Question of the Day: Your Favorite National Trait?

Jonny Lieberman
by Jonny Lieberman
question of the day your favorite national trait

My WRX's temperature gauge indicated it was 98 degrees yesterday in Los Angeles. It felt hotter. Muggy, too. I'm at a red light when a beautiful brunette pulls up next to me in a white Camaro, her hair blowing in the wind. Got to love LA, right? Well, the thing is, there wasn't any wind. In fact, she was driving a hard top with windows rolled up. Her hair was blowing because the A/C in that old F-body was so damn mighty. On a race track it's said that a car's only as good as its brakes. Out here in what's essentially an overpopulated desert, the same can be said about a vehicle's air conditioning. At that moment, my rally-bred Subaru was feeling pretty damn poor. In that moment in time, I would have killed for my old Pontiac Station Wagon, whose chiller could keep a side of beef fresh. Say what you want about American cars (and TTAC says a lot ), but USDA Choice A/C is still the envy of the world. So, my dear TTACers, what's your favorite automotive national trait?

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4 of 45 comments
  • Westhighgoalie Westhighgoalie on Jul 17, 2008

    I think my Subaru Impreza is almost perfect. I would like it to have stronger a/c and the front seats transplanted out of a Saab 9-3 or 9-5.... But thats all I would change... for now...(i'll think of something else like a better stereo for instance.)

  • Johnster Johnster on Jul 17, 2008
    David Holzman : I’ll just point out, once again, that the French actually invented the car. The first car was the 1769 Cugnot Fardier a Vapeur. The steam-powered 3-wheeled 1769 Cugnot looked like a motorized tricycle, or perhaps a farm tractor. The single front wheel both powered and steered the vehicle and it is truly the ancestor to our modern automobiles, as well as to trucks, tractors and trains. However, with all of the weight placed on the single front wheel, it was reportedly difficult to steer. And, with typical French thoroughness, it was designed without brakes. No surprisingly, the French 1769 Cugnot also has the distinction of being involved in the first traffic accident involving a motorized vehicle when it reportedly crashed into a brick wall and its driver was the first person to be arrested and jailed for the criminal equivalent of "wreckless driving." The project was abandoned. According to wikipedia, in 1772, King Louis XV granted Mr. Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot, the vehicle's inventor, a pension of 600 livres a year for his innovative work, setting into motion the prospect of pensions for auto-workers hundreds of years later. But then there was that bit of nastiness called "the French Revolution," and Cugnot's pension was withdrawn in 1789, again not unlike what seems to be going to happen to many autoworkers in the near future. The inventor abandoned France and went into exile in Brussels, where he lived in poverty. Where will pensionless retired autoworkers go to? Mexico? Shortly before his death, he was invited back to France by Napoleon Bonaparte and Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot returned to Paris, where he died on October 2, 1804.
  • Iamwho2k Iamwho2k on Jul 17, 2008

    Got to agree about Ford A/C. Went from a Probe GT where I never had a problem and it was always cool to a Mazda 6 where the thing blows warm on occasion. It's ironic that the Probe is mechanically a Mazda.

  • AJ AJ on Jul 18, 2008

    In the days of the cold war, the Russian peasants said while dreaming of one day living in America, "Come to American and buy a great big American car." I once had a Russian roommate (education visa) for six months that thought this very way. He was also impressed with (or shocked by) our grocery stores!