"It had a four barrel, 409, gas was down to 29, four speed, posi-traction, guaranteed some back seat action...".
Those are some lyrics to one of my favorite car songs of all time: "Real Man's Car" by a band from Long Valley, NJ named BLUE SPARKS FROM HELL. It's a killer car song with all the right elements: many automotive references (correct ones!), driving rhythm, machismo attitude and well produced to boot. Will it make this list of the top 100 greatest car songs of all time? I doubt it.
Those of us who are interested in this subject are VERY passionate about what makes a good "car song". Luckily, from a practical standpoint, we are talking about the greatest examples, and they are just that. In the true sense of the word they are distinguished from their counterparts. They stand larger than the rest. As good as an obscure song may be, resplendent with its killer musicianship,lyrics and references, if it hasn't made it's mark on pop culture it will have little, if any, presence on this list.
SUBJECT MATTER: A song that is about a car will rate higher than a song that merely references one. "Rocket 88" and "Maybellene" are two of the greatest ever, on that I'm sure we'll all agree. One's about a car, the other's about a chick. The Olds wins!
AUTOMOTIVE REFERENCES AND THE QUALITY THEREOF: "I got a fuel injected engine sittin' under my hood" blows away "ridin' in the hood" (no matter how big the rims are!). The composer who has had grease under the fingernails generally writes a better CAR song. This does not mean more abstract songs are omitted from consideration.
DOES THE SONG "DO BUSINE$$": Let's suppose were producing a box set of the greatest car songs of all time to sell on late night TV (for instance). We want the folks at home to race to the telephone! Right? Enjoy the ride!