Tiptoeing away from the high revs and the circuit races of the old continent, our crazy Euro car boy has landed in America—and came face to face with a Dodge Challenger.

To call my insertion on the left side of the Atlantic eagerly anticipated would be quite the understatement. Despite my inherent Euro-ness, I have actually spent a cumulative three years of my life in the United States, including a number of formative months in an Oldsmobile Omega. So after being out of the country for five and a half years, I couldn’t wait to come back—if only to find out whether frosted Wild! Magicburst-flavored Pop-Tarts really do exist or are but whims of my consumerist fancy.

Barely 72 hours after touchdown at JFK, I was already rumbling out to Long Island in the shotgun seat of a Dodge Challenger R/T, the 5.7-liter V8 propelling us all the way to 50 MPH on the Long Island Expressway. Here’s a quick take on this lovely caricature of the American car:

  • The Hemi sounds awesome if subdued
  • The interior is—and I’m at pains to not put it bluntly—not something one would expect to find in a passenger vehicle
  • The air conditioning is, like every example of American air conditioning, testament to a shady conspiracy by manufacturers of medication for urinary tract infections. Yes, AC is a wonderful invention but there really is no need to cool cars, subway cars and stores alike to 60 degrees Fahrenheit when it’s 90+ outside. The wimpy European body withers at 30+ degree temperature walls

Even in the crawling midday traffic, I soon escaped the expressway and—accompanied by Natalie Polgar of Hyperleggera and Brett Berk of Vanity Fair—folded myself into something a bit more European:

But more on this later! I shall be in New York City, Detroit and Washington, D.C. over the next three weeks. Suggestions on very American—or very un-American—cars to see in this area are more than welcome.

Photo Credit: Natalie Polgar and the author