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Small cars, big cars, sports cars, muscle cars… unless you’re talking about EVs with frunks, most cars have a trunk of some kind. Trunk space varies widely based on body style, and car reviewers have tested cargo area with all sorts of props—including boxes of bananas. But what about the modest penny? 

How many pennies could fit in the trunk of a Civic, Camry, Miata, Mustang, or Porsche 911, and would those pennies be enough to cover the starting price? I had to know. For this strange experiment, I will be using typical manufacturer specs, which may be inconsistent with real-world cargo space capabilities.

First, how much is one cubic foot of pennies worth?

A large collection of pennies laid out flat. How many could fit in a trunk space?
Pennies | Acton Craword via Unsplash

Fortunately, I did not need to do the mathematic foundations myself. I was able to find a detailed breakdown of penny math courtesy of The MegaPenny Project. Unfortunately, the original MegaPenny Project website (which would calculate and visualize how many pennies were needed to fill any space) is no longer available. But, some helpful coin nerds at the Coin Collectors Blog managed to give the information a second life.

One cubic foot holds 49,152 pennies. That’s 16 pennies long, 16 pennies wide, and 192 pennies high, and it’s equivalent to $491.52. Using these numbers, we can calculate what I will be calling the “trunk-penny value.”

5. The Honda Civic could fit 707,788 pennies in the trunk

  • The Honda Civic has 14.4 cubic feet of trunk space
  • It costs $22,350 for a new base model
  • Its trunk can fit 707,788 pennies

With a value of $7,077.88, you could not buy a new Civic in trunk pennies. You could try your luck on the used-car market for a Civic under $8,000. Or, fill the interior with pennies (99 cubic feet of passenger volume = $48,660.48), and you could buy the top-level Civic Touring trim with coins to spare. 

4. The Toyota Camry could fit 742,195 pennies in the trunk

  • The Toyota Camry has 15.1 cubic feet of trunk space
  • It costs $25,395 for a new base model
  • Its trunk can fit 742,195 pennies

With a value of $7,421.95, you could not buy a new Camry, even a base model. Hoping for a fully loaded Camry? Fill its 99.3-100.4 cubic feet of passenger volume with Abraham Lincolns, and you’ve got $49,348 to spend.

3. The Mazda Miata could fit 225,608 pennies in the trunk

  • The Mazda MX-5 Miata has 4.59 cubic feet of trunk space
  • It costs $27,300 for a new base model
  • Its trunk can fit 225,608 pennies

Continuing in its trend of having a genuinely useless trunk, you could not buy a new, or likely even a used, Miata in trunk pennies at a value of just $2,256.08. Maybe if you filled the rest of the Miata’s quirky storage options, you could get close to a cheap used Miata.

2. The Ford Mustang could fit 663,552 pennies in the trunk

  • The Mustang Fastback has 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space
  • It costs $27,205 for a new base model
  • Its trunk can fit 663,552 pennies

With a value of $6,635.52, you could not buy a new or good-condition used Mustang for trunk pennies. But by filling the cabin of a Fastback model (82.8 cubic feet of passenger volume = $40,697.85), you could purchase up to a Mustang GT at $37,725. The Mustang GT Premium and upwards would still be out of reach.

1. The Porsche 911 Coupe could fit 226,099 pennies in the frunk

  • The Porche 911 coupe has 4.6 cubic feet of frunk space
  • It costs $101,200 for a new base model
  • Its front trunk can fit 226,099 pennies

Ok, nobody should be surprised by this. The Porsche 911 is wildly expensive and almost has negative cargo space in its trunk. If you’re shopping with pennies, you should probably cross Porsche off your list. The $2,260.99 in trunk-penny value might buy you some ultra-premium Porsche accessories for the cheap used Mitsubishi you could otherwise afford.

How does this affect anyone’s car-buying decision?

A single penny lying face-down on a table.
Tail side of a penny | Elijah Mears

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It doesn’t. My husband asked me this question while I was writing a different article about cars with the most cargo space, and it got stuck in my brain. I was obsessed. Could you buy a Honda Civic with the number of pennies that fit inside it? What about a sports car? What about a Ford Mustang? 

Now, I know. You can not buy most any sedan or coupe with a trunk full of pocket change, but you could with a cabin full of pennies.

It’s a little more interesting than the “banana box” test, but until my local Credit Union sponsors my experiments with at least $22,350 in carefully packaged pennies, it’s purely theoretical. Do not use trunk-penny math to choose your next car. 

If you insist on doing so, let me know how it goes.