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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

According to you: 7 cars that ruled the high school parking lot

A driver's license is a ticket to freedom that comes at an interesting time in life. It was a rite of passage for many budding car enthusiasts, but likely before we had our license we were hitching a ride or getting dropped off at high school while ogling the upperclassman's sweet cars and trucks in the parking lot.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/hagerty-community/according-to-you-7-cars-that-ruled-the-high-school-p...
190 REPLIES 190
drm101
Detailer

I went to Clarkston High School '83 to '85 and parked my stock white '67 SS 396 4 speed in the far corner where the drive came in so everyone could see it. It had those mag hub caps. Never should have sold it.
Scrambler1
New Driver

Small world I went to Lewiston Senior High during those years Go Bengals Lol , My Old Man Owned P&M proven Parts , I Enjoyed being Raised in a wrecking yard during the 80s .

Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

1989-1990: I owned a 1968 Chevy Impala Custom Coupe (I hate that year's fastback model), freaking party wagon...eeeeeeverybody wanted to go for rides in it. The interior comfortably seated five...while the trunk comfortably reclined four (I found four idiots who were willing to try this with the trunk closed).

Had that era of Chevrolet not been so horribly engineered (it was a terrible car), I'd probably still own that car or another one. The funny bit is that in 1989, this car was in absolutely terrible shape (this era of car did not hold together very well), but my current project car is a 1996 Ford Thunderbird that is 26 years old (My Impala was only 21 when I got it), and it's in incredible shape in comparison, never mind it being an older-to-me car when I bought it.
Ditto for a 1977 Chevy Camaro that my dad had floating around a car lot in 1987, I'm having trouble remembering another Camaro since then that was so hideously worn out (it looked like it had been junkyard material for decades, never mind it was only ten years old).

To that end, I suggest any 1965-1970 big GM coupe, or at least the B-bodies, anyway...if you have the time and money to maintain constant upkeep...and really love just how much back seat room there is.

exatx
Pit Crew

ScaryLarryPants, the '77 Camaro was a terrible car from the factory, IMO. Our first car after college was a new '77 and I truly hated that car. Not enough headroom for me to drive without tilting my head to one side, for one thing, and multiple problems as the miles accumulated. Almost as bad as the Jeep Wagoneer we had next!
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

"Almost as bad as the Jeep Wagoneer we had next!"

Dear God. My wife would almost very nearly sorta kill to own one of those (she's loved them for decades).

I told her 'no' unless I was able to lift the body off the frame, push the frame off of a rather large cliff, slide something, anything else under the Wagoneer body, reattach the body, and hope that the body doesn't shake itself apart.

Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

Concerning the '77 Camaro, some kid came in and bought the turd on payments, and it disappeared for about three months.

 

The Camaro came back, and for whatever reason, the kid wanted to return the car, he couldn't pay for it, was nearly crying about it, my Dad was about to offer just to let the kid keep the thing (we reeeeeeeally didn't want the car back, it was that bad of a heap), when he sorta had something of a meltdown, dropped the keys on my Dad's desk, and ran out. 

It also wasn't like the car was stupidly expensive, I think we sold it for $1500, and the payments were only like $100 a month. 

After everything settled down, I went out to drive the Camaro into the repo lot, opened the crusty door, sat down on the hammered driver's seat, noticed that it had a brand-new Auto Meter three gauge set (the 2 5/8"s gauges), thought, "hmmm", and started the car.

Whatever was now under the hood wasn't the crappy 307 that the Camaro left with, as it was extra tasty nasty, as in a rather healthy and deep idle...and the hood and fenders were dancing around just a bit. I revved it a few times, let it idle again, and popped the hood...only to find that this kid had dropped a fresh BBC under the hood, aftermarket parts, headers, fresh TH400 transmission...and had touched nothing else, all the front end bushings were still garbage, it still even had the same crappy tires and wheels that were on the car when we sold it. I rooted around in the glovebox and found a machine shop receipt for a 468 BBC, early/good oval port heads, all Comp drivetrain, forged pistons, forged crank, 4-bolt mains, around four grand in late 1980's dollars.

And he returned the car because he couldn't afford the $100 a month payment?

After my dad nearly fainted upon seeing what was under the hood, we honestly tried to contact every number that the kid had written down on his paperwork...nobody would return calls, we were going to try to give the car back, and nobody ever got back with us.

I'm now curious if the car tried to kill him and he got scared, as it was terrifying to drive with that beast under the hood...and worn out bushings everywhere. The car was eventually scrapped a month later, with the engine and trans going into a 1981 C10 Heavy Half project of my dad's that originally had a diesel under the hood, and then a 13:1 406 small block later on (not sure why he built it that way, it would only run on race gas, and it was slow as hell in the pickup).

It was stupid quick with the big block in it.

br4271
Pit Crew

What was your problem? Never had sense enough to do a few modifications to it? I had a 77 Trans Am. Just put on Headers, a better Cam, changed a few things with the Carb metering rods, Dual Exhaust, Ignition curve and that car could eat a brand new "5 Litre rustang or Z 28 and still had room for a Corvette. It was the golden time for Mechanics.
krdale
Intermediate Driver

Had a 67 Mustang S code GT . . . in the early 80s . . . put in a 68 CJ engine and manual throttle body C6.
Had a few run ins with Trans Ams . . . by the top of 2nd had two car lengths on them once with 4 people in my car. Beat a W30 Olds at the Drag Strip by over 1/2 a second.
Had a buddy that used to run a 69 CJ fastback with slicks in the 11s.
Rider79
Technician

Boy, I sure never had any real trouble with my 1968 Impala Custom Coupe 327.
Smilodon
Instructor

See my comment, first car a 396 '67 Impala SS with the fastback. Later, in the military, I had a '68 Impala Custom coupe, in Rally green with a white vinyl top and white over black interior- it had a 402 and auto with the "stirrup" shifter. 15x8 Keystone Kustomags on the front, 15x10s on the back, stance- a lot of stance, the taillights were higher than my belt buckle- set by Gabriel HiJacker air shocks. A non handling pig, but hey! The '80s!. Dunno about your bad experience with these, the only real problems I ever had with this era big GM cars were rear quarter rust and leaky rear glass seals.
Impfan
Pit Crew

Back in April of 1980, i purchased a 68 Impala Custom with 63,000 on the clock. A 12 year old car at the time. Other than a rust hole in the trunk through the right rear body mount area, the car was in fairly decent shape for an Oshawa built Canadian car. Still have that car today. Sure it doesn't handle like a German luxury car or a Ferrari. However, it's a solid ride on the highways and in the city. It's a cruiser. Get's a heck of a lot of looks too. I agree with you on your preferance of roof line for that model year. There were a lot of them. However, the Custom/Caprice roof line is the best.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

There's work that can be done to improve the basic steering, suspension, and brakes: But how much do you want to spend?

I slightly miss the car, but the constant parts breakage became rather irritating, culminating in a spot where I was pulled over for having a taillight out (a constant problem with this car), and I couldn't roll down the window (the regular broke...again right at that point), and then the inside door handle mechanism also snapped off as I tried to open the door for the state patrolman that pulled me over, holding my hands up where he could see them and then opened the door.

I showed him both handles after he opened the door, laughed, and then told me to get the taillights fixed...and maybe that I should sell the car...which I did about a month's worth of wrecking yard searching turned up similarly broken replacement door and window bits.

Isaiah1000
Intermediate Driver

I graduated in 01. By then muscle cars were too expensive for high schoolers to have, but square bodies and etc. were still fairly cheap. Our parking lot was a cheap lift kit showplace. My new springs in the front and blocks in the back cost ($300?) from Rough Country. Some cheaper Rancho shocks and the cheapest bigger tires (possibly used) we could find and we were in the air for under a 1k.
Kyle
Moderator

You mentioning lift blocks is giving me flashbacks, and not necessarily the good kind. The worst offender was a dentside Ford on Super Swampers that had no right to be on the road. That poor truck.
Isaiah1000
Intermediate Driver

I've had several "dentside" highboy Ford F-250s, sold my last one a couple years ago. I think it had blocks from the factory (if I remember right). Doesn't matter if it was factory design, you're right that it wasn't great. I had a fairly healthy (for a while) 390 and it didn't matter because it would just hop when I punched the throttle hard; the exhaust sounded magnificent though. But, would it have been safer if I'd been able to get the power to the ground better... I'm not sure. They sat high enough that I never wanted to buy a lift though.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

"You mentioning lift blocks is giving me flashbacks, and not necessarily the good kind."

Yes, this. 

Lift blocks are rectangular-shaped leverage bars/cheater pipes, and are only good for destroying rear u-joints on a far-speedier basis. I was an assistant manager at an auto parts store that was the last one between that particular city and several off-road areas. 

I've never sold as many rear u-joints before or since (sometimes a few times a day to the same customer), all due to lift blocks wiping them out.

audiobycarmine
Technician

Nary even one Mustang?
MustangJim
Technician

I owned a mustang in high school. Candy apple red fasrback. 289 2bbl with 3 speed. I got a 4 barel manifold and carb from an a code car in the junkyard along with a 4speed so it became credible. Tourqe thrusts, sheby side scoops, etc... was a cool car. But the question was, what was the coolest car there and it was not mine. Its was the 69 z28 with the tunnel ram, dual quads, huge cam, 4;88  rear, etc.... there werr many others so i loved mine but it was not coolest by far. Cars werr cheap then, all you had to do was wotk after school and weekends in a gas station. I was lucky enough to be higher then minimum wage because i could do wrenching in addition to pumping gas.

MustangJim
Technician

I just realised the question was top 7 cars ( reading comprehension is not good anymore). I guess my mustang qualified for top 7. There were several camaro, goats, chevelles, nova, etc.. 

florence
New Driver

In 1970, Chevy Malibus were popular.
Maestro1
Technician

Kyle, memories! I went to school with the following cars as I remember them: a Hillman Minx Convertible (!). A magnificent Rolls with no body, being driven on an orange crate
nailed to something, probably a cross frame, year unknown but I would say a 30s anyway.
A beautiful mist green Pontiac Chieftan Convertible, one Lincoln of unknown Series, and
an earth tone Jaguar driven by someone I tried to date.
dgrebs
New Driver

A Hillman Minx convertible! Did we go to SHS in Springfield, IL together?? My brother and then I drove a baby blue Minx - when it ran. We had to pour hot water over the carb to start it in winter. Woulda been between 1963-1967.
boatops
New Driver

I went to an all boys Vocational high school 1965-69, My first car was a 1957 Oldsmobile Super 88 sedan I paid $15 for, Most others had '57 Chevy or Ford Maybe newest student car was a 1963 Ford Falcon. Today I own a '57 Olds 88 Holiday sedan, '62 Olds Convertible and '64 Imperial Convertible. I love the Classics
TA76
Advanced Driver

My Dad either made or working the dies for those Olds. We had 62 Fire engine red convertible - still is my favorite.
Autocar
Intermediate Driver

Ten year old 55 chevy sedan 210. 6cyl, 3 on the tree from local scrap yard $ 50 then. May pop tires, custom by crunch body panels, cracked windshield, spring popping out of drivers seat were some of the accessories. Wish I had that now.
tcchuck2005
Intermediate Driver

None of these were in our school lot in 1991. Would have been pretty cool though.
Doximan
Pit Crew

I went to high school in So. Cal and VW bugs ruled the parking lot along with VW busses.
The rich kids had the mustangs and BMWs.
JGeske
Instructor

In 2012, I had just started dating a lady who would go on to be my wife. Early in the relationship, we took a short trip to meet her brother, who lived in a small midwest town/city (about 30k population) about 2 hours away. While there, we all went to lunch, and as we pulled into the parking lot of the restaurant, my eye caught something I could not believe was parked in that restaurant in this small Wisconsin city, A GRAND NATIONAL! When we car parked, I bailed out and ran across the parking lot to snap a few pictures, without having said a word to any of them. They are not car people and thought I was nuts! Inside, I explained the significance of the car, and how astronomically low the chances of seeing one apparently being used as a daily (given there was no car show in the area and it was parked at a restaurant, not to mention it showed the kind of tire wear and interior untidiness that a daily driver would have) just sitting in the wild in central Wisconsin.
Highwatermark
Pit Crew

We clearly went to very different high schools. There were a couple of Camaros, but mostly Mustangs, Novas, Chevelles, and maybe an El Camino. Maybe a Challenger? And a couple really nice older real pickups - I'm thinking of a mid-60's Chevy and a 40's era Ford in particular. The only moderately cool European car I can recall was a Saab my friend Joe drove. Moderately cool, at most. I drove a 68 442 (probably a clone, but I was 17, what did I know?) that was always just a little faster than my friend's 70 Mustang.
FlBoy
Intermediate Driver

As a senior back in '70 I had a Porsche powered VW beetle. My brother had totalled his E Production Speedster and my Dad put the motor in my '65 VW. Probably had a whole 90 horsepower but it sounded baaad....
Hydra6
New Driver

Went to high school in south GA in late 70s and college early 80s. In Savannah GA the college parking lot had Hemi Cudas, Shelby GT500KRs, Super Birds, and my 1970 Boss 302. Just a bunch of gas guzzling Muscle Cars. I still have the Boss 302 from my freshman year of college!
slaudick
Pit Crew

Drove a 1967 Galaxie 500 2 door, 390FE, with drum brakes that never seemed to work. Sold it to buy a Torino, then sold it to buy a Cougar. Liked them all, now on the hunt to get a Galaxie back, drum brakes and all.
florence
New Driver

My first drive was my folks 1963 Galaxie 500. Made me the most popular gal in my high school class.
Timbo
Detailer

We weren't rich; we walked to school, pre bussing.
marcsdad50
New Driver

High school for me was 1964-1968. A few "rich "kids drove late model muscle cars. Most drove 40's 50's and early 60's cars. I had a 1941 cadillac hearse.
Geisenj
Pit Crew

Graduated in 82’ back in WNY. Small all boys catholic school. The lot was pretty decent. I had a 70 coronet 440 model with a 318. There were some early 70s Montes (71, 73) a couple Z28s (79/80) and my buddies Blue bomb! A 78 Dodge Aspen in powder blue!!! Man we beat that car to death!
tbirdhs
New Driver

1966-70. Went to Tech high school for autobody. Many 327 impala's 62-66. I had a 65 galaxie XL conv. 427cu, 410 HP. But it was not the fastest in our 250 yard long parking lot, it was between the 396 chevelle and 427 Impala. The newest car in the lot was a 69 Torino GT conv. 390cu.
cole
Pit Crew

Corvair kid in high school amongst other cars and bikes I would stash at friends or nearby locations. Family is still talking about that and not much has changed. My favorite was a Red 65 Monza with 140. Dropped the top in between rains.
dblinton
Pit Crew

Two vehicles stand out for me. One was a brand new Dodge half ton (1968) that my buddy had bought with the money he earned driving a pea harvester after school and weekends...only brand new vehicle in the lot...not counting "mommies or daddies car".
The other was a 50's pickup...six cylinder three on the tree. An awesome truck driven by an awesome guy. He was in my older sisters class and was the all Ontario heavyweight wrestling champ and a star fullback.
bradleydad
Intermediate Driver

Oh my, some of us have gotten really old. Assuming the cars in high school parking lots were at least 5 years old when they appeared I was already old enough to be a grandfather in the case of the Grand National. I'm surprised the Jeep made this list. I occasionally drove a farm jeep with a Studebaker fathead six stuffed in it but it was only because I would be pulling cotton wagons with it after school. The one guy with real horsepower rode his horse occasionally. It would wander around the school grounds all day nibbling on the grass or looking into class windows looking for its kid.
Studenorton
Instructor

The Fathead is a highly sought-after motor, now.
Bokeoyaji
Intermediate Driver

There were a lot of "fatheads" in my HS. They thought they were the know-it-alls, acting all superior.
Formula400
New Driver

1978 Montclair High School NJ. I had a bad ass 1971 Firebird Formula 400 4 speed in Castillon Bronze. I was so sad the day I sold that car. I searched for 6 years to find the same car and finally found it about 3 years ago. She's not a four speed but an original all numbers matching with less than 8000 original miles. What memories she brings up. Other cars at school back then were Chevelle's and GTO's. God what I would give to be back there again knowing what I know now!!
GnomeSayin
New Driver

In my HS parking lot in the early 70's I can remember a '69 SS396 Chevelle 4 spd, a '62 Impala 409 4 spd, a '64 Chevelle SS 4 spd, a '70 Plymouth Superbird automatic(Daddy bought it for him), '64 Falcon Convertible 289 4 spd, '57 Chevy 327 4 spd, a '67 Camaro 327 4 spd, a 50's Triumph TR3, as well as several VW Bugs.
GForce
Pit Crew

Was a big mix of handy downs and scrap vehicles at our broke-ass school. Was a lot of older Mustangs and pickups in need of work (many probably shouldn't be on the road). One guy had a fully restored '70 Chevelle SS with a 454 cowl induction. Gold and black stripes. Another had a late 70's Trans Am, but had to sell it after getting a DUI and couldn't afford the insurance.
gtokdx1
Detailer

High School for me was 74 to 76. Had a 69 Javelin SST in Big Bad Orange. Friends had a 68 2-dr LTD, 69 Dart, 67 Galaxy 500, 70 Cougar. All of them with L-60-15's and jacked up so high in the rear that after Armor All-ing the seats, you slid right off of them! Great times!!!
jsmcol
New Driver

I graduated in 1976 from a Cleveland suburb. We had a history teacher (he was also an assistant football coach for the varsity) that had a 1965 Milano maroon Corvette convertible (black top and interior). He used to park it in the back with other teacher cars, but always in the same spot. I loved seeing that car. One night after a football game we came out of the band room which was right by the teacher parking, and someone had taken a baseball bat to his car, smashed all the windows, body panels, etc. I couldn't believe someone would do that, I almost cried seeing it, I can't imagine what he felt. I don't remember seeing it after that, and don't know if he got it fixed and just kept it home. He also had a Volvo P1800 two seater, it was like a yellowish-gold color.
He was super nice to everyone, I hope they caught the punks that mangled his car...
JHMk1
Pit Crew

Plus any pickup from the 70s and early 80s
Forester
Intermediate Driver

From 1968 - 1971 our high school had the whole gamete of muscle cars. GTOs, Chargers, Roadrunners, SS's, Shelbys, Z/28s, Machs, Cobras, 442s, and AMC Rebel. We were NOT a rich farming community, just one that loved hot cars. One of the hottest rigs that never made it to school, was an orange grove spray rig that the shop built that had a 440 wedge in it. The burnouts it made were epic.