This shot by Roshake 77 in Budapest instantly reminded me of a very similar shot I took as we were arriving in Paris by taxicab:
Europeans love American cars, especially certain ones.
Here’s mine – American Mustang in London.
I’ll raise you a Corvette Z06 in London…
And at the Ace Cafe….
Anyone else spot the mistake on the Bullitt clone?
It’s a ‘67, not a ‘68 (no side marker lights).
There’s no Dodge Charger hubcap whizzing by.
I suppose if we’re doing mismatched years, then the Charger clone could be the better looking ’69 rather than a ’68. ;o)
Isn’t that a Parisienne ?
Taillight panel should be black
I didn’t notice the missing side marker lights as much as first spotting the 1967 vents in the quarter panel ‘coves’.
The blacked-out upper valance panel wasn’t quite as much of a giveaway (it does have blacked out taillight bezels, which is a 1968 thing).
To get really nitpicky, the gas cap center needs to be blacked-out. This very small thing is one of the reasons I always thought that the two Mustangs used in the movie were not both GT-equipped cars. I figured they blacked-out the gas cap center to match since one would have ‘GT’ in the middle, and the other would have had the Mustang emblem. It would also be the reason the grille was removed, as well as using the aftermarket wheels; it would all have been done to get the two cars to match.
Newer Mustang Convertible in North Wales too.
Some Europeans like America cars, but the pathetic sales tell a different story. Simply too large. The exceptions are Jeep and Tesla. Interesting that Musk couldn’t easily park in Germany and realised why the Golf was so popular. And immediately started designing one.
Here we go with misguided complaints and false assumptions about the so-called large American cars in Europe…
John H, do you ever think about the large European vehicles and delivery vans? Do the owners of Audi A8 L, Bentley Flying Spur and Mulsanne, BMW 7-Series and Mercedes-Benz S-Class in long wheelbase, Mercedes-Maybach, Rolls-Royce Ghost and Phantom feel they are too big for European streets and too impossible to park? Nah, that didn’t stop them from buying those large cars. Do the drivers of delivery vans feel they are too cumbersome to navigate through the European streets? Nah, that didn’t stop them in any way. Do the drivers of Swiss Postbus feel they cannot drive the huge buses through the narrow Alpine roads? Nah, I followed those buses and couldn’t believe how the drivers could squeeze through the towns so effortlessly.
The “pathetic sales” aren’t about selling the x-number of vehicles per year. It’s about fulfilling the niche market in same manner as luxury/exotic vehicles from Ferrari, Lamborghini, and likes. It’s about the highly competitive market with wider range of brands, models, engine choices, body styles, etc. than it is in the United States. It’s about figuring out the target market and tailoring the vehicles for that. European and Japanese manufacturers did that quite brilliantly for the US market. Except for French cars and certain British and Italian cars (British Leyland, Fiat, and Lancia come to mind).
General Motors depended on the strength of “Americana” images to sell the vehicles in Europe. GM got lucky just once with B- and C-bodies in the late 1970s, which was right car for Europe along with weaker US dollar. Additionally, GM had the notoriety of “dumping” so many different brands and models along with fewer engine options that overlapped each other in Europe during the 1980s. That and the questionable quality issues.
The option of smaller or diesel engines weren’t even offered for certain countries with high displacement taxation and lower diesel fuel price. I could count the number of diesel engine options for GM cars exported to Europe: four (4.3-litre V6, 4.3- and 5.7-litre V8, and Peugeot-sourced 1.9-litre I4 for Pontiac Trans Sport). They weren’t available in every vehicle GM sent to Europe. GM could offer the large cars with thinner bumpers as to be under five-metre length, especially for some countries with higher taxation for longer vehicles. In 1997, Cadillac belatedly offered the fifth-generation Seville with thinner bumper to be under five-metre length limit. And in right-hand-drive form for the UK, Ireland, and Malta.
GM eventually whittled down the brands and model ranges to just Cadillac XT4 and two Chevrolet cars (Camaro and Corvette) now along with disappearance of official sales channel: they are sold through selected American car specialists. That really killed the remaining of General Motor’s reputation in Europe. Ditching Opel and Saab was probably the last straw that ended GM in Europe.
Chrysler and Ford did much better because they figured the target market and sold the vehicles that were competitive with the European brands. Along with widespread availability of smaller or diesel engines along with manual gearbox option. Chrysler and Ford also had the well-established sales channels and manufacturing bases—such as Steyr-Daimler-Puch (now Magna Steyr) assembling many of Chrysler products in Austria for the European market. Today, Chrysler has the sales agreements with many American car sales specialists in Europe to sell RAM trucks with full factory warranty and ECE compliance. They are quite popular as workhorses in the Austrian, Bavarian, and Scandinavian countryside.
The yo-yo of currency exchange rate and global economy worked in their favour or against them. In the late 1970s, GM took advantage of weaker dollar to sell many vehicles, which were downsized at the right time. Chrysler and Ford didn’t take that advantage until the late 1980s because they didn’t have any “usefully worthy” American cars to sell in Europe. Then, the sudden strengthening of dollar against European currency in the early 1980s made American-sourced cars too expensive and hurt GM’s profitability and European sales. Then, it flip-flopped in the late 1980s and early 1990s, leading the sale boom of American vehicles in Europe during the 1990s. Then, the Great Recession of 2008–2010…
Obviously saying that American cars don’t sell in Europe because they’re too big is simplistic – and is deceasingly relevant as European cars have grown and American ones have shrunk (excluding trucks/SUVs) but it is a factor.
I drove trucks and buses in Scotland. Cos they paid me. I drove American tourists around whose minds were blown by how close we had to get to other vehicles and objects, and that was in a Sprinter. I worked for Avis and had to deal with the bashed cars disproportionately returned by American customers.
I used to drive a Suburban in Minnesota. Would I want one in Scotland? No. It won’t fit in a grocery store parking space or domestic garage apart from anything else.
Yes people drive S classes and 7 Series – for prestige. It doesn’t mean there aren’t drawbacks. My uncle traded his Jag (X Type!) for a Renaultsport Clio because he couldn’t get in his underground parking at work.
Guilty as charged; I bashed a mirror off the side of my rental car in Paisley about 30 years ago; of course driving on opposite side is standard excuse, but even though I do live in a sunbelt state where roads are about a spacious as they get, my parents are from east coast, and some of the roads there are also pretty narrow (many places you have to wait for someone in opposite direction to go due to narrow road even on 2-way road).
But yes, some of the roads in Europe even make those look OK. Guess they both developed towns long before cars came into existence so retrofitting them with roads pretty much just involved paving over what paths preexisted cars (where a car could even fit, some paths too narrow even for small car width). Likewise parking; I think we are used to spacious parking in the US and even spots we might consider tight would be thought of as spacious or normal, not to mention most of ours are pull in/out instead of parallel as it seemed most of the (limited) spots I saw. The continent wasn’t much better, guess shouldn’t expect it since it predates cars (maybe exception is bombed towns rebuilt?)
Oliver, thank you so much for taking the time to put this together. It is so comprehensive it’s practically a subject in its own right. Maybe it could be expanded, with photos to illustrate some of your points? For example, I was very interested to read about thinner bumpers so as to bring certain vehicles under the five metre length – I was totally unaware of this.
Back when I was a boy, European migrants who had done well for themselves here (Australia) would often buy American cars. Not just the locally assembled Fords, Chevrolets, Pontiacs and Dodges, but sometimes Buicks would be parked outside the Acland Street cake shops. I never saw a Cadillac though. Wrong part of town, maybe.
Especially I remember ‘Bill’ the Greek with his big ’68 Dodge parked outside his fish shop in Warragul. (Back in those days we had a deplorable tendency to give people Anglo names, rather than try and pronounce theirs correctly.) While it may be fashionable to deride American cars, they certainly looked impressive back in the fifties to seventies, not just for the huge size and sometimes-outlandish shapes but the detailing, all those glittering little doodads British and European makers never gave you. Sure, Bill and his wife and son didn’t need eighteen feet of Dodge, but that 383 sure would have made mincemeat of the trips to Melbourne on what passed for a highway back then.
Really like how these Mustangs change the landscape. I was in a taxi outside of Prague in 2019 and saw a nice ’67 rumble by, turning heads from the scores of ordinary Skoda and VW drivers.
I ate at that Burger King Restaurant shown in the first picture.
Mustangs have been a thing in Hungary for quite awhile, as it seems; this post reminded me of a picture with a Mustang in an article about Hungary in the National Geographic, April 1971:
Mustangs are a thing everywhere. And so is Steve McQueen.
There was one American car in my hometown when I was a kid. It was a Smokey and the Bandit style Firebird. I suppose it was more of a Burt Reynolds kinda town.
Later the Chrysler 300 was surprisingly popular. It was an American American car (blah Daimler blah). The Neon on the other hand, was being cross shopped with Korean cars (then still seen as illegitimate cheapies not much better than a Lada) and coffins.
Muscle cars in general are very popular in Europe and Mustang is the most popular one, hands down. 4 weeks back I saw such Mustang in Bullit green cruising down the Riga, Lithuania. No matter it was 6 degrees and starting to rain, somebody had a fun. Europe is raising up the pandemic restrictions and old car season is about to explode.
I saw such 66 Mustang back in 2007 while camping in USA, still in hands of the original owner, with basic I6 engine – rare as hens teeth.
One more pict
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