Random car ramblings: what if Asian car makers made American classics

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by wt21, Dec 27, 2012.

  1. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    I love classic car lines and shapes, and am appreciative of the new updates on these classics (new Mustang, new Camaro, new Challenger, etc. -- I'm holding out for the retro Gran Torino, lol)

    I hope they sell like hotcakes, so they stay alive. For me, though, I need an SUV for numerous reasons, so I'm not able to buy a retro sedan/coupe.

    But another thing that has held me back (especially on the Chrysler products) has been quality concerns. I've known far too many Chrysler owners who have had to have complete tranny or engine rebuilds before 100K miles.

    What if somehow (fill in imaginary scenario here) Honda or Toyota or somebody like that produced a classic design/classic plated car. Let's say Honda bought Chrysler, and made a high quality Challenger. Same body, but Honda-level interiors and quality. Would you be more inclined to try one of these new/retro cars? What if it was the Honda Mustang? or Toyota Camaro? Of course, there's also some nationalism that could creep in here -- seeing them as American cars, etc. Let's assume that they are principally built in the US, like the Accords and Camrys.

    I used to own Accords before I had to move to an SUV. That was in the 90s. I think if I could drive a sedan, I'd feel much better off with Honda quality behind it.

    This is just a random discussion question. No meaning behind it, other than a slow day at work. Also, I saw LittleMT's pics of her Camaro, and I thought "gorgeous car, but I'd never own one" so I asked myself why not. I think my perception of GM quality is one issue.
     
  2. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I understand what you're saying, but I think a lot of what drives the sales of those cars (in addition to the lines and the nostalgia) is the old "Buy American" mentality (despite wherever the cars are actually built). There would be a certain portion of the buying public that would simply never buy a car with a Japanese name....period.

    And as cool as good old Detroit muscle is, I prefer the vintage Japanese rides. If Toyota would remake the 2000GT, I'd sell off my own children to get one (if I had any)....... Japanese Sports Cars, Part 2: The Toyota 2000GT
     
  3. john m flores

    john m flores SC All-Pro

    Aug 13, 2012
    I wonder if there's a correlation between the new retro muscle cars and Leicas and Fujis and the Olympus OM-D?
     
  4. Gary

    Gary SC All-Pro

    Aug 19, 2012
    Southern California
    Gary Ayala
    I've been giving serious thoughts to a 2005 Thunderbird, as a topless, weekend car for trips to wine country ... as I think it combines a classic retro look with a modern ride and up-to-date connivences.
     
  5. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Oh yeah, there's another great revival car.
     
  6. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    There's always the Miata. Its not a clean copy of any of the old Triumph / MG models, but the resemblance is really strong and they were mechanically sound and drove great - a fine combination... And when did they come out - 1991-92???

    -Ray
     
  7. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Yeah... what I like about this 356 replica is that it's not built on an old VW pan - it's a totally new, fully engineered frame with modern Subaru running gear and drive train. You could literally use this car as a daily driver.
     
  8. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    If I were you, I'd wait a few years and then take another look at Chrysler. Fiat's influence has been totally positive so far (forget what you think you know about Fiat as well). Plus, Chrysler has introduced all-new engines over the past couple of years and quality has been improving noticably already. BTW, Chrysler plans a new Barracuda soon.

    Also... there's an old saying that it takes consumers forever to learn something... and then forever to unlearn something. Many Americans kept buying Detroit Iron for years after the products had become absymally bad.... finally turning to Honda, Toyota and, to a lesser extent, Nissan, in the late 80s and 90s. And now, many customers continue to blindly stick with one or two Asian brands even though they are far from perfect and Detroit has improved.

    If I were you, I'd try hard to leave my old perceptions about quality behind and look at current data. Honda went through a period in the past ten years where a lot of its transmissions were failing. And look at what's happened to Toyota's reputation after the sudden-acceleration episode. The truth is, no one has a monopoly on quality - or lack of quality - any longer. Does this mean I am down on Honda and Toyota? Not at all. I own a Subaru and my wife has a Hyundai. My previous vehicle was a Ford Ranger and I've owned plenty of domestic and foreign cars over the years. I keep an open mind, look to the companies that make the kinds of vehicles I want... and keep abreast of the latest information on new products, quality and reliability.

    Finally, I don't regard Consumer Reports as the last word on quality. Here's a site that provides me with a lot more of what I'm looking for. Perhaps it'll work for you as well:

    TrueDelta -- Real Car Owners Driving Real Car Information
     
  9. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. SC All-Pro

    Nov 8, 2012
    New Mexico
    Larry
    I think the quality of American cars has improved a lot since the terrible 70's 80's, and that they are not credited enough with that improvement. I'm not a chauvinist; I've driven Toyotas, Hyundais, and foreign built Geos and Aveos, but my 1996 Ford Ranger did very well by me before I sold it a year ago at 185,000 miles. I put in a new water pump and clutch in the 15 years I had it. That's it. My current Chevy Cobalt seems like a decent enough car -- 40k and nothing but oil changes and routine maintenance.

    So, if I could afford more than a Cobalt, I'd jump at the opportunity to whiz around in a Camaro -- or Mustang, or Thunderbird, etc.

    But I confess, although I like cars, I'm not really a car guy. The one I want more than any other is a 1957 red and white or blue and white Chevy BelAir. Now THAT'S a car.
     
  10. drd1135

    drd1135 SC Hall of Famer

    Jul 13, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    Steve
    Practicality stops from buying a muscle car, not the quality. If I decided I could justify it, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a Ford Mustang.
     
  11. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Does the world really need more vehicles like this?
     
  12. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    Well, it depends on who you talk to. I've been a gear head all of my life but even I don't think these cars are relevent any longer. But a lot of people disagree with me. I personally like small, light, tossable sporty or sports cars. This is what the so-called "pony cars" like the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird were when they first came out. Small, light, tossable and sporty - in comparison to "normal" cars of the time. The cars were like the Honda Civic Si is compared with normal sedans today. And it seems Americans have selective memories and remember only the "muscle" era of these cars - in the late 1960s and early 1970s - when over-sized and over-powered engines were shoe-horned under the hoods. These cars went fast in a straight line but weighed more and handled worse than versions with smaller engines. That period really didn't last long. BTW, I'd love an Australian Ford Falcon G6E.
     
  13. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    Luke, can I just congratulate you on a great taste in classic cars? The Toyota 2000GT is an absolute beauty, and the Porsche 356... for me, the only car I've seen in person that comes close in terms of curvy perfection is the Jaguar D-type...

    As for Nic's question (does the world need cars like these), that's a tough one... I'm both a (sports)car enthusiast and a treehugger! Hybrid sportscars are probably the best recent development for me :smile:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    For a little bit of 2000GT porn, watch the Bond film "You only live twice".

    2000GT, Lotus Elan, Alfa GT, Fiat 124 Sport...to me these are some of the classics, albeit the British and Italian cars may require more maintenance than most :smile:
     
  15. Biro

    Biro SC All-Pro

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Steve
    I agree... and add MGs from TC through B and Triumphs from TR-3 through 6. There were other Americans who shared my enthusiasm for these cars decades ago... but we were a niche community by comparison to the big-car fans.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  16. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    The Australian muscle car scene of the 60s and 70s basically mimicked America. It tailed off with the oil crisis of the 70s and emission regulations in the eighties but came back with a vengeance in recent decades despite the rise of high-tech Japanese sports cars.