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20 Classic Cars That Will Make Any Road Trip a Memorable Experience

Vukasin HerbezJuly 26, 2018

  1. Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Chevrolet introduced the C5 Corvette in 1997 and brought several improvements as well as a fresh design. Under the sleek fiberglass body was an improved chassis, and a new 350 HP engine and transaxle gearbox. This meant they moved the whole transmission assembly to the rear axle, which improved balance and handling.

The standard versions were potent and popular, but the best model from this generation is the mighty Z06. This model got its name from a special version of the 1963 Corvette they intended to use for road racing before Chevrolet pulled the plug. The modern Z06 was an amplified base Corvette with 385 to 405 HP from the high revving 5.7-liter V8 engine. It also had a lightweight body, sticky Goodyear tires and a stiffer suspension.

The car handled perfectly and had a different roofline and wheels. Even today, more than 15 years after they presented it, the Corvette Z06 C5 is a tough car to beat on the street. If you are looking for a pure sports car experience and don’t have money for an expensive European exotic, this Corvette will provide the same driving dynamics for a fraction of the cost.

  1. Lincoln Continental

This classic American sedan belongs on this list because despite being a cliché, luxury four-doors are still great road trip cars. The story of the Continental started in the late ’50s when Ford’s luxury division, Lincoln, was much behind Cadillac in sales numbers and in popularity and style. Despite building big and luxury cruisers with powerful engines, those late ’50s Lincolns just didn’t compare to Cadillacs. Ford decided that this had to change, so in 1961, the Lincoln Continental was born.

When Lincoln showed their new model, the automotive public was stunned. The beautiful elegance of the styling, conservative use of chrome, straight lines and futuristic design transformed the four-door luxury model into a work of modern art. Suddenly, sales doubled, and the new Continental became the official car of the White House due to its stately appearance and restrained elegance.

The best exterior features were the suicide doors, with the rear doors opening towards the traffic. Of course, this wasn’t the best solution, but it added to the charm of the Continental. Interestingly, Lincoln offered a cool-looking four-door convertible model which proved to be popular and quite unique on the market.

  1. Chevrolet Suburban

Is there anything more American than going on a road trip in a Suburban? This is a big SUV that has been in production for over 80 years. They made the Suburban to be a people carrier and road trip vehicle. Despite being slow and not as exciting as some other cars on the list, the Suburban still has several tricks up its sleeve. The Suburban is the longest-serving nameplate in car history with the first model under this name emerging in 1935.

Right from the start, the Suburban defined itself as a people carrier in a body style closer to a minivan than to a regular wagon or SUV. During the ’50s and ’60s, the Suburban moved to a truck platform. It also benefited from advanced construction, tough suspension and a long list of engines and options. At the same time, Chevrolet introduced the all-wheel drive option for its truck line, so the Suburban could come with an AWD drivetrain, as well.

This was the moment Suburban became an off-road model. The all-wheel drive option proved popular during later generations. It even became an almost mandatory option for the famous, long-serving 7th generation they introduced in 1973 and discontinued in 1991.

Today, the Suburban is still around as a big, heavy full-size SUV, still on a truck chassis with V8 engines. It has lost some of its rugged character, but retained the basic layout and name. So, whichever generation you choose, you will have a dependable ride for those cross country trips.

  1. Dodge Charger Hellcat

Everybody went crazy when Dodge announced the Hellcat Charger and Challenger models. But they expected this reaction since the 6.2-liter supercharged V8 with 707 HP is a monster of a muscle car that shouldn’t be on the streets. But Dodge did just that, allowing the public to buy one of the fastest, most powerful muscle cars they ever built. Despite being overpowered, the Dodge Charger Hellcat is surprisingly easy to drive and can be docile at low speeds.

It’s only when you press the throttle to unleash the fury of 707 supercharged horses will you feel the brutality of the Hellcat package and the power going to the rear wheels. The 0 to 60 mph times are in the high three-second range and the car can top 200 mph. So, is there a better four-door muscle car and road trip car? With the Hellcat, you can carry as much as you want in a regular family sedan, but blast around the country as fast as a private jet.

  1. Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

Produced from 1964 to 1977, the Vista Cruiser was Oldsmobile’s bestselling and most popular station wagon. It is also one of the models perfect for suburban America in the ’60s and ’70s. Vista Cruisers were all large, could seat up to nine people and always had V8 engines.

In the ’70s, they equipped them with a long list of optional extras, like wood grain trim and an interesting feature they called the Clamshell tailgate. Along with special features and powerful engines, the Vista Cruiser was the perfect road trip car.

  1. Chrysler Minivan

Today, minivans are a common sight on the streets of America, but in the early ’80s, the concept of a minivan was nonexistent. So Chrysler invested in the production of front wheel drive people carriers with lots of space and comfort inside, but with compact dimensions.

This proved to be the perfect car for the times. Chrysler Corporation scored big with the enormous popularity of the Minivan. It was the perfect car for suburban America, replacing big, gas-thirsty station wagons and preceding the SUV craze of today. That is why a classic Chrysler Minivan is still a great road trio choice.

  1. Jeep Wagoneer

One of the best classic road trip vehicles is the Wagoneer. It’s the original American SUV and a car famous for its perfect balance between comfort and off-road dynamics. Even today with the SUV craze sweeping America, a classic Jeep Wagoneer still is among the coolest road trip cars they ever made. It’s classic styling, powerful V8 engines and lots of room are a tough combination to beat.

  1. Ford Bronco

This classic Ford SUV is not the biggest or most comfortable vehicle for your road trip adventure, but it is one of the coolest. It’s dependable mechanics and uncompromised off-road handling makes the Bronco the perfect choice if you spend a lot of time in nature.

Be sure to choose an early model with V8 power. You can remove the roof to enjoy open-air driving.

  1. Chevrolet Impala SS

Big, luxurious, fast and comfortable: this is the classic Impala SS, which they produced from 1961 to 1969. The Impala SS featured the biggest, most powerful engines, lots of extras and an undeniable performance.

All of this makes it a perfect road trip car. It’s a fast cruiser for jumping from coast to coast and stealthy compared to other muscle cars of the period.

  1. Buick Riviera GS

The Riviera GS with its big 425 CID engine is the epitome of the American Gran Tourismo luxury coupe. It is big and comfortable yet still is a fast and capable coupe.

Buick produced it from 1965 to 1972 in several generations. So Rivieras are easy to come by and inexpensive. But you should pick one now to enjoy it on an epic road trip before they become rare.

  1. Ford Flex

Although the Flex didn’t sell as well as Ford hoped, it is still a great crossover-minivan type of car. The Flex features retro styling and enormous interior space with nice features. Also, it has a powerful engine and even an optional all-wheel drive system.

This, along with its modern-day dependability, makes the Flex perfect for family road trips across the country.

  1. Subaru BRAT

The Subaru BRAT was a popular compact, all-wheel drive pickup. But at first glance, it doesn’t look like a great road trip vehicle, since only two people can sit inside. However, the BRAT has two more seats.

They mounted them in the back, so passengers are exposed to the elements. This feature makes the BRAT perfect road trip vehicle if you want to prank your friends.

Are you planning a road trip this year? Perhaps one of 20 interesting cars that will make any road trip a memorable experience should be on your wish list.

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