QotW: Who would you pick, living or dead, to go for a drive with, and in what car?

Picking a a famous person to hang with is well worn question territory, but we’re going to add our automotive twist to it. You can choose anyone, living or dead, to take a spin in the motor vehicle of your choice. It might be fun to blow a brilliant mind like Leonardo Da Vinci’s in a Mazda Miata, have Kunimitsu Takahashi show you the ropes in a Hakosuka GT-R, or take 1990s Demi Moore on a date in your S13. The possibilities are endless.

Who would you pick, living or dead, to go for a drive with, and in what car?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What lower-spec car would you be willing to own?“.

There were some great answers to last week’s question, and we loved the fact that they were all over the map, from TheJWT‘s base model to Honda Today to the 555jay‘s NSX (and bonus points for the Star Trek reference). Steve offered a number of choices, from CRX HF to Camry, while Jonathon P. came out of left field with a Geo Storm. Many opted for simplicity over complexity, always a smart choice for a classic car, like Mitch‘s non-turbo FC, or Taylor C.‘s non-4WS Prelude Si, naturally aspirated Z32 and Hiace Super Custom. Sometimes it just came down to rarity, when any trim of a particular chassis is hard to find, like Lupus‘ Stagea or nihonnotekko‘s Mazda HB. And then there are the nostalgic choices, such as streetspirit‘s shortnose Kenmeri.

Some cars are just legendary enough that rare trim levels are interesting enough in themselves. It’s hard to achieve that status, but that’s the case with the Toyota AE86 Lime and Lissé, as chosen by Art:

Either the Corolla Levin GL Lime AE85 or the Sprinter Trueno XL Lissé AE85. It sounds strange willing to own an AE85, but just imagine how insanely rare these cars are!

First of all, Toyota produced 364,758 AE86es versus only 78,523 AE85es. This means only 1 out of 5 Levins or Truenos were an AE85. Then the GL Lime and XL Lissé were trim levels that were aimed for women drivers. This meant it featured special interior (Lime and Lissé embroided in the fabric on the zenki) with a driver vanity mirror, height adjustable driving seat and driving aids as power steering and aircon. It also featured accessories like shoe organizer box that would fit in the passenger footwell! Yes, the Toyota product managers really must have thought very different about women in the 1980s! Unsurprisingly, these cars sold in really low numbers.

Most of the AE85es have been converted to 4A-GE over the past decades as these cars were generally not drifted during their normal use and have an unstressed body. Do it is really hard to find an original AE85. It is even rarer to find a GL Lime or GL Lissé. There has been one for sale on Goo-net for years now, but that car already received a 20 valve treatment years ago. I would love to own one all original just to preserve such a timecapsule from 1980s Japan!

Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!

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15 Responses to QotW: Who would you pick, living or dead, to go for a drive with, and in what car?

  1. Fred Langille says:

    Well … this is not actually dealing with a JDM car or, any famous person but, it DO meet the criteria of the question asked. In fact, this question could only have been answered, like I am doing now, these past few weeks!

    You see, it began in 1960’s , I forget the exact year but, I think I was either in eighth grade or a high school freshman at the time, when my late parents and I were watching our favorite family night show The Price Is Right with the emcee, Bill Cullen. It wasn’t the show you see now with games etc, It had a panel and each contestant had bid on high end items that could be considered in the millionaire’s neighborhood of shopping!

    At that time, my Dad had become enamored with the Mercedes-Benz 190SL, the baby brother of the 300SL roadster and gull wing coupe. So, when it was announced that there was to be a drawing for a 190SL during the show at the end of the month well, dear old Dad just marshalled his troops (he had just retied as a Chief Gunner’s Mate in the USCG) and we sent in 1,500 postcards during that 30 day’s time.

    Comes time for the drawing, when the night’s winner was to be announced, the game winner was asked what state he was from. “Idaho”, he said I believe and THAT’S where the winner of the 190SL was drawn!

    My Dad did NOT hit the roof … he accellerated immediately to lightspeed, he was so mad! After aabout 15 minutes of colorful mighty oaths and vile imprecations, like only a sailor could do, he got on the phone to call CBS in New York City (we lived on The Jersey Shore) and DEMANDED to talk to Bill Cullen!

    He never did … he never got a 190SL. Over 50 years later, while speaking with a former high school classmate at our 50th reunion, he remarked that my late mother mentioned at his funeral that ” … I wish I’d let him get his sports car.”

    Although, I have a basic interest in Asian cars, with a ’22 Hyundai Kona and, of course, our ubiquitious Nissan S-Cargo, I have had other marques … including several german ones throughout my driving lifetime. Not so much for Mercedes-Benz, especially those iconic SL’s but, I never got Dad’s desire for one out of my mind.

    So, when looking for a suitable 380SL for a friend on CARFAX, I spotted a 230SLK … I mentioned it to him and, tho he considered it a good car, it wasn’t that collectible. I read up on the car and, noted that the 230SLK (especially the Kompressor model) with it’s vario roof top, was a DIRECT descendant to the 190SL!

    I lost that one but, got the one on CARFAX … needs slight sorting out but, runs well and, the Firemist Red paint over charcoal is a better combo than some I had seen.

    So, you see …. Which car would I like to use as per your question? MY 2004 Mercedes-Benz 230SLK and, which famous person? My Dad … he’s famous to me, anyway!

    When we got the car home from the dealer, after a pleasant drive from northern Kentucky and great dinner at a German restaurant, I got a glass of Irish whiskey and, toasted Dad’s picture and said, ” … THIS Mercedes-Benz is for YOU!”

  2. Long Beach Mike says:

    Ayrton Senna
    In a 1991 NSX
    In the rain, of course.

  3. Ian G. says:

    I would love to go for a drive with Jerry Seinfeld where we discuss cars, comics/comedy and he would pick out car for me based on my persona. in my mind I am hoping its something like a Toyota MR-S or any gen Acura Integra. We would be looking to get coffee and our drive is incident free but through some nice mountain roads. We would of course be filming for his show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. I am neither a comedian or aspiring to be. I’ve just always enjoyed that original format and finding out more about my favorite funny people and seeing if they really are quirky irl. Jerry’s knowledge of cars is great too.

  4. Colin mcrae in the r4 that him and a local engineering company were developing

  5. Jim Daniels says:

    When I purchased my 72, Datsun 240Z back in about 1986, it was by far the sportiest vehicle that had been in our family since my Dad was a traveling salesmen obtaining orders from drug stores throughout Northern California. My Dad took over the job when he got out of the Air Force from my Grandfather. My Dad was a GM guy who drove Chevells and Cutlass’s in the late sixty’s and early seventies. My Dad and Grandfather loved driving.

    After I made the deal and obtained my Z from the little old lady from Lake Almanor CA. who drove it to the Country Club Golf Course and to church on Sundays, Dad wanted to drive a true sports car and make sure it was safe for me. So my Dad being a golf-aholic would occasionally drive my orange Z to play golf. Once I even got him to tell me how fast he got it up to and that was just over 100 mph. and he said it seemed safe.

    Marriage and kids came along but I kept the Z. I started a long process of tearing it down for a possible restoration some day while being a Dad to my Two children and dealing with family. Then I realized I would never have the time to build the car I wanted. So, with a lot of begging over a long period I finally got my wife to agree to allow me to have the car built by Pettersen Motorworks. During this time my Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers disease and eventually passed of complications. My Dad never got to ride or drive in my vision of what I transformed my Z into. So, I would take my Dad for a drive in my 240Z from Petaluma CA north on the coast to Astoria OR switching off drivers of course.

  6. Styles says:

    I would go for a drive with my Mum, in my Celica XX. I got that car 12 years ago today, with money that I inherited when she passed away. When I was on my learners and restricted licenses we’d frequently go for drives in her KE70 Corolla wagon, to help me get practice. I suspect that she’d be more comfortable with my driving skill now!

  7. Jonathan P. says:

    I’d take the late Lady Vera Lynn for a drive in an Lexus LS400. Figured luxury and comfort was the way to go. Dunno what we’d talk about, but I’d definitely ask for an autograph from “The Force’s Sweetheart”.

  8. Brandon says:

    I’d ride with Jesus to the track in an TT LS swapped Toyota Starlet with 3 bald tires, a broken wheel stud and drum brakes in the rear.

  9. Alan says:

    L.J.K. Setright in an early NSX. He was a huge Honda guy, and even wrote a compelling article suggesting that Honda, and not Bizzarrini, designed Lamborghini’s original, long-serving and iconic quad cam V12.

    Sayeth the man:

    “the Honda NSX, is sublimely superior to everything. It was exquisitely worked: a whole week of running calculations on a Cray supercomputer went into perfecting the structural stiffness of its stressed sheet aluminium hull; gossamer lattices of forged light alloys formed the most refined of all passive suspensions; the connecting rods within the intricate engine were made out of titanium. There is no need, however, to explore all the car’s details; its virtues are already legendary, where those of famous rivals have often proved mythical.”

  10. speedie says:

    Mazda 787B driven at Le Mans by John Hebert, Volker Wiedler, and Bertrand Gachot. I will be greedy and ask for one lap with each so they can narrate all the turns and tell stories from the 1991 24-hrs winning race.

  11. Joe Momma says:

    I always thought Jennifer Aniston was pretty growing up. Car would be a SW20 T-bar to the Pacific coast on 101 to get some chowder and maybe a surf lesson. Think that would be a nice time up through Waldport on hwy 34 to Pacific City then 26 back through Portland.

  12. Ryan Senensky says:

    I’m from Minneapolis so, naturally, I would want to take our greatest actor James Hong on a ride around Lake Minnetonka in a Toyota Sports 800.

  13. Chet Manley says:

    Oh no question, Ho Chi Minh on a Honda Super Cub with a side car. 10/10 life experience.

  14. Taylor C. says:

    Driving down the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway1) in my old Miata and my wife riding shotgun.

    I really miss driving down the PCH. I used to drive this road back home at the end of each school academic quarter. It is a fantastic drive. To get the full experience, go southbound, as you’d be as close possible to the ocean. Weather year-round is nice, but afternoon would probably be the best, with the sunset.

    I’d take my old NA Miata. I’ve had it close to 18 years now and know it well enough that I’m confident with it, even at over 200k miles. Upgraded suspension, upgraded radio with fresh speakers (including headrest speakers), Nardi wheel and leather shift knob connected to a perfect transmission, top down, exhaust burble, 359degree field of view. Can’t think of a better fuel-sipping 4-cylinder RWD car to carve the country’s edge with.

    And no brainer, wife comes along for the wonderful ride. Being a family man, we don’t get to spend much time cruising around in the Miata, it’s usually the family car. When we were just a couple, it would be so easy to just hop in and go gallivanting. She’s not as into the big wind and direct sunlight, so I’ll make sure it’s a nice ambient 75degF, and i’m not flying down the road.

    Doesn’t get any better than this.

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