Why are American cars not classics?

22 replies [Last post]
hotrodharbor
Offline
Joined: 2011-09-17

There are plenty of old American cars on the road in the UK.

But there only very few articles on them Classic and Sports Car Magazine. And they are not in the section with prices.

Why is this? Are American cars not considered classics in the UK?

Is a Morris Minor really more interesting than a Chevrolet Bel Air?

Or a Jaguar Mk2 more special than a 1959 Cadillac?

What is your opinion?

Red Dwarf
Red Dwarf's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-05-31

Good question!

 We have owned our 1978 Corvette for over 21 years and I’ve spent a good deal of that time struggling to get older Corvettes acknowledged as “Classics”.  Even the Corvette community doesn’t quite “get it”.  As a CCCUK Area Rep, if I suggested a trip to a “classic car event” it was often not as popular as one to an “American Car” one, with Corvette owners almost believing they didn’t “belong” at a more traditional classic event.  Owners of cars like the mentioned Bel Air may feel the same, wrongly in my opinion.

 I’m pleased to say that there does not appear to be that demarcation here in France and any early Corvette is adored as a “classic” here!

 The situation in the UK is perhaps not helped by the disappointing stereotypical reviews about American cars, and C&SC has been guilty of that in the past.  (Look back for the appalling review of  a “C4” Corvette a few years ago, when Martin Port dismissed the interior as “low rent”.  Clearly he had either not sat in it, or perhaps not in, say, a Porsche of the same age,1989 if I remember correctly, which is spartan to say the least in comparison!)

The "Greenies" are killing the planet! It's time to tell the world the Emperor is naked!

Martin Port
Martin Port's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-04-12

Red Dwarf wrote:

Look back for the appalling review of  a “C4” Corvette a few years ago, when Martin Port dismissed the interior as “low rent”.

 

I hope you won't mind the correction when I point out that it was one of our freelance contributors, Andrew Noakes who penned his opinion on the C4 interior in our November 2007 issue rather than myself.

n/a
hotrodharbor
Offline
Joined: 2011-09-17

American interiors do not always look nice or durable, but I have had many from the sixties and seventies that were still very good after twenty to forty years. Now everybody seems to think that Audi interiors are the best. I think they are boring. We will see who is right in 2051.

Chris Martin
Offline
Joined: 2011-08-20
Why are American cars not classics?

Who says? Some are, some aren't. Just because they are American does not matter one way or t'other. Have a look in the C&SC auction pages to give a guide as to what is wanted over there, and admitting monetary value is not the defining rule here, if a Hemi 'Cuda ragtop can get well over six figure sums while Duesie's regularly get seven they must have something going for them. To be more specific, Mustangs have a definite pecking order according to specification and a '68 notchback with a straight six will never be regarded as a top classic but for those who are on a budget nad can't afford an original Shelby it is still a Mustang, which must make it more desirable than a seventies Plymouth Volare.It is just a shame that fashions play such a part in the market now, hence a lot of 'stangs are now Bullitt or Eleanor clones while they would probably be worth more restored to original.

If we open this up to debate, I am sure everyone will have their own list of classics and dogs, but we can assume there are plenty that qualify.

Now, where's the keys to my Cord........................

Chris M.

 

Chris Martin
Offline
Joined: 2011-08-20

I agree though that while it is a necessary part of the magazine business to cover common interest stories to maximise readership, C&SC could do worse than hunt down a few stateside rarities in between the inevitable, 'MGB Special', Porsche's iconic 911' and 'Legendary E-Type' cover stories. These come around every two years and it must generate sales in the shops if they keep putting the biggest selling classics on the cover, but hopefully it is a chance to introduce those same MG, Porsche or Jag readers to some new heavy metal.

Anyway, here in Australia American classics get equal recognition with others. Here are a few Auburns for now.

All from recent local shows and rallies.

Next up some Buicks.

Chris M.

 

V-8 Woodie
V-8 Woodie's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-06-02

Red Dwarf wrote:

Good question!

 The situation in the UK is perhaps not helped by the disappointing stereotypical reviews about American cars, and C&SC has been guilty of that in the past.  (Look back for the appalling review of  a “C4” Corvette a few years ago, when Martin Port dismissed the interior as “low rent”.  Clearly he had either not sat in it, or perhaps not in, say, a Porsche of the same age,1989 if I remember correctly, which is spartan to say the least in comparison!)

Unfortunately this debate has been dragged up so many times before- although not necessarily on this forum, I personally have a lasting affinity for American cars so perhaps I might be allowed to shed some light on this topic. I have owned many different examples of American cars over the last thirty years and generally I cannot recall ever being subjected to negative comments or made to feel that I was driving something inferior. I have exhibited my cars at many non- American classic car events, the response and admiration has always been a favourable one. I really don’t see any evidence to support the fact that classic American cars are generally disregarded and therefore they do not fit into the same ‘classic’ category, as the majority of Brit classics etc do. If we want to examine this further, one only has to look at the prestigious Goodwood events, just observe how many classic American vehicles now attend the Festival of speed and the Revival meetings, there’s no denying it, Lord March has made Ford Mustangs, Corvettes, Galaxies, etc an acceptable mode of transport to attend these events in. It is not uncommon nowadays for even the most discerning of collectors to have a Mustang or similar in the garage, sharing space with a Ferrari or E-Type Jaguar. The very popular Goodwood Breakfast meetings have always attracted a fantastic mix of cars, the meeting even boasts, or used to, a ‘Classic American’ breakfast event, even his Lordship can often be seen behind the wheel of his period hot rod!  The recent Thatcham classic car show welcomed classic American cars (see the Newsfeed item on this website) a 1940 V8 Ford Convertible can be seen parked alongside a Rolls Royce Phantom Tourer, also sharing the show field with such rarities as a Tojeiro Bristol was a chopped ’50 Mercury ‘Leadsled’ and from what was reported, the Chopped ‘50 Merc’ was Martin Port’s pick of the show! There is a huge interest in classic American vehicles in the UK and indeed throughout Europe, whilst I appreciate not everyone is drawn to a ’70 Pontiac Trans-Am or a ’59 Cadillac Biarritz, but surely the same could be said for the MGB GT or Porsche 911S. At the end of the day we all share the same love of classic cars and we can all, hopefully fit under the same ‘classic’ umbrella. Perhaps we may just see the editorial content in C&SC reflect the surge in popularity in American classics by carrying more related features on a regular basis, now a Shelby GT-350 on the front cover would be a good place to start!

 

 

 

 

Chris Martin
Offline
Joined: 2011-08-20

Thinking about all the above again, there may be a valid argument here that we had missed.

A sixties Mustang for example, (but the same logic apples to Corvettes, Chargers or Lincoln Mk models) is generally accepted as classic but it's desirablitity depends to some degree on specification. So, a probable classic. And one that was made in large numbers, still plentiful today, and has good parts supply. So surely an equal to a sixties Porsche, Alfa, Mercedes or Lancia, and probaly produced in larger numbers.

Ditto Corvettes over Cobras, or Lincolns would be more available than Rolls Royce or Mercedes. I am not suggesting that they are equals in every respect, but given the markets they were aimed at, and their respective values today, surely some of these are getting short-changed. Yes, we regularly read about the obvious Italian and German suspects, maybe too often, but there is a lot more variety out there yet to be recognised.

Or maybe not; on second thoughts let's keep the market for these yankee alternatives quiet, and the prices down,

Chris M.

Meanwhile, it's Buick time !!!

Ok, tomorow will be C for Cadillac (or Chev, Chrysler, Cord etc)

 

Chris Martin
Offline
Joined: 2011-08-20

Just found another Auburn, they seemed to be popular in Australia.

But now for some Cadillacs, these are from 1908 to 1959

Yep, there always has to be a pink one......

Doing their bit to rid the planet of fossil fuels !

Chris M.

 

Speedangel
Speedangel's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-07-05

I defintely consider american cars to be classic cars. I think everyone should as well! some of them are amazing and worth putting up the rank of best classics in the world. 1967 Ford Shelby GT 500 for instance

ElanSprint72
Offline
Joined: 2011-07-27

In answer to the original quesion; I suspect that the preceding posts speak for themselves.