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7 Good Cars for Storming Area 51

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author photo by Chris O'Neill August 2019

There's currently a viral Facebook campaign with over 2 million participants signed up to storm Area 51 on September 20th of this year. While this is incredibly stupid and obviously a joke, we see it as our duty to provide advice on the best cars for any and all needs, from getting to and from your office job, to "sightseeing" at the U.S. government's most secretive military compound with 2 million other Facebook users (Seriously, don't do this). So without further ado, we give you -- seven of the toughest, most utilitarian vehicles out there to use in an Area 51 boondoggle.

Ford Crown Victoria

Ford Crown Victoria

There's a reason police departments and taxi fleets relied heavily on the Crown Vic throughout the 1990s and early 2000s -- these things are tough as nails. In fact, many are still in service. With a rigid body-on-frame construction typically reserved for trucks, the Crown Vic can withstand abuse, impacts and vibrations -- like the kind experienced when raging through the desert at high speed, well beyond what a normal, everyday sedan can tolerate. And when they do get damaged, say by catching too much air or plowing over a sand dune at 70 mph -- the frames can be straightened by a frame straightening machine, which will have them back on the road in no time. Under the hood is a 4.6-liter V8 making up to 250 horsepower, depending on model year. If you need a dirt-cheap getaway vehicle that can take a beating, an old Ford Crown Victoria is the way to go, and there are currently close to 300 listed on Autotrader for under $10k. A handful are even listed for under two grand. We bet several already have spotlights mounted and are ready to go. Find a Ford Crown Victoria for sale

Mercedes-Benz W123

Mercedes-Benz W123

The legendary Mercedes-Benz W123 hails from a time when vehicles were built to take more abuse than they see today. A predecessor to the midsize E-Class, the W123 was sold across the world, and sedan, coupe and wagon body styles were offered. While power came from both gas and diesel powertrains, the diesel is the more desirable option given its low-end grunt and remarkable dependability. With close to 2.7 million built from 1976 to 1986, the W123 is still around in droves today, and it's common to see them converted to run on alternative fuels like cooking oils. With thicker metal, more robust components, and the ability to use just about anything for fuel, an old W123 body Mercedes will carry forth into the desert for about as long as you need it to. Owners tend to cherish these old Benzes, and as a result, there are only a few listed for sale on Autotrader. Find a Mercedes-Benz 280 E for sale

Ford Econoline

Ford Econoline

Say your raid is successful (which it certainly will not be) and you make it inside (you won't), you're going to need something capable of transporting the aliens -- or whatever else it is you find. That's where the venerable Ford Econoline, also known as the "E-Series," comes in. Built across four decades, the dependable Ford E-Series is mechanically simplistic and therefore easy to fix and easy to maintain. A variety of strong powertrains are available. On top of all this, the E-Series actually looks kind of cool with a set of utilitarian wheels and all-terrain tires, as shown on the one above. There are hundreds of cheap E-Series vans currently listed on Autotrader. Find a Ford Econoline for sale

Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser

The legendary Toyota Land Cruiser is built to a higher mechanical standard than your average run-of-the-mill full-size SUV. While most vehicles are designed for a 10-year service life, the Land Cruiser is designed to last 25 without needing a major mechanical overhaul. Additionally, the Land Cruiser offers a strong powertrain, loads of space, and a capable 4-wheel-drive system. If they're good enough for Jack Ryan's crew, they're good enough for a trip to a secretive Martian research facility. Or at least as good as any civilian vehicle can be. For quick and dirty work in the desert, we'd recommend the 100 Series, which was built from 1998 to 2007. There are currently around 125 listed for sale on Autotrader, many of which are listed for around $10,000. Find a Toyota Land Cruiser for sale

GMC TopKick

GMC TopKick

The GMC TopKick and its Chevrolet counterpart, which was known as the Kodiak, were General Motors' medium-duty trucks built up until the 2010 model year. The last-generation -- offered from 2003 to 2010 -- also happens to be one of the coolest looking trucks you've probably never heard of, especially in black, like the one pictured here, which served as the basis for the character Ironhide in the most recent Transformers movie series. Underneath and inside, the TopKick is your basic run-of-the-mill work truck, but with a range of potent diesel engines, available 4WD, and loads of different applications (these things serve as box trucks, tow trucks, pickups, fire engines; you name it), there are lots of different ways a TopKick or a Kodiak could serve you in a looting of one of this country's most closely-guarded compounds. There are around 100 GMC TopKicks and Chevrolet Kodiak models listed on Autotrader, although only a few are the more desirable 4WD models. Find a GMC TopKick for sale

Ford F-150 Raptor

Ford F-150 Raptor

Everyone knows the F-150 Raptor. But did you know that U.S. Customs and Border Protection has their own fleet of specially-built, work-truck-spec Raptors with vinyl seats and basic radios that they use for patrolling treacherous, unforgiving swaths of the Southwestern U.S. desert? Or in other words, the exact kind of terrain in Western Nevada. This makes sense, given that the Raptor is built for one thing: going fast off-road in the desert. Additionally, between its generous full-size truck bed and large cabin, a Raptor can haul a lot of stuff, allowing for a fast getaway. Just throw the aliens in the back, and go. Given their immense utility, these trucks experience very slow depreciation. While a brand-new example will typically sticker for over $70,000, even well-used first-generation F-150 Raptors have held on to much of their original value, and it's tough to find one with reasonable miles for under $30,000. Find a Ford F-150 for sale

Ram 2500 Power Wagon

Ram 2500 Power Wagon

The Power Wagon is unique in that it's the only off-road trim level offered for any of the big-three heavy-duty trucks on sale in the United States. While the Ford and GM both offer basic off-road packages for their heavy-duty trucks, Ram's 2500 Power Wagon turns things up even further, with a Bilstein suspension, solid front and rear axles, all-terrain tires, locking front and rear differentials, an electronically disconnecting front sway bar, and even a built-in winch. While the Raptor is designed for going fast off-road, the Power Wagon is your workhorse, capable of tackling technical trails, hauling heavy loads, and -- thanks to that winch -- maybe ripping a door or two off of its hinges to you know, free the aliens. There are currently around 300 Ram 2500 Power Wagons listed for sale on Autotrader, with the most well-used examples coming in at around $25,000. Find a Ram 2500 for sale

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
7 Good Cars for Storming Area 51 - Autotrader