Cars don't know the concept of morality, and in the case of the cars on this list, it seems their owners don't, either - but that doesn't mean they don't love their cars. Cool cars are status symbols for mobsters, gangsters, lowlifes, and hoodlums, no matter if they're Cosa Nostra, Yakuza, Triads, or Russian mob. Their rides have been used effectively as statement pieces ever since the early Mafia days in the 1920s.
This list is not meant as a buying guide for those who are currently attempting to set up their own criminal empire and trying to become the next Tony Soprano. However, driving one of these cars will certainly demand a lot of respect from the underworld... or maybe they'll end up stealing it.
Here are 20 cars that are mostly driven by mobsters and show everyone who is boss.
20 Jaguar XJ
The Jag XJ is a favorite with mobsters who enjoy a bit of English class. Perhaps the most well-known mobster in the States to drive an XJ was New York boss Anthony Corallo, also known as “Tony Ducks” for his talent at “ducking” criminal convictions. He avoided meetings to discuss criminal affairs for fear of being overheard. Instead, using the car phone in his XJ to discuss his "business."
19 Jaguar MK VII-IX
Stateside, Jaguar was best known for swoopy sports cars, but across the pond, the firm's voluptuous four-door sedans quickly acquired the underworld's seal of approval. Winning the Monte Carlo Rally with a top speed around 100 mph, the Mark VII and successive iterations were fast, capacious and loud, making them a preferred ride for the Kray Brothers and a generation of British criminals.
18 Lamborghini Countach
It's hard not to think of, erm, "tradesmen" from Miami Vice when seeing a Countach. The 12-cylinder Countach was a ludicrously impractical car with very little to redeem it beyond aesthetics. It's infamous and evocative of the decadence of the '80s mobster's motor pool. A Countach, painted in matte-black radar-resistant stealth-bomber paint, is rumored to have had a successful - if short-lived - career running "product" between Miami and New York.
17 Mercedes Benz S-Class
For a time, one could argue that the W140 S-Class was the best car in the world, thus being the vehicle of choice for business moguls and criminals - organized and disorganized - as well as a growing band of gangsta rappers, the self-proclaimed criminals whose sales grew in direct proportion to how often they were vilified by the media that underwrote them.
16 E38 BMW 7 Series
Mobsters who wanted a German luxury car, but demanded sportier handling than the S-Class Merc could deliver would usually go for the BMW 7-Series. Those looking for more proof should watch the first movie in the Transporter franchise where Jason Statham's character uses it for his "delivery service." For maximum effect, the car should be driven while wearing a suit and driving gloves.
15 Chrysler 300C
The beauty of the big Chrysler is that it gives everybody the gangsta look while offering an everyman/everycar experience. It's perhaps the perfect car for those who spend their days collecting protection money from pool halls - the 300C simply oozes menace. It's spacious enough to fit personal protection, and the massive V8 has the power to out-drag any meddlesome law enforcement.
14 Range Rover
Originally, the Range Rover was meant to tackle British farmland and mountains. However, it didn't take long before the more powerful Range Rovers were adopted by mobsters from East London who used them as urban tanks and status symbols. The lower-ranking, small-time gangsters usually drive older models with ugly and useless modifications.
13 Cadillac Escalade
The Escalade is so ubiquitous and sinister-looking that its name alone conjures images of shady enterprises and disreputable characters. The Escalade was for a while the car of choice for anyone named Tony in the New Jersey waste-disposal business - but they moved on when The Situation jocked their swag. Since then, the Escalade has become the ride of choice for salespeople in the urban pharmaceutical business.
12 Lincoln Navigator
Before the Escalade, there was the Lincoln Navigator - it was the original luxury SUV for the made man. The Navigator combined heft, aggression, and some less than tasteful flashy luxury cues in a package that strongly appealed to the well-heeled thug's practical side as well as his underlying reptilian sensibility.
11 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit
It's safe to assume that if the owner of this car is sitting in the back, he is positioned at the top of the local criminal hierarchy. They might be well-known as legit businessmen by the time they possess one of these luxury cars, but they're still involved in some shady business. If the owner is driving it himself, he's just a wannabe and not someone you need to take seriously.
10 Audi RS6
The RS6 has been used as a getaway car for heists all over Europe, and there's a reason for that - it's one of the best all-rounders money can buy. It's as cool as a proper sports car, and just as fast - and the Avant has more than enough space to carry an immobilized "passenger" in the back.
9 Maybach 57/62
The Maybach was created in part because the S-Class had started suffering a similar problem to Escalade - it was too accessible and hence over-exposed. While the Maybach quickly became a favorite of mobsters, gangsta rappers, third-world dictators, record executives, and Wall Street barons, it never achieved the sales figures Mercedes had hoped.
8 Maserati Quattroporte
When the Quattroporte was unveiled, many joked that it was indeed a car likely to be driven by a hitman. Italian heritage, elegant yet intimidating styling, a roomy, well-appointed interior, and a fine-tuned engine and handling balance thanks to its Ferrari parents. It's just as home on the roads around Corleone as it is on a racetrack - what more could a Cosa Nostra boss need?
7 Mercedes-Benz G-Class
From what started as a German military vehicle, the G-Wagon has become the darling of the celebrity automotive scene. However, in the right specification - black paint, black wheels, and black tinted windows - few cars are as imposing as the G-Class. With space in the back for your loved ones and/or a huge weapons cache, and a real go-anywhere ability, there's little to match it as a mobster's daily driver.
6 Cadillac CTS-V
Following the Mafia car code of unsubtle aggression, premium branding, and storming power, the Cadillac CTS-V fits the bill perfectly for any Mafioso looking for a new set of lightning-fast wheels. A much edgier beast than the Chrysler 300C, the CTS-V has some real performance car credentials, having been developed at that Mecca of speed, the Nürburgring.
5 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman
This massive beast had six doors and weighed 6,000 lbs before the necessary body armor. The 600 Pullman was the car of choice for Leonid Brezhnev, the Soviet Communist Party’s First Secretary in 1972. We guess some people really are more equal than others?! Since then, the big black Benz has been adopted by the bosses of the Russian mafia, transporting them in a fuel-guzzling safe-space between meetings.
4 Lincoln Continental
What's the point of being a successful criminal if you can't flaunt your wealth with a loud and proud display of good old-fashioned bad taste? The older Sicilian mobsters of Donnie Brasco's time might have dismissed the Lincoln Continental over comparable Cadillac Eldorados, but Lincoln's personal luxury coupe was always the big-pimping alternative. The Conti coupes were the ostentatious, menacing symbols of Cosa Nostra big earners through four decades.
3 VIP Style Japanese Sedans
VIP style is a car modification trend that translates from the Romanised Japanese term 'bippu.' It refers to the modification of large, expensive, rear-wheel-drive Japanese luxury cars with more aggressive wheels, suspension, and body kits. VIP Style modifications and their history is linked to the Yakuza. By using modified JDM cars associated with limousines, gangsters could avoid detection by the police and rival gangs.
2 Toyota Century
The Toyota Century was sold almost exclusively only in Japan, it boasted Toyota’s only V12 engine and a ride so smooth and quiet that it made all other cars seem unrefined. The Century has been the vehicle of choice for Japan's captains of industry and Yakuza bosses for 5 decades. The Century was understated but possessed tons of class.
1 Sierra/Sapphire Cosworth 4X4
Back in the 80s and early 90s, this was the car of choice for Scandinavia's organized crime gangs. No wonder, seeing as these sedans had plenty of room for four burly guys, they could produce crazy amounts of power, and they had four-wheel-drive - in a time when the cops were still driving rear-wheel-drive Volvo 240s. Guess who had the upper hand in a game of cops and robbers on snow-covered roads.
Sources: Jalopnik, Drive Tribe, GQ