Journal: What is America's Greatest Unsung Automotive Hero?

What is America’s Greatest Unsung Automotive Hero?

Avatar By Yoav Gilad
July 17, 2014
16 comments

Photography by Josh Clason for Petrolicious

Everyone knows the usual suspects: the Ford Mustang, the Chevy Corvette and Camaro. They went through many iterations varying from sporty through what Mr. Smokey Yunick called the worst handling car ever. But there were quite a few other American cars that were quite sporty and engaging that didn’t receive the following that the aforementioned cars did, simply because they didn’t have ‘enough’ power, handling and braking be damned.

My personal favorite is the Ford Maverick. It’s basically a cheaper, less powerful Ford Mustang (although you could have it with a 4.9L V8, the vaunted 302). But it also weighed less. I also have a personal attachment to the Maverick, of course, as it was the first car my folks ever bought. Eventually the floor-boards rusted through and it sat, undriven, in the driveway for a couple of years before it was donated. But damn, I want one now and it doesn’t have the Mustang’s price tag either.

So what do you think is America’s greatest unsung automotive hero?

Image Source: Flickr

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Emanuel Costa
Emanuel Costa

Challenger. And the newer versions are cooler than Corvette, Camaro or Mustang

racer129
racer129

late model corvair. always regarded as a poor man’s Porsche. screw nader

Walden French
Walden French

1953 Studebaker Champion Regal Starliner hardtop coupe, sweet, if only it had the build quality of a 356.

Dennis Floyd
Dennis Floyd

Nash! Particularly the Airflite models of the 50s. Aerodynamic, fuel efficient and had seats that turned into beds. What more yould you ask for?

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

There was a Studebaker Lark Daytona being slung around the saloon car race at the Goodwood Members Meeting this year. Don’t know much about them but it looked the part amongst the Lotus Cortinas, Alfas and Minis, sounded good too.

Wade Devers
Wade Devers

How about the Bricklin? For all you AMC fans, I’m pretty sure it was introduced at first with AMC as the engine supplier. Conceptually interesting: a safe and economical sportscar. And design-wise, it was pretty cutting edge in the US. It had an 80’s look in the 70’s with gull wing doors.
Ugly? In hindsight yes. But pretty unsung.

Baskingshark
Baskingshark

I heart the Bricklin. Even if the rear window seals did melt, letting the glass fall into the trunk area and the doors got stuck shut, making the occupants exit through the hatch. However, it can’t really be one of America’s unsung automotive heroes because it is Canadian.

Mike Fiscus
Mike Fiscus

I’d have to say the Corvair. I have owned several (including the car pictured) over the years.

Vince Lupo

I’d like to mention the predecessor to the Mustang — the Falcon. Great car, ran forever, very economical. I had a ’63 for 11 years, and put almost 100,000 miles on it. Wonderful car. I’d also put a plug in for any model by Studebaker — they just seemed so ahead of their time, and those Raymond Loewy designs just added to their allure. They had an abundance of ‘firsts’: Hill-holder in 1936, variable ratio steering gear in 1937, first mechanical power steering in 1952, first padded dash as standard equipment in 1961, and the list goes on. My personal… Read more »

Aaron McKenzie
Aaron McKenzie

[url=”http://www.petrolicious.com/the-omni-glh-is-awesome-and-has-a-curse-word-in-its-name”]Omni GLH[/url]?

[url=”http://www.petrolicious.com/american-muscle-built-to-handle”]Barracuda Formula S[/url]?

Benjamin Shahrabani
Benjamin Shahrabani

This might not be vintage, but the Dodge Viper certainly doesn’t get nearly as much credit/kudos as it might deserve, despite several motorsport victories and good showings at Lemans, etc.

More vintage? I was going to say AMC too, but someone seems to have beat me to the punch.

How about the Chrysler 300 series of the 50/60s? – they brought a whole bunch of impressive power plants to the table.

j
j

corvair? vega? AMX? merc cougar?

Santiago Aguirre
Santiago Aguirre

The Tucker Torpedo.

Rod S
Rod S

Buick / Opel Manta. Totally forgotten and unloved. Can’t wait to get my ’74 finished and back on the road!!

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle

Being the huge AMC nut that I am anything by that company could be considered a unsung hero. Take the 1968-1970 AMX for example a car that was a sort of hybrid of muscle car and sports car. On the drag strip those AMXs were nearly unbeatable. Not to mention the AMX could give America’s only sport car i.e Corvettes a run for their money on road racing courses. A runner up for the unsung hero award would have to be for the AMC Gremlin YES i said Gremlin. It was a lowly hatchback most people couldn;t care less about… Read more »

JB21
JB21

AMX/3. Other than that, I can’t think of any that’s ‘unsung.’ People are screaming about any one of them, it seems. Even for Aztec.