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Flybrian

I'm going to miss American cars...

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The 'What If...?' discussion got me thinking about how international things are becoming and just how quickly they are becoming that way. I can perhaps understand the need to captively import and rebadge a Daewoo as a subcompact or a European Focus as we just get lazy in this country. But when I read and hear about how "global concerns" may just end up seriously dictiating how large our midsize and fullsize cars will be, I get irritated.

I have to wonder...am I the only one that's going to lament the passing of truly American-exclusive cars? Cars like...

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For years it seems we've had to bend to the will of foreigners. The original 300M's rear was chopped because it was destined to be exported to Europe. The Sigma STS was shrunk from the previous Seville, again, to 'more adequately compete' in and with Europeans. And yet despite these efforts, we simply cannot win. Even our European-imported cars like the Focus and upcoming AURA just aren't European enough. And how many times has the CTS been bitched at because its bigger than a 3er but smaller than a 5er?

Maybe because its, uh, American? And America can do whatever the hell it wants, including sticking eighty pounds of ribbed plastic trim on the sides of a car, building a passenger sedan on a thirty year-old frame stronger than what underpins most Japanese trucks, put four individual backup lamps on one car, and most glorious of all, designing, building, and selling 17-foot long cars with two doors.

Everything's becoming too international, too common, too 'one-car-changed-slightly-to-appeal-to-different-markets.' I'm going to miss the model year when I can no longer buy a big, fat, chromed-up tank designed with absolutely no regard for European pedestrian safety regs or Asian size preferences or South American fuel requirements.

Things overseas aren't all that great themselves either, folks. The new Golf sucks so bad VW is redesigning it already. The Phaeton is a bust. And check out this center stack design...

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Ugly, cheap-looking, and ergonomically screwed. Its from the Alfa-Romeo 166.

I'm not against incorporating certain desireable elements from foreign cars, but damnit, I still want my American cars to be American. If I wanted an import, I'd buy one.

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Guest YellowJacket894

I agree. Detroit needs to go back to the way it used to do things, and the 300C is a good example of that. Detroit cannot be Japan or Europe, and vice versa. So they should quit with the front-drive bullcrap and get back to good ol' rear-drive and V-8 power, which, despite how "Redneck-ish" that sounds, is the/an American automobile institution. And they can do it and still be competitive, too.

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I agree. Detroit needs to go back to the way it used to do things, and the 300C is a good example of that. Detroit cannot be Japan or Europe, and vice versa. So they should quit with the front-drive bullcrap and get back to good ol' rear-drive and V-8 power, which, despite how "Redneck-ish" that sounds, is the/an American automobile institution. And they can do it and still be competitive, too.

uh, front drive is quite American. It was invented here. It was perfected here. It was popularized here.

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Well put. I love American Vehicles...with beefy frames, wide bodies, and rumbling

V-8s. I have had it with globalization! I want the chrome, and dual exhaust, and

fat tires. I don't care about the whole world, as much as I care about US.

I know just what I want and won't settle for less. I'm with Fly.

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Guest YellowJacket894

Actually, front-drive is a French thing, I believe, first used on a Citroen. But, Oldsmoboi, you are right about one thing, I suppose: it was perfected here and popularized here.

Edited by YellowJacket894

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Wait, wait...we need to hit a midpoint here. Yes, look at how most of us drool over the good stuff: cast iron Rocket V8s or Buick V6s, sumptuous interiors, more color choices, a quiet boulevard ride and a good dose of torque. HOWEVER, it needs to be executed with today's advancements in quality control. That old combo of ingredients with mid 80s quality control and (lack of) longevity is not a good thing. That's what got GM in trouble. I, too, want some of those things back. I will never forget the interior of my 84 Cutlass Supreme Brougham ("the little Cutlass that could") and the inherent handling balance of a RWD car. However, the second Cutlass gave less problems than the first and my 92 Regal's reliability blows both Cutlasses away.

Posted Image - how do I shrink this, anyway?

Blend the old and the new. I don't want an American car that feels Asian or European .... that's not why I drive GM and it's not why I post on this forum.

Edited by trinacriabob

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HOWEVER, it needs to be executed with today's advancements in quality control.  That old combo of ingredients with mid 80s quality control and longevity is not a good thing.

Agreed, but remember, quality control is not a nationalized thing. We have good quality, we just need to spread it around. I'm becoming less of an admirer of current Japanese quality and European quality is the joke de jour.

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Actually, front-drive is a French thing, I believe, first used on a Citroen. But, Oldsmoboi, you are right about one thing, I suppose: it was perfected here and popularized here.

Ah didn't know about the Citroen... but apparently we're tied with the French because they were developed at the same time.

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I'm not against incorporating certain desireable elements from foreign cars, but damnit, I still want my American cars to be American. If I wanted an import, I'd buy one.

*nods*

I agree whole-heartedly.

This is part of the reason why I so much love going to car cruises/events ... to see all of the "cars of yesterday" that are STILL driven and enjoyed :).

Cort, "Mr MC" / "Mr Road Trip", 32swm/pig valve/pacemaker

MC:family.IL.guide.future = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/

Models.HO = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort/trainroom.html

"Someday you will find me" ... Oasis ... 'Champaign Supernova'

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I'm with ya, Fly. I'm not really a fan of minimalist European and Asian designs. I like my bold chrome grilles and RWD proportions. It bothers me when people want to bring Holden Statemens over and slap a Buick badge on it because it's just an Australian car with a Buick badge....there's nothing "Buick" about it.

The Chrysler 300 is such a success because it's an excessive, overwrought sedan brimming with horsepower and all the other goodies that made American cars legends in the past. I'm sure if Ford had brought out the 427, it would be seeing the same success as well.

Today when I came home, I noticed our neighbors now have an early 80s Delta 88 sitting in their driveway. That thing is in beautiful shape and has more character in one half of the grille than there is in some entire sedans today.

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Yeah, I like to dabble, but Umurrika is my home and no car company will ever have a history as rich and absolutely dripping with delicious power as GM. We need something to be proud of again!

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Quite possibly Fly's best post EVER! :)

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The RWD Holdens are the exception - they are very American in design (except for the steering wheel issue).

I think it's even better... the power and brute force of an American car, with the subtlety and refinement of an European car.

Seeing Pontiac isn't going retro by any means (Solstice), the Holdens would make excellent driver-focused Pontiacs.

Edited by empowah

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I think it's even better... the power and brute force of an American car, with the subtlety and refinement of an European car.

Yup, and exactly where American cars would be if they hadn't blundered into the FWD blandmobile wasteland for several decades.

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Yup, and exactly where American cars would be if they hadn't blundered into the FWD blandmobile wasteland for several decades.

And it's not like the current G6 looks any more American than the Holden VE spy pics.

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The first gen Infiniti M45 looked very American, IMO:

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And they sold, like, 7 of them?

It wasn't expensive, either, for its class... essentially V8 power for six-cylinder price.

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Guest YellowJacket894

Ah didn't know about the Citroen... but apparently we're tied with the French because they were developed at the same time.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Actually, it was the '30s or so, I think. I think the car was the 3CV or something... Ah, I might Google it or Ask Jeeves about it, see what turns up.

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Guest YellowJacket894

... And behold, I'm right. The first mainstream (as for it being such in this country, I don't think so...) front-drive car was the French-built Citroën Traction Avant 7A.

Here's a bit from Citroën's website on the matter.

A vehicle of revolutionary design, the Traction Avant is hailed by the press when it makes its debut in 1934.

It is "so new, so bold, so full of original ideas, so different from what has gone before"

Other carmakers, including the German firm Adler, had already tried to produce a vehicle in which the car is driven by the front wheels. But the engine was too big and this limited the size of the passenger compartment.

As a result, the cars of the time tend to have rear-wheel steering. Moreover, they are made of wood, covered with sheets of metal fixed to a chassis with the engine bolted on directly. Cars therefore tend to be particularly heavy with fixed steering systems. The technical challenge facing the Traction Avant was to devise a way of placing the engine and gearbox assembly on the front wheels, which are both powered and steered. The vehicle would also have a lower centre of gravity. As a result, the car offers excellent roadholding, making it much sought-after.

This innovative engineering is not the only surprise in store for drivers of the Traction Avant. Everything is new. The car is much lighter since the integral, unitised all-steel body (a design adopted by Lancia before Citroën) does away with the old chassis. And thanks to the efforts of engineer André Lefebvre and styling engineer Flaminio Bertini, the vehicle is more aerodynamic than its predecessors, with well designed lines, evenly distributed weight and an air flow that favours speed.

André Citroën had even planned an automatic gearbox but problems with sealing led him to adopt, at the last minute, a mechanical gearbox developed in secret by far-seeing engineers. At the start, the body shell is too slack, the floating engine floats too much. The Traction is not entirely ready when it is unveiled to the public. The first customers have to cope with the teething problems! The vehicle is really only technically ready a few months later.

In 1936, the Traction Avant is further improved: the torsion bar suspension is replaced by hydraulic shock absorbers and the vehicle gains rack and pinion steering. The last Traction leaves Javel on 25 July 1957.

With a total output of 759,123 vehicles, the Traction Avant was in production for 23 years, 4 months and 15 days, a world record for its time.

And a few photos...

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And I think it was this car or another that helped the Olds Toronado design team make the decision to make that car front-drive.

So, front-drive is a French thing made American, in other words.

Edited by YellowJacket894

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