So I had this idea, that I wanted to discuss with you people, but it’s really not that interesting, therefore I thought maybe post it when it’s morning in my timezone, and no one else is around this place. Oh, and have some ‘80s goodness for your time and consideration.
OK, here’s the deal: I think the manual transmission and the V8 engine play similar parts in life of enthusiasts on the opposite shores of the Atlantic.
The wast, overwhelming majority of cars in Europe have 4 pot engines, and even smaller motors are present in considerable numbers. The 6-8-10-12 cylinder cars are basically luxury items, especially the ones that don’t get sold officially on these shores - and it so happens, that this category includes almost all of the American V8s. This means, that we Europeans simply don’t have personal experience with them (for the most part), so basically, even among enthusiasts, telling apart the V8 in a 2005 Ford F-150 from the V8 in a 2005 Ford GT is a problem. This makes for an interesting discrepancy when discussing cars like the Cadillac XLR or the Chevrolet SSR, which, for my untrained ear, do sound right and are powerful enough, while most of you will scoff at them for not being sporty enough.
On the other hand, we Europeans have to be able to drive manual by default. Although this is changing, but for the past decades, driving training done in manual cars was mandatory before you could get a licence, and most of us use, or have used a manual car daily - that is simply the norm. Therefore, for most of the enthusiasts around here the precise but lifeless shift action found in a manual VW Golf or Toyota Corolla does not represent sportiness, while quite a lot of Americans frequenting these pages consider a Golf Sportwagon sporty precisely because they can row their own in it.
See what I’m getting at? It seems quite a lot of the discussions we are having here in this international drivers’ club, are informed by supply-demand differences between the USDM and the EUDM. And who are the people having a laugh? Of course it’s the Australians, who get American muscle as well as European finesse and Japanese precision available to buy at will. So I would say it’s time to finally get the people at EPA and the EU Commission together, supply them with booze and boxing gloves, and finally get a united North-Atlantic car market.
You know, for the kids!