MyStarCollectorCar co-founder Jerry and I both immersed ourselves in the black art of English degree programs many years ago, a process that required many years of adjustment to break the shackles of a formal writing style.

Our basic academic challenge back in the day? Read scholarly crap from a long-forgotten era and interpret its meaning while using as many 10-dollar words as required for the academic task.

Jim Sutherland

It took me roughly a decade to make a return to an everyday writing style that I could call my own instead of an ivory tower dictator’s vision of the written word. Mercifully, I was fully acclimatized to real world written communication by the time we fired up MyStarCollectorCar in 2009, but I decided to return to the grim world of university English literature programs and extract a few 10-dollar words that describe human traits and apply them to vintage rides.

The first word is “vivacious”, a term most dictionaries describe as lively and energetic that is also applied more to females than males. The fact that many car owners give female names to their vehicles makes the vivacious term a good fit with vintage pony cars and compact rides that house factory small block V-8s under their hoods.

For example, a first-gen Mustang or Chevy II would be good examples of vivacious cars. A giant 1962 Chrysler Imperial would not be a good example of a vivacious car.

The second term on our 10-dollar word list is “capricious”, a word that has no association with full-sized Chevies built from 1966-96 and reintroduced in 2001 until 2016. Capricious is a term applied to people who display impulsive and unpredictable behavior-but are clearly not boring people.

MyStarCollectorCar will fit a square peg (car) into a round hole (human term) and describe big block muscle cars like 426 Hemi Mopars and 427 Shelby Cobras as “capricious”, mainly because these monsters are very unpredictable beasts on the road that answer to no rules and are prone to bursts of untamed fury.

The third term on our esteemed list of 10-dollar words is “audacious”, a term applied to people who are more than willing to take outsized risks or challenge conventional values.

MyStarCollectorCar’s list of audacious cars has to include a few AMC legends like their Gremlin and Pacer models, along with Mopar’s Dodge Charger Daytona and bullet-nosed Studebakers, mainly because these cars were unforgettable and challenged conventional automotive style from the minute they left the drawing board.

The fourth member of our 10-dollar word club is “ostentatious”, a term that refers to a desire to attract attention via an expensive and obvious display of wealth. We at MyStarCollectorCar believe the 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville is one of the best illustrations of ostentatious style bolted to a car frame.

The ’59 Caddy had acres of bling on a body bigger than some countries and, most of all, sky-scraper fins on its back end. Everything was over-sized and shiny about the ’59 Caddy so it is a primary example of an ostentatious car in MyStarCollectorCar’s opinion. In a good way.

The fifth and final 10-dollar term on MyStarCollectorCar’s list is “mendacious”, a word that refers to a dishonest and deceptive person who is a skillful liar.  We believe the term can be applied to sleeper cars that camouflage their plain exterior with fire-breathing monsters hidden under their hoods.

The 1960s were a time when car buyers could buy a cheap sedan and check off the big block option on the build list-while leaving off the radio or full wheel cover choices on the same list. The result was a car that could blow the doors off the competition in a street race and shock their rivals along the way to victory. Sleepers did not cost much in most cases, but they were able to pay their way in a hurry if all bets were against them.

The sleepers were mendacious cars built for deceit in the factory-and then fun and profit in a street showdown.

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.