Recently in my internet travels, I came across this article titled “12 Cheap Cars That Will Make You Look Rich” on Chron.com. The first car pictured is a CTS-V coupe, and that they say it’s “worth the $15,000”. The engine for that car goes for fifteen grand on eBay, but never mind that. The rest of the cars listed include such baller rides as the Ford Escape, Kia Soul, Ford Fiesta, and the Mazda CX-7. Car blogger Torrie Hardcastle sure has a pretty smile.
The idea isn’t unique to Chron.com, though, as MensMagazine.com has a similar list-style link bait article with a similar list of cars. Not sure who had the idea first, but judging by the lack of a date on the MensMagazine article and the fact that they ambiguously credit photos to “Flickr”, my money’s on Chron.
Complex.com did their own list, with a slightly better list of cars, although the inclusion of a Buick LaCrosse and Toyota Prius C makes me question their judgement. Jalopnik is probably the closest to getting it right, by including rides like the older Porsches and Jags and leaving Toyota and Ford off the list.
Here’s the Legion of Weirdos list of attainable autos that will make you look like you’re more financially blessed than you probably are. I’ve upped the ante to $40,000 and under. Believing you’ll be mistaken for Donald Trump in a $15,000 is very unlikely, the best you can do with that kind of money is to buy a classic Mustang or a 1960s Cadillac and keep ’em guessing. Oh, and by the way, these are used cars, because everyone recognizes and inexpensive new car and nobody is going to think you’re going to make it rain when you roll up in a Kia:
Maserati Quattroporte (2004-2011) – These stylish looking sedans can be had all day for less than $40,000, and possibly under thirty grand if you’re willing to take an older model. The Italian-ness just oozes off this Pininfarina-designed family hauler. The base model has a 395 horsepower V8 engine, and the average Joe can’t tell that one from the GT.
Jaguar XK (2007-2009) – These little coupes look like an Austin Martin for a reason, the same guy designed them; Ian Callum. These aren’t hard to find for just under $30,000. The least powerful model has a top speed of 158mph and your friends in the Kia will be green with envy. Some sort of weird, light metallic green.
Porsche Cayenne (2004-2008) – This is one instance where you’re advised NOT to get the base model, because it’s basically a VW and, well, you can tell from across the parking lot it’s nothing special. Get the S or Turbo S level…
No, scratch that, get the Turbo for sure. You’ll have a grocery wagon that goes to 60mph in less than six seconds. You’ll also have a hell of a gasoline bill, but at least you’re not driving a Prius C!
Porsche 911 (various) – Pretty much any Porsche 911 you can get for between fifteen and thirty grand is going to look rich, even if it’s an old one. Only Porsche snobs are going to recognize you don’t have the Turbo or whatever, but who cares? You’re not trying to pull the wool over their eyes, you’re trying to catch the envy of little Torrie and the Hyundai Sonata fanatics over at Complex.com! Plus you’ll have amusement park type fun driving this thing!
Audi A8 (2002-2009) – What if I told you you could get yourself a top-model 2008 German luxury sedan with a Bang and Olufsen stereo and the trimmings for about $22,000. I’m looking at one on eBay right now. The damned thing was over a hundred grand new, and nobody needs to know you didn’t pay that! This one would work especially well if you’re in your late 30s or older.
Bentley Arnage (2000-2003-ish) – Oh, and let’s face it, nobody driving a Ford Escape knows anything about Bentleys. They’re going to think Rick Rubin is producing your tracks and your label gave you the advance of the century! Either that or they’ll think you’re an old white dude who lives in La Jolla.
Maserati Quattroporte via public domain, Jaguar XK via “London Flash Cars” on Flickr by Creative Commons 2.0 license (THAT’S how you do a damned Flickr photo credit, by the way!), Porsche Cayenne via public domain, Porsche 911 via public domain, Audi A8 via permission by attribution, Bentley Arnage via public domain, Lithograph car icon image public domain via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Oh, and all this was written, without copying someone else’s list, by Christopher. Cheers.