For a long time I have had a nagging sense that what American automakers needed to do to be ‘right back on top again’ was to adopt the aesthetics that established the American car industry from the beginning. Everyone loves classic cars. There’s something about those cars from the ‘20s, ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s that speaks to you. Sure, our modern cars may be more fuel efficient or better designed to manage air-flow over the chassis, but if the only point of wearing clothes is to keep you warm, then we should all run around in the winter dressed up like the Matrix cast in thermal suits. Similarly, our cars serve other purposes than merely getting us somewhere.
You can’t argue with a boom, so I sat with these thoughts patiently in the back of my mind throughout the ‘90s and the first decade of this century. In 2009 came hope with the bankruptcy of GM. I even wrote GM a letter. I thought maybe American car makers would learn their lesson. Well you can thank GM’s rich uncle, Sam, for providing the funds to allow GM to wallow in its ‘90s adolescent hangover culture and design immaturity a little while longer. (Can you even compare? http://www.cadillac.com/ctsVWagon/2011/gallery/ vs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1940_Cadillac_90.JPG )
The only one of the ‘big three’ which has shown even a hint of class in recent years has been Chrysler. From the PT Cruiser (ok, not the greatest car ever, but again, compare! http://www.seriouswheels.com/pics-2005/2005-Startech-Chrysler-PT-Cruiser-Convertible-FA-1280x960.jpg vs. http://l.yimg.com/dv/izp/chevrolet_hhr_ls_2009_exterior_angularfront.jpg ) to its Bentley look-alike to its Jaguar XKR convertible look-alike, Chrysler at least tried.
So you can imagine my elation and anticipation when I first saw an indication that Chrysler would self-consciously adopt the timeless-class theme for its automobiles. It began with a quick visit to the Chrysler web site where I encountered this promo.
Finally, a confident embrace of the style that made American cars great. What more could I ask for? Well, maybe a product that lived up the hype.
Like Frank Sinatra said, you’ve either got or you haven’t got style. Give me a call, Chrysler…