Let’s face reality.


Summer 2012 is here and if you’re reading this, you probably need a turbo boost in the “I am the world’s most interesting guy” foot race so…


“anything you can do to offset your distinct lack of the most fundamental social skills is an asset.”


Your personality may be duller than flat black paint but the simple injection of an old car or truck into your world could graft on some serious charisma…it’ll make you a rock star in traffic.


So to that end, here are seven suggestions for a classic summer ride…in no particular order.


An old full-sized station wagon is ultra cool. Ten to fifteen years ago, you couldn’t give away a wagon so most of these family schooners had a bleak future.


The kids grew up, the Little League games became a fond memory so Mom and Dad didn’t need 8 feet of cargo space and 3 rows of seats. Any wagon from the last 50 years will work – fake wood on the side puts you on the “A Hollywood ” list. Wagons were so un-cool at one time that they broke through a space warp dimension and came out of the other side dripping in cool.




Old trucks will move you up the food chain in cool world. Any truck that’s just celebrated a 40th birthday or better will confer significant amounts of cool on your vanilla personality. Classic old trucks like mid-60s Chevys and mid-50s Fords are the gold standard but any truck with a birthday before the Gerald Ford administration will make you and your summer of 2012 one for the ages. An old truck says I’m cool and grounded at the same time.




Old school hot rods are another level of cool. You could be a charter member of the Bland and Boring Society of North America but once you jump behind the wheel of an old school rod you will become the coolest guy you know – even if your former passion in life was the history of forensic accounting. The toughest part about putting formerly un-cool guys behind the wheel of an old school ride is their inner war between the “I can learn to be cool” factor and the “I take no obvious risks in life” factor. These un-cool guys can mount a pretty significant internal battle based on fear alone (these aren’t easy to drive) but if they get past that inner terror, cool wins every single time they drive a classic rod.




1960s pony cars will add cool to your chronically boring lifestyle. There is nothing like a 1st Generation pony car to extend and enhance the ten seconds of interesting conversation you muster on a good day. Sure the car is the catalyst but “outer pony car” always trumps “inner nerd”. You win in the Summer of 2012 behind the wheel of a 60s pony car.




1970s and 80s T-roof cars are on the cusp of cool. Pick the right one and you go from lethally boring to that cool guy with the 70s T-roof car. Chicks dug T-roofs in the 70s so follow the progressive DNA pattern…it can happen again in the Summer of 2012. As a member of the un-cool fraternity, you’re probably into cost analysis so you’ll like the lower entry level costs for a late 70s-early 80s T-top. They’re entry level cool now but in ten years they’ll be off the chart cool…in your case, any rise in cool is an asset.




Late 50s cars are an easy ticket to Cool World. Any guy who drives one gets instant Knighthood to the Round Table of Cool Guys Everywhere. You don’t even have to try hard when you own a cool late 50s, “when Elvis was drafted” ride. Any doubts disappear when you show up in a summer resort area behind the wheel of something like a ‘59 Dodge Custom Royal or a ‘58 Oldsmobile because cars like that take you from trying to look cool to so cool your effect on women is palpable.




Any thumping, big block, bad boy resto-mod will spike your cool factor like fruit punch at a high school prom. Cars like this are similar to the old school hot rod because they are a beast to drive. Visibility over giant superchargers is an issue, many have roll cages, idling through a parking lot can turn into an Indiana Jones adventure because you’ve got a clutch that’s so stiff you may require steroid injections directly into your thigh muscles combined with a full race cam shaft. Get by all that and you just graduated from Cool University.


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These are the basics for that cool car= cool guy equation…the rest of the summer is up to you.




So the question is – how cool do you want to be in the Summer of 2012?



Jerry Sutherland

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