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Cars We Love - Love Letters to our Favorite Cars

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author photo by Autotrader February 2011

Most automotive journalists have a life-long commitment to the love of cars and AutoTrader contributors are no exception. When the assignment came to name the one car we each love the most, the resulting list flowed easily. So here, for your enjoyment – a Valentine to our dream cars – the one car we only dream could be ours.

2011 Porsche 911 Carrera

The first time I saw her, she passed me on the street like I didn't exist (I was in my mother's car at the time). Even so, I was smitten... her looks, the way she moved, the way she sounded. Many years later, when at last introduced to her formally, I knew it was real love. Since then she's been through some phases, including the difficult 996 stage, but I have stayed true, despite other cars catching my eye. In some cars, I feel like I'm visiting. With this, I feel like I’m home. Porsche 911 Carrera, some day you will be mine.

– Colin Ryan

2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

My love was just a tease at first – a concept in 2007. Even then, it was love at first sight. My heart beat frantically when I finally saw the sexy, production version for the limited edition model sold in Neiman Marcus' 2010 holiday catalog. I imagine the raw power of shifting the 312-horsepower V6 engine into high gear as the sun caresses my face and the wind plays with my hair. We'd make a good-looking couple.

– Jean Halliday

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee

At one time, I'm sure she rode horseback – probably western style. Her still-toothy grin tells me she likes the outdoors. And the rack (on top of the car) makes me think she still has the mountain bike. She has, to be sure, grown up. The awkward adolescence is long gone, but there's still a spring in her step. In fact, spring comes to mind whenever I gaze at her. On-road or off-road, she still has the moves that move me… Grand Cherokee, now even grander.

– David Boldt

2011 Subaru Outback

Some cars are easy to ignore while others seem to call to us. The 2011 Subaru Outback calls to me. I try to ignore her siren song, but relentless Montana winters combined with my border collie's need for a roomy place to stretch out make the Outback's tempting taunts too much to resist. I'm only mortal after all. Sure, she's not the most beautiful thing on four wheels, but at my age, I've learned that real beauty is found within. With her fuel-efficient 2.5-liter engine, symmetrical all-wheel-drive and 440-watt harman/kardon stereo, I think it's a match made in winter heaven.

– Joe Tralongo

2011 Jaguar XKR

Ever since I fell for that bad boy who owned a vintage racing green Jaguar, I wanted, no, needed one. Over the years, I have driven a variety Jaguar models in a range of situations. Ok… just to name a few – Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City and Monaco. But my undying love is for the Jaguar XKR convertible and coupe. This baby is pulsing with energy – supercharged V8 (0-60 in 4.6 seconds); charmingly handsome – seamlessly elegant exterior and witty – when you power up, the start button pulses red. As for that bad boy in the vintage Jag? He could never catch me in this.

– Holly Reich

2011 Ferrari 458 Italia

I first fell for her older sister. Tom Selleck co-starred with the Ferrari 308 GTS on "Magnum P.I." She flashed by during the opening credits every week and I was smitten. The infatuation was fully consummated at the debut of another sister, the 360 Modena. A year or so later I met the F430 Spyder at their home and got lucky again. We were photographed together, splashed across magazine covers like Brad and Angelina! But now we have the 458 Italia, the best, strongest, iteration ever. It is the way of men for us to prefer the newer to the older; it is just the way we are. She will be mine yet.

– Dan Carney

2011 Buick Regal

Opinions seem to be mixed concerning her new look. True, she's been gone for a while. I last saw her in 2004; I couldn't help but wonder how she'd veered so far off track. But then I saw her again more recently, she was wearing white – not my favorite color and certainly not flattering in broad daylight. Yet somehow the ugly duckling had been transformed into a very good-looking swan. Sure, the old men who insist on thumbing through car magazines still don't like her, but I have to admit, I really love the 2011 Buick Regal.

– Brian Moody

2011 Range Rover Sport

You could call it lust at first sight. Call me superficial but I love your brawny physique and rugged, outdoorsy appeal. You make me feel safe and comfortable and you keep me entertained, with satellite radio and chilled snacks in the cooler. You make sure I'm warm with your heated steering wheel and seats; and while we probably won't go splashing around in the mud, I like knowing that you could handle it better than the rest. Oh, but honey, that gas. Oof. It's what I would consider "an area of improvement." But otherwise, you're just perfect for me.

– Meg Hemphill

2011 Lexus LS600hL

Although I’ve always loved sports cars, it's big sedans that excite me most. Nothing can match a lavish, well-sculpted luxury sedan for sheer road presence, with each one seemingly mocking nearby cars for not being quite good enough. Without question, the ultimate big sedan is the Lexus LS600hL. Like all big sedans, it makes itself known on the road, but its allure lies inside: under the hood, where its 438-horsepower V8 provides sports car acceleration with small sedan fuel economy, and in back, where you can comfortably lay down while being whisked through traffic in utter opulence.

– Jeffrey Archer

2011 Nissan Juke

I like 'em quirky. You know the type: kind of awkward looking on the outside, but with an understated cool factor, and once you to get to know them, you realize that you've found an instant best friend. Yeah, that's the Nissan Juke. From its misplaced headlights and turn signals to intensely sporty rear view, the Juke looks like it craves negative attention, but it's actually one of the coolest kids in the parking lot. Plus, it has a ton of things going for it: it's a hot hatchback, it's a crossover, it has a turbo, really nice fit and finish, and... it owns my heart!

– Davis Adams

2011 Nissan Leaf

With the 2011 Nissan Leaf, it was far from love at first sight. Don't get me wrong, she's a smart, forward-thinking gal who knows a thing or two about cutting edge technology, but her big-toothed, catfish-like grille did not make the loving easy. Yet, with time I grew to see past her looks, at the beauty inside. The catfish face became endearingly cute, and my love felt less like a resigned duty and more like a lasting attachment. She's my first electric car love, and for that, she'll always have a special place in my heart.

– Nick Chambers


With so many cars to choose, both new and used, there is no end to the list of cars to like, but there is always that special place in your heart and mind for a car you truely love. And, if you want to find the one that's right for you, you can always visit AutoTrader’s Find Your Car tool.

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.
Cars We Love - Love Letters to our Favorite Cars - Autotrader