Remember "Toonces The Driving Cat?"
You have to admit that was one of Saturday Night Live's most brilliant ideas during the Phil Hartman era. The concept of having a cat that drove the family car even with Victoria Jackson and Steve Martin in it was something else.
You know who else loves to drive? Me! Yet, compared to Toonces, I avoid any cliff as humanly possible.
The point here is a new fun and interactive way to develop crowd-sourced content towards further engagement for V&R. I call it "WWRD?" Translation: What Would Randy Drive?
How this works is simple. Via V&R's social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, I will ask the question for WWRD? submissions. The submissions are compiled and delivered with 3-5 vehicles as called out by YOU.
On your end, just give me a vehicle – any car, truck, SUV/crossover, van of any make, model and year. What I do is compile what I know of said vehicle and give you an answer why or why not I would drive it. I'll also explain why.
Captive imports…and why did they exist anyway?
At a time when the call was to tune down the horsepower and prepare for an oil crisis, a recession and a never ending war overseas, domestic automakers figured it was high time to build another round of compact cars. By going smaller, there were two routes to take: Build them domestically or import them from a global partner somewhere. Three out of the four North American automakers chose the latter.
Chrysler had been selling Simcas and Sunbeams alongside Barracudas and Imperials through the 1960s. Simca and Sunbeam were a part of growing European operation for the Pentastar. In turn, Chrysler looked high and low to match the incoming compacts from General Motors, Ford and American Motors. They went across both the Atlantic and Pacific for their answers. Ford sold some European products at their dealerships in the past – the Cortina was the most popular and the Capri was a mainstay at Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. GM sold Opels at Buick dealers, but would soon play the captive import game as early as 1976.
You could also stretch the captive import involvement to AMC – that is if you include the subcompact Metropolitan that was jointly developed between Nash and Austin. They actually sold Metropolitans with the Hudson badge for a bit. At one time, Mitsubishi imported the Hyundai Excel for some of its dealers in the USA.