The list of the all-time most popular cars in the U.S. is a mix of traditional classics and muscle cars. In a recent survey, Cars.com finds the top two spots are held by the Dodge Charger and the Ford Mustang. Beyond that, it depends on geographical region, respondent’s age and individual tastes for specific cars. The Corvette, Camaro and Firebird all have millions of fans. Other widespread favorites include the Impala, El Camino, Bel Air, Nova, Monte Carlo, Fairlane and Model T. What do all of these favorites have in common? Timeless design and classic roadworthiness that makes them fun to own, and fantastic to drive.
Regional Tastes Influence Popularity
It might come as a surprise to learn that certain cars are immensely popular in some states and far less popular in others. The 1964 Pontiac GTO, for example, is the number one classic in Iowa and nowhere else. The most popular classic in Indiana is a muscle car – the 1968 Chevy Camaro. Vermont is the only state where the 1967 Oldsmobile 442 is in the top spot. The El Camino is the favorite in two states – Illinois and South Dakota. Delaware’s most popular classic is the 1986 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. You love trucks? Idahoans love the 1935 Ford Pickup, one of the oldest vehicles on the list. Why so much variation by state? The researchers at Cars.com say it’s simply due to regional tastes. When a certain car catches interest in a major city, the fandom tends to spread across the state over time.
Celebrity and Movie Classics
Some classic cars are popular because of their connection to movies and celebrities. The 1969 Dodge Charger may always be known as the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard. The Aston Martin will forever be linked to James Bond. A 1960s Volkswagen Beetle will always remind us of Herbie the Love Bug. These connections have boosted the popularity of certain models for the long term, inspiring fresh groups of fans as time goes by. Due to popular demand, for example, the Ford Fiesta is offered to the public in Lime Squeeze Metallic after several movie cameos. Some experts believe the Fast and the Furious movie franchise continues to influence which cars will be considered the classics of the future.
Popular for a New Generation
For new generations of Millennials and Gen Z-ers, the lineup of popular cars is changing. Sought-after cars fall into niches like SUVs, station wagons, imported coupes and 80s and 90s vehicles. Low-end cars are the new frontier in collecting, with some young collectors searching to the ends of the Earth to find cars with a very specific make, model, color and detailing. The information superhighway (remember when it was called that?!), i.e., the internet has made collecting into a new type of treasure hunt, where the ultimate prize is finding something precisely perfect as well as inexpensive.
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