But older cars are better than todays cars, NOT

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by ALS, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    I bust out laughing sometimes watching these old Bud Lindemann car reviews from the late 1960's though mid 70's. People worship the older performance muscle cars and those of you who never grew up with them will appreciate the reality of these car reviews. They were never as fast as people seem to remember.

    Here is a 1974 Olds Omega with a 350ci four barrel.

    How about a 1974 Mercury Cougar with a 460ci four barrel and a Cutlass with a 350ci four barrel.

    My 2010 Prius is faster through the quarter mile than all of them LMAO. :p
    And it stops much better.
  2. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    I think I've seen all the old Bud Lindemann videos online. The Pinto vs Vega video is hysterical.

    They're all fun to watch. You see severe brake fade and lockup, big block midsize 'performance' cars that would lose to a modern Camry V6 or Sonata turbo, and seeing the old bias belted tires just about peeling off the rim during high speed cornering. Bud narrates, "rebound and recovery were excellent" as the barge rolls over and lands on the spring bumpers and pieces of shredded rubber are seen spitting off the tires.

    These videos are the reason why I have so little respect for modern "auto enthusiast" writers and publications. They are having grief-seizures over a Chevy Spark having only 100hp because they weren't alive when Chrysler was selling minivans by the hundreds of thousands - 7 passenger vans - with a 100hp 2.5L TBI four cylinder. Somehow people survived with only 100hp. And sorry, traffic conditions aren't so much worse today that they justify the journo-recommended minimum hp for a minivan that is now at least 250.

    The 5400 pound '75-'76 Cadillac seemed to be adequate with a smogged 8.2L engine rated at a net 180hp, but a '17-'18 Sonata that weighs more than a ton less, that has serious gearing advantages to boot, is regarded as merely 'adequate' at 185hp. Sad.
  3. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    They just don't make 'em like they used to. As a guy who owned a 73 Ford Pinto , a 75 Fiat 128SL , a 77 Dodge D100 , I have to say............. thank goodness ! Now I have to go search for those Bud Lindemann videos !
    xcel, TheFordFamily and BillLin like this.
  4. Jay

    Jay Well-Known Member

    I miss the lightness of the old cars. My first car, a Honda 600 sedan, weighed 1350 lbs, then the weight crept up to ~1500lbs for my 2nd car, a gen 1 Civic. As late as the 1990s my car still weighed well under 2000 lbs. My last Honda Civic hatch weighed 2300 lbs and the latest gen 10 Civic hatch is now 2800 lbs. sigh. Bigger and heavier to deal with all the other bigger heavier cars.
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  5. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    For fun, watch the dealer training films from the early 60s. They compare Brand C to brand F and brand R and brand D and brag that they have "door armrests, dual sun visors, and cigar lighter as standard equipment, while others make you upgrade to the deluxe model to get these features."

    The weight of today's cars comes from added equipment, sound insulation, telematics, and all the must-haves people demand. Since they are ubiquitous today, you need to revisit the tin boxes of 60 years ago see where today's cars gained the weight. The Falcon for 1960 is a good example. The floor of the trunk was actually the gas tank that dropped in from above and got clipped into place. There was no roof ribbing above the passengers - the panel depended on its dome shape to keep from collapsing under its own weight. The Corvair for 1960 didn't have a sway bar up front, and the engine was designed without crankshaft counterweights. These old cars didn't weigh much - or cost much - because there wasn't much there.

    The best films for seeing how devoid of materials early compact cars really were would be those introducing the Comet - originally to be the Edsel Comet but sold at Mercury dealers when Edsel suddenly left town. The enthusiastic voiceover gushes over the new stretch-Falcon: Comet has a standard 6 cylinder engine, chrome-plated gun-sight fender ornaments (not available on Rambler Classic or Dodge Lancer at any price!) and of course Comet is the only one in its field with... fine-car styling. The fine-car styling line is really funny, and describes nothing more than styling cues borrowed from Lincoln, Mercury and Thunderbird. Translation - Falcon in a tux.
    Yeah, that's a must-have. Never mind the 144 engine made 85hp gross horsepower, which is about 60 net, most of which was lost going through the two-speed automatic (for most people) whose two speeds were effectively 'second' and 'third', or a three speed manual without a synchronizer on first gear so you had to stop to get back into first.

    Imagine a "Back To The Future" scenario where you drove a '17 Civic back to 1955. Look - there's a color TV in the dash - at a time when there weren't more than a few thousand dishwasher-sized color TVs in the entire country. Play mp3 files stored on your phone through that color TV screen. Automatic transmission was a rare, expensive, unreliable and largely unrefined feature at that time. If your back-to-55 Civic was a stick, they'd marvel at six ratios instead of three. The new for 1955 Chevy V8 made 160 gross hp (so 120 net?) so the Civic's direct injected four would completely murder any '55 Chevy V8 from stop light to stop light, and do so with the A/C on max.

    Nope - I don't miss the old cars one bit.
    xcel, TheFordFamily and BillLin like this.
  6. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Jeez , Chris. A lot of people our age would have a coronary at those sacrilegious words ! I do wish cars were a bit lighter , but what would I want to give up to get it ? The only cars better than what they are selling today are the cars we'll get tomorrow .
    BillLin likes this.
  7. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    I remember a girl I knew-had a tiny honda with some letters-4 letters or so-indicating some honda clever combustion chamber "ignition"stuff
    CCIV- CCVC anyway it was a tiny car that was cheap to buy and got great-by the standard of the day(which would have been maybe 11mpg actual average city mpg-perhaps 13mpg at 65mph-actual average)
    It was LITTLE and must have been light-in that 1400 lb range

    MAXX- yeah cars were pretty crummy back then-relative to today
    Our 1961 Rambler SW-with the HIGH TECH aluminum BLOCK(think it was the block) straight six
    my dad-notable cheapskate "don't need a v-8 for a car" only person I knew-ever knew(other than me and you crazy folks) who actually kept a little notebook in the car with miles fills MPG record-yeah in 1950's 1960's 1970's that was uncommon
    Anyway that aluminum block-ROUTINELY spit out its head gasket
    and we would suddenly be going down the road spewing steam from under the hood
    Yeah like an oil change-ever 3 months-

    Cars were filled with FLAWS sometimes because of slight over reaches-like the aluminum block
    other times just CHEAP OUTS

    But they were fun-those Corvairs-on gravel shell roads-were fun to induce over steer-
    back end would come waaaay around-you would think you were some kind of race driver
    Pretty sure that tendency was the origin of UNSAFE AT ANY SPEED (VW too)
    But it was fun!!
    Corvair-some even had some sort of supercharger-maybe turbo?? not sure

    Falcon-became the Mustang!! Dinky cheap car-sold like hotcakes because of name styling and clever marketing
    initially niot sure the mustang even had a V-8?? Guess it did-289 maybe(but Ford had a smaller one-260 also maybe)

    Dangerous death traps-but fun
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  8. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    Personally, I have a soft spot for the older cars. I still have my 81 Buick Regal, although I don't drive it anymore. Maybe some day I'll have the money to make it nice again. I have always loved the "Big car ride", where it just floats over the bumps. How I would love to have an early 70s Buick or Oldsmobile clamshell wagon. Yeah, they handle like the Titanic, but there is no doubt I would be grinning ear to ear while driving one.
    xcel likes this.
  9. jcp123

    jcp123 Caliente!

    I've watched quite a few of those.

    Yes, eye-opening in terms of objective factors. But subjectively...classics are still so much more seductive than the cookie-cutter, plastic fantastics we drive now. I accept modern cars on a somewhat logical basis, but with a more normal budget, I wouldn't even think twice about bypassing any modern car for a daily driver.
    xcel likes this.
  10. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    08 jcp right-objectively direct comparisons-they lose to modern cars
    But the styling-and 08 gotta agree-loved that HUGE car float feel-really comfortable the way it would gently float-
    And some had that nice V-8 sound(which some modern cars also have)
    but modern cars with the V-8 sound-the DRIVER can't hear that V-8 rumble grumble
    people outside can-but driver-not much
    Yeah and some GMs had that spinning speedometer-waaay cool
    and even Buicks and Olds had some runners-those HUGE motor Buicks with actual brakes-outrun their Chevy/Pontiac cousins
    and the 442-clever name
    and the Buick Rivera-waaay out there styling
    various Cadillacs-LONG HOODS
    Lincolns with that cool look and suicide doors
    and all the CHEAP to buy BIG BLOCK MOPARS Plymouths Dodges- just add a few decals and big blocks 0to family cars-LOW PRICES-instant cool
    Yeah Mopar was always the most bang for buck 383 or 440(or if you were small block 340 with (maybe) 3 two barrels(not sure about that 3 deuces with the 340??-that sounds like a GM move)
    of course you could go 426 Hemi-$1100 option-2 FOUR BARRELS I think-and my memory remembers that they required some peculiar SPERM whale oil additive???-hmmm maybe mixing memories

    Hey they were cool
    Current cars-not a one is cool-where is the sperm whale oil(or synthetic equivalent-since I like whales-animal lover-and hate people countries-who kill whales-
    xcel likes this.
  11. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Charlie - The whale oil was in Type A automatic transmission fluid, used in automatics of the 1950s. For any of these old cars still on the road, Dexron III (GM/Mopar) or Mercon (Ford) will work fine.

    I can appreciate the styling of the old cars and the unique look of each brand. Chrysler's swing from Virgil Exner and the fins (late 50s-early 60s) to Elwood Engel (remainder of the 60s) and the slab sided formal look meant they always looked different from all the others. GM' Bill Mitchell's creations of the 1960s and 1970s were also unique, for better or for worse. His 1963 Riviera is an instant classic, his 1971 Riviera was a little too out there. The first downsized Chevy - the 1977s, were about perfect in proportion and look for the time. Even today, they look like stately full size cars, not bizarre styling exercises.
    xcel likes this.
  12. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    One of the great things about the older cars were they were so easy for the average owner to work on.
    And the second it was easy for a shade tree mechanic to modify them for either power or economy.

    A lot of the local independent shops are starting to run into problems with most of the new vehicles less than five years old.
    The cost of the equipment and the training to diagnose these vehicles is getting prohibitive.

    Like my brother a Mustang and Shelby owner said the prices of the 60's and early 70's muscle cars has topped out and are starting to drop.

    The guys that graduated high school after 83-85 are not car crazy like the guys of the fifties sixties and seventies.

    As these guys get into their sixties and close to seventy their interest in these cars wavers.

    The rare stuff is always going to go for big bucks, Hemi's, Superbirds, Daytona's, Talledeggas, Charger 500's, Z/28's, Corvettes up to 1970 and especially the big blocks, Boss Mustangs, Shelby's, Trans AM's 69-74 especially the 455 Super Duty's, Olds 442 W30's 455's. The special cars like AAR Cudas, GTO Judge's, Yenko Chevy's, Baldwin Camaro's, 409 Chevy's, Aluminum front end Catalina's, 2+2 421 Catalina's, Chrysler 300's with 426 Wedge's, 427 Fords, the altered wheel based Dodges and Fords. There are plenty that I'm probably forgetting but you get my point.

    Base Mustangs, Camaro's, Chevelle's, GTO's are a dime a dozen. Yes they are priced pretty high upwards of 70K but that doesn't mean anyone is buying them.

    I've owned cars from the 60's and 70's and have no real interest in having another unless it was something I though was unique. Maybe a 65 Catalina 2+2 convertible with a four speed and the 421ci Tripower, or a 69 Grand Prix SJ with a 428 and a four speed (Rare). Even a nice 1970 Chrysler 300 with the 440 high performance 375 hp engine would tickle my fancy as they say.
    Jay and xcel like this.
  13. BillLin

    BillLin PV solar, geothermal HVAC, hybrids and electrics

    A DeLorean powered off garbage would suit me. :D
    08EscapeHybrid and xcel like this.
  14. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    You can dream :)
    xcel and BillLin like this.
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    A few items I can add to the mix as my parents owned these vehicles...

    All 1,570 lbs of a 62 Beetle. I was < 1-year old and my parents were hit from behind and pushed into the car in front of them at about 15 mph while sitting at a stop light. The Beetle was totaled and both front seats broke off their damned mounts! My mom said she was holding me in her arms and we hit the dash hard. Maybe it is why I am the way I am today? :D

    I had the chance to drive a 52 Beetle Convertible at a short lead event in Malibu back in late 2012 IIRC. Want to know how you stopped it from 25 mph? You slammed your foot into the floorboard and prayed!!!

    Present and Past: 2013 and 1952 VW Beetle


    72 Civic CVCC... 1500 lbs... Light as hell. Uncomfortable as hell. I remember my father using metal blanks in the fuse box to keep the damn thing on the road for the two years of ownership.

    76 Datsun Honeybee at a svelte 2,050 lbs. Its claim to fame was $2,995 starting price and a 29/41 mpg highway rating from the 70 hp an 75-lb-ft. of torque 1.4L I4! That is $12,870 in today's dollars. For just over $1k more I can pick up an almost fully loaded Elantra Eco today! The Honey Bees 41 mpg rating was on the unadjusted EPA test cycles from the early 70s. This is the same unadjusted EPA highway rating as the 4,000 lb 2017 Nissan Murano with the 260 hp and 240 lb-ft. of torque 3.5L V6 in 4WD trim. I loved the manual A/C too! Pull a clasp and the rear window swung out about 3 inches.

    1976 Datsun Honey Bee Advert


    I do not want to go back and the sooner these unsafe gross polluting Museum pieces reach a static only status, the better.

    Mendel Leisk, jcp123 and BillLin like this.
  16. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Wayne-no mention of your Chevette??
    I think you said it was a Scooter-which was a STRIPPED version of an economy car(stick on paper like decals-painted bumpers)
    My late wife-KK got a MT 1980 chevette-non interference motor(yeah at 35000 timing belt let go-no big deal cheap to fix)-
    it was about $5200 OTD with AC AM/FM

    MAXX-so I was mixing memories-I seem to remember it being some sort of oil additive?? engine oil??-but memory is tricky

    Al I think a Catalina(with some HUGE motor)-might have held the unofficial moto-magazine 0-60 5.3 considered "stock" just advanced ignition and lowered tire pressure
    HUGE heavy car like that(but even big cars weren't THAT heavy back them-but that sure LOOKED like a heavy car)
    08EscapeHybrid and xcel like this.
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Charlie:

    I actually like the Chevette Scooter. IIRC, it retailed for $4,995 stripped? Fondest memory was it was short enough I could wash the roof from one side and cover the rest from the other. Washing it took just 5-minutes if you were in a hurry. :)

    08EscapeHybrid likes this.
  18. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    MAXX- apparently my memory is sorta' right-not quite of course-amazing how memory can be sooo certain-but so "off" I was sure it was a 426 Hemi only deal-which sorta made the HEMI even MORE exotic-
    We-my dad-finally broke down his cheapskate-ness 6 cal only-in 1965 with a 318 Fury III SW(8 passengers) dumped the 1961(ROMNEY to blame) aluminum block Rambler SW( head gasket re-done-every 3-6 months!
    With that 318 we became MOPAR fans forever(despite MOPAR not being in common use back then-you specified Plymouth or Dodge)
    Plenty of MOPARS were supposed to use this lube-found this google search


    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017
    xcel likes this.
  19. rockrohar

    rockrohar Well-Known Member

    Looking forward is always better, though hindsight is 20/20, smaller lightweight economy car designs have always had a greater demand when the economy is uncertain.
    The truth in the points ALS made about the older vehicles being easy to work on and "it was easy for a shade tree mechanic to modify them for either power or economy." and "A lot of the local independent shops are starting to run into problems with most of the new vehicles less than five years old.The cost of the equipment and the training to diagnose these vehicles is getting prohibitive." as well as jcp123's comment: "I've watched quite a few of those. Yes, eye-opening in terms of objective factors. But subjectively...classics are still so much more seductive than the cookie-cutter, plastic fantastics we drive now. I accept modern cars on a somewhat logical basis, but with a more normal budget, I wouldn't even think twice about bypassing any modern car for a daily driver." as are .08EscapeHybrid thoughts and jay's point to the real problem that manufactures continue to take good design only to make it more expensive, complicated and heavier as better when it's not necessary or for the customer's benefit, as it's sold!

    READ THIS ARTICLE: https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hmn/2010/05/The-Little-Microbe-Car/3184281.html
    The real issue comes down to, if a city dweller might want to give up any vehicle ownership for public transportation.
    Since this is not an option for country folks for a too expensive vehicle designed so I can't work on it is out of the question, like most people and I'm not willing to give up my transportation independent freedom, that a subjective city dweller might. I have used the same thought process as the article posted here where styling and simplicity is the objective value rather than a subjective vehicle designed with fear of a crash and pollution, which is already a part of the inescapable human experience that can only be minimized by personal responsibility rather than trying to legislate common sense into a economy vehicle design.
    I don't buy it, as many here don't either. This is why I built a 350 lbs.cycle car that gets over 100 mpg with a 420 cc motor for much less than a manufactured car.
  20. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    In the big cities, insurance and the cost of a parking space are both far beyond any car payment.
    http://monthlyparking.org/nyc-monthly-parking - Parking in Manhattan will run $400-$500 a month. Insurance with comp/collision is another $150-$250 a month. To start. Most of the cars you see in midtown are T&LC or they have NJ or CT plates. Live near midtown? You use public transportation.

    The cycle car would probably fill the same niche as the NEV - another limited-registration class of vehicle. The NEVs get a lot of use in retirement communities in Florida, where the Greatest Generation use them to drive to the golf course of restaurant, in a climate where it never snows and you don't need to go anywhere when it's raining because there's always a Murder She Wrote marathon playing on channel 1000-something.

    As novel as the idea is, the single-seat minicar is just a pipe dream. Before you go much further, you will want to work on getting it to be guaranteed for full coverage by auto insurance for a guaranteed cap of $10 a month, regardless of driver age, gender, driving record, zip code or number of miles driven, and it might be a good idea. Otherwise, anything on wheels that you plan to use on public roads just costs too much to operate, and so people want more out of any vehicle they're going to pay to register and insure. That means room for family (or most of the family), a roof over your head, A/C, good snow traction, Bluetooth, and more airbags than the average Senate subcommitee.
    08EscapeHybrid and xcel like this.

Share This Page