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Most popular car in Our Fair City

I was driving out of Cambridge yesterday when I saw a fender-bender between 3 Honda Civics and a CR-V. And I thought “How Cambridge is that?”



But while there is general consensus that it used to be a Volvo 240 wagon, there is divergence of opinion on what now constitutes “the” car for Cambridge. Subaru Forester? Mini? Prius? Or the ubiquitous Civic?



This is tongue-in-cheek, of course, but does anyone know if there is registration data online? The Globe used to have 2007 registration info by town (did you know the Subaru Outback was the most popular model in 40 Massachusetts towns?) but it’s gone. All the above are popular “city cars” so I’m not sure Cambridge is unique. Then again, while Boston has parking stickers on the right rear windshield, Cambridge has them on the left…





East Coast residents are notoriusly influenced by advertising rather than actual facts. Ten years after Volvos lost their reputation as “responsible cars” they were still buying them in droves. The difference between perception and realility is about 10 years.

However, no one advertises the Volvo as an unreliable, expensive to maintain Chinese car!

When Ralph Nader left the courtroom after his famous battle with GM many years ago, he was picked up by his girlfriend driving a… Volvo. That would not happen today, since Ralph Nader knows well that these cars are no longer what they used to be, except for safe design.

Subarus are good in snow and ice; a well deserved reputation if you live in snow country. If you live in Cambridge and commute to Boston all that extra technical sophistication is a waste of money and energy.

Where I live, people buy cars based on what they need, what they do and how much money they have. The best selling vehicle is the Ford F-150, followed by the … Honda Civic. Most people I know have campers which need a truck to pull them through the mountains. But most commuters prefer small, well built cars, regardless of who makes them.

From 1951 through 1953, the lower trim line Plymouth was the Cambridge. The more expensive model was the Cranbrook. I assume that the Plymouth Cambridge was built for residents of “Our Fair City”.
Manufacturers have built vehicles for residents of particular areas. Note that we have the Dodge Dakota for citizens of North and South Dakota, the Dodge Durango for motorists in Durango, Colorado. Of course, Chevrolet had to cover all of Colorado with its compact pickup truck. Chrysler Corporation tried to appeal to the residents of New York with the Chrysler New Yorker. Hyundai got into the act with its Tucson. There was a British company that built a whole line of cars for some Texas residents–these cars were called Austins.

The Cranbrook was a Dodge, I believe, we had a 1952 model, a sqaure black box on wheels. Cranbrook is a small mountain town in the Candian Rockies. After 1953 Plymouths were called Belvedere, Savoy, and Plaza, all upscale British hotels.

The 1952 Dodge models were the Coronet, Meadowbrook and Wayfarer for the U.S. models. The Canadian models had different names and were essentially Plymouths. My parents had a 1952 Dodge Coronet. The 1954 through 1957 Plymouths had the Plaza, Savoy and Belvedere names for the model names. In 1958, the Plaza designation was dropped and the lowest trim line was the Savoy.

You may be right; the Encyclopedia of American cars shows the 1952 Dodge as a Coronet, Wayfarer and Meadowbrooke, while Plymouth has the Cranbrook.

East Coast residents are notoriusly influenced by advertising rather than actual facts. Ten years after Volvos lost their reputation as “responsible cars” they were still buying them in droves. The difference between perception and realility is about 10 years.

However, no one advertises the Volvo as an unreliable, expensive to maintain Chinese car!

When Ralph Nader left the courtroom after his famous battle with GM many years ago, he was picked up by his girlfriend driving a… Volvo. That would not happen today, since Ralph Nader knows well that these cars are no longer what they used to be, except for safe design.

Subarus are good in snow and ice; a well deserved reputation if you live in snow country. If you live in Cambridge and commute to Boston all that extra technical sophistication is a waste of money and energy.

Where I live, people buy cars based on what they need, what they do and how much money they have. The best selling vehicle is the Ford F-150, followed by the … Honda Civic. Most people I know have campers which need a truck to pull them through the mountains. But most commuters prefer small, well built cars, regardless of who makes them.<<

This appears to be written by someone who has never been to Cambridge, MA…But that you drive an F150 - I buy that!

Hey, I’m on the East Coast. And I’m only influenced by empirical data. And my friends are influenced by…ME! I get asked routinely “is XXX a good car”? Except for a select few very close friends, I never recommend a car, I refer them to Consumer Reports and tell them to take test drives.

Ralph Nader was a grand self-promoter who knew nothing about cars. I’d guess that he still knows zip about cars. His disasterous attempts at becoming president suggest to me that he knows little about politics also.

I do agree, however, that the technology of AWD is a waste for someone who never leaves the Boston area.