Illustration for article titled What Were Your Favorite Cars When You Were a Kid and Are They Still Cool?
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Many people’s automotive tastes are fluid, changing as we age or as as new design trends make our former-favorites look dated. So let’s have a look at the cars you used to drool over as a kid, and discuss whether they’re still cool.

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In eighth grade, I used to wear the Dodge Charger T-Shirt shown above along with the Dodge NASCAR jacket below, and a Dodge baseball cap.

Illustration for article titled What Were Your Favorite Cars When You Were a Kid and Are They Still Cool?
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And it wasn’t really that I was a Dodge fanboy—I hated, and still hate, the Durango of that era. But for some reason, I was a huge fan of the first-gen four-door L-platform Charger that debuted for 2005, and also of the third-generation Dodge Ram.

Photo: Dodge
Photo: Dodge

In fact, I also had a t-shirt with a third-gen Ram on the front. The truck was silver with a big billet grille, and I wore that thing with pride in middle-school, even though it was way too big for me (O’Reilly auto parts didn’t have anything small enough for kids).

Photo: Dodge
Photo: Dodge
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But my biggest crush was on the ZJ Jeep Grand Cherokee, as my dad owned one. I learned to drive/off-road in a Forest Green 1998 model (a later one than the one shown below, but similar overall).

Photo: Jeep
Photo: Jeep
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It’s not quite as boxy as an XJ Cherokee, but it’s not as bulbous as a WJ Grand Cherokee. It fits in a nice sweet spot, I think. Jeep apparently still thinks so, too.

Of course, I can’t mention childhood automotive obsessions without talking about the Audi TT. Because before my family moved back to the U.S. (Kansas) and I fell in love with Rams and Chargers, I had a little fling with Audi’s sleek sports car.

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In fact, this is me with the luggage, about to take my beautiful silver steed to the French Riviera (it is not me, but it is in my mind sometimes):

Photo: Audi
Photo: Audi
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Coupe or convertible, I loved them both. The gorgeous top of the coupe flowed beautifully with a very fastback-ish style into a small rear wing, while the silver roll hoops of the roadster made me weak. I used to take pictures of TTs out of our family van’s windows with a little film camera, and I recall my dad asking a gentleman fueling up at a gas stop if I could sit in his TT. I was too nervous, and politely declined. I regret that decision, for I have yet to sit in a TT—a vehicle which, I think, remains gorgeous to this day.

I think the Charger and ZJ have aged well too, though perhaps not quite as well as the third-gen Ram, which still makes me drool when I see one with a billet grille.

Sr. Technical Editor, Jalopnik. Always interested in hearing from auto engineers—email me. Cars: Willys CJ-2A ('48), Jeep J10 ('85), Jeep Cherokee ('79, '91, '92, '00), Jeep Grand Cherokee 5spd ('94).

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