Tom and Ray help 16 year-old Cody understand how his '89 Ford LTD Country Squire wagon can, indeed, be cool.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 2007

Dear Tom and Ray,

I am 16 years old and drive a 1989 Ford LTD Country Squire. It's red and has wood paneling on the sides, with a luggage rack on the roof. My friends at school say that they would never be seen riding in it because station wagons are uncool. What do you guys think? -- Coty

TOM: Oh, man. Your friends are so wrong on this one, Coty. They're totally missing the boat.

RAY: There are two kinds of cool, Coty. In high school, kids are worried about being different. So they define "cool" as "acceptable," and "what everyone else is driving/wearing/doing." But that's not really "cool" so much as it's "not uncool." You see what I mean?

TOM: But as kids get older, they understand that true coolness is about being an individual -- being yourself. And confidently expressing your true self.

RAY: Think of all the people you know of -- musicians, thinkers, athletes, artists -- who you think are truly cool. They're unique, aren't they? There's no one who looks, thinks, talks or plays exactly like they do. For instance, when I was in high school, The Beatles defined cool.

TOM: Hmm. In my time, Stonewall Jackson was "the man."

RAY: Anyway, do you think The Beatles went to a group of kids in the high-school cafeteria and said, "Excuse me, do you think these shaggy haircuts and low-cut black boots are cool?" Of course not! They did what THEY thought was cool, and after a while, everyone else followed.

TOM: That's what you're doing, Coty. You have the courage to make your own decisions. And I happen to agree with you, that the Country Squire is a very cool ride. After all, nothing says "cool" like fake wood.

RAY: In a couple of years, other kids will be begging their parents to find them '89 Country Squires.

But by then, you'll have already moved on to the next cool thing. Like a '75 AMC Matador.

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