Jalopnik writers love cars, which is why we own lots of cool ones. LOTS OF COOL ONES. Many of them are worth scrap value, but we love them all the same. Let’s go through the steamy Jalopnik writer’s car catalogue of 2021.
I’m only writing this to keep track of what my colleagues own, because things have gotten severely out of hand. I mean, 49 cars between 12 writers!? Who are these weirdos I work with?
In case you’re curious, here’s a breakdown of how many cars are owned by each writer, and what brands they are:
That’s a lot of brands. There’s a few dead brands in there, a couple not officially sold in the U.S., and it looks like VW and Jeep are the most represented. Huh.
Anyway, let’s look at this mess of cars in detail:
1948 Willys CJ-2A. Owned By: Rory Carroll
Still technically co-owned by Wes Raynal from Autoweek, I need to send him a check. I drove down to North Carolina to scoop this one shortly after moving to Detroit. It’s totally original and in decent condition considering it spent its early life as a farm implement in upstate New York. -RC
1958 Willys FC-170. Owned By: David Tracy
The FC-170 is a giant rust bucket, and the last time I wrote about it, the engine appeared to be toast, with pitted/rusted valve seats. More stories to come on this old machine, which I intend to someday electrify.
1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle. Owned By: David Tracy
I bought this years ago, and towed it home with a 707-horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. That drive in that ice-storm was absolutely terrifying, but the shitstorm didn’t end there. This vehicle has been a disaster since day one. I removed the engine, tried and failed to rebuild it, bought a new engine and now that doesn’t work. I’m getting no oil to my rockers, but I’m making good oil pressure per a mechanical gauge. What gives?!
It is beautiful though.
2005 Volkswagen Touareg. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
This masterpiece of German engineering is set to become my next off-roader and workhorse. I’ll be doing some minor repairs to this SUV, the cheapest I found on Facebook Marketplace, then setting out west to pick up my Japanese imports.
Status: Operational daily, 170,000 miles. -MS
1985 Jeep J10. Owned By: David Tracy
I bought this J10 from a farm in North Carolina shortly before I joined Jalopnik. The truck sat for the better part of four years until I rebuilt the transmission in my kitchen and took it on an epic road trip last fall to Kenosha and a 3,000 mile trip last summer to the east coast and deep south. I still need to write about those trips.
1991 Jeep Cherokee 5spd. Owned By: David Tracy
A reader emailed me about this — the best Jeep Cherokee ever made. It’s got the five-speed, four-wheel drive, inline-six, quarter windows (!) and one of my favorite XJ interiors. I had to buy it from a used car dealer in Indiana after my junkyard contact failed me and forgot to bid on it at the insurance auction like he’d promised.
I replaced the front axle and fender last summer to appease my nosy city, then I got the rebuild title. But now I’m ready to get rid of it. If a car sits too long, you lose your love for it.
2007 Lexus GX470. Owned by: Rory Carroll
Flew to Florida for this one in late 2019. I’ve made some additional modifications since I wrote this. But it’s still fulfilling its intended purpose. -RC
1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd. Owned By: David Tracy
A reader offered me this rare manual Jeep ZJ for $3,000. I did not turn it down, because I am not a fool. Not only is it a stick, but it has manual door locks and windows, making it an unkillable, comfortable, off-road capable cruiser! Plus, it’s been in Reno for years, and it’s rust free!
1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd. Owned By: David Tracy
This was the first affordable, rust-free “holy grail” manual Jeep Grand Cherokee I’d ever laid eyes on. I flew my friend Brandon and me out to Colorado, fixed the Jeep’s steering and clutch, then road-tripped back to Michigan. It was epic.
Another 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd. Owned By: David Tracy
I’ll explain later. I need time to devise words that will convince you that buying this and the Jeep below all in the same weekend doesn’t make me crazy.
Another 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd. Owned By: David Tracy
I’ll explain later.
2000 Jeep Cherokee Auto. Owned By: David Tracy
This is my winter beater. I snagged it for $500 despite it only having 80,000 miles on the engine and 110,000 miles on the body. How did I get it so cheap? The unibody had a huge rust hole! I fixed that with a $100 Harbor Freight welder.
1992 Jeep Cherokee Auto. Owned By: David Tracy
This was my first car. It has 250,000 miles on it, though I swapped the engine after an unfortunate hydrolock incident.
2010 VW Tiguan. Owned by: Jason Torchinsky’s wife
2010 VW Tiguan. Wife’s car, was a time bomb with the timing chain, but all fixed now and runs great! Great interior, too. -JT
2002 Lexus LX470. Owned by: David Tracy
I recently bought this fancy Land Cruiser sight-unseen so it could tow my 1958 Willys FC-170 from Washington back to Michigan. Here’s what I thought of the Lexus after the first leg from Chicago (where I bought it) to Washington.
2015 Volkswagen GTI. Owned by: Rory Carroll’s wife
This is my wife’s car, she bought it right after she graduated law school and it’s grown with us through two moves and two kids. I can’t say enough about it, really an incredible machine. -RC
1974 Volkswagen Beetle. Owned by: Raphael Orlove
This is my second Bug, which I picked up after my first one started sending signals that it was getting ready to blow up. (The rust on the floor started flapping in the wind on the highway.) I sold that one for $500 and called the guy to make sure it didn’t burn down on his drive home. This new one has been much easier to own, and only leaves me stranded once every few weeks. -RO
2017 Ford Fiesta ST. Owned by: Adam Ismail
My 2017 Fiesta ST is my favorite of the few cars I’ve owned, the only one I currently own and a very significant one in my personal history. When I bought this car I had no experience driving stick, save for a combined two hours of practice behind the wheel of my best friend’s Veloster Turbo. Half of my test drive of the Fiesta was the salesman driving it to a quiet residential area where I’d have some room to screw up with no one around. I stalled in front of him so many times that day. After I got the keys, I didn’t even drive it off the lot — a friend’s dad did it for me. It took probably three months before I felt comfortable in my car, and maybe six before I could drive it without thinking. No, you don’t have to drive a manual to be an enthusiast and anyone who tells you otherwise is gatekeeping, but I will say this: my Fiesta ST helped me learn a new skill, and every moment behind the wheel (so long as I’m not in traffic) is the biggest hit of dopamine my brain can regularly count on these days. I’m grateful every day to have it. -AI
1984 Porsche 911. Owned by: Rory Carroll
I’ve had this one for more than a decade. The first half of that was spent using it up, the second half has been fixing it in fits and starts. Right before we got ready to move, I pulled the fuel tank for a cleaning. It’ll need that and a couple other little things before it’s back on the road, hopefully this summer. -RC
1966 Ford Mustang. Owned By: David Tracy (Technically)
I bought this car for my brother, so it’s his. Technically the paperwork is in my name, but it’s his. I’m just taking care of it for now. I recently got it running after it sat unregistered since 1998. It runs like a dream!
1973 VW Beetle. Owned by: Jason Torchinsky
This is a 1973 VW Beetle with the standard, torsion-bar front end and twin-Kadron carb 1600cc engine. I had it since I was 18 years old; there’s a penny welded on the gas tank. Someone famously stole this car. But I got it back! -JT
1997 BMW 318ti. Owned by: José Rodríguez, Jr.
As often happens in any long, fruitful relationship, I both love and hate the one car I own. Even pushing 200,000 miles, its chassis, engine and manual transmission are solid. It’s just everything else that keeps breaking!
2018 Hyundai Sonata. Owned by: Lawrence Hodge
Probably the most sensible and reliable car I have owned. It really is a family car. -LH
1990 Nissan Pao. Owned by: Jason Torchinsky
This is a 1990 JDM Nissan Pao, 987cc inline-four, the rarer 5-speed manual one, weird computer-controlled carb setup. I wanted one of these since I saw one in a magazine in the 1990s. -JT
2015 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen TDI. Owned by: Erin Marquis
I bought this 2015 Volkswagen SportWagen TDI two days after the stop-sale on TDI vehicles ended, thinking I would need a car to drive myself to cancer treatments. Doctors then told me I should definitely not be driving at all, so it sat for a few more months before I really got to drive it. After four years and over 40,000 miles, it’s been the perfect daily driver and road tripper! Just the occasional electronic blip which is to be expected when you’re rolling with the VW. -EM
1991 Yugo GV. Owned by: Jason Torchinsky
This 1991 Yugo GV Plus is my highest HP car of what I usually drive at 67 HP. The brake light switch once melted on my foot. Also, it was once owned by Jalopnik’s former deputy editor, the beloved Michael Ballaban. -JT
2006 Scion xB. Owned by: Jason Torchinsky (Well, technically a LeMons team)
I technically sold this to a LeMons team, but they haven’t picked it up yet. Five speed, solid little workhorse, though I think there’s a bearing in the transmission that needs to be replaced. -JT
2020 Changli Freeman EV. Owned by: Jason Torchinsky
2020 Changli Freeman EV, 1.1hp of pure electric madness. The best new car I’ve bought. -JT
2018 Regal TourX. Owned by: Bradley Brownell
From Brad’s article:
It makes for an absolutely stunning and incredibly useful daily driver.
Automotive writers tend to get flak on social media and in comment sections for making life-impacting purchase recommendations with no personal stake in the matter. I am so adamant that the Buick TourX is the best daily commuter car you can buy for the money, that I signed a contract promising to send several hundred of our own hard earned dollars to GM Financial every month in order to prove it. It’s a six-year contract, too!
2011 Nissan Leaf
From Brad’s article:
A couple of weeks ago a Twitter pal posted these screenshots of a Nissan Leaf for sale on Facebook Marketplace in Northern California. I knew that this price-drop deal wouldn’t last forever, so I tracked it down on Zuckerberg’s emporium of bad faith argument and conspiracy theory. I made a sight-unseen offer to pay the full asking price the following morning and sent off a $500 deposit to keep my place in line. It’s $2,000 and it runs and drives. How bad can it be?
1997 Porsche Boxster. Owned by: Bradley Brownell
Do you ever get to a point in a multi-year project where you start to lose steam and you’re worried that the thing that used to be a car sitting on your QuickJacks in the garage is rapidly transforming into a really expensive paperweight? Lately that’s how I’ve been feeling about my Boxster. I used to love this car, but then I decided to turn it into an ambitious electrified track car and it’s been in various states of disassembly ever since. Well, over the weekend I hacked off the windshield, and I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about moving forward with the project.
1995 Audi S6. Owned by: Bradley Brownell
It’s lifted 11.5 inches. -BB
1986 Porsche 944 Turbo. Owned by: Bradley Brownell
I co-own it with someone else...That one has half a million miles on it. -BB
1984 Porsche 944 Euro. Owned by: Bradley Brownell
From Bradley’s story on Flatsixes:
This 1984 Porsche 944 is an incredible tool for certain purposes. For the purposes of driving some of the best roads in coastal Southern California, it may be one of the best tools. This particular example is a European model, originally delivered to a customer in Germany, which means it has a manual steering rack deemed too raw and unfiltered for an American audience (only 1983 US-spec 944s had manual steering). It’s a non-sunroof car, which is a true rarity, and features a gorgeous, if faded, pasha interior. It’s comfortable and dynamically engaging, and while the A/C does not currently function, the serpentine belt squeals on cold starts, and the whole car smells of fuel with a full tank, it’s been a great pleasure to drive this thing for the last year or so.
1976 Porsche 912E. Owned by: Bradley Brownell
From Brad’s article:
It isn’t necessarily that the 912E is an excellent car. It’s not. It’s loud, uncomfortable, slow, and the manual steering is unwieldy at low speeds. I kind of love it because it’s not a great car, if that makes any sense. It was built to serve a purpose, and I take great joy in that purpose. Find a mountain road somewhere, struggle to the top, and fall in love. Lather, rinse, repeat.
2008 Honda Fit. Owned by: Erik Shilling
I’ve owned the Fit and only the Fit for seven years. If you ever meet anyone who owns more than one car I suggest you back away slowly. -ES
2012 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
This is my first Smart and my second car overall. This car means the world to me, as it’s proof that dreams can come true. It’s also the catalyst for my current car collecting habits. And yep, this car tows trailers and goes off-road.
Status: Operational daily, 170,000 miles. -MS
2016 Smart Fortwo Edition #1. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
I drove this one home straight from California on a crazy Cannonball Run-style road trip. If you’re even vaguely interested in smarts, these are the ones to get! It’s my favorite version of my attainable dream car and thus, it’s one of my garage queens.
Status: Operational garage queen, 5,800 miles. -MS
2005 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
This first-generation Smart Fortwo was never sold in the States. It’s one of the few non-compliant cars allowed into this country at a younger age than 25 because a couple of importers went through the hard work of certifying them for U.S. roads.
Status: Operational garage queen, 25,000 miles. -MS
2002 Audi TT Quattro. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
The first-generation Audi TT is a childhood dream car of mine. Yes, I loved the typical supercars like the McLaren F1 or cars like the Lamborghini Countach, but I’ve also dreamt of owning a TT ever since driving one in a racing game. Sadly, this lovely car has been subject to vandalism and an attempted theft and it needs repairs before I can drive it again.
Status: Vandalized weekend toy, 199,000 miles. -MS
2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Sportwagen. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
This Sportwagen is nearing the better part of a half-million miles, yet it looks like it has a third of that mileage. The interior looks even better, wearing like a car with 50,000 miles. I got it for dirt cheap and plan to get it as close to a million miles as possible.
Status: Operational daily, 357,000 miles. -MS
2008 Smart Fortwo Passion Coupe. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
This $1,000 Smart Fortwo is the replacement for a lemon of a Smart that I used to own. I did run one off-road rally with it, but I have decided to change the car’s fate. Instead, I will one day make this car into a creation inspired by a Volkswagen Harlequin Golf.
Status: Operational daily, 110,000 miles. -MS
2004 Volkswagen Jetta TDI wagon. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
I bought this car because it’s delightfully silly. It has a widebody, it’s painted in the Golf R32 color, it’s tuned and it sits on bags. This car is so stupid that driving it makes me giggle.
Status: Operational daily, 150,000 miles. -MS
1991 Honda Beat. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
This is my JDM dream car and it’s hard to believe that I actually have one! I still have to pick it up in Washington and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
Status: Operational weekend toy somewhere in Washington, 99,000 miles. -MS
Sadly, that car was towed then subsequently stolen. Its whereabouts are unknown and it’s a story for another day. -MS
1995 Chrysler Voyager 2.5 TD 5Spd. Owned by: David Tracy
This is Project Krassler, my diesel manual Chrysler minivan currently stored at my parents’ house in Germany. I limped it through Germany’s insanely tough inspection and then took it on an epic road trip last fall; I still haven’t finished writing about that.
1997 International 3800 School Bus. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
My fiancee gave me this bus for my birthday and we’ve already started tearing apart the interior to make a camper out of it. The idea is that the rear end will be a motorcycle garage while the rest will be living space. Most recent progress is some rust fixes and an alternator replacement.
Status: Operational project, 200,000 miles. -MS
1989 Suzuki Every. Owned by: Mercedes Streeter
I adore kei vans almost as much as I adore convertible kei cars. I never thought that I would be able to import two cars from Japan, but cheap auction prices meant that I could. I can’t wait for this one to arrive at port!
Status: Operational weekend toy on a boat in the Pacific Ocean, 60,000 miles. -MS
1977 Dodge Tioga RV. Owned by: Jason Torchinsky
I drove this RV across the country. It has a bathtub. It died after I had all the plumbing replaced and has been immobile for way too long, in my driveway, like a guest house. -JT
If you add it all up, you end up with four vans/commercial vehicles, 30 cars/wagons, and 15 SUVs/trucks. That’s a total of 49 vehicles across 12 writers for an average of 4.08 vehicles per writer! And that includes Justin Westbrook, who at the moment doesn’t have a car! That’s a lot of cars.