We Europeans just hate American cars… you only have to watch an episode of Top Gear to hear of anything American slated to high heaven. It’s true that for years, the Germans simply made better luxury cars; better built, better materials. The Italians made better sports cars, faster, more beautiful, better handling. The Japanese made better everyday cars, more reliable, economical, better built. The Brits, well…
Yank cars just never cut it; at least in the eyes of Europeans – and maybe in the eyes of Americans, more recently, too. The fall of the American motor industry is a sad story, especially given that some of the most bold cars and designs came from the US of A.
I recently needed a car that would serve me well as a daily driver – but I wanted something that was a bit rare and could raise eyebrows. To me, American cars often look the most awesome; my dad always wanted a Corvette and I’ve always had an affection for Vette’s; probably from watching the A-Team and seeing Face’s white ride. These last few years, I’ve loved the Chrsyler concepts; the Firepower (which never made it to production (oh so close, though!) and the Crossfire – which did make it to production. Based entirely on an old Mercedes SLK and with 90% of it’s DNA German, the Crossfire’s outer styling was basically the only thing that the Americans got to tinker with… I test drove so many cars; TT, Boxster, BMW 1 Series, and more… They were all reliable everyday ’sports’ cars but being a dime a dozen, did nothing for me; my loins did not stir. I remembered seeing the original Crossfire concept and thinking WOW, so proceeded to hunt one down here in the UK… they are rare. I eventually found one in mint condition and now, in a car that costs less than a used 05′ Honda Civic, I get people walking up to me asking ‘who makes that!?’ I’ve literally been followed by other drivers only for them to ask ‘what is it?’. In a local pub car park, it turned more heads than an Aston Martin parked a few bays away. Funny how perceptions work… Top Gear slated the car for being an old Merc dressed in loud American garments. The German press was more kind. In any case, because of the way it looks, it was pitted against many true blue sports cars – it was never going to fare well.
A car that was born from a short lived and awkward relationship between Chrysler and European car giants, Mercedes. Chrysler went from, once, owning Lamborghini to being owned by Fiat… oh, how the tables have turned.
I’m not sure why American cars are viewed the way they are outside of America but there are fans over here. Some of the most avid fans you’ll ever meet, actually. You can count me as one. As for my Crossfire; how can you go wrong with ancient Mercedes mechanicals and a shit load of American flair?!