Monster Truck Rallies

LORELAI: Maybe Dean won’t even come tonight.
RORY: Oh, he’ll be there. There aren’t enough monster truck rallies in the world to keep him away from Miss Patty’s tonight.

A monster truck is a specially modified truck for competition and entertainment, given heavy duty suspension, four-wheel drive, and oversized tyres. Monster trucks developed in the late 1970s, and by the early 1980s were popular side acts at motocross events. Today monster trucks take centre stage at rallies, usually having races and stunt driving. In real life, there are regular monster truck rallies in Hartford and Bridgeport, so Dean wouldn’t have any trouble getting to one.

Somehow Dean has devolved from being a big city boy who liked classic films, Hunter S. Thompson, and Nick Drake into a country boy who likes BattleBots and monster truck rallies. How did he go from seeming pretty perfect for Rory into someone we barely recognise?

Volvo Sedan

LORELAI: Oh yeah. A Volvo sedan, are you kidding?
CHRISTOPHER: This is a great car.
LORELAI: For driving to bingo.

CHRISTOPHER: I’ve got Alpine head units, two subs, and two twelves. In exchange, no passenger-side airbag.

Volvo is a Swedish brand of luxury cars founded in 1927; the name is Latin for “I roll”. It was founded upon the concept of safety, and their cars have long been marketed as safe and reliable; many of the Volvo’s safety innovations have now become standard or even compulsory. Lorelai sees it as an old person’s car, because of its staid and rather boring image.

I think Christopher’s car is a 2001 Volvo S80, an executive sedan. He describes the car’s sound system as Alpine brand head units, with two sub woofers, and two twelve-inch sub woofers (maybe he means two amplifiers and two twelve-inch sub woofers?), which means he had to give up passenger-side airbags, a major feature of the S80. So he’s bought a safe car, and made it less safe (for the person who’s not him), so he can enjoy music.

As Lorelai notes, Christopher has given up his cool motorcycle for a sensible car, but the old (selfish) Christopher still lives. Take warning!

(There is an immediate shot of the Massachusetts license plate, to remind us Christopher has moved to Boston. It begins with 169, which seems like a naughty joke, although it’s not a vanity plate, so not deliberate on Christopher’s part).

Ichiro Motors

This is the Japanese business whose employees are staying at the Independence Inn in Stars Hollow for a conference in this episode.

It is a fictional motor manufacturing company which may have been named after Ichiro Suzuki (born 1937), the Japanese engineer who worked for Toyota and designed the first Lexus, as not only was he involved in the car industry, but his surname is that of a Japanese motor manufacturer.

’86 Suzuki

DEAN: I got an ’86 Suzuki.

Suzuki is a Japanese company which makes a variety of vehicles, including motorcycles. The motorycles they released during the 1980s were smaller and lighter models, designed to appeal to the American market, but with still quite powerful engines for their size.

This is the final confirmation that Dean definitely does have a motorcycle, as Lorelai intuitively knew from the beginning, despite Dean’s protestations. It seems that the Gilmore girls really do love a man on a motorbike.


CHRISTOPHER: So you have zero faith?
LORELAI: I’ve known you since I was six, Chris. You’re the guy that crashed his Porsche two hours after his parents gave it to him for his 16th birthday.

Porsche is a German car manufacturer specialising in sports cars, SUVs, and luxury sedans. It’s possible Christopher’s parents bought him a 1984 Porsche 924, a two-door coupe intended to be their entry-level model. It seems like an expensive but not totally reckless gift for a spoiled, rich teenager. In real life, Christopher wouldn’t have had his driver’s licence at sixteen, although I can imagine him just taking the car out anyway.

We learn here that Lorelai and Christopher weren’t just friends before they started dating, they were childhood friends, and have known each other most of their lives.


LORELAI: Kill me and bury me with that bike.
RORY: What is it? A Harley?
LORELAI: That is a 2000 Indian, 80 horsepower, 5 speed close ratio Andrews transmission, and I want to get one.

Indian is a brand of American motorcycle, first produced from 1901 to 1953 in Springfield, Massachusetts, until the company went bankrupt. Initially made by the Hendee Manufacturing Company, their name was changed to the Indian Motorcycle Manufacturing Company in 1928.

The rights to the Indian name were acquired by a succession of companies after the bankruptcy. In 1998, the Indian Motorcycle Corporation of America was formed from a merger of nine different companies, and in 1999 they began making Indian motorcycles in Gilroy, California (a hint as to who is riding the bike). The company went bankrupt in 2003, but rights to the name have again been acquired by a succession of companies, and they are still being made.

Rory wonders if the motorcycle is a Harley-Davidson, often just called a Harley. Harley-Davidson have been making motorcycles since 1903, first manufactured in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; they are the main rival company to Indian. Rory clearly has far less knowledge of motorcycles than her mother, and possibly knows of Harleys through motorcycle-loving Dean, who may yearn for one of these Midwest-originating bikes.

Andrews makes parts for motorcycles, including transmissions, and have been supplying Harley-Davidson since 1972. They were also supplying Indian, at least in the early 2000s.

Lorelai’s lust for the motorycle explains why she was so worried that Rory would be attracted to a boy who rode one – she assumed it would be a case of like mother, like daughter. This soon turns out to be correct. In fact, Rory jumps on the back of her father’s bike with suspicious ease, making us wonder if Dean kept his promise to Lorelai to never let Rory on his motorcycle.

Paris’ Car

[Lorelai looks out the window and sees Paris, Madeline and Louise getting out of a car]
LORELAI: Rory, I think your friends are here. She must be one great babysitter to earn enough money for that car.

The car Paris is driving is a BMW 330Ci coupe convertible, an entry-level luxury car and the most popular model that BMW makes. In 2001, it would have cost around the $40 000 mark.

“A hundred clowns crammed into a Volkswagen”

LORELAI: I just need space.
MAX: Well I don’t. In fact I want as little space as possible. A hundred clowns crammed into a Volkswagen. That’s the kind of non-space I’m talking about.

An popular clown sight gag is for a number of clowns to be crammed into a small car, and then come out, making it seem as if the car is much bigger than it appears. The trick requires the car to be modified so that there is nothing inside it (no seats etc), and for the clowns to be very flexible and pretty uncomfortable. It was first used in the Coles Brothers Circus in the 1950s.

The number of clowns involved is usually around 14-21, but the record number of people jammed into a small car is 28 gymnasts into a Mini. Obviously gymnasts are extremely limber and aren’t wearing baggy costumes and holding props, so this number wouldn’t be feasible for clowns. A Volkswagen Beetle would be a classic vehicle to use as the car, as they are small, and sort of cute and comical looking anyway.

This comment from Max is something of an in-joke. Scott Cohen, who plays Max Medina, first began his career in the entertainment industry through taking a course in clowning at university – his teacher encouraged him to audition for a theatre company. One of Cohen’s early screen roles was a flirtatious driver in a 1999 Volkswagen Passat television commercial.