Monday I had to drive my mother to an appointment at a huge medical center for some mildly invasive tests. The results came out well, so nobody worry, but it did mean that I had to spend about two hours in the massive parking lot of this medical center. There was no Wi-Fi and poor cell reception, so I couldn’t get much work done, which left only one option: cruise around the parking lot, trying desperately to find something interesting. It wasn’t easy. But now you’re here to help!
I’m going to exempt my mom’s car from this; since I hit that deer with the Pao, I’ve been dailying the Yugo, and my mom doesn’t want to be terrified in a rattly old Balkan deathtrap on the highway, because, it seems, she’s become a princess or something in her advanced age. Fine, mom.
With the Yugo rejected, I drove in my mom’s charming 1957-edition Fiat 500. I just bring this up to let you know this is the one car in that parking lot you cannot pick. Sorry.
Okay, so, here’s how this is going to work: the parking lot was absolutely massive at this hospital-medical-center/medical-mall place, so I cased the lots and tried to get pictures of the more interesting cars among that sea of late-model SUVs and pickups, all in shades of white or gray.
I’ve effectively done the first elimination round for you, and you’re just going to have to accept that. Now, of these finalists, you have to pick one car. Unlike most pick-a-car-from-this-lot rules, I’m not going to say that the car has to be (conceptually) your only car for the rest of your life.
Rather, you can have other cars, but you can never sell or destroy the one you pick, and you have to drive it, let’s say, oh, once a week, minimum.
Okay? Got it? So, with that in mind, pick your car from this random North Carolina Medical Center parking lot!
Starting off, we have this early 2000s Honda Civic sedan, with special extra-light/high air-intake front bodywork. Remember, I said I was looking for the more interesting cars in the lot, not the good ones.
Want something less shitty? How about this red Mustang GT? It has a hashtag on the license plate, so part of the deal with this one is that you’d have to have a hashtag license plate, too.
Hey, a Mazda MX-5 RF! These are fun! Dramatic wheels, too. Seems like a safe choice. But don’t decide yet—there’s so much more!
I think a Transit Connect as a normal daily driver is a bold choice. I like this one! Plus, good rear wipers!
This one may be the jewel, but I don’t want to influence anyone’s choice, so forget I said anything. A Geo Tracker, maybe a ‘91, with what appears to be a home-crafted plexi rear window, to turn it into a little tiny pickup!
This would have started life as the soft-top Tracker, but the rear section top doesn’t seem to be a part of the equation anymore. Still, very cool. Also, note the optimistic tow hitch!
Volvo V70 Wagon! We all love a good wagon, right? There were a few in the lots for you to pick from. Here’s some other wagony options:
A Magnum! When’s the last time you saw a Dodge Magnum? Visibility in these was terrible, like driving a casket, but damn if they didn’t look cool from the outside.
There’s more wagons!
Remember these Acura TSX Wagons? These were never common, though made for a good while—for 10 years, from 2004 to 2014. They were very cool, I always thought, a real sports wagon not from the usual sources.
Okay, I found one more Good Wagon:
A BMW 325i wagon. I’m surprised and impressed at the number of fun wagons that were hanging out in this otherwise bland parking lot!
But if cool sporty wagons aren’t your thing, we could go in a very different direction:
How about a convertible 2013 or 2014 Ford Mustang, complete with pink-and-black stripes and the big word “Blessed” on the lower windshield, punctuated with some manner of Pepto Bismol-colored gemstone?
Whoever owns this car clearly loves it, and there’s likely a good reason.
Maybe you’re more into trucks, and I can respect that. How about this handsome 1987-1990 Ford F-150, complete with two-tone Civil War Main Adversaries paint scheme and rustic bed cap?
This was a good era of F-150, substantial and capable without being too showy or overdone. Plus, good example of Late Cold War-Era Default Car Face.
F-150 too bulky, but still want to keep it in Edsel’s family? Then consider this nice red Ranger, with an extended cab and one of those bug deflector things on the front that I never entirely understood. It’s a nice little truck!
Speaking of nice little red trucks, what about a Chevy S-10? This one appears to be in fantastic shape! This looks like one of the last, early 2000s-era ones.
Want an S-10, but maybe don’t feel worthy of one so new and nice? I get that. I feel that way all the time. If that’s where you are, the Random Medical Center parking lot has you covered, buddy: a somewhat shittier, ‘80s-era S-10! Still has plenty of charm!
Switching gears, what about a first-gen Miata? Always the answer, right? Is that the case today?
Okay, finally, I have this one, just for our own David Tracy: a Jeep XJ Cherokee. This looks like one of the final facelifted ones, from 1997 to the early 2000s or so. It’d be a solid choice, too.
Okay, so, there’s the finalists from the Great Random Medical Center Parking Lot Vehicle Selection Challenge! Which one are you taking home? Tell us in the comments, and tell us why! Have an argument! Engage with people! Live, dammit, live!
I’m excited to see what comes out ahead.