27 May 2016

The perfect car for a first date depends on your intentions

This week we asked, “What's the best car for a first date?” And it was a question that our Facebook audience actually agreed on. Whether it was your folks’ car or your own, discerning your first dates’ true intentions was easy. “Anything with a back seat” was a common response, second only to ‘50s and ‘60s cars with couch-like bench seats and, most importantly, properly running cars. Who wants to pick up their date in a squealing, misfiring mess?

It is said that a first impression is everything, and getting there in style is a sure way to nab that chance for a second date. Elegant luxury cars like Rolls-Royces or late-model Mercedes-Benzes are hard to beat, but who has access to those? Here are five cars that improve your chances without wrecking your wallet.

1949 Studebaker – Preston Madsen made a great point: The backseat of ‘49 Studebaker is curved for maximum comfort. And if you have the ’51 Starlight coupe trim line, a wraparound window makes it easy to proudly show off your hot date.

1959 Pontiac Bonneville – The body’s long lines and carefully placed chrome accents alone are enough to make any lady’s jaw drop. And it makes anyone feel right at home: It had a back seat resembling a living room sofa. If it was a group affair, how about that trunk space? Tom Ruddiman reflected on his past escapades, “Do you have any idea how many people you could sneak into a drive-in in that trunk?”

1950-‘55 Nash Rambler – The front seats reclined flat, as if it were a bed on the go. What more could you ask for? Even my 1961 Cadillac with six-way power seats can’t do that — though I wish it could. As Patrick Cowden stated, they are the best make-out seats.

1955 Chevrolet Bel Air – The Bel Air is one of the most recognizable classics, and it carries a rather romantic aura. Yet some have been rebuilt for power, like Harry M Scott’s 1955 Bel Air two-door hardtop. It flaunts a 409-ci engine with dual four-barrel carbs. If she doesn’t appreciate the thrill of horsepower, at least you will know early on that she’s not the one for you.

Custom vans – For people with high expectations, we are talking velour interiors with the possibility of waterbeds. The possibility of televisions and kitchenettes for those long nights and early mornings are a bonus. Or, as Herbert Rex Shanahan III mentioned, his 1983 Ford 150 conversion van: “I could make a group of girls scream in the back of that thing… Doing donuts in the snow.” Good one, Herbert.

20 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Wallace Arizona May 29, 2016 at 17:54
    If my old 31 Chevvy coupe w/rumble seat could have talked, I would have been in deep doo-doo.
  • 2
    dave keilholtz arizona May 31, 2016 at 14:42
    In high school I drove a Rambler w/ lay down seats. Not one father in Lansing would let me date their daughter.
  • 3
    Laguna Mike Austin, TX June 1, 2016 at 18:11
    My 1950 Packard Coupe had a living room with a couch for a back seat with very little side glass and a sloped rear window. It had it all: Foot rests, ashtrays, comfy seat, carpet. . . .what more could you ask for?
  • 4
    Joe Central VA June 1, 2016 at 19:16
    I recall parents in the 70s who flat-out refused to let their daughters go out with any guy who drove a van.
  • 5
    Will Owen Pasadena CA June 1, 2016 at 20:01
    I was picking up my girlfriend i my Morris Mini one night, and when her mother saw the car she broke out laughing. Her sister told us later she'd said, "Well, I guess we don't have to worry about ****** in THAT car!" What she didn't know was our practice of driving downtown, meeting my roommate, and swapping the Mini for his '57 Dodge.
  • 6
    Stan W Thomasville GA June 1, 2016 at 20:01
    My best friends Mom had a Rambler with the lay down seats it was most popular with us to use on double dates. I was a blast at the drive-in movies.
  • 7
    Bill Breen Charleston SC June 1, 2016 at 20:37
    The Rambler was the best with the double bed made by fully reclining front seats. Sadly I never put the feature to good use. Only thing unusual that it ever led to was being arrested for driving too reclined, showing the feature to a friend while driving. Not smart and not profitable, but the judge was amused. By the way ours was a 1958 so the info above 1950-1955 is incorrect -- the 1959 had it too; probably into the early 1960s.
  • 8
    Bruce Seattle June 1, 2016 at 20:42
    A 1960 Rambler station wagon, with the front seats that recline to parallel.
  • 9
    Dean Marshall Michigan June 1, 2016 at 22:25
    1982 Pontiac J2000 wagon. Excellent gas mileage, stick shift, screams "dork", but the back seat folds down. Nuff said.
  • 10
    David Dean Indiana June 1, 2016 at 22:41
    My 1960 SAAB GT 750 with 4 speed on the column, and dual reclining front seats. Parents thought it was as safe as a VW.
  • 11
    Larry B. PA June 1, 2016 at 22:51
    Those Ramblers from the 50's and 60's were the best date cars. Not many folks knew about those recliners. They were a Rambler exclusive. People thought those Ramblers were "cute." My dad had a couple of them. Friends were always calling me to do a swap. "No thanks!"
  • 12
    Scott Maryland Suburbs of DC June 1, 2016 at 22:58
    When I was in high school (76-78), I drove a 1970 Pontiac Catalina. Aside from being called "The Green Bomb" (it was green and not very reliable), 1970 was Pontiac's Year of the Wide Track. These cars were as wide as they could legally be leaving a lot of room on the front bench seats. Being a four door car, I could host a nice party in that car! Remember, this was the 70s and I was in high school!!
  • 13
    Len new jersey June 2, 2016 at 16:22
    I drove a shiny white '56 Desoto convertible in high school...nicest car ever...a while back our babysitter was telling me about the new Mustang convertible she just got..wanting to impress her, I told her about my cool Desoto. ..she responded, "What's a 'DeSoto'....end of story...
  • 14
    Blues DeLuxe Northern California June 2, 2016 at 18:46
    I graduated high school in 1965. Back then the "car" that every guy wanted was a 50's era panel truck. With no rear seats. Surfer vans hadn't been invented yet.
  • 15
    Charlie Hollywood, SC June 2, 2016 at 10:59
    Had a 1947 Caddy hearse. Bought it in 1966 for $100 with a padded casket in the back from a local funeral home. For some reason, the ladies were all creeped out with it. Traded it for a '58 Chevy. Still married to my first date after 47 years.
  • 16
    Bob DeVore Martinsburg, WV June 2, 2016 at 11:01
    My first car: (1949 Studebaker)-1953, My first date: -1953. Back in 1953, dates were rare unless you had a car. Probably the best car for safety reasons was a business coupe with a floor shifter for your FIRST DATE with a nice girl.
  • 17
    J McClellan Niagara Falls Canada June 2, 2016 at 23:04
    I owned a 57 chevy Vert and that was my first serious date and i'm still with my golden blond girl just celebrated our 50th anniversary.
  • 18
    jerrynu st. louis, mo June 3, 2016 at 18:27
    Can not beat the back seat of Hudson's of early 50's or as one of my college fraternity brothers provided a 35 Packard (convertible) roadster with a rumble seat removed and a mattress installed. Good memories but I really would lide the Packard today.
  • 19
    Ron Mumford Toronto June 4, 2016 at 15:49
    My Dad worked at Ford Oakville and got old company cars a couple years old. The absolute best date car was a '64 (?) Mercury with the rocket lights. The front bench seat was the size of a single bed and you could stretch out from door to door and enjoy your date. When Bonnie and Clyde came to the drive-in we went every night for a week and never saw the movie.
  • 20
    DWIGHT WILSEY GREENVILLE, MI June 5, 2016 at 16:12
    1968 CADILLAC COUPE DE VILLE. I BOUGHT IT IN NOV. OF 1978 (THERE'S A CAR I'VE BEEN LOOKING TO BUY FOR TEN YEARS) FOR SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. I MET MY GIRLFRIEND ON A BLIND DATE IN SEPT '79 SHE HAD A PART-TIME JOB AND NO RELIABLE TRANSIT TO WORK, SO I LET HER DRIVE IT. WELL, WHAT A BACK SEAT AND OH THE CARPET IT WAS LIKE A MILE DEEP. WE'VE BEEN MARRIED FOR COMING UP ON 36 YEARS.

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