursue.
Two-Door Manual XJ
My dad has a two door, 5-speed, 4.0, 4x4 Jeep XJ. He bought it brand new in ‘99 and I was immediately smitten with it. I learned stick on it, went on a few road trips with him, and even borrowed it for a brief time when I was between cars. It is just this bulletproof do-anything car that I am so enamored by. I won’t let him sell it to a single other person besides me, so it’ll be mine eventually.
Now that you’ve written this down, a certain Jalopnik editor-in-chief knows about it. He has a sixth, possibly seventh sense for these things. As soon as that car is passed down to you, he’ll be at your door, asking what you’d take for it.
A Screaming Chicken
My dad hand rebuilt, from a rolling shell, a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am. Black with all the gold striping and decals, including of course the screaming chicken decal. Much like the pic above, it didn’t have T-tops and unfortunately, it didn’t have the Pontiac 400ci V8, he could only afford the olds 403ci V8. But it was still fast, because after his 4th or 5th ticket he took it out of daily driver duty. He kept it for a few years but ended up selling it after finding out that the previous owner failed to disclose some frame damage (a mutual friend had told us the story) that was causing some steering issues he couldn’t figure out for the longest time.
No matter how many times you watch a YouTuber bend a car’s frame “back to straight” with ratchet straps and a tree, know that it’s never that simple. A tweaked frame can, and will, mess with the car’s entire driving experience.
Nothing Cool At All
My dad never owned a cool car. He had shit like this Dodge Aspen wagon. The lesson?... buy a cool car at least once in your life. It doesn’t have to be expensive or rare... just something fun to drive.
You heard it here first, folks. Don’t spend your time thinking about the cars you should’ve bought, the drives you wish you’d taken. Just buy the car now, and make memories of joy rather than regret. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go shop for RX-7s and 4Runners.
Submitted by: 17 Seconds