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American Cars - Inside

American Car magazine?

Dec 5, 2006
Epcp_0606_01_z+american_cars+photo Photo 1/1   |   American Cars - Inside

"Why don't you buy a nice American car?" asks my grandmother, a 90-year-old who doesn't look a day over 75. "Support your country like we did. Be proud of who your people are."

I'm not really listening to her; every now and then I just say, "Uh huh, yep, OK Grandma." Just to make her go away.

Thing is, she doesn't. She stands there boring holes in the back of my head with her cat-eye glasses. A few minutes pass.

"Well, which one?" she asks.

"Which one what?"

"Which American car are you going to buy?"

Apparently I've agreed to be a good American and buy a domestic car. That'll teach me to watch Cops while she's talking.

I have no desire to be European. Although I've been there many times, met many wonderful people and seen many gorgeous places, I can say with all confidence that the United States is the best country in the world. Yes, this is a very personal belief, but it's my belief, so there. Essentially, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who believes in the United States more than me. I like European cars because I think they are superior in every way. That they look better is a matter of personal taste.

"So which American car are you going to buy?"

I'm guessing Grandma's logic is you are not a true American until you purchase an American-made car. What's funny is that most of our family came from Europe. They came from Europe and immediately bought big, American-made cars. Streets lined with Buicks, Chevys, Cadillacs and Pontiacs marked family functions. I suppose it made them feel patriotic.

Which brings us back to my quandary. How am I going to prove to Grandma I'm a good American?

I tell her that both BMW and Mercedes have built huge factories here and employ thousands of American workers. Both Honda and Mitsubishi have done the same. These companies pump billions of dollars into the U.S. economy. I tell her that components in many American cars are foreign-made and that some domestics are actually re-badged Japanese models.

"So which American car are you going to buy?"

Man, these broads from the old country are tough (I'll spend a week in hell for writing that). Which American car will I buy? That's a very good question, one we've occasionally thrown around the office.

Well, there's the Corvette and Viper, both of which are insanely fast but not very practical. And while the new Vette is a nice piece of work, two days in a Viper are enough. There's the Cadillac CTS, the Dodge Charger and Magnum, the Mustang and the Chrysler 300C. Yeah, a few of these are pretty good, a bit loud perhaps, but certainly worth a closer look. What would it take for a hardcore Euro-lover like me to cross over? Mazda, Nissan and Honda also want a piece of this action; cars like the Mazdaspeed 6, Infiniti G35 and Honda TSX seem hell-bent on getting it.

"So which American car will you buy?"

I take the easy way out and get a 2000 Chevy Silverado. Nothing beats a domestic truck for value and utility. And we use the hell out of it every day. In the end, though, I didn't get a car; I got a truck. I find it inconceivable that in a country as great as ours we can't build cars on a par with the Europeans.

If we did, I'd do my duty as an American and buy one.
Les Bidrawn
Editor
european.car@primedia.com

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