Gas is high. Factor in what a current day auto designer must face. A tight budget to build a small economy car, based on maximum interior space with a wind tunnel to affect its shape. To me that has to be a real challenge. Many cars look like a bean or a turtle. Or even box shaped. Where economy is less of a factor, it seems better looking designs come out. A lot of people have a mindset coupled with a budget. Others are less restricted. My issue is making payments for over 5 years on a very unappealing looking vehicle. If you are buying a car that you buy with the same emotions as buying a new toaster, so be it. My Prius friend has zero emotion over her car. It's the MPG. The money saved buys more new clothes at the mall. Everybody has their opinion. I'd rather drive less and have more. She drives 35 miles each way to work racking up high mileage and more depreciation. But less gas. It's her choice. She's not spending more. When it wears out, get another.
Well, I'm proud to be an American too, and as such, feel proud to be able to use my rights to write as I please, and if the term "Merican" seems insulting, then I find it insulting that each and every time ANY car that just so happens to NOT be an American brand is mentioned on this site, we see the exact same clearly and obviously anti-import comments being made. That to me is insulting, so I guess we're even then.
Moving on, I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I've owned my '55 Mercury now for over 13 years. When I first got it, I went to a lot of car shows. I don't go to many anymore because plainly put, to me the shows are boring. People seem to buy and restore the same limited number of brands and models. I can't even count how many times I've seen the exact same '57 Belair with the same cookie-cutter small block V8 thrown in, with the same exact color scheme and same exact reproduction leather seats. Yawn.
But you know what's funny? There's one car show I go to every year, and it's only because it's in my home town and they shut down the streets and we park our cars there and walk around to all the bars. Our show is mostly people who live around here, and so you'll see a whole lot of cars that are either unrestored or cars that are totally uncommon. Want to know what were some of the show favorites? There was one guy with a Crossly. A teeny little car with a teeny little engine. People loved it. There was one guy with a Hudson Hornet, original faded paint, some rust in the fenders, and so on. People were all over that too. Want to know what typically got ignored? It was the guys pulling up in your typical Dodge Charger/Mustang/Corvette/Belair that was over-restored or had the crazy ugly paint jobs. Cars like those are a dime a dozen, and when you see 20 of the same model at a show, it makes them anonymous. Even my car, which was not exactly rare in 1955, is a rarity at shows. I'm lucky if I see maybe one other one once every 3-4 shows. It's because they are not popular models to restore, and as a result people really like it because it's something you simply don't see often.
Also - I'd like to see an article showing that the Cruze is "Better built" than the Prius, seeing as how the Prius routinely racks up awards as being the most reliable car you can buy. Just because someone says something is better, doesn't mean it's so.
You missed the point entirely. The "Merican" comment has zero bearing on owning an import or a domestic car. It's demeaning. I am disenchanted today over much of our system vs the past, but respect and appreciate the many sacrifices others have made. I also live here and realize I can hurt others and can be quite selfish with words.
I also feel a person can express that they don't like certain cars. But there must be a reason that a huge segment of the population chooses the most popular vehicles. I can see a 1955-57 Chevrolet built a thousand ways, and find detectable differences. I have over restored many cars with subtle things like perfect body gaps, filling seams etc. Hours of labor with burns, cuts, sweat as a labor of love. I appreciate each and every car. If you have done any of this, the comments you are making will most definitely disappear. It takes a lot of hard work and financial commitment over time.
My brother in law finished a 1955 Chevrolet, bought from a field, mostly parted out in the 80s. He had children to raise, and it was a slow progression and often stalled. His is in the row of cookie cutter 55-57 models you quickly pass by. Just another 30k plus car in the midst in 2013.
My son wanted an exclusive car that may appeal to your tastes. He bought a 2002 Viper; under 5000 produced annually. He has helped me build and restore cars since he was 9 years old. Another cookie cutter I owned won a first place on Fathers Day. He spent 3 days polishing my car.
A lot of Americans by the way like imports and are still Americans. My favorites today are Porsche and Audi. They are imports; not necessary your choice perhaps, but I really like them.
I felt insulted too when I fell for the whole hype that Toyota builds great cars, when in reality my 2009 Camry was a total piece of crap.
Of course you are going to see a small block Chevy V8 in a mid-50's Bel-Air; the 1955 model year was when the small block was born.
Unless you have a conversation with the owner; for all you know it could be an original 283 V8 with a dress up kit, and a high energy ignition system.
The first 5 years of my ownership was solo driving to a cruise night and I entered 1 show. I didn't really understand it all. I drove an old Mercedes 450SL and even had a Capri. They were cars to drive on Sunday to buy a paper, or I drove to the community swimming pool. Then they sat. Later I bought more popular models that have car clubs. Attended tech nights and learned a lot about my cars. And made a lot of friends. Usually then you upgrade or buy a project and delve into it. Then you gain a real appreciation for cars.
There are cars that are cheap, remain drivers, and you go on a Friday night to buy ice cream. You have little to no real investment and just drive it. And live with the flaws.
The first thing I do now is add disc brakes, get rid of points, go HEI power steering etc, check all the lines etc, and make a car real safe.
Other than MPG, my cars are able to drive anywhere. I am real proud of them.
My only other comment is if buying a new daily driver Prius saves you money to buy a better classic, go for it. Save money on one end and use it on the other. My cars were like buying a diamond ring for my wife. A bit painful financially, but buy the best you can afford. In the end, 9 times out of 10 it's cheaper than buying and building one up. My cars also have appreciated well over time.
It's nice being in a club. British car clubs, VW, Porsche etc are some of the many import clubs that have strong member interest if you are import only.