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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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):
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.