What Car, in Your Opinion, is the Most American?

It's an oft-heard phrase: "It's as American as X!" 'X' can be anything, but usually we see apple pie, baseball, or wearing socks with flip-flops or sandals in place of 'X'. (Seriously though, stop it with the socks and flip-flop/sandal nonsense.)

So, just a topical discussion: Which car/truck/van do you consider to be the quintessential American car? No, we're not getting into the subtle nuances on just where a car is made or anything like that, just which vehicle to you see and proclaim as loudly as you can, "America!"?

 

The Station Wagon?

The Corvette?

The muscle/pony car?

Maybe trucks?

What say you? 

And of course, happy 4th. 

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Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
7/4/19 7:56 a.m.

1957 chevy

 

/thread there is no other correct answer don’t even try

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
7/4/19 7:59 a.m.
Patrick said:

1957 chevy

 

/thread there is no other correct answer don’t even try

Do not sell me any more cars

You mean Nomad. It's OK. cheeky

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/4/19 8:00 a.m.

Probably the pick-up truck.  It does seem like the vehicle that the US fascination with confuses the rest of the world the most, save maybe Australia.  

Daylan C
Daylan C UberDork
7/4/19 8:14 a.m.

Claiming the Elco for this while the Australians argue about it seems pretty American.

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy SuperDork
7/4/19 8:23 a.m.

No question in my mind.

Mustang.

Also, Pick up truck.

Daylan C
Daylan C UberDork
7/4/19 8:26 a.m.

Actually if we talk about cars we did that don't work anywhere else and probably nobody else has done.

Full size convertibles.

sleepyhead the buffalo
sleepyhead the buffalo Mod Squad
7/4/19 8:31 a.m.

Ford Model T

Coupe, Station wagon, Truck, Race car, Hot Rod, depression-era #vanlife.  It did it all, and no car around today would be here without it.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/4/19 8:33 a.m.

Saturn SL.  When they were being made, they were the vehicles produced with the highest US-made content.  Only the A/C compressor was made overseas.

captdownshift
captdownshift PowerDork
7/4/19 8:41 a.m.

a brash vehicle designed for marketing of meat compounds packed full of nitrites, salt and preservatives that's shaped like a phallus.

 

 

All other suggestions are way off the mark, you're not pulling horse off the grill on the 4th, so it's not a mustang. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
7/4/19 8:41 a.m.

I really like that Pontiac Safari wagon in the first picture.  smiley

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/4/19 8:47 a.m.
captdownshift said:

a brash vehicle designed for marketing of meat compounds packed full of nitrites, salt and preservatives that's shaped like a phallus.

 

 

All other suggestions are way off the mark, you're not pulling horse off the grill on the 4th, so it's not a mustang. 

The only thing I am pulling off the grill is Elijah Craig, distilled as it has been by Kentucky rednecks (in the original, respectful sense of the term) since 1789.

 

Bourbon is the only true American contribution to spirits or really the epicurean world at large.  Everything else is borrowed from somewhere else.

 

 

Daylan C
Daylan C UberDork
7/4/19 8:49 a.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

This Kentucky redneck approves this message.

Dirtydog
Dirtydog Dork
7/4/19 8:54 a.m.

Probably the Model T.  But... the 1959 Cadillac toots a pretty big horn.

Related image

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
7/4/19 8:57 a.m.

This movie summarizes it all........

American Graffiti Race

Klayfish
Klayfish PowerDork
7/4/19 9:02 a.m.

Ain't nothin' screams 'Merica like a good ol' 3rd gen Camaro (which by the way I lusted after as a teen).

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
7/4/19 9:10 a.m.

6000SUX

OldGray320i
OldGray320i Dork
7/4/19 9:13 a.m.
wheelsmithy said:

No question in my mind.

Mustang.

Also, Pick up truck.

This.   And the ElCo posted by Daylan C was bitchin.

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise HalfDork
7/4/19 9:14 a.m.

Corvette

adam525i
adam525i Reader
7/4/19 9:17 a.m.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
7/4/19 9:19 a.m.

American Motors in red white and blue. Javelin, AMX, Rebel Machine, SC/Rambler, etc.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau SuperDork
7/4/19 9:19 a.m.

3/4 or 1 ton dually crew cab Dad Edition with all the leather niceties. That just simply doesn't exist in other countries.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/4/19 9:23 a.m.
maschinenbau said:

3/4 or 1 ton dually crew cab Dad Edition with all the leather niceties. That just simply doesn't exist in other countries.

The dream vehicle of the typical timid American who is afraid of thw world and needs 8000lb of steel to protect them from the scariness outside, while still projecting an image of being a tough individual, despite that image being mass-marketed to them.

 

GROW A PAIR, SCRAP YOUR TRUCK.

 

What a real tough American looks like:

 

 

Driving a four wheeled motorcycle in the winter with no top and no farks given to the plebes in their cocoonmobiles ready to kill him with their utter indifference to the world around them.  That's berking bravery and can-do and I salute him.

 

 

pontiacstogo
pontiacstogo New Reader
7/4/19 9:48 a.m.

Pretty much any F-body - but a 2nd gen T/A is very USA

 

Cooter
Cooter SuperDork
7/4/19 10:03 a.m.

I submit that the most American car isn't a car at all...

_
_ HalfDork
7/4/19 10:11 a.m.
Knurled. said:
maschinenbau said:

3/4 or 1 ton dually crew cab Dad Edition with all the leather niceties. That just simply doesn't exist in other countries.

The dream vehicle of the typical timid American who is afraid of thw world and needs 8000lb of steel to protect them from the scariness outside, while still projecting an image of being a tough individual, despite that image being mass-marketed to them.

 

GROW A PAIR, SCRAP YOUR TRUCK.

 

What a real tough American looks like:

 

 

Driving a four wheeled motorcycle in the winter with no top and no farks given to the plebes in their cocoonmobiles ready to kill him with their utter indifference to the world around them.  That's berking bravery and can-do and I salute him.

 

 

^^^^^ THIS. I have nothing further to add. I can’t. 

Vigo
Vigo MegaDork
7/4/19 10:16 a.m.

I'm gonna go with Model T. America didn't invent the car but it invented the car as we know it: ubiquitous and attainable. 

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
7/4/19 10:20 a.m.

 

EDIT: I missed Adam's post, so consider this a +1

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela Digital Editor
7/4/19 10:36 a.m.
stuart in mn said:

I really like that Pontiac Safari wagon in the first picture.  smiley

It's my way of sending subliminal messages to David that he should drive it to the office. 

Daylan C
Daylan C UberDork
7/4/19 10:57 a.m.

Rest of the world: "We will start using front wheel drive transverse mounted drivetrains to intrude as little as possible into the passenger compartment so a smaller car has more usable interior space."

Us: "Yes that, but the car is still huge."

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
7/4/19 11:00 a.m.

Planned to suggest the Model T, but late to the party. 

Really, there's no wrong answers here. Personally, I love station wagons, but the rest of the world is still buying them while Americans have rejected them.

My current rental while I'm on vacation is certainly very American.

Massive size, 375 horsepower twin turbo. "Yeah, I'll take that upgrade from the minivan!" Expedition Max.

barefootskater
barefootskater Dork
7/4/19 11:06 a.m.

Lots of America in this picture from right now in my driveway:

Mudstain, Lincoln, Suburban. Ignore the two Hondas

TIGMOTORSPORTS
TIGMOTORSPORTS Dork
7/4/19 11:09 a.m.

Growing up in a 72 Dodge Polara 9 passenger Station Wagon - I'd go Wagon.

Second choice for today - full size pickups crew cabs that basically replaced the wagons. Both had V8s, could tow, haul, do everything.

The most American looking car? Would have to be a red white and blue Javelin. The first grade school I went to, had one parked right across the street in someones driveway. Cool.

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
7/4/19 11:20 a.m.

It would have to the the VW Beetle, because it is most American to steal from foreigners and then outlaw it.

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
7/4/19 11:35 a.m.

That said, the most American vehicle is the Willys Jeep, not so much the newer ones.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/4/19 12:28 p.m.
Vigo said:

I'm gonna go with Model T. America didn't invent the car but it invented the car as we know it: ubiquitous and attainable. 

European countries adopted displacement taxes to make Model Ts expensive to own.  (Model Ts displaced, what, 3.something liters?  Remarkably large)

I can understand that knd of protectionism, but I find it somewhat amusing that the laws still exist almost 100 years later.

 

MazdaFace
MazdaFace Dork
7/4/19 12:53 p.m.

Buick wagon or any full size truck. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
7/4/19 12:59 p.m.

humvee. Nothing says 'merica like the worlds least efficient de-militarized military as Ryan vehicle. Like a jeep, but with more brawndo. 

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
7/4/19 1:09 p.m.

Jeep 4x4 wagon.  The first SUV.

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
7/4/19 2:41 p.m.
Cooter said:

I submit that the most American car isn't a car at all...

If we are going with vehicles other than cars.....

Pickup truck is probably the correct answer, but Mustang also came to mind.

paranoid_android
paranoid_android UberDork
7/4/19 2:46 p.m.

No mention of the minivan yet?  Like them or not, they’re pretty ‘murica.

dxman92
dxman92 Reader
7/4/19 3:02 p.m.

Dodge Viper. Take a truck motor and cram it into a two seater configuration. 'Murica.

Even though the Cobra was originally a Brit car, a guy from Texas wearing a cowboy hat with the idea to cram a big ole V8 under the hood is pretty American.

 

Chevy Caprice is a dark horse too.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
7/4/19 3:06 p.m.

410 Superamerica.  Has America right in the name.

 

BTW, Amerigo Vespucci, after whom “America” was named, was Italian.

spacecadet
spacecadet Dork
7/4/19 3:15 p.m.

So i'm going to go in a totally different direction. 

American Built car, built by a company that has relied entirely on Wall Street and government programs to survive. 

Tesla Model 3



It's a car built on the American Dream of a South African turned multi-citizenship US citizen.

that's my take..

Shadeux
Shadeux New Reader
7/4/19 3:35 p.m.

My hot take.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
7/4/19 4:13 p.m.
nimblemotorsports said:

That said, the most American vehicle is the Willys Jeep, not so much the newer ones.

That might be one of the top answers.

This was a Christmas present to the owner. 1946 model, identical to the one he drove in high school.

80sFast
80sFast Reader
7/4/19 7:03 p.m.

slowbird
slowbird New Reader
7/4/19 7:18 p.m.

The most Murican car is: any car with an engine swapped into it that wasn't a factory option.

V8 in a British roadster? Murica. V6 engine in the back of a subcompact? Murica. 85 horsepower 4-cylinder into a 6000-pound truck? Futile, but still Murica. Two engines, one for each axle? Double Murica.

Antihero
Antihero SuperDork
7/4/19 7:33 p.m.

Ford F-150.

 

I mean.....pickup trucks are what most non Americans think we all drive anyway and there are millions of them

buzzboy
buzzboy HalfDork
7/4/19 7:46 p.m.

An American boat campaigned by a crazy Russian at an amazing track on the Fourth of July. 

 

They had to lower the flag pole so it would fit under the bridge.

noddaz
noddaz SuperDork
7/4/19 8:23 p.m.

Any V8 in any chassis because...  Merica'.

 

cdeforrest
cdeforrest New Reader
7/4/19 8:24 p.m.

P71 and variants. That and giant luxury coupes from the 70’s. ‘All that metal, just for one guy’

Dave M
Dave M Reader
7/4/19 8:55 p.m.

I can't believe only two people said F-150. F-150, F-150, F-150..... All day long! Our most popular pickup. This is a no-brainer people!

AAZCD
AAZCD HalfDork
7/4/19 10:08 p.m.

Pickup Truck. These are the images that come to my 50-something year old mind:

70s F250, about an 80 GMC, and a 60s D100.

The dented bumper, rusted wheel wells, and multi-primered paint are exactly as they should be.

TopNoodles
TopNoodles New Reader
7/4/19 10:29 p.m.

Ford F150. Because America is so great, even a person of modest income can afford a big, comfortable, powerful and capable vehicle, used or new, whether they need it or not. Every time I see these trucks I feel blessed to live in this country. I got to daily drive and road trip a full size machine for 3 years without taking out a loan, and statistically I've never earned enough money to even be considered "middle class".

Opti
Opti Dork
7/4/19 11:36 p.m.

Correct answer is 59 corvette. Red with white coves. I will also accept  57 with single head lights if that's your preference.

 

It is a 60 year old design that is still an unmistakable American Icon. Plus it was beating the Brits and Euros at their own game, doing it with a V8. 

The standard carb version (non fuely) took half the time to 60 than the Porsche

pilotbraden
pilotbraden UltraDork
7/5/19 3:06 a.m.

Danny Shields
Danny Shields HalfDork
7/5/19 5:06 a.m.

The Ford Model T was cheap enough and rugged enough to be the first car for millions of Americans who previously relied on true horse power. As they say, it was "the car that put America on wheels".  And that was way before common folk in other lands got cars.

Mustang, Corvette, Cadillac and the "personal luxury" cars all are great examples of America's fabulous auto industry, although some were more of an American take on a European theme, as suggested by names like "Monte Carlo" and "Seville".

But I agree the full sized pickup truck emerged as a uniquely American phenomenon with no real counterpart in other countries. Ford will tell you the Ford F Series has been the best selling vehicle model line here since 1977, and the figures aren't even close these days.

Now I will take this opportunity to post my dad's photo of his '98 F150, of which I now have custody.

 

Wally
Wally MegaDork
7/5/19 6:26 a.m.

In reply to TopNoodles :

When Town Cars dominated the livery market In NYC new ones were used to haul Wall Street execs and since they ran forever they filtered down through their life to eventually be gypsy cabs in low income areas.  One night at work I was talking to some Eastern European tourists in Harlem when a shiny black Lincoln pulled up to a bodega and picked up a couple kids.  One of them commented about how it seemed that in America everyone was rich enough to travel by limousine.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/5/19 7:19 a.m.
paranoid_android said:

No mention of the minivan yet?  Like them or not, they’re pretty ‘murica.

I thought about (especially since I own a Grand Caravan), but in reality the idea wasn't invented in the US or arguably perfected here - the VW's Bug based van pre-dates the Chrysler design by a couple of decades or so. The original Ford Transit as well. It's essentially an American take on a European idea.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/5/19 7:28 a.m.
Ian F said:I thought about (especially since I own a Grand Caravan), but in reality the idea wasn't invented in the US or arguably perfected here - the VW's Bug based van pre-dates the Chrysler design by a couple of decades or so. The original Ford Transit as well. It's essentially an American take on a European idea.

When did the US have a Transit before Europe?

 

I thought the original Transits were Escort-based.  As in, the 1960s.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/5/19 7:33 a.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

We didn't, but that's not my point - which is the Caravan idea (a smaller van based on a car platform) is not really very "American".

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
7/5/19 7:47 a.m.
Ian F said:

In reply to Knurled. :

We didn't, but that's not my point - which is the Caravan idea (a smaller van based on a car platform) is not really very "American".

Parsing error on my part.

Grizz
Grizz UberDork
7/5/19 12:07 p.m.

2nd gen Ram. Taking an already very American idea and saying "What if we made it even berkeleying bigger?" is possibly the most American thing you can ever do.
 

bobbylaw
bobbylaw
7/5/19 12:59 p.m.

Probably something like this!

bobbylaw
bobbylaw New Reader
7/5/19 1:01 p.m.

In reply to bobbylaw :

But I prefer my '67 Mustang!

bklecka
bklecka New Reader
7/5/19 2:21 p.m.

In reply to Jordan Rimpela :

I don’t think that any car is more American than the Canadian built 99-11 Crown Victoria. Bloated body, automatic only, available bench seat, low horsepower engine, and a fanatical whacker following living out their law enforcement fantasies behind the wheel. 

vwcorvette
vwcorvette UltraDork
7/5/19 3:19 p.m.

Thread title says CAR , so I'm going Vette, Mustang, and model T, or even the station wagon as wholly American of American cars.

 

Now if, perhaps even intended, the OP had asked about the most American vehicle then Jeep, F150(or pickups in general), or any SUV would be the answer. And I'd have to lean to SUV as the rush to them caused even Porsche to bow to American tastes. Virtually every manufacturer has created and sells one now. 

alfabeach
alfabeach New Reader
7/5/19 3:24 p.m.

In reply to Patrick : My first car, 6 cyl and powerglide.

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
7/5/19 5:20 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

First picture could be a '46,  the tan one is not.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
7/5/19 7:44 p.m.
iceracer said:

In reply to Floating Doc :

First picture could be a '46,  the tan one is not.

I'm not sure if I trust my memory 100%, but I believe that's what I was told. 

I thought this had the build date, but no:

RealMiniNoMore
RealMiniNoMore PowerDork
7/5/19 8:55 p.m.
ShawnG said:

6000SUX

RealMiniNoMore
RealMiniNoMore PowerDork
7/5/19 8:56 p.m.

I'll go with F150, also. 

iceracer
iceracer UltimaDork
7/6/19 12:51 p.m.

In reply to Floating Doc :

The difference is the windshield..  The CJ 2A had the split w/s. until around 1950 and the CJ 3 A got the one piece w/s and other very minor changes.

In your case it is possible that a windshield swap was made.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
7/6/19 1:59 p.m.
iceracer said:

In reply to Floating Doc :

The difference is the windshield..  The CJ 2A had the split w/s. until around 1950 and the CJ 3 A got the one piece w/s and other very minor changes.

In your case it is possible that a windshield swap was made.

Thanks for clarifying. I thought I recalled seeing something with the build date, but I could be mistaken. I'm also  quite unfamiliar with these.

BlueInGreen - Jon
BlueInGreen - Jon SuperDork
7/6/19 4:15 p.m.

MiataGuy1991
MiataGuy1991 New Reader
7/9/19 5:24 a.m.
Knurled. said:
maschinenbau said:

3/4 or 1 ton dually crew cab Dad Edition with all the leather niceties. That just simply doesn't exist in other countries.

The dream vehicle of the typical timid American who is afraid of thw world and needs 8000lb of steel to protect them from the scariness outside, while still projecting an image of being a tough individual, despite that image being mass-marketed to them.

 

GROW A PAIR, SCRAP YOUR TRUCK.

 

What a real tough American looks like:

 

 

Driving a four wheeled motorcycle in the winter with no top and no farks given to the plebes in their cocoonmobiles ready to kill him with their utter indifference to the world around them.  That's berking bravery and can-do and I salute him.

 

LOVE IT!!! You're description makes it. I had to in interrupt the wife's show to read it to her, before I showed her the picture. Good stuff!! This is my 91 Miata. (The wife named it)

Mainly because I haven't seen it yet, my contribution:

 

 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
7/9/19 8:14 a.m.

The Smart car and Fiat 500 were designed for the tight spaces of old European cities. Prestige German cars were designed for use on the Autobahn, and diesel versions were designed to offset higher fuel prices. Utes were designed for the needs of the Outback farmers of Australia. Japanese cars were products of post-war shortages and the need for efficient transportation in crowded urban areas. So when I think about a truly American car, I think: 

  1. Size is not an object, we have plenty of room and resources and big families
  2. Fuel is not a concern, it's cheap here and we can invade countries to get more
  3. Vanity is important, austerity is not
  4. If you can add in things we don't need but might use once, all the better

So that makes full-sized SUVs  the most American cars in my opinion. 4WD, 15,000 pound towing capacity, and room for 9 so that a 120-pound mom can take her daughter to soccer in Texas. 'Merica.

 

Wally
Wally MegaDork
7/15/19 7:39 a.m.

I’m changing my vote.  Is there anything more American than getting in a rocket, flying to the moon, and bringing a car with you to cruise around. Then when we were done we just left it there, likely not in a legal parking space.  

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 UltimaDork
7/15/19 7:55 a.m.

How long has the best-selling car in America been a truck?

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/g27041933/best-selling-cars-2019/

Pickup trucks is the answer you're looking for.

 

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