Journal: Seven Cars for the Best Fall Driving

Seven Cars for the Best Fall Driving

By Petrolicious Productions
October 21, 2013

Last week we posted about some of the joys of fall driving. The beauty of fall can inspire a weekend road trip, an unforgettable afternoon drive, or a short scenic detour during a regularly scheduled errand run. Which car to drive is the lingering question among enthusiasts. We selected the best automobiles to give you a perfect fall driving experience for a variety of moods you may be in, agendas you might have, and what kind of passengers you might carry with you (or not).

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider


Alfa Romeos sometimes offer the best possible package of style, grace, and performance. Sure, they come with a few bugs, but what’s a classic car experience without a little love/hate relationship tendencies thrown in? After all, it’s about that perfect drive when you know everything is working right and the weather cooperates with your driving agenda. If you plan on hitting local backroads or canyon twisties, you’d be hard pressed to find a better compact performance roadster that oozes Italian style like the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider.

Volkswagen Beetle Oval-Window Ragtop


Driving a car based around simplicity can be the most thrilling experience on the planet. Take the Beetle—it’s not fast, it’s not equipped with all the bells and whistles, but there is something about its puttering little motor that just begs to be taken for a spin as frequently as possible. The Oval-Window is from a time when the company started to pay attention to design details and consumers simultaneously. Its perky posture happily bounds along the roads while kicking up fresh fall leaves is a joy any motorist can appreciate.

Jaguar E-Type Series-1


A straight-six with howling trumpeted carburetors straight from the heritage rich soil of Queen Elizabeth is an experience nobody should miss out on. What better time to throw back the top, give the key a twist (or two, it is a finicky Jaguar), pop it into first, and blast away through the amber light of sunset flickering through the leaves and branches! There isn’t a car on this planet that can still make Enzo Ferrari wish he was still on this earth.

Porsche 911 Targa


Many might be up in arms about this selection asking why we didn’t choose a cabriolet rather than a targa. To be quite honest, there are some days during those early-morning fall drives where the option of a more closed cabin feel with the benefits of a convertible when needed just sounds cozy and enticing. The Targa provides the charm of a classic air-cooled Porsche performance hum in a unique greenhouse package.

Ford Bronco


An early-model Bronco projects an image of honest design mixed with adventure. The perched bear-like stance of the Bronco provides the ground clearance needed when you decide to take that worn dirt trail just off a paved state park road. You may not know what’s ahead, but you know you have the right car to fully enjoy the sun, feel the breeze, and lay out a blanket in the back to take in the night stars—assuming you’ve removed the rear shell.

(Lincoln) Continental MK II


Driving during fall’s inviting moderate temperatures might call attention to an innate need to cruise the roads you either speed through on the weekends or become stuck in during a weekday commute. Jumping into an American land yacht might just be the thing you’re looking for when it comes whisking your loved one away to that picturesque B&B. The added benefit of the long and bed-like bench seating helps eliminate the need to switch on the heater, as long as your sweetheart is close by. Lest we forget that lurking under the hood is a thumping V8 that can provide the thump you’re looking for when an open stretch of road presents itself.

Bentley S3 Mulliner Drophead Coupe


“I’m sorry, do you have any Grey Poupon?” This is a questions that stirs up nostalgia and turns you instantly into a well-suited British gentleman ready to take on the politics of the day with your adversaries at “The Club”. So why not whisk yourself away in a car and leave your driver at home? Bentley has always prided itself that their line of luxury cars are to be driven not to chauffeured in. Sure, they’re large and somewhat ostentatious, but at least as a hood ornament you don’t have a half-naked lady attempting to hold her blouse down.

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Chase Roberts
Chase Roberts(@fb_100001600336275)
8 years ago

So glad the Broncos on here it really is a joy to driver up trails completely covered in yellow and red leafs and enjoy the crisp fall air with the top off. And the 5.0 V8 has a wonderful grumble that bounces off the canyon walls!

8 years ago

My Euro spec Fiat Spider 124, top down, beautiful country road with lots of twisty bits, the sound of that gorgeous healthy twin cam with dual webers sucking gloriously away and add that rorty/raspy exhaust note and my girl sitting next to me with her scarf flapping about……

8 years ago

Had a 58 VW with the soft sun roof, 36hp. when I was in the Air 1964. Drove it from New Jersey to Travis AFB, outside of Sacramento. I drafted trucks and ate sugar cubes to stay awake. It took 5 days of 8 to 10 hour driving.
Would I do it again? Absolutely it was one of the most memorable trips. The Bug is an Icon.

Jack Olsen
Jack Olsen(@jack-olsen)
8 years ago

A car for all seasons. 🙂

Jake Williams
Jake Williams(@shred316)
8 years ago

Best fall driver’s car for me would either be the E-Type Jaguar or the Lancia Fulvia 1.3s Series 2.

8 years ago

Fall is the best camping weather! And for that you need a VW Baywindow Westy. The best combination of cruising and camping.

Jeffrey Hicken
Jeffrey Hicken(@jhicken)
8 years ago
Reply to  aircooled1

X2, did a most awesome colors cruise through the Hudson Valley and around Bear Mountain in NY last weekend in my gals ’79 Baywindow Bus. Not a Westy but just as fun

Peter Bruschi
Peter Bruschi(@fb_1708750635)
8 years ago

Ford Bronco for the win! Love my ’66. Been in the family since it was new. So much fun all year round!

Josh Clason
Josh Clason(@joshclason)
8 years ago
Reply to  Peter Bruschi

Very cool!

Jake Barufkin
Jake Barufkin(@fb_1313596062)
8 years ago

Where is the Saab 900 Turbo convertible? The older classic body style is built for fall!

Stephan P
Stephan P(@alfettaracer)
8 years ago

For fall it has to be a convertibe. The sun is low enough that you can actually enjoy top down driving . It’s a great feeling to drive in the crisp cool air with the heater blasting. Even being an Italian car fan I’d pick the E type from this list.
Second the above comments that the 124 is underrated.

Todd Cox
Todd Cox(@mc70)
8 years ago

My old 1971 Karmann Ghia convertible was a great car to tour the GW Parkway in VA. However, I think it is remiss not to include the Mazda Miata NA (it is 23 years old now). The Miata is an exhilarating drive in a true open-air lightweight roadster.

Speed Racer
Speed Racer(@speedracer)
8 years ago

I’ve got my Atlantic Blue Z3 standing by – top down, tonneau on, vintage picnic basket, blanket, amazing driving gloves and jaunty cap — just looking for some good B road drives in southern Cali — so I might actually see a leaf or two change color. Can’t wait. When I saw last week’s post of with the MG and my near identical gloves and picnic basket I laughed. I’m reat to go. Cliche and all. HA

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
8 years ago

Good to see some 911 Targa love. I won’t go as far as to say that I prefer the lines to the iconic coupe, but I do like them particularly with the alloy finished roll bar.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari(@xander18)
8 years ago

I get that the Alfa, E Type, and 911 Targa are nice cars but they could make a great many top cars lists. What about fall is unique to the driving experience? Let’s look at cars that make you want to explore a back road with flurries of golden and red leaves in your wake.

I submit the VW Rabbit Convertible. Handbasket looks aside, the little FWD is perfect for squirreling around a dirt road and they’re never nice enough to worry about dings. All Cabrios benefit from a stiffened floor pan and the Wolfsburg edition even introduce relatively fat sway bars.

Perhaps this is a result of a childhood in farm country but when I think of fall I think of County Fairs and hay season. A quintessential part of my experience is rattling some old flatbed, RWD farm truck to town with a load of bails. A Ford F100 or Dodge Sweptline with what some call ‘patina’ conjures images of fall for me.

Lastly, cold weather begets turbochargers as nothing takes advantage of a dense air charge like those drafty little buggers. And if you want that boost kick you want an unadulterated, boost-laggy, ’80s turbo car. I would reccomend a Saab 900 Turbo, Dodge Omni GLH (maybe that’s an itch unique to my tastes), or a Volvo 240 turbo (perhaps a 242GT, or do I ask for too much). These are also the cars that come out when your summer car goes away, bittersweet but often they’re the friendly faces you didn’t realize you missed during the summer months.

Ryan Mundt
Ryan Mundt(@rjmundt)
8 years ago
Reply to  Xander Cesari

Absolutely, Xander! The cars above are summer cars. Fall has something really different. Definitely the SAAB 900 that Jake submitted below, but my car for autumn has got to be the E320 wagon. Perhaps a bit of a wild card but I image taking slow rides through the state park to see the autumn leaves.

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari(@xander18)
8 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Mundt

You can definitely get cozy in it!

Xander Cesari
Xander Cesari(@xander18)
8 years ago
Reply to  Ryan Mundt

You can definitely get cozy in it!

Future Doc
Future Doc(@futuredoc)
8 years ago

Karmann Ghia anyone? I think if you are going to go VW, the KG has more style.

Fiat 124 would be up there as well. And for a cruiser, I think the Oldmobile Cutlass should be in the conversation as well for a cruiser.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason(@joshclason)
8 years ago
Reply to  Future Doc

The Ghia is a very nice choice.

Eddie Relvas
Eddie Relvas(@eddie124)
8 years ago
Reply to  Future Doc

Another vote for the 124, but then again I am biased… 😉 I’ve just done exactly the sort of inspired autumn drive through country roads a couple of days ago in mine, and it’s absolute bliss… when you just want to cruise, it purrs sweetly. When the red mist descends, drop down a cog or two and get it screaming through the bends. The roar as it goes beyond 4k is simply awesome!
The KG is a nice choice too… and much classier than the Beetle.

Patrick Mussotte
Patrick Mussotte(@jefcostello)
8 years ago

The Jaguar E type :D. I would prefer a coupe but it’s okay for the roadster.

8 years ago

None of those cars stirred up my desire to go drive down a back road. This is a pretty uninspired list if you ask me.

Josh Clason
Josh Clason(@joshclason)
8 years ago
Reply to  jecollins

What would you choose?

Kevin Wahaus
Kevin Wahaus(@wahaudi)
8 years ago

I’d take the Jag, but any convertible will do. My Audi Cabriolet works just fine, thank you.