September 29, 2006

Horse 632 - By Any Other Name



but when we're riding in my Malibu,
it's easy to get right next to you,
I say baby, scoot over please,
and then she's right there next to me
- Cake


My trip to the USA has actually lifted my opinion of the US carmakers. Despite having the double whammy of really crap fuel (at only 87RON as opposed to 91RON in Oz or 95RON in Europe), and being forced by consumers to produce big steaming piles of poo-poo they call SUV's, it would appear that their normal cars are actually starting to become somewhat sensible.

The Ford Focus is sold in the USA and actually does rather well for itself. But as I looked aorund the place, I realised that several other cars were in fact lurking under the badges of the US Auto makers probably due to percieved racism. They learnt this when Pontiac sold the Monaro as the GTO, and US buyers simply didn't take to it after they refused to let their "Goat" be built buy Australians (who it must be said actually do a better job and have tighter build quality).

The car that I happened to drive in the USA was the Chevrolet Malibu. After I thought about that above, it dawned on me that this was yet another lurker in US clothing. Check out the above comparison and tell me what you see.

That's right, it's the Vectra. The "All-American" Chevrolet Malibu is actually the Opel/Vauxhall/Holden Vectra with a different tart kit front and rear. Under the bonnet is the familiar Family 2 Ecotec engine found in Astras, Vectras, Zafiras, Movanos and Combo Vans. Also further to this, I did some research and found where the engine for this car was made - Elizabeth , South Australia!

Hmm America, you're cars have Aussie knowhow packed right under the bonnet and you didn't even realise it.
The Vectra on Australian roads is a big car, on European roads it positively massive but in America it's quite a small beast and is dwarfed by the Impala and aforementioned Stupid Utility Vehicles.

The Malibu in particular will hold some memories for me which I refuse to shake. The burgundy example I had, I was able to lend out to Katja while Kirby decided to lunch itself.
Also despite it being a wee bit too big for my liking, with Katja in the seat next to me either on the driver's or the passenger's side, the whole thing felt perfectly normal; almost like we'd been that way for years. To look across and see her smiling back was a joy to behold...

... but then, it's not really about the car, is it? ^_^

1 comment:

Katja said...

As nice as it was of you to let me use the Malibu, I think it's too stinkin big and would never desire to own one myself. However, the extra space in the back seat came in handy... which I doubt Kirby would have allowed.

Poor old Kirby. May he rest in peace.