The Republican front-runner likes to say he's a son of Detroit, and he's got the automobile obsession to prove it.
Mitt Romney loves cars. But don't take our word for it: take his.
"I love cars. I grew up totally in love with cars. It used to be, in the '50s and '60s, if you showed me one square foot of almost any part of a car I could tell you what brand it was, the model and so forth. Now with all the Japanese cars, I'm not quite so good at it, but I still know the American cars pretty well," he told a crowd in Farmington Hills, Michigan, last week -- adding, for good measure, "I love cars, I love Americans cars, and long may they rule the world, let me tell you."
Motor oil runs in Romney's blood, and not because he's a robot. His father, 1968 presidential candidate George Romney, was chief executive of American Motors Corporation and helped to put together the merger of the Nash and Hudson companies to create AMC.
The son's affection for cars seems genuine, but it's smart politics too. Romney, as a very wealthy, Harvard-educated businessman who doesn't drink, may not naturally connect with the Average Guy -- but the garage offers a point of contact. Still, his recent relationship with Detroit has been troubled. Back in 2008, Mitt Romney wrote a column in The New York Times titled (rather unsubtly), "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." As he fights to win his native state, Romney has struggled to explain the op-ed away, relying on complicated and convoluted arguments about structured bankruptcy. But while there may be questions about his commitment to the Big Three carmakers, there are should be no question about his affection for their products. Here is a short guide to the cars Romney owns, has owned, and wants to own.