17th Jan 2013, 12:04

Well you see, back in the 1950s to the 1980s, American luxury vehicles used to make all the Europeans jealous of us being able to drive such cars. Some Europeans with money shipped many over there for their enjoyment. Believe it or not, the Europeans take better care of them and respect them a lot more than a lot of us do.

I know in Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and in Germany, they have huge old American car rallies that regularly make the news over there.

17th Jan 2013, 13:26

I'd like to know why one man is told to stay on topic when he brings up a Toyota truck, but when someone brings up the middle-class and working wages of the past, the conversation just goes on and on.

None of this has to do with cars, aside from maybe the EPA stuff, and even that's pretty loosely related.

18th Jan 2013, 05:36

50 plus is a great age to finally really move up car wise. Insurance is typically much lower than when you were 30-40... Or buy a classic and antique it. And the limited usage collector insurance is reasonable.

But before doing any of that, you have to live somewhere. I moved up in housing, starting in the 70s with a small ranch. I have since bought and moved up in size 3 more times. Back then houses appreciated, had tax advantages and were easy to sell up to 2007. I sold one in 1996 and another in 2007 that both sold easily in less than a month. That is the year I downsized, moved a final time and paid all cash for the one I am in now from the gains. If I did the same much younger today, I would buy the small ranch and simply not move. And the taxes and utilities would be lower too.

The only reason all this housing discussion has any bearing, is in what you can then afford to drive. You can be house poor and have little left. It's hard to sell houses now, and even finding people to qualify. Even though I downsized my home, I didn't downsize my garage. Half the house we never used anyway. With no mortgage, I have bought some pretty neat cars. And being over 50, the insurance is low. So there is some hope being older. Once you get a house paid off, it is a tremendous relief financially with the sluggish economy. You can have fun picking out a really cool car at that point. Or buy it anyway, if you feel your job is immune from pressure overseas.

18th Jan 2013, 08:41

This whole thread (which started out as a American luxury car) is way off topic, because certain individuals can't leave well enough alone, and have to post opinionated comments the size of a dictionary. This is the first comment I posted in over 3 weeks, due to the fact that we are way off topic.

18th Jan 2013, 14:37

It's been random commentary related to cars the whole time, so if things go off topic, well so what.

As far as US luxury cars at one time being the cream of the crop, well yeah. It's no wonder. After WW2 Europe and Japan were basically in shambles. Their factories were ruined and when they first started making cars again, there was so little money for the average person that the first cars made were usually tiny little cars - many being more like 3 wheeled motorcycles. We on the other hand were unscathed, and with our factories able to immediately make new cars, we had a head start. Since the rest of the world's factories were damaged, we enjoyed a number of years in the 50's when we had windfall money coming in, as we made what the world bought, just because we were for a time the only country that had full manufacturing abilities.

With that new money, of course more people had more of it, and so GM, Ford, and Chrysler made nicer and nicer cars. Yes - a lot of the cars from the 50's and 60's were indeed extremely nice cars. On top of that, Harley Earl was perhaps the most influential car designer of all times. His design tastes dominated the car industry for years. If you even look at some of the 50's Mercedes of that time, they even have small fins.

I think the problem was that the US auto industry grew complacent. By the mid 70's, that level of energy and quality were mostly dissipated, and the monied elite had started to move towards European luxury brands. That trend has continued, and as of now, European luxury car makers have basically taken the crown away from the likes of the Big Three, and they for the most part have not only set the style, but get all the positive result of being seen as exclusive and desirable.

As a car lover, I would love to see this role reversed. I think Cadillac and their current lineup is a start. But I'd like to see more. The Caddy ELR won this year at the NAIAS, which is significant. NO other luxury brand has that form of a drivetrain. Nobody. So they deserve a pat on the back.

As far as Europeans buying old American cars, well Americans buy old European cars as well. It's that there is always a draw to owning something that is unusual or uncommon, and a 50's car in the EU is certainly unusual, as is say - a 50's Volvo in the US.

18th Jan 2013, 16:11

I couldn't agree more with 11:14. I could have written that exact comment. We'd be a far better world if more people thought that way.

18th Jan 2013, 16:26

Yes, many of the European luxury vehicles are great. In fact, you're right about them making the new Cadillacs seem outdated. That's mainly because they are. The new Lincoln and Cadillacs lack several features that many European luxury vehicles have had for decades. For instance, a hydropneumatic suspension, which Citroen and Rolls-Royce have had since 1990, is still unavailable on practically every new American luxury vehicle; this could have sealed the deal on both handling and ride quality. Most new domestic luxury vehicles only favor one of these aspects, and disregard the other.

And if you can't afford it or just don't want to buy into a luxury vehicle, that's cool. Most people with money today don't buy the most spectacular vehicles, mainly because they just don't want to pay the extra costs in maintenance and fuel. Luxury vehicles also often put out the wrong images about you as well, sometimes making some people look stuck up.

I think the US is pretty damn complacent today either way. But then again, that's the benefit of living good. Beats the hell out of having to literally fight for a living like in some other nations.

Also, the EU has really done good with the railway system. I think this is one of the biggest missed chances the US ever took. Higher gas prices will kill us far before it does for them because they travel cheaper due to the increased efficiency of the railroad. Not only that, but the expansion of railroads would get more and more of those big rigs off the road, which slow traffic and cause accidents.

Believe it or not, but there really is no need for the high price of fuel in today's world. Countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia, who are huge oil exporters, make a killing off of perpetuating the belief that the world is almost out of oil, when most real scientists say that the Earth has plenty to last a couple hundred years more. If oil companies could drill wherever they wanted and they didn't withhold the surplus of oil all the time to artificially raise the price, and if state and federal governments didn't tax the crap out of each gallon, then fuel prices would be at around $1.25 to 1.50 a gallon.