Here's $AllofTheMoney. Buy the most American new car

OK, it’s time for a calendar-based theme week in our ongoing series of handing our editors wads of fake cash and telling them to buy a car of some sort. This week, to celebrate Canada Day on July 1, we’ve decided to …

Wait, I’ve been told by my American colleagues that Americans would rather read about American things, so we’re going to do the Fourth of July instead. Probably more interesting that way.

The job before us is simple: build the new car each of us feels is the most American. In character? In who buys it? In where the parts come from? I’ll leave that up to them. 

Here are the’s rules:

  1. There is no price cap this week due to the glories of the free-market economy. 
  2. The car must be new because new cars are better and the unions who make them are the backbone of America.
  3. New “car” is meant generically. SUVs and trucks are included too because there’s only, like, five literal cars left.
  4. Choice must be made while listening to John Phillip Sousa. 

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Tesla Model S Plaid

Associate Editor Byron Hurd: Turn the clock in your head back 20 years. Vipers ran wild, the Corvette Z06 was fresh and the Cadillac CTS-V was still effectively a secret. America’s performance cars were capable but crude — and we loved them for it. Now, we’ve got Dodge selling badge-engineered Alfa Romeos and Chevy selling world-beating, mid-engine sports cars. We’ve come a long way in two decades, but as much as I may love my personal CT4-V Blackwing and its larger, even more boisterous sibling, they were clearly designed to compete with un- non-American rivals. Blackwing as a concept was meant to take the fight to Europe. 

But Tesla? Say what you will about the company, but its products have more DGAF (“Don’t give a ****” for the somehow still uninitiated) energy than anything else on the road. Telsa doesn’t care how the European or Asian manufacturers do it; hell, Tesla doesn’t even care how the rest of America does it. There is a Tesla way, and the Model S Plaid goes that way really freakin’ fast. Do you have opinions about EVs? Good for you. Feel free to share your thoughts when you can catch up. 

ford f150 king ranch

Ford F-150 King Ranch

Senior Editor Jeremy Korzeniewski: This one seemed obvious to me. Yes, SUVs and crossovers are making major inroads, but pickup trucks are still going strong with the top three best-selling nameplates, and several more of the top 25. The Ford F-Series is the best-seller of all, and nothing says America like a Cowboy-themed pick-em-up. I went with red for obvious reasons, and the two-tone scheme seen above looks good to my eyes. From there I just picked options I thought the average American would want. It’s powered by a 5.0-liter V8 — Americana at its finest — and has four-wheel drive. I went with the largest cab and the short bed, because while that is absolutely not what I’d personally want, it’s what I tend to see most often on American roads. As equipped it’s around $70,000. That’s a whole heck of a lot, but here we are. This, to me, is the most American new car.


Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody Jailbreak

Road Test Editor Zac Palmer: Somebody had to do it, right? It doesn’t really matter that the Challenger is built in Canada, because the Hellcat bleeds red, white and blue stronger than any new vehicle in existence. Dodge stayed true to the muscle car ethos throughout the Challenger’s entire run, which is something neither the Ford Mustang nor the Chevrolet Camaro can claim. And sure, that may be for the worse when it comes to things like handling and track performance, but who cares? Just like your average American tourist on vacation in Europe, you’ll always hear the Hellcat go by, and the volume level will definitely be a few notches too high for comfort. There’s no quiet mode; the seats are similar to what you’d find on special at the nearest La-Z-Boy, and you can drink through a whole tank of fuel in just 11 minutes at full throttle. Did I just hear a bald eagle screech in the distance?

Obviously, I configured mine in B5 Blue with red stripes, red brake calipers and red badging. I ticked the “Demonic Red” leather option and also chose the red seatbelts and steering wheel with the glowing red center SRT badge. The Chrome fuel filler door was the final touch, because you can’t call a car American unless there’s at least a little bit of gaudy chrome visible. All in, I’m looking at $103,819, and I’ll make sure to finance that over the course of 108 months. Rah! Rah!

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Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat Premium

Managing Editor Greg Rasa: This is so obvious a choice, how did Zac miss it? This is everything he said above — but in an SUV, so it’s lots more American. Starting at $104,000. Excess upon excess.

Eh. That’s one view of America, anyway. Here is another …

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Chevy Bolt EUV

Rasa again: I prefer to live in an America that owns up to its problems and uses its industrial might to try and solve them. GM first addressed this with the Volt, the Bolt, and then the great little Bolt EUV — starting at under $28,000 before tax credits, it’s a car I’d enjoy owning. This generation of EVs is about to give way for the next iteration, hopefully better. And though GM and the other automakers are underwriting their green efforts by continuing to sell profitable carbon-spewing SUVs and pickups, they’re transitioning. An entire industry is reinventing itself. And what’s more American than that?

Lucid Air America

Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance

Senior Editor James Riswick: I’m with Rasa … sorta. I refuse to accept the idea that the most American automobile is an antiquated vehicle like a muscle coupe or live-axle full-size pickup with an equally antiquated V8 engine just because they’re popular with people who festoon them with American flags. Those cars and trucks harken back to days gone by … except in those days gone by, America wasn’t about looking back. It was about progress, it was about leading the world in design and technology. I choose to see America as that country, the one that landed people on the moon in less than a decade. As such, I chose something that perfectly embodies the spirit of the America that created those glory-days American cars in the first place, and that proves that spirit still exists: the Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance.

Built in America? Yes. Designed and engineered in America? Yes. Bold, forward-looking exterior design? Yes. State-of-the-art, standard-of-the-world engineering? Yes. Interior design that was literally inspired by American architecture (from those mid-century glory days no less) and various locales in California, which is in America? Um, yes. A massive amount of power? It has 1,050 horsepower, so suck on that Hellcat. Grand proportions? American cars ain’t small, and neither is the Lucid. Capable of venturing across America’s wide-open spaces? The Performance has a range of 446 miles, but if I went with the 819-hp non-Performance model and 19-inch wheels, I could go 516. 

America should be about the promise of the future. I think the Lucid Air represents that more than anything else.  

cadillac celestiq 301

Cadillac Celestiq

Senior Editor John Beltz Snyder: Much of what James says of the Lucid Air applies to the Cadillac Celestiq. But Cadillac has something Lucid doesn’t: history. Cadillac was once representative of the American Dream, a brand people aspired to, back when folks believed more universally in merit-based wealth. It seems that all declined somewhere along the way. The dream faded, wealth became more culturally linked with fame and thus out of reach, the tasteless became the tastemakers, and Cadillac was no longer the symbol it once was. But then came cars like the CTS-V, the Blackwings and now the Lyriq, and despite them not being huge status symbols, I’m more likely to respect the taste and opinion of whoever I imagine their owner to be.

I think the Celestiq, especially, brings back some of that sense of awe to the person that will choose to own one over a neon Lamborghini or murdered-out Bentley. With a six-figure price tag, it’s a status symbol, sure, but an interesting one that harkens back to the days when Cadillac was a symbol of aspiration, while embodying both American innovation and craftsmanship. It doesn’t scream “sex-tape famous” or some represent some fictitious yee-haw showmanship baloney. I’m actually curious as to who some of the first Celestiq customers will be, whether I’ll already know their names or will admire what they’ve done to earn their success. Even if it’s someone I don’t like, I’ll at least have to give them some credit for taste, just as I have to give Cadillac some credit for making a car I’d dream to buy someday.

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Chevrolet Corvette E-Ray

News Editor Joel Stocksdale: I absolutely adore the C8 Corvette. It does everything well. The handling and performance are remarkable, but it’s also happy cruising and commuting. It feels like a supercar from inside, but one that feels attainable and easy to maintain. That also means you can thrash it with less fear than a traditional supercar. And now there are even more amazing versions, the Z06 and the E-Ray.

The Z06 would seem like the obvious choice, especially for someone that loves sports cars like myself. But I have a couple reasons for going with the E-Ray. And the first, is the engine. Yes, it’s just the regular, old pushrod, cross-plane crank V8 like the Stingray. But the thing is, I love that classic rumble. The Z06’s shriek is really cool, but that smooth burble likely isn’t long for this world. Plus, that rippling exhaust seems the most American, harking back to the original small-block-powered Vettes.

Then there’s the hybrid nature of it. I love the idea of combining such an iconic V8 with high-tech electronics to make it faster and more efficient. All-wheel-drive is cool, too, and would make it a sweet all-season car for Michigan, with more traction and rust-proof bodywork. 

So America’s sports car is my choice. More specifically, the top 3LZ trim with the ZER performance package and Rapid Blue over Two-Tone Blue interior. Man, I wish this was reality.

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