Five cars too awesome for stereos

Today, we're focusing on the cars that won't play any music for you, no matter how nicely you ask.

3 min read

It goes without saying that listening to music in the car is popular amongst most drivers. In fact, it's so popular that in most cars today, there are countless ways to avoid a silent drive: AM/FM radio, CD players, iPod connectors, auxiliary inputs and even satellite radio have become common across the entire spectrum of the automotive market. We personally refuse to drive more than a block without some decent music.

But today, we're focusing on the other guys - the cars that won't play any music for you, no matter how nicely you ask. These aren't cars for the layman, as the layman loves his Bruce Springsteen and wouldn't buy a car without speakers even if it did his taxes for him. These are among a highly specialized breed of automobile.

The Peel P50

5. The Peel P50

This is it - the car so small and amenity-free that it makes a Smart Car look like a Hummer limo with a Jacuzzi in the back. The makers of this 52-inch-long car didn't even include a reverse gear, so it's no surprise they skipped the stereo completely. But what to do if you just can't live without tunes, and you happen to have a Peel P50? We'd put in a single speaker and have it play the Benny Hill Show theme song on repeat (at a top speed of a breakneck 38 mph). That way, whenever we had to get out of the car to lift it up and turn it around or yank it out of a pothole, we'd at least have appropriate music. Check out this classic Top Gear clip to see what it's like to drive.

The Popemobile

4. The Popemobile

Okay, you can probably tell just by looking at it that the Popemobile (here a modified Mercedes M-Class) most likely has a stereo up in the front cabin, which should immediately disqualify it from this list. But this car is called the Popemobile, not the Chauffermobile, so as long as the Pope doesn't get to rock out while waving politely to all of Christendom, we consider the Pope's oddity of a vehicle stereo-free. After all, it's vitally important that the Pope isn't distracted by music when making appearances - especially considering he didn't seem to notice this. Maybe he had his headphones in?

Thrust SSC

3. Thrust SSC

If you're driving this car, you're probably way too busy trying to break the land speed record to take a few seconds to put in a CD. A basic stereo isn't exactly a priority on this 54-foot, 10.5-ton machine. Besides, when you're going 763 mph over the Black Rock Desert, the only appropriate soundtrack to the ultimate drag race is the roar of two Rolls-Royce turbofan jet engines with a sonic boom on percussion.

Lunar Rover

2. Lunar Rover

NASA doesn't mess around. At a going rate of more than $10,000 per pound to send stuff into space (let alone all the way to the moon), there's no way that they would spend upwards of $20 grand on a stereo just so the Apollo astronauts could play "Low Rider" while they cruised around the moon (besides, that song wasn't out yet, so all that money would have been spent in vain). Plus, people at NASA are kinda smart and are probably well aware that sound can't be transmitted in a vacuum. The moon better get an atmosphere quick, though, cause it'll be pretty boring up there if we can't listen to Billie Jean while actually doing the moonwalk. I guess we could always do some lunar golfing in the meantime.

Ariel Atom

1. Ariel Atom

Imagine the coolest car ever. Does it have a stereo? If you answered yes, you didn't imagine a car as cool as the Ariel Atom. Driving this car is so exciting that there's no way you'd ever need the added stimulation of music. With up to 300 horsepower pushing the wheels and a weight of only 1,005 lbs, this thing will have you going 60 in 2.7 seconds. And unlike the also-fast Thrust SSC, or for that matter any of the cars on this list, they're still being manufactured and you can get one for yourself for $49,980. If you don't want one yet, just watch Jeremy Clarkson drive one and check back with us. Yeah, we doubt you'll be missing that stereo.

By Tobias Butler, DriverSide contributing editor