The past seven days of EngageSportMode have featured a number of confessions; my love for NASCAR, the fact I like Avril Lavigne (who is technically Canadian) and that sometimes I can be wrong.
Having been through all this, it’s probably worth noting that after so much discourse about products of the USA, I’ve never actually set foot in the home of the Star-Spangled Banner. I have been to Canada, and I’ve been to Niagara falls which borders right up against America. But I forgot to take my passport so thus stayed resolutely on the maple syrup flavoured side. Given this, why on earth do I have such a passion for US muscle?
In essence it all stems from just one car, and one TV show; the original Dodge Viper RT/10 and the original Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson. Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, I can even recreate what that moment was like. The Viper was an unwieldy monster of a car, and yet special enough for even the most cynical of car journalists to fall for it. It is also, possibly, the only car to have ever made three-spoke alloy wheels look cool. A Ford Fiesta RS Turbo never looked as good as this:
Along with liking NASCAR, Engage Sport Mode is also willing to admit to other things. Like enjoying the music of Avril Lavigne (and seeing her live), thinking additional jalapeno peppers can improve everything and occasionally being wrong.
In this instance, the “being wrong” relates to a prediction made on this very website back in January. In that post I used the words to the effect that you should put “money on a Mk3 Panda victory” in the European Car of The Year awards. So certain was I that, like the previous Panda and numerous other Fiat products before it, that you could almost guarantee another victory for Turin. Rear windscreen sticker manufacturers were already to hit print, advertising executives were primed to see their updated adverts hit the TV, magazines and internets.
And then the Chevrolet Volt/Vauxhall/Opel Ampera went and won. I mean seriously, what the hell?! Without trying to make some battery related pun I’d imagine that I, along with many automotive commentators, were a little shocked by this revelation. Fiat has won the ECoTY prize 9 times since 1964, more than any other manufacturer. Before today, General Motors had notched up only three previous titles (Astra; 1985, Carlton; 1987 and Insignia; 2009). So I’d imagine that in Luton some marketing types, who aren’t in Geneva, were tonight hastily scribbling together some kind of press release. I’d imagine it’s going to look something like this: Continue reading →
Certain things cross the transatlantic divide rather well; television shows, rock music (I’m looking at you Springsteen) and a growing tendency to litigate over anything. Other things have tended to find the journey across the “pond” rather more difficult. Many of the products of Motor City have failed to make the adjustment to life in the confined surroundings of the United Kingdom. Our narrow roads and parking spaces favour nimble, nippy hatchbacks; our over-taxed fuel prices reward economical four-cylinder engines compared to rumbling, huge, thirsty V8 motors. But that doesn’t stop manufacturers, or private individuals, eschewing such ideas and bringing vehicles born in the USA to these shores. This week’s ICAT/CD focuses on those such cars.
I Could Afford That
Along with being American Week, this is also confessions week on ESM. And the second confession is that attempting to find bargain priced Yank motoring has not been easy. So accept my apologies if this week’s offerings are less budget than usual. Also, I’ve picked genuine US imports; not the products of European designed and built Ford or Vauxhall. Anyway, gentlemen (and any ladies present), start your engines.