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What cars give ‘old money’ vibes?

Here are some of our picks

There are cars that give off a certain aura, and these are a few that give off the 'old money' vibe. PHOTO BY PATTY MORATO-ROA

A few automobiles have seemingly made it to the threshold of “coach” or “carriage” status. By this, we mean cars that have withstood the test of time due to their austere elegance and dignified physique.

They hold their own and command attention, thanks to impeccable maintenance by their usually more senior-aged drivers with equally impeccable road temperament. Their owners tend to possess “old rich” characteristics that come with an aversion to anything too flashy or obvious. Instead, they let the patina in their pedigree and polished upbringing do the talking.

Other parts of the world like the United Kingdom, for example, might present a more extravagant list of old-money cars. But given our type of roads, daily traffic, and weather conditions, here are a few of our own candidates:

The 911's timeless silhouete is what makes it stick. PHOTOS BY JUSTIN YOUNG AND MANSKEE NASCIMENTO


1. Porsche 911 (any year). Not many sports cars hold value quite like an air-cooled, manual-transmission Porsche 911. Heck, not many sports cars hold value quite like the Porsche 911 in general.

Nothing's more head-turning than an old European convertible. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA

2. Mercedes-Benz cabriolets (vintage) and other classic convertibles. These would be the quintessential weekend show-horses and probably the most high-maintenance sports cars on this list. They are likely reserved for those with a knack for restoration and upkeep, especially the ones with the whitewall tires.

We'd dock points off for tacky aftermarket wheels. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA


1. Toyota Alphard (2008-2015). The older model in particular represents a quieter type of luxury. It’s reliable and is probably viewed as one of the “newer” cars currently owned by families within the demographic. It would be no surprise that a Toyota was the choice replacement for their older minivan that had just breathed its last after running through the city and to the vacation home on the weekends.

Well-maintained Camrys are owned either by enthusiasts or by wise rich people. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA AND PATTY MORATO-ROA

2. Toyota Camry (any year). The Camry has a distinctively Asian following. Whether it’s in India, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand or the Philippines, there’s either a decade-old or a brand new one transporting a wealthy but sensible Asian auntie around town.

Of course, Lexus sedans are for those who want perfection. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA AND SAM SURLA

3. Lexus executive sedans (ES, GS, and LS). The perfect combination of power, understated elegance, and reliability. These Lexus sedans are like CEOs doing some serious work.

Having a Euro wagon means you have fine taste for something fun and practical. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA AND MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

4. The European wagon. Estate vehicles come with a backstory rooted in England. The roomy cabin space was a preference for owners living in larger estates outside of the city. They signify a softer representation of affluence that carries on to the present day.

Nothing stirs the soul like an old Bimmer. PHOTOS BY SIMONN ANG AND MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

5. BMW 3-Series (E30); 5-Series E34 (1987-1996) and E39 (1995-2003). “Classic” is their middle name. These BMW models still hit hard when maintained to pristine condition. They command an unbeatably dignified presence (and probably will for as long as they can).

It's common for Land Cruisers to keep on chugging long after other SUVs have died. PHOTOS BY PATTY MORATO-ROA AND MANSKEE NASCIMENTO


1. Toyota Land Cruiser (any model). It’s the epitome of rugged luxury combined with superior reliability and power. The Land Cruiser is the only SUV on this list that retains a high resale price, and even appreciates in looks and value over time.

Having one of these back in the day meant you were big-time. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA AND PATTY MORATO-ROA

2. Ford full-size SUVs. These are the last of the classic all-American engines. Although known to be gas-guzzlers, they’re built like homey tanks. The comfort of the ride is a fair trade-off according to affluent mathematics.

Reliability aside, these old Land Rovers scratch a certain itch that others cannot. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA AND PATTY MORATO-ROA

3. Land Rover/Range Rover (classic models). These would be the SUV counterparts of the BMW sedans. They are the embodiments of “classic” in SUV form. However, a caveat: They are highly dependent on proper maintenance.

There are obviously more examples than what we listed in this article. PHOTOS BY SAM SURLA AND MANSKEE NASCIMENTO

While some may not agree with every item on the list, the sensibilities behind their owners are what we can likely agree on and even possibly admire. The old-money vibe is not for aesthetics. It’s an actual lifestyle, born out of a balance between frugality and practicality. There is a deep appreciation for art and historic value over price, and it is heavily influenced by old-fashioned principles.

Focusing on education, investing in real estate, reinforcing business and social integrity, as well as strengthening family traditions—these values rank the highest. Conversely, flexing of wealth, making spontaneous purchases, and vulgar social displays are considered to be inferior impulses.

Because old-money values entail a belief that quality decisions take time, the impatience and the restlessness to attain the latest or the trendiest at all costs are likely nonexistent.

In the world of the scrupulously wealthy, replacing a reliable, well-dressed, dignified coach for the newest one simply isn’t necessary—until it actually is.

Patty Morato-Roa

Patty had an early career as a TV and print model. She was also immersed in the motoring world at a young age having spent her childhood around annual car shows. She has worked as an editorial assistant, and dabbles in photography as well. She’s a wife of an avid motorcycle rider and a mom of two.