Hooniverse Asks – What American Car is Least 'Merican?

Car and Driver recently printed an article about the percentages of domestic content in cars nominally built within our nation’s borders. And while it turns out that the vast majority have enough foreign-sourced content to require a green card just to drive here, most people show by nameplate, and are most likely oblivious to where much of their car was built.
That means that most folks consider Fords to be made in America – even if they really come from places like Mexico – and Toyotas to be ‘furrin’ despite being assembled by guys named Scooter and Jim-bob down Tennessee way. The biggest indicator to most people of where their car came from, is how it looks and feels, as American cars have a rather unique characteristic that could best be described as expansive baroque. Whether it’s size, Novocain  steering, or the application of chrome where chrome should not be, our cars speak volumes about our nation.
Except when they don’t. Some U.S.-assembled cars are virtually indistinguishable from their cousins sold overseas. Usually smaller, typically more efficient in the use of space, both on the road and in the cabin, these Parent Trap twins also usually share one factor- they were designed elsewhere. Other cars have been designed here, but have been purposefully made to look like a foreigner – Pontiac’s 6000 STE falls readily to mind. But what about other cars? What car designed and built here in the states is the most un-American?
Image source: [caraudiomag.com]


    1. These engineers at Ford had a bad ophthalmologist, maybe you should change yours too 😉

  1. If all Ford count, then the Ka takes the cake.
    But of all America-assembled vehicles, the Ford Ranger is my unAmerican truck of the day.

    1. My girlfriend has the Mercury Mistak- I mean, Mystique. Same car really.
      Anyway, I've spent a lot of time driving and being driven in that car, and I will tell you; I would take a Morris Marina over that car because I loathe it so much.

      1. I love 'em.
        Okay, that's not entirely true.
        I love 'em when they have a five-speed. The CD4E is literally the worst gearbox I've ever encountered. Never shifted when it was meant to, sapped any power the 2.0 Zetec had, and tried to vibrate the car apart when idling in gear – you had to put it in neutral at a stoplight, otherwise it felt for all the world like a rear-drive car with an off-center driveshaft. It may have been a transmission mount, we don't know to this day, but no shop could figure it out.
        The stick-shift Contour my mother had before, though? Lovely.

    1. Sort of soft (but not full-on boat) and had a litany of engine problems? Sounds like a proper 90's Cadillac to me.

  2. 'Muricans don't like small cars, therefore I'm issuing a wide sweeping blanket statement that any B Segment car with a domestic badge on it is unAmerican. Hell in the 80's and 90's we just rebadged furrin B segment cars cuz we didn't know how to make'em.
    Although we are warming up to them now that fuel rising over $4/gal.

  3. ASSEMBLY? Assembling doesn't count as changing the country of origin of the manufacturer, the foundry that made the steel, the banks that financed, the design, the prototypes, the parts suppliers, the shipping companies. And what company the profits go to after someone buys it. Assemble is a way to beat Unions (here & there) and by pass tariffs & taxes.
    In a perfect world your black & white is the clear choice.

    1. It's not clear what you're arguing in your comment..
      A Toyota assembled here has more American made parts in it than, say, a Fusion made in Mexico. A LOT more.

      1. Come on, it's the snarky attitude Like your comment about Toyoda sending over finished components to be "made in the USA" is somehow smart and if Ford has plants in the rest of the world it's somehow a dirty trick.
        Assembly is for monkeys, and children being tested for Special Ed.

          1. That site doesn't seem to track the simian content of automobiles, though.

          2. By the sound of it I guess I should have first asked what kind of Toyotas you guys drive.

          3. An attempt at snark does not change the fact that your statements were utterly and completely misguided. By the way, I drive a LeSabre.

          4. If you are asking…it's an '04 Sequoia that was built in Princeton, Indiana…and is approximately 75% US MANUFACTURED.

        1. I'm guessing you haven't spent much time on assembly lines. I design construction equipment for a living, and spend maybe two work weeks a year helping with prototype builds on the assembly line, making sure that my assigned subsystems go together the right way (and learning what areas don't go together as well as was hoped.) It's not an easy job.

    1. Shody build quality and attention to detail. Couldn't even spell CANADIAN correctly. 😉

    2. As a kid living in coastal Florida, I used to see Acadians and Beaumonts on the road all the time. Especially in winter, which was snow-bird season in east central Florida (Cape Canaveral and surrounding areas). It took me a while to figure out what the deal was with the odd-looking Chevy IIs and Chevelles.

      1. I had the same experience vacationing on the southern Maine coast decades later – Echo hatchbacks? Pontiac G4 Pursuits? Acura ELs? Chevy Optras (protip: Daewoo-built Suzuki Reno/Forenza)?
        It's a wonder I've never consciously noticed a Passport/Asüna.

        1. Hell, even as a Canadian, I can't remember if I've seen a Passport/Asuna outside of auto shows ever (and that would've been 18 year ago). On a lark, I searched AutoTrader – they have two Asunas for sale, in all of Canada (both in B.C.).
          Of course, the Passport, between the Isuzu dealer network, and their sole vehicle being a knock-off Daewoo, didn't stand a chance of existing outside of the 90's.

  4. I'll stretch the definition of 'car' for this question (although from the other direction it's stretching the definition of 'motorcycle' anyway) to nominate the 1980-82 HMV Freeway.
    <img src="http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5133/5512867456_cfc3733b03.jpg&quot; width="400">
    Designed and constructed in the US by a US company (High Mileage Vehicles of Minnesota), using a US engine (Tecumseh) and transmission (Comet), nonetheless it seemed far from typically American at the time and still regularly gets mistaken for some sort of obscure import.
    Besides, that's mine in the photo and tomorrow (30 April 2011) is the thirtieth anniversary of its build date.

    1. Someday the hoonmind will post something that you can't relate to your stable of tiny, awesome cars. Seriously, we need to mail Mitch over there to just take pictures and document everything.

    1. So un-American that the original blueprints were drawn up with the Holden logo on them.
      (Sure, it was just a bit of corporate subterfuge, but still…)

  5. No, all body production was carried out by Fisher & Ludlow (a division of BMC) in Birmingham, England, and final assembly was by Austin (a division of BMC) in Longbridge, England. This is true for cars intended for all markets, North American and otherwise. It's covered over the course of several pages here:
    Even nearly all of the miscellaneous bits and pieces are Austin. It's British.

    1. Wow. You're right and I'm wrong. I stand corrected and very contrite. I really thought I knew what the hell I was talking about. So much for relying on my synaptic cortex as a reference source.

  6. See my contraction and apology to Mr. Harrell above. I'm a buffoon, masquerading as a clown, wrapped in an idiot.

    1. But you're our buffoon, masquerading as a clown, wrapped in an idiot, and we wouldn't have you any other way!
      (But really, you aren't any of those things. Other than ours. All ours.)

    1. Essentially the same engine, yes, but the A40 wasn't a B-Series during the initial period of Metropolitan production. It's only a B-Series by virtue of back-naming, like calling the first Lincoln Continentals the "Mk I" after FoMoCo came out with the Continental Mk II. They weren't called that at the time.
      The timing of production was right around the introduction of the B-Series terminology:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The maximum upload file size: 64 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here