You can’t just steal any car and hope to make a clean getaway from the cops after your big score. Nor can you just slam the accelerator to the floor and hope for the best on the highway when you get lit up for speeding, unless you’re driving something you know has a fighting chance at going the distance and disappearing towards the horizon.
To help you in your life of crime avoid making a terrible mistake the next time you find yourself in an automotive fight-or-flight situation, we’ve put together this list of the worst vehicles you could ever choose to drive in a police chase. You’ve been warned!
The Hummer H1 has a reputation for being a badass off-road warrior, relied on by troops overseas to get them out of harm’s way while simultaneously being able to travel over the roughest terrain imaginable. The H1’s trail-blazing capabilities are certainly not in question, but with a factory 0–60 time of over 15 seconds from its turbodiesel V8 engine, even Usain Bolt has a chance at keeping pace with you in a chase situation. Unless you’re robbing delicious pic-a-nic baskets in a remote national park, you probably won’t be able to rely on the Hummer’s off-road ability to get you out of trouble, and you can also forget heading down an alley to escape, too – the H1 is so wide you’d be wedged between two brick walls like an enormous metal doorstop.
One of the key elements of any police chase is not immediately tipping over the first time you try to take a corner at speed. The Reliant Robin’s three-wheeled setup fails that basic criteria in glorious fashion again, and again, and again.
Oscar Meyer Wienermobile
So many getaway cars end up being commonplace Toyota Camrys and Chevy Malibus not just because they are readily available, but because they easily fit in with traffic around them and are more difficult for officers to spot when in pursuit. The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile is the polar opposite of that particular escape philosophy. Piloting this vehicle is the driving equivalent of performing a heavy-metal guitar solo, while on fire, at someone’s bar mitzvah. In short, you aren’t going to blend in, bro.
At first it might seem like an 18-wheeler would be the ultimate get-away ride: tons of power, a huge amount of mass to push aside any potential obstacles, and of course, an enormous engine block to hide behind once the cops inevitably start shooting at you. Upon closer examination, however, it seems like a really, really bad idea to rely on a vehicle that could be easily beaten by, say, a 90-degree corner. Or a low bridge. And why give the cops more than four wheels to aim their spike strips at? Leave your Smokey and the Bandit dreams at home the next time you’re scoping out a potential robbery ride.
Three things are guaranteed to happen in a police chase involving the Maserati Biturbo, the Italian brand’s mid-80s ode to all things unreliable:
1 – You turn the key after running out the door, bags filled with cash and rare jewels, only to discover that nothing happens. Don’t think you can outsmart fate by just “leaving it running” while you’re inside doing the job, because it never started when it was in your driveway, either.
2 – It catches fire on the freeway, forcing you to abandon it like the person you bought it from on Craigslist did.
3 – The less-than-200-horsepower twin-turbo carbureted engine proves entirely inadequate at escaping any police officer not riding on a Segway.
The Biturbo is the Final Destination of imported agony wagons.
It’s the late 1960s, you’re in California, and you’ve decided to hide out in a hippie commune immediately after you commit the heist of the century, which leads you to select a VW Bus for your get-away. With boys in blue hot on your trail, you floor the gas, pull away from the bank, and are immediately defeated by the first hill in your path. There’s nothing like a 25 horsepower engine and the aerodynamics of a boot to truly ruin any chance you might have had at escaping the long arm of the law. At the very least the cop won’t be winded when he power-walks up to the driver’s window and handcuffs you to the steering wheel.
If you’re basing your police chase options around the question “What would Steve Urkel drive?” then you’re already setting yourself up for failure. If you’re too young to know who Steve Urkel was, you probably don’t know what an Isetta is, either. Google it and prepare to have your mind blown twice – first by what people in the 90s considered “must-see TV”, and second by what Europeans in the 50s considered a “car”.
Any Stretch Limousine
The limo was an easy snatch as it idled outside the casino valet area, and it certainly had enough room to haul your entire group of desperados with all their associated booty and gear under flashing neon lights and a strangely greasy black velvet headliner. When you hit that highway on-ramp, however, and the g-forces involved began to shear the limo apart in the middle, you suddenly realized why your ultra-long level-like vehicle wasn’t likely to keep you on the right side of freedom. At the very least you’ll be able to split up your pursuers as they try to decide whether to arrest the front half or the rear half first.
Amphicars are excellent chase vehicles, if your plan is to drown before you can be taken into custody.
Aston Martin Cygnet
When you were planning out your caper, someone in your crew volunteered the fact that they owned an Aston Martin. “Great!” you exclaimed. “That’s what we’ll use!” Chuffed at having access to the storied performance of the Aston Martin brand at your fingertips, and not overly familiar with the horrors of badge-engineering, you neglected to ask any follow-up questions. Now the four of you are crammed into a Toyota-built two-seater with barely enough horsepower to maybe get out of its own way, and certainly not the level of handling prowess or performance potential to escape the phalanx of angry Dodge Chargers lined up behind you.