Hooniverse Asks- What Embarrasses you the Most About the Reputation of Your Country's Cars?


I’m always impressed by Jeremy Clarkson’s unflagging support for the historically rubbish British Motor Industry. Clarkson would compare a BMW coupe to a similar model Jag and when the Jag catches fire, Clarkson would dun the German for not keeping him as warm. Loathe though he may be to admit it, but British cars are – on average – crap. And this admission is coming from someone who dearly loves, and has gone to far as to own a bunch of British iron over the years.

I’m also a resident of the US of A, and here we have our own automotive crosses to bear. For me, what chaps my asphalt about American cars is the fact that they’re just so American. For every world-class interior there’s another that wouldn’t look out of place in a Waffle House. For every efficient and engaging engine, there’s another that’s nothing but a big lump of noise and low end.

I don’t hate ’em, and in fact there are certain aspects of our nation’s stereotypical automotive features that I like. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? You may have a ne’er do well brother whom you dearly love, but when he gets drunk is a total pain in the butt. You don’t take him out behind the shed, you take the bad with the good and go on with your life. What I want to know today is, what is it about your nation’s automotive reputation that makes you do the same?

Image source: AutoLanka Forums

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116 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What Embarrasses you the Most About the Reputation of Your Country's Cars?”

    1. p33tor Avatar

      Why does everyone hate the Aztek? I know its ugly but a lot of us on here like cars people would think of ugly.
      I remember coming on holiday to the US and being taken to car show when I was younger (and probably more stupid…), and grabbing a brochure for a whole load of US cars and at the time thinking it was cool. I mean, you can get a tent that attaches to the back, and speakers built into the boot for parties. A massive space for gear and 4wd to go somewhere and not get too stuck.
      Just me? Fair enough, maybe the sight of them dazzled my 14 year old brain!

      1. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

        Everyone I've known who had one (I am up to five, now) loved them, so there's something there, some understanding that comes only from close proximity, maybe.
        I have this thing about bikes, though, that sorta applies to cars: I gotta not hate it when I walk up to it. It doesn't have to be pretty, but it can't annoy me. I think the Aztek fails that test for most folks.

        1. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

          Exactly. It was so ugly that my wife (who is from Mexico) was actually offended that they named it "Aztek." heh She didn't want something that looked like that even remotely associated with her culture. I mean, look at Alfas, they look great, drive great, historically unreliable. And people love them… well, car people love them. A car can function terrifically, but if there's nothing there to look at that that you like, it's not really a true success to me. And the reverse is true as well, I think. If the Alfas just looked the way they do but drove terrible and still had the terrible reliability, no one would like them. Granted, there are exceptions. I've always like the Vector M12, but I'd never want to own one. At that point it's more of a sculpture than a vehicle.

      2. Dan Avatar

        I too feel that if a car evokes an emotional response, it's not all bad. If it was born into a different GM brand, it might have been given better styling but no one would remember it.

        1. Devin Avatar

          There is definitely evidence to support this statement, they called it the Rendezvous.
          <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/01/09/12/35/2006_buick_rendezvous_cx-pic-57690.jpeg&quot; width="500">

        2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          I don't think so. Ugly is ugly, no matter how exotic and revered the marque.
          <img src="http://a405.idata.over-blog.com/600×381/3/29/68/39/Marques-de-Moto/Ducati/Ducati-500-Vertical-Twins/01-Ducati-500-GTL-1975.jpg"&gt;

          1. Patrick Avatar

            Or how respected the signature at the bottom of the sketch. That's a Giugiaro design. Proof that mastery in one design realm doesn't always transfer to another.

          2. Devin Avatar

            Keep in mind Giugiaro also designed the Chevrolet Aveo.
            The guy has off days.

          3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
            Peter Tanshanomi

            That's okay…Ghia didn't make the transition very well, either.
            <img src="http://media.onsugar.com/files/2010/09/38/4/641/6410843/f8/ben_076_1976_41_944x574_benelli-750-sei.jpg"&gt;

          4. Sjalabais Avatar
      3. Maymar Avatar

        It's not a bad car, per se, it's just so relentlessly GM. Cheap interior, lifeless (but reasonably durable) pushrod engine, a few decent ideas that didn't go anywhere, and a whole bunch of half-assing between concept and reality. On top of that, it may have been spacious and available with AWD, but so was the Montana that donated its greasy bits to give the Aztek life. It's an early crossover.
        That said, it's weird enough I don't hate it.

    2. calzonegolem Avatar

      I see 4 or 5 of these on my daily commute and a couple Rendezvous for shits and giggles. They are fairly capable, spacious and comfortable CUVs.

    3. desolit Avatar

      … and they are huge pieces of junk. the only good thing i could say about the Aztec is about the tent that popped out of the back…… thats it.

  1. Alff Avatar

    Exterior styling that is, at times, more off the wall that even the French or Koreans. GM, in particular, is a serial offender.

  2. DonFehlio Avatar

    That as soon as someone hears I like cars, they assume I like NASCAR.
    <img src="http://www.hdwallpapers3d.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/nascar.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      Along those lines- when I tell someone I spent my weekend driving at the track, I'm a drag racer.
      I used to bother to correct them with, "No, we turn left and right. Roadcourse track. Like Road America or LeMans or Monaco."
      -blank stare-
      "Yes. Drag race" and I move on with my life.

      1. mdharrell Avatar

        <img src="http://www.murileemartin.com/UG/LWA13/421-UG-Pacific_Northworst_24_Hours_of_LeMons.jpg&quot; width="450">
        With our car the most common assumption is demolition derby.

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Dare I say it is obvious who of these two was sitting on the left?

    2. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar
      Scandinavian Flick ★

      You know… I used to be one of those with a severe distaste for NASCAR, and made fun of it when I got the chance. The true Walmart of sporting events. The people who don't know how to turn right. But more recently, I became friends with someone well on his way to a NASCAR career. He races mostly oval track, but will race pretty much anything with four wheels on any track, and with a degree of skill I can only observe and pretend to understand. It gave me a new respect and understanding for the drivers and what they are capable of. So, I still poke fun, because he's a friend… and that's easy ammo… But I get it now.
      I still won't watch it though…

      1. DonFehlio Avatar

        I understand the skill required, and I don't hold it against those who do like it. I just consider NASCAR to be the Michael Bay of motorsports; showy, unsophisticated, and slightly racist.

        1. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar
          Scandinavian Flick ★

          …and people only watch it for the explosions.

  3. buzzboy7 Avatar

    That american cars don't turn(except left).

    1. calzonegolem Avatar

      No amount of Nurburing results seem to be able to banish this specter.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        Two years after the Mustang matched the M3 for lap times, we still can't get away from that (and the Mustang did that with a Solid Rear Axle. For some extra MURICA!).

        1. dukeisduke Avatar

          Yeah, the guys on TG (especially Clarkson) hate live rear axles, regardless of how well-controlled they are. He also makes fun of the E-Glass springs used on Corvettes. Hey, they work, and damn good.
          'Murica FTMFW!

          1. Felis_Concolor Avatar

            That's when you hit them with the expertise counter. "You guys don't build OHV engines/don't use straight axles because you don't know how to!

  4. SSurfer321 Avatar

    That we are all fat American's driving SUV's even though we don't know how to actually drive them.
    <img src="http://auto-fail.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/policeman-posing-SUV-stuck-on-rock-in-carpark.jpg"&gt;

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      It's that Toyota unintended acceleration! :-p
      But, it does have some strong running boards.

  5. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
    Dean Bigglesworth

    Hard to be embarrassed by something that doesn't exist. Valmet currently assembles the Fisker Karma and Mercedes A-class but i don't know if an assembly line can be called "auto industry", and apart from that it's pretty much just trucks and military vehicles. Nothing to really be embarrassed about.
    I think Clarkson disses the British auto industry just as much if not more than others.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      Valmet built my Dad's Saab 9-3 convertible.
      Do they build the rifles in the same plant as the cars or is that a totally separate division?

      1. Dean Bigglesworth Avatar
        Dean Bigglesworth

        Different plant, and nowadays different company. Valmet Automotive builds cars, the gun manufacturing has went though a few mergers since the eighties and is currently owned by Beretta.

  6. marmer01 Avatar

    That from about 1960 until about 2010 (and it's still debatable) that American car companies were completely bilnd to interior materials quality.

  7. nanoop Avatar

    Mercedes and BMW design had and still have their moments of weird.
    The whole Piech Porsche Wedekind Winterkorn BS.

  8. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

    On Top Gear's American Muscle Car Challenge, I gotta say I felt genuinely embarrassed when Clarkson was pushing at the body panels of his ZR1 and they wiggled around like the flimsy bits of plastic they are.
    <img src="http://www.autoalerts.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/jeremy-clarkson-2009-corvette-zr11.jpg&quot; width="350/">

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      Still, he picked the ZR1 as his Top Gear pick of the year for 2008.

    2. crank_case Avatar

      Given that much of the British sportscar industry is built on flimsy plastic cars, I wouldn't sweat it.

    3. CherokeeOwner Avatar

      Honestly, when it comes to American cars, I tend to ignore Clarkson's opinion. Keep in mind, he tried to defend British-Leyland cars with that big yellow wedge that leaked like a colander and lost its rear doors, and his bitchin' about plastic trim and the "agricultural feel" of a WJ Grand Cherokee — while never bringing up the fact that the comparable Range Rover he loves will probably be in a junkyard in ten years — kind of rang hollow.
      That said though, he has gotten slightly better about judging American cars over the past few years. Still, I take his praise of British rides and criticism of American rides with a big honkin' grain of salt.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        [youtube pjzpx_jUUA0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pjzpx_jUUA0 youtube]

        1. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
          C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

          However, if you bought a car like that in 1976, you had a time machine, 'cause that's about an '88 Town Cow.

      2. JayP2112 Avatar

        Watching Top Gear for automotive info is like watching David Letterman for the news.

      3. Irishzombieman☆ Avatar

        Eh, didn't go looking for his opinion of that car. Instead, I'm listening to his when he makes fun of the cheap plastic stuff, and I find myself agreeing with it.

      4. Felis_Concolor Avatar

        He's just pissed the Yanks kicked the British out of the US market in the 60s, leaving them nothing but niches to fill as the 70s rolled around.
        After his infantile attempt at humor during his "piss off the South" trip, I defy Clarkson to perform the same maneuver on his home turf. Simply obtain a Ford Transit and see how many times they can circle the M60 with it. I'll have the vinyl wrap professionally applied to ensure everyone can read the words "Manchester United are a bunch of quiche eating nancy boys who couldn't kick their way out of a wet paper bag" prominently displayed on both sides.

        1. dr zero Avatar
          dr zero

          He'd probably find overwhelming support for his slogan.
          You've got to remember that when they make fun of America, it's a reflection of the stereotypes that British folk have about the US, no on the US itself.

    4. Maymar Avatar

      Well yeah, but flimsy bits of plastic don't weight much. It serves its purpose just fine, and if it were on a Lotus, he'd point out how eagerly the engineers have saved weight, coating the car in the thinnest sheet of plastic possible.

  9. Devin Avatar

    All we have is other people's cars, so I guess nothing? Possibly the idea that GM, Ford and Chrysler are the only "domestic" manufacturers. Honestly, Toyota and Honda are just as domestic as they are, given that nobody is actually based here.

    1. JayP2112 Avatar

      The F150 narrowly beat the Camry for "Most American Car".
      Does the Mustang still have that crapbox transmission from China? I was so disgusted to hear that the transmission was built in China that I quick keeping up. I just planned on swapping the trans for a Tremec Magnum 6 speed when I finally get my Boss.

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        What about the Toyota Avalon?

    2. Maymar Avatar

      Well, I wouldn't drive a Bricklin in New Brunswick. I'm sure that's still a touchy subject.
      I'm embarassed that not more came of the Manic GT.
      I'm embarassed that whiny-ass Buick-Pontiac-GMC complained until they got rebadged Chevys/Geos, which didn't help brand perception much.
      I'm not embarassed by Bombardier's involvment with the Iltis though.

      1. Devin Avatar

        Didn't someone from New Brunswick make a musical about the Bricklin? They might have embraced it by now.
        It's also weird that Quebec has become the go to place for crazy three wheeled things, like the Can Am Spyder and everything Campagna does. I like that we've claimed that odd niche, however, so that doesn't quite apply here.

        1. Maymar Avatar

          You might be right. I want to say like all the Bricklins currently on Auto Trader are also currently in New Brunswick. Maybe I just wouldn't want to drive a Bricklin with Ontario plates in NB then, just to be safe.
          And now that you mention it, I would love to see a Quebecois Reliant Robin.

  10. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    <img src="http://news.consumerreports.org/cars_automakers_compare_graph.jpg&quot; width="500">
    The American automakers' reputation for building cars that are both unreliable and crap to drive.
    I has a sad every time the annual CR auto issue comes out.

    1. jeepjeff Avatar

      Yesterday, on the Gumout thread, frankthecat said to me:

      I don't know why I love my piece of shit, 30% iron oxide content ChryCo minivan, but I do.

      As a fellow Chrysler Product Owner, the phrase "Chrysler Products, we love them anyway" occurred to me this morning. I think it would make a great slogan for them. Up there with "Like a Rock" for great automotive slogans.

      1. Maymar Avatar

        To be fair, it's always struck me that Chrysler can either build great cars, or cars that are pretty reliable, but they struggle to do it at the same time. My Intrepid was a wonderful car, but a little problematic. My dad's old Sundance was direly mediocre, but nothing ever went wrong. Sounds like some of the Cerberus-era stuff holds up pretty well even if no one wants it (Caliber and ComPatriots, for example). Gives me pause about anything post-Fiat though.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      Baffling graphic. Especially since I did the jump 55/73 to 59/76 two years ago, and have regretted it ever since.

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        These are averages over the entire range of vehicles. So, you may have jumped from one of the better vehicles in 55/73 to one at the bottom end of 59/76.
        There are two other problems: the Toyota Camry has been one of their favorite vehicles for, well, as long as I've been reading. It hasn't come out as the overall pick for the last couple years, but it has held that title a number of times in the last decade and is always highly ranked. The points for NVH and cupholders are no less valuable than those for driving dynamics. Also, numb driving dynamics don't count negatively (they get scored as "comfortable", they like the Prius) as long as the handling at the limit of control is predictable understeer. Also, they want the limit to be as high as possible (tail happy cars get very badly scored; they'll even pester automakers to fix this dangerous condition when they find it in a model). Abusive traction control and electronic stability control are seen as huge positives.
        Or, you could have my problem. I drive CR's worst rated vehicle, and I love it. In fact, I love it for many of the reasons CR hates it. I cheer every April when it comes in last. If you have a special purpose vehicle, and the particular required feature mix means compromising a lot on NVH, and there are good reasons not to put an expensive interior in said vehicle, CR doesn't take any of that into account, and rates it just like it does the Camry, and pillories it.
        There are a lot of ways the numbers could be wrong for you. Unskewing them for hoon taste takes a bit of work and reading between the lines of the individual model reviews. Their most interesting numbers are for reliability data (since that doesn't rely on taste at all: it's just data).

        1. Sjalabais Avatar

          Couldn't agree more on your assessment! Car "tests" and "ratings" are interesting if the ones responsible try to objectify the numbers and compare them. But you couldn't possibly expect these numbers to work for every taste…yet: How did Subaru become such a fantastic outlier on "test score"?
          Do you think the bad CR ratings for your car and others affect resale values? How much impact does this report have?
          For European comparisons of reliability, the best data set is the German periodical inspections ("TÜV"), available here: http://www.anusedcar.com/

          1. jeepjeff Avatar

            The best part is, the abysmal CR ratings for my Jeep Wrangler haven't hurt its resale value a bit, due to it having an enthusiast following. I could have gotten any number of front-biased AWD small-to-mid sized SUVs for much less than my Jeep, and all of them would have scored higher in CR's pages. But none of them are as capable, fun or have any kind of aftermarket support. Which is why Wranglers hold their value better than something like a Ford Escape or Honda CRV.

          2. Devin Avatar

            Who is Anus Ed and why do I want his car?
            I think the thing with CR is that their test scores are designed to find what appeals to the broadest section of the market, while stuff like the Jeep Wrangler is designed to appeal to a very specific part of the market. So their scores are great for finding a mid-sized sedan for someone else, less good for finding something interesting for yourself.
            Subarus are beloved by lesbians, boy racers and elderly ladies who drive into parked cars. It's a brand with broad appeal.

          3. jeepjeff Avatar

            I need to get you to edit my posts. That's basically what I was trying to say, but clear and concise.

          4. Devin Avatar

            It does say writer on my business cards, so hopefully I'm reasonably good at it!

    3. ptschett Avatar

      I think their arrows are pointed the wrong way. #MoparOrNoCar

  11. Toxic Avenger Avatar
    Toxic Avenger

    As far as Top Gear, I have not seen it nor will I. Coming from Irish stock I dislike the British and their Monarchy.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      The American Top Gear is not bad. If you haven't seen the UK version the American version is really good. Assuming the fact it is still produced by BBC America isn't too close for you.

      1. Toxic Avenger Avatar
        Toxic Avenger

        I should mention that I watch 45 minutes of television 5 days a week. Morning news and Jeopardy. TV just does not interest me any more.

      2. Sjalabais Avatar

        Top Gear UK has had its moments, I have been crying because of laughter. But after so many years, they just struggle to keep up with themselves. Top Gear US can be very well made, but to me – who is used to the UK version – it feels like a boy scout copy. The chemistry between the guys is not quite as interesting, they have to work harder to make things go round, and it doesn't help that the program is made for commercials every four seconds ("So lets just repeat what we said two seconds ago").

        1. P161911 Avatar

          The first few seasons of TGUK didn't have the chemistry they have now either.
          American TV has mastered putting 45 minutes of programming with 25 minutes of content into a 60 minute programming block. History channel and all reality TV shows seem to be the worst at this. When I go back and watch episodes of early 1990s TV on Netflix I notice that most shows run 47-48 minutes, now most shows run 43-45 minutes. 5 more minutes of commercials!

          1. Toxic Avenger Avatar
            Toxic Avenger

            Just a few of the reasons TV no longer holds any interst for me.

          2. Sjalabais Avatar

            That I can completely understand! We haven't had a conventional TV for a decade, just a PC. Public television is very good online, and, of course, commercial free. But then it becomes even more annoying to have this regular repeating of what just happened in American (and Canadian) programs.

          3. Toxic Avenger Avatar
            Toxic Avenger

            At first the History channel and A&E were interesting . But that was a long time back.
            I have an extensive movie collection in the VCR format. Old tech ,but I like it.

          4. Devin Avatar

            The day the History channel started running shows about aliens was the day its name became a lie.
            At least TLC had the good grace to rebrand without "learning" anywhere in its name.
            I also don't have a cable hookup, actually. I can find ways to entertain myself that don't involve someone trying to sell me soap.

          5. dead_elvis Avatar

            And thus, I pirate most of what I watch. No commercials! (And no TV. High def doesn't do much for me. No cable = another tank of gas, at least.)

  12. Patrick Avatar

    The most embarrassing about the American automotive industry is that it has so much ability and potential that could be tapped to produce truly great products, but somehow the corporate/bureaucratic powers that be continuously make stupid, short-sighted decisions that result in products that are rarely better than a tolerable average – and in some cases are offensively, indefensibly bad.
    There is no physical or cultural reason that prohibits GM and Ford and Chrysler from making fantastic cars other than their own internal corporate processes. Some actually do turn out well in the end, but they should all be truly brilliant.
    It's frustrating and kind of depressing.

  13. duurtlang_ Avatar

    The Dutch and their caravans.
    <img src="http://bin.snmmd.nl/m/m1nzf91apha6.jpg&quot; width="600">
    In this guy´s defense, he is using an Alfa Romeo wagon to tow that small caravan. I've seen much smaller cars with much larger caravans.

  14. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

    [youtube goE0W9ypOF4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goE0W9ypOF4 youtube] Most people see this, and they don't think, "Nice, I like that lumpy idle," like I do, but they also don't realize the same factory that made the Syrena now makes the 500. <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-kZfQ_Wj4k1k/UHfD8_e8aYI/AAAAAAAAFlY/BrzxlMwQCAU/s660/afiacior2.png"&gt;

  15. LEROOOY Avatar

    Why does every US domestic offering have to be so goddamn MANLY? I want a pickup truck, but I don't need something with a hood and bed sides more than 5' off the ground, and I would rather die of shame than slap some gauche Truck Nutz on it. You know what F-150 I liked the most? The one that was criticized for being 'too feminine.'
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/93/Ford_F-150_XL_regular_cab.jpg/320px-Ford_F-150_XL_regular_cab.jpg"&gt;

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I don't mind the looks of my 2011 Chevy, but for the life of me I don't know why they think the side of the bed needs to be a good 6" higher than it was only 10 years ago. On a 2WD model no less. I've seriously considered lowering it, or just finding some shorter tires, maybe go down to 16" or 15" wheels.

    2. sc296 Avatar

      i agree. i especially love the supercrew

    3. MVEilenstein Avatar

      All the more reason to buy used. Get exactly what you want, how you want it, for the price you want.
      I've never cared for that generation F-150, but the Expedition manages to pull it off.

    4. Maymar Avatar

      I don't exactly care for that generation's styling (Lightning aside), but I get the appeal. I dig my trucks boxy and utilitarian, like that truck's predecessor, or the current generation Silverados (which don't go overboard on the MANLY!!!).

  16. 1slowvw Avatar

    My home province brought you the Bricklin, I saw 5 or 6 at a local car show last weekend and thought to myself "If that hadn't been managed by Malcom Bricklin, and hadn't been built 5 years too late we could have had something here to be proud of."
    Canada has other bits of auto history, but this one hits close to home for me.

  17. Scandinavian Flick ★ Avatar
    Scandinavian Flick ★

    Interior quality. The most recent new car show I went to, about a year ago, I sat in a new Chrysler 300C. Fiat ownership seems to have them going in the right direction, but it has been so desperately needed for so long, I wonder if it's too little, too late…
    Then I sat in a Cadillac… Come on, GM… This is supposed to be your luxury line. You sure as shit charge for it. It's not impossible to make plastics not suck, yet here we are… It looks nice right up until you touch it.
    <img src="http://i.imgur.com/MP5ZuYm.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I know in the 1990s GM tried to do soft touch plastics. I'm pretty sure they just got some Elmer's glue and clear balloons/condoms and glued the balloons over regular hard untextured ABS. After about 10 years the stuff starts peeling off like a bad sunburn.
      My Silverado has acres of hard, slightly textured ugly gray plastic. I love it, looks like it should last for decades (assuming it has a modicum of UV resistance).

    2. Devin Avatar

      That interior is weirdly similar to my Hyundai. I guess I don't have an analog clock.
      So at least the design might be a little influential?

    3. marmer01 Avatar

      No, that doesn't look nice at all. Too angular, too glossy, and too hard. It's a mess of seemingly random shapes. Wanna see nice, simple interior materials and design at a reasonable price? Look at an 80's Honda Civic, or a Jetta, Or a BMW 1-series. Or even a mid-90s Corolla. (not so much now, Toyota and Honda both have caught the economize-on-materials-so-make-up-for-it -with-angularity disease.) Wood is good, if it looks like wood. Metal is good, if it's not chrome. Chrome is for the outside of cars. Piano black finish is for grand pianos.

    4. C³-Cool Cadillac Cat Avatar
      C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

      Really? I think the interior of my '05 STS is pretty good, considering what else I've seen.
      However, the build quality cannot match the interiors of either the '89 420 SEL or '95 E320 I've owned.

  18. Preludacris Avatar

    I guess it's not really so embarrassing that the only Canadian car I can think of is an obscure supercar.
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/64/HTT_Pl%C3%A9thore.jpg/800px-HTT_Pl%C3%A9thore.jpg&quot; width="600">

    1. mdharrell Avatar

      That means you're missing out on the accomplishments of Robert Samuel McLaughlin.
      <img src="http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2792/4271742485_59789dda8b.jpg&quot; width="450">

  19. dukeisduke Avatar

    As much as I like Clarkson, it still pisses me off when he craps on the Corvette.

  20. Sjalabais Avatar

    That we either can't be taken seriously at all:
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/de/Think_City_2007.jpg/759px-Think_City_2007.jpg&quot; width="600">
    …or that Norway just did some legitimate trolling early on:
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c0/Troll_1956.JPG/800px-Troll_1956.JPG&quot; width="600">

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      What are those? The first looks like an early Korean effort, or something from China (note – fender mounted turn signals don't seem like a horrible idea, but none in front?). The second is goofy, but the kind of thing a certain audience *cough, Hooniverse* could love.

      1. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

        Click on them, they are magic pictures. It blew my mind the first time that happened here, someone had to explain to me you can put an img inside an anchor, then it seemed so obvious.

        1. dead_elvis Avatar

          Ah! Thanks, didn't even think to hover! (And I've linked images here before. Is it Friday yet?)

          1. Sjalabais Avatar

            The Troll will be hard to obtain, unfortunately. But those who understand Norwegian will get to learn a bit about the most obscure vehicles and add-ons from the far north here: http://www.nrk.no/nett-tv/klipp/109958/

  21. mac350 Avatar

    It kills me that the same company that gave us this:
    <img src="http://www.carmk.net/media/2009/08/2009082809153625.jpg&quot; width="600">
    Also gave us this:
    <img src="http://www.love-fords.org/images/john/1960-comet-2door-sedan.jpg&quot; width="600">
    and this
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/1st_Ford_Tempo_sedan.jpg&quot; width="600">
    I agree with Patrick – the US auto industry has always had the capability of designing and building the best looking and performing cars in the world and on occaision has given us timeless and iconic examples of the best an automobile could be at the time. It would not have cost Ford any more to design and build a beautiful Tempo than to give us one of the ugliest cars ever to come out of Detroit. But the Tempo and the Mercury Comet are but 2 examples – I can think of dozens from all the manufacturers.

    1. J_the_Guy Avatar

      This is a fire i can throw some gasoline on
      WHY NOT THIS http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XU-nJoHBzNg/T2Svwe6PrsI
      or this
      or this????!!!!!!
      Remember when American cars had presence?

      1. jeepjeff Avatar

        It's not all bad though. Chrysler is building the 300 and Charger these days, and those are big American sedans with some presence. Also, large, powerful pushrod V8s driving the rear wheels. Cadillac's designs have also been pretty good, but you're totally right, GM needs to build the Ciel, because that's a ☠£☢∞☭€© Caddy.

        1. mac350 Avatar

          Agreed – some American iron still have it – and we should never apologize about big, pushrod motors. Low reving torque monsters.

          1. jeepjeff Avatar

            I own a 4.0L AMC Inline Six. You won't see me apologizing for pushrod motors.

      2. mac350 Avatar

        Couldn't agree with you more. American cars had presence and vibe and coolness that the rest of the world drooled over. When I was a youngster I read road & Track, Car & Driver, and Sports Car Graphics as well as Hot Rod and Car Craft. I was taken in by the smaller, lighter European cars of the late 50's early 's until I owned some. I was astounded by the door hinges from a British car that looked like they were taken off the front door of our house. One Brit car you had to open the hood and turn a spigot to supply hot water to the heater core. When I looked at the design and engineering that went into the hidden door hinges of a 58 Chevy, or the sophisticated (for it's time) ventilation system of a Ford Galaxie compared to the rest of the world's cars it blew my mind. Paint, fit and finish, door seals, window regulators were the latest and best. The plastic bits in the interior of my 4CV Renault pretty much vaporized in the Texas summer heat. I don't have a reason for the decline of the American car industry – it could be brilliant. Sad, really.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          I own a first-year (1959) Galaxie and have owned other '59 Fords. Although the fender-trumpet ventilation system is indeed quite effective, I should point out that the cheap (and rather rare) version of the '59 Ford heater also depends upon an under-hood spigot to regulate the heater core, just like the Brit car you mentioned. For that version, the only dash control for the heater is the fan switch.

          1. mac350 Avatar

            But the heater you mentioned was rare since heater control valves were the norm in American cars in the 50's while heaters and defrosters were still add-on options in European and British markets. which relied on pre-war technologies in many design areas. But that technology gap is no longer an issue with globalization. I miss the cultural and regional differences that you see in older cars. You could tell an Italian car from a French car from a German car by the way certain solutions were designed and engineered into them.

    2. ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
      ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

      Eh opinions, personally I liked the Tempo, it was pretty futuristic looking for the time. Also the fourth gen Continental had some compromises made to have the engine fit how they wanted and that leads to a bit of a reputation for finickiness and early failure of a bunch of stuff, so certainly it made a statement with its looks, but I'm not sure about it being the best car. So I don't know, I guess I don't agree, but I like the EXP too, so my opinion might not be valid.

      1. mac350 Avatar

        I could have picked any number of cars to illustrate my point but the Lincoln just looked so good.And still looks good. Most production cars are compromises and so was too was the Lincoln. But the skin on the Lincoln (and other cars as well) was fantastic. We could talk all day about beautiful cars with hidden problems (Jaguar E-type) but at least they were gorgeous. Again, it doesn't cost anymore to clothe a well engineered car in a well styled exterior as it does to make it intentionaly ugly.

      2. Maymar Avatar

        Hey, I'm with you. Occasionally flawed as the Tempo/Topaz may have been, it's not a bad looking car. Perhaps a little dated (advanced as that styling may have been in 1984, it's absolutely a product of the 80s), but then compare it to what else was out there at the time, and it looks excellent.

      3. Devin Avatar

        I also agree that the Tempo is reasonably handsome, in particular the later models. Using a beat up one is a bit unfair, and they were clearly anticipating being able to discard the sealed beam lights before they were actually able to, but it's nicely proportioned and had really clean and tasteful details. Unless you did this to one:
        <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3625/3325177192_14bdaf9794.jpg"&gt;
        I'm pretty sure they were awful cars, going by the people I knew who had one, and their reputation isn't helped by all of them being thrashed to the end of their life, but their looks were actually tasteful and handsome.

  22. Felis_Concolor Avatar

    Having experienced the wonderful American trait of big power for everyone regardless of economic status, I just wish the rest of the interior could be made to match the glorious experience provided by the SBC, SBF and Mopar's mad motors. Tearing apart a dashboard to find the source of an annoying buzz or rattle is especially frustrating when you see how a fraction of a cent was saved on a flanged screw by not specifying locking serrations in the parts bin. Yes, the savings add up – but they'll never buy back customer loyalty.

  23. dr zero Avatar
    dr zero

    Typical Australian attitude:
    Australian cars are just for fleets and taxis. Utes are for bogans. All Australian cars are primitive (they escape unreliable because of the taxi thing), and subsequently all imported cars are by default better. Somehow, Toyota is exempt from this.
    What is so embarrassing about this is that it is leading to the death of auto manufacturing in Australia. Mitsubishi is gone, Ford is going, Holden is making noises about going. And people don't seem to be concerned about the fact that thousands of workers are losing their jobs for the crime of making reasonably good cars.

    1. TechEd Avatar

      However, I fear that one car is a victim of its own success, particularly in V8 Supercars. Inevitably, the car tailgating you, using the left lane to get the Holeshot from the traffic lights, refusing to move out of the right lane, running red lights, taking 2 parking spaces or generally acting the PRichard is a Commodore.
      I know a number of people who have been in the market for a new car. When I suggested a Commodore, the response was usually one of disdain for the drivers and not wanting to be seen as the same.
      It's a shame, because they are very good cars in context, but image speaks louder.

  24. ptschett Avatar

    Many years ago I wanted to take my '96 Thunderbird into a shop to have a full 4-wheel alignment.
    The response I got was along the lines of "we can only do a front alignment since that car has a solid rear axle, like every other RWD Ford from the beginning of time".
    I had to wonder if the person I was talking to had ever been under an MN12/FN10 platform car. Because the rear subframe/suspension asssembly looks like this. (image from curbsideclassic.com)
    <img src="http://www.curbsideclassic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Diff4.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. mac350 Avatar

      That is one substatial IRS. Is this the same one they put on the Explorer? And why didn't Ford put it on the Mustang? The solid axle Mustang is just fine but since the design was already paid for – just asking.

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