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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

AMERICA IN THE 50's: Autoexremist.com

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Editor's Note: In lieu of a regular column this week, we're publishing remarks given by Peter to The Bel Air Partners Elite Dealer Summit, in New York City on May 11, 2007. Included in this speech are excerpts from Peter's upcoming book, The United States of Toyota: Essays on How Detroit squandered its legacy and enabled Toyota to become America's car company, which will make its debut this fall. - JJP

I grew up in a different country. America in the 1950s wasn't the America we know today. Finally emerging from the cloud of two major wars, Americans were hell-bent on standing on the gas and making the most of what life had to offer.

Americans had a sky's-the-limit attitude that was perfectly timed for the jet age and the dawn of the rocket age - and America was the best place to be - a land of wide-open dreams and unbridled enthusiasm that knew no bounds. Everything was "new" and "improved" - from toaster ovens and washing machines to automobiles - and America was hard on the accelerator and not looking back, even with the specter of nuclear confrontation looming over everything.

The engine that propelled America at full-throttle was the Detroit-based car companies - General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. The biggest of the big-time dreamers were alive and thriving in the "Motor City." The designers and engineering innovators working in Detroit helped shape America's dreams by creating visionary rolling sculptures that set the cadence for an entire nation. There was no idea too far-fetched, no dream car too outrageous, no boundaries, no timidness and no apologies, ever. America was a full-throttle nation with a fuel-injected soul and a hot rod heart.

The entire article here:

http://autoextremist.com/index.shtml

Please read the entire article..

Edited by NINETY EIGHT REGENCY
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I miss the old America, this new one sucks big time! I know that's not PC, but I was never PC and being PC is part of what's wrong with America today. IMHO

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Please read the entire article..

I really cannot bring myself to; the over-dramatization, the endless hand-wringing and teeth nashing, the common thread of 'I-told-you-so' is just too sickening... and I know it's in there.

What would be a far more interesting reflection, IMO, would be how it comes about that a foreign entity can be embraced and nutured with slap-in-the-face allocades such as 'United States of toyota', yet the company has failed to even approach the rose-colored nostolgic achievements of GM's accomplishments from the never-bad good-ol'-days.

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It's a shame, but there's a lot of truth in the article.

What bothers me the most is so many people make excuses for the Japanese rust buckets brought here in the 80's and 90's, while attacking GM for it's mistakes.

For the record, I've never had a bad GM car. My 99 STS was probably the worst, with water pump leaks and carbon buildup in the "Northstar". I found out that occasional agressive driving could eliminate the carbon buildup, but the leaking water pump knocked out a computer just after the warranty expired and it would have cost $1500 for a replacement. Now don't get me wrong, the STS was one of the finest road cars I've ever driven. It had an understated luxury that I don't seem to find in the latest STS. It was enjoyable to drive and had all the bells and whistles a luxury car should have.

There's such a perception in the media and in the general public that Toyota and Honda build cars that are nearly perfect, that I don't know if people will open their minds to todays great GM vehicles. It's a shame, but something GM has to address before it will return to greatness.

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It would seem that we spent the first half of the 20th Century improving the world we lived in and will spend the first half of the 21st Century deconstructing it. Suddenly we are made to feel guilty for everything we have accomplished, from nuclear power to 16 lane expressways. Two generations of Liberal Arts graduates are going to bring us to our knees.

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I miss the old America, this new one sucks big time! I know that's not PC, but I was never PC and being PC is part of what's wrong with America today. IMHO

:yes:

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I wish I would have been alive during that part of the country's history. :( America today is America the easily offended and litigious instead of America the beautiful. It's very sad.

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My generation didn't have Chevelles and Torinos... my generation had Z24's, slow Camaros and boxy cheap Mustangs with small engines being called 'big'. I was raised on small little $h!boxes with tiny engines and honestly, for all the bad press and reviews, my 1991 Cavalier RS coupe was about as indestructible as it ever got. The things I did to that car were unholy. I had it in water that was coming halfway up the door, bounced the oil pan off of rocks, had it following trucks over 4x4 trails, had in snow that made my brothers' 4x4 F150 cringe, drove from NY to Maryland three times almost non stop in one weekend. All in all, i put 155,000 miles on the car inside of two years. Never once did the engine fail. It never left me stranded on the side of the road. The car was a tank.

I would've chalked that up to it being a freak, but the other 5 Cavaliers, 1 Citation, 1 Celebrity, 1 Lumina and 2 Cobalts were all tanks too. These cars which were never, by any stretch of the imagination, darlings of the motor scribes, NEVER left me stranded. In the case of my 84 Cavalier Type 10 coupe, which i bought out of a field and just started driving... i had blown the motor apart and the car still got me home. Literally, blew holes in both sides of the block and the engine continued to run!

The America that my generation knows is this 'cover your ass' mentality. And it sucks. I am a union worker and even I am sometimes dismayed on some of the things the union haggles over with the company... it's amazing.

I don't know, i just think i would've been happier if i had been 33 in 1958.

Scott

Edited by Samurai
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My generation didn't have Chevelles and Torinos... my generation had Z24's, slow Camaros and boxy cheap Mustangs with small engines being called 'big'. I was raised on small little $h!boxes with tiny engines and honestly, for all the bad press and reviews, my 1991 Cavalier RS coupe was about as indestructible as it ever got. The things I did to that car were unholy. I had it in water that was coming halfway up the door, bounced the oil pan off of rocks, had it following trucks over 4x4 trails, had in snow that made my brothers' 4x4 F150 cringe, drove from NY to Maryland three times almost non stop in one weekend. All in all, i put 155,000 miles on the car inside of two years. Never once did the engine fail. It never left me stranded on the side of the road. The car was a tank.

I would've chalked that up to it being a freak, but the other 5 Cavaliers, 1 Citation, 1 Celebrity, 1 Lumina and 2 Cobalts were all tanks too. These cars which were never, by any stretch of the imagination, darlings of the motor scribes, NEVER left me stranded. In the case of my 84 Cavalier Type 10 coupe, which i bought out of a field and just started driving... i had blown the motor apart and the car still got me home. Literally, blew holes in both sides of the block and the engine continued to run!

The America that my generation knows is this 'cover your ass' mentality. And it sucks. I am a union worker and even I am sometimes dismayed on some of the things the union haggles over with the company... it's amazing.

I don't know, i just think i would've been happier if i had been 33 in 1958.

Scott

I feel your pain, brother. I am old enough to REMEMBER the glory days of the Big 3: my father's '66 and then '69 Chrysler 300s. When I was 11 or 12 my step-father would buy a lot of old beaters and fix them up. We had a parade of Big 3 mighty iron: '64 Fairlane (held together with duct tape!), my uncle's hand me down '67 Newport, a '62 Pontiac convertible that he drove to our back yard, then never drove again, a '67 Caprice (one of my favorites), a '66 Pontiac wagon (that was a tank!). After I left home at 17, my stepfather went to the dark side and bought a '79 Datsun 510 fastback.

I myself only became old enough to legally drive (chuckle) and then actually afford to buy cars when the two oil shocks had hit. My first beastie was a '67 Polara that was 12 years old, had aftermarket a/c and a repaint hiding a lot of rust. I drove it for a year, though, then sold it for 5 times what I'd paid for it. My first new vehicle was a '82 Dodge Rampage (total crap), followed by a '87 Shadow ES (good looking crap), then my first decent car was my factory ordered '91 Caprice.

Although a self-professed car freak at the time, I cried when convertibles were killed, then rejoiced with the (then relevant) car magazines when Chrysler brought them back.

Unlike most people around here, I forgave Detroit the '80s a long time ago, but mostly because I am old enough to have also suffered the $h! that Japan Inc built. I rented a '82 Datsun 210 at one point, and let me tell you without exaggeration, dumptrucks were passing me on hills. A friend's Tercel had to be taken off the road because both rear shock mounts were one jolt away from becoming luggage.

Detroit headed for the hills in the '80s, pissed off an entire generation, and that generation has become the most selfish, self-centered generation ever seen on this planet. It is me, me, me and everyone is an expert, yet most of them cannot think for themselves.

I weep for the future, I truly do.

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