Random Snap>> Vacation’s Over

I’m pretty sure that if you’re reading this, we both share a similar passion in our lives. I’m also certain that you can associate with me when I say that our passion for all things mechanically propelled is something that we can never switch off. It’s a constant part of who we are and I don’t think any of us would change it. I visited the US for the first time in over ten years a week or two back for a short holiday. From the moment we disembarked our flight, I found myself absolutely fascinated by what most of our US readers consider mundane and everyday cars.

Trying to identify the USDM variants of European cars and what changes have been made was a particular guilty pleasure (much to my girlfriend’s annoyance) of mine. One of the more peculiar things I noticed was the amount of four wheel drive BMW saloons. I always associate BMW as being the last stronghold of the front engine and rear wheel drive layout so I was shocked at the amount of X Drive cars on the streets of New York. I’m not saying it’s a good or bad thing, just the idea of a four wheel drive BMW saloon being so popular was a bit of a head turner. I do envy the amount of petrol V8s that fill your roads by the way. I’m sure that the Dodge Charger above is commonplace to our US readers but I was childishly excited to see one in the metal.

What sort of automotive differences have you found on your travels? What are your autmotive guilty pleasures?

Paddy McGrath

Random Snaps on Speedhunters

Dodge Chargers on Speedhunters



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I'm actually really interested to see your perspective on our American metal. I probably get really jaded and used to it living here, and a fresh look could very easily get me excited again. My only experiences significantly outside the country were in England, and there I was just blown away by the concentration of exotics everywhere we went. It was wonderful.


oh man the new Dodge Challengers running around still get me and I live here in the US


That is a beautifully taken picture . figured i say that


Too bad the cars you like to look at: challenger, charger etc. all suck. Those big V8's you talk about make less power to the wheels than a euro or even jdm six cylinder, have suspension from the 1960's (ie. Ford Mustang), and are harder to find with a manual transmission than a tuned honda without a neon-colored ziptie.


American cars have been (99%) garbage since the beginning of the 1970s. Your really shouldn't get excited over something like a new dodge: its a cheap uninnovative POS sponsored by the federal government. Build quality is AWFUL (same for GMs) Even Americans don't usually care for such things, mostly just hicks and ignorant midwesterners are stupid enough to buy a new GM or Chrysler. Ford imports half of its models from Europe so its a different story. GM and Chrysler are both majority owned by the government because their stuff is so crappy that it can't actually sell without being subsidized.

Going to anyplace with Skylines is a treat for those of us stuck in oppresive fascist North America.


Umm... All those government loans were paid back in full.

Over 2 years ago...

American muscle still has a romantic vibe in most parts of the world, build quality and power take a back seat to prowess and presence when you're looking at an American car from Asian or European eyes. That said, most of us that are enthusiasts that have any tastes or interest outside of American-designed (some are actually still built here!) cars look down on them from our lofty perches of anti-American car sentimentalism -- sentiment that's well earned by our auto manufacturers.

Regardless, there's definitely a mystique to American cars, though most of us in the U.S. have long since lost our enthusiasm and lust for our own brand of cars.


Agreed, All loans were paid back by GM, however, what many people fail to realize is that large portions of those loans were liquidated. And frankly TBravo, prowess made of cheap plastic interiors, lack of attention to detail, outdated technology, and motors with enormous displacements that get that power to the wheels on the same scale as a motor half the size built by the germans or japanese is not prowess at all. Rather just an attempt to scam dumb rednecks who think these cars are "AWESUM AND MERIKAN" and people who choose a car by the number of cupholders (not to mention if those cupholders are heated and cooled)


I think if you visited the west coast, you would get a very simular view point as far as higher end SUV/ 4wheel drive, but instead of more american cars, they would be substituted by more european and japanese sedans.


I was amazed by the amount of classic cars still driving around in Greece. The old little Datsun Sunny trucks were the ones I really liked because for me that is a real JDM car. You never see those around here (Holland, Germany, Belgium etc.) but there's one on every streetcorner there.


Over here in europe (the netherlands is where i live) it's not very common to see big cars with v8's rollin around. your traffic mainly consists out of big suv's or big saloons or that kind of stuff, over here its all about fuel efficiency and small engines/small cars like a fiat 500 or a ford fiesta for example.


The reason for all the X Drive in New York is cause of all the snow. I'm with you on rear wheel drive, it's a shame people can't learn to drive in inclement weather.


I'm a Paddy too. I was over at Sema, and like you, enjoyed all the muscle cars. They still hold a place in my heart, but to be honest, I'd be spending my cash on Japanese cars, old ones at that.

As for differences on my travels, the engine capacity of US, Australian & Middle Eastern cars, versus other parts of the world. I love how many places hold on to older cars, often for decades, not always by choice however. Seeing cars that were around when I was a kid, still doing daily duty puts a smile on my face.

As for guily pleasures, having two rotary engined cars and refusing to sell either, even though I have a hard time paying for the running costs. When your heart pumps petrol, its hard to let go.

Mazda better actually release a new RX7 soon, while bodily organs are still making good money on the black market!


i live on the west coast in canada, so trucks are king for work and play. they are everywhere as for cars here in canada its a real wide range a lot of edm and jdm in between the domestic. that started here cause a higher asian population. the big three are shit, full of fisher price style crap plastic. the only thing i like about my dodge 1500 is the 4wheel drive ( to get me anywhere) and the 5.7litre hemi engine is sick. but i'm happier than a pig in shit with my 20 year old lowered civic bombing through the mountains ( the rednecks here don't understand). when i travel europe all my pics are cars and street art , love them both, can't wait to go to japan :)


literaly every time i leave the country, i pay attention to differences in internationally sold makes and models. I love spying the differences in EUDM and USDM audis, vws, etc. Also noticing the multitude of engine choices in BMWs which are in stark contrast to the basic 3 or 4 choices per model offered in the US. I also love seeing cars that we dont get in the US which are boring every day cars in europe such as Seats and VW polos, as well as seeing the EU civics which are much different from the USDM models.


Dude...take a deep breath. The new SRT8 Charger is by all accounts a ludicrously fun car to throw around, beyond that you have Vette ZR1, the CTS-V Coupe, and Wagon, the New Camaro(based on the SUBLIME Zeta platform), and even the new Mustang, all of which are objectively good cars. Do they have Euro or Japanese levels of sophistication? Not particularly, but that doesn't mean they're by any stretch bad.


if you don't like it, then why don't you do something about it instead of sitting on your computer and complaining. and paddy, glad you're enjoying our cars!


I dont chase dodge chargers around, they chase me around haha. Interesting change of perspective.


i went to the ghetto of mexico once and i was surprised at all the ke70 corollas and older datsuns just sittin around in everyones yard, up in canada, its extremely hard to find one and if you do, its hella rusted. wish i could go down to mexico with a huge truck and bring em all back home


I think it's important to keep in mind that not every car built, has to be an amazing and all-out performance car. Where we have Ford Mondeos and Toyota Avensis' in Ireland as regular - but boring - everyday cars, you guys have the Dodge Charger and others. Different cars doing the same thing but I know I'd much rather a Charger over a Mondeo!


Seeing in my country (Romania) american cars is not particullary an event, something to turn youre head...unless is something from the '60s. Neither japanesse cars are. For a car enthusiast, a big engined Mustang and a GTR from Nissan are both exotic, but if you really want some attention, the exotics and supercars are the place to be. Aston Martin, Morgans, Ferrari, MG's, Porsche, Lotus, Lamborghini, Paggani, Maserati, Bugati, Maybach, Rolls.

For that particular thing, I really love Monte Carlo.

Also, for a very different point of view, you might wanna see Italy if you are near Monte Carlo. Three wheelers pick-up's are really nice on the streets of a big town or an a empty road in the mountains....


i'm always syrprised by the amount of self hate by alot of the supposed "American auto enthusiest" but then i regain my grasp on reality and remember that most "JDM lovesrs" as well the "Euro heads" are actully in the minority when it comes to the American car scene. some fo you don't believe me? well annual sales alone of American performance cars trumps JDM ANND Euro with ease...and thats just within one country (US) they have the whole world to sell cars in.

then there's the angle that alot of these guys also are painfully ignorant of US performnace car history, engineering principles and racing pedigree. for instance, it still amazes me that most youngins these days don't even know that Trans Am road racing was FAR more popular in the 60-early 70s than NASCAR. sports car racing was more popular well. and that yes, Camaros, Mustangs, and AMCs raked in nearly half their sales thanks to the Trans Am battles of the era. Never mnd the fact that those same cars raced and competed on the european and australian racing circuits.

don't get me wrong. we all lust after what we can't have at home. but i'm always blown away by the ability of some to simply diregard how much better the perfromance market is her in the states VS overseas.

in the US you can buy abrand new 400+ hp car for what it would cost you to buy nice used family sedan in Europe. and don't even get me started on the Used car market.

even the cars imported here on average pack more HP and features than what they have overseas.

in the end i feel we are so spoiled that it's easy to hate on a domestic everyday mans car for being "cheap" and unsophisticated, when all u have to compare it too is the best form (ie MErcedes, BMW, Ferarri, etc) overseas. i have lived many years in Japan and Europe, and guess what? when comparing apples to apples (like that mondeo) a Charger RT is MUCH better!


tbravo and john: you guys are morons. The companies STOCK was bought by the government. On top of that, they got loans. Then, as government owned companies, they "paid back the loans" to the government. Which they are a part of. The STOCK is still owned by the government. Don't try to lecture me, you are obviously ignorant.


From Malaysia. Went to Perth, Australia, saw lots of Holden & VW. Went to Beijing & Tianjin, China, saw lots of EDM (I also didn't know that China was left hand drive). I really had fun doing a little of Speedhunting while sightseeing.


I'm sorry pstar, but last November during the IPO re-sale by GM, the government sold off 75% of it's stock holdings. So no, the government doesn't have anywhere near a 'majority stake' in GM, or Dodge.

You accomplish nothing but make yourself look like an ass by calling others ignorant.


Here in NZ we got A LOT of modified japanese cars, most of them are pretty tacky. however there are many different model GTR's around so its sweet. Heaps of rotors as well. wont go a day without hearing sumthing brappin down the road. Alot of autrailian made fords and holdens althoug its rear to see a mustang, charger, corvette or somthing of the sort so yea its exciting to see one.


Thank you TBravo......

pstar you are the ignorant one, I simply said that GM had much of it's loans liquidated, and if you weren't as ignorant as you make us out to be you would understand what I was saying. A huge sum of the gov't loans were liquidated due to GM's "push for green technology". Emphasis on the quotation marks


Suprised to see such a heavy anti-american car sentiment from people still... I could kind of understand it back in the 90's and even though I didn't drive in the 80's it seemed most American cars were pretty poorly made those days.

That said US makers have really stepped it up, and even though I used to hate mustangs with a passion when I was wrenching on my civic hatch and turbo eclipse back in the late 90's early 00's, I would totally drive a new one. And if I had a choice I'd pick and SRT8 challenger over the mustang anyday. RWD, manual, gobs of power, and killer classic style... what's not to like?


@ John and TBravo,

Where and why are these cars such junk now?

the v6 mustang makes 300plus hp on a v6, ask does all the other pony cars.

the charger/300 have a pretty decent v6 and v8 in them too.

and the interior quality is up a ton.

where is all this self hate coming from?

the 90s was 20 years ago now. and times have changed.

its fair to saw Americans dropped the ball and their not all the way back. but give it a break on bailout bs. and they suck cause the motors are huge.

is this not the from (and motorsport world) this is swapping in 1 of those very (huge v8s) into everything under the sun because its the best of all worlds (good gas, good power, good price, good reliability) ?

and on the bailout stuff. do some research on other companies around the world that were forced to take bailouts or loans from their home govts during the economic crisis...

if thats your standard for deciding cars then your picking are going to thin out alot more.


Americans have their place in the auto world.

nobody else loves the automobile the way we do.

our country is built around it in a way this is both good and bad.

When i toured Europe i noticed why are car passions are different.

in southern Germany and much of Europe where i stayed many of the roads where built before the automobile and modern construction processes and therefore curves and the flow of the road has so much more character. and the cars are built to meet those standards while also meeting the speeds the modern German roads can have it creates a balance i dont see in american cars.

now Americans. we are big, and have a lot of long roads that offer opportunity for top speed to take precedence. hence our obsession with speed and power.

other differences i saw was due to Europe massive price to own a car and put gas in it, tons of hatchs. everything is a hatch. even the bmws the 1 series hatch thing was cool. of course massive amounts of diesels. i think 1 thing was because of the price of gas etc... Europeans buy cars that must be practical above all. but of course there is a market for sporty fun cars. therefore. they get alot more fun hopped up versions of practical cars. where as here. we have alot of fun outlandish cars becuase there are tons of people who will just buy a second dd. along with a toy.

who really would by a fwd focus rs that cost more than a mustang gt and a used focus dd for the same price???


paddy, Americans are all for the most part given the right to drive (the test aint that hard and its a necessity to drive in most parts of america) so therefore most cannot drive (esp in harsh weather conditions in the winter. the answer to that are awd supersmart cars like x drive... go south and youll see alot more rwd.

american is a BIG Country and has alot of different motorsport cultures within its own boundaries...