Poll: Automotive Icon from the USA

I nominated my Top 5 iconic American automobiles in a post here yesterday and you all had the chance to nominate your favourites as well. I’ve added two to the list because of those comments:

  • Plymouth Barracuda – coz it’s nasty
  • Cadillac Eldorado – coz more than one of you said so

So here’s the poll. Do your worst.

[poll id=”5″]

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  1. I still love the Buick widlcat 1966 or the early GTOs. The old saabs but that is another poll and another day.

  2. I have to go with the Eldorado, especially the two generations that span 1959 to 1978.
    The 1959 Eldorado is the iconic big Caddy convertible, with the tail fins and everything else. That car is completely over-the-top and it defines an era when GM and America ruled the world.
    The 1967 Eldorado took a tasteful step back in style (there was nowhere else to go), but it took a step forward in substance with front wheel drive and a host of other innovations. This generation also represents everything that was wrong with GM at the time, which is best represented by a 500ci (8.2l) V8 that put out 190hp and 360 lb-ft of torque in its final iteration. That’s around 10% more torque than a stage 1 2006-2009 9-5…

  3. I went with the Plymouth Barracuda…….but ‘ya gotta know it came in three distinct iterations. The first was sold 1964-1966 with a slope backed rear window, that wrapped down to follow the “fastback”. This – the first – was based on the Valient thusly sharing lots of parts between the two. A friend had this early version and managed to stuff a Hemi into the engine bay turning it into a fast car in a straight line and a scary fast car in anything other than a straight line. My friend also had Gramma’s Valient wagon (in basic black, BTW) with slant six and automatic, hust the thing to take to church on Sunday mornings. I think the Valient wagon still has under 50k miles.

  4. I went with the F-150 because I can’t think of any other developed nation where a truck is the bestselling vehicle, year in and year out. Yes, I know Australia has its utes and I know they’re both loved and ubiquitous, but they’re not in every drive.

    Truth is, we buy trucks in the US because they speak to some inner-frontiersman in the American psyche. They’re the horse and wagon of the modern age and therefore as quintessentially American as cowboy hats and revolvers. About as useless too for most people, most of the time.

  5. A Ford 150? Are you serious? Man, you Aussies love your utes. 🙂

    But hey, more than one of us mentioned Auburns and Duesenbergs too! Are we historically minded auto snobs not welcome here, or what?

    I went for the Corvette (has to be a ’63 Sting Ray) because it came before the classic Mustang. Last time I was in Sweden (the Swedish connection just keeps coming up in bizarre ways) I met a family friend with a ’65 Mustang in mint condition. It originally had the vinyl roof, which he had removed and restored it with a tin roof. Nice. The sound of that baby. Whoa!

    Somehow I don’t think the Dodge Charger/Challenger would have any sex appeal had Petrocelli (sorry, Kowalski) not driven it coast-to-coast like a bat out of Hell in Vanishing Point.

    Finally, while I applaud the car-for-the-people spirit of those suggesting the Fords Model T and the early V8s, I have to speak up for David Dunbar Buick – inventor of the pushrod engine upon which all modern ICE engines, including OHC engines, are based. This makes the very early Buicks automotive icons, particularly if we are talking about what’s under the bonnet. Sorry, under the “hood”.

    1. Allan,

      Historically minded automotive snobs are more than welcome, but be aware that the publisher is a much less sophisticated man and might make you bang your head against a wall in frustration from time to time.

      Basically, if I’ve got to Google a car to see what you’re talking about, then in my mind, its iconic status is automatically in question. One of the unfortunate consequences of having a bad case of automotive tunnel vision, I’m afraid.

      1. “automotive tunnel vision”

        I see what you did there. How’s this for the next series: top five road tunnels. I got driven through the Arlberg Tunnel in Austria more than 20 years ago when I was a brat and I still remember it vividly. Now, I would love to drive through the Karawanken Tunnel. Surely the most entertaingly named piece of road infrastructure on the planet.

        “Basically, if I’ve got to Google a car to see what you’re talking about, then in my mind, its iconic status is automatically in question.”

        Damn your incontrovertible logic, Swade. Next you’ll be telling us you’ve never heard of the Muntz Jet.

          1. Speaking of which….I think we are all waiting for Swade’s next report on how things are going with his Alfa. We heard about all the issues with the Subie small ute getting sorted, but we have heard very little about the Alfa since he got it back home. It was supposed to be the “fun car”, right? Well, Swade…what fun have you been having with it?

  6. Steve –

    Cannot forget the Buick Grand National – the coolest Buick ever. And the fastest production car built in America in 1987. It is being commemorated this year with what looks a really well done documentary:

    Check it out.

    1. You’re going to have to forgive me, Ted, if the phrase “coolest Buick ever” doesn’t give me the sweats. 🙂

      But any car movie’s worth watching, isn’t it?

      1. Well, it never gave anyone the sweats – but it was a fun car. After GM pulled the plug on rear wheel drive Regal it was all downhill for Buick. Buick’s “T-Type” models never made it out of the 80’s and the division stopped trying to be a performance Euro brand and become the official car my dad wanted to drive again.

        But I do remember what could have been: http://lesabret-type.com/TurboProto.html

        At any rate, the Grand National was actually sick fast. In a straight line of course. I rode in a few of them during my internship at a Buick dealer and they were so much fun. The last muscle car.

        I am really excited to see that documentary: http://jalopnik.com/5927728/watch-an-exclusive-clip-of-the-buick-grand-national-documentary-black-air

  7. Late response to this discussion on my part as I really can’t get excited about Yank iron much but there are several Corvette’s and Mustangs here in Mildura. One of the ‘vettes is a really nice early example and better looking in my opinion. If I get opportunity I’ll try to photograph it at some stage.
    Jim Rockford’s Camero was always a schoolboy favourite until my Dad told me that ‘American cars are only good in a straight line and fall over going round corners’ ….I sort of went off them after that 🙂
    But one other does stick in my mind for its aggressive styling and that is the Mercury Cougar with the concealed lights. One of those in your rear view mirror would be a tad intimidating I feel.

    1. Jim Rockford drove Pontiac Firebirds, not Chevrolet Camaros. Both were basically the same, except for engines (there was a time when each GM division designed and built their own engines), trim, and some stuff that only car geeks would care about.

      For the time, the Firebird/Camaro wasn’t a horrible handling car when optioned correctly. You could, of course, purchase it with a big block (read extremely heavy) engine and a suspension that was only suitable for the dragstrip. You could also order a small block and a decent suspension.

      I remember that (F1 driver and auto journalist) Paul Frère compared a mid-70’s Camaro to a 911. The Camaro didn’t totally suck. It was slower in the corners, faster in the straights, significantly cheaper (in both ways), and handled predictably. Decent value for money if you lived somewhere where gas was cheap and the roads weren’t too narrow.

      1. Thanks for that Bernard, I was never sure which variant it was that featured in the series. I was always impressed by how quick he could take off in that thing – it was usually moving off up the street as the drivers door was still closing.

  8. I voted for the Mustang, but in walking around my neighborhood this past week, I wonder if the Jeep CJ (Wrangler) may be the “iconic” American car?