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The Native Vehicles of July Fourth Parades

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/2/2015 Scott Burgess

Americans love a parade. Americans love the Fourth of July. So it makes sense that parades take center stage to honor America’s Independence Day. While many big cities will have huge affairs with balloons, floats, and waving public officials, the small town parades showcase the heart of America. And those towns, villages, and hamlets are also a little less picky when it comes to the vehicles that sputter down their streets. Here are some suggestions for notable American parade cars.


Read about the top 10 greatest American cars of all time RIGHT HERE.

Open Air

Ford Mustang Convertible© Provided by MotorTrend Ford Mustang Convertible Perhaps the most frequently seen vehicle at any parade is the convertible, and here’s one of the best-selling convertibles in America. You’ll likely see a 2015 Ford Mustang or two along parade routes on Saturday.

Chariots of Kings and Queens

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible© Provided by MotorTrend Chevrolet Camaro Convertible From local mayors and state representatives to race car drivers, convertibles let people interact with the crowd. They are truly the slow-rolling chariots of the stars. They carry beauty pageant winners, dignitaries, and others. To practice your parade wave, hold your arm still and rotate your hand back and forth from the wrist.

Heard but not seen

Marching Band© Provided by MotorTrend Marching Band Parades are more than cars and trucks rolling down the road. There’s got to be noise. While the marching band plays the local high school’s fight song, here are a few big trucks that will get noticed.

2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit 03 Front Three Quarter© Provided by MotorTrend 2015 Dodge Charger Pursuit 03 Front Three Quarter When not busting criminals, police cars are a complete party on the road. They have sirens, flashing lights, and participants already in uniform. Here’s a Dodge Charger police car that would look good along any parade route.

1957 Dodge Coronet Police Car© Provided by MotorTrend 1957 Dodge Coronet Police Car Of course an old cop car will get even more cheers from the crowd, such as this 1957 Dodge Coronet.

2011 Ford F550 Fire Truck Front Side Exterior© Provided by MotorTrend 2011 Ford F550 Fire Truck Front Side Exterior Almost every parade in Small Town, USA, will include at least one fire truck. There are nearly 30,000 fire departments across America, according to the U.S. Census Department. The state with the most fire departments? Pennsylvania, with 1,795. But the state with the most volunteer fire departments is Delaware, where 98.3 percent of all stations are voluntary or mostly voluntary.

Saluting our military

Military Jeep© Provided by MotorTrend Military Jeep The War for Independence marked on July 4 took place 239 years ago, but every modern parade still offers some sort of military tribute.

1941 Jeep Willys© Provided by MotorTrend 1941 Jeep Willys The military has supplied some cool big and small cars, including this original 1941 Jeep Willys, for parades. It would take six years before this Jeep was ever sold to consumers in America. When it first arrived Stateside, it only had one customer: The U.S. government.

Armored Personnel Carrier© Provided by MotorTrend Armored Personnel Carrier Armored personnel carriers also make a nice parade addition. This eight-wheeled armored personnel carrier can definitely stop civilians in their tracks. It can also withstand fireworks and light-arms fire.

The ultimate off-road machine

2016 Mercedes Benz Unimog Jurassic World© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Mercedes Benz Unimog Jurassic World Parade-watchers love unusual vehicles. Nothing is more out of this world than the Mercedes-Benz Unimog. Its off-roading abilities are legendary. It’s designed to be rugged. But most of all it’s one of the most fun-looking vehicles around, riding on tires that can deflate to provide double the footprint without the driver ever getting out of the cab. (This is unnecessary for most parade routes, but you never know.)

People movers

Ford Transit Connect© Provided by MotorTrend Ford Transit Connect Some vehicles have the ideal to carry multiple people comfortably. At the beginning of one small-town parade in Michigan, I was invited to participate because I had a Ford Transit Connect parked in my driveway. The parade organizers thought it looked interesting. I declined the invitation, but did notice there were a number of vans carrying people in the parade.

Race ready

Race Cars© Provided by MotorTrend Race Cars If you’re tired of big wheels, alternatives include go-karts, bicycles, and other pieces of one-person transportation. Typically, these are fun vehicles that zip along the parade route and try their best to avoid being crushed under the Unimog. Shriners are not included.

Fly your flag

American Flag© Provided by MotorTrend American Flag It’s the Fourth of July. Every parade will include multiple American flags.

Stars And Stripes© Provided by MotorTrend Stars And Stripes It doesn’t matter if it’s being pulled by a lawn mower, a tow truck, or a person holding a flag pole — the Stars and Stripes gets top billing at nearly every parade around the country.

America’s day

Americas Day© Provided by MotorTrend Americas Day It’s America’s day. If you’re enjoying one of the thousands of parades around the country, revel in the mix of American heritage and unique car culture. It’s the day made for lemonade, beer, hotdogs, and hamburgers with a side of classic cars and some special vehicles.

Then, enjoy the fireworks. Happy birthday, America.

July Fourth Parade© Provided by MotorTrend July Fourth Parade

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