10 Modern Awesome Cars That Make us Proud to be American
Anyone would be proud to call these “made at home”
Updated August 26, 2017
Every automotive nation in the world is proud of their car manufacturing. Some deservedly so. Others not so much. Germans, for instance, are arguably global leaders in terms of car innovation and manufacturing. Italians, too, can be justly proud of their own achievements in the auto world. Especially in the field of design. British auto industry has had its ups and downs, but right now, it seems to be the most healthy it’s been in decades. Japanese cars might be cheap and underpowered, but more often then not, they’re plenty of fun. Korean, Russian and even new Chinese cars are rapidly gaining momentum. It wasn’t so long ago that Eastern Bloc cars weren’t considered cars at all, but even the likes of Lada and Škoda have been highly modernized in recent years.
But how does average American feel about American cars? How does American car industry quote these days? There are no universal answers to questions like these. It all depends on perspective. It’s evident, though, that true American cars are slowly becoming extinct. Manufacturing, and even research and development of some nameplates have been moved overseas. Chrysler’s been merged with Germans, and is currently married to Italians. Don’t let the term “merged” fool you, though. Chrysler is owned by Italians through and through. Then, there’s the infamous GM bailout from less than a decade ago. The list of detrimental effects for American automobile industry is going on and on…
But, despite all the downfalls of American car industry, there are certain models that make every American proud. Modern American cars that stand shoulder to shoulder with the best of them. Cars that have no equals across the seas. Cars that are simply American, and as such, don’t require any further explanations.
It’s been almost a year without Viper, but outrageous sports car with enough power to put most supercars to shame is still with us. At least spiritually. After all, Viper’s latest iterations which got sold in record five days aren’t more than one year old. And you can’t just move on from a car that’s been around for almost quarter of a century. At least not without lamenting the legendary snake.
Viper has been many things over the years. It’s been the car that’s bailed Chrysler out. It’s been called suicidal and almost impossible to control. Like it’s had a will of its own. It has even been called a piece of trash by some. But, what do they know?! Whatever your take on the serpent is – one thing you got to admit. Dodge Viper isn’t your average American straight line muscle car. Although difficult to handle, Viper still managed to set a dozen lap records on tracks across the globe. Including one at Laguna Seca among others. Quite a remarkable feat for an American sports car. Even for one that’s started with 8.0L V10 capable of making 400 hp and evolved to 645-horsepower beast with 8.4L V10 under its hood over the years.
And, as far as Viper’s uncontrollable spirit goes – Viper wasn’t intended for those weak of heart (and driving skill). It was intended for people skillful enough to enjoy its frenzy handling. Like a young wild stallion full of strength. If only Mustang name hadn’t been taken already, it sure would have suited Dodge’s most powerful car ever made.
Tesla Model S
Sure, Tesla isn’t the only automaker that dabbles with electric vehicles. But American car maker proudly named after one of the world’s most important inventors, sure does take the term electric vehicle to another level. Their EV’s are the best and for one simple reason. EV’s are Tesla’s bread and butter and they’re the only thing California-based company deals in.
It comes as no surprise then, that one of the best electric vehicles overall comes straight from Tesla’s factory. Tesla Model S is that unique, amazing car that makes you proud of being American. It’s got the looks, it’s got the pizzazz, and above all else, it’s got the power. In fact, Tesla Model S P100D with Ludicrous mode is one of the quickest production cars in the world at the moment. With almost 700 pound-feet of instant torque, it’s able to hit 60 mph from standstill in less than 2.5 seconds. A feat precious few supercars can accomplish these days, let alone luxury sedans. Yet, Tesla’s flagship car does it. What’s frightening is the fact that Tesla cars will only get quicker. And their range will grow simultaneously. Now, Tesla Model S might not sound like an American car, but it sure does perform like one.
Ford F-150 Raptor
Nowhere else in the world will you be able to find full-size pickup trucks like they build them in America. For decades now, Ford’s F Series trucks stood as most popular full-size truck iterations. That’s why every American should be proud of Blue Oval’s achievements in the pickup truck field. But that’s far from everything. Raptor version of the most popular American vehicle is one of a kind deal. Ford F-150 Raptor isn’t only visually imposing hulking behemoth. It’s extremely capable off-roading hulking behemoth.
SVT Raptor debuted almost a decade ago, but it’s the second generation models that have elevated the Raptor nameplate to entirely new level. 2017 F-150 Raptor draws power from a V6 instead of a huge V8 mill. Not just any V6 either, but port and direct injected 3.5L EcoBoost V6 capable of generating 450 hp and 510 lb-ft of torque. That puts it in top of the line category in terms of performance, and judging by Raptor’s tech and convenience features – it certainly deserves that classification on overall basis. Simply put, Ford F-150 Raptor is a truck in a league of its own. A feat many American cars tried to achieve, but precious few managed to do.
Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE
Timeless battle between the two most popular American pony cars isn’t showing any signs of stopping. Especially not since Chevrolet introduced the most powerful Camaro yet – the ZL1 1LE. Chevy Camaro ZL1 1LE continues Bow Tie brand pony car’s proud tradition. It’s as technologically advanced as any top of the line Camaro from generations past. Moreover, newest American muscle cars don’t really suffer from cornerophobia any more. They can now handle corners almost as good as they handle open roads. And, of course, ZL1 is no exception. To the contrary!
Fitted with Goodyear’s Eagle F1 Supercar 3R wide tires (widest ever in a Camaro), aluminum spool-valve dampers, and classic 6-speed manual transmission, ZL1 1LE bends any track and open road alike to its own will. Like the regilar ZL1, 1LE version too draws power from Corvette’s LT4 small-block V8. 6.2L mill is good enough for nice rounded figures of 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the regular model, though, it comes with already mentioned manual trans (regular ZL1 sports 10-speed auto). A vehicle capable of maxing out between 190 and 200 mph, and accelerating to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds is sure to make every car-loving American proud. It certainly makes us proud.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT350
As I mentioned above already, it’s a timeless battle between the two. And the other belligerent is none other than the Ford Mustang. At the moment, though, Mustang trails behind Camaro ZL1 in terms of overall performance. A turn of events people down at Ford Performance don’t look too kindly at. But fear not Mustang aficionados! The famous GT500 badge is currently vacant, and you know what that means. Blue Oval will soon recall it from retirement and plaster it upon, what’ll likely become, the most powerful Mustang ever built.
Until then, though, we should be content with the GT350 and GT350R. They’ve been around since 2015 and Ford has done very little to change them during these three model years. There really isn’t much room for that anyway. Ford Mustang GT350 is already one of those awesome cars we can instantly fall in love with. It’s got the 526-horsepower 5.2L flat plane crank V8 and the most track-focused setup Ford has ever offered in a Mustang. Another proof that American muscle cars are definitely heading in the new direction. A direction that’s riddled with sharp corners that their predecessors had had a tough time dealing with. Not any more.
Dodge Challenger Demon
To make the race between the previous two more interesting, Mopar introduced their own pretender to the pony car throne a few years ago. Dodge Challenger Hellcat beat both Camaro and Mustang in sheer number crunching, but Chevy and Ford still offered more balanced cars that could actually utilize their potential to the full effect. That was until recently, though, when new Challenger entered the fray. And what better name for the most powerful American production car ever than Demon?! A name which Mopar already used briefly in the seventies.
Unlike Dodge Dart Demon from 1971 and 1972, Dodge Challenger Demon was intended as a limited model from the get-go, and won’t stay with us for long. Come to think of it, Even Dart Demon got axed sooner than intended due to Christian groups’ complaints. But at least it continued as renamed Dart Sport package for a few more years.
By now, you probably know everything there is to be known behind ludicrous 840-horsepower beast. Drag strip special in a completely road legal car will be able to accelerate to 60 mph in just north of 2 seconds and complete quarter mile runs in less than 10 seconds. If there ever was a car that made us proud of being Americans, I’d say it’s this one.
Although modern-day Wrangler doesn’t seem to be as special as its predecessors were, it’s still one of those awesome cars that make us proud of our auto industry. For years it has fought the likes of larger Toyota Land Cruisers and Land Rover Defenders, and it has finally won. Old school Defenders and Land Cruisers are long gone from this world and their successors are up to four times more expensive than a Wrangler. Maybe they’re more comfy and technologically advanced, but they sure aren’t more capable. That’s exactly what makes Wrangler special and what has always made Jeep off-road SUVs special. The ability to offer extremely capable rock crawler at comparably dumping prices.
Furthermore, Jeep Wrangler has practically taken over the world. You can find it pretty much all across the globe where it brings unparalleled off-road capability for its price range. In fact, one can confidently say Wrangler’s in a league of its own. It has no real competitors. Not that others didn’t try. They simply failed to earn the love of the people that Wrangler has inherited from Jeep CJ. There’s one simple reason behind that. No one cared about off-roading as much as Jeep did. And that still hasn’t changed. Jeep Wrangler will remain one of the most awesome cars America has to offer to the world for years to come – period.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06
First American sports car has gone a long way since its early days, but nevertheless, Corvette’s kept its essence intact. Countless iterations over seven generations offered something for everybody, but performance never came in doubt. Well, maybe it did back in the sterile seventies, but modern-day Corvettes are far from emissions-choked cars from 40 years ago. They’re some of the baddest and meanest performers you can find in the US market and they aim to remain exactly that.
Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is the most powerful Corvette ever made and we can call ourselves lucky we didn’t have to wait decades before stronger versions came to topple previous record holders. Right now, these things happen every few years if not more frequently even. Z06 ‘Vette finds motivation behind 6.2L LS4 V8 mill that also powers the above mentioned ZL1 Camaro. Supercharged aluminum block engine delivers the same 650 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque as in Camaro, but tends to overheat when abused on track. There’s also Corvette Z07, but that’s nothing more than performance package to what already is a performance vehicle. Z07 adds wider Michelin tires, carbon-ceramic brakes and adjustable aero kit, but otherwise doesn’t tamper with Z06’s performance figures.
Cadillac CTS-V is the third Corvette LS4-powered car on this list, and that speaks a lot about one of the most powerful GM’s small-block engines. Unlike Camaro ZL1 and Corvette Z06, CTS-V is wrapped in a luxury box. It’s more expensive than Camaro and has similar price tag as the ‘Vette, but as usual, Caddy offers much more plushy interior and generally softer… well, everything. That’s something we’ve come to expect from a Cadillac and that’s good. What people don’t expect from it, however, are its insane performance figures.
Although CTS-V’s LS4 mill develops “only” 640 horsepower and 630 lb-ft of torque, 4-door super sedan isn’t any less sharp than its Chevrolet siblings. CTS-V can accelerate to 60 mph in just 3.6 seconds which is quite a remarkable feat for a luxury limo that weighs 4,129 pounds. Of course, it isn’t as track capable as Camaro or Corvette, but like most modern American cars, it sure knows how to handle corners. In other words, it isn’t a boring, cumbersome Cadillac of days long gone. As far as 4-door sedans and fun go, Cadillac CTS-V is one of the best options there are.
It’s the third time Blue Oval has used the GT badge and we’re incapable of deciding which of the Ford GT’s was the best. Most people would probably go with the original. After all, it did manage to leave a lasting legacy by taking home the 24 Hours of Le Mans trophy on no less than four occasions. Modern Ford GT, however, elevates the famous nameplate to entirely new level.
This technological marvel is set to become the fastest Ford ever produced. And it’s powered by a V6, no less. 3.6L EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 to be more precise. Engine that should easily churn out as much as 647 horsepower and 550 -pound-feet of torque. Figures which, combined with GT’s aerodynamic body and relatively low weight, should enable the mid-engined supercar to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than 3 seconds. Moreover, they should enable it to develop the top speed of 216 mph.
Vintage Ford GT is arguably the most iconic American car ever produced. At least as far as people from across the seas are concerned. And for one time, they’re probably right. Legendary Ferrari fighter (more like Ferrari subjugator) gets a worthy successor that will continue fighting Ferraris and other prolific supercars in the next decade. If it isn’t one of those “proud to be American” amazing cars, I don’t know what it is.
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