Like any possession, a car can become intensely personal; as is true for an article of clothing, what someone drives says a lot about who he or she is. The condition the car is in also says something, whether it's clean and well maintained or dirty and on the fritz. A car's condition lends insight into an owner's lifestyle and overall image to the world.
Not every car evokes the same message consistently about its driver, though. A McLaren, in most cases, affirms someone who's well off and doesn't mind attracting attention. In other cases, though, a McLaren owner could prefer driving one in an attempt to cover something up. The car is less a reflection of who they really are than it is an attempt to look like an established stereotype.
On the other side of the coin, some people are perfectly content driving dumpy cars. They may not even care what kind of car it is as long as it gets them to their job or can bring them around on a night out with friends or works in an emergency. These types of drivers couldn't care less what other people think about their cars or whether others view them negatively as a result. Some have cars that are in such bad shape, all they'd have to do is take it to a mechanic, and they could have it looking much better in no time.
Below are some cars in the worst shape possible that owners—instead of taking them to a mechanic—keep driving them into the ground.
18 1965 Ford Mustang
In this owner's defense, a repair shop may not know where to start with this 1965 Ford Mustang. According to the owner on Project Cars For Sale, no one's driven it for about thirty years. If it's been sitting around for that long, and chances are slim it'll get fixed up anytime soon. It's a shame, considering it's part of the coveted first generation, which were probably sold for a mere $2K-$3K back in the day. Granted, it could cost the owner up to $10K or more to fix it up, so its future looks pretty dim for the time being.
17 Puerto Vallarta Bug
The beauty of Puerto Vallarta looks hard to describe. It's colorful and vibrant, and there are plenty of scenic views of the ocean. According to This Way To Spain, there are also lots of Ferraris and VW Beetles, a polarization the author doesn't fail to point out. Here, sitting in the street, is one such Beetle that hasn't crawled its last. It may not be in the best state sitting in the sun all day while close to the salt-water air, but it's not about to lay down either. With a bunch of Ferraris around, there are bound to be some auto repair shops that this Beetle could sure visit.
16 Shoddy Car
This car has a few problems that are immediately visible on the surface. First, the bottom of the driver's door is taped and shows signs of major paint scuffs. The front of the car is in worse shape, with the bumper held up by rope and taped-up headlights. Somehow, the car is still pressing on and is probably furnished with cheap parts thanks to the black market. The good news is that parts from the black market are a lot cheaper. Complex reports that airbags on the black market cost more like $200 instead of a grand, though it's highly unlikely safety is a real concern at this point.
15 Plywood Lexus GS
At one time, the front of this car was missing its original hood, bumper, fenders and more. It was at that point the owner could've taken it to a repair shop. Instead, we're left to assume he got some plywood himself to construct this monstrosity, considering no repair shop would ever do this.
According to Auto Evolution, this car was, at one time, a Lexus.
Now, it's hardly recognizable. One thing's for sure: these outside stereos don't come standard on Lexus models. In order to preserve some hope of keeping this car street-legal, there are even small turn signals added.
14 Chrysler Intrepid
This Chrysler Intrepid is looking pale, and it's not just the paint color. As the Toronto Star notes regarding this particular vehicle, no one really likes the eyesore of a broken-down car like this sitting in front of his or her house, though really, as the author points out, there's nothing anyone can do if it's still running. As much as some neighbors would like to have it towed away, it's entirely up to the owner to keep it around. That's his right at the end of the day. Although broken down cars may offend others around it, drivers still have a right to keep their car around—even if it deserves a trip to the repair shop.
13 Cameroon Car
One ought to look abroad to other countries outside the U.S. for beat-up cars still going strong. There are parts of the world a lot harsher than the U.S., including Cameroon, where this car resides, as Triptime Insurance notes. In spite of the load it carries, along with a mud-stained body, the car manages to keep on going. What makes this compact car's longevity even more impressive is the fact that the roads in Cameroon aren't well paved or cleared out. It's likely that the owner knows a thing or two about fixing up cars himself to keep it going for this long.
12 Nissan Sentra
Nissan has been making the Sentra since the early '80s, so there's no telling how old this particular one is. Originally dubbed the "Sunny" in Japan, according to CarGurus, the Sentra got a name change and arrived in the U.S. Although the Corolla outsells it, the Sentra beat Toyota's darling to the punch when it comes to front-wheel drive. Although these cars don't offer much luxury or power, they're compact cars that owners can depend on. That's why it's no surprise that without a bumper, the car is still serving someone after all these years. Although the Sentra isn't the most exciting car, it's in it for the long haul.
11 Snyder ST600
Some cars, no matter how feeble they look, end up staving off Father Time a lot longer than one might expect. This small three-wheeler found in the Chinese city of Shenyang has undoubtedly seen better days. It looks to be a Snyder ST600, which, according to All Wheels Car Reviews, is in reference to the 600-cubic-centimeter motor powering these little cars.
In a region as congested and traffic-jammed as Shenyang, it's surprising this Snyder has survived.
With as much resilience as this car has shown, it's easy to see why the owner has held on to it. What isn't clear is whether it's paid a visit to any mechanics lately.
10 Yakima Treasure
This is a car so beat up and broken down that someone had to capture it on film. YouTube user MTD decided to post a video of this car that has as much stuff piled on top of it than we imagine it can carry. This car is from Yakima, Washington. Despite having as many dents as it does, the owner still keeps on driving it along into the future. This four-door sedan looks 30-40 years old and looks like it could go another 40 without showing much more wear. It's a good thing the owner didn't go for something less reliable like a Dodge Charger or a Chrysler 200, or else, he'd have to make a trip to the shop.
9 Ford Crown Victoria
We should give the owner of this 2004 Ford Crown Victoria the benefit of the doubt; it might be a car in transition. The chances that the car is going through some major modifications look strong, and it probably isn't missing bumper, hood and more when it's cruising. Even the dog in the background is wondering when the job is going to get done.
Crown Vics served as popular choices for taxis and police cars, which is largely due to its resilient frame.
As Jalopnik reports, these were the last rear-drive sedans with a body-on-frame layout, though the U.S. has adopted AWD and 4WD systems more commonly now.
8 2000 Saturn
Poor Saturn. A former company under GM, it's now defunct, leaving all of its automobiles to wander the world like Ronin samurai without a master to serve. This beat-up Saturn has a slim chance of ever getting fixed up for one reason alone: they just don't make the parts anymore. It doesn't help that the cars are a bit of an eyesore already before it even got the battle scars. As RNR Automotive Blog notes, the bumpers themselves—which look to be in the worst shape out of everything—look like they're made of cheap plastic, probably because it really is.
7 Forgotten Car
There's a funny story behind this car. According to Independent, the owner reported his car missing back in 1997. It all happened in Frankfurt, Germany. It appears the cops found it; only, it looks like it took them some time—20 years to be exact. In fact, the car hadn't moved at all in that time, which looks pretty obvious, considering the rust on the car from this photo. While the owner didn't necessarily refuse to take it to a repair shop, he certainly neglected it a different way. We don't know what's worse: the fact that someone forgot their car or that the city never towed it.
6 Two-Door Sedan
In an age where SUVs and crossovers are taking over, the sedan isn't what it used to be.
The end looks to be near for some of the most beloved cars, with major automakers like GM—as Bloomberg reports—reconsidering whether to continue producing Buick and Cadillac cars.
At one time in the U.S., two-door sedans like this one were much more prevalent. Now, they're just relics of the past. Perhaps that's why the owner continues to hang on to theirs in spite of all the dings and dents. If anything, they're scars that add a bit of character; they'd likely never even want a mechanic to bang out the dents.
5 Beat-Up Kia
Inasmuch as a Bugatti Veyron turns heads on a street, this Kia is just as much likely to do the same. Only in this Kia's case, it's not garnering attention for how pleasing it looks, but rather, the opposite. It's amazing four people can even fit inside this vehicle.
The design is comparable to the AMC Pacer, which had a wide feel for a small car.
While Discovery Wheeler Dealers reports that the Pacer emitted harmful chemicals out of the dashboard, it's likely this little ride does something similar. One reason why it never got fixed up may have something to do with a design flaw that's been inherent in it since the beginning. If it arrived broken, some may ask, why ever try to fix it?
4 Raggare Automobile
There are a lot of questions one might formulate about what this man is doing exactly. According to Jalopnik, there's a whole car subculture in Sweden that may lend an explanation (to some extent) about this photo. It's called "Raggare." There’re really only a few criteria required, and they involve U.S. cars. One part greasers, another part rockabilly—it's hard to peg Raggare into one category alone. There's also something of a Mad Max vibe with the scarcity of gas in Sweden, as Jalopnik points out. If there's one thing classic U.S. cars are known for, its guzzling gas, which may make them not be the best cars to have over there.
3 Run-Down Car
For whatever reason, personal or practical, the owner of this classic two-door sedan isn't in a rush to get rid of his ride. There's evidence pointing to the fact that it still runs, considering it's parked on a residential street. If it weren't running, it'd probably be in someone's backyard. On the other hand, all the leaves lying around it suggest it isn't driven very often. If the owner is willing to get rid of it, maybe he'll find peace of mind knowing that cars are the most recycled consumer product in the whole wide Earth, as Complex reports.
2 Futuristic Wagon
It's not exactly clear what kind of car this is, though chances are strong it's a French one. It looks like a Citroën of sorts; there's something “devil may care” about its exterior. If it is, in fact, a French car, then it comes from a storied industry. As Reuters notes, there are an astounding 2.5 million jobs in France that are related to the auto industry in one way or another. While French cars may not have as much renown as major U.S. automakers, companies like Peugeot, Citroën, and Renault all have a rich legacy.
1 Toyota Van
Toyota has a long-running notoriety for making long-running vehicles. It's easy to see why this Toyota van is still going even though its owner refuses to fix it up. It looks like a Toyota LiteAce from the '80s, which looks perfect for families or beach bums. Although the wagon-esque van looks bent out of shape, there's still a will to persevere and serve its owner for years to come. According to Bring A Trailer, these models are hard to come by today. Although the owner refuses to get the trunk fixed up, there's all the duct tape in the world to keep reapplying should the need arise.
Sources: Jalopnik, All Wheels Car Reviews, CarGurus, AAA Newsroom