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Discussion Starter #1
I like to stir up trouble. How about it folks? American sports coupes superior to Imports? Or are the imports superior to the American offerings?

IMO, imports rule! Sure, we have Vette and Viper, at costs unobtainable to most. Maybe throw in the Lightening, but who the hecks needs a 14.0 sec truck that can't haul more than 500 lbs.? Oh yes, the 380 HP Cobra. But even that's $35,000. Forget the clamor about the new GTO because it's really the old Holden Monaro. Stick a fork in this scene. The sales and dollars are going to the imports.

For the imports, geez, where can we start? From 15.0 sec Protege Mazdaspeed, to 14.3 WRX for $25,000 to even a 14.8 sec Altima for $22,000. Beetle/GTI 180 HP turbos. Mini. MR2 Spyder. 350Z. RX-8. Soon to be here WRX STI and Lancer Evolution @ 280 HP. The list goes on and on.

Used to be the Musclecar was an Amercan-made performer. No more, the muscle is coming from overseas.

IMO, American manufacturers are only good at selling trucks and SUVs. Period.

My how the times have changed. I saw Dream Car Garage on the Speed Channel. They road tested an 65 Shelby GT350: 15.3 1/4-mile at 93 MPH and a zero to sixty of 8.something. Laughable. Protege Mazdaspeed: 15.1 1/4-mile at 91 MPH and a zero to sixty of 6.8. Sure current Mustangs are quicker than 15.1, but not all, consider an automatic 4.6 SOHC is a mid-15 sec car. This is very, very sad. A Mustang getting outgunned by a Maxima or Altima.

Imports rule...
 

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Well your lumping Euros and Japanees cars cars together as "Imports". Yeah, technically that's correct, but it's usually broken into American, European and Japaneese. Re-evaluate with that classing and I think it's a lot more even.

As for AutoXers I think Will's Escort has proven itself, and obviously the neon is a happy little contender.

Let's see mazda's got good stuff... oh wait they're in cahoots with Ford. Well Nissan, really nice all along the line, but who's that Renault company that really brought nissan up to speed. I seem to remember those popular GTO's (AKA 3000GT) and eclipses used to have chrysler badging.

Wow 35K for a new cobra! That's a lot of dough. But how much are the import comprable NSX, RX7(or 8) and 350Z. And why did the Z, 3000GT, and RX7 disappear in the first place? Camero's and Mustangs still sold well.

Since we're comparing a few soon to be here special models in there how about the Neon SRT for 2003. Magizine quote "The SRT-4 is powered by a 2.4-liter DOHC turbo-boosted inline four that delivers 205 horses, with 220 pound-feet of torque available from 2,000 to 4,800 rpm." and "The SRT-4 rings in at $19,995"

And the Ford Focus SVT "a Zetec engine that now boasts 170 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. More importantly, the engine produces 85 percent of its peak torque at a low 2,200 rpm" and "The bill for this factory-built street machine is expected to be around $18,000"

1965 GT350 doing a 15.3. hmm.. how many 1965 imports can do that?

And for the record, the Lightning payload is 800lbs and 5000lb towing capacity this year. Next the P/L will be 1400lbs. How much can a 2wd Tunda pull, and how many of those can do sub 14's?

Want to pull up to a stop light aginst my pick-up? Aww come on it only cost 20K new.

Jay W
505/287 Dakota
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I’d like to offer that Neon RT’s aren’t selling lot hotcakes. Actually, are hardly selling at all. Escort? Forget it. I guess a 10-second VW bug is better than a 12.8-second Viper GTS? Nope, not in my book. You can throw enough money/hardware at a Bug to get it to out accelerate a Viper, but it doesn’t make it a better car. Just like the modified Escorts/Neon’s you’re talking about, throw enough money/hardware at those cars to make them race around cones in a parking lot does not make them a better car than, say, a Cvic Si. How about the ZX-3, which is basically the European Escort brought over here as is. Lightening? Come on, that is a sow. I big pick-up that gets what, 13 MPG?, goes quick, but not fast, handles like a big pick-up, etc. Lightening, yep, big seller. Chrysler and Chevy going the Lightening route? Yes, because they have the trucks and the motors. No car to put the motor in, let’s build this albatross and see how many gullible buyers there are! Face it, the Stealth went away because of the stigma of buying the car from an American manufacturer; the Mit 3000 GT is still selling because there is no stigma of buying the car from Mitsubishi. Talon/Eclipse, same deal, buy it from Mitsubishi, ignore the one sitting at the Dodge dealer. Neon SRT, turbo? A joke when you compare it to a 200 HP naturally aspirated RSX (220 HP coming next year). Or even a 180 HP Celica GTS. Will it outgun a RSX. No, I’ve read a pre-production road test on one. Low 15’s. Too many cars do this already without air dams, wings and turbo!

I disagree with most of your points. I’ve been to your events. I see a couple of late model Camaros, Mustangs and C5s. A Dakota too. But the rest of the cars, imports, be they European or Asian. I believe from your posts you do not like Asian-manufactured cars (you point out the Asian-American connections but leave out the European-American connects, i.e. Volvo, Jaguar, etc.). If the Asian cars were to disappear from autox events, well, the events would be only have 20% of the cars currently attending as the vast majority are Asian-manufactured, specifically, Japanese-made. My Dad and I marvelled at this display at the Norton day event last month. Japanese cars dominate this scene. America’s answer? Will kill the Camaro and Firebird. What’s left then? Monte Carlo SS. LOL Grand Prix GTP? A 240 HP joke – get a Altima 240 naturally aspirated car, get the better handling, acceleration and less depreciation. I could go on.
 

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The new '03 Cobra is 390 hp and 390 ft-lbs torque, but is under rated. Stock cars are dynoing at 360-370 rwhp which is about 435 hp at the crank. Cars with comprable power are closer to $50-60K. Slap on an x-pipe w/cats, a catback, high flow air filter, and a custom chip, and you'll over 400 rwhp!!
 

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Whooaahhh! Shades of the old "Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge/Plymouth" battles. Next we'll be hearing all about how FWD is so much better than RWD! Never mind that F1, Indy, CART, etc are all RWD. When people speak of "imports" I believe they are really saying "front-wheel-drive".
IMHO, FWD is popular because the drivetrain is easier for the manufacturer to build and install in the vehicle, and therefore results in more profit for the manufacturer, not because it is a better arrangement. According to recent literature from Infiniti, their new models being introduced the next few years will be rear-wheel-drive because it results in better balance for the vehicle. I would assume that this will spill over to Nissan, too.
Import. Domestic. Import. Domestic. That argument will never be answered to everyones' satisfaction. Can I go down to the local Nissan dealer and buy a vehicle to tow my 5500 lb boat? Oh, maybe the Honda dealer can help me out. Oops. I know, a trip to the Infiniti dealer, then to the Mitsubishi dealer, then to the Saab dealer, then finally to the Toyota dealer where we can buy an over-priced SUV.
Imports are better as economy cars because they are lighter. Domestics have their place in the marketplace. Sure, one can take a base model Civic and put an engine from some other car in it, buy a body kit for it, replace the wheels, tires and the exhaust, maybe a power-adder or two and make it faster than a stock Camaro. But don't bother taking it down to the dealer for any warranty work!
Besides, not too many 1st generation Accords still running out there, even though Honda has a reputation for reliability. And we won't even talk about the 1st generation Camry! But you still see 1st generation Camaros and Mustangs.
Sorry Art. If I stepped on your toes, I didn't mean to.
In our own family fleet, we currently have a Dodge Durango, a Lexus GS430, a Dodge Neon, and an old GMC Suburban, so we have both sides of the import/domestic squabble represented. In the past we have had a succession of Datsuns, Fords, VWs and others I can't remember at the moment.
Bucky
 

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ta_terry-
I think if one were to look at the makeup of the drivers of all those Asian imports you refer to at events, one would find that most of the drivers are between the ages of 16 and 25. Peer pressure is very strong, especially in that age group. If one's peers are all driving a particular style of car, not too many people can buck that pressure and drive something different. I mean, who wants to be labeled as "weird"? (Author raises hand.) Reminds me of that amusing commercial with Alice Cooper: "Do you want your kids to grow up to be weirdos?"
Just a small point: I believe that Ford makes a "Lightning", although some drivers might be "lightening" them to achieve better performance. Spelling errors just sort of jump off the page at me.
All in all, let's all keep the juices flowing, but keep the personal attacks off these pages. We don't need bad feelings here.
Bucky
 

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datsunbucky said:
Whooaahhh! Shades of the old "Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge/Plymouth" battles.

Or Sport Compact vs Muscle Cars!
That was a topic I started on SCCA Forums about a year ago.

No one won that battle either.


Sorry Art. If I stepped on your toes, I didn't mean to.
My toes were never in there.

Art
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Come on guys. I'm not anti-domestic. The ta in ta_terry is for Trans Am, my 74 455 CID Poncho.

It just bugs the heck out of me that back in the heyday of American performance (hey day to me), for example, from Ford alone you had, a Boss 302, a Boss 429, Mach I 351 - 351C - 390 - 428 - 428 CJ - 428 SCJ, Torino 351C, Torino 390, Torino 428, Torino Cobra 428/429, Ranchero with numerous motors, Fairlane 428/429, heck even a Maverick Grabber, 428 LTD's, geez, I can go on, and these were just the 1970 offerings. But today's offerings? Mustang or ZX3. That's it. Where is a buyer to turn to? Imports! More performance/good vibes across the entire line. And again, autox speaks volumes to this as I see at least 80% imports at these events, and further, the 80% is mostly Japanese-made.

I agree that FWD is inferior to RWD (and IMO AWD is inferior to RWD too) and its popularity is based simply on a lowered sticker price (cheaper for the manufacturer to produce cars of this type). But I see many a FWD import participating in autox and at the drags.

Performance sells. Bottom line. Z/28 and TA were dinosaurs and nobody was purchasing them. What's left for American sporting coupes that are affordable? Just Mustang. That's it. Go foreign and you choices are numerous!

Road and Track uncorrected numbers: Mustang SOHC 5-speed, 14.6 quarter mile @ 95 MPH, Altima SE with 5-speed, 14.8 @ 98 MPH and WRX 5-speed, 14.3 @ 94 MPH. Give me the Altima, unassumming four-door V-6 that can spank a Mustang V-8 in a race to 100 MPH and probably beyond if not speed governed. This is what I'm talking about folks. I know we have Vette/Viper made in USA. But after that, nothing.

I obviously long for the days of Duster 340, Demon 340, Dart 340, Dart 383, Dart 440 all being sold side-by-side with similar-engined Cudas, GTX, Road Runner, Charger, Satellite, Belvedere, Challenger, etc. (some had Hemis too). But what does that camp give us today? Viper. Oh yeah, Neon R/T. And Intrepid R/T. Come on. American manufacturers do trucks and SUVs well, and this is it. Bottom line. Go to a Chevy dealer and tell me what you see on their lots. Yep, trucks and SUVs. Want a performance coupe. Go to the import dealer...
 

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Autoweek reports that the next 300m will be RWD and sport a Hemi V-8.

That's nice, but it's not a substitute for F-body cars or a really potent coupe that isn't like the previously barge-sized T-Bird.

Maybe Bob Lutz will bring some interesting vehicles to market. It would be a revolution at GM if they could match the innovation of the Fiero with the build quality of an import.
 

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ta_terry said:
from Ford alone you had, a Boss 302, a Boss 429, Mach I 351 - 351C - 390 - 428 - 428 CJ - 428 SCJ, Torino 351C, Torino 390, Torino 428, Torino Cobra 428/429, Ranchero with numerous motors, Fairlane 428/429, heck even a Maverick Grabber, 428 LTD's, geez, I can go on, and these were just the 1970 offerings. But today's offerings?
How many of those are going to pass new vechicle environmental regs? The 70's american muscle was cut short by gas shortage and never recovered due to environmental regs.

Jay W
505/287 Dakota
 

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ta_terry said:
1.I’d like to offer that Neon RT’s aren’t selling lot hotcakes.

2.Just like the modified Escorts/Neon’s you’re talking about, throw enough money/hardware at those cars to make them race around cones in a parking lot does not make them a better car than, say, a Cvic Si.

3.Lightening? Come on, that is a sow. I big pick-up that gets what, 13 MPG?

4.Face it, the Stealth went away because of the stigma of buying the car from an American manufacturer; the Mit 3000 GT is still selling because there is no stigma of buying the car from Mitsubishi. Talon/Eclipse, same deal, buy it from Mitsubishi, ignore the one sitting at the Dodge dealer.

5.Neon SRT, turbo? A joke when you compare it to a 200 HP naturally aspirated RSX (220 HP coming next year). Or even a 180 HP Celica GTS. Will it outgun a RSX. No, I’ve read a pre-production road test on one. Low 15’s. Too many cars do this already without air dams, wings and turbo!

6.I believe from your posts you do not like Asian-manufactured cars.

7.If the Asian cars were to disappear from autox events, well, the events would be only have 20% of the cars currently attending as the vast majority are Asian-manufactured, specifically, Japanese-made. My Dad and I marvelled at this display at the Norton day event last month. Japanese cars dominate this scene.
1.) But Neons in general are very hot sellers. The RTs are a slight upgrade from the normal RTs, most commoners won't see the difference.

2.) How much money do you think is in a stock class neon? How much money do you think is in a STS class escort? i'll give you a hint: Not much. And I thought we were talking about racing around cones? So racing aound cones doesn't make it a better car but HP quotes and 1/4 mile times do?

3.) IT'S A PICK-UP. You brought it up, not me.

4.) The Stelth and GT3000 went away at the same time. This part is subjective, but I swear I see more older daytona's and lasers than older eclipses. (What a brand slut that car is).

5.) Check the torque curves. "220 pound-feet of torque available from 2,000 to 4,800 rpm." That's a ton of Tq. The RSX is a weight pig, I've out ran them, and have been beaten by several neons.

6.) I think that's the reaction you we're going for. I don't dislike Asian-manufactured cars, I'm just rebutling your call for rebuttles.

7.) Asian-manufactures have a good nitch going with small, light weight, decently powered, cheap cars. What do you think autoX is? A place for small, light weight, decently powered, cheap cars to play. Go to a drag race, and "Marvel" at how all the fast cars are American.

Different markets, different cars. It don't take a Rocket Scientist to explain it.

Jay W
505/287 Dakota
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have two cars: Trans Am and Celica. I'm not biased, and not baiting anyone into a 'racial' argument (I could take both sides on that argument, as I'm half-and-half), I just want to get that out of the way.

I'm talking about how the domestics don't offer the enthusiast what the imports do offer: affordable, good handling, good accelerating, safe vehicles. Vette, Mustang, ZX-3, Neon R/T and PT compressed-motor (I forget, turbo or supercharger?), what am I leaving out, Monte Carlo SS, Grand Prix GTP, Marauder? What else?

I'm talking about becoming again like what Audi and BMW have become (except minus the import taxes and costly shipping). For every model there is an entry-, mid-, high- and sport-model. And there's several levels of sport. Just like the old days. It's all good again. Can you imagine a line-up of cars like this at your local Chevy dealer? No, I've seen the local Chevy dealer, it was hard to spot cars as the lot was dominated by trucks and SUVs.
 

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woodrufj said:

7.) Asian-manufactures have a good nitch going with small, light weight, decently powered, cheap cars. What do you think autoX is? A place for small, light weight, decently powered, cheap cars to play. Go to a drag race, and "Marvel" at how all the fast cars are American.

Different markets, different cars. It don't take a Rocket Scientist to explain it.

Jay W
505/287 Dakota
Okay, Jay we know that statement isn't totally true. Japan sells more luxury cars than the US. I think Lexus or even Infiniti sells more luxury cars than all American manufactures. So there goes the price thing.

Also I think Bucky (it may have been someone else) made a point that you don't see many 1st gen Honda's on the road. That may be true, but how many were initally sold? I do firmly believe that japaneese cars will last longer than American cars. The reason you see a lot of older American cars on the road is that they are the love of some guy who doesn't mind working on the car. An example is Steve (even though the majority of his OLD cars don't run).

I'm sure that without autox my Lexus would last a LONG LONG time. I agree with Terry that there aren't many choices when it comes to American cars. I will not buy an American can though. I don't trust them, and every one I've seen hasn't been built well. I really hate to say that, since I do love this country. But honestly, most American manual laborers do not take pride in their work, and are willing to do a shotty job. I think that the problem with our cars largely design, then poor craftmanship finishes off the job.
 

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Chris Robertson said:

I think that the problem with our cars largely design, then poor craftmanship finishes off the job.
DING!

I have been saying that for years. A lot of people pointed their fingers at the autoworkers for shoddy workmanship, but more important was the design. Speaking as someone that designs stuff for a career, it was pretty bad. I am glad to see it's getting better also.

And yes, I own a pretty expensive Lexus, I totally disagree with the concept of "Japan, Inc" being entry level little cars. Even a Supra at the end of it's life was over $50k and the NSX is even more.

I love muscle cars. My father built Mustangs as a hobby and I owned a GTO. I ran a Chevelle 396 SS also. If I had unlimited funds, I would also own a 67-69 Camaro. The cars in the 70s were dying before the gas crunch due to a combination of band designs and poorly implemented smog controls. The start of the dark days for Detroit.


I also like European cars, but to me they are different than Asian cars. I like the new Audis and the BMWs, and of course I love the Lotus Elise/Exige.
 

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Randy Chase said:
I also like European cars, but to me they are different than Asian cars. I like the new Audis and the BMWs, and of course I love the Lotus Elise/Exige.
I like BMW's a lot too. They aren't as reliable and suffer from many of the same design problems that is inherent in US cars. On the whole, German cars are much better than American with regard to reliability. Because Allyson will read this, I also like Audi's :D

German cars usually feel more solid than Japanese.
 

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I absolutely love my Dakota and my Intrepid. The Dak runs 15.40's in the 1/4, the trep runs 15.90's.

Both cars cost under $22K ( the Dak well under that).

Both cars are fun on fast autox courses although neither was bought with that in mind.

The Dak was bought to be a daily driver that could haul engines and home depot stuff around as well as tow a couple of times a year. My Dak came from the factory with a 6700lb tow rating. Not bad for how quick and fun to drive it is. I love it, and I love the looks. No regrets.

The intrepid was bought because Stacey wanted a car with a big trunk and a big back seat. We looked at more expensive luxury cars, but we were concerned about the cost when she drives 30K miles a year. The trep comes with 224hp and solid road manners. You can easily fit 245 or 255 tires on it, and there are a few basic easy mods that really wake it up. Inside it has a 12 body trunk, and room for 5 homophobic friends. It also has leather, power seats, indash cd changer, mega stereo, trip computer and all the bells and whistles. We've had no issues with either car.

For the price, they both fit their particular purposes in life.... We weren't autocrossers when we bought them..... We were looking for cheap BIG cars that were fun to drive and could haul, whether it be cargo or people or just plain HAUL. And part of what appeals to me about are Dodges was how cheap they were. And they wouldn't have been cheap if they hadn't been such dogs sitting on the lot.... The MSRP's were thousands more than we would even come close to considering for these cars. The Trep we got for $1850 under the Edmunds invoice price.

We would have been tempted by the Altima 3.5 if it was out when we bought the trep. But the Altima would go out the door for more, and is not as roomy. But it is a screamer.... We didn't consider an Intrepid R/T because basically at the time it would have cost $5K more, been a 6 month wait, and all for 17" rims, 18hp, and badges....

Stacey does have fun putting the hurt on some imports at stoplight eliminator. With our minor mods, and some good traction, the trep will just nip under the 7 second barrier 0-60. That is pretty surprising to most people we play with on the street. Stacey is bright enough to know which cars she can't pull. Steep onramps are great because the trep has a real torque advantage.

In general though, American car companies are a big disappointment to me.... And I'm a dyed in the wool muscle car guy.... But that period ended in my book 30 years ago (I'll make a few exceptions for a few model up to 74, but 71 ended my Golden era).
:(
 

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For the life of me I can't imagine why anyone spending $18k would buy a Neon R/T. A four-door car in which the back door windows DO NOT GO DOWN AT ALL.

It's got a marginal shifter and gearbox and OK power.

For about the same money you could get a Focus SVT.
 

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Well this is a fun thread :eek:

here is my .02

FWD vs. RWD ---- Who cares?!?! If a guy in a FWD beats me, then his car is superior that day!
I Drive a RWD, and its from Japan! I love my rear wheel drive, but I don't really care if you have FWD or RWD. I just want to race! :D

American vs. Import ---- Now I have thought that the American Car market sucked for the longest time, but they have just started to pay attention to the trends that the Imports have been cashing in on.

So lets give them some credit for finally realizing what we want in a car.

As for the truck thing...I don't want to hear anyone say one bad word about the american truck market (not that you did). We own that market!:D

Am I completely off topic yet?
I love my Chevy truck! It gets 17mpg with a 4100 Lbs. trailer behind it! That rocks! and yes that includes the weight of the car
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Imagine if the Chrysler 2.2 L 222 HP motor, GM 3.4 L 210 HP, HO Quad 4 180 HP and ZR-1 32V had continued to evolve. These motors went away years ago, and only now are their levels of power being exceeded by imports.

Consider ZR-1 and Z06, it took about 10 years for the pushrod to catch the 32-V. But what if the 32-valver had continued to be developed, what would it be at - 500 HP? 40-V?

Now imagine a Neon R/T with a similiarly developed 2.2 turbo motor, at what, at least 250 HP? With AWD and all the other sweetness to handle such power. Imagine the other engines as well, with continued development, and chassis and suspension to handle that output.

That's my gripe. The domestic market hasn't developed these type of vehicles and the imports have.

Don't get me wrong, I like something like an Intrepid R/T especially with a 5-speed, or a Dakota R/T or a Neon R/T. But really, when I think Chrysler's two sporting vehicles are Viper, and then Neon R/T (for their objective road test numbers), I'm thinking good grief, that's quite a span. What about the mid-range? How come the imports get 240-280 HP in their V-6's? Or where's the R/T V-8 in a Intrepid? Where's today's equivalent to Charger, Road Runner, GTX, Cuda, Challenger, Dart and Duster? The motors that made those cars great (besides their advanced-for-then suspensions) could also be found in Belvedere, Satellite, Coronet, Fury, etc., with required suspension upgrades.

That's what I'm talking about. Each manufacturer had one or two truck and van models and a lot to choose from in cars. It's the reverse today. Except at import dealers.

I vote for all dealers to sell a complete line of peformance vehicles!
 
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