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Chadmouth: We Have Failed! We’ve Gone International And It’s Killing Baseball, Apple Pie, And Chevrolet.

Chadmouth: We Have Failed! We’ve Gone International And It’s Killing Baseball, Apple Pie, And Chevrolet.

We can fix it, but it’s going to hurt. You know, like pulling off a piece of duct tape you used as a band aid. The kind that is all stuck to the scab underneath. But realizing the problem is the first step so, now that I know how screwed we are, maybe we can fix it together. The problem is that we’ve gone so international that, in the United States anyway, we’ve completely lost American brand recognition. I think the root of this problem is decades of being told to be politically correct and all kinds of other crap, but that doesn’t matter here, so back to brand recognition. This story will surprise you.

So on Sunday evening I’m driving the $200 Hauler home from the Lazy Dog Cafe where myself and the rest of the family unit had just enjoyed dinner for Daphne’s 36th, yeah 36th, birthday. Now this is just over 10 miles from home and we are taking the city route so we are enjoying the family time, which means that part of the trip is spent talking and listening to/discussing the music playing on the stereo, and listening to Peyton (16) and Cole (12) fighting in the back seat. Oh the joys of parenthood. (FYI, The lack of availability of a Child Ejection Seat is the single greatest failure in the automotive world.)

It is on this short jaunt that the unthinkable happens. No, it wasn’t Peyton’s attempted coverup of her comment that the new Honda Accord we were next to was cute, although I did tell her to get out of the car at that point. Cute? Stay tuned for the video Chadmouth on the word “cute”. No, it was the ensuing diatribe coming from my mouth on the subject of “cute”, and the Honda Accord in particular, that somehow included my comment on the Honda being a Japanese car. This is where it all went horribly wrong. I almost got out of the Hauler and let is drive off on it’s own. You see, the horrible, unfathomable, and unthinkable here was the fact that neither of the kids, despite their ability to identify and name hot rods and trucks of all kinds, knew that Honda was Japanese. Or that Chevrolet was American. It took the next five miles of driving, while quizzing them as if my life depended on it because it does, to find out that without serious thought they knew little or nothing about the actual country of origin for automotive brands. They had to think, and get several wrong, to name the Big Three as American car manufacturers.

I have failed them.

We have failed them.

We have failed ourselves, our countries, our children, our hobbies, our world.

I say “our countries”, because I can’t be so blinded as to believe that this same thing isn’t happening in other countries at some level as well. Can you imagine a day when an Italian child isn’t proud of Ferrari, Fiat, and Lamborghini’s heritage in Italy? Or a teenager in Frankfurt Germany realizing no pride in their countries amazing contribution to the automotive world thanks to Mercedes-Benz, Daimler, Porsche, Audi, etc? And how about the young people of Tokyo? As a Japanese parent I would be equally appalled if my child didn’t recognize the historical importance of cars like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Datsun(Nissan) 240Z not only to Japan, but the world.

In a lot of ways, because of technology, we have become an international community rather than a great big world. And that’s all well and good, but the pride and culture of each country is still a critical part of who each of us, as human beings, are. It always has been, and should be, regardless of where you are from in the world.

I’ve spent a lot of my life traveling. All over the world, although I still have plenty of places left to hit, and one thing I’ve always noticed is now more important to me than ever. If a group of people get off the train in Paris, for example, and all started to talk and asking where each other is from, you will get some very different answers that have nothing to do with their country of birth or residence. Someone may say Great Britain, or the UK. Another may say Germany, or Italy. Perhaps someone is from Russia or Croatia. But the weirdo of the group will be the American or Americans. We will answer New York, Texas, Los Angeles. The rest of the world refers to us as Americans, not Californians. Why don’t we?

And what are we going to do about it? I don’t know that there is some huge push we can make at this moment that is going to change our world overnight, but as hot rodders we can do something huge. Or at least huge for our sport or hobby. Tonight I’ll be giving my kids some homework, and I challenge each of you to do the same, regardless of where in the world you live.

The assignment: List 10 of your favorite Domestic vehicles, and 3 facts about each one’s impact at home. For me it’s going to American vehicles. For you it may be German, or Italian, or Czech. Wherever is home for you is what you should do. Maybe next week we’ll start having our kids do the same for other countries, and by the end of the year maybe they’ll each know a little bit more about where they come from and how their automotive heritage fits into the entire automotive World. Please feel free to share your kids results with us. Email them to me and I’ll use your name if you want or not if you tell me you don’t. [email protected] I’ll be posting my kids next week, good or bad.

This may seem like a strange thing to be discussing, or a weird thing to be assigning, but I truly believe it’s important. American icons like Baseball, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet are clearly dieing. Based on what my kids said, and we see everyday, young people in this country do not associate Chevrolet or Apple Pie with America. Baseball maybe, but not like those of us that are over 40. And certainly this is different depending on where you live in the United States of America, because some areas are clearly more patriotic than others, but it’s a sign and not a good one.

There are so many other things I want to spout on about and yet I keep coming back to the fact that we need to educate new hot rodders. We need to be taking them to car shows and races, and instead of just walking along drinking our beer and looking at the shiny red car, we should be sharing our knowledge. It’s not just for the good of our hobby or our sport, but also the good of mankind. Our cultures, whether automotive, food, or religious, are important parts of who we are and where we’ve come from. It’s the history of how we got to where we are now, and that is important for our kids to understand so that they can appreciate how great our countries, and our world, are today.


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43 thoughts on “Chadmouth: We Have Failed! We’ve Gone International And It’s Killing Baseball, Apple Pie, And Chevrolet.

  1. Brady

    I remember playing the old Gran Turismo and you would go into each “country” to pick out and modify your car.

  2. BBR

    I was playing “spot the domestic car” on the way home from work the other day. It was actually quite tough with the sucky automotive stylists we have these days. They are all ugly.

  3. C1BAD66

    Name one’s 10 favorite (?) domestics and 3 facts about each?

    Wow, “Teach”, that’s a helluvan assignment!

    Methinks I’ll be a-failin’ this one…

    By the way, I saw phone-camera proof last evening of trailers and motorhomes already queueing up in Famoso’s outer lot. I’m assuming that’s in preparation for the CHRR next month.

  4. John

    Chad – this may be a really good time to arrange a family trip to the Henry Ford museum, if you want to teach your kids about History that is truly American – it’s a great place to spend some time.

    1. Chad Reynolds Post author

      I agree. I have been there a couple times, but not for 20 plus years. It is truly an amazing joint.

  5. BigBlockMopar

    Would like to participate but I’ll have to make a few kids first for that. Check back here in a year orso please. 🙂

  6. Dannie Pinard

    Chad, How much more American could it be than when I was driving back to Los Angeles after LS Fest, heading down I-40 making various stops on Route 66 to see what parts of Americana still exist and talk with people on the road while driving my Chevrolet Camaro…It is sad that most people don’t know what country the brands they buy are from or where they are made….

  7. grancuda

    My 11 year old son knows his cars & is good at identifying make, model & year of 60’s to early 70’s muscle cars. If it’s not a muscle car era car he can identify that cars are from the 30’s/40’s/50’s era and he also knows his tri-5’s. It’s actually funny because at any given event I will say something about a certain car and he will correct me on the year model then I have to go back and see if he was right, which normally he is right.

  8. GuitarSlinger

    Chad … so lets see now … name ones top ten favorite new American cars …. hmmmn … thats a bit of a problem really see because ..

    The Dodges ( Challenger Charger ) are in reality old Mercedes Benz’s underneath that Dodge shell .. as well as the newest Jeep GC …. and the small cars ( Dart FWD Jeeps ) are rebadged FIAT’s

    The Camaro is in fact a rebadged Australian Holden… built in Canada … with the majority of the rest of GM’s smaller cars being rebadged DaeWoos

    Cadillacs … well … rebadged .. stretched and pulled Holdens and Opel/Vauxhalls to a number

    So … errr … that kind of only leaves you with Ford and the Corvette if its genuine American you’re wanting

    Which ….. IMO is the very root of the problem !!!

    With more and more so called Japanese Cars ( German as well ) being built here and more and more so called ‘ American ‘ cars being built or designed elsewhere …. WTH IS American any more ????

    Now there’s the question truly worth trying to answer !!! 😉

    1. Matt Cramer

      Accords equally confusing. The ones sold in the United States are designed and built in the US (except for some of the drivetrain parts like the four banger engine option; the V6 is from the US as well) and has nothing in common except the previously-mentioned four banger engine with the Accords sold in Japan or Europe.

  9. Patrick U

    GM and Dodge actually are the least American made pickups. The Tundra and the Honda Ridgeline are actually more American made than the Silverado, Sierra, and Ram pickups. Congratulations America….

  10. Chuck Norris

    Chad I have been taking heat for years on this issue as I have sounded the alarm at work that people need to by American whenever possible. I don’t buy into well they build that rice burner piece of garbage here so its ok, no its not, the profit from it still goes back to the country of orgin ! I to am imbarrassed to admit I have a number of kids and the current 15 year old who is not a car guy, had no clue who I was referring to when talking about the big 3 and saying people need to buy American he couldn’t say what the big 3 was and where a particular car came from, we need to be on the big 3 to build there autos here not in Zimbobway but just not autos, lots of products, when I was young almost everything came from USA that we purchased, not so much anymore and its killing out nation. If you make an American Made product take pride do your job right build a good product and people support it and buy American !

  11. Scott Liggett

    This is the shift of manufacturers over the world. They don’t want to be identified as “made in….” anymore. The global economics mean that a car has bits and pieces made all over the place.

    Maybe the younger generations do not care as much as the older generations about cheering for the home team.

  12. OldBob

    Hey Chad-absolutely agree. I remember early on there was a definite line-foreign/American.. MG-Poncho. I recently retired teaching after 34 years and I can tell you the changes you elude to might have been slow and maybe subtle-but over that period of time it definitely evolved. From our students working on, or in the parking lot and shop class bays-all kinds older American iron; to being more involved with audio than performance. I feel sure that most kids today aren’t aware or committed to any brand loyalty or even identification. It kills me, but the change is real and it seems to be the new norm. I’m just thankful my own kids still know a Nova from a Civic. You brought up something that I think about a lot……I probably need to move on.

  13. Cj

    Funny to read this today out of all days. The cooler talk was around the same topic that you speak. It’s not that I don’t appreciate things from other countries, but we have lost our pride in all things known as ours. I am a strong patriot, and proudly park my bow ties, but like stated earlier, there is more in a Toyota that is built here than a Chevy. My view point is you support your community, and work out from there. If you got enough left to throw over the pond wherever it may be than do so. If anyone’s getting rich on my dime I damn sure won’t need a passport to go visit them.

  14. John T

    I remember working at GM/Holdens in Australia in the late 70’s and we saw some safety film or something which had come from GM in the US.. at one point the Baseball / Apple Pie / Chevrolet thing was included and we all nearly fell off our chairs… why? Well, we’d never heard it before… and it sounded quite a bit like our local advert… Football, meat pies kangaroos and Holden Cars!!! Obviously the chev one came first but like I say we’d never even heard of it…here ya go, bit of culture for youse… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VGW-WX77zjY

  15. Maverick

    The real problem…??? Name the last American built V8, rear drive, even marginally good performing car (or any american enthusiast car for that matter) that is / was affordable for the average early 20-something with an “okay” job….. I can name it (I can think of 1) and it’s been awhile since it was sold in new car dealerships. The problem is not a lack of interest, but a lack of ability to engage due to the current price of entry to the “car guy” world… Thus we get the Honda tuners and mobile audiophiles…..

    1. Anonymous

      Mustang Fox Body. The problem with it is that it’s now 20 plus years old and for whatever reason is just not accepted by the muscle car /pony car circles. Kind of strange because the late 60’s early 70’s stuff was well accepted in the 90’s…

  16. Remy-Z

    Aw, shit, Chad…make me go and open this can of worms…

    Globalization is here, like it or not. You can bitch that the Camaro or Challenger that is in the showrooms right now isn’t American, and you’d be right. But where would we be if Americans hadn’t started taking cues from Japanese? Think 1973 LeSabre…crap handling, large by huge by heavy, crap gearing. (Sorry, Randal, it was what was on my mind). The Japanese were in a similar bind: Known for building tin cans with sewing machine engines. The Japanese figured out how to better themselves first, and it took an American who was told to f**k off by the Big Three to do it (research: Deming Prize). Americans only got the hint when the Japanese started taking huge bites of the car market. Germany hasn’t had as many issues with quality, but the labor is so damn expensive that they have stayed in-house.

    Honestly, it’s probably not going to matter within 20 years. As it is right now, pretty much every car sold in America has some global mix of parts in it. The xenophobia isn’t gonna help anything. Saying that you’re going to buy American, only American, purely American, is essentially shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll be left with a Hot Wheel…and if you buy THAT new, you won’t even get a metal-framed one.

    And as for the domestic performance market…you want my opinion? Fine. The two older generations (Boomers and early X) jacked the prices so far through the f*cking roof that it’s unobtanium, then proceed to talk shit when some kid uses imagination and tries to build something that doesn’t cost $4000 for a shell. I cannot begin to explain the stories, even beyond my own, of someone trying something new just to have a crowd of “car guys” run them out because it isn’t enough for them. Hondas were/are appealing because they can handle, can make decent power, are light, and cheap. I don’t buy into the tuner bullshit, but “fast is fast”, and I’ve seen a couple of Civics and Integras that could clean house at a street race, and I know from personal experience that if it’s canyon carving, a 3000GT/Stealth with the twin turbos will do just fine.

    I have my loyalties, but unlike the older generations, mine is more emotional than it is about the “home team”…my grandfather was a Chrysler owner from my birth until his death. Personally, I don’t care, I can find an excuse for any car. I’m right on the borderline between GenX and Millenials, and I do tend to get pissed off at some of the behaviors of the younger car guys…the two 20-something kids at my school who caught me at my car to “inform” me that I was building the wrong thing earned them my drill sergeant scream…

    I will say one last thing: Stop blaming the younger generation for your issues with our behaviors. If you wanted your kids to play with the cars you grew up with, you wouldn’t have started pricing them through the stratosphere 25-30 years ago.

    1. tigeraid

      Agreed on the reality check.

      I race a Chevy truck in circle track. It’s towed by an old F150.

      But my daily driver? Honda Civic. Why? Because America has never built a good, small, fun-to-drive 4 cylinder coupe or hatchback. Well they have, but it’s expensive (SVT Focus, Cobalt SS, etc)… I needed something that got near 40 mpg, had a stick, was kinda fun to drive, had lots of room in the back and I could buy used in good shape for $2000 or less. The big three have never made such a thing.

      Cobalt? Crap. Focus? Mostly crap. Neon? Very crap. Cavalier, Escort? Don’t get me started. Same goes for “full size” sedans. I despise Toyota, but the Camry and Accord are, and have been for the last 20+ years, better mid-size sedans than anything the Big 3 have made.

      You guys can keep blaming “these damn kids” and “foreigners” all you want; it all comes down to buying an inferior product to “support American jobs.” There’s a reason the F150 is the best-selling truck on the continent: not because it’s American, but because it’s good.

        1. tigeraid

          I didn’t say there were no good small American cars EVER. I’m talking about easy to find, plentiful cars with cheap parts that are also reliable, have a stick, get a bazillion miles to the gallon and are fun to drive. I might also add “20 years older or newer” I guess? I’d love an SVO. Find me one in good shape for $1500. 😛

  17. fedsrule

    That’s why you can’t get a metal base Hot Wheels; shipping costs.
    If you pony up 4 or 5 dollars you can get a metal base and rubber wheels.
    Sorry for the HotWheels sidebar.

    1. Chad Reynolds Post author

      Totally. I said that you should do this for the cars from your home country. If you are Canadian do it with Canadian cars.

  18. Anthony

    Check out appliances at Home Depot,they actually have nice shiny “Made in the USA” stickers on them ,when they are. I think it really is that some mfg’s try to shy away from being truly American,I think Ford really is going down that road with their Global one Ford deal which I think is crap. Everything seems this way today.

  19. Remy-Z

    That’s another quip that pisses me off to no end…though usually it’s extended to 1974. You are losing out to a lot of decent pieces and great and useable technology. But hey, where I like to play, the most affordable stuff falls between ’73 and currently, about 2005-6. In between there is a big batch of time, and with the imagination that hot rodders are supposed to have, plenty of options. Popular Hot Rodding for the last couple of years now has done a series on non-mainstream builds that have great potential: think Fox-body LTD with Mustang components, or ’75 Roadrunner/Fury, or if we want to stay on this concept, what about Freiburger’s ’79 Camaro with the E-rod swap? I’ve seen that thing at SEMA, it’s clean, daily useable and there are videos on YouTube that show the car will go stomping with the best of them.

    I’m waiting for a magazine build-off. You are allowed to pick any car 1974-1996 for $2000 or under purchase price, cap parts at eight grand, and see who builds the hottest item.

  20. threedoor

    1. Chevy/GMC Suburban
    Longest running GM nameplate, named after where the majority of people lived.
    Replaced the station wagon and let you take every one in the same car in more comfort. AKA Mormon Assault Vehicle.
    Pissed off environmentalists and snobs world wide even when the new ones get milage in the AWD Subaru wagon territory.

    2. Jeep Wagoneer
    Brought four wheel drive and four doors to the masses.
    Most likely saved tens of thousands of kids and soccer moms from winter driving fatalities but didn’t help them drive any better.
    Stayed virtually the same and sold well from 1964 through 1991 and three owners, a dozen motors and transmissions; showing that when you get it right the first time you don’t have to screw with it.

    3. International Scout
    Sadly international coined the term Sport Utility Vehicle, today I only say SUV when referencing Scouts.
    Half a V8 and a diesel, how cool is that!
    Caused GM and Ford to get off their butts and compete in the light utility market.

    4. Jeep MB
    Showed the world what American ingenuity and can do spirit was.
    Spawned the aftermarket 4×4 accessory world and opened up the woods to America.
    Inspired the world to be more like us, GAZ utility, Mahindra Jeeps, Suzuki LJ/Samuri/Sidekick, Toyota FJ, Nissan Patrol…

    5. Ford F-series
    Can you say best selling ‘American’ vehicle EVER? Jan-July this year Ford sold 427,935 F-series rigs, more than any other make or model period. Eat that Prius
    The Raptor makes me want to buy a new (newer than 70’s) American rig and I’m a Chevy guy, how many other people have felt proud that at least one non government subsidized American company is making something the Looks and Performs badass in a sea of Mediocrity?
    Like the MB its inspired foreign copies (there is a company in China that makes a look alike), heck for years when the F150 was ugly I couldn’t tell the Toyota Tundra apart from it.

    6. Piper Cub
    Got the post war middle class into the air on a budget.
    Rebooted the general aviation industry after the war.
    The quintessential airplane for generations of youth, who hasn’t gone to the toy store and drooled over the fly by wire (in generations past) or RC versions on the shelf?

    7. Grumman Canoe
    Kept the Grumman aircraft corporation afloat between wars along with their over the road trailers (WWII-Korea-Vietnam) allowing Grumman to later get the bid on the Lunar Module. That canoe helped America put men on the freaking Moon and saved the lives of the Apollo 13 crew!
    When Americans think Canoe, that shiny aircraft aluminum boat is what comes to mind. By the way, don’t try to weld on them.
    Put the MB or Wagoneer together and bam, Americans summers have never been the same.

    8. AMC Eagle
    Kept AMC alive after the Unions managed to kill International and helped make them worth something along with the Wrangler platform to potential buyers.
    Spawned the American unit-body AWD craze allowing the US auto market to have a fighting chance against Subaru.

    9. Dodge Dart (the ugly ‘62)
    Started the pony car wars, arguably spawned the Mustang, Camero ect.
    Once you see one its permanently burned into your mind, love it or hate it it can not be unseen.
    Altereds on the drag strip, nuff said.

    10. Farmall Model H Tractor
    The worlds first truly modern tractor, forced the other manufacturers to get their butt in gear.
    The wide front axle saved the lives of uncountable hayseeds and opened up millions of acres of land previously untillable helping feed billions.
    Saved the backs of farmers by putting the horses out to pasture permanently.

    1. Johnnyg

      Damn I thought I was the only one with a soft spot for Wagoneers! You could get those with Buick 350’s. I’d love to get me one of them!!

      1. threedoor

        hahah, Ive got a 70 with a Buick 350 for sale, its special, come and get. I’m not a super huge fan but they were pivotal.

  21. craig b blue

    to: Remy-Z: of course there were a few cars built since then that are cool, but that was about the beginning of the end for the whole industry – smog crap appeared; over-sized safety bumpers, plugged adjusting screws on carbs…..anyone remember carbs? The big 3 had cookie-cutter cars – you changed the grille & front header panel & some emblems & you could change brands. Modern technology is wonderful but it has no character. My beater, parts-chasing trucks for my shop, were a pair of S-10’s, (good trucks) I made a living working on these modern cars for the last 30+ years and just closed shop & retired in ’12. I’ve seen a lot of changes in the industry during that period. We ran G-body drag cars & even circle-tracked ’em for a few seasons. One employee had an 11 second Fox body street car. So I’m open minded when it comes to cars, but there wouldn’t be the popularity in Nostalgia stuff if people didn’t like that kinda stuff. Cheers!

  22. crazy canuck

    whats really sad is the effect of the car that’s made of bits and pieces from all over the globe and then badged as a ford or chev etc. I have relatives living in Michigan near Detroit and the amount of empty industrial buildings is mind blowing . when I asked my brother inlaw what used to be there he said most of those companies used to supply the auto industry. Like it or not its all about the bottom line. My girl is doing fine in the car hobby likes Nitro , Musclecars , and wants a early Falcon for her daily driver.

  23. Manuel Scettri

    I think the comments might have strayed some, correct me if Im wrong Chad, but I think the whole point is not what do “we” offer and what do “they” offer. Or “ours” is better than “theirs”. The point is that there are no roots to what manufacturing in the US is or what it means.

    In specific car terms I think a big part is down to kids not really being into cars these days. All statistics show that the amount of new drivers is getting smaller and smaller. Kids today just arent INTO cars. For them they are just an appliance. In general I think you can ask where any pop singer is from and they can tell you straight off.

    So its not so much what type of car style/brand do we stick to…its what do our kids KNOW. Id be pretty annoyed too if my kids didnt know where cars come from, their history, what makes them tick etc.

    So yeah…gotta teach the next generation about EVERYTHING. Otherwise the car culture/hobby as we know it will get left behind.

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