I’m just going to dive right into this one: I’ve thought more than any sane person should about what car I’d want to drive in a post-apocalyptic world.
I can’t help it. My condition stems from the double whammy of a 1980s adolescence replete with nuclear hysteria (Mad Max, The Day After, Ronald Reagan) and an incurable itch to own a cool extra car. If I could monetize wasting time on eBay Motors looking at old junkers, I’d scoff at the people who won a billion in Powerball.
Of course, not all apocalypses are created equal. Oh, no. Of course not! If you had planned for an environmental catastrophe and found instead that you had awoken to a zombie outbreak, you wouldn’t be caught dead, so to speak, in a vehicle that could cross lakes but couldn’t mow down a passel of the formerly living.
So let’s dive right in.
Scenario: Unspecified chemical catastrophe blotting out the sun and denuding the Earth of all living things
As seen in: The Road
Preferred vehicle: VW Beetle (type 1)
Baja Bug: better yet!
There’s a lot to like about the Beetle in just about any post-apocalyptic environment: air-cooled, so no need to worry about radiators and coolant; mechanically simple enough that you only need a Swiss Army Knife to fix most things; lots of spare parts. However, in a world where all plant life has died, you can’t simply convert your gas engine to run on alcohol distill fuel out of anything with chlorophyll.
Nope, you’ll need to rely on whatever gasoline has survived. In turn, that means you want a vehicle as light as possible with as few fripperies as possible to achieve high mileage. The VW Beetle, which dates back to the 1930s, meets that condition in spades. In fact, it actually floats, at least for a little while, which is helpful if bridges have fallen into disrepair. Also, since you’ll need to procreate to keep the species alive, it helps to remember that chicks dig Beetles.
Find your Beetle here.
Scenario: Zombie apocalypse
As seen in: The Walking Dead, Night of the Living Dead, 28 Days Later
Preferred vehicle: Armored Car
This one belongs to the NYPD, but you can’t go wrong with a gently used bank model
With hordes of the undead around you, you need something that a) you can hide in and b) is designed to be unstoppable by anything short of an army tank. This calls for a Brinks truck!
Slow? You bet! How fast do you need to drive to outrun soulless bipeds?
Fuel economy? Who cares? You could render all the former humans you want into biodiesel! Sure, it’s horrifying, but is it any worse that seeing your former friends and relatives shambling all over the landscape moaning for your brains? Probably not!
Check out your fortress-on-wheels here.
Scenario: Global warming-induced weather hellscape
As seen in: The Day After Tomorrow
Preferred vehicle: Shit-kicker International Harverster SUV
Hard to see here, but this truck has a diesel engine and is coated in a fiberglass-like bedliner material for additional shit-kickerocity. Oddly, I found it in the least dangerous spot imaginable: Central Park West in the 60s.
Go ahead, complain that driving one of the beasts that contributed the most to global warning only adds insult to injury when sea levels rise a few feet. What the hell. Water under the bridge. Or, you know, the St. Louis arch. You want the car that real men drive.
Global climate disasters not only starve polar bears, but they also make for really annoying driving conditions. As we’ve seen in New York City this winter, climate change makes temperatures swerve like sorority girls on a highway. Rain, snow, sleet and hail can fall in Biblical proportions or not at all. You need something that can stand up to the extremes seen only in SUV commercials.
Shop for your all-terrain steed here.
Scenario: Nuclear holocaust that somehow leaves large numbers of people alive but turns everything to desert
As seen in: Mad Max franchise
Preferred vehicle: 1978-1981 Camaro Z28
Probably a ’76 or ’77 and not a Z28. Still pretty sweet.
It makes no sense that in a world with dwindling resources, survivors acquire, maintain and upgrade massive vehicles with fuel-devouring V-8 engines. Except, as Ministry said, “no man with a good car needs to be justified.”
Let’s face it: as the world degenerates into wanton violence and blatant disregard for all life, you may as well have the car you lusted over in high school. Maybe then Jeannine LoSquardo might have gone to the prom with you rather than laugh at your mother’s powder blue Ford Granada, thus condemning you to a tailspin of regret and drunken Google searches for anyone named LoSquardo living in the Mankato, Minnesota area. I mean, speaking generally of course.
Get your bitchin’ Camaro here.
Scenario: Modern dystopia of wage slavery, endemic boredom and unattainable happiness
As seen in: Real life
Preferred vehicle: I dunno. Accords seem pretty good.