The award for best euphemism in the English language goes to the Maui Cruiser. Others may call it a 1994 Toyota Sedan that needs to be towed to the junkyard, but island residents see it as a classic, socially acceptable means of transportation. Just like its list of aesthetic and mechanical issues, there are many components that make up the anatomy of a Maui Cruiser.
The Bumper Stickers
Is it really a Maui Cruiser if its bumper doesn’t look like a college bulletin board? And if it doesn’t declare in all-caps NO GMO? Of course not. The classic set of wheels will also advise you to please not feed any hippies you might encounter in Paia, and to slow down because, truth be told, this ain’t the mainland. Other favorite emblems include 2012 (or even 2008) Obama campaign stickers and cultural affirmations like “Born & Raised” and “Live Aloha.” As a final touch there should be a HI sticker with adhesive white islands–the butterfly tattoo of Hawaiian cars.
Eggplant purple, forest green and sandpaper brown are all colors that make up the lovely rainbow of Maui Cruisers. Take into account a few dents and rust spots on their exterior and you get a vibrant, multidimensional hue that dazzles passersby on the Pali. It’s no wonder owners of Maui Cruisers never repaint their cars.
The (All-Powerful) Roof Rack
California has its Mercedes G-wagon, complete with a celebrity as an accessory. The Maui Cruiser, too, has its own jewel: the rack. Seriously, that thing could rival the mighty Atlas in lifting the Earth itself. They’re so versatile, too. Canoes, kayaks, a stack of five surfboards: all things the almighty rack can deliver to the safety of the ocean.
Photo: Sean M. Hower
A Maui Cruiser and an ABC store beach-in-a-bottle: both same things. Instead of a glass bottle, the Maui Cruiser is the capsule that contains a transportable beach. Passengers wonder if they sat on a car seat or quicksand pit every time they get inside. With all the sand in a Maui Cruiser one could build a beach bigger than Bigs, or bring 1999 back and conjure a sandstorm like in The Mummy.
Photo: Matthew Bargo/Wikimedia Commons
Bugs and Holes
A true Maui Cruiser will instill at least a little fear into its passengers. Mysterious craters in the backseat, desperate German roaches that scamper out when someone opens the door. What’s the deal with? And those Flamin’ Hot Cheetos layering the floor–rowdy hitchhikers aren’t to be blamed for those. It’s a Maui Cruiser and therefore likely had little critters and seats like Swiss cheese when it was still in the showroom.
Photo: gbohne/Wikimedia Commons
The best part about a Maui Cruiser is that it never needs to be washed or brought to the mechanic because, well, it’s a Maui Cruiser. These beloved vehicles could look like it just surfaced from an archaeological dig and have an engine that’s literally exploding. All anyone could say is “Well, that’s a Maui Cruiser for ya” and stare at it with fondness.Of course, they don’t actually explode (well, most of the time)–they still have to pass that annual Safety Check! A Maui Cruiser is like that uncle at family get-togethers who hasn’t shaved in two months and sports a pregnant woman’s belly while constantly retelling the same stories from 20 years ago. Everyone loves him anyways.
And we love how innovative Maui Cruiser owners can get. Got shattered glass? Just use an aloha-print sarong from Walmart. With the island’s pleasant climate, windows are overrated anyways.
Oh, and the car actually has to be cruising to be officially recognized as a Maui Cruiser.
Photo: Sean M. Hower