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Local News

What Is the Quintessential Santa Barbara Car?

Many of us have an image of the car that defines who we are. Share your opinions of the vehicle that's emblematic of our community

Santa Barbarans love their cars, but what car qualifies as the most Santa Barbara car ever? Noozhawk wants to know what you think. Is it the eco-friendly Toyota Prius? The elegant Bentley Continental GT? The three-wheeled meter-maid car? You decide!

Toyota Prius — The scourge of the Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods parking lots. Santa Barbara’s eco-friendly demographic loves the Toyota Prius for its efficient design and 60 mpg average. Just watch out in parking lots; you might not be able to hear one coming.

BMW 3 Series — Especially popular with Santa Barbara’s youth population, you’re just as likely to find as many BMW 3 series in a high school parking lot as you will at the Four Seasons Resort Biltmore Santa Barbara. You almost can’t find a car more fun to drive. Plus, there are several local German auto shops for when you have to use dad’s credit card to get your headlight fixed ... for $500.

Mercedes-Benz SL Convertible — The perfect car for cruising Santa Barbara’s coastal boulevards and winding back roads. For the 360 days of sunshine a year, you get a top-down motoring experience, and a free tan. For the four days of drizzle, you get a hardtop roof to protect your Louis Vuitton purse.

Volvo Station Wagon — The ubiquitous Volvo station wagon truly is the people’s car. Everyone — from lawyers to hippies to working moms — seems to drive one of varying vintage. They are practical, efficient and never seem to just die and get off the road already. Most likely to be seen plastered with bumper stickers.

Bentley Continental GT — You know you’ve made it when you drive a car that required the death of five cows and three trees to create. Elegant hand-crafted design, 12-cylinder power and a $200,000 price tag. You would never know we’re in a recession with the amount of these driving around. Order yours in Paris Hilton Pink!

Meter-Maid Vehicle — Nothing says “welcome to Santa Barbara” like a neon-green envelope tucked under your windshield wiper, courtesy of the Santa Barbara Police Department and these three-wheeled dispensers of vehicle-code justice. And then there’s the street-cleaning nightmare.

MGB — Santa Barbara’s mild climate means you’ll find plenty of these classic British sports cars roaming around, avoiding rust. It’s hard to beat British motoring near the beach. Plus, with plenty of car clubs and meets in Southern California, you’ll always have somewhere fun to take your MG on the weekends. They’ll still rust, though.

Surrey — The tourists’ favorite! It’s nearly impossible to enjoy a summer walk along Cabrillo Boulevard without getting run off the bike path by a surrey. You can’t think of Santa Barbara’s waterfront area without getting an image of a European family confusedly trying to move one of these down the bike path.

Noozhawk intern Nick St.Oegger can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here to see more of his photography. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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