On this Independence Day sort-of weekend, Jalopnik answers a question that I’m sure is burning in all our brains …
… complete with psychological explanations. For instance:
James Madison likely had an inferiority complex, as his health was frail, and was the smallest president, by height and by weight. He was also the president to lead America into the War of 1812. As an enemy of Britain, he had to choose something that promoted America, and would help with his inferiority complex by making him seem bigger and manlier than he was. If he didn’t drive a Ford F-150, the Shelby GT500 (or Chevrolet Camaro ZL1) would be his pick.
An even more interesting explanation is presented for Alexander Hamilton’s wheels:
“He stands at the front rank of a generation never surpassed in history, but whose countrymen seem to have never duly recognized his splendid gifts.” – James Bryce, in reference to Hamilton, who, like the Forester XT, was often never fully recognized for his many less-publicized exemplary accomplishments.
“When America ceases to remember his greatness, America will no longer be great.” – Calvin Coolidge, in reference to Hamilton. Like America’s recognition of Hamilton’s greatness, when Car Culture ceases to remember just how and why the Forester XT was awesome, then it’s no longer a true car culture.
“Good roads, canals, and navigable rivers, by diminishing the expense of carriage, put the remote parts of a country more nearly upon a level with those in the neighborhood of the town. They are, upon that account, the greatest of all improvements. They encourage the cultivation of the remote, which must always be the most extensive circle of the country.” -Hamilton, on making the rural areas of the country more accessible for the masses, something Subaru is quite adept at.
“The rights of neutrality will only be respected, when they are defended by an adequate power.” – Alexander Hamilton on the Subaru XT not having any flashy exterior styling beyond a functional hoodscoop. Why does the XT have such neutral styling? Because it has enough power under the hood that it doesn’t feel it has anything to prove.
“I never expect to see a perfect work from imperfect man.” – Hamilton, if asked to comment on Subaru’s designers.
“And it is long since I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.” – Alexander Hamilton. I’m pretty sure this quote is stamped somewhere on the chassis of every Forester XT, Impreza Outback Sport, Baja, Brat, Justy, Legacy GT, and WRX Sportwagon.
The added benefit is that Subarus are built in Lafayette in the Northwest Territory — I mean, Indiana.
What about friends and rivals John Adams and Thomas Jefferson? An Aston Martin Vanquish and, of all things, a Citroen DS, respectively:
Adams was a key instrument in declaring independence from Great Britain, but after the war he served as a diplomat in Europe. Adams was one of the men responsible for authoring the eventual treaty between the United States and Great Britain. Therefore, it is only fitting that the would drive a British car… that was built while owned by the MOST American of companies, Ford!
As for Jefferson:
He loved French novelties!
The most exotic choice goes to my favorite Founding Father, Ben Franklin: A Facel Vega, a French-designed car powered by the first and second iterations of the Chrysler Hemi V-8:
French on the outside, American on the inside. It’s badass and I’m sure great for picking up chicks.
The first president, George Washington, is assigned a Jeep Wagoneer:
Washington was probably the wealthiest man in America in the late 18th century – his holdings would easily be worth more than $500 million today, at the low end. This car is the definition of old money landed gentry- the closest American vehicle you can get to a Range Rover, and even 20 years after the last one was built, they’re still fairly popular among upscale East Coast summer colonies like Martha’s Vineyard. This is a car for someone with a large estate that needs to occasionally travel across it for inspections or hunting, and is so wealthy and self-assured that he doesn’t need something flashy and new to prove it. I figure he would have had a Range Rover first, as any good Southerner would have been fairly pro-British before 1775, but he would have swapped it for the Jeep once war clouds started to appear.
Washington might have swapped the Range Rover for the Jeep before “war clouds started to appear” due to the lack of liability for which British cars are legendary.