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  • Bill Antonitis

The Cars With Whom I’d Most Like to Have Dinner

After Scott Murdock dropped his monumental “My Mount Rushmore” piece, the Everyday Driver writers started brainstorming. Generally, we should be discouraged from this sort of thing, but we came up with something fun we hope you’ll enjoy. We decided to make discussing our favorite cars into a series of posts. Here’s my entry, which, per usual, starts with a story.

I remember when I was in college, the school paper interviewed students and asked “who are the four people you’d most like to have dinner with?” (The grammatically inclined might question my choice of undergraduate institution.) I always wanted to be asked but never was, and my dinner list has changed throughout the years. Currently, I’d invite John Coltrane, Georges St. Pierre, Abbie Eaton, and Tina Fey.

And what if each guest showed up in one of my favorite cars? Sort of like uber-enthusiast Jerry Seinfeld’s show, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. In case you haven’t already discerned it, comedy, cars, and coffee comprise the show. Must see TV.

I enjoy the show, and it helped me realize that if I could own any cars I want, I’d actually like to spend time with them, getting to know them beyond their reputations—dine with them, if you will. As the aforementioned talents would make for an interesting table, these cars would make for an amazing garage.

The Artist

John Coltrane is my favorite musician because of his passion, virtuosity, and versatility. He somehow balances raw, emotional bebop playing with classy, detailed attention to jazz standards. While not a “jazzy” car, I think the Mercedes E63 AMG wagon best represents how I feel about his music. While I would have loved to meet him to discuss playing with Miles Davis, his practice regimen for the sax, and finding God through artistic expression, I’d just as readily listen to Soultrane while gliding comfortably home from work. Better yet, I’d rock his rendition of “My Favorite Things” while ripping down the road in this German twin-turbo V8—with room for gig equipment in the back.

The Nerdy Badass

UFC Hall of Famer George St. Pierre is an exceptional athlete, elite martial artist, and a compassionate anti-bullying advocate. He is also a not-so-closet dork who studies UFOs and once hosted a paleontology show on Canadian TV. What vehicle exemplifies GSP’s rugged athleticism and curious interest to explore remote areas? The Ford Bronco Raptor, of course. I would love to spend time with this SUV because, like the fighter, it can seemingly handle anything while also not taking itself too seriously. Blasting through the desert with no roof or doors in search of dinosaur bones? Yes, please!

The Driver

Focused, fast, at home with wealthy British petrolheads. Abbie Eaton would be an excellent addition to my guest list because of these abilities. I know she could share some excellent stories about racing, testing awesome cars, and hanging out with Clarkson, Hammond, and May. And what is the fastest car she drove around the Eboladrome? The McLaren Senna, of course. Like Abbie, the Senna is able to set lighting-fast lap times. Like Ayrton, this car is destined to be legendary. It’s a little creepy to me that McLaren owns the rights to his name. That wouldn’t stop me from wanting to own this car, however.

The Whimsical Genius

In Comedians, Jerry Seinfeld picks up Tina Fey in a Volvo P1800, explaining, “I don’t know if you get it, but this car is you! It’s sensible and fun!” They then display the ability to devour lots decadent food, which is a prerequisite for my potential dinner guests. Other prerequisites include humor, wit, and the ability to share. The new GR86, like Fey, is, indeed, sensible and fun. But like Fey’s work, it is also sharp, playful, and collaborative. As Tina Fey and Robert Carlock teamed up to create 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Toyota and Subaru continue to create cars that make you laugh like no others.

A Surprise Guest

All but one of the cars I chose are relatively attainable. Does that make me boring? I don’t know. But I do know that cars, like people, are not that interesting to me if they are one dimensional. Some celebrities are famous mainly for being famous—i.e., attractive influencers adept at making money. Similarly, the “Lambos” and “Raris” of the world are sights to see, to be sure, but I don’t know if I’d want to spend that much time with one.

So what extremely outrageous vehicle would I buy if money were no object? All enthusiasts have one. It should come as no surprise mine’s a little different. I’ll drop the dinner guest construct for this one. I would love to own…

a firetruck!

That’s right. Many years ago I worked for a dealership that carried trucks from Pierce Fire Apparatus and Medtec Ambulances. I was in marketing, and I got to go to visit the manufacturing plant in Wisconsin. It was so cool. I got to see how bodies were fitted to frames, how different rigs came together, and, best of all, I got to sit in a bunch of trucks. This is probably even more fun as an adult than as a kid. My favorite part? It’s that you can sit in the captain’s chair of a million-dollar firetruck, its interior decked out like a space shuttle, and there’s a pull-string coming up from the floor. When I asked what it’s for, the rep explained, “It’s so the captain can ring the bell during a parade”. There’s actually a string. Attached to a big chrome bell. That’s affixed to the front bumper. Sold.

The Next Course

Let’s keep this going! What cars would you buy if money were no object? Would you pair them with people who inspire you? If so, then who? Come back next week to see the next writer’s picks!

Bill hosts a blog and YouTube channel that lead him to think more deeply about what it means to drive. The views and opinions expressed here are his own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.

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