Everything looks okay to us and we’ve yet to spot zombies, flaming meteorites or craters where shopping centers once were, but it’s best to be cautious. After all, most weather stations are resolutely incapable of accurately predicting when the sun will shine so the Mayans may have pinned down the wrong date for the world to end.
When all hell breaks loose, the obvious reflex will be to head for the biggest and toughest vehicle in sight but that might not be the best way out. Using a more tactical approach, we’ve compiled a list of the best cars to drive to ensure long-term survival.
1) Mercedes-Benz 300SD (w126) – The 300SD packs the same durable OM617 five-cylinder turbodiesel that is found under the hood of the iconic 300D but it is considerably bigger and heavier than a w123. It was only sold in North America so it is equipped with massive NHTSA-mandated 5 mph bumpers that can easily take out fences and other miscellaneous obstacles that might get in your way.
2) Citroën BX – As the earth falls apart, small crevasses will form on the interstate and stop most cars in their tracks. If you’re driving a BX, you can raise the ground clearance at the simple flick of a switch and move right along. There are many Citroëns with hydraulic suspension but the BX is the one to pick because it was powered with a wide range of Peugeot-sourced engines that are robust and easy to mend. We certainly wouldn’t want to change the timing belts on a GS with the living dead limping around.
3) GAZ M72 – The GAZ M72 was designed to take on Siberia.. need we say more? A little less than 5,000 examples of the M20-based M72 were built from 1955 to 1958 so finding one today might prove to be a small hassle. If the remaining examples have all been spoken for, run towards the nearest Lada Niva.
4) Alfa Romeo AR6 – Essentially a Fiat Ducato with an Alfa badge, the versatile AR6 was offered in several wheelbases, heights and interior configurations. It can haul much-needed supplies around and it easily be converted into a camper when wandering outside is unsafe. Better yet, fit it with a bull bar and you could have yourself a mobile bunker.
5) Kettenkrad HK 101 – Half tank, half motorcycle and built by NSU for the grueling battlefields of WWII, this compact machine can get over even the roughest terrains. No roads? No problem. It is not particularly quick but it can be easily stored in the back of the aforementioned AR6 and rolled out to use on short missions such as raiding a supermarket for food and beverages
To further help your post-apocalypse car shopping trip, we’ve also made a list of five cars to avoid.
1) Citroën 2CV – It’s no secret that we have a great deal of respect for the 2CV but faced with impending doom we’d happily leave ours to burn in the inner core of the Earth. Slower than cooling magma and fitted with a soft top, it’s best enjoyed when used as a leisurely driver, not as a zombie patrol car.
2) Rover 200-Series – Most agree that the 200-Series accurately defines the word “mediocre.” We’ve had folks tell us that they can’t be counted on to start on a regular basis which is bothersome if you’re using the car to commute but potentially fatal if you’re counting on it to survive.
3) Alfa Romeo GTV6 – Brisk to drive, the GTV6 could be the ideal getaway car if it wasn’t for its dodgy timing belt tensioner. To make matters worse, finding parts for a GTV6 generally involves waiting for the mail to come and we don’t think postal services will operate when the world starts to melt.
4) Opel/Vauxhall Corsa (mk2) – The second-gen Corsa is not particularly crashworthy and even a low-speed encounter with a small obstacle will kill it, making it essentially useless in chaotic circumstances. On the bright side, the Corsa is fantastic on fuel we can personally testify that a diesel-burning model can be driven for several miles without coolant. If you have to drive a car on this list, this is probably the one to pick.
5) BMW Isetta – The Isetta is unbelievably tiny and only equipped with two seats, attributes that are far from apocalypse-friendly but that wouldn’t necessarily earn it a spot on this list. However, the front-hinged door and the tilting steering wheel mean that you’re likely going to die before even getting in.
Many people have brought up the possibility of an alien invasion once the havoc and the confusion settle. If you start seeing flying saucers in the sky, hop in the nearest Panhard PL17 and you’ll be able to save your life by masquerading as an extraterrestrial being.