America’s greatest car.

Let me ask you guys a question.  What is America’s greatest car?  What car is the icon of all that is America?  Maybe we should ask those that don’t live in the USA… What car do they see in the American Dream?  The symbol of the United State…  The 4 wheel statue at the top of the flag pole.  Eh, who cares what Jeremy Clarkson thinks… This is our car we’re talking about.  America’s car.  What is that car to us?

Is it the Mustang?


The Mustang is now 50 years old.   And it’s been mostly a good 50 years.  Never mind the Mustang II years… 1973 to 1978… Those were terrible years and I am not convinced anything good came out of those years.  Interestingly, ’73 to ’78 were the very same years as the run of Kojak.  Telly Savalas may have single handedly saved The 70’s, I’m not sure, but it sure wasn’t the Mustang II.  Side note, according to the Wiki, Consumer Reports recommended the Gremlin over the Mustang II.  Ouch.  That stings.

Maybe America’s Car is the Corvette.

Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.
Ferrari and Lambo can go back to Italy.

The Corvette is now well over that 50 year mark.  It too has a long and storied history marred by that awkward time through the 70’s.   But overall, the Corvette weathered that storm and really never forgot what it was quite like the Mustang.   The 2015 Corvett’s styling is brilliant… it blends hallmarks over everything the Corvette always was, with everything the Mad Men at Chevy want the Corvette to be. Then they put in the best interior that the Corvette has ever had.  The best seats, the best dash layout, the best cockpit area… It’s the promise of the Corvette finally fulfilled.  Driving one, just for a few minutes, tells you that the Corvette has finally arrived.  For it to be any better than this – It will have to run on a Mr Fusion and fly.

Both the Mustang and the Corvette share one thing in common for me.  I never really wanted one until the 2015 Model year for both the cars.  If you look at the development of these cars, you see a progression of development, with both cars getting better with every year… but 2015 marks what is probably the pinnacle for both platforms.    Maybe overall the Mustang had a lead.  Especially in 1968… Because of one man.  No, not Carroll Shelby*.  But Steve McQueen.


I think overall this is what saved the Mustang through those lean 70’s years.  That and the fact there really were not a lot of good options during that time anyway.
In 2004 is when Ford started taking the Mustang seriously though.  That’s when Carroll Shelby came into the scene, bringing with him the Cobra packages.  Mustangs all the sudden became something more than just a habit for Ford.  It became a real thing again.  Something that they could actually show some pride in.  They had gone past the Fox Bodies – which really were not all that bad – into that newer clam shell topped car that was just… not all that inspiring. They were like a place holder car until Shelby bolted in an Awesome kit.    Come on, Ford’s Special Vehicle Team couldn’t do anything with it… The best work that they had done in some time before or since with any car was the Contour.  When automotive journalists compare the SVT Contour to a BMW M3, that really says something.  Too bad nobody paid attention to those journalists.  Come on, SVT’s biggest idea for the Mustang was a 4 cylinder turbo.  They should have put that in the Contour and supercharged the Mustang.  Or something. I will give them credit for the Lightning… because that was awesome… and the Raptor… because that was even more awesome.  But without Shelby, the SVT guys were just lost.

Okay, now here’s the thing though… America’s best selling car isn’t a car.  According to AutoBlog, the top 10 vehicles sold doesn’t even have an American car in the list.   You see that the #1 rig is the Ford F-150, and #2 is the Chevy Silverado.   It’s been said that Ford sells about 6 F-150’s every Minute.  But best selling doesn’t necessarily mean best vehicle.  Motor Trend (my favorite American’ Auto-Rag) named the Ram 1500 as the Truck of the Year for 2014.    I have to say, that’s a good choice.  I drove a Ram 1500 from Vernal, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada and I have to say… it was incredibly comfortable and incredibly smooth.  It was a joy to drive.  And that was, what, a 2012 model?  The newer ones have got nothing but better.  I especially love the storage boxes above the wheel wells along the sides of the beds.  That’s smart.  And the fact that you can get 28 MPG’s on the highway – thats’ incredible.

More than Car Guys – Truck Guys can get seriously argumentative over who has the best truck.  Ford – Chevy – Dodge – Toyota… They battle like the families in Game of Thrones.   I’ll let you guys decide which Family is which Brand.  For me, there is something wrong with Ford F-150 that I can’t put my finger on.  Maybe it’s the looks.  I HATE the look of these new F-150’s.  They look like they were designed by Mayan-Cylon Architects.  That’s not a good look for a truck.  I’m not a fan of the dual turbo V-6… Ford’s EcoBoost.  Sure, it’s popular and guys that have it love them.  But I’d rather have the 5.0 Liter…   Now, the Ford’s 5.0 is said to put out more power than the 5.3 Liter Chevy V-8, but the Chevy’s has Cylinder Deactivation for more efficient highway driving.  When trying out both trucks, I really can’t feel a difference.

As I have mentioned before, I do like the Chevy interior better than the Ford’s.   The Ford’s feel like you are flying in Coach Class by the Emergency Exit.  You might have plenty of leg room, but you don’t really want to be there.  The Chevy’s is more comfortable, with a better layout all around.  So I think between the two I’d take the Chevy**.

Overall, in my opinion, America’s Car for 2014 is the Chevy Silverado.

*The fact that Dodge locked up Shelby to merely gussy up some ulgy hatchbacks is something America should never forgive Dodge for.

**Actually most likely I’d take the new 2015 Chevy Colorado.  With a V-6 of course.  For economy reasons.  This is a class of Truck that Ford has ignored for some time now.   But that’s another topic.    But if I was rich and could just buy whatever I wanted – The Silverado High Country edition with that 6.2 liter engine… Just because.

10 thoughts on “America’s greatest car.”

  1. Don’t forget that SVT had the DOHC Cobra in 96 putting out the same power as the Camaro/Trans-Am. All while giving up 1.1 liters. They also went IRS in ’99, which they should have kept. By far, I think the 5th gen was the best looking since the ’66 fastback. I know everyone drools over the ’67-8 fastback, but the ’65-6 invented the pony car. I can’t form an opinion on the 6th gen yet, as I haven’t seen one in person. I will say, there is no way it could be as “off” as the new Camaro. That thing looks like GM hired some anime artist to sketch a 1st gen and ran with it.

    I agree with you on the F-150s appearance. They haven’t looked right since the re-do mid ’90s. Even though the new GM trucks may have better appointed interiors, there has always been 1 thing I was never fond of. The seats on GM trucks always seem so damn low to the floor. It was far more exaggerated on the S series trucks, but a common theme on all GM trucks.

    In the end, give me a ’65-6 fastback or an early ’90s F-150. Of course neither would stay anywhere near stock for long.

    1. The 65-66 cars were also a lot lighter… Which as we all know pays dividends in all aspects of performance.
      Now you take the later more potent engines and put them in the lighter bodied cars… That’s a win.
      But I do have to admit that I am more fond of the 68’s looks. The 65-66’s looked too “Muzzle Up” for me. Like a boat on plane.

  2. In my opinion, the best muscle car from the 60’s (look wise, again, IMO) is the 68 Chevelle. I’ve owned two over the years and never could finish getting one restored before something in my life went sideways (last one got close though). I will own one again and the next one will be restored when I buy it.

    1. Between 68 and 73 was the Muscle Car’s salad days… the golden era.
      We’re starting to see that Muscle Car movement coming back. Look at the cars now. The new Mustangs and Corvettes, the Camaros and Chargers and Challengers… the Chevy SS.
      Here’s the thing though – They are not making them right in the spirit of what the Muscle Cars really were. The new ones are far too heavy and too loaded with all the extras and too expensive. I want to see a smaller light weight body, simple interior, and then cram a friggen big V-8 engine into that. That’s what I want to see. Maybe that’s what the new Mustang is going to be. I don’t know. Maybe. Here’s to HOPE.

      1. I doubt the new Mustang will be available stripped down with a V8. Manufacturers just don’t seem to do it any more. Fords last “stripper” was the ’93 Cobra R with the 351. Dodge did do a stripped down Challenger the first year. Cars like that however are rare occurrence.

        1. Porsche does it with great success.
          Dodge did it with the NEON ACR, which was fairly popular.
          Dodge is also doing it with a special stripper version of the RAM 1500 which has been fairly popular in some circles.

          Other than the Porsche – these special lighter/stripped versions are invisible in the market. They are not advertised. Often you can find them with the word “FLEET” attached.

    2. I think I agree with you on the Chevelle. Which was the reason I watched Jack Reacher. That’s a cool Chevelle in that movie.

      1. I haven’t seen that movie yet.

        As far as the muscle car come back goes I agree with your analysis. One thing I’d like to see is a new Chevelle package for the Malibu but I doubt Chevy has the balls to build it. Would have to be 2 door, rear wheel drive. I’d settle for a base model with a supercharged v-6 as long as they built the SS with the current 427 package out of the newer Corvettes. Only other thing they’d have to greet right is the damn body style, make it look like a descendant of the original or don’t do it at all.

  3. The 150’s and 1500’s aren’t really “trucks.” Just large cars with some storage out back.

    When you compare the real trucks – the sizes used by those who use the vehicle for work instead of play – Ford is the hands-down winner. Mine’s a dozen years old, has over 210,000 miles on it (half on salt-covered winter roads, half on frost heaves and potholes), and I wouldn’t hesitate to toss four thousand pounds in the back, and pass the Chevys and Dodges going uphill on the highway, while they struggle just to make it up while empty. Heck, I usually pass folks without downshifting – even in OD, there’s plenty of power.

    Only downside to Fords is the lack of used ones to choose from – unlike with other vehicles, where folks get sick of them and go for a new one every few years, Ford owners tend to stick with it. Even with a dozen years and a couple hundred thousand miles under its belt, I can’t see any reason why I’d put this thing out to pasture and move to something new – there’d simply be no benefit to a new truck that would justify that, because this one still does everything I need it to do, comfortably and reliably.

  4. The AMC American in that brief period before marketing insanity took over AMC and killed the company. The American had the same chassis as the AMX and the Javelin, was about a half ton lighter, and if you could read the order book at your old Momma-Papa hole in the wall dealer you could put an AMX under your econobox and kick some serious…
    Whose Dad could only get the HD suspension, LSD, Discs, radials and a 200 hp 290 V-8 with the 3 on the tree. So the rich kids with the GTOs with the 4.11 rear ends were dragging down Rt. 57 at 98 mph when the ignitions starting cutting out to save the engine..and the little Nash Rambler Station Wagon came up behind and went “Beep-Beep!”

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