Posts from ‘World’
For the month of March 2021, not one American-brand vehicle was reported among the top-ten best-selling vehicles in Australia. For folks not in the know, that might not seem so strange. Australia is a long way from the U.S., and very close to Japan, a country known for its automobiles. And in fact, except for a single Hyundai model, every vehicle on the Australian top-ten list is Japanese.
We should have seen it coming. Over the past couple years, as General Motors made announcements that it was discontinuing sales activities in the United Kingdom, South Africa, India, and Indonesia, our collective bad-news alarms should have begun shrieking: Holden, GM’s Australian division, probably isn’t long for the world either. And that is indeed the case: last month GM announced that it the Holden brand will be phased out by 2021.
My wife Kristin and I will be celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary this year, and we decided that we needed to take an out-of-the-country vacation as part of that celebration. We were looking for somewhere reasonably close, to minimize flight time and the jetlag that usually goes along with it. Kristin is fond of Latin American countries, bird watching, and rugged-outdoors adventuring, and she speaks enough Spanish to get around quite well. Me? I really love old cars. Cuba checks all those boxes, so it was a natural choice.
This is an installment in a series of posts looking back on show cars that we feel deserved a little more attention than they got. If you have a suggestion for a Forgotten Concept topic, please shoot us a line or leave a comment below.
Most Americans have a fairly myopic view of the off-road-vehicle world. Ask any of us what the most popular 4×4 on the planet is and you’ll get the answer “Jeep” nine times out of ten. Not that Jeep is a bad answer–the Wrangler remains one of the most capable rock pounders you can purchase–but despite the Jeep brand’s power, there are markets where it isn’t all that well established.
If you were a Volkswagen fan in America in the early Seventies, and you were looking for something sporty to drive, you were kind of out of luck. There was the coachbuilt-body Karmann Ghia—a car which was arguably gorgeous, but not really all that sporty. Mechanically identical to the contemporaneous Beetle, the Karmann Ghia was more of a casual touring car—it was a little too slow, and its handling a little too pedestrian, to be engaging. However, Brazilian VW fans of the day had it a little better.
To the extent that any vehicle can be said to embody the spirit and optimism of a nation, the Ford Model T did. Produced between 1908 and 1927, the “Tin Lizzie” was both a literal and figurative representation of American mechanization and expansion.
Pontiac of Canada was well known for selling gently tweaked variations of Chevy products for exclusive distribution north of the border. The 1976-1987 Pontiac Acadian for example, was actually a retrimmed Chevrolet Chevette.
Chrysler’s rear-wheel-drive “LX” car platform has served the company well. Introduced in 2004 for the 2005 model year, the basic architecture was inherited from Mercedes-Benz during the DaimlerChrysler days.
Comparing pickup trucks to Hamburger Helper may seem like a stretch, but I beg your indulgence as I explain myself. Here goes: The main purpose of Hamburger Helper is to help costly ground beef go further, at less cost. Thus, a meal that might have involved the expense of a pound and a half of meat might require just a single pound once augmented by the sodium-packed filler material that generally retails for around $1.39 a box.