Hooniverse Asks- What's the Best Car for a Drive-In Movie?

These days it’s an activity that’s filled with nostalgia, although at one time it was how families, and teens seeking to fog up their car windows, spent Friday and Saturday nights. Enjoying some Cinemascope goodness in the comfort of your own car was a uniquely American experience, perhaps engendered by our dual preferences for enormous cars and uninhibited laziness. Whether giant or compact, there are certain attributes that  make one car a better viewing venue than others, and if you had a hankering to hang a speaker on your window and lose popcorn down your center console, what car would be the best to do it in?
Where I live, there used to be 6 drive-in movie theaters within about a five-mile radius. However, within the past 20 years, they’ve all been bulldozed and replaced with shopping centers, tract homes, or industrial parks. These days, the remaining ones of which I’m aware hold swap meets in lieu of sword and sandal cinema, making them perfect places to pick up some knock-off Crocs, but not to see Crocodile Dundee. That’s not to say that there still aren’t a few places left to watch a movie in your car, if you know where to look.
One requirement of a good drive-in car is a commodious passenger compartment, necessary for spreading out and preventing nut-bunching from extended sitting. A good-sized trunk is helpful if you and your fiends lack the fundage to get everybody in on their own ticket, and cup holders for your extra-large sodas, or also snuck-in brewskis, should be on your checklist too.
If you’re interests lean more toward fumbling in rumble seats or rumbling in fumble seats, then you might want to consider glass area,not so much for screen vision as for the fogging square footage requirements while attempting to divine the mechanism for unhooking a bra or getting a partner’s ankles over their ears without you becoming the main attraction.
So, if you could go to a drive in to catch a flick, and had a choice of which car in which to do it, what would be the best choice?
Image sources: [tvtropes.org,  DesktopNexus.com]

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50 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's the Best Car for a Drive-In Movie?”

  1. tonyola Avatar

    There is one correct answer if you have blatant disregard for the people who have to park behind you – a windowless fullsize van with a small rear-facing sofa (or a bed) in the back. Back the thing into the parking slot, open up both rear doors and you have a panoramic view of the screen while having privacy from the sides.

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Our local drive-in has a big cars at the back policy, but that's a good call. Preferably with the Don't Come Knocking bumper sticker.

    2. dmilligan Avatar

      Funny you should say that. I used to take our gang to the drive-in in one of the International Travelalls that my dad used for his bus line. It had a steel basket on the roof that was as big as the roof, and you could sit up there wrapped in a blanket and laying on some sleeping bags for a great view. And yes, we had to park near the back unless there weren't a lot of cars, then we could sneak up closer without getting hassled.

      1. 35mm Avatar

        I didn't know you could sneak anywhere in a Travelall.

  2. P161911 Avatar

    I actually went to a drive-in last year for the first time in at least 30 years. There is a nice little one in Blue Ridge, GA up in the mountains. My wife insisted we take the Z3. I'm not sitting for 2+ hours in the Corbeau seats if I don't have to. I managed to fit a couple of lawn chairs, an ice chest, and a small boom box in the trunk. That set-up worked OK.
    I would recommend a 1967 Imperial Convertible (see my avatar), but with the biggest and best sound system you can afford. Drive-ins no longer have the little speakers you hang on the car but broadcast the sound on FM. Big trunk, lots of room, and semi-private with the top up.
    <img src="http://www.dealsonwheels.com/images//barcode/00394146E19_1.jpg"&gt;
    The Swan Drive-In: http://www.swan-drive-in.com/

    1. engineerd Avatar

      The Raptor may be the correct answer for nearly every question.

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        Only when the correct answer isn't a Ford GT.

        1. SSurfer321 Avatar

          Somebody needs to create a flow chart for typical Hooniverse Asks responses.
          "Ford Raptor"
          "Ford GT"

          1. engineerd Avatar

            This is the most excellent idea of the day.

          2. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

            Great idea!

    2. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      I just spent close to the better part of this week at Dearborn Truck Assembly Plant, and drooled over every Raptor. My co-workers even started referring to it as "your truck".

      1. muthalovin Avatar

        I would +1 you more if I had the PAH!
        That is awesome.

      2. rocketrodeo Avatar

        Yep, they were the hot set of keys in the test fleet for the last couple years, for sure. I have been paid to drive a Raptor.

  3. engineerd Avatar

    Any '50s or '60s full size car will do. However, I chose the Buick Electra for it's extra mean scowl to keep the damn kids away with their rock music and dancing. Just let me enjoy the movie you hooligans!
    <img src="http://www.willys-mb.co.uk/images/vintage-cars/buick-electra-l.jpg&quot; style="width: 600px; height: 338px; border: 0pt none;" alt="imgTag">
    On another note, having fun with commas completely changes the meaning of a sentance:
    "…although at one time it was how families, and teens, seeking to fog up their car windows spent Friday and Saturday nights."
    This may only be appropriate for drive-ins in certain parts of the country.

    1. zaddikim Avatar

      The sword isn't best by the mere pen – the comma is all powerful!

  4. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    A Jeep with the top and windshield both folded down.
    <img src="http://my.project-jk.com/data/506/medium/Jeep_Windshield_down_front_view.jpg&quot; width="480">

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Also, if there are only two people going, either a Brat's jumpseats or a pickup with a Bedryder (more comfy, and an optional center armrest/cooler!) Although, if it rains, you can put the top up on the Jeep and get shelter without turning the vehicle around.
      <img src="http://bedryder.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/.pond/BRiders.jpg.w300h201.jpg"&gt;

      1. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

        If you've ever tried to put up the top on a Wrangler in a storm, you know this to be more for show and not really for safety. Damn thing takes some effort in good weather…

  5. Syrax Avatar

    The Stilo is not that big inside but the SkyWindow is very useful.
    <img src="http://quatrorodas.abril.com.br/imagem/stilob2.jpg"/&gt;

  6. Alff Avatar

    If on a date, a panel van. Otherwise, I'll go with the '63 Impala coupe a high school friend drove. It was already lowered, so the 3 or 4 guys hidng in the trunk weren't obvious. The 'glassed spare tire well with drain plug was a nice custom touch – you could easily fit three cases of beer in it.

  7. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Can't believe it, I think I'm gonna have to go with the same answer for a second Hooniverse Asks. Ok, I'll have to park at the back, but with a front seat view like this, who cares? Plus, you don't have to go far to get to the bathroom, and ample beer stowage.
    <img src="http://www.neoplan.info/megaliner2000_gallery/neoplan%20megaliner%202000_69.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. scroggzilla Avatar

      And there's enough room for a Roman orgy.

      1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
        Peter Tanshanomi

        Hey! Settle down and watch the movie!

      2. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

        Best post-move sex I ever had was immediately after Risky Business. I love that film for so many reasons, from 928 U-Boat, through Rebecca DeMornay and to the Tangerine Dream soundtrack. And for the effect it seemed to have on my Girlfriend.
        Oh yeah, the potential for shenanigans on a Megaliner is immense. In fact, I hereby nominate the first Hoonibus.

  8. longrooffan Avatar

    While this may not be the best vehicle for everyone, it sure was the best one for me. Nod Nod Wink Wink
    <img src="http://www.nybclub.org/membercars/74-78/christopherrhinehart/1977T-C/image01.jpg"end&gt;

  9. BGW Avatar

    This sounds like a job for the Vista Cruiser!

  10. Alff Avatar

    What kind of movie are we talking about?
    <img src="http://www.stjohncarrental.com/Dodge%20Nitro.jpg"&gt;

    1. engineerd Avatar

      OK, that just nearly made me spew my lunchtime microbrew on the keyboard.

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Great inside joke reference. Excuse me, "meme."

    3. zaddikim Avatar


  11. Baron Von Danger Avatar
    Baron Von Danger

    I use to do that all the time with my F150 XLT. Dropped a futon mattress, cooler, and a radio in the back and parked backwards in the drive-in space.

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      As kids we saw Jaws II, Orca, and a bunch of other late 70's summer "Block-buster" movies in the back of a Chevy C10 and an F-150. It was a 2 hour drive to the nearest drive-in theater in Sacramento, but boy was it soooo worth it.
      A side trip to Sambo's restaurant always kept us kids happy & somewhat under control. Riding home late at night in the back of the pickup feeling the warm evening breeze on your face with the million stars above were some of the best simple pleasures of life. Parents even had a CB radio and PA for traveling entertainment.

  12. Matt Avatar

    Those back seats remind me of E.T. for some reason…

  13. Alff Avatar

    Oh, but someone did.

  14. SSurfer321 Avatar

    Please see Tanshanomi's response to himself in post #5 🙁

  15. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    Whatever. It wasn't a picture of a BRAT.

  16. fisheater Avatar

    Windows just get in the way.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/Mazda_RX-5_superlight_version.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. Alff Avatar

      It's been a while since Brokeback Mountain was in theaters.

  17. Texan_Idiot25 Avatar

    Obvious answer is the back of a pickup (or two). Swing the doors open for sound, throw a bench seat in the bed, and you and 10 other people can cram in.
    <img src= "http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc1/hs175.snc1/6574_1182706297382_1519954933_479522_750153_n.jpg&quot; >

    1. skitter Avatar

      Or an actual couch off your porch, if parked sideways.

  18. Buickboy92 Avatar

    The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner!
    [youtube vNrMPrH4Pl4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vNrMPrH4Pl4 youtube]

  19. dragon951 Avatar

    The family Chrysler Town and Country served me well. With the ability to remove the center row of captain's chairs, super tinted windows, and a fairly decent sound system, it was tough to beat. Plus about a hundred cup holders, and an outlet for a mini-fridge. Whether at the drive in, or say the Science Museum of Minnesota parking lot, this baby always had you covered.
    <img src="http://www.edmunds.com/pictures/VEHICLE/1994/Chrysler/9177/1994.chrysler.townandcountry.2770-300×189.jpg&quot; />

  20. Froggmann_ Avatar

    <img src="http://i133.photobucket.com/albums/q53/Froggmann/Shows/Fab%20Fords%202010/Web/IMG_4383-1.jpg&quot; size="600" />
    Bronco with a soft top. The bed is the size of a queen sized mattress, with the top down you are able to view the movie comfortably and when the movie has lost it's charm, just put the top up for some more interesting entertainment.
    You can only guess how I know this…

  21. Alff Avatar

    One thing i know … I wouldn't drive a Volkswagen CC to the movie in the lead photo, out of fear of the scene shown.

  22. Spencedaddy Avatar

    1979 Lincoln Continental MarkV
    my first car, and those seats….oh god….like a driving couch, would be perfecccct for a drive in…parking could get rough though…
    mines mint too 😉

    1. Death By Cornbread Avatar
      Death By Cornbread

      Ah fack, sorry, first time poster.

  23. Elise @ Crocs Warehouse Avatar

    Hello there, just wandered by. I have a Crocs site. Truly more information than you can imagine on the web. Not quite what i was looking for, but great site. Take care.