Everyone geeks out for something - as evidenced by the throng of classic and custom car enthusiasts who will descend on the Barrett Jackson Auto Show this week to slobber over dual overhead cams and bored-out-twin-turbo... something or other (check out today's slideshow here).
Truly, I don't understand a word of it, but my heart does go aflutter for the chromed and shiny mementos of nerd culture that are occasionally on display -- especially ones with cool nicknames like The Tumbler and K.I.T.T., or custom rides like the ones designed by Valley resident Richard Fletcher.
This year's event will feature more than 1,000 unique vehicles, including nerd-friendly pieces like the original 1981 "Bandit" Trans-Am, a custom two-man yellow submarine, a Hello Kitty-inspired VW bug and a dweebtastic 1957 Nash Metropolitan, star of many a Weird Al video.
Amongst all the Bentleys and Batmobiles, I give you three more rides that should have a place in any geek's garage.
3. 1973 Delta 88 Oldsmobile
This POS is one-of- a-kind. The mustard yellow jalopy was one of Sam Raimi's first cars and has been in more of the director's movies than even Bruce Campbell. You've seen it, no doubt - it belonged to Uncle Ben in Spider-Man, ferried Bill Paxton in A Simple Plan and served as Ash Williams' trusty steed in the Evil Dead trilogy among many other roles in Raimi's oeuvre.
The only film it didn't make an appearance in was The Quick and the Dead and only because that was a Western (however, there is a little part of me that likes to believe that the anachronistic sedan was covered somewhere in a blacksmith's shop or hidden in a cave just outside of town, ala Back to the Future III) Regardless, it deserves to join the ranks of Ecto-1 and Bond's Aston Martin as one of the great autos of nerd-dom.
2. 2003 Pontiac Aztek
Before GM became Government Motors, it was responsible for some pretty heinous vehicles, among them, the Pontiac Aztek.
Everyone laughed at the midsize crossover - but thanks to Walter White, the chemistry geek turned badass on Breaking Bad, the Aztek has a new cult following. True, teenage boys will not adorn their walls with posters of the beast and it's not exactly a panty dropper, but drive one just once and check out the double takes you'll get when pulling into your favorite chicken restaurant.
The 80s minivan deserves a second look. Not only is it roomy enough to go car camping with a family of 5 or move your mom's chaise lounge, according to Ford's marketeers it's great for "escorting ladies" and has an aerodynamic design based on space shuttle technology. A ride that satisfies both my Hef and NASA fantasies? Can someone say "Sold to the man in the horn-rims?"