Best Old-School Road-Trip Cars

June 22nd, 2012

1965 Volkswagen Microbus

Summer’s finally here. Even for those north of the Mason-Dixon line, the 70-degree weather is here to stay. While many people already have their summer vacations planned, there are those of us who just want to go on an adventure. Let’s be honest—who didn’t want to join Jenny as the VW bus whisked her away from Alabama and headed for San Francisco in “Forrest Gump”?

In our quest for the ultimate “old-school road-trip car,” we’re looking for something spacious, utilitarian and ready to travel from coast to coast. Here’s a list of our top pick for a number of categories.

Van

VW Microbus: Is there really anything better than a a VW Bus? These iconic road trippers have been around since 1950. For the ultimate road trip experience, look no further than the Westfalia camper with the pop-up tent. With ample storage, sleeping accommodations for up to 4 people and amenities such as a sink, stove and refrigerator, the Westfalia Camper is tough to beat.

Station Wagon

1979 Ford Country SquireFord Country Squire: That’s right, Chevy Chase’s famous boat from National Lampoon’s “Vacation.” This is the only vehicle on this list that matches the seating capacity of the Microbus. These timeless classics were first produced in 1951 and ran until 1991. That’s 40 years of road-trip bliss. Great for the long haul, but good luck if you need to parallel park one of these things, and woe on whoever will ride backward in the wayback! Oh, and extra points for the wood trim.

Convertible

1961 Lincoln ContinentalLincoln Continental Convertible: The ’61 Continental, the first year of the infamous “suicide doors,” has about enough room to fit a family of 10. Even though it doesn’t feature a built-in fridge like the Westfalia Camper, I’m sure you could squeeze one into the trunk. Despite being downsized from the ’60 Continental, the ’61 still featured more than 15 cubic feet of trunk space! If you’re a heavy packer, then you may want to consider the ’60 instead. You won’t get the suicide doors, but you should have enough room for all of your “extra baggage” with a whopping 29.2 cubic feet of space in the trunk!

Dream Car

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air ConvertibleChevrolet Bel Air Convertible: I know, I know. Despite being insanely hard to find, much less worthy of traveling coast-to-coast, these classics are as cool as it gets when it comes to convertibles. If there’s a head to be turned, this one will do it–especially if you can get your hands on the highly sought-after 4.6-liter V8.

 

Do you have vivid road-trip memories? What sort(s) of vehicle(s) carried you during those trips?

-hspitzer

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  1. Randy
    | #1

    Back in the late 1960′s I took a trip from Detroit to Phoenix in a VW camper and it was quite an adventure, although it’s not something I’d care to repeat. One thing that VW van and camper owners know is how underpowered they are, which becomes a real problem in the mountains. It’s also basically a tin can with beds, and a spend many a miserable night trying to sleep in the hot car.
    I’d have to say my favorite cross country vehicles has been the Chevy Trailblazer Before I bought one myself, I used work vehices many times for long test trips, often pulling trailers, and I found it to be a very stable, comfortable and versatile vehicle. Mileage was very good for a truck the seats comfortable and the sun roof was a nice way to get a breeze, and I could go exploring offroad out in Colorado and Arizona with the 4wd.

  2. | #2

    Thanks for posting this great list, really takes me back to the old family road trips from years gone by!

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