Ask the Best and Brightest: TTAC Campaign for a Real American Car?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

If you didn’t get the memo, this website gets a lot of grief for its negative outlook on American cars. We cannot change the harsh reality of the situation, but we will lead a (bankrupt) horse to water. And make it take that all important first sip. That’s the plan: TTAC is campaigning for a Real American Car.

We’ll use a current platform and tweak it with off-the-shelf componentry, readily available to any bean counter having the foresight to use them the first time. As opposed to doing what they did, delusionally thinking it was right, and never admitting it was wrong. That’s right, we’re going skunkworks. But the question remains, what is the best candidate for The Real American Car? For starters, I am listing one from each of the Big 2.8:

Car One, General Motors: what’s worse than a V6 powered Cadillac? Two of them. The duo of shameful, torque-less V6 engines in the CTS are a not so funny joke after seeing the R&D money spent on the small block Chevy V8’s addition to the rental car queen Impala SS. Which has more power, similar economy (even with four speeds) and costs way less. Chevy aside, why the acres of space between the CTS and CTS-V? The time for a displacement on demand 5.3L Cadillac CTS is now, baby; and upcoming brand corrosive baby Caddies had better show some damn respect.

Car Two, Ford: I have a dead 2002 Mercury Cougar awaiting a Duratec Taurus heart transplant, but that’s not a “Real American Car.” No profit vacuums from Europe, especially today’s downmarket Volvos pretending to be the King. They are not, so let’s make the Panther Chassis that Ford forgot: an un-beancounted Lincoln Town Car. The real deal: overstuffed velour seats from a 1980s model, Shelby GT-500 engine, beefed up Explorer six-cog transmission, Police Interceptor suspension/steering bits, Mark VIII rear axle and an interior from the Lincoln MKS, complete with ICE-overload but with room for three fat-ass Americans on the front seat.

Car Three, Chrysler: there’s nothing wrong with a HEMI-powered Chrysler 300 that a complete interior redesign couldn’t fix. But if the new (2009) Dodge Ram Laramie is still far behind the Ford F-150 Platinum, we can’t trust Chrysler to do this right. So new steering wheel, carpets, seats, gathered leather and brilliant wood (no more fake Tortoise shell, please!) on the doors, Alcantara headliner, and a serious diet and wardrobe change for the bloated and cheap dashboard/console. Oh, and we’ll raid MOPAR and other aftermarket supplier catalogs for modest suspension, exhaust, engine and computer upgrades to amp up the fun but keep it all legal.

So what car do you think is worthy of TTAC’s campaign for The Real American Car?

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Jul 11, 2009
    paulie :American car? There wasn’t really such an animal. There were American cars, but not one. American cars came in lots and lots of sizes and styles.Some were Big, some small and some fast. Some big AND fast, others small and fast.So, what exactly stood out as THE American car? And why should one do so today? Paulie, this is only about current American cars whose blueprints (the parts, not their country of origin) are significantly more American than a Camry. Or Audi. Or whatever. But since you brought it up... I am sure you can find the common traits in all of those cars you mentioned. If you can't find the similarities in powertrain, styling, ride and handling compared to their foreign competition of their time, I really can't help you see it from my point of view. In the 50’s, when American cars were large and big finned(?), there was also the sleek Thunderbird or the Corvette. In the 60’s, we had the big Caddies, Buicks Chyslers as well as the mid sized muscle cars. 1. The Corvette and Tbird from the 1950s were far larger than their imported competitors. And they had tailfins, even if they were small-ish. 2. Big Caddies were sleek and low to the ground. Massive too, but look at the lines of a Caddy to a Merc and tell me which one looks like its flying while standing still.
  • Sajeev Mehta Sajeev Mehta on Jul 11, 2009

    Wanna know what really bothers me? The amount of confusion on this thread proves that Detroit doesn't make enough American cars to tell the world who they are and what they're made of. Back when owning a Cadillac actually meant something, asking for a strippo model with a V6 engine would get you laughed out of the showroom. You think BMW has this problem? Even with the G35-37 nipping at its heels, everyone knows what makes them unique, and you don't need Car and Driver giving them 1st place all the time to notice. And if you think I'm calling for the death of the Fusion, Malibu, Focus, etc you are completely missing the point: Detroit's unique selling point is making a few REAL American Cars (sedans?) besides the Mustang and Corvette.

  • Lou_BC I've I spent the past few days in what we refer to as "the lower mainland". I see Tesla's everywhere and virtually every other brand of EV. I was in downtown Vancouver along side a Rivian R1T. A Rivian R1S came off as side street and was following it. I saw one other R1S. 18% of new vehicles in BC are EV'S. It tends to match what I saw out my windshield. I only saw 2 fullsized pickups. One was a cool '91 3/4 ton regular cab. I ran across 2 Tacoma's. Not many Jeeps. There were plenty of Porches, Mercedes, and BMW's. I saw 2 Aston Martin DBX707's. It's been fun car watching other than the stress of driving in big city urban traffic. I'd rather dodge 146,000 pound 9 axle logging trucks on one lane roads.
  • IBx1 Never got the appeal of these; it looks like there was a Soviet mandate to create a car with two doors and a roof that could be configured in different ways.
  • CAMeyer Considering how many voters will be voting for Trump because they remember that gas prices were low in 2020–never mind the pandemic—this seems like a wise move.
  • The Oracle Been out on the boat on Lake James (NC) and cooking up some hella good food here with friends at the lake place.
  • ToolGuy Also on to-do list: Read the latest Steve S. fiction work on TTAC (May 20 Junkyard Find)