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Mitt Romney gushes about his cars in Detroit Economic Club speech

February 24, 2012|By Maeve Reston
  • Mitt Romney speaks to members of the Detroit Economic Club during a luncheon at Ford Field in Detroit.
Mitt Romney speaks to members of the Detroit Economic Club during a luncheon… (Scott Olson / Getty Images )

Reporting from Detroit — Back in his home state of Michigan for a final weekend of campaigning, Mitt Romney said he hoped to be the first president who was a "car guy" and showed his personal devotion to American cars by listing the ones in his own garage.

"It just feels good being back in Michigan. You know the trees are the right height," he said before an audience of the Detroit Economic Club, reprising a line that was mocked by late-night comedians. "The streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles."

"I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pickup truck," the son of former auto executive and the state's three-term Gov. George Romney said. "Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs actually. And I used to have a Dodge truck, so I used to have all three covered. But I want to tell you how much I appreciate this state, this city, this country."

Campaign aides said Ann Romney has a Cadillac SRX at each home in Massachusetts and California. One is a 2007 model; the other is a 2010. A 2012 Cadillac SRX retails for between $35,485 and $49,085, according to a listing at U.S. News & World Report. Romney drives a reddish-orange Mustang that was a gift from his wife in 2005.

Romney has spoken often of his obsession with cars, which began as a young boy when his father took over the struggling American Motors Corp. and brought it back from the brink of bankruptcy. His older brother Scott Romney recalled in an interview that Mitt Romney built a go-cart from scratch in the driveway long before he could legally drive and developed such an expertise that he could name the make, model and year of a car by looking at a single quarter panel.

He often chats with voters about cars on the campaign trail as he did during a gas station stop during a bus tour before the New Hampshire primary last year. At that spot, Romney told the gas station's owners – who had pictures of vintage cars covering the wall – that his son had given him a 1962 Rambler convertible, one of the prized vehicles that American Motors manufactured when George Romney revamped the company. He admitted that he has also yearned for a 1950's vintage Corvette.

These days, under Secret Service protection, Romney is confined to a chauffeured SUV or his campaign bus, which will be touring Michigan until Tuesday's primary.

maeve.reston@latimes.com
twitter.com/maevereston

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