5 of the most patriotic cars and trucks ever


Independence Day is a logical time to focus on the vehicles that scream “America.” Of course, this is a subjective category, and an exhaustive list is impossible. We put our heads together to find five exceptionally patriotic vehicles, from military trucks that helped win wars to race cars that put the U.S. on the world stage, but the exercise would be incomplete without your input.

Don’t agree with our choices? Want to add some all-American automotive heroes of your own? Share them in the comments below—we’d love to hear from you.


5. 1946–80 Dodge Power Wagon

The original Power Wagon was based on a WWII vintage ¾-ton pickup truck. In 1946, the flat-fender trucks became the first mass-produced civilian 4×4 vehicles, paving the way for some of the earliest 4×4-equipped half-ton trucks in the 1950s.

Though Ram still makes an off-road-oriented pickup with the same name, the O.G. Power Wagon is the true granddaddy of every serious 4×4 pickup. (Like the early Bronco and FJ Cruiser, it has even spawned high-dollar restomods, like this one by Legacy Classic Trucks.) That, combined with its military lineage, makes it one very patriotic truck.

4. 1967 Gurney Eagle-Weslake Formula 1 car

Formula 1 has always been a European-dominated show. American drivers like Phil Hill, Peter Revson, Masten Gregory, Eddie Cheever, and Brett Lunger were rare, but Dan Gurney not only competed in Formula 1 but did so in a car of his own construction.

While not particularly successful, the Eagle-Weslake T1G is generally regarded as one of the most beautiful race cars ever and its single victory at the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix in the hands of Dan Gurney himself remains the only Formula 1 win for a U.S.-built car.

3. 1970 Plymouth AAR ‘Cuda

Dan Gurney is perhaps the most patriotic American to have competed in international motorsports, even if his debut at the Indianapolis 500 was in a Lotus. Few other race-car drivers, wrote Sam Smith, “embodied the distinctly American notion that anything is possible because … well, why not?”

The All American Racers, or AAR, ‘Cuda was the street version of the car that Gurney campaigned in the SCCA Trans Am road racing series. The 340-powered, Six Barrel ‘Cuda was one of the most charismatic cars of the muscle-car era, and among the least common: Only 2724 were built, all in 1970. You’ll know an AAR ‘Cuda by those unmistakable strobe side-stripes.

2. 1976 Cadillac Eldorado convertible

For 1976, the final year of the full-size GM convertible, the Eldosaurus was available in a special edition of just 200 cars that became known as “Bicentennial Eldorados” because of their Cotillion White paint and red accents (to which many dealers added blue pinstriping). Except, perhaps, for a race-liveried AMC Javelin, a car doesn’t get much more patriotic than a red, white, and blue Cadillac.

1. 1941–45 Willys MB “Jeep”

Synonymous with The Greatest Generation, the Willys Jeep spawned countless versions of the civilian CJ. However, it’s the original WWII- and Korean War–era vintage military vehicles that are among the most patriotic vehicles of all time.

Want to know more about this scrappy vehicle? Check out this feature story from 2019, when Aaron Robinson retraced the D-Day trail in a Willys on the 75th anniversary of the Allies’ Normandy invasion, and flip through the pictures of this beautifully restored Korean War veteran. If you’re curious about buying a WWII-era Willys of your own, brush up on values on the Hagerty Valuation Tool.




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    “Eldosaurus” I love it!! I have a 1975 Eldo convertible and enjoy driving it weekly with the top always down, it’s a ridiculously huge car and that’s why I love it…people always wave and give me a thumbs up…for good or bad they will never build cars as large as this again.

    Cars that don’t have back seats are sports cars, roadsters are convertibles, and convertibles with back seats aren’t roadster sports cars.

    Enzo Ferrari is on record as saying that the only true American sports car is the Jeep. I’m not gonna argue with Enzo.

    Waaaaay more than two: There was also the Kaiser Darrin, America’s second all fibreglass sports car; the Crosley Hotshot; various Cunninghams, Stutz’s, Marmons, Duesenburgs; even Cadillacs and Packards.

    The Eldorado made #2 on the list because of a couple pinstripes, only one of which put on at the factory?? Isn’t that like putting lipstick on a pig and calling it Miss America? Don’t get me wrong, I like Eldorados and they were an iconic car but on this list? Come on Hagerty.

    When I was a kid, we called them Sh*#illacs. Until the last few years, when Cadillac changed its direction, I never thought anyone under 75 would want to be caught dead in one. But if you were dead, I guess you didn’t have a choice.

    The Caddy you have is the best. I have a 99 Deville, but I wantd one like you have and I just didn’t have the money. Enjoy.

    I had a Monza with a “Spirit of ’76” interior. The cloth seats had a red, white, and blue eagle print. The colors were somewhat subdued so it actually looked better than it sounds.

    Anything connected to Dan Gurney gets my vote. Happy Fourth of July to Hagerty Media readers, and especially to the Staff and their families! 🧨🎆

    A few years ago I was “flagging” at an event and at the meeting they ask if anyone want a Dan Gurney for president bumper sticker. Seems they had number of these that they had been caring around for many years. Of course a number of us said YES ! To let you know how long ago this was some people there had I idea who Dan Gurney was !

    When Car and Driver magazine first nominated Dan Gurney for President they failed to realize that he was ineligible at that time because he was only 33 years old, below the 35 year old minimum.

    Too bad, he would have won in a landslide.

    It’s Canada Day today eh? So let’s go with the iconic snowmobile, followed by the CMP Truck series.

    If you are referencing the Rebel Machine you are spot on as a patriotic example. I had one of the early production models that only came in the Red,White and Blue livery. Later in production they came in other colors but they were one of the finer performance cars offered by AMC. Wish I still had it along with a lot of the other muscle cars I let slip away long before they became really valuable.

    Or before that the 1969 SC/Rambler, also in red/white/blue livery. I suppose ANY American Motors car would qualify, but the “American Motors” name wasn’t used as an actual car brand until 1966 when AMC started phasing the Rambler brand name out. The company that made the Rambler cars was AMC since the merger of Nash and Hudson in 1954 though.

    Lest us not forget that Canadians are Americans, too. (Unless of course, they don’t wanna be, which I probably wouldn’t blame them for…) 😄

    Briggs Cunningham’s Le Mans Corvettes, Craig Breedlove’s two “Spirit Of America ” LSR cars, Bruce Larson’s “USA 1” funny cars are but a few more of patriotic performance entries.

    Agreed, as those were unique American vehicles which drew the attention of the whole world.

    You guys have your head up your butt. Rambler Scrambler and Rebel Machine. Say nothing about the 100 red white and blue 1970 factory Trans am javelin. OH wait, and the 1969 ss amx, yes, red white and blue. And.. there was a Hurst jeep commando and i think a CJ also. But why would a company called “American” Motors be patriotic? Being the last ” independent ( independence day) manufacturer.

    I was thinking the same thing… Don’t think there was anything more Patriotic than those red, white, and blue cars.

    Within a few years of America’s Bicentennial, AMC would be owned by the French government (via Renault), who sold it to Chrysler, who were absorbed by the Germans (Diamler-Benz), then the Italians (Fiat), and now, again, the French (Peugeot/Stellantis)….

    I’ll second your votes for Spirit of America. Not only is America in the name, but nothing seems more American than stuffing a rocket into a missile with wheels and hitting 600+ mph across the Utah salt flats!

    Before Dan Gurney’s American F1 was his good friend Briggs Cunningham’s 1950 assault on Le Man’s with the first-ever all-American team racing 2 Cadillacs with Briggs and other Americans driving. So American was this team that an Air Force General had carburetor parts flown in from Detroit!

    Missed the boat on this one. 1969 Hurst SCRambler doesn’t make the list? Its painted red, white and blue!

    Ya beat me to it. I cannot believe the SCrambler nor The (Rebel) Machine wasn’t mentioned in this article.

    Yes- representing America’s finest qualities are the scrappy, innovative, unpretentious small cars of 1958-66 particularly. The Lark, Corvair, Valiant, Rambler. No fat, all purposeful.

    Easy – I was at Spa on June 18, 1967 when Dan Gurney won the race in his AAR Eagle-Weslake, so that’s my choice!

    I thought Chevrolet’s “Spirit of America” offerings from the mid ’70’s would have made the list. I wasn’t all that impressed with the models at the time but if we are talking about patriotic, these models were that.

    There you go, Mark! I was waiting for these to be mentioned, I’d consider them to be the most patriotic…but there are lots of other good callouts here as well!!

    In the spirit of less is more, the Corvair is any dress is due to inspire patriotism to the max… tank motors inspired future boxer style flat pancake sixes with an international flare from VW/Porsche?…and the AMC “Eagle” .

    Those mid 1970’s cars were built for secretaries and racer wannabe’s husbands who were convinced to buy a 170 HP Z28. 102 HP musttangs were sold like hotcakes to young girls.

    Hard to see how the Corvette and/or Mustang don’t make this list. Iconic across generations.

    Granted, they were never painter red, white and blue, but when talking about the “Spirit of America” what about the GT40? American built and dominated during its rather short run.

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