Deciding which places have the “coolest” car culture is not an easy task.
For this difficult project, I decided to consult with the multitudes of threads on the web, where people argue as to which place really owns the title of having the ‘coolest’ cars. Additionally, I analyzed a 2015 Men’s Health article which attempts to rank cities, based on quantitative stats including number of “cool cars,” “auto-show attendance,” and number of “auto part stores” (among three other categories), on their car culture.
The following list is a result of my findings, with Chicago in the five spot due to my own sentimentality and roots (although it should be a part of any larger list, as it does have a vibrant car culture).
1. Southern California: Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, San Jose
L.A. is home to the celebs whom live in the limelight. If you ever are cruising Sunset, look out for the Rolls Royce, Bentley, Maserati, Ferrari, etc. brands parked in front of the popular restaurants.
So-Cal has developed a culture replete with car models spanning low-riders to muscle cars. However, it is the luxury and sports cars which reign in Beverly Hills and the Sunset Strip. Oh yeah, and there is always Orange County…
2. Texas: Arlington, Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston
Texas boasts a large car diversity, in-spite of the stereotype of Texans being pickup truck people—although it still is home to great pickups.
For such a cultural center of the US, a part of the culture is devoted to ‘cool’ cars. There are multiple Texas Edition vehicles which are rolled-out at the Texas State Fair. However the driving roads are congested, sometimes making a problem for folks who want to simply cruise down the highway.
3. North and South Dakota: Fargo and Sioux Falls
Fargo was a capital in the auto-industry beginning in the early 20th Century. Sioux City is home to the “All Ford Car Show.” Excellent driving roads are consistent across both states.
In South Dakota, there is a club which exists for car enthusiasts called the “Pierre Street Masters,” which meets once a week and organizes events including the “Rod Run” and “Dam Run.” According to Phu Nguyen of the Capital Journal, this area attracts car lovers, and the club is open to lovers of cars even if they don’t own an antique car. Nguyen states that one of the members owns a vintage “1923 Model-T.”
4. Michigan: Detroit and Grand Rapids
This is the true home of America’s auto industry. No list of ‘cool’ car cultures would be complete without it. However, it is the Woodward Dream Cruise festival where car enthusiasts really flock for a showcase of 20,000 to 30,000 classic cars on the day of the event but also during the week leading-up.
According to Detroit’s Visitor Bureau, the event attracts around 1 million people annually. Reddit threads speak of people lining up all week to see all types of customized and classic cars.
The auto show in Chicago is a huge draw for people. I remember taking a day off high school every year to attend with my friends.
Aside from that, there is such a large population of people whom love to talk about cars. One of my neighbors’ owned a classic Charger, and another owned a classic Pontiac 1970 GTO.
Every one of my childhood friends on and around my block loved learning about cars. While my experience is not the same for all Chicagoans, it is the reason I put my hometown on the list.
This list is always going to be debate worthy, as it relies on personal perceptions as to what constitutes ‘cool.’ For me, a car culture is ‘cool’ if its population engages car issues on a regular basis.
Care about cars, no matter what model, make, or year, allows me to label a specific culture as ‘cool.’
It is about the passion these people display, because if they spend valuable time discussing it, then clearly they think it’s a ‘cool’ topic.