A Look Back at the History of the American Automobile
By Michael Schlee
With the American Auto Industry in a crisis like it has never faced before, I thought we could take a look back at the past 100 years of American Vehicles to see the highlights (and lowlights) of an industry on the edge of collapse.
This is a new feature that will become a regular segment for this blog.
Key Developments 1999:
- Chrysler Corporation kills off its division Eagle. The cancellation is due to poor sales.
- Ford buys Volvo’s automotive arm, adding another luxury brand to its portfolio.
- Ford unveils new options such as back-up warning sensors and power adjustable pedals.
- Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight and Buick Rivera are in their last year with General Motors.
Top 5 New Models:
- Cadillac Escalade – Cadillac’s first truck and a huge success for them over the next decade.
- Chrysler 300M/LHS – New full sized vehicles for Chrysler. They are a new version of fabled Letter cars. They Come with a 3.5L 250HP V6.
- Mercury Cougar – The Cougar is reborn as a sport compact car with edgy styling for its time.
- Oldsmobile Alero – Oldsmobile’s new midsize car is vast improvement over the cutlass. A 150HP I-4 or 170HP V6 are offered.
- Pontiac Grand Am – Bigger and more sophisticated then previous Grand Ams. A 150HP I-4 or 170HP V6 are offered.
Top 5 ‘Hottest’ Models:
- Chevrolet Corvette – A new hardtop version is available which is lighter in weight. Power continues to be 345HP.
- Ford Mustang – New Styling emerges. The base 3.8L V6 motor is up 40HP to 190HP. The GT’s 4.6L V8 is up 35HP to 260HP. This is the Mustang’s 35th anniversary.
- Plymouth Prowler – The Prowler is back and features more power, up to 253HP (up 35HP).
- Dodge Viper – Continues not much changed, but as cool as ever.
- Pontiac Trans Am – The optional 320HP V8 continues to pack a punch.