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Aaron Gold

Kid Rock and Cadillacs

By December 13, 2010

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2011 Cadillac CTS CoupeSo I was watching Sunday's Top Gear USA episode, in which Detroit native Kid Rock was the Big Star in a Small Car. During the interview, Rutledge asked Kid Rock if he was a fan of the retro movement in car design, and I thought Kid Rock's answer was really interesting:

"Yes, I love the retro stuff," he said. "I love the Challenger and the Camaros, the Mustangs, all that stuff, I think they're great... but at the same time I'd like to see them do something new, that kind of defines our generation, our era, you know. Something that's new and moving in the right way that's not a small box that runs on leaves."

And as Kid Rock said that, the first thing that popped into my mind was "Cadillac CTS Coupe".

The CTS Coupe has been on my mind recently, because it just won the Internet Car of the Year jury award (well, more specifically, the 556 hp CTS-V Coupe won.) I'm a member of the jury, and as you may recall, I didn't vote for the Caddy; I voted for the Hyundai Sonata (which, before you jump all over me for being un-American, is at least built in the US). But I have to agree with Mr. Rock -- I would like to see an American car that defines our generation. I still think the Sonata is the best car for our times, but it's not the car that I want to represent this time and place -- when people look back on the beginning of this decade, the CTS Coupe is the car I'd like them to think of. You can argue whether American automakers do the best when it comes to function, but when you look at the CTS Coupe, you have to admit -- it's hard to beat us on form.

Speaking of Caddies, Kid Rock said something else that gave me a little chill. He was talking about his 1930 Cadillac V16:

1931 Cadillac V16 Sport Phaeton"I can sit around, drink beer and look at that car all day long. It just blows your mind, the ingenuity and time and the craftsmanship that was put into it...a guy that built that must go home and be like, 'You should have saw what we built today at work.'"

Amen to that, brother. -- Aaron Gold

Photos General Motors

December 14, 2010 at 12:10 am
(1) Hawaiian Don says:

In the vein that Kid Rock was referring to his awesome Caddie…I would much rather sing the tunes of a same era Deusenberg. Also American made, brilliantly engineered (3 time Indy 500 winner), gorgeously designed and lovingly hand built, the Deusy was the epitome of automotive brilliance between the World Wars. If I had a mid 30′s SJ Phaeton it would be in my living room!!!

December 14, 2010 at 5:47 am
(2) Eric says:

Although I don’t totally disagree with your choice of the Caddy Aaron, I don’t totally agree with you either. I’d like to see a “defining” American car that doesn’t cost $50K, but rather something more along the lines of the Model T: Low cost, easy to work on, dependable and lends itself to multiple body designs to keep production cost down. A car affordable to the masses.

So far, I don’t think we’ve achieved that during the past decade.

December 14, 2010 at 9:44 am
(3) ChrisF says:

I see what’s being said about cars like the Challenger, Camaro, and Mustang defining their era. But seriously, has there been ANY vehicle produced since those halcyon days that the average person would remember as being an icon of the times in which they were produced? Maybe the Taurus for the 80s, but what about the 90s? 2000s?

December 14, 2010 at 9:55 am
(4) Cap'n Jon says:

I agree with Eric.
A person can’t tinker with his car as it’s all so high tech. A simple, efficient, and reasonably priced car would be great, but I guess we simply can’t have them anymore. Sad, isn’t it?

December 14, 2010 at 1:30 pm
(5) ChrisF says:

@Eric: Sounds like you’re describing the original Saturn S-series of cars. Dependable, durable, affordable, easy to maintain yourself, a unique feature or two (polymer body panels and courteous dealerships) and came in three different body styles. I’m fortunate enough to own a nice ’01 model, and I see tons of mid 90s Saturns still on the road while the competitors are rusting in junkyards now.

So, it sounds like we *had* what you were looking for, but GM killed it. :(

December 14, 2010 at 2:37 pm
(6) slappy says:

sorry, but the car that defines the last decade was the Prius.

I find it insane that with gas prices so high that we continue to demand huge cars with low MPG. Performance does not mean just lots of horsepower.

Look into lightweight microcars, gas or electric, as the next step once gas gets over $4.

December 15, 2010 at 5:28 am
(7) Eric says:

So sad that the car that defined the last decade is a soul-less Transportation Pod.

December 15, 2010 at 10:27 am
(8) borrisbatanov says:

Been watching. At first thought the Brit version was better, but have changed my mind. American Top Gear is certainly more fun, mainly because the Americans are a whole lot cooler than the uptight Brits.

Kid Rock is a moron. Saw the Hank Jr. GTO he talked about on Barret-Jackson. It’s ludicrous, a joke – bad taste doesn’t even begin to describe it. Hank III has some choice words about Kid Rock in his song “Dick in Dixie.”

Tanner’s fling with the Hennesy Raptor was exciting. Want to see more American cars, esp. the Ford GT, Mustangs and Corvettes, which don’t get much attention on the Brit show.

December 15, 2010 at 12:11 pm
(9) Bill says:

A car that defines my generation would let me tinker with the electronics, not the mechanics!

December 15, 2010 at 2:15 pm
(10) siblur says:

Always think of an ’84 Olds Firenza when I see the CTS Coupe. I don’t care how much [unusable] power it has. I find it ugly. Choppy sedan front end meets ’80s econobox rear. Small greenhouse, shoulder-shrugging sheet metal. I really don’t get the hype. To me, an Accord is a more dynamic shape. (Sorry. It’s what I prefer, not that I own one.) I would hate for people to look back on this decade and see this thing as representative of the best we can do. Chop the back doors off an average-looking sedan because even though ten years prior, our industry decided that nobody wants coupes – we all want SUVs – now, this is the best idea we’ve ever had. So was cab-forward, so was the minivan, and so on. This is a perfect example of the American industry scrambling to catch the next big wave after it has broken on shore. Zzzz.

December 15, 2010 at 6:56 pm
(11) Jeff says:

Definition of Zzzz: Accord

December 15, 2010 at 8:08 pm
(12) Hawaiian Don says:

Siblur redefines why taste is uniquely singular. The 4 door Accord’s most recent design is awful. This car is waaay too big and its lines are offensive to my aesthetic eye.

December 16, 2010 at 12:02 am
(13) Eric says:

I agree Don. I haven’t cared for the Accord’s design for quite a while now, not even the coupe, and I LOVE coupes in spite of what the rest of our frumpy motoring public thinks. There are a few I don’t care for though, and the Accord is one of them.

4-door sedans are great, but, in spite of their practicality, they just don’t have the sporty flair that some of the 2-doors do. Can’t help it, but that’s all I’d drive if I could. Did for years. I still advocate that all passenger car models should be available in 2 and 4 door versions, as well as a wagon. The Germans seem to do it pretty successfully. Variety is the spice of life.

December 18, 2010 at 12:58 pm
(14) siblur says:

Siblur redefines why taste is uniquely singular.

Don/Eric: I appreciate your respect here. Most people just flame on and say “see, he likes the Accord because he doesn’t know anything about design.” Actually, nothing could be further from the truth…. I don’t think the Accord is gorgeous or aweful. I hate what they’ve done with the rear end “butt lift.” I think I only chose that car to illustrate just how boring and overrated I, personally, find the CTS coupe. At least in the Honda’s case, being slab-sided has a purpose, as the car is admittedly bland to appeal to those who prefer bland. But the lines are more appropriate on that car, I think. The CTS is, well, it’s not really shaped like anything, really. Glad GM is building cars that are this good, whether the styling appeals to everyone or not.

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