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"Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

Posted November 25, 2020 12:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: classic auto

Here in the U.S., we're quite familiar with the cultures that have sprung up around imported cars over the decades. From the young men who raced European sports cars around in the Googie architecture years to the young men who raced Japanese cars around in the pager-and-underglow years, there's always been adherents of foreign cars here in the States. That, in turn, has always led us to wonder whether any reciprocal appreciation of American cars took place in other countries, particularly in England.

Fortunately, Thames TV was on the case in the late Seventies with these two segments taking a look at the few cars that American car companies exported to the U.K. in 1977 and 1978. Of course, they found the cars totally unsuitable for British roads. Of course, they complained about the (lack of) fuel economy. Of course, with the exception of the Mustang II, they couldn't wrap their minds around the comparative size of the cars. But that's not to say they didn't find some admirable qualities or overlook the customers who bought the cars and the handful of American car enthusiasts in England at the time.

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#1

Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

11/25/2020 3:37 PM

Further proof that one size does not fit all.

Land yachts designed to comfortably traverse great expanses are not going to be suitable among the hedgerows. Similarly, a sprite, high-revving little two-seater zooming through the hamlets is not going to be very comfortable for a Kansas City to Denver excursion.

(Not that I have any particular affinity for 70's vintage Big-Three. You don't drive those vehicles, you pilot them.)

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#6
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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

11/29/2020 11:55 AM

It's true. A lot of Brit roads are just too narrow for the stereotype land yacht. There are plenty of fans over here, but most urban roads are just not big enough.

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

12/01/2020 10:38 AM

In the states, in certain areas all road (I’m talking about the rural crossroads) are being blacktopped, and least in the upper Midwest. Prior to that, they just graveled and somewhat maintained.

having been raised on a farm, we would ride horses on these back country graveled roads, where the leafy tree limbs hung over the road... it was like riding through a tunnel. (I’ll get back to that)

as a teenager it was actually seemed like an adventure... kinda like taking the road less traveled. Not knowing what’s around the nice corner. At one point, even as a teenager, I realized we were rich that I knew would later payoff with the memories.

as far as having the trees form a tunnel, even today, we have a one scenic highway, (Wisconsin State Highway 57) where they left the trees to keep that tunnel feel. It was quite a battle, back in the 70’s and 80’s where the state wanted to cut back the trees from the road for safety... bureaucrats can really wreck a good thing.

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

12/01/2020 11:36 AM

Looks lovely. We still have many such roads in rural areas. It's great, but shocks the eyes when you emerge to into full daylight on a Summer day. What we don't get so much is the folliage colours of fall in the USA.

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

12/01/2020 12:55 PM

In the summer, there’s better pics where it looks like a dark cave,... and I know what you saying when you come out in the bright sunlight...

We’ve took the same roads,... so do speak...

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12/01/2020 7:31 PM

And there is a rather well-known tree tunnel on the island of Kauai. It has recovered pretty well after Hurricane Iniki back in '92 but I had seen it pre-Iniki and it was much thicker and 'darker' back in '88 when my wife and I honeymooned there.

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

12/01/2020 8:42 PM

Talking about tunnels in the woods...

I need to set up the story....

I was snowmobiling about 20 years ago,... it was about after 2:00 am and I was heading home... the snowmobile trail went through a swamp... being in a swamp, the trees were twisted the moon was full, the snow somewhat glowed. The head lights on the snowmobile at first made the trial like a tunnel...

I thought, this looks pretty... wish I could share this with someone...then a got a creepy feeling, and I looked back... and the red glow of my tail light, the trail look like something from a Vincent Price or Alfred Hitchcock movie... I could see the trees all twisted and snarlily and a feeling of macabre came over me.

I couldn’t get out of that fast enough, I felt that way all the way home...

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#2

Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

11/25/2020 7:46 PM

Ah this brings back memories...I had a '72 Eldorado, what a cruiser...could beat any car starting at 75mph....501 front wheel drive, full hide leather seats...traded it off for Ford pickup and some $$...It was in perfect shape, but you could actually see the gas gage move when you put your foot into it....

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

11/25/2020 9:55 PM

Eldorado, that was front wheel drive, wasn’t it?

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

11/26/2020 3:15 AM

Yes it was...

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

11/26/2020 4:48 AM

I remember my uncle had a Chrysler Royal, push button automatic, converted to RH drive, what a spacious beast it was, had to be back pre sixties. He said it was easier to go around the block than make a nPoint turn at an intersection. Beautiful finish but not for country town roads back then or what was jokingly called highways.

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

12/01/2020 10:13 AM

Such a Wonderful example of English Roads vs American Steel.

https://youtu.be/5KA1qlzKIls

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Re: "Rather Like the Dinosaurs:" British TV's Take on American Iron in the Late Seventies

12/01/2020 11:30 AM

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