There’s nothing more iconic than the awesome landscapes and historic landmarks that one can find all through this great country of ours, from sea to shining sea, as they say. Buildings and structures like the White House, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Hoover Dam, and even Mt. Rushmore immediately bring to mind the great past achievements of not only our founders, leaders, and visionaries, but also of the regular people- the Average Joe (or Jane)- who helped build this great land’s icons with their very own blood, sweat, and tears. And don’t even get me started on the amazing U.S. landscapes we can see all around us. Who doesn’t gasp at the immense magnificence of the Grand Canyon, or the power and splendor of the Rockies or the sheer majesty of the Great Lakes? Nobody with an ounce of emotion in them, that’s who.
Of course, Hot Cars being what it is, you know we're not going to stop there and just admire our historic structures and beautiful land all on its own merits. Of course we’re not going to do that. We’re going to scour the internet and present to you these awe-inspiring landscapes with some equally awesome cars in, on, or around them. Because that’s what we do here- geek out over cars. We might as well do that and also enjoy some of the finest and most spectacular icons this country has at the same time. So here they are; 22 awesome cars at iconic U.S. landmarks and landscapes.
22 1926 Ford Model T - The Alamo
This, my friends, is what happens when somebody decides to, ahem, “restore” a 1926 Model T. Forget that iconic background of The Alamo behind the vehicle; we’ll get to that in a moment. Take a look at the sheer extravagant awesomeness of this car. So much chrome, so many pipes, and such awesome rims this baby doth have.
Old Henry Ford wouldn’t recognize this beauty at all!
1926 was the last year the Model T was produced but enthusiasts like this guy (or gal) have kept them going well into the 21st century. By the way, the siege of The Alamo was fought precisely so Texans could do whatever they wanted to do to their cars whenever they wanted to, am I right or am I right?
21 Ford Bronco - Yellowstone National Park
Oh. My. Goodness. Talk about two classics coming together! Here is a beautiful old original Ford Bronco tooling along the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park- you know, the world’s first National Park that president Teddy Roosevelt set in motion way back at the turn of the century. Yellowstone is the crown jewel of the national parks system and the Bronco was the crown jewel in Ford Motor Company’s early SUV offerings. I’ll admit it, I had a restored ’85 Bronco but it still didn’t look like this one. This one looks like it could take on Yosemite, Death Valley, and Kilimanjaro all in one weekend trip. I love, love, love the classic bucking bronco ornament on this baby. Talk about Old Faithful- both park and car measure up.
20 2014 Tesla Model S - The Painted Desert
We start our grand journey through the famous natural and historical iconography of this great country with a little Tesla action in the Painted Desert of Arizona, a section of both the Grand Canyon National Park and the Petrified National Forest. By the way, I would be petrified if I had to walk, bike or boat along or in the Grand Canyon but perhaps that’s a story for my shrink.
Anyway, the Painted Desert is awesomely weird as a natural formation and Tesla is an awesomely weird company (in all of the best ways, of course).
So it makes perfect sense, to this writer at least, that we have here a Model S, which is just roaring through said desert. Remember kids, these are professional drivers on closed courses- don’t go gallivanting off into the desert sunset unless you want the Federales (OK, U.S. Park Police) to haul you away.
19 BMW I8 - Mount Washington
I bet you didn’t know this but Mount Washington, in the White Mountains range of New Hampshire, is the highest mountain in the U.S. east of the Mississippi. Yup, teeny little New Hampshire can lay claim to a mountain well over 6,000 feet in elevation. Actually, the entire “Presidential Range” of the White Mountains, clocks in at over 5,000 feet for every single peak- they are a true national treasure. Mount Washington also has a cog railroad and a winding road (supposedly it has 138 turns) that meanders up to the summit. Which is why this equally stunning BMW i8 is included in this shot. I just wonder how long it took this guy to get to the top…
18 Ford Focus RS - The Statue of Liberty
So I couldn’t decide which was more truly iconic- this entry, which celebrates the wonderful heritage of freedom that we are so famous for and that the French so rightfully decided to acknowledge by gifting us “Lady Liberty” way back in the day, or the next entry, which just celebrates our unique decadence.
So for now, let’s celebrate the Statue of Liberty in all of her NYC glory, holding her welcoming torch aloft as a supremely attractive Ford Focus RS shows off in the foreground.
The Blue Oval is the original success story and the Statue of Liberty is the original dream-maker so it’s only right that the two should meet. A hot hatch and the flame of freedom in the same place? That’s called a win-win.
17 1967 Cadillac Coupe De Ville - Las Vegas
Here we have not just one, not just two, but three, count ‘em, three classics all together. And oh what a great pairing (tripling???) they are. First thing first, though. We are of course looking at a hot pink beauty of a Cadillac Coupe de Ville, circa 1967 (the car, guys, not when this picture was taken- focus please!). Did you know that the second legend we see in this image, The King himself, Elvis Presley, owned a 1967 Cadillac Coupe de Ville? Of course you did.
But his was red, not hot pink, another factoid I’m sure you already knew. And yes, I’m aware that’s not really Elvis, but hey man, it’s the spirit of the thing! Finally, in case you can’t read- which would be weird- the first two classics are posing in front of one of the all-time classically photogenic city limits signs anywhere ever. Welcome to Sin City indeed!
16 1976 MG Midget - Cape Cod
If you’ve ever been to Cape Cod, in the old school “Bay State” of Massachusetts, then you probably recognized this pic right away. It’s got all the hallmarks of a classic Cape Cod setting- clear blue skies made bluer and bigger by the ocean that surrounds the Cape on three sides, low lying marsh grasses waving in the gentle breezes along its little estuaries, and of course impossibly hoity-toity houses off in the middle distance that you and I will probably never set foot in.
Heck, the Kennedys have their compound here. Yeah, those Kennedys.
This is why seeing a very nicely kept 1976 MG Midget sitting along a country roadside here is really no surprise at all. Cape Cod was made for a car like the MG Midget. I just hope the driver isn’t named Muffy or Smitty.
15 1940 Packard - Arches National Park
OK, so the person who took this picture is a hardcore amateur photographer. I gathered this information from their photo blog site where they post tons and tons of pics of just about everything under the sun. But I’ve got to say, this particular one has to be their best work- it has all the earmarks of a classic; the incredible natural grace and beauty of Arches National Park in the background only serves to illustrate the funkiness of this exquisitely restored Packard sedan, the Super Clipper. Packard wasn’t always known for their style but this retro look in the clean air of a national monument is a surefire winner. Let’s just hope none of those 20,000 balanced boulders in the park fall on it!
14 2015 Camaro - Independence Hall
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Oh yeah, all that stuff and the right to park your 2015 Fire-Apple red Camaro right in front of Philadelphia’s great landmark, Independence Hall.
You know, that place where a little something called the Declaration of Independence was signed. I wonder if the person who parked their Camaro here was exercising their right to congregate or their right to abandon their car in search of the perfect Philly Cheesesteak…
13 2014 Spark Renault SRT 01E - New York City Skyline
To my way of thinking, there are only three cities in the U.S. that have the right to call their skylines “iconic.” Boston, the mother city of our nation, Chicago, that great Midwestern behemoth with the broad shoulders and tall, tall buildings, and, of course, mighty NYC. Here we have a new leader in Formula racing iconography, the crazy-cool Spark Renault SRT 01E, showing off her stunning lines with the ever-so-vital New York City skyline towering over her. For those of you who are wondering, this Renault is an electric “Formula E” racer, one that has participated in the New York Formula E race more than once. Racing in NYC? Watch out for the bike messengers.
12 1970 Plymouth Superbird - Devil’s Tower
Everybody who has ever seen Steven Spielberg’s first sci-fi masterpiece, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, knows exactly what Devil’s Tower, sticking up like a sore thumb in nowhere Wyoming, is all about. It’s where the aliens go to pick up and drop off their human “passengers.”
The sight of the mothership descending over this one-of-a-kind butte (and national monument) is wildly unsettling and disorienting. Just like the sight of this truly awesome 1970 Plymouth Superbird just hanging out in the high mountain desert is pretty spectacular as well. Devil’s Tower is a tremendous natural treasure but the Superbird has wings and that’s just a tiny bit better in my book.
11 Porsche Macan - The Grand Canyon
Speaking of truly awesome natural spectacles let’s talk about the Grand Canyon for a moment, shall we? Everyone knows that the Grand Canyon is a monumental testament to the power and glory of nature (all that water!).
But did everybody know that putting a flashy white Macan in front of the canyon would lead to such an arresting visual image?
I’m a Porsche enthusiast myself, having owned three-and-a-half of them in my lifetime. And no, I’m not gonna tell you what that half is all about- it’s way too embarrassing. I’ve never had a Macan though; I was always a Boxster kind of guy (except for that half a car I won’t mention again).
10 2015 Dodge Challenger - The Rockies
The Rockies are awesome, one of the great mountain ranges in the entire world. They stretch all the way from New Mexico north to the westernmost reaches of westernmost Canada. I just felt like getting repetitive for emphasis there- they really are a vast mountain range.
Here we have an awesomely and deceptively simple looking 2015 Dodge Challenger somewhere in the Colorado Rockies, a land normally associated with downhill skiing.
This pic must have been taking in early summer; there’s no sign of that famous Colorado powder except far off in the misty mountaintop distance. I myself am simply wondering how that pony handled itself on those twisting mountain roads- better or worse than the actual horses that used to make the passage over the Rockies?
9 1957 Chevy Bel Air Convertible (And Others) - Niagara Falls
I know, I know, you might think that it’s just a little bit hard to see that ’57 Chevy Bel Air in the above photo, especially if you don’t know what you’re looking for. But nobody reading this article has that particular problem, I’m sure. And the goal here was to go out and find both iconic cars and iconic landscapes. I doubt anyone would argue with me that both Niagara Falls and the Bel Air are about as iconic Americana as it gets, right? Take a second look- that Bel Air sticks out amid a sea of ordinariness like a princess at a pauper party. Let’s not drive her over the falls though- leave that to the crazies in their barrels.
8 Lexus RC350 - The Golden Gate Bridge
When you put a car, any car, on VIP Modular wheels like the ones we see here, why then, you’re gonna make that car one that people stand up and take notice of. Especially when it’s parked right in front of one of the most awe-inspiring feats of civil engineering America has ever seen. Yes, folks, that is the one and only Golden Gate Bridge in the great city of San Francisco, rising up behind this nice little Lexus RC350. The only thing that’s little in this shot is perhaps the car itself. Everything else: the ocean, the bay, and the bridge that spans it, not to mention the cost of that little car, are all big, big, and big.
7 Mazda MX-5 Miata RF - Big Sur
Here’s what one architectural reviewer said of the Bixby Creek Bridge: "graceful architecture and magnificent setting set the Bixby apart." Another thing that sets it apart is that the bridge is made of reinforced concrete and is known as an open-spandrel arch bridge, in the parlance of the trade.
As far as I can tell, open-spandrel means “dangerous as all get out.”
But it’s known as one of the most scenic and most photographed bridges in America for good reason. Big Sur is glorious and “The Bixby” makes it even more so; the perfect meld of man and nature. Well, that and the glory that a fully-loaded MX-5 Miata RF can bring to the scene.
6 Porsche Boxster - Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan is one of the great natural wonders of the United States, if not the entire world. It is the second largest of the Great Lakes (Superior being the largest, which kind of makes sense based upon its name alone) but is the only member of the top five biggest lakes in the world to reside solely in one country. It is also a truly iconic wonder- Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana all share its coastline and it is so freaking big that this spring there were actually a couple of freshwater tsunamis on it. But that’s not the only thing that’s cool in this photo. There’s also a Porsche Boxster in this picture. I like Porsches. So do you. They are also wonders, but of engineering and production.
5 Polaris Slingshot - The Mississippi River
Sometimes with a list like this you find yourself trying to figure out what is the best image for the entire experience you are trying to share. There were tons of pictures of different cars all along the mighty Mississippi river, a true original and uniquely red white and blue landmark if there ever were one.
There were Dodge Rams and Ford F250s parked along the riverside in the upper Midwest and International Harvesters doing the same in the Deep South.
But old “Big Muddy” deserves something a bit more fun than your average working machine. Enter this shot of a Polaris Slingshot hanging out at dusk in Natchez, Mississippi. If you’re gonna river-ride you might as well have a fun ride to do it in. The Slingshot fits that bill for sure.
4 Tesla Party - St. Louis Arch
Tesla is still facing an uphill battle as the company tries to carve out what it wants- just the cornering of the electric luxury car market and a significant little slice of the U.S. automobile industry. So rest assured Elon Musk is gonna keep throwing money and interesting publicity toward his brainchild. But St. Louis seems to have a thriving Tesla enthusiast subculture, as evinced by this shot from a recent Tesla owners' rally taken in front of the world famous (and awe-inspiring) St. Louis Arch. Did you know that the great arch is the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere? If anybody wants to research what the tallest man-made monument is in the whole world I’ll be here.
3 2016 Rolls Royce Convertible - The Chicago Skyline
As I said before there’s only a couple of cities here at home that have truly incredible skylines and Chicago is absolutely one of them. I’m a transplanted Chicagoan myself and every time I drive into the city and see buildings like the Willis (nee Sears) Tower rising up in the distance I am blown away by what a remarkable national landmark the city’s skyline really has become.
Chicago is where the Midwest learned to grow up and take its rightful place alongside our Southern, Mid-Atlantic, and New England forefathers, and it shows in the richness of heritage, spirit, hard work, and wealth the city exhibits.
That’s why this great shot of a beautiful Rolls Royce gracing the Chicago scene seems so appropriate for a city that keeps getting better and better.
2 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder - Hoover Dam
“Hey guys, you know what I really, really, really want to do. I want to un-garage my 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder and take it for a cool little high elevation spin. On top of the Hoover Dam.” Yeah that’s right, this is a Lambo making the trek across perhaps the most famous dam in the world. Yeah, go on, name a more famous dam anywhere- I dare you. So the Hoover Dam is a true national treasure, an utterly astounding feat of engineering set in motion by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933 as a New Deal initiative and then permanently named for President Herbert Hoover in 1947. Why they named it for Hoover is a mystery but why they named the Lamborghini what they did is not. One is cool and the other was…our 31st president.
1 2022 VW ID Buzz (And Old Friend) - The Florida Keys
Well, it’s official. Volkswagen is getting into the Uber/Lyft market and are going to do so with a vengeance. The ID Buzz concept van (i.e. a modern, reworked VW ‘Bus’) is set to hit mass production in 2022- it was already unveiled last year. Now here’s the thing; if you have an iconic vehicle, like the VW Microbus has become over the years to Deadheads and Earth firsters (yeah, I know both of those groups are, shall we say, a bit “dated”) then you want to keep said iconic vehicle going. The ID Buzz is modern in the sense that it is electric and basically designed as a ride-share vehicle but it still looks like its iconic forefather, mostly, as you can see from this promo shot. You know what else is iconic when you’re talking about trend-setting and “youth” market targeting? Miami Beach, which is where this pic went down.