Every so often there’s a post about testing your car’s “Jalop” quotient, but what, if anything, can we all agree makes a car Jalop? One could argue that any car can be Jalop, that to be Jalop is a state of mind, but lets figure out what makes a car more likely to be Jalop.
Now being Jalop isn’t the same as being a hipster, but it’s damn near close. We generally value anything not common place, a car from a long defunct maker or an unusual body style for example. It’s notable that weirdness depends on context; an old cheap Peugeot hatch might be Jalop in the US, but not so much in France. Some Jalop favorites, Mustang, WRX, Miata aren’t rare or unusual at all, so quirkiness isn’t everything.
The following categories are more or less a sub-group of this quality
Country and Make
Points definately go up if your car is from a manufacturer who no long makes cars, or no longer sells them in you country. This however isn’t always a good thing (is a Yugo Jalop?)
One of the strongest Jalop tropes is the love for wagons and hatches. In the US these body styles aren’t terribly common, so our subculture values them more. Other weird layouts like pickup-bedded cars or shooting breaks get high praise. On the flip side, some strange body styes *cough coupe suvs cough* have a negative status.
Unusual engine configurations are a big plus. Anything outside the usual inline 4, V6 or (to a lesser extent) V8 has a good chance of ratcheting up the score. I think diesels and turbos are mostly neutral, possibly some points for high performance versions of either, and negative points for low output versions. As far as hybrids and electrics go, it seems to be a case by case situation.
Something perhaps almost everyone here can agree on is that a manual would add to Jalopness of a vehicle. That’s not to say an automatic would detract from the score, well maybe a CVT would.
Typically the older a car is the more Jalop it is.
Now these are things I feel most of us can agree on. Many questions areas aren’t as easy however: Are some or all new supercars Jalop? we certainly spend a lot of time commenting on them. Can a trailer queen be Jalop? Can a Camry be Jalop? Can a Miata be not-Jalop? How many times can one say Jalop without sounding stupid? These questions probably don’t have a definitive answer as they’re mostly subjective.