fantasies from a formative period

The Cars We Desperately Wanted to Drive in High School


July 1, 2020 Cars By
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High school is a formative time for car enthusiasts — and a frustrating one. It’s the time when having a car is vitally important as both a source of autonomy and a signifier of identity. It’s also the time when most of us are furthest away from the cars we really want — stuck instead with a hand-me-down ride, or left borrowing our parents’ car.

We at Gear Patrol were no different. Some of us were budding rally drivers in our minds in high school; others should have paid a bit more attention in math class. But we all shared a burning desire for cars outside our reach. Here are the cars we wish we had been able to drive when we first had our licenses.

Subaru Impreza WRX

“Subaru unleashed the first Impreza WRX on America when I was a senior in high school. The WRX was a perfect match for my 18-year-old blend of heedlessness, hormone levels and ability to operate a manual transmission. The WRX was also relatively affordable, which made owning one — at least, in my head — feel tantalizingly close to being realistic.” – Tyler Duffy, Motoring Writer

Ferrari 575M Maranello

“I’ve loved cars since before I can remember, but only one car earned the honor of having its picture taped to the cover of my Ti-83+ — the Ferrari 575M. Front-engine V12 Ferraris have a charm like none other for me. If I had a nickel for every fact I missed in math class while daydreaming about driving that 575M, I’d be able to buy one.” – Will Sabel Courtney, Motoring Editor

Nissan Xterra

“I wasn’t a car guy then, and I’m not now, but it’s difficult to put into words how much I wanted a Nissan Xterra. In hindsight, the SUV’s discontinuation just a short while after my lust phase ended meant my inability to buy one could be played as my really impressive knowledge of fuel economics, emissions and safety features. But really it’s just the car everybody who was — seemed? — cool had.” – Will Price, Assistant Editor

RUF CTR2 993 (in silver)

“My taste since high school hasn’t changed much, and it’s quite simply the most gorgeous car ever.” – Hunter Kelley, Associate Designer

Volvo 245DL Wagon

“My parents had one when I was a toddler, two of my uncles had one when I was growing up, and my other uncle had a 244GL sedan. Needless to say, the 240 model was the pinnacle of car cool for me growing up. When I really got into surfing in middle school, I had hoped for eventually finding a Volvo wagon just like the one my parents had (why they ever got rid of it, I do not know). Instead, I settled for a 1988 Toyota Camry sedan as my first car. A long cry from the cool of the ’80s Volvo wagon.” – Ryan Brower, Commerce Editor

1985 Lamborghini Countach LP5000 Quattrovalvole

“I was not super-into cars back then, but I most definitely had a poster of this one in white with those scissor doors wide open, silhouetted on a black background. It was gorgeous and Italian and fast and totally unattainable, and I gazed at it longingly every day. Many years later, I did a Gotham Dream Cars tour with a bunch of Lambos…and, damn, I would still take one in a heartbeat if I had a garage to store it. And a separate bank account to cover the insurance.” – Steve Mazzucchi, Outdoors & Fitness Editor

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Tyler Duffy

Tyler Duffy is Gear Patrol's Motoring Staff Writer. He used to write about sports for The Big Lead and The Athletic. He has a black belt in toddler wrangling. He's based outside Detroit.

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