The Resurgence of the Domestic Automakers

The year was 2010, but it all actually started a few years prior.  A perfect mixture of a global financial downturn mixed with high fuel prices, a lack of creativity and marketing and a dab of over-borrowing. Next thing you know the Dodge Viper is dead and we’re sending our astronauts into space in Russian rockets. Absolutely pathetic. It makes me sick.  Especially the bit about us going to a mobile home in space in Russian technology.  Fast forward a few years and I guess not is all bad in the world though, the Dodge SRT Dodge Viper is back and domestic automakers are showing signs of life.   Our space fleet is still grounded though.  Help us Elon Musk, you’re our only hope!

Disclaimer: This is written from an enthusiasts perspective, but you already knew that if you’ve been to RFD before.  Feel free to tell me I’m wrong, and that domestic automakers don’t actually get anything from fast, prestigious cars.  The comment box is just below this article!

Where was I?  Oh right.  After that mess a few years ago, we still have Corvettes, Camaros, Challengers, and Mustangs built brand new and on dealership lots for sale. The selection of special edition Mustangs is seemingly limitless. Something has to be going right.  I’ll admit, I love domestic cars.  I pull for them, I stick up for them, I buy them, and I recommend them to friends.  But why do I just don’t feel the same excitement that I felt for American cars before the bubble burst?  I’ll start by saying that the Corvette C7 is a fantastic step in the right direction.  The ZO6, wow.  Just look at it!

2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Image credit: GMAuthority

The new Mustang looks amazing and will likely be pretty fantastic. The Camaro and Challenger honestly just linger in the back of my mind, but they’re good too (especially the Z/28 which is great) and will likely be gunning for the 2015 Mustang with updated models featuring more power and better suspensions. Thing is we need something new.  Something big.  Something…super.  The current list of domestic enthusiast cars has been relatively the same since 2010 when the Camaro re-joined the fray.

“Look at what we’ve done! We the people of the nation with the most awesome cars have brought you this!”

Think about it this way.  Do you remember when the Dodge Viper was put into production?  Do you remember when they followed it up with the Viper GTS  and then rolled out a bunch of competition cars.  Of course you do.  They gave us in the US of A a sense of Pride! “Look at what we’ve done! We the people of the nation with the most awesome cars have brought you this!” Same with the Ford GT.  What an awesome, awesome, car, a real world beater.  Again! Something that, if lined up with supercars from around the world could hold their own in performance AND style.  This is poster material kids.

Ford GT

Image credit: WordPress

Domestic automakers used to be the kings of big cars too.  Cadillacs, Buicks, Lincolns, these were cars that people aspired to own.  Returning to big cars now is hard because gas prices always seem ready to jump any time somebody in the middle east sneezes. We did them so well decades ago and at least Cadillac seems to be having a resurgence.  The Chrysler 300 is updated but still based on an old LX platform from a decade ago.

“I don’t want traction control, tons of airbags, or grocery bag holders. “

I think what we need are more American car that gives you an enjoyable driving experience, and not something that feels like you’re in a German doctors office.  Something special.  We need t-tops, targas, and more convertibles. More manual transmissions that don’t require use of paddles. I don’t want traction control, tons of airbags, or grocery bag holders.   Or at least give me the option of turning some of those bits off or easily removing them.  And follow others lead and make them lighter.  Guess what, that helps with MPG too.  Take that CAFE standards!

We already told you why we think GM Needs a Supercar.  And I think Ford and Chrysler do as well.  Sure the Viper is back, and that’s a good thing.  But it’s living under a very large and looming Italian shadow and under a regime that won’t tolerate anything being as fast, or God forbid, faster than a Ferrari.  Dio mio!  So it’s over to you Ford.  You showed us what you can do with the GT.  It was epic.  And I don’t use that word too often, you can do a search.  You’re right in the midst of a renaissance with the EcoBoost ST models, we have one in our long-term garage and, as I mentioned, the redo of the Mustang is imminent.

But we want more and not just from Ford.  Take those new engines and put them into new offerings.  We want lightweight 2-seat convertibles.  We want 4-seat GT cars with nice interiors, over 300hp and a 6-spd.   Something bigger than a Mustang but smaller than a house Challenger.  We want more rear wheel drive sedans.  We’ll take smaller, turbocharged engines, that’s fine.  But give us options!

Signed, an RFD enthusiast.

‘Murica! 

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Image credit: sportsgrid.com

Header image: imgur.com

Adapted from an article originally drafted by Sean O’Donoghue

Will is an automotive writer and Editor-in-Chief of Right Foot Down. Based in Maryland, he has had a long history of founding failed automotive sites and spending way too much time on car forums. He has owned “too many Mustangs” according to Josh and has a fetish for RWD V8s. He spent most of his 20s on tracks in the mid-atlantic and killing cones in parking lots and has even taught at a teen performance driving school.