RK Nation: You Tell Us About Your Non-Classic Guilty Pleasures

Last week, we asked what RK Nation for your non-classic guilty pleasures. We knew we would hear from you, but we could scarcely have expected 2,500 responses! Awesome stuff and we discovered that so many of you shared the same guilty pleasure as Eric: General Motors’ front-wheel-drive A-Body.

We want RK Nation to have its say and you can find a lot of great responses below. We’ve broken them up by the Big Three(-ish) below plus a catch-all category for a wide assortment of foreign cars. There are a lot of stories, but they’re great. Read on and get your fill of laughs and sentiment about cars you (and we) knew and loved.


General Motors

“It’s funny how when I write ‘1985 Buick Century’ on google image the first one I see is this picture of my first car I took somewhere around 2009. I loved it even though:

– I had to manually blink the blinkers.
– It leaked gas when I cornered too hard / put more than $20 in the tank.
– I felt a breeze on my ankles on the highway.
– I had to hold the gas a little bit when at a stop sign or it would stall (it had an automatic).
– It was very brown.

It had room to seat 5 friends, very cushy seats, was pretty economical on gas, was pretty badass to be carbureted, good in the snow, and smelled like GM. Best 70 bucks ever spent. Thanks, dad.” – Alexandre Côte (above)

“Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. I had one with the 2.8-liter ‘Buick motor.’ The speedometer was a bar type, which maxed at 85. Thing is, the needle would go past that and disappear. Keep your foot in it, and it would appear in the gear selector window above the steering wheel. It would then tap gently against the gear indicator. No idea how fast it was going, but it couldn’t have been too fast because it didn’t explode. Probably the best $600 I ever spent.” – Jacob Isaiah Hollenback

“This $400 Cutlass Ciera I got about a year ago. I bought it from a buddy that owns a salvage yard and it was in line to be scrapped. After a set of tires and a brake line, she has given me 40,000 miles of flawless service. I only drive it for half the year (to keep my Texas clean Caprice out of the salt) or when my other stuff breaks. The heat and AC works amazing, it can sit for months and it will start right up like I just shut it off, decent mpg, comfortable, and the best part: I don’t have to worry about it ever. The body is getting a little crusty and I am trying preserve it as best as possible (just to see how long it lasts). One of the best cars I’ve owned.” – James Rockford

“‘84 Buick Century Olympic Limited Edition in brown. It’s an unappealing box-of-junk. Slow and square. It’s like the designer couldn’t figure out how to make a square steering wheel and square wheels so he took it out on the rest of the car. Slow, and I mean slow. But I grew up with that car. And for that alone, I love it.” – Marco A. Garcia

“Pontiac 6000LE. The tape deck had auto-flip and the bass boost was awesome! Rode hella good, handled like a train off tracks! Could stop on a silver dollar! I’ve only seen one in the last 15 years since Cash for Clunkers.” – Karra Tennielle Marama-Stout-Lord

“1986 Olds Delta 88 Royale two-door, champagne gold, and the coldest R12 air that would frost the windows. Great car until it sank into the Ohio River. I parked it at a friend’s place and went out of town. The town flooded and took my car. Loved that odd car.” – Chris Lovins


“I love my ‘99 Regal GS. Not many people would expect it to be supercharged (or there to be an aftermarket for it) . It was cheap (1,250 bucks!) and there’s a gazillion of them in junkyards. Parts are cheap. It rides good and is perfect to slip into after being on your feet for 8+ hours.” – Bram Jared Childress (above)

“The 2005 Buick Century is mine. As a poor college student, that car fell into my lap for 400 bucks with 300,000 miles on it. It kept me on the road through some rough times and did so while keeping me in amazing comfort. It threatened me with a head gasket the entire time I had it, but ever so politely waited till 380,000 miles when I had graduated, found a good job, and could afford a pricier car.” – Charles Nixon

“1975 Vega. Was my first car. Underpowered and ill-handling. Poor build quality, bad brakes and rust issues, but if I could find a clean one cheap, I’d buy it.” – Rick Cole

“The early-to-mid ‘90s Cutlass Supreme. Mine is a 3.1-liter V6. I guess I actually like it so much because it’s a big car and I actually fit in it. O because I remember Warren Johnson using this body in the ‘90s.” – Dayne Taylor


“‘80’s conversion vans, mine in particular. I thought they were dork-mobiles growing up but got one for a “band van”. Quickly learned it’s the most comfortable road-trip machine and undisputed heavyweight tailgating champion of the world. 5.3-liter Vortec swap is next on the list…It also hauls everything and anything (including the BMW E28 in back)!” – Ryan Wood (above)

“The first car that I bought with my own money was a 1992 Pontiac Bonneville SSEI. I loved that car, and on the rare occasion, I see one it always makes me smile. Still love them.” – Jacob Hammer

“A 1996 Chevy Beretta. It’s all the crappy parts from the bottom of the shelf Chevy had with the oh-so-sweet styling of the ‘80s.” – Joseph Fields

“The Pontiac Fiero. Fun little sports cars with a surprising underground community. I recently bought another one with plans of making it an autocross car eventually.” – James Hornak

“I find myself missing the Geo Storm an awful lot. Not much by today’s standards, but it had character which I find today’s cars generally tend to lack with their dead-feeling plastic interiors, non-responsive pedal feel, and general lack of steering feedback.” – Robert Myers


“First-gen Chevy Cavaliers. My first car was an ‘86 Z24. I spent far too much time and money on it, but I loved that thing. It was the first engine I spec’d and built for myself, first set of headers I built (and full dual exhaust), built a Megasquirt 2 ECU for it. Was still slow as hell, but the reality is the things I did taught me a lot and I use a lot of that knowledge to pay my bills. Way back when I got it, there was actually a decent local J-Body community, and I met a lot of good people who are some of the people I’m the closest with today.” – Steve Tarasenko (above)

“Easy: Chevrolet Chevette. Here in Brazil we got the Opel specification, which made for a great handling little car. And I confess that I loved even the little underpowered, unrefined four-cylinder engine that came with it originally. It feels like an Alfa Romeo GTV from behind the wheel, but without the stigma of chic-European marque. I’m stretching the truth? Don’t think so. Love is like that. Had 5 of them, including the station wagon (Marajó) and the pickup (Chevy 500). And I miss every one of them.” – Marco Antônio Oliveira

“I love my big V8 cars, but there is nothing like daily driving my 1994 straight-piped 1.3L Suzuki Swift. Now this has been my 3rd Swift and I love these cars. Bang-shifting off red-line just to keep up with traffic, it’s like driving a go-kart with a roof.” – Christopher Ljungberg


“1985 Chevy Sprint with the 1.0L 3-cylinder. 12-inch tires and geared ultra-low, so it’s the perfect city car. It would do a burnout like you wouldn’t believe. Get the revs up, drop the clutch, and it was gone! It was so small that it could zip through city traffic like a knife through butter.

“It has a top speed of 82, and *it does not like 82*. Mine had a 5-speed, but 5th only worked when it felt like it. It got an actual (not EPA-estimated) 50 miles per gallon. 50. The most I ever spent on a fill up was $7.85, no lie. Man, I loved that car. It was the ultimate beater.” – Michael Bloom (above)

“‘94 Geo Metro. Delivered pizza and made great money with it. Even got a $20 tip when a guy I brought pizza to laughed when I got stuck in his driveway. He said he give me an extra $20 if I got out. I put it in first gear, got out, grabbed the B-pillar, and yanked it out of the snow.” – Kevin Campbell

“The ‘89-’94 Geo Metro. Commuted one in college, ran on 2 cylinders most of that time, I bought it with the interior gutted except for one plastic race seat and the dash, door panels, and front carpet. I beat it like a rented mule for 2 years, took it places guys wouldn’t go in a truck, jumped it often, and it just took it. The only time it ever left me stranded was if it was cold enough that the lack of compression prevented it from starting.” – Justin Kady

“‘95 Pontiac Firefly 1.0-liter three-cylinder with a 5-speed. What an amazing car! When I purchased it, there was a sticker in the window that said ‘Princess’ so that what everyone called it from then on. Fuel mileage was insanely good and it was a surprisingly decent winter car.” – Trevor Gill



“I miss my ’83 Grand Marquis (photo of me is from high school with the car). It was my first car, and had a blast with it. I WILL get another one day, and make a killer sleeper out of it.” – Mike Ricci (above)

“I love Panthers but moreso my old ‘87 LTD. They have the handling characteristics of a lumber wagon and the acceleration of a turtle driving a bus uphill, but they drove silky smooth, quiet, super reliable, and would get me 28 mpg on the highway.” – Epifanio Alcaraz

“My parents’ ‘74 Marquis, 460-4V. I grew up sitting in the middle of the giant front seat. Banana yellow. Electric heater core that blew red-hot air at the turn of the key on -30 degrees Celsius days like nothing I’ve ever seen. Cool rim-blow horn. I learned to drive in this car. I learned to parallel park this car. I learned to do brake stands with this car.” – Mark Nelson


“My old ‘74 Mercury Comet 4 door had a 289 and a 3-speed auto and it was a blast to drive. It was slow and not a cool muscle car, but I had a blast in that thing. It was my daily driver when I was a waiter. Bench seat front and back, never left me stranded, had brakes that would make it stop in the next town over. There were four bad drums all around. It did have power steering, though not sure how much since it leaked like a sieve. But it was a fun car, oddball for sure and loved the color. It was nicknamed avocado thanks to my girlfriend and unfortunately, my father sold it after I gave it to him.” – Cesar Carmona (above)

“Early ‘80s Econolines with 6-bangers. Pulls a car trailer, you can put a huge stereo in one, good MPG, good tow torque, very reliable, and you can sleep in it if you get tired. It is the perfect vehicle to own along with a race car/bike/rail/buggy. Hauls tools very well also.” – Jerry Stratton

“1977 PINTO CRUISING WAGON. I know, I know! It is old enough to be a classic BUT I cannot imagine there being a big enough fan base for it to be considered a classic.” – James Shaw


“I have owned 7 Pintos (I know a lot of people wouldn’t admit to that!). Nicest was the ’77 Cruisin’ Wagon that I bought new with the 2.8 V6 engine.” – George Shoner (above)

“Mustang II! They’re ugly as sin, a pain in the ass to make power with, only come with 139 horse in the first place, have glass-delicate diffs, and C4’s that are Mustang II specific. Awful, awful cars, but I’d own another in a second.” – Adam Robinson

“I absolutely LOVE Ford Fairmonts. No clue why. Not cool ones either: I like the pure stock, extremely slow straight-six cars. My ’83 was the best small car I’ve ever owned or ever driven in my opinion.” – Trent Hura


“I have a thing for early- to mid-’90s (Aussie) Falcons…Cheap as all hell, powerful, they handle quite well, and you can run em into the ground (plus I can fill ’em up with family as my coupe’s too small inside these days). The white one in the photo is an ex-cop car, 302 roller with nice suspension, etc. I blew that up then got a $350 EB (1992 model). Best off-roader ever because I genuinely never ever gave a crap about it but secretly loved it!” – John Tearle (above)

“I had an ‘87 all-wheel-drive Ford Tempo I bought from a oil-well field serviceman that wanted to get rid of it due to him retiring. It had almost 200k miles on it when I got it and then I drove the b***s off it. I guess I put about a dozen exhaust manifolds on it as it was a design flaw. I even was in the middle of pulling one off of a junked on in a salvage yard while a tornado ripped through town. It was a great snow car and got mudded through the fields several times. It even got driven on a few four-wheelers trails.  I drove it until 2008 when the engine slung a rod through the side of the block and I scrapped it out for $300. But I wish I still had it. It was a great work commuter and the interior was in terrific shape. The headliner was still intact. It had almost 600k on it when it took a dump.” – Jon Boehman

“1991 Mercury Capri. Automatic four-speed, wasn’t even turbocharged. 1.6-liter four-cylinder with 100 HP and a lot of problems. But it is a blast to drive on a sunny day with the top down on a twisty road.” – Nick Albee

“Ford Escort GT. They weren’t real pretty, but when Ford decided to put a Miata motor in a 90’s econobox, it really came together to be something kinda special. It’s the beater I always wanted but never had.” – Matt Larson


“My 1984 Ford Sierra wagon that I bought 7 years ago to teach my eldest grandson about automotive mechanics. It turned out to be such a nice car to drive, economical, reliable and practical that it’s still sitting in my garage, getting restored.” – Peter S. Cooper (above)

“Ford Festiva. Just a rebadged Mazda but 40mpg, 1,700lbs curb weight, pretty easy to work on, and it could haul a lot of crap when you put the seats down in back. I slept in that car quite a few times without a problem too. It’s just too hard to find them in good shape and with the five-speed anymore. Maybe this isn’t irrational love, come to think of it…” – Johnny Killmore

“I had a ‘95 Ford Aspire and man that thing was awesome. We did more four-wheeling in that thing than any of the 4x4s I’ve had. A riot to rally that thing.” – Josh Beatty.

“Ford Festiva. I bought one for $50 once with all the side windows and back window shot out. I replaced the driver and passenger windows, chopped the back of the roof off and made a mini pickup truck. I drove it to work for a few months until I decided to put ATV tires on it. It had no b***s, but it was fun and every time I drove into town, people smiled or laughed at it!” – Brandon Madosh

“I had a Ford Ka as a runaround a few years ago. Tiny, slow, and usually driven by young women. I adored it. You could drive it flat-out down the lanes without attracting attention from the police. It would lift-off oversteer and handled like a kart.” – Andrew Kirkham


Chrysler and AMC

“Chrysler M-bodies. My dad had multiple Fifth Avenues, and I had an ’88 Plymouth Gran Fury Police model. 318 with a 4 barrel that all the mustangs hated because it either looked like an unmarked squad or the ultimate sleeper.” – Sabrina McCoy (above) [Editor’s Note: This photo absolutely rules for so many reasons.]

“First-generation Cloud cars. I had a ‘98 Dodge Stratus and it was a great car. I did so much work on it… Built engine and trans, added four-wheel disc brakes, sound system, exhaust, etc. It was the perfect daily driver. I miss it all the time. I got hit at an intersection and totaled the car. Otherwise, I’d probably still be driving it today!” – Austin Robert Merritt

“Late-model Mopar P-Bodies, especially with the 3.0-liter V6. Not the fastest thing on four wheels but a nice quick sleeper that would endlessly humiliate the Hondas with thousands of horsepower worth of stickers and plastic chrome applique.” – Mike Zankich

“I had a ‘91 Shadow four-door, it was probably the most reliable car I ever owned. I think there were only seven moving parts in the entire car so even if something did break, it was an easy fix. Because it was underpowered, it never got stuck in the winter, too.” – Dave Tooley

“I love my ’98 Neon! Owned it since it was new and have too many memories in the car to ever let it go. It’s currently ‘Mayhem’d,’ but I plan to have it repainted the original Deep Amethyst Purple and possibly put turbo the 2.4 Stratus motor in it.” – Pete Phillips (Lead photo, top)

“Just about any first-generation Neon, this one in particular. Great platform for a ‘go-kart’, traps 93 mph in the ¼-mile, goes together almost as simple as an air-cooled Volkswagen, and gets 43-mpg on the freeway. Oh and this is still the handicapped SOHC…though with some work done.” – Jared Carlston


“My ‘86 Shelby Charger Turbo: super fun car and just loved the way it looked. Plus, it was pretty quick and handled good too. Just loved it and wish I still had it.” – Paul Brown (above, fuzzy but the window louvres look too good even blurry not to share)

“First-gen Dodge Caravan with the 2.5L turbo. After seeing one made into a total sleeper with rusted rockers, I couldn’t help but think it was sweet.” – Ryan DeVooght

“‘88 Dodge Aries K. It was the third car I ever owned and it was the toughest car. It was a strip cruiser down at the beach, it was a snowmobile in the winter, and a woods beater and mud truck. It could go anywhere, easy to work on, even with the famous 2.2 cylinder tap, the car would not die. I wish I had one now it would make a great car for going back n forth to work!” – John W. Godwin


“My ‘87 Chrysler Town and Country woody wagon. Mid-13-second 2.5L turbo fwd!! Really all the front-wheel-drive turbo Chryslers including the minivan.” – Jaren Niewinski (above)

“Mine would be the Chrysler L-bodies. I’ve owned 4 of them in the last 15 years. These things will run forever. When I bought it 3 years ago, I put a new water pump and timing belt on it, haven’t had to touch anything since then.” – Anthony Buchanan

“My 2002 Sebring convertible. I am madly in love with that thing.

Is it fast? No.
Is it good? Not really.
Is it fun? Oh yes.

Also I’d like to add my family’s input on this: My mom loved all 3 of her cars pre-children. ‘86 Shelby Charger with a stick, Chevy S10 with a stick, and a Cavalier with a stick. And my aunt used to drive a Dodge Laser Turbo….She says that was the best car she ever drove.” – Mario Devita


“Dodge and Plymouth F-Bodies. My first car was an ‘80 Volare that my dad and I got for $450 when I was 14. We did a complete restoration. After blowing up three 318s, I put a 383 big block in. Really miss that car and have a fondness for them.” – Ryan Hebor (above)

“My friend had a Dodge Aspen wagon with a factory 360 and a four-speed manual transmission. Brown with faux wood side panels. The strangest, most awesome wagon ever. It’s was all special order and it would probably be worth a few bucks today if it still existed.” – Chris Durney


“Specifically two-door Cherokees. I’ve owned two and I’d like to have about 20 more. This one was also turbo’d, but had a tiny spot of rust on the rocker and that was it. I miss the look on people’s faces when it would spool up and take off.” – Austin Schueler (above)

“AMC Eagle Wagon. I put 235 BFGs on it, one-inch blocks in the back, and cranked the torsion bars a little. It was the most stable, best handling snow and ice car I ever had when I lived in the Northern hinterlands. And oh so comfortable to drive. Short of Lincolns and Caddies, these were the most luxurious cars of their time.” – Thomas Hanenburg



“2000-2004 Volvo S40s. I’ve had two of them. One, I still currently own. I have no idea why I like them so much. They were one of the only Volvos at the time with a four-cylinder engine, while the other ones have five cylinders. I bought this one needing a head gasket. My first ended up blowing the engine after overheating and faulting the temp gauge. They’re pretty powerful given what it is and handle like they’re on rails. I replaced the first one with BMW 325xi and the Volvo was much more fun to drive. I think doing a manual transmission swap and adding a little more boost would make this car an ultimate driving experience.” – Eric Miller (above)

“The old-school brick Volvos with the OHC iron-block four-cylinder engines. Brutalist looks and an agricultural, anemic engine, but I love them. -Silas Humphreys

“I don’t hate to admit it, but I love my old boxy water-cooled Volkswagens, like the Rabbit pickup. Horribly ugly little things, but over the years, I’ve owned 11 of them, including the three currently parked at my house.” – Josh Hust

“‘88 Subaru Justy, econobox piece o’ crap that I could flog relentlessly, foot to the floor everywhere, and still get 45 mpg. It also jumped, rock-crawled, and mudded with four-wheeler tires on the front; it made a good stage to dance on. You had to have a sense of humor while driving it.” – Justin Patton

“Subaru XT6. It was my first car and Subaru’s first attempt at a sports car. It wasn’t all that fast, but it was the greatest car in the snow I’ve ever been in.” – Quinton M.

“I had an ‘89 Mazda 626. When I had the car, it actually came with a turbo and I tried desperately to convince the guy helping me fix it to keep the turbo. It didn’t work. It had those lame automatic seat belts the steering wheel foam was crumbling away, but man, that thing was a lot of fun.” – Caleb Eary

“1980s American police cars. I don’t care if it’s Ford or Chevrolet; if it’s boxy, then I want it. The weird part is that I live in Australia, so I’ve never even seen one in real life and have no reason to be so attached. The heart wants what the heart wants though.” – Brendan Lester

“About 2-3 times a month, I dream I found my old Lexus ES-250 and rebuild the engine on it. I should never have let it go. A 2.5L V6 with a 5 speed. It wasn’t particularly fast overall, but it would launch through the first two gears and was a blast to drive.” – Patrick Griffin


“Toyota Camry. Something about it being so ordinary that no one expects anything from it. And loads of used parts for cheap money. They never break down but do decent burnouts. I do not know why, but trashing grandpa’s car is my guilty pleasure.” – Jens Peter Kragelund (above)

“Honestly, it’s the Prius for me. As s****y and ‘sacrilegious’ as it sounds, you really can’t argue with the massive mpg it puts out. If they made a pickup truck version that still managed, say, 30 mpg with a small payload (mainly pallets and motorcycles that I haul with my 01 Ranger), I’d throw all my money at it.” – David Coleman

“I love early Escorts and Capris, but I’m not a Ford guy at all. And I’ve gotta say the second-generation Honda Odysseys (‘99-’04) are the best-handling and stopping (both the LX with rear drum and the EX with disk all around) stock minivan I’ve ever driven. Being a tech working on whatever comes in the door, I’ve driven and put a lot of different cars, trucks, SUVs and (yes) minivans through their paces and in Minivan Land, the second-gen Odyssey changed the game forever.” – Alex Bouwens

“That would be my ‘95 Isuzu Trooper. That thing was a tank! Drove like a slow and steady dreamboat in all weather, especially in snow. The most comfortable seats EVER. No other car that I’ve owned has even come close to the cotton candy, unicorns, and rainbows of the driver seat AND backseat cushies. There was this deep-purple tint on the windows that had to be illegal because you could not see in the back windows unless the sun was shining directly through and you tilted your head left.

“I do not miss the unnecessarily sucky gas mileage, I think the best ever was 14 mpg…oy vey! It was my first car and went through three blowouts, a heater core exploding coolant into the passenger side floor, rebuilding head gaskets, and having to use a hair dryer while driving in the winter to defrost the INSIDE of the windshield. I will treasure my Super Trooper and the places it took me. He was even in my engagement pictures (naturally, taken off-road somewhere in Tennessee). It had over 210k miles when I sold it! Someday I will come across one that makes my little girl heart skip a beat again. [Sigh]” – Teresa Adams

Ralph Earl JR Heath_Datsun210

“Kind of a crummy picture but my 1979 Datsun 210 that’s currently waiting for a V6 3800 transplant because why not? Too many memories of beating on this car to let her go. Hopefully, the swap goes well and she will be running the street again.” – Ralph Earl Heath

“Nissan Maximas with the 3.0-liter V6. This one is a 1996 I bought for $300 and got a lick ‘n’ stick inspection for. It threw a rod at 271k miles. I was a mile away from home and it threw a rod, loud rattling and smoke all the way to the side of the road. I started it up on 3-4 cylinders and drove it home ON FIRE. I have a chunk of aluminum and the plates and registration to remember it by. Sold it the next day for $40.” – Peter Bennett Jr. 

“‘95 Fiat Brava, basically made of paper so those things flew. Just don’t crash them….. The twin-cam 1.6-liter engine had such a nice metallic zing sound to it. Ah, memories.” – Stuart Bobbin

“The Lada Riva wagon. A Fiat 124 with all the zest, handling, and style removed by the Soviet Union. Twin-cam engine and 5-speed gearbox replaced by an OHV unit and a 4-speed from who-knows-what. Italian tin replaced by heavier-gauge Russian tin. Styling ‘updated’ by Ray Charleski and Mr Magooski. Damned near indestructible though, despite breakdowns and bits falling off.” – Alan Storey

That’s a lot of great memories! You can rifle through even more on the original Facebook post here. We’ll have another question here in a few days, so get ready!

Roadkill Fall 2016 Cover