The Ten Most Miami Cars on the Road

In Miami, "transportation" means cars — yours, a friend's, your parents', whomever's. We have no functional public transit system to speak of, and getting into a cab basically means paying an eccentric stranger a ridiculous amount of money to drive you three miles and nearly kill you 14 or 15 times along the way. And because everyone here is driving himself, with about 2.5 million people in Miami-Dade County, there are a lot of cars roaming around.

But they're not all special, unique snowflakes. There are ten types of car in Miami that you see more than anywhere else. Chances are you have the keys to one right now.

Here are the ten most Miami cars on the road.

See also: How Miami Are You? Ten Ways to Tell

10. Jeep Wrangler Sport

If people were allowed to drive on the sands of Miami Beach, the number of Wranglers in Miami would make a bit more sense. In spite of their outrageous fuel consumption and the tremendous redundancy of having a four-by-four vehicle that's basically gone unchanged since its use in World War II, these forerunners of the modern Hummer have been the everyman's means of feeling like he's on safari on Biscayne Boulevard.

9. Early to mid-'90s Cadillac Eldorado

These are the street-faring steel boats that simply refuse to die. They fit into the era that rests between Cadillac's past glory days and its slick, contemporary reinvention, a period that only the owners of these apparently eternal cars are convinced will someday be considered classic. But as easy as it is to slander them, you have to give credit where it's due. These Caddies were built to last, with the one pictured above pushing over 200,000 miles and still running strong, screaming belts and all. Plus, how can you deny the wonderfully sleazy charm of that candy-apple-red paint job under a creamy vinyl roof?

8. Volkswagen Beetle (New Era)

Sometimes called "the chonga tortuga," this bubbly revision of the classic VW that was the sprightly ancestor of the Porsche 911 was immediately popular among young Miamians, as well as their parents, who saw it as a cute, reliably sexless car that was too little for their kids to kill anyone and big enough for them not to get liquified upon their first inevitable impact. But then came those goddamn eyelashes, and everything changed. Ever since, the bug has held its ground in Miami and is likely to continue batting its prosthetic eyelashes at your rear-view mirror for years to come.

7. Honda CBR1000RR (2-Wheeled Exception)

You ever wonder about those screaming fighter jets on wheels, splitting lanes on I-95 with some asshole wearing shorts and sandals and a vanity helmet with a neon-green Mohawk at 122 mph? Generally speaking, they're Japanese sportbikes, sometimes referred to as "cholo steeds," and often as not, they're 1,000 CC Hondas built to racing specs. In reality, there isn't any good reason for anyone who isn't a professional racer wearing a fully protective suit and driving on a track to be pushing a 1,000 CC to those kinds of speeds. But hey, what is Miami without ludicrous, dangerous degrees of excess, right?

6. Late-'90s Ford Mustang Convertible

Maybe you knew a friend whose dad had one of these when you were all growing up. Maybe his dad knew you called it the "Hialeah Ferrari," and even though it was mostly an affectionate nickname, you could tell his dad always wanted to beat you about the head with a tire iron whenever he saw the scarcely restrained smile you wore when you referred to it as such. Yes, both cars have prancing ponies for their emblems, but they do not have the same pedigree. Still, the 'Stang has plenty of soul for what it lacks in things such as performance engineering and exquisite Italian design, and it will always hold a special place in the hearts of all us kids who grew up hearing that bellowing V8.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Travis Cohen is a writer for Miami New Times and covers subjects ranging from arts and architecture to marijuana and monkeys with herpes. He graduated with honors from Vanderbilt University with a bachelor's degree in English in 2012 and began working with New Times shortly thereafter. He was born and raised in Miami.