Clarkson bashing the Mustang

fbc said:
Whoa there - leave the 240Z out of this, and have some respect for it. And guys, just because someone has money doesn't mean they can't chose to drive a cheaper, classic car.

Oh, I'm not insulting the 240Z, it's a fantastic car in its own right. I'm just having a tough time believing his claims that he's " in the market right now for cars like the Lotus Esprit, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Porsche Carrera, Corvette Z06, etc." Between that and his constant referring to his "level", and how it's so much "higher" than ours (when he obviously knows nothing about us, or he wouldn't be saying that), which I have yet to determine what that has to do with our comparison, I'm having trouble giving his posts any merit whatsoever.
OK, I'll drop the "girl vs car" analogy for the fact that it's too complicated for some people to understand here. (It was meant to be a fun and simple comparison. Some people just took it WAY too seriously.)

I bought the 240Z because it was smog exempt in California. For somebody that enjoys tinkering and modifying his car, it's an invaluable thing to have. Plus, the parts availability is far better than anything from Italy, UK, or Germany.

Like I said before, I have opportunities to drive many cars through my associates. That's why I tend to be very opinionated about cars in general. Obviously those who have actually experienced driving these cars will have stronger opinions on them than people who simply read figures in magazines.

For those who doubt anything I say, I invite you to a track day or a canyon/mountain run. I may not be the most eloquent speaker, but my car and I can make a pretty strong statement when we're together. ;)

And the funny thing is that American cars are still substandard and nobody has even bothered to provide an arguement against that.
No, the funny thing is how you ignored pointed questions from myself or Berserker, and still insist you are right. The point we have tried, and failed, to get across to you is that every country is capable of substandard cars. Every example of a "good" car you give is expensive. That's not the same thing.

I will agree with you on the smog stuff. CA is notoriously heavy handed on that stuff. One of my friends calls it The People's Republic Of California for a reason. :)
some people like sledgehammer to cut their steak....
some people like a knife to do the same thing.....
'nuff said i guess

i'm pretty much neutral on the nationality of cars.

just wanna add 1 more thing, i think people should agree with me on this one.
i don't know bout the total handling of these cars because all are my cousins/friends car. so i can't track them but the brakes used in so called muscle car is always crap

tried the old mustang (RHD conversion) body too heavy, brakes too small.

tried the V8 commodores (from 95 model to the latest VZ), too powerfull, brakes is definitely too small, especially with the heavy body of wagon version. till the hell freezes over, i'm not gonna drive the SS version except if they change the brakes to a better one

tried the V8 falcon (new, is it called BA), it feels like it's gonna go sideways everytime i brake.

the point is, i never feel any accuracy when driving those US/Aussie cars. there's no light and nimble feeling u get from japanese or sharpness of german cars.
it's only big bang of power.......and then pray nobody is on your way, because the brake's not working :p
that's why i compared it to a Sledgehammer like i said earlier on

*if ne1 feels offended and wanna lend me a corvette for a brake test, i'll be happy to do it :lol: *
Z Draci said:
And the funny thing is that American cars are still substandard and nobody has even bothered to provide an arguement against that.

Yes they are, and there are reasons why,

American cars must be cheap to compete in the domestic market, while cost of labor is relatively high. Unless they are made in Mexico, they have to cut costs on materials/interior/ technology to maintain a low cost on the car.

American cars must also do reasonably well with crash tests.. while passing California's emissions. Which means heavier/stronger cars with less power due to more restrictive exhausts/cats. So you take a performance hit there.

There are ways around the weight/ and performance issues with better technology, better materials but then there's the problem of costs again.
It's a shame, too. The domestics can be perfectly capable of making good cars too. Sports cars like the Corvette prove this, and their overseas divisions are quite decent as well. Ford has their GT and Mustang which are quite good by America's fiendishly low standards, apparently, and they can churn out gems like the Focus (which still needs a complete overhaul) and the original Taurus. DaimlerChrysler is pretty much German, but their American operations are still filled with Americans (even if they have to report to German overlords), and they produce distinctive-looking cars that aren't really good otherwise.

Yet they have probably the biggest uphill battle faced by any other car company in the world in terms of customer perception and economic restraint. Z Draci's opinion of American cars is shared by millions of people in America who have been fed worthless, boring, unrefined, unreliable shitboxes for the last 30 years. This has spoiled them into thinking that the domestics have, are, and will produce automotive excrement no matter what they do. They have ridden on the arrogance and complacency and ignorance that has carried them through the 40's, 50's, 60's, and 70's with nary a sign of worry about oil prices or efficiency or economic ethics. That's what most people see them as.

Why do I bring this rant up? Toyota has introduced a new massive attack of ad campaigns promoting their utterly annoying hybrid vehicles. Abstract, creative stuff like "What if the air was cleaner? What if we could breathe easier? What if we all carried cute newborn puppies on our heads? Would we live longer? Would we be happier? Would we forget Pearl Harbor ever happened, both the movie and the attack?*" As if the media didn't already perpetuate the image that Toyota is the greatest thing to ever happen to humanity since the Resurrection (that's still up for debate), these ads are going to convince everybody in the nation, zombielike, that Toyota is made up of happy shiny people that are all environmentally-conscious and build cars that will replenish the ice caps and patch up the ozone layer and reduce smog over LA and resurrect John Wayne, while conveniently forgetting to mention that they also happen to build 6 SUVs and 2 trucks.

And what will that mean to the domestics? They will be seen as the mostly liberal environmentalists (I'm mostly liberal, but not when it comes to the environment) who will scream and yell and burn stuff and force everybody into thinking that GM and Ford and DaimlerChrysler are the spawn of Satanism and low-carb diets, that they massacre small children with large knives and rape Tibetian nuns with broom handles and launch ICBMs at the ice caps and stomp though Yosemite and litter and set forest fires and shoot small bunnies in the face with assault rifles and give people paper cuts and defecate into old people's pudding and shove blind people down staircases and generally do quite nasty stuff.

That's blatantly not true; the domestic companies have done a lot in the alternative fuel and conservation departments; it's just nobody realizes it. Remember the EV1? The Th!nk City? The Lido city runabout? They all may have failed, but they were noble attempts at spreading electric cars out there to everyday consumers that people have conveniently forgot about in order to buy a Prius. Hell, Chevy has a Silverado hybrid, which may be the most useful application of hybrid technology to a widely-used vehicle that truly needs it! Yet people won't see this: they'll just see Toyota's "9 vehicles with 20mpg or more! What if we could all sing songs and skip through picturesque meadows?" campaign, which will surely spell the doom for the domestics. I fear for them: even if they are billion-dollar corporations, they can't buy customer loyalty or a reputation.

My point is (and I do have one) that the domestics are improving. Though not much, they still are set on the right track. Remember GM's "Road to Redemption" campaigns? The first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one. Unfortunately, no matter how much they try, people can't see that. They aren't willing to forgive the domestic companies, which is understandable but most often wholly unjustified. Need proof? Just see this thread for evidence. Or autostream's rant on why the Corvette is not a sports car because of its "crappy paint". There's such passion on the subject that won't die down soon, on both sides.

Thank you for your time. If you actually read through all of it, give yourself a pat on the back. And some money.


*Note: this is a tongue-in-cheek joke. But the movie did suck.
I agree. I think that Detroit has definately stepped it up in the last 10 years, but they squandered so much customer loyalty during the seventies and eighties, its hard to come back. But they are trying. By all accounts, the new Ford Fusion looks to be a hit - definately a styling comeback. The new Mustang looks good(the interior could probably use a little work still though.) And the Five-Hundred, successor to the Taurus, looks to be a whole different level of refinement from the car it replaced - but still a little drab on styling.

But they are improving - and the sad part is, some people are so ready to fork over money for something with a BMW badge on it, they are missing out on some decent cars domestically.
gtrietsc said:
I agree. I think that Detroit has definately stepped it up in the last 10 years, but they squandered so much customer loyalty during the seventies and eighties, its hard to come back. But they are trying. By all accounts, the new Ford Fusion looks to be a hit - definately a styling comeback. The new Mustang looks good(the interior could probably use a little work still though.) And the Five-Hundred, successor to the Taurus, looks to be a whole different level of refinement from the car it replaced - but still a little drab on styling.

But they are improving - and the sad part is, some people are so ready to fork over money for something with a BMW badge on it, they are missing out on some decent cars domestically.

I agree, Detroit needs to keep on this course if they are to catch up and be competitive again. A lot of American cars have caught my eye recently, the fusion, the 300c, charger, magnum, mustang, corvette, gt all cars I'm impressed with. But it takes godlike reliability to really sell me, something Detroit will have to prove over the long haul even as it improves quality of materials and overall build quality
Well, the good thing (for Detroit) is that while American quality is improving, foreign quality, in some cases, has declined. Look at owner satisfaction ratings for Mercedes Benz, or VW, for instance. And its getting to the point where EVERYONE can afford a Beemer - and that means losing its status as "something special".

The next 10 years for the industry should be very interesting...
Excellent post BlaRo. I did read the whole thing (and then gave myself some money), and I quite enjoyed it.

I think the biggest, most important thing the American automakers need to do is reduce the influence of the blood-sucking auto worker's union. People are getting paid $70,000/year to tighten lug nuts and wash cars, and it's driving the industry into the ground. Any lack of "quality" or "refinement" can generally be attributed to the fact that companies like Ford pay Tens of Billions of dollars for medical, retirement, and other benefits, which is way out of proportion with the size of the company. Imagine if some of that money was put back into the company - Quality could improve, and prices could stay the same. I woulnd't mind seeing Mr. Lugnut Tightener gettting his giant salary cut back, either.

FYI - Saturn is the only American carmaker that is not unionized under the United Autoworker's Union.
^^ What's with the mouse?

Pearl Harbour will never be forgotten. That really was a most underhanded, sneaky and dastardly attack upon my psyche. In fact, everyone who watched that movie should get into a class action suit against the studios.

I think even Clarkson admits what some have already pointed out here. The Mustang 'works' in America. It doesn't 'work' in the UK as well. For all the hammering about statistics and reliability, to my mind, my perfect car is the one that 'works' best to my mind. If you're interested in a Mustang, you probably are interested in 'image.' This is far more important than if the panels fit together well on the passenger's door. Although to those who think of such things, that itself is also an image factor. The whole concept of a 'pony car' to me, is image.

Not having anything better to do in Iraq (We couldn't find any villages to abuse, women to pillage or men to rape), we spent a lot of our time reading car magazines and dreaming about the new cars we'd all be buying. From the reviews and pictures, the Mustang was well worthy of a look.

Many months of this later, the first car showroom we stopped off at was for Fords, and of course, they had a new Mustang on the forecourt. It certainly gave a better initial impression than the old Mustang (which I strongly took a dislike to, especially after renting one for a while), but it suffered a couple of marks against it. One was the fact that as the fastest-selling car in the world (Not truck!), pretty much everyone and their uncle would have one. The other, more noticeable problem, was that it just gave off an aura of 'cheap,' particularly inside. Now, this isn't a problem in itself, at least when one consideres that for what it is, it is actually a pretty good bargain at the price. However, cheap, even when bargain-priced, is still cheap, even if it's a good cheap car.

None of us bought a new Mustang. (Though one guy did buy a second-hand older one for some reason). I went the other extreme entirely, and went German, though a Chevy is still my daily driver. The Audi suits my desires better. It's still plenty fast (at 340hp, it'd better be), but the aura it gives off to me given my requirements for a car, is far better suited. Daft though it may sound, the Mustang is an excellent Mustang, bought by Mustang-oriented people for Mustang-oriented purposes. It's just not what a lot of car 'experts' want.

I mean, I can't tell the difference between two-buck-chuck and a Berringer Cabernet. For a cheap wine, the two-buck-chuck (Honestly, it's available for sale and is rather turning the wine industry in the US on its head as a decent cheap wine) is damned good. The Mustang is the automotive equivalent, and the Berringer may be emulated by a BMW. Different target audiences. The one audience will never understand the other, but that's not to say that each category can have shiners and stinkers.

Thus after all that, I will conclude that European journalists quite correctly slate most American cars, being as they are European, writing for Europeans, and using European criteria.

That said, European cars don't usually score that badly in the US either.

BlaRo said:
We're talking about sports cars like the Corvette. Mainstream automobiles were lost by Detroit 30 years ago. Through many series of embarrassing mistakes, bad PR (remember the Corvair? Pushing it, but still...), complacency and sheer arrogance, the Japanese have made inroads into the market and have controlled most of the American mainstream market. But you already knew that since you live in America, and can't fling a Triple Quarter Pounder with Cheese without having the messy bits splatter a fine Toyota product. I'm one to face the facts: most American cars suck. And their interiors might as well be smeared in a fine layer of poo, and there wouldn't be a difference in their quality.

Yet not American sports cars; they're a different breed. They have existed for the American car enthusiast public: the crowd that cares more about quarter-mile times than handling characteristics. And that's what those people expect! Just like Europeans expect different things from their sports cars, Americans expect different things from their sports cars. That's what 94Camaro was trying to get across, albeit with some misunderstanding. Then again, I'm assuming that he owns, well, a 1994 Camaro, so admittingly he's biased as you are with your (utterly gorgeous) 240Z.

I guess I've played devil's advocate a bit with this post, but that's because I like all cars, European and American. So it's hard to take sides.

Same here, you expressed my thoughts very well. I drive a Porsche 944 Turbo and a Pontiac Trans Am. I love cars. Two very different ways of getting thrills. Maybe someone would want the opinion of someone who has seat time in both camps?

One's a knuckle-dragging, solid rear axle, pushrod V8 making about 380 bhp but it's been set up to handle. The other's a sophisticated, perfectly balanced forced induction four making about 280 bhp. They both get about the same mileage, 21 mpg in my mixed condition drive to work.

When you guys complain about the brutish nature of American cars, that's precisely the reason I bought the TA in 2000, knowing the run would end in 2002. Sadly it seems we will be in a world of Passats and Accords and the American performance car will die. You Europeans can have your horrid little econoboxes, I don't like them! The bland, milktoast mainstream car buyer can have their Accords and Camrys, they lull me to sleep. To get the performance I want out of Europe, I'd have to spend double to get the likes of an M3. Or to stay in the right price range, I'd have to go with the likes of an STI (which I like, but for different reasons). They don't make cars like my TA anymore. And while most Europeans have the impression that these are still the 1970 Dodge Chargers, it's not true -- the Camaro/Firebird had a little sports car mixed in with the muscle car DNA. Even when set up correctly as I have (these cars are perrenial winners in their class in SCCA competition), you have to watch for nose-heavy understeer and snap oversteer from the rear axle. But it's fun to drive. The interior sucks, and compared to my 951 there is tremendous waste of space and the car is larger than it needs to be. It drives me nuts when people make assumptions about gas mileage, my V8 gets 27 mpg highway with almost 400 bhp on tap. My 21 mpg mixed driving is the same as my turbo 4, and bests the modern German flat sixes. When you look at the European V8s, the mileage is worse and the performance doesn't get that high until you spend a lot of money. So give me the caveman's club. With a few thousand in mods it handles surprisingly well even with the solid rear axle, and I've had hours of fun learning how to powerslide and do throttle oversteer corrections on the track. It's fun in the mountain roads, but you have to remember that it has a big butt. Sometimes a shotgun is more fun than a sniper rifle.

About the interior? Yeah I wish it had the interior quality of even a Civic. However, that doesn't stop me from driving the car and enjoying the piss out of it. Do any of you fly? Have you ever flown an entry level airplane, like a Piper or a Cessna? News flash -- the interiors SUCK but guess what, man, YOU CAN FLY. When I'm 3000 feet in the air I don't give a crap that the doors of the Piper are worse than a 1975 Pinto.

But I love my 951 too, for different reasons. But it has its warts, too. The rubber timing belt and interference design (in a Porsche that if new today would be about $80k), I certainly expected more from vaunted German engineering even if it's old. What's up with the Uniblinker, they couldn't figure out how to get TWO directional signals in the gauge cluster? The poor ball joint design in the A-arms is a constant maintenance worry. Anyway, I love driving it, the balance is perfect, it feels much more like a go-cart than the TA, it's fun to drive in the mountains.

I race them both on the track (Lime Rock and Pocono). They're different ways to get the job done, that's how I see it. I have different tools in my toolbox. BTW Europhiles take a look at the pictures in my signature and take a look at the amount of lean on the two cars in similar sharp corners -- the 951 on Big Bend at Lime Rock, the TA on an unnamed infield corner at Pocono.

My next car? If I stay relatively economical, I may pick up an 02-04 Z06, or go the STI route. If I splurge, I'm thinking Porsche Cayman or C6 Z06. I love cars. I'm not ruling any of them out.

Except the bland milk toast front wheel drive sheeple movers. ;)
flyingfridge said:
Oh, I've never heard of these idiots who put LS1s in RX-7 chassis, but all I can say is, they are idiots. The 13B has potential for 6 second quarters in a full drag car. I hate drags so personally, I'd be building a circuit car, so why put a stupid great lump of iron up the front of such a well balanced car? Answer: Making a nice Japanese car handle like an American 101. Don't know where you gut success from, but the numbers had better be damn impressive. I takes the point out of owning an RX-7 though. You buy an RX-7 for the Rotary. That's it's unique character. You want a V8? Buy a Corvette.

Sigh... I have a friend who just bought an LS1-swapped RX7. You have a lot to learn.

His experience is here:

First, the Rotary is not built to last. Ever wonder why you don't see very many RX7s making it past 8 years old or so, or above 80,000 miles or so? The engine self destructs. I've known at least one guy in my local SCCA region racing the last gen RX-7 and guess what happened to his motor. Boom, now he has an S2000. I know when I was looking for my track car (and settled on the Porsche 944 Turbo) I was also considering, among others, the 300ZX TT and the RX-7. That's what my homework taught me.

Second, the LS1 is light so it does not upset the balance of the RX7, and it is powerful -- with a cam and mild stroke to 383 it's easy to make 500 bhp.

That's OK, I've seen that the RX-7 guys go insane when you rip out the unreliable Rotary heart and put something else in. I've seen the same reaction from the 951 crowd, when you put in an LS1 that makes twice the power naturally aspirated and weighs LESS than the motor it replaced. Purists don't like heart transplants.
Z Draci said:
Dudes, this arguement is getting pointless.
It's now just a "my penis is bigger than yours" debate.

Fact of the matter is that American cars are mediocre.
Like I said before, it's like saying a fat & ugly girl with a "good personality" is God's greatest creation. People like 94Camaro would gladly marry her. Normal people wouldn't even consider such a girl. We would go look for a better all-arounder.

I'm sure Jessica Alba has a wonderful personality! :lol:
You need the money, power, and looks to get her but she has zero drawbacks.
Same with cars. If you want better, you need to bust your ass and work for it.

And sometimes there are diamonds in the rough with a natural beauty AND good personality waiting to be picked up (S2000, STI, Corvette). Or to use your analogy, very cute girls who aren't supermodels.

Conversely, there are superstar hotties that cost a lot of money, constantly whine, and suck your wallet dry (take your pick, Ferrari, 911, et al). And they don't look so good when they aren't photographed in controlled environments and don't have their makeup on. Or to use your analogy, Jennifer Garner or Jennifer Aniston. Everybody says they're hot, but catch them in an unexpected photograph and LOOK OUT.

It's academic, but maybe I wouldn't marry a psychopath like Angelina Jolie even if I had the opportunity and go with the girl next door instead.
flyingfridge said:
In the mean time, I'll keep waiting, so that when a good car comes out of America, I will praise it.

One subject that has escaped this discussion is the manufacture of vehicles in America by foreign companies and shipped abroad (IIRC all Honda Accord coupes are made in the US including those sold in Japan; the BMW X5 is made in the US; so are the Mercedes M and R class, IIRC). I'm sure there are more that I am missing.

These vehicles do not seem to be plagued by the poisoned quality well of North America.

Finally, someone mentioned that Americans "grew up with" the poor quality of American vehicles and thus have a lower standard for quality. HOGWASH. I grew up in the 70s, when American cars were at their worst and it was hastened by two oil shortages. During that time, several important things happened in my observation.

(1) The Volkswagen Beetle was the most common import for its gas mileage and simple (air cooled) motor, before the Japanese invasion.
(2) Nissans were sold under the name "Datsun" because executives of Nissan Japan were EMBARASSED by the quality of their products sold in the US.
(3) Foreign cars became popular because of their fuel efficiency (i.e. the Toyota Starlet, the Honda CVCC, etc.) during the onset of the oil crunches. American cars were land yachts.
(4) Along with fuel efficiency came reliability and quality.
(5) Some European brands found a niche with the wealthy (Jaguar, Mercedes).
(6) Other European brands were slaughtered due to quirky designs and poor quality, and ran from the US market (Renault, Peugeot, Fiat, etc.).
(7) BMW found a niche with its reputation for quality and good handling at a premium but affordable price.

Anyone younger than 40 in the US has grown up in a world where the US manufacturers are dying and the cool cars are made by the Japanese and Germans.

Quite frankly, the same people who bought bad American cars blindly (Ford LTD, Chevrolet Impala, etc.) are the ones buying bland Japanese cars blindly (Accord, Camry, etc.). Most people aren't enthusiasts in America. They buy driving appliances. Then, and now. Toyota makes NOTHING that interests me, and Honda only catches my interest with the S2000. Their cars have no soul.
freakster_991 said:
haaha thers TWO topics goin on in the same thread...this is awesome.... why american cars are made less better thn european cars????? its cuz they wanna keep the prices low... simple... nd by keeping prices low u sacrifice luxury, quality, performance and aesthetics of cars.... and honestly ive seen the chevy sedans of late...and they look like theyve been designed by a i guess they are also cutting costs in the design department too

Someone with a Mitsubishi in his avatar shouldn't speak too loudly since they're circling the drain and making some pretty lousy cars ;)

Interesting sidebar, the death of the "little five" of the Japanese car industry, and maybe throw Nissan's near death experience and symbiosis with Renault in there as a sixth.

Mitsubishi -- in deep deep trouble, dumped by DCX
Isuzu -- on the brink of disappearing
Suzuki -- fighting hard but in the GM sphere of influence
Subaru -- Trying hard to kill its brand identity and success (Saabaru, B9, SUV).
Mazda -- Ford's b*tch
All very valid points, but you do know you can edit posts, right? 5 posts in a row is pushing it! ;)
Most American cars are poorly finished, thats a fact that can be seen in every motorshow even today, nuff said.

We make boxters in Finland, but everyone knows why people buy them. They can't afford a 911, but there's also a saying about people driving those those 944's "jastett"...