Home Cars 14 Perfect Rides For A Road Trip Across the United States

14 Perfect Rides For A Road Trip Across the United States

Vukasin Herbez December 24, 2017

Road trips were one of the original American pastimes before people got hooked on the internet. Nowadays, people refuse to go anywhere without a Wi-Fi connection. In the days before GPS navigation, in-car infotainment systems and interstate highways, road tripping was the favorite way to explore the vast spaces of this magnificent country. As soon as the automobile became affordable to middle-class buyers, road trips became popular ways to spend weekends and holidays with friends and family.

Discovering nature, as well as the different cities and towns along the roads is still a fantastic way to educate kids. It is also a great way to spend quality time together. To answer the call, Detroit produced some big sedans and station wagons that could happily cruise for miles and miles. Road trips even became an essential part of American subculture and lifestyle, and not just symbols of happy suburban families. Beatniks and hippies spent their youth traveling from one coast to the other discovering hidden and remote parts of America.

Car fans don’t want to forget the road trip, especially with advances in the car industry. After all, car trips can be a fun, safe way to spend your weekends. So, who cares if you lose your phone signal? You can upload the photos later. But for now, you should enjoy the scenery.

Here are 14 fantastic machines to make any road trip epic. If you are lucky enough to own one of these cars, be sure to clear your schedule and pack your bags for a weekend trip. So, buckle up and keep reading to learn all about these perfect rides for epic road trips across America.

1. Ford F-150 Raptor

Since car companies equip modern trucks with powerful engines, 4×4 drivetrains and tough suspension, it was only a matter of time before they offered an off-road performance truck. And Ford did just that in 2010 with their first-generation F-150 Raptor. Today, there is a new, even better Raptor with amazing performance and capabilities. This is one of the most versatile road trip cars ever.

The Raptor has enough space for five occupants and all their luggage. It also delivers the technology to guarantee you will go wherever you want. The 3.5-liter turbocharged V6 with 450 HP and 510 lb-ft, 10-speed automatic transmission delivers sub-five-second acceleration times. The figures suggest that this is an exotic supercar; however, this is a full-size pickup truck with a regular truck bed behind.

But it is not your ordinary pickup. The Ford Raptor is the closest thing to a full Baja 1000 racing vehicle you can buy today. Everything started in 2010 when Ford introduced the first-generation SVT Raptor. The truck-buying public didn’t expect such a move, but they were fascinated by the looks, performance and capabilities. The idea behind the Raptor was to construct the best, fastest off-road truck money could buy. Ford installed numerous chassis and suspension upgrades, as well as a powerful engine.

The best thing is that Ford basically prepared an extreme off-road truck and gave it a warranty, as well. With multiple driving modes, a 10-speed automatic gearbox and an adaptive suspension, you can take the Ford Raptor rock crawling, desert crossing or mud dipping. Yet it is still a normal everyday car. Ford did a great job in combining the toughness of an extreme off-road truck with the usability of a regular modern pickup.

2. McLaren F1

It is hard to comprehend, but they never imported the legendary McLaren F1 to America. Yes, there are a few examples here, but they are basically sculptures with no license plates. Now, 25 years after the F1 rocked the world of supercars, you can finally own one of these bespoke sports cars in America and register it, too. This is the last analog supercar, so driving it for a road trip across America would be an interesting way to introduce this car to the States.

Car enthusiasts have written so much about the F1, such as the way McLaren designed and produced it. They also write about the way it changed the supercars’ world forever. They presented the F1 in 1992. It stayed in production until 1998. During that period, McLaren produced 106 cars, including the GT-R versions, which were highly successful racing models. The F1 featured a bespoke 6.1-liter V12 engine BMW Motorsport made, which delivered 627 HP and used a six-speed manual transmission.

The road versions of the F1 had an interesting, three-seat configuration with the driver’s seat in the middle of the cabin. They also put the steering wheel in the center of the dash. The initial testing, racing success and overall excellence of the package declared the F1 one of the best supercars of all time. The price of the F1 was around a million dollars when new, but perfect examples trade hands for 10 to 15 times as much right now.

3. Morgan 3-Wheeler

This is a car for all those tough people out there. The Morgan 3-Wheeler is more comfortable than a bike, but still Spartan enough. Despite the fact they didn’t produce it in big numbers, the Morgan 3-Wheeler is a popular, iconic vehicle. They introduced the original Morgan 3-Wheeler in 1932 in England and it soon became quite popular. The secret of its success was that three-wheel vehicles cost less in road taxes than four-wheelers, making them appealing to customers.

A motorcycle engine mounted just above the front wheels powered the 3-Wheeler. It was an agile machine with sports car performance. This also made it popular with enthusiasts, keeping it in production until 1952. After the original 3-Wheeler, Morgan produced many regular sports cars, but the legend of a small three-wheeled roadster never left the company. So, in 2011, Morgan Cars announced plans for a revival of the classic 3-Wheeler.

It would be in the same form and design, but with modern power and an updated drivetrain. The 2012 generation of the Morgan 3-Wheeler features a Harley Davidson V2 engine delivering 115 HP. It powers a single rear wheel over Mazda’s five-speed manual gearbox. Since the weight of the vehicle is just over 500 kg, the performance is great. This little roadster needs just 4.5 seconds to sprint from 0 to 60 mph.

The new Morgan 3-Wheeler has proved to be so popular, there is a waiting list over a year long. The company is even working on an electric version to promote the concept to a wider, more environmentally friendly audience.

4. Ferrari F40

How about taking your next road trip in a Ferrari? Car fans have chosen the F40 as one of the greatest cars Ferrari ever built. It is still blisteringly quick despite being 30 years old. The Ferrari F40 was and still is a special car in many ways. Ferrari built it to commemorate their 40th anniversary.

It was a car that Enzo Ferrari supervised and envisioned himself. In fact, it was his last creation since he died just a couple of months after the introduction of the F40 in 1987. To explain the F40 in a few words, it is a race car with a gorgeous body. It also delivers the performance that will terrify you, as well as inspire you to drive this car as fast as you can.

They based the F40 heavily on the 288 GTO model. However, it is an improved version of a twin turbo, 2.9-liter V8-engined supercar with two seats, a basic interior, a manual gearbox and 480 screaming HP behind your ears. The F40 was one of only two cars that accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds in street legal trim. It means that this would be one heck of a road trip.

5. Jeep Wagoneer

The Jeep Wagoneer was one of the classic models that made Jeep the world’s best manufacturer of off-road vehicles and SUVs. Jeep presented it in the early ’60s as the first luxurious off-road model. It is a vehicle that is great for crossing deserts, as well as cruising highways. This makes the Wagoneer perfect for any road trip assignment.

Before this car, the concept of a luxurious off-roader didn’t exist. The Wagoneer became a popular and influential model that evolved into the Grand Wagoneer. It came with a leather interior, wooden dash and all kinds of creature comforts. When Jeep discontinued this model in the mid-90s, the Grand Cherokee took its place, appealing to the same type of customers. However, the fans never forgot the elegant Wagoneer with its wood trim on the sides and big chromed grille.

Even today, well-preserved examples can fetch high prices. Even though Jeep already has the luxurious Grand Cherokee in its model lineup, there are rumors they will re-introduce the Wagoneer in the next few years. There isn’t any concrete, official information, but inside sources claim the Wagoneer will happen on a stretched Grand Cherokee platform. It will also come with a super luxury interior and trim. Jeep is going to prepare powerful engines and advanced drivetrain and mechanics for it, too.

Wagoneer fans will be glad if those rumors are true. Most can’t wait to see a modern interpretation of the classic Jeep Wagoneer with futuristic details, elegant interior and capable technology. Since other SUV manufacturers announced they will be building even more luxurious, expensive models, the Jeep Wagoneer would fit perfectly in the new market segment. It could even bring back this legendary name from the past.

6. Nissan Skyline R32

Everybody who ever played racing games in the last 20 years knows about the R32. This crazy powerful all-wheel drive Japanese coupe was on top of many American enthusiasts’ wish lists for a quarter of a century. But now it is finally eligible to import. They introduced this model in 1989, but the best versions emerged in the early ’90s. This makes the GT-R version a quintessential 90’s car.

For those who want the facts, the Skyline is a two-door coupe with intelligent all-wheel drive. It also has a 2.6-liter turbocharged engine with 276 HP stock and a lot of tuning potential. Unfortunately, all R32s are right-hand drive models since they produced them for the Japanese and Australian markets. But for true JDM fans, this just adds to their appeal.

American fans of the Skyline R34 will be pleased to know they can now import this car legally to the U.S. But, you’d better hurry up since the prices will rise. But since this car was illegal for all its life, it is best to take it on a true American road trip before you park it in your garage.

7. Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser 442

Going on a road trip through rural America in a muscle car is such a cliché, but it is something you should do at least once in your life. Any muscle car will do, but what about a combination of two opposite sides of the automobile spectrum? On one side you have a muscle car, and on the other side, a family station wagon.

You are probably wondering how a family station wagon could also be a muscle car but look at the 1970 Vista Cruiser. Customers could order it with a 455 V8 monster of an engine. It was basically the same powerplant from the famed Oldsmobile 442 muscle car. This transformed an otherwise ordinary ’70s American suburban wagon into a fire breathing muscle car disguised as practical family transport.

However, the performance of the Vista Cruiser 455 was worse than the regular Oldsmobile 442. The reason was the weight of the wagon, but the Vista was still quick with 0 to 60 mph times of around six seconds. Unfortunately, not many people knew this in 1970. Oldsmobile installed the famous 455 in just a handful of Vista Cruisers. That is why people have forgotten those cars and they are so rare today.

8. Porsche Cayman GT4

The Boxster, 718 and Cayman models are one of the best driver’s cars since they emerged, but the GT4 is something else. For years, there has been a rumor among car enthusiasts that Porsche refuses to install a 911 flat-six engine into Boxster or Cayman. They say Porsche thought a smaller, inexpensive car would be better than a bigger, legendary, more expensive 911.

Finally, in 2014, Porsche presented the Cayman GT4. It was an all-out factory-prepared sports car with a 385 HP engine straight from the 911 with chassis improvements from the 911 GT3. The Cayman GT4 was the best of the Porsche 911 compilation but in a smaller package. Indeed, the GT4 was a blast to drive and capable of beating some versions of the 911. However, Porsche was not intimidated.

Simply, the 911 is still the king of the lineup, even though the Cayman GT4 is a better driving machine. The production of the GT4 is limited to only 1,000 cars as the predicted volume for the North American market. Unsurprisingly, they all sold out in advance. So, hurry up if you want your piece of Porsche excellence. But be prepared to shift your own gears since the GT4 comes in manual only, as any proper performance car should. How cool is taking a road trip in a manual-only sports car?

9. Lancia Delta HF Integrale

Lancia is virtually unknown in America and on the verge of closing in Europe. That’s too bad because they were a fantastic company with outstanding cars. Their last magnificent car was the Delta HF Integrale. It is rare in the U.S., but can you imagine this rally champion tackling the deserted twisty mountain roads in your region?

Lancia’s compact model, the Delta, entered the car market in 1979. However, it was only after it was on the market for five years that the company started thinking about a performance version. Lancia was always big in rallying. But after the banning of their Group B model S4, they wanted something that would work on the street and on the track. And so, the HF Integrale was born.

The main features of this model were a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with, at first, 185 HP, and later up to 220 HP. It also had a permanent, well-balanced all-wheel-drive system. The Delta HF Integrale is an important hot hatch because it was the first with an AWD system. This marked the beginning of the transition from front-wheel drive to simple, affordable hot hatches. And also to the high-tech, all-wheel-drive performance monsters, we have today.

The combination of a powerful engine, sharp handling, great traction and low weight was intoxicating for magazine testers of the day. They gave the Delta HF Integrale nothing but praise. Over the years, the Delta HF Integrale was a successful concept on rally stages all over the world, but also amongst hot hatch fans. Production stopped in 1994 after they made almost 40,000 of them.

10. Ford Mustang 390 GT Bullitt

Mustang got its first redesign in 1967 and Ford introduced a slightly bigger and more luxurious model. The design was even better and more elegant and the options list was longer than ever. The performance lovers finally got a big block option in the form of the 390 FE V8 engine which produced 325 HP. However, if you are thinking that this was a crazy fast Mustang that burned rubber in any gear, think again.

This was a fast and powerful car indeed. But it was more of a Grand Tourer than a muscle car. And that is why it is perfect for a long road trip drive. The reason was the engine, which they took from the Thunderbird. But it was more suited for effortless cruising than drag racing.

With bigger dimensions of 1967-68 Mustang and better equipment, this was the perfect engine for making a compact luxury coupe. However, the 390 GT Mustang was immortalized by the legendary Steve McQueen when it appeared as a co-star of the famous detective flick, Bullitt in 1968. The Highland Green 390 Fastback made history with one of the best car chases ever and promoted the 390 engine into legend.

11. Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Everybody went crazy when Dodge announced the Hellcat Charger and Challenger models. They expected the reaction since the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 707 HP was a proper monster of a muscle car. Some thought it shouldn’t be on the streets and that is what makes it perfect for road trips. But, Dodge did just that, allowing the public to buy one of the fastest and most powerful muscle cars they ever built.

Despite being a powerful, fast car, the Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat are surprisingly good to drive and can be docile at low speeds. It is only when you press the throttle and unleash the fury of those 707 supercharged horses can you feel the brutality of the Hellcat package. All that power going to the rear wheels should make any road trip a dream.

12. Lamborghini Countach LP 400

The Countach is the definitive ’80s supercar icon and everybody’s bedroom wall poster. This car was born in the ’70s. Lamborghini introduced it in 1974 and constantly upgraded the Countach. This helped Lamborghini survive the hardship of the recession and establish itself as the supercar maker of the decade. This car is on the list of perfect rides for epic road trips across America because it was featured in the legendary Cannonball Rally movie where it raced from coast to coast.

In 1977, they presented the LP 400 S version. It had a modern-looking body kit with an improved 4.0-liter V12 engine delivering 390 HP. The mid-engine layout provided the perfect balance. And with almost 400 HP going to the rear wheels, the Countach LP 400 S was fast. The 0 to 60 mph time took 5.9 seconds, which made it the top supercar of the period.

13. Buick Riviera GS

In the early ’60s, Detroit was aware of those luxury Gran Turismo European coupes coming to America and selling in significant numbers. Performance-oriented buyers didn’t want big, heavy domestic coupes. They had the power but didn’t provide the handling or the feel of a sports car. So, instead, they turned to Ferraris, Maseratis, and Jaguars for their performance car excitement and prestige.

GM decided to capitalize on this trend by introducing a fresh new luxury model with great styling, a cool name and enough power to put all those European coupes to shame. So, in 1963, they introduced the Buick Riviera. It immediately became one of the most interesting cars on the American market at the moment. The combination of sleek, elegant styling, a modern interior and the powerful Buick Nailhead engine made the Riviera an instant bestseller.

It became the first real competitor to the famous Ford Thunderbird. But Buick wanted more, so the company introduced the legendary Riviera Grand Sport or GS in 1965. The car featured a revised suspension, a bigger 425 engine, and a host of other performance upgrades. In this version, the Rivera was a true world-class automobile with 360 HP and acceleration times of 7.9 seconds.

This was better than most of the sports cars of the period. The Riviera as a model stayed in production until 1993. However, it was the first three generations, especially the GS models that people seek the most. In fact, car fans consider them to be some of the best luxury muscle cars Detroit ever produced.

14. Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE

One of the best performance car bargains is the Camaro SS, especially its track-oriented 1LE version. The base Camaro SS is one of the top muscle cars around with its 6.2-liter, 450 HP V8 engine. It creates loads of torque and with its perfectly-balanced chassis, the 1LE is even better. The engine is the same one as you would get in a Corvette, which means it has 460 HP.

The suspension is even more focused and slightly revised to give the driver a better driving feel and sharper response. Imagine driving this perfectly tuned machine on a long road trip with every mile bringing you more driving pleasure.

Also, Chevy improved the aero package, so the 1LE is a great choice if you want an all-around sports machine. It is a capable road car, comfortable enough for daily use and for long drives. It is also sharp enough to be a track car that provides tons of fun on the race track. Besides the SS V8 1LE, for $10,000 less, you can get the V6 1LE. It is less powerful and slower, but still a solid sports car.

Are you planning to travel by car in the near future? Consider one of these vehicles as the perfect ride for your next epic road trip across the United States.

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