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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.
190 REPLIES 190
New Driver

A little while before I turned sixteen, my buddy Denny’s parents bought him a new 70 Roadrunner- blue, black vinyl top, 383 4speed, and not a lot else. But NEW. A few months later, I convinced dad that it was time to go shopping. Dad’s comment : I don’t want to buy some piece of junk that needs fixing all the time … my response: neither do I! I want a new car, like Dennys. His response: we’re not the Bennetts, son. Fast forward, a month later we walk into the local Ford store, and in their used car showroom was a 66 Mustang convertible. Strange motor, all clattery and noisy, headers… dad says no way. A few days later, I get off the bus and there was that K code convertible. Five years old, $1000….
New Driver

Between the '73 gas crisis and how quickly cars rusted in Detroit at the time, muscle cars were a relative bargain when I turned 16. A 4 speed '67 Chevelle SS with a hot 396 was the car that turned everyone's heads when it cruised into the lot. I quickly traded up from my '67 Barracuda (with the legendary 273 Powerpack V8) for a '68 Charger with a 383 Magnum. My car, along with another Charger and a '71 351 Mustang made up the second tier behind the Chevelle.

A friend's neighbor wanted to trade her gas-hog '68 Hemi Charger for my 383, but I turned her down as it had a bench seat with a column shifted automatic - Sigh.
Intermediate Driver

This is obviously geared toward and gals younger than I am as most of the cars on this list were not around yet when I was in high school. Tri-five Chevys were the most prevalent at high schools when I went with a few lucky kids with 58 to 63 Impalas. I was a poor farm kid so I worked hard to get my 55 Belair Sport Coupe. I remember there being quite a few 56 Belairs, one 55 Nomad, 1 57 210, a 64 Fairlane Sport Coupe with a Hipo 289 4 speed, and a rare 61 Impala 350 hp 348 4 speed. I almost forgot that another farm kid had a 40 Ford with a 327 Chevy and a 4 speed that was one of the most envied in the student parking lot. Great cars in the mid 60s.

There was no parking lot, had to park on the street but it was a great excuse on why you were late for class. True story.
New Driver

Well, my '68 RS Z/28 was my ride in college - does that count? Dad and I went shopping for a "reliable vehicle" (vs my '63 Mini...). Turns out it was a great investment as I still have it!
New Driver

I drove my 66 GTO convertible to high school in the 80s. I bought it from my parents on my 16th birthday, and I still have it. One of my brother's drove a built 68 road runner, which he also still has, but it's beautifully restored now. Another brother had a 69 Judge, which he unfortunately no longer has. There were lots of other muscle cars at our school too.

Parking lot? We had on street parking and only two vehicles. A 1964 Impala SS with a 283 automatic and a '63 Chevy II 2dr post with a 327 4 speed and other bits obtained from Midnight Auto Supply.
Pit Crew

Graduated in 1985 From Cardinal Spellman in "Da Bronx" The cars we had get no love !!! Colonade body 1974 Chevelle / Malibu, 1975 Olds Cutlass, and Regals & Grand Prixs of the same years 1973 - 1977. My brothers 1979 Camarao with T Tops !!! My Friends El Dorado Barritz !!!
Ah, The Forgotten Years !!! Give Us some love, PLEASE !!!

Interesting article and enjoyable responses. There were only a couple of kids in my graduating class of a total of 72 kids that drove cars to school in 1963 although all of us wanted one. Needless to say, none of the cars on this list were in the school parking lot! One my buddies did have Cushman Eagle motor scooter though. Damn I was envious and have always wanted one.
Intermediate Driver

Guess it would depend on when you went to high school, wouldn't it?

70 Cutlass, 70 Vista Crusier, 2-68 Chevelles, g-body Malibu’s and Montes, a 70 Monte Carlo with open headers, and tons of fox body mustangs.

I lost my parking permit for doing a Smokey burnout in the lot after school, so I swiped my sisters old parking hang tag and drove her ElCamino.

In the early 70’s My High School parking lot was filled with Muscle Cars … Besides my 70 Boss 302 and my brothers 71 “Cleveland” 351 Mach I there was a 70 Trans Am , 70 Z/28 , 69 350 S/S Nova , 67 Corvette , 66 XKE , 71 4-4-2 , 70 S/S Chevelle 454-LS/5 , 69 383 Charger , 70 340 Duster , 2 69 Mach I ‘s…it was a dazzling display
New Driver

Cars in my high school parking lot that got my attention were: 1940 Chevy coupe, two 1949 Ford 2 door sedans, 1950 Ford sedan, 1948 Studebaker pickup, 1948 Ford coupe, 1948 GMC school bus. I attended a small school.
Advanced Driver

I don't know where the folks who responded to your survey went to school but where I was-mabe 4 or 5 kids had their own car(out of 350 or 400 students--Some got to drive their parents cars sometimes-
Advanced Driver

I'm talking High School not college -

Right. 600 in our high school and only three or four kids had their own cars, 18 miles upriver from NYC in the '60s.
Have to wonder at all these posters who owned new or nearly new cars of any sort, let alone rip snorters at the tender, usually impoverished ages of 16-17.
Sounds like bolshoi to me.  I think some of these respondents are so auto Pavlovian they respond with their college cars.   Even in college, most of us rode bikes or took the bus.  We were too busy studying to screw around with cars.

Pit Crew

I'm with "MikeOD" except I had a 1943 WWII Ford Jeep with the original 6 volt system (try cranking that engine after sitting in 0 degree weather). Purchased it for $1 from my aunt who had the Jeep in England but brought it back to the US in the mid 60's. (It had been sent over to England back in '43 for the build-up of Overlord.) It was my first car in '67. Had the original canvas top for winter use, no heater. That Jeep spent a lot of time off-road when I was in high school. Unlike most of you guys who gave up you great rides, I still have my ride almost 60 years later! And I still drive around with a big smile on my face like I did when I was 16. 🙂
Pit Crew

I bought the Jeep when I turned 16 in '78. I rebuilt the engine over the summer of '79 because it was burning a quart of oil every 50 miles due to a broken piston ring. It was my only car during high school and college. I grew up, and still live in the Cleveland, OH area. No heater, but I had a full canvas top for the Jeep. I dressed like I was going to be outside in the winter to keep from freezing to death while driving it. I couldn't get any of the muscle car kids to race me. Of course it was stipulated that I would choose the race course!
New Driver

This was a fun read, In 1983 85 drove my 69 Chevelle SS396 my dad bought new 4 speed, fully loaded car. Fortunately I still have it and was able to restore it decades later after my divorce. The best part of the article was the jeep at the end. My folks go to car was their 62 Jeep which I too drove to high school….it’s in need of restoration and hopefully down the road I can get it going.
Intermediate Driver

I had a '69 Z28. But it was my senior year of college— not high school. In high school I had a Honda 150 Dream. I wouldn't mind have them both back.
Pit Crew

Back around 1980 a friend had a 79 or 80 teas am, triple gold. His dad bought it for him but he hardly ever drove it because he didn’t have a job and his old man refused to give him gas money
New Driver

I was a senior in 1979. My parents helped me buy a new red Ford Fairmont Futura sport coupe as a graduation gift. I didn't tell anyone until I had it and put aluminum wheels and white letter tires on it and drove it to school the first time. I had had my eye on a cute junior girl, but she wouldn't give me the time of day. I rolled in one day and she saw my car and asked for a ride home. The answer was NOPE! and drove off without her. 30 years later I found the exact car and bought it back. I restored it to how it was as a senior and didn't tell my buddies until it was done. Once and a while I think of that cute junior, look over at my wife riding with me and am glad I drove off without her!

In 1980's, there were first gen Camaros, Firebirds, 'Stangs, Torinos,etc- but the one ride that had me
stopped in my tracks was the senior who drove a full custom, chopped 1953 Ford F100.
New Driver

I graduated Santa Barbara High in '77, drove a 1970 'Cuda with a 340 and Hurst pistol grip 4 speed. With Carter 4bbl, 10.5 to 1 compression, an aluminum intake, electronic ignition, and glass packs exiting in front of rear axle it would take most anything. However, there were several "mini" Japanese trucks that had small block Chevy motor swaps, and one with a 500 cubic inch Cadillac engine! Also interesting was a Gremlin with a 401 AMC motor. Cruising on State Street, racing on Ward Memorial toward the pacific and UCSB, those were the days!
New Driver

1986-87 Plano Senior High School - GTO Judge, Olds 442, XR7, SS El Camino, Porsche 914, '73 Cutlass (mine), 3-Series Bimmers, 1st Gen and Fox Body Mustangs, Chevy bread truck, and 1, 2 & 3rd Gen Camaros stood out among the variety of cars in our lot. Good times.
Advanced Driver

1955-1957 were my High School years--in a school with a huge student body. Most students did not have the luxury of a motor vehicle. Some had bicycles. Here are the motor vehicles which I most recall:
A '47 Chevy Coupe (I rode in this vehicle with my buddy--I actually fell out of this car when my buddy turned a corner and the door came open!)
A '52 MGTD--I rode in this one, too, with another buddy, Terry Nolan (who later got into Rock-n-Roll music)
A '55 SunLiner Ford. This fellow would circle the school campus during the lunch hour, showing off his wonderful 2-door car.
Then, there were the Twins who had a Jeepster
Kids were fortunate to have cars back then. I either was driven to school or rode my bicycle! I usually walked home from school.

Advanced Driver

Kyle, my attempt at commenting seems to have dropped off the page, so here goes again: I went to a large high school from 1955 through 1957. I did not have a car. My mother drove me to school, or during good weather I rode my bicycle. There were numerous other bicycle riders. I mostly walked home after school. Most of my classmates' pattern of reaching high school matched mine. However, there were a few automobiles driven by students which stood out to me. One was a 1952 MG TD Roadster driven by a friend in my neighborhood. Terry Nolan later made it into Rock-N-Roll. I got to ride with him in his MG. Another long-time friend had a '47 Chevy Coupe. Once when he was taking me home after school--he made a sharp left-hand turn and the passenger's door flew open and out I tumbled! Twins at high school drove a Jeepster! One of the guys had a new '55 Sun Liner Ford which he drove round and round the campus during lunch break. Another boy had a new white over yellow Chevy 2-door. I later rode in this car when he no longer drove this car. Today, when I pass the local high school, I am amazed to see the lot filled (FILLED) with late-model cars which the students drive!
Advanced Driver

I deserve to know why you are removing my comments!
New Driver

Mine was a 70' Nova SS 396. My dad was a high school Principal. When I left for college, he sold it to one of his students for $1200 dollars. I got half of the money. Whenever dad sold a car he always said the same thing to the buyer; "if it starts, the warranty has expired". I sure wish I could find that car (if it's still out there). I remember the CA license plate number but I don't have the VIN. Anyone has any idea how to (legally) find out if someone owns it still? As for other cars in the parking lot, my buddy had a 68 or 69 (don't remember for sure) GTX with a 440. It was super fast. He got a lot of "exhibition of speed tickets" 🙂
New Driver

1964 Ford Galaxy 500 Convertible Coupe, 352 Cleveland 4 barrel, Sky Blue with a Dark Blue top...
Pit Crew

My junior year, 65’/66’, a senior got a 65’ GTO with tri-power that the previous owner had swapped a 421 into but had kept the 3 2’s. He promptly welded in a set of “dumps”. Remember those? He’d uncork them every morning before he drove into the high school parking lot. Impressive, to say the least, to a bunch of 16 year old wanna be hot riders. Wish I had that car now.
Intermediate Driver

for those who didn't have a car at all, ANY car would've been cooler than riding the bus or being driven to school
Pit Crew

Had I continued with HS past mid sophomore year, long story, in the lot would've been my Victory Red with black vinyl top and interior '69 Chevy Nova SS 350, Muncie 4-speed, posi and full console gauges. The person I got her from, near new, said that it had been built as new by Belanger Chevrolet which I think was in Michigan.
Apparently she had been because I rowed her to a best of 13:25 at the former Speedrome, now The Strip at LV, which is at an altitude of 2,011'.
Unfortunately I got drafted and never got to take her to the tracks in So Cal where I would've likely gotten her into the 12s. 😞
She is the car I should NEVER have parted with. 😞
I do have a rare '68 Chevy II Nova SS 350 decked out the same way, though white over green, but she was 2.5 seconds slower IN So Cal at Carlsbad. 😮
New Driver

HS was 66 to 70   There was 3 1967 vetts 1 69 chevell SS 396 375 HP hugger orange several mustangs. Most unique was Pontiac Catalina wagon with the 421 with a 4 barrel carb. My friends mothers car.  


I drove a 396 3spd auto '67 Impala SS, in Madiera/Honduras maroon, black bucket interior in high school. 7 inch flat cap Chevy rally rims with G60-15 Kelly white letter tires, 6cyl Chevelle front springs and station wagon rears with spacers for stance, Doug's headers and Cherry Bombs with a 2.5 inch exhaust, dumped right behind the rear tires, no crossover, Edelbrock dual plane with a Holley 750 vacuum secondary carb. Obligatory Jensen 6x9 coaxial speakers driven by an under dash Pioneer SuperTuner through an AudioVox "graphic equalizer/amp". God I miss that car. '67 the most unloved of all the true SS Impalas (save for the SS427, which wasn't marketed as an Impala), yet IMHO the best looking. Slick, front corner marker lights, taillights completely different from any other Impala but instantly recognizable, and in 1974 far more affordable (insurance too!) than any other SS, GTO, Mustang, or performance Mopar. Even with the 396. Which had it's own legend- I replaced the 325hp air cleaner decals with 375hp ones as soon as possible. GOD, I miss that car.
New Driver

Grad 2001. And we all had g-bodies. Cutlass, regal, Monty, grand prix, you name it. And one lucky kid had a grand national. Every other kid had an s10 truck.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

Naturally there is something of a 'rich idiot' story behind why there were two black Buicks parked in this driveway at one point, and it all began with...a leftover new-off-the-lot, 1986 Mercury Capri RS, 5.0, 5-speed.

My father was a 5.0 Mustang guy in the mid-1980's, as he had two different-colored 1982 GT's at different points, one new silver car in 1982, and a red '82 in 1984. I would end up with a black-on-black '82 later on, dear God, what a terrible car.

Dad saw this leftover new '86 Capri sitting on a Mercury lot, went in and drove it home.

I was with him in the car on that drive, and we engaged in a bit of stoplight drags with an evil-looking black Buick not too far from the dealership.

That Buick simply pulled away from us.

The Capri, not in his possession a full 24 hours and still with the window sticker on it, immediately went out on the front line of his largest used car dealership...and he then went to a nearby Buick dealership...and drove home in a Grand National.

The Mercury sold for...dealership sticker price, the guy wanted it (the Capri's last year was 1986) and missed out on it at the dealership, so he gladly paid what was on the sticker, didn't care, so thankfully that financial burden disappeared.

However, a couple of months later, Dad and I were out in the Grand National...and we were again dusted by a black Grand National, but this one had different wheels on it, pulled on us like we had the E-brake on, and I saw a faint glimpse of what appeared to be 'GNX' on the trunk lid.

He naturally went to the Buick dealer the next morning...and about another month later, a GNX showed up in our driveway. I don't know how he got it, but we had one, although it wasn't quite new (it had somewhere around 300 miles on it), but what I do know is that the now obsolete regular Grand National just sat in the driveway, so I began driving it back and forth to school (I was 14 at the time and large for my age), and it was simply lost in the car lot shuffle until Dad remembered that he should probably sell it...five months later.

I had a bit of fun with the car, but I also recall that it was something of a cop magnet. In addition, I hated having to ape-hang the steering wheel (the seat had to go back quite a ways for me to fit in it, but no telescoping wheel, so...), and there were already a few electrical problems popping up with it, so I gladly let it go with around 2000 miles on the odometer, and that car and the GNX were sold off to someone who wanted the pair as a package.

I never did get to drive the GNX. 

New Driver

I attended Grafton High in Wisconsin from 83-86. Rust and salt had taken out the muscle cars by that time. Our lot was full of boring late 70’s early 80’s junk. My father was a area service manager for Chevrolet. I was fortunate to drive in succession a 84 Monte SS, 85 Iroc Z and another Monte SS an 86 model this time. Coolest car in the lot was a buddy of mine who restored a 1970 Chevelle with his father in their garage. Black with white hood stripes. Very cool car.

Makes no sense without the time frame. Socal mid sixties not represented here.
Intermediate Driver

I know that my '68 Ford Falcon 200 cid automatic was not very much sought out.
Intermediate Driver

My high school lot at the very end of the 70's was lifted trucks with gun racks (no one ever got shot) and Chevelles. My senior year I bought a 1980 Z28. Everything was fine with the car except for the police that seemed to pull behind me when I pulled out the driveway. That low milage one owner car still sets in my garage today. I built a under cover clone cop car with a ridiculous drive trane and drove like a idiot and never even got a second look