Home » Shitboxes Killed The Radio Star: LUV vs Conquest vs Cutlass vs Sportage

Shitboxes Killed The Radio Star: LUV vs Conquest vs Cutlass vs Sportage

Sbsd 10 20 2023
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Happy Friday, Autopians! It’s time for another four-way shootout, and another made-up scenario to help you choose. Today is all about star power, as we choose a car fit for a music video. Don’t worry; I’ll explain.

But we need our fourth contender first.

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I confess, this one surprises me. The little Korean cookie tin on wheels? Really? All right; you want the Kia, you get the Kia. Personally, I like the idea of taking even more stuff off the X-90 and making it an off-road toy, but the Sportage wins fair and square.

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All right, so we have our foursome, now we need our scenario. Our very own rock star, Stephen Walter Gossin, is filming a video for the first single, “Love Is A Pick-N-Pull,” off his new album Stratus Fear, and he needs a cast of thousands, or at least thousands of dollars’ worth of crappy old cars, for a giant spectacle that he describes as being “one part Thriller and one part Cannonball Run.” Grandiose plans, to be sure, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s our man Gossin.

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And he wants you to be a part of it! All you have to do is choose one of these four cars to drive in the video, and be willing to take direction from the ghost of Hal Needham (whom Stephen has conjured up to coordinate the stunts in this masterpiece; we didn’t ask how) and possibly get a little banged up in the process. Hey, they’re only shitboxes, right? Choose wisely, or end up on the cutting room floor. Let’s recap the cars, so you know what you’re dealing with.

1982 Chevrolet LUV Diesel

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Pros: Dependable, photogenic, conveys that “working-class hero” vibe

Cons: Kinda slow to use for stunts

Who doesn’t love an earnest little pickup truck? It’s useful, humble, and sturdy – virtues all. This little Chevy (well, in name) would make a stout little workhorse, just as it doubtless has for the past forty-one years. Sure, it’s not the speediest thing, but semi trucks, ships, and trains use diesels for a reason; diesel engines pull. Horsepower is what sells, but torque is what does the work.

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For our purposes, however, what matters isn’t that this is a good honest little truck; what matters is that it looks like one. And it would look great kicking up plumes of dust on some dirt road somewhere. It wouldn’t be very convincing in a chase scene, but maybe we could speed up the film?

1984 Plymouth Conquest

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Pros: Looks like it was pulled straight out of a junkyard, fun to drive

Cons: None, really, for these purposes

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Now, this car was, of course, featured in the second Cannonball Run movie, driven by none other than Jackie Chan. This one looks more like it belongs in a post-apocalyptic George Miller movie than a Hal Needham comedy, but it runs and drives just fine, and it has enough power to pull off some fun maneuvers.

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I may not have grown up with cars like this, but I’m beginning to see the appeal. It has a great retro-futuristic vibe to it, with the digital gauges and pop-up lights. In one way, it would be a shame to mess up a car like this for the sake of a video stunt, but it would also immortalize it pulling off something really cool.

1978 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon

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Pros: Wildly photogenic, “coolest” car here

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Cons: Too nice to smash up

And speaking of cool-looking cars, how about an American rear-wheel-drive coupe with rally wheels and white-letter tires? Just shoot a close-up of the rear wheel spinning from a standing start – it’s the automotive equivalent of a good power chord.

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Of course, you’ll have to film that scene on dirt, or gravel, because there’s no way the 140-horse Chevy 305 V8 in this thing is going to break those BF Goodriches loose on dry pavement. But looking cool is more important than going fast, at least in this scenario.

2000 Kia Sportage

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Pros: Rear-wheel-drive for on-camera sideways shenanigans, no guilt over smashing it up

Cons: You have to be filmed driving a Kia

Did you ever notice that in ’70s and ’80s TV shows that when a car crashes or goes over a cliff or something, right before it gets smashed all to hell, it changes from whatever cool “hero” car was in the last scene to some nasty old clunker that just happens to be the same color and roughly the same shape? Well, there’s a chance we might need one of those for this shoot.

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Actually, this little Kia, with its rear-wheel-drive and 130 horsepower Mazda-designed motor, could make for some fun chase-scene action, maybe driven by one of the bad guy’s henchmen. Get it sideways a few times, have it almost catch up to the hero, and then send it to Valhalla, preferably airborne, possibly upside-down.

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Actually, I bet we could come up with some pretty good car-chase scenes involving all four of these. But the cameras are rolling, Stephen is ready to rock, and Hal Needham’s ghost is impatiently tapping his ethereal foot and looking at his watch. It’s time to choose your ride for the big scene. What’ll it be?

(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
7 months ago

My vote is for the Conquest… because IT CONQUERS ALL!!!

Dirk from metro Atlanta
Dirk from metro Atlanta
7 months ago

I went with the elderly Sportage because I remember seeing these first ones, found they were frame-on-body small trucks and figured “well that’s got some… utility anyway.” I’ll admit it’s partly out of pity, but the others don’t really rock my world. Although the Olds fastback is a little cooler than I remember.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
7 months ago

They can also run over utility poles quite nicely.

This may have been something we got a salesman to let us do back in the day to prove just what they could do (and because he was curious himself).

The motors are also Mazda F-family. Good and stout.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
7 months ago

I voted LUV because I LUV it and it can do LUVely things in the video; and I will never get sick of making these jokes
Also, “Cons: You have to be filmed driving a Kia”
That’s my new favorite line of yours…Thanks Mark!
P.S. The Kia should automatically default to being blown up after driving off a cliff since you mentioned that w/ the Kia ha ha

Last edited 7 months ago by Freelivin2713
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
7 months ago

Conquest perfect for an aging used up hard partying rocking roller. But for stunts all 4 and a trebuche.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
7 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

You’re guaranteed a good time when someone walks in with a trebuche.

JDE
JDE
7 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

And a Cannonball run 2 tribute car.

Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
7 months ago

For the purpose of getting destroyed for entertainment, it’s the Kia. I like the rest of the group too much to kill them.

Dirk from metro Atlanta
Dirk from metro Atlanta
7 months ago
Reply to  Boxing Pistons

I honestly don’t get the issues people have with this one. There’s really nothing wrong with it. Some spots on the driver’s seat. No visible rust, tiny dent on the rear passenger side door. The flippin’ AC works!

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
7 months ago

I’d take that Olds for sure, take out the “peanut butter camshaft” 305, and put in cheap 350 with a hotter cam and throw a shift kit in the transmission. Then throw as much G-Body (also RWD A-Body) bushings, suspension parts, bracing, brake, and steering upgrades that you can afford.

These old A and G bodies handle so bad stock (and old/worn out) that believe it or not an actual “upgrade” is to take a steering box out of a grand cherokee to improve the steering…

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