When you say beach to most people, they conjure up visions of lazing on a towel and catching some rays. However, there is a devoted group of fans that think of great days spent speeding along the sand in their favorite beach car. Once you've stood up and felt the salt spray whipping around while enjoying the dunes on one side and the water on the other, you run the risk of becoming one of those fans.
Five Best Classic Beach Cars
If you live in an area where you can't actually drive on the beach, but you spend a lot of days enjoying it, there are also great cars to make that journey more enjoyable. Some even feel that God made the beach just so there would be a place to drive their favorite beach car. Here are five best classic beach cars for cruising the waterline:
5. The Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
For the young at heart, this little baby is both practical and snappy. You won't find a lot of extra trunk space, but the trunk lid opens almost a full 180 degrees to make it convenient for beach gear. You can also fit your surfboard or umbrella in easily when the top is down. Even with the top up, you've got a lot of leg and headroom. This is one of the latest contenders to earn a place as a contender.
4. The Ford Bronco
The innovative removable rear roof quickly made this forerunner of an SUV a hit with the beach crowd. Manufactured between 1966 and 1996, this vehicle gives you a lot of options. It cans serve as a pickup if you need the extra room, or it provides the security you want with the roof on and your gear locked up while you're in the surf. The versatility of this beach classic has kept many of them around, and you can find them in a wide range of conditions and prices.
3. The Jeep Wrangler
One of the few vehicles with a heritage related to the beach, this member of the Jeep family saw its grandfather storm ashore at Normandy as the Willys Jeep. You can find these outfitted for off-the-road adventures, with a price tag of around $7,500 or so for a good condition 2001 or 2012. The fully removable top and seating for 4 makes it an ideal choice for a beach double date and drive along the dunes. You can actually find these for rent in many beach towns.
2. The Land Rover Defender
You'll find these well-preserved favorites in many coastal towns and resort areas. One of the early British imports, this rugged beast has that staid Brit personality but is a ton of fun at the beach. You'll find a number of restored Defenders in both the American and European versions. The hard or soft top comes in 4 to 9 passenger versions and you might get a kick out of a right-hand drive for you time on the beach. If you can afford a 110, you'll have a primo classic in your garage.
1. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer 4x4
Let's face it. The beach woody from the '40s is usually at the top of everyone's list of iconic beach cars. However, as those are few and far between, we're giving the top spot to a very deserving alternate, the Wagnoneer. Another descendent of the Willys, this classic also claims the title of the world's first luxury 4x4 and even the first sport utility vehicle. Its popularity kept it in production from 1963 to 1991, even with its boxy signature appearance. The Grand Wagoneer hit the streets in 1984 and it included all the latest trim and features, including the faux wood body style. With plenty of room and power, you'll see these on both coasts, many restored and others showing decades of rugged use.