The American Influence

What stateside cars push our buttons?

Recent years have seen a surge of American traditions and holidays being brought over to the UK.

This week it takes the form of Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Two years ago, if a British person was asked what Black Friday represented, they might have thought it had something to do with the weather. If they were asked now, they probably still wouldn’t really know but might at least be able to make the connection to shopping. In fact Black Friday has established itself as the biggest shopping day of the year.

Aside from Thanksgiving and Black Friday what other major export have we seen from the US. Why, cars of course! Here are a few of our favourites.

The Mustang

When you think of a true classic American car, the Mustang is the first to spring into mind. This beautiful, classic car dates back to 1964 to when it was first produced. Ever since then, the Mustang has gathered masses of fans globally. After fifty years and six generations of the model, the 2015 model has been produced as a right-hand drive for the first time in the UK.

Due to its American origins, the model has long been known as a left-hand import in the UK. This year in particular has been remarkable after the huge demand has brand new Mustangs rolling off the production line.

The Corvette - Chevrolet Corvette L88 (1967)

This car has impeccable credentials. Only 20 L88 Corvettes produced in 1967 and it is considered to be the very best of the second generation of Corvettes. Among the most valuable ever made, one fetched $3.4 million at auction in 2014. The true intent however of the L88 was all-out racing performance, although at this cost who would dare throw it around a track?

The much-loved car has been immortalised by Prince in the song ‘Little Red Corvette’ and celebrity owners include Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys, actor Nicolas Cage and singer Jon Bon Jovi.

Ford GT40

Anglo-American relations resulted in the creation of the Ford GT40, a high performance endurance racing car. Early versions were built in the UK and powered by American engines with the original aim of winning long-distance sports car races against Ferrari.First built over 50 years ago in 1964, the GT40 is considered as a design legend by many car fans. The car was named the GT (for Grand Touring) with the 40 representing its overall height of 40 inches.

A 1968 GT40 previously owned by actor Steve McQueen sold in 2012 for $11 million.

The Cadillac

Affectionately known as ‘the Caddy’, this luxury brand rose from the ashes of the Henry Ford Company. Originally formed in 1902 after Ford left the remains of the company to liquidators, the brand was eventually bought by General Motors in 1909 who remain owners to this day. Fans will recognise this much-loved classic in movies such as ‘Escape from New York’ (1988), ‘The Dukes of Hazard’ (2005) and even ‘Ghostbusters’ (1998).

Indeed so celebrated that this iconic car that Bruce Springsteen even wrote a song about it which went on to become a top 10 single in 1988. Do you know the lyrics?

The Monster SUV

The first SUV was thought to have been built in the late 1940’s and was an instant hit with the US market. Indeed our American cousins love affair with the SUV continues to this day. Wide open roads and availability of cheap fuel has meant that this is the vehicle of choice for many. Add to the mix the demand for interior spaciousness and the feeling of safety these behemoths provide and the SUV is a winning formula.

And as the saying goes ‘everything is bigger in America’ and so too are some SUV’s. The Monster SUV in particular is a sight to behold. Think of a standard vehicle on steroids and you have it. Not designed for normal road use, you are more likely to see these monsters at events such as the Dakar Rally (confusingly held, not in Dakar, but in South America every year!)