Prom Night Rides: We Were All Such Losers, How About You?

May 11, 2012
Jon Cryer & Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink

Jon Cryer & Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink

'Tis the season for so many things: Final exams. Mother's Day. Termite swarms. And, of course, proms.

On the first three, our staff of auto hounds don't have much to say. Study hard. Mom would probably love a new car. And if you have a car made of wood, send in a pic. (Unless it's a Rinspeed Bamboo. We've seen enough, thanks.)  

However, when it comes to proms, we all agree that finding the right car for the big night is totally, 100%, majorly crucial. 

Don't get us wrong: we know that high school is an awful time for many people. You've just begun to figure out who you "really are". You're under pressure to decide whether you're attending college or going to trade school or following Phish for the rest of your life. (Note: do not get downwind of Phish.) Your body is awkwardly surging with hormones. And the other kids can be cruel. So, so cruel.

Seriously, if you're in high school now, know this: it gets better. Your happiest days are ahead of you.

But as terrible and ridiculous as high school may be, you might as well go out on a high note. Twenty, 30, or 40 years down the road, you won't recall much of Mrs. Reilly's trigonometry class, but you'll still be talking about what you did on prom night. Do yourself a favor and find a memorable way to get there.

This article from the Wall Street Journal offered some interesting ideas for prom rides, like fire trucks, school buses, and even elephants. But we thought surely our crack team of auto enthusiasts had some better real-life stories than that. Oh, how wrong we were...

Here's the sad truth: on your monitor, we may come across like a bunch of wild and crazy car nuts. But underneath all that feverish talk of crankshafts and fuel cells are a bunch of normal, everyday people -- people who file taxes and pay dental bills and occasionally forget to pick up toilet paper from the grocery store. To wit: 

1997 Chevrolet Corvette C5

1997 Chevrolet Corvette C5

Joel Feder is the baby on staff, and it shows. When we asked for prom car stories, Joel sent in this photo of his ride for the big night: a 1997 Chevrolet Corvette C5. Which was built after many of us had already graduated from college. Predictable? Yes, but at least it's cool. Score: 5

Bengt Halvorson says that he didn't have any prom stories -- at least, none that were appropriate to share in a public forum. "But I did go to a couple of holiday dances, which were formal at our high school, and for one of them I remember taking my dad's new Ford Escort over my own '72 Skylark GS 350. It sounds unbelievable I know, but there was such backlash against muscle cars at that time." Entirely unbelievable. Score: -5

Antony Ingram double-dated to the prom, driving the happy foursome in style in a Ford Fiesta. "Nothing exciting happened, but I did get pulled over by the police on the drive home and breathalyzed. But that was because I accidentally forgot to switch my headlights on. And I was sober." Then again, Antony's a Brit, which ought to count for something. Score: 0

Marty Padgett didn't have any exciting prom-night stories to tell, either. However, he did send in this photo of the 1984 Audi Coupe GT he drove to the dance. Twentysomething years later, and he'd happily do it all over again -- just not with the same date in the passenger's seat. Score: 5

Richard Read (that's me) takes our inaugural James May Award For Nerdiness Incarnate: "My friends and I ditched the prom and went to a debate tournament in Natchez, Mississippi. But our team took home more trophies than any other. And I learned to drive the school van, which was a column-shifting Ford contraption. And my debate partner was Parker Posey. You know: Parker 'Air Raid' Posey? Am I cool by association?" Survey says...not even close. Score: -10 

So maybe we're not the best people to offer suggestions about cool prom rides.

However, we all fared better than poor Billy Nolan, a supporting character in the best prom-night disaster flick of all time. (Fun fact: the role of Billy Nolan was John Travolta's big-screen debut):

Got a good prom night right story of your own? (Surely it's better than ours.) Drop us a note, or share it in the comments below.

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