Editor's Note: When Velocity's own Sam Wackerle isn't here at work, you can catch him chasing another record, building another project or crawling through the junkyard. Certifiably a car nut, Sam wanted to share his unique vehicular view with a weekly list, The Velocity Stack.
Don’t get me wrong, the Jeep has done pretty well under Chrysler, especially the Rubicon version of the JK with Dana 44s and a factory 4 to 1 transfer case, but AMC didn’t just build Jeeps. They also made the unjustly obscure AMC Eagle, a compact 4x4 car produced for 8 years. It was the first full time four wheel drive production car and set the ground work for all of those soccer mom driven "cross over" vehicles that plague the extracurricular parking lots of the local private school. The AMC Eagle was fun and utilitarian, a combination most auto manufacturers are still struggling to perfect.
With a new Ford GT on the way, the Dodge Viper on its way out and the Corvette continuing its poor mans sports car appeal, it’s time for the big three to pay homage to the original American sports car, the Nash-Healey. Yes the body, suspension and chassis were designed and assembled in England, but the powertrain was all American and they only sold the cars in the States. Launching in 1951, it preceded the Corvette by 2 years and inspired a slew of American powered, European bodied cars. European cars with transplanted American engines? Sounds familiar…
International Harvester Scout
International Harvester may be the only company on this list still in business, but their light duty passenger vehicle line is certainly defunct. The Scout was IH’s answer to the Jeep CJ series and came out five years before the now highly collectable Ford Bronco. The rugged simplicity of the Scout is why it should be brought back. In a world of computer controlled, torque diverting, descent assisting, heated leather seat SUVs, the bare bones mentality of the Scout would be a breath of fresh air amongst the electronic fray.
There are several luxury American auto manufacturers still around, Buick and Lincoln to name a few, but is their plastic trim really on par with the European luxury market today? This is prime territory for Packard to steal the show. Before Packard left the scene, the top of the line Caribbean had a self-leveling torsion bar suspension and a new 374ci V8 with plans to achieve a final displacement of 440 cubic inches. Sure the latest Cadillac will throw you back against your seat, but what current American manufactured car will gentle waft you down the road with coin balancing smoothness?