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.
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.