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Top 5 European cars we deserve in the U.S.

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ZTSG 12/12/2021 Coupe 212
For many years, the United States has been criticized by European car enthusiasts for its lazy and sedentary driving style. This may be our own fault, because we produced large, magnificent land yacht...

For many years, the United States has been criticized by European car enthusiasts for its lazy and sedentary driving style. This may be our own fault, because we produced large, magnificent land yachts from the 70s and modern muscle cars that still use leaf springs as the rear suspension. In fact, they think that we all like to drive fast in a straight line, or like cars with sofas and other seats so that we can rest and eat burgers comfortably while driving along Route 66. However, the times in the United States have now changed. Although others in the automotive industry might think so, the United States did not stay in the 1950s and 1970s. We have rally fans, Ken Block, Formula One, road courses and real driving enthusiasts! In fact, we are so boring here, we decided to make a Corvette and cross the Nurburgring at 7:12:13.

It took several years to bring the Lancer Evolutions, turbocharged Imprezas, and GT-Rs back to the states; let’s take a look at what else should be brought across the pond, in order from least deserving to most.

5. Alfa Romeo Brera

4. Renault Clio Sport V6

3. Ford Focus RS/Escort RS Cosworth

2. Holden Ute

1. Nissan Skyline GT-R

5. Alfa Romeo Brera

You don’t see many Alfas driving around in the U.S., and with good reason. They don’t sell them over here! If you go to Alfa’s website, according to them, the United States does not exist. Well, I’d say it’s time for them to come back, with their whole fleet in fact! That way, we don’t miss out on a great car such as the Brera again. This is possibly one of the best-looking cars ever made.

The Alfa Romeo Brera had fantastic looks! It was the perfect understated town car, yet while driving through the brick roads of posh outdoor shopping malls, you’d be turning heads and getting noticed. But when the going gets rough, the AWD drivetrain will get you to your destination. The DOHC 3.2 V6 delivers 260bhp, which isn’t bad considering it will be taken to the shops and on holiday. There are some small issues, such as cramped space in the back seats and body roll while cornering tightly. Then again... complaining about that is sort of like complaining about how practical your Italian supermodel girlfriend is to get around in heels. Why does America need Alfa Romeo? Just look at it.

4. Renault Clio Sport V6

This next car on the wish list is unlike anything else. It’s French, it’s fast, and it is completely insane! If you already know what this car is, then you know why it’s made the list, and if you don’t, well, you aren’t a ridiculous car-obsessed geek...yet. This is one of those cars you can’t bother explaining to your friends or co-workers or one that will have the ladies’ attention. This is one of those rare cars that only the most fuel diluted, piston-hearted, exhaust breathing, gear-head will recognize, and I am not talking about your average American car buff either. You will probably only be recognized with a nod of approval from the rare rally fan or a Jeremy Clarkson “Padawan,” and that is what this car is all about!

If you open the hood on the Clio V6, you will not find an engine but a tiny storage space. It has no back seats because that is where the 3-liter V6 engine sits. So it is a hot hatchback, with the convenience of a Lamborghini Diablo and looks of a Ford Focus RS. You have 2 seats with a 6-speed transmission and 255 bhp behind your head that will take you from 0 – 60 in a mere 5.6 seconds!

3. Ford Focus RS/Escort RS Cosworth

These are a couple no brainers. It is a little odd when an American company doesn’t make certain trim levels or models available in their home country. It’s a bad sign when even Ford thinks the RS and Cosworth models are too hardcore for the U.S. Let’s start with the RS Cosworth. With a turbocharged, 2 liter, inline 4cyl engine and AWD, it had similar ingredients to the Lancer Evolution. 217-227 hp takes you from 0-60 in just over 6 seconds! Couple that with the convenience of back seats, 25mpg, which makes it the ultimate daily performance coupe. The looks are fun and unique, and just by looking at it, you can tell it would be an absolute hoot to drive. This car would have been an instant classic in the states.

Now for the Focus RS, which has a similar story. It’s another fun American-badge hot hatchback that never made it to the U.S. There is one difference, though, and that is the engine. Not many cars can say they have an inline 5cyl engine, but the Focus RS can! Once again, the lethal combination of a DOHC inline engine allows the turbo to quickly force a lot of air through one side of the engine and expel it out the other. This configuration strikes with 300 bhp. The 300 horses max out at 163 mph, a little faster than your average BMW or STi. Front-wheel drive or not, that’s enough to put a pep in your step. There are only two things it’s missing: AWD and American buyers.

2. Holden Ute

Here is another gem made by an American company that was never made available over here. Granted, it is under GM’s Aussie brand, even still. When looking at Chevy’s lineup, Holden basically said, “That’s not a car, THIS is a car...”

You might not recognize the name, and that’s because it first thundered onto the scene as the Maloo pickup. Since 2010 it has gone under the Ute badge. It has quite a large range currently as well, going from the Omega model that has a 3.0L DOHC V6 and 190kW. That is about 255 American horses running under the hood of the base model. The SS V Z-Series Ute has a 6.0L V8 engine that, if brought over here, would have about 362hp! Nothing says American muscle like a 6 liter V8, am I right? Basically, Holden’s performance line was Pontiac, and the GTO still lives on through the Commodore. What GM should have done was brought over the biggest maddest Commodore or Vauxhall VXR8 Bathurst supercharged model under the Pontiac GTO label to save that brand name. Then, here’s the biggest part, they should have scrapped the SSR pickup before production and brought over the then Maloo or the current Ute models and sold those as an all-new El Camino! Why GM never did this, I will never understand.

1. Nissan Skyline GT-R

Now we come to the main attraction, Godzilla himself, the granddaddy of street running monsters, the Nissan Skyline GT-R. No quality is more perfect in a car than purpose. You can have snazzy looks, fancy gadgets, but none of that really matters to a driver. The only true beauty a car can have is form following function, which leads to a purpose. The Skyline GT-R range was built for no other purpose than to be the fasted all-around sports coupe on the market. The Twin Turbo inline 6-cyl engine layout is legendary, along with its AWD system and corner shredding differential. It was made to corner faster, handle better, and accelerate quicker than anything on the market and still be an “affordable” supercar with back seats.

There are many theories why the Skyline Models never made it to left-hand drive production, and beyond that, why they are so hard to import into the U.S., especially the R34 Skylines. One theory going around is that the police force could not keep up with the agile, powerful Skylines. That is a bit de-bunked because, after all, the R35 GT-R is available over here, and I’d like to see the Crown Vic cruiser that could hang onto that. Beyond that, there is an abundance of cars that would leave police cruisers in the dust available here, such as Lamborghini Murcielago LP640 or the Japanese fighting fish Lotus Exige. A more sound reason is that they never met DOT standards imported, including emissions, seatbelt standards, and crash standards.

Most importantly, when you ask anyone that they have the car we want in Europe, Skyline GT-R tops the list. It is a pity that we have the vehicle emission standards that we have done, and Nissan cannot manufacture Skyline that can hardly meet the DOT standards. GT-R is back, we can all rest assured, because we can drive it away, but unfortunately, it will never be Skyline, and this hole will always stay where it should be in the Gear Head community. I think this is part of the reason Godzilla became a legend.