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What's The Best College Car?

Illustration for article titled Whats The Best College Car?

Parent's basements are emptying and interns have again stopped bathing. Yes, students are returning to college. And many of them will drive there. But what should they drive? What's the best college car?

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The parameters vary slightly by the school you're attending and the budget you have at your disposal, but we'll assume a college car needs to be affordable to buy and cheap/easy to maintain. Because you move constantly you'll need enough space to move your few hand-me-down possessions. On the other hand, if you have too much room you'll always be the designated-driver. You want it to be attractive so that you can attract members of the opposite sex, but not so attractive that you're never left alone. And it should be quick, because you're in college and you're going to drive like an idiot. It should also be easy to repair, because you're in college and you're to drive like an idiot.

Our choice is a later model non-SS El Camino. There's space to move your gear but, thankfully, not too many people. It looks hot, but you're not that douche who drives a brand new Porsche to college. Even Malaise Era El Caminos have some getup relative to your average Toyota Camry. They can be had for around $5K depending on region of the country and share enough parts to be easy to maintain. The pictured vehicle is slightly high in the $6K range, but it's already pre-painted Longhorn/Volunteer orange.

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What about you? What was your college car? What's the ideal college car?

(QOTD is your chance to answer the day's most pressing automotive questions and experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a suggestion for a good "Question Of The Day" send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.)

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DISCUSSION

Maybe not the best, but to me, it couldn't have been better: '87 K5 Blazer 4x4. 350 (cheap parts) w/loud muffler (for annoying old people). Posi for burnouts and occasional off-roading. No ABS. E-brake capable of James Bond-style 180 degree parking moves. Hitch for towing dirt bike trailer. Dual-front shocks for occasional jumping (Pismo Beach was close by). Junk yard-available & easy-to-swap 10 bolt rear end (see last sentence). Room in back for up to 12 non-sober people, including subwoofer (ummm, or so I hear). Foldable rear seat for moving to new house every freaking year. Removable top for summers. Easy to maneuver in crappy school parking lots. Plus, from '98-'03 gas wasn't as expensive, so 10 mpg wasn't a big deal. Finally: my girlfriend thought it was awesome. Now she's my wife.