• Mar 10, 2006
If you look at what’s hot right now, American muscle is in and Ford, the German-owned Chrysler Group and General Motors are cashing in. The Ford Mustang and Chrysler 300 not only look like they drove out of a different decade, they also have the same rear-wheel drive layout and slab-sided bodies as the cars we remember fondly.
This is the “American card” that Keith Naughton writes about in the current issue of Newsweek. He believes that falling back on their revered and respected heritage will save the domestic automakers from the obsolescence with which they’re confronted in the face of foreign competition.

Some say that the “American card” is nothing but a white flag being waved to indicate these automaker’s are out of fresh ideas. While we admit retro designs can often go horribly wrong, we can’t help hiding our excitement for what Naughton says Detroit has coming down the tailpipe.

GM – RWD family sedan inspired by ’67 Chevy Impala and a RWD Solstice-based convertible inspired by Stingray
Ford – Fairlane to replace minivans with 50’s-era woody wagon styling
Chrysler – Next-gen minivans to front the 300’s handsome face

Photo credit: Dynamic Duo for Newsweek


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  • 36 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      "The GTI is not a real Mustang competitor unless you're talking about the V6 Girl-stangs. The R32 for sure, but the GTI is simply not in the same class. The manufacturers estimate for the GTI is 0-62 mph is 7.2 seconds.

      The Mustang tests at 5.0 sec in GT form with the 4.6L V8, and 7.0 sec in its base trim, with the 4.0 V6.

      Any more myths you'd like smashed?" - Steve B.

      Here's a myth I'll smash: "buyers only care about 0-60 times." This way of thinking has helped get Detroit into the mess it's in: focus on tire-burning and ignore style, quality, handling, and overall driver experience.

      American cars have blown imports off the line for years. Guess what? People are still choosing the imports. I'll take my Cooper S over a Mustang GT any day of the week, despite the drag race mismatch. There's more to driving (and car ownership) than launching from green lights in a cloud of smoke.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Of all the retro American styles I'd like to see revived, cars like the '49 Buick, '48 Lincoln Continental, and '47/'53 Studebakers stand out IMO.

      But the auto industry is so global now that trying to make anything typically American is difficult if the cars are built in Mexico or elsewhere.

      Interesting that it took the Germans to offer a typically American car in the Chrysler 300. I guess it's all in perception.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "American cars are laughed at would-wide for their simplicity (Solid read axle, come on!) and their cheap interiors. This needs to change. Is it really that hard to make an attractive car that is reliable and drives well with some American style to it?"

      Ironically, I checked some news and various articles about the Renault/Dacia Logan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan_%28car%29 who have a interesting success in France and buyers buying it for its simplicity (to be more precised, it's more modern then a Lada but it's more simple then the Civic or the European Renault Clio)

      there a good French article about the Logan at http://www.viamichelin.com/viamichelin/fra/tpl/mag4/art20050601/htm/route-usine-dacia.htm
      • 8 Years Ago
      GM was king and can become king again if they leverage their vast history of successes. There's nothing wrong with that and it's not an "all or nothing" affair. Detroit can capitalize on their past while pursuing the future with other models all at the same time. After years of being beaten down with plain vanilla Camry's and Accord's that are best suited for transporting the living dead, the U.S. is craving excitment with a touch of American retro and this is where Detroit has a distinct advantage. Japan's retro is the Mitsubishi Zero and Pearl Harbor - definitely not something that Japan, Inc. can leverage selling auto's in the U.S.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I honestly don't think it's a white flag, but the buyers driving the market. I've been waiting for this for 10 years now!! History repeats itself, over and over. Why not take a GOOD page from American autos past and refresh it? I never, NEVER liked the way the General put classic name sakes on bla cars (can you say Malibu?). But the DCX team seems to understand it. The LX platform is giving them a wonderful place to start, then look at the old sheet metal for inspiration. The Charger, the Challenger, the 300C, the Magnum. The General with the concept Camaro. Ford with the new Mustang.I don't know many car nuts that can't look at those cars and see parts of their blissful past and understand the need for todays safety standards.

      If all 3 could get on the same page, bring back some classic lines that we all love while watching the bottom line for consumers... It's a very good thing for the future of American Automobiles.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Paul - they are a joke because the want to exploit a rich heritage that their competition can't?

      Ford recognized this with the Mustang redux, Chrysler with the 300. GM is finally waking up to the value in their Camaro name/brand.

      I have been advocating this for some time, finally some action.

      See also: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/content/11419551581955426886/index.php
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yes ... the argument could be made that when in time of crisis; the domestics when back to what they are good at.

      I`m not saying I agree with that idea; but there is certainly a argument possible.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "36. P.S. Gundar, try as I might I just couldn't let your brainless MINI swipe go unchallenged. Your assessment of the Cooper S as a "performance joke" proves you know nothing about cars. My car will dust a Mustang GT in slalom, braking (by a long shot), and skidpad. The Mustang only tops it in straight-line speed. And as far as being "overpriced," my Cooper S was comparably priced to a Mustang GT. Oh, do I need to mention gas mileage or resale value? No, I really don't.

      Your ignorance does its own talking."

      ____________________________________________________________________

      HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAHA HA HA HA HAHA HA HA HA HA!!

      Nice try, fool. "...dust a Mustang GT in slalom, braking (by a long shot), and skidpad..."? What are you smokin' there? Let's talk when Minis actually win some races.

      Gas mileage? Yeah, I'll give ya that one. Who cares? Resale? Not so fast. Minis are overpriced Bimmers, and resale on them is average ONLY, as it is with the new Mustang. Plus they are waaaaay overpriced for a four-banger closet with plastic seats. The Mustang is a faster, better looking, better handling automobile with V8 power for the same money as a tarted-up Mini.

      The new Stang accounted for fully 50% of all new sports car sales in North America last year. Try and make that claim with a Mini.

      • 8 Years Ago
      "Nice try, fool. "...dust a Mustang GT in slalom, braking (by a long shot), and skidpad..."? What are you smokin' there?"

      Ever read a car test in a magazine Gundar? Give it a try sometime.

      "Let's talk when Minis actually win some races."

      Again, your ignorance speaks for itself.

      "Minis are overpriced Bimmers, and resale on them is average ONLY"

      MINI is at the top of the resale value list every year. Again, reading some actual information may be helpful to you. Let's hook up again in 10 years and compare the resale value of our cars, shall we?

      "The Mustang is a faster, better looking, better handling automobile with V8 power for the same money as a tarted-up Mini."

      Funny, the numbers show the MINI faster in slalom and higher skidpad results than the Mustang. Yes, your big heavy V8 will haul you to 60 a second and a half faster. Good for you. Hope you don't have to come to a stop very quickly.

      "The new Stang accounted for fully 50% of all new sports car sales in North America last year."

      Well, I guess Ford has nothing to worry about then with all that money rolling in. Oh, wait, what was the original title of this article again?

      "Yet now, for some reason, you wanna challenge me at the light."

      Yes, I want to test your brilliant theory about your wife's/mother's minivan shaming me in a drag race.

      I'm sorry I got sucked into a MINI vs. Mustang pissing contest with you. It's hard to argue with someone who doesn't know what he's talking about. If there's one thing that's kept the domestic automakers afloat all these years, it's uninformed buyers like you. Not that buying a Mustang is necessarily a bad decision. But it's obviously not a decision that YOU personally put any logical thought into, since you know nothing about competing makes/models. The last thing Ford needs is a spokesman like you who blathers on and on without a clue.

      Enjoy the bliss of ignorance, Gundar.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's not about going retro, it's about going back to what set US cars apart from Japanese or German. Like Jay said, for the past two decades US automakers copied the vanilla styling of Japanese cars thinking that was the reason for poor sales--not realizing that it was about issues with reliability and fit.

      I mean look at the previous gen Impala--it was an atrocious ripoff trying to masquerade as a Camry beater. What the heck. And the current gen... it seems to have been designed solely for Avis. Chevy's sitting on such a great name, yet continually churns out crap. Going back to the '67 Impala isn't about going retro, it's about *recapturing why people originally liked GM cars*. Innovation. Style. Performance. While the Dodge Challenger is definitely retro (too retro IMO), there's nothing retro about the Chrysler 300.
      • 8 Years Ago
      DETROIT IS DEAD!
      Paul
      • 8 Years Ago
      what a joke to the world the us auto industry has become.
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