MGs, with or without rubber bumpers, are still popular as seasonal cars.
Summer is here, and if you’re lucky enough to be close to a body of water that’s swimmable, even if just a little bit, this means you have a chance to at least pretend to be Detective Crockett or Detective Tubbs by playing “In the Air Tonight” while cruising in some kind of car along the coast. According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. has 95,471 miles of coastline, which includes the coasts of islands, bays and sounds, as well as the coasts of U.S. territories. That’s more than one third of the way to the moon, and this means plenty of summer cottages and beach houses offer a brief respite from work emails to those lucky enough to have them, and also have vacations long enough to actually use them.
This had us thinking: just what are the best attributes of a beach house car or truck, and what are the best overall machines in each segment based on factors such as summer-friendliness, price, style, passenger capacity, ease of use and once again style?
For many, the Jeep Wrangler of any generation ticks all the right boxes. They are relatively inexpensive, offer seating for at least five and feature convertible tops, in addition to offering just the right amount of cargo capacity and off-roadability. As logical as they may be, plenty of beach house dwellers, at least in the northeast, keep old imports purchased during the Carter/Reagan eras. This includes MGBs and Triumphs of all vintages, Mercedes-Benz SLs as well as their more (or less) temperamental Italian alternatives in the form of the Fiat 124 Spider or the Alfa Romeo Spider.
Defenders of all vintages are still making their way into the country, and their values are showing no signs of easing into used ’90s Wrangler territory.
Lately, the Land Rover Defender has had its sights set on the market share of vintage Wranglers, but the unrelenting values of Defenders have been keeping their numbers from ballooning anywhere but the most exclusive summer beach communities. While the Jeep Grand Wagoneer still maintains an iron grip on the summer communities of Cape Cod, the Hamptons, Martha’s Vineyard and all of the mid-Atlantic and northeast coast, fresh (old) Defenders are arriving by the boatload and keeping independent mechanics employed and well-fed with lobster.
While rubber-bumper MGBs and Land Rover Defenders arguably represent the bottom and top end, respectively, of seasonal summer beach house transportation, there are plenty of arguments to be made for less flashy fare that doesn’t need regular visits to U.K. eBay to source parts. We have plenty of our own troublesome classics here in the U.S., thank you very much, that are perfectly suitable for beach house duty of hauling beverages from the town packy in comfort and style, and serving as the means to see and be seen.
What’s your idea of the perfect classic summer beach house car or truck?
Let us know in the comments below.
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