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Friday, October 31, 2008

The Ten Scariest-Looking Cars Of All Time

It's that wondrous time of year when our inner ghouls come out and we lurk the streets, be-costumed, reveling in our darker selves. Halloween night represents the one night we can cast off our cheeriness and embrace what lurks within the darkest corner of our souls. And though we must adorn ourselves with capes and masks to tell the world we're out for mischief, there are a number of automobiles that come prefabricated for ne'erdowelling across unlit streets. Below are the ten spookiest, creepiest and scary-cool looking cars ever seen by mere mortals.

10.) Mercury Marauder

Hearkening back to the good ol' days, the Mercury Marauder is one of the few modern cars to appeal to the dark side. Based on the same Panther platform that underpins countless Crown Vic police cars, the sight of one of these sends chills down the spine, and when you throw in the blacked-out windows, grille, headlights, taillights and pillars you end up with one spooky sled. There's a reason why the CIA and the Feds ordered up a bunch of Marauders.

9.) Plymouth Satellite

If, like the eponymous movie wants us to believe, cars have personalities, then the Plymouth Satellite is a scary zombie. At the very least, a ghost-white one with a little rust and a missing bumper is the perfect car for a zombie crew to jump in and use to terrorize the locals. Wait? Zombie drivers? We just came up with the best movie idea. Someone call Spielberg.

8.) Buick Roadmaster Station Wagon

In a decade defined by optimism, there was something deeply pessimistic about the nineties-era Buick Roadmaster. Built on the same b-body platform as a number of other GM wagons, the Roadmaster has an angry stature amplified by the long, mean nose and partially-covered rear wheels. Powered by a version of the 5.7-liter LT1 V8 used in the Corvette, a black Roadmaster wagon has the power to chase down lost souls and the room to store them. Paging the Grim Reaper. [Photo:]

7.) Avanti II SportCoupe

We always thought a Studebaker Avanti coupe would have made a better batmobile than a Futura. With nary a straight line to be found, a tail end that abruptly comes to an end and a chrome bumper that looks like it has a pair of fangs we wonder if this isn't what Dracula drives when he turns into a bat. Combine that with those empty eyes and we doubt this spooky SportCoupe could see its own reflection in its shiny moon wheel covers.

6.) Lincoln Continental Mark III

Few vehicles bring the promise of misadventure and doom than a Lincoln Mark III. Squelch on a bet? A bookie in a Mark III is going to show up at your door and throw you onto the 16 acres of hood real estate. Drop a dime on a gangster? A dude named Tony and his friends Anthony and Anton will be happy to make room for you — in the trunk. Unlike the softer, luxurious luxury cars of the era, the Mark III clearly states that it means business. All black and chrome with those covered headlights, this Lincoln is prepared for stealthy mayhem. [Photo:]

5.) Alfa Romeo Montreal

If Vader tools around in a GNX and the reaper has a Roadmaster wagon then Satan himself drives around in an Alfa Romeo Montreal. Don't let the name fool you: The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing the world that he was a Canadian. As Dante will tell you, the Antichrist is clearly an Italian guy and we don't imagine that his unholiness would drive around in a Ferrari. There's no doubt the Montreal's evil-looking grimace, angry NACA duct and 1970s Italian dependability make it the perfect car for lapping the eighth circle of Hell.

4.) Plymouth Valiant V-200

For your classier demon there's not much better than a Plymouth Valiant V200. From its demonically styled grille to the creepy fender chrome, the Valiant V-200 is ghoulishly awesome. The creepiest feature on the car, and on nearly any car, is the trunk, which appears to include the door to the underworld. Though this feature is actually for the spare tire, it looks like a portable gate to Hell.

3.) Porsche 917

Though we think of Porsches as small and sleek sports cars, the Porsche 917 is something of an outlier. Though fast and wonderful, it looks like a giant scary monster come down from the hills to eat the villagers. The sloping wings, huge inlet and bulky styling are more Frankenstein than Frankfurt. The 917/20, a.k.a. the "Pink Pig", is perhaps the most frightening of them all. From most angles it looks like a stitched-together bird-pig-man hybrid. Run, run for your lives from the Trufflehunter of Züffenhausen!

2.) Buick GNX

When the Buick GNX debuted, Car And Driver ran a review of it with the headline "Vader, Your Car is Ready" and that connection has never left the car. Ignore the fact that nearly every part, down to the wheels, is black. Ignore the evil grimace on its face. Ignore even the Buick's blade-sharp lines that scream "I will cut you and not look back" standing still. The thing that makes the GNX truly scary looking is the site of this G-bodied two-door from the late 80s screaming down the street to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and running a quarter-mile in 13.26. Evil incarnate.

1.) Rolls Royce Phantom Jonckheere

The single most frightening looking car in history also has one of the most spine-tingling names of any car. The Rolls Royce Phantom Jonckheere Coupe may be one of the finest automobiles built, but we fear the person who actually drives around in one of these. Built without concern for cost or common sense in the 1920s, the history of the car is somewhat murky but we wouldn't be surprised if it spent some time in Transylvania. From the rear three-quarter view it actually looks like Dracula's cape flowing in the wind. And on the inside? A blood red, entirely made of the finest materials. If you're ever invited inside make sure to bring a wooden stake with you.