Cars Are Better Now Than They Ever Were!

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I am getting annoyed at people's comments about some of the newer cars. I have occasionally come to this site and try to offer advice. If someone has
a problem, I am glad to try to help. But comments about new cars are baffling to me. Like saying a new car should have a FUNCTIONING hood scoop. Why? They make more power than almost any 60's car that had to have a functioning scoop to gain power without one. Remember, the horsepower rating was changed in 1972 to show net horsepower not gross horsepower. That means that a car in 1970 that had 390 horse would equal about 315 in todays ratings. Don't believe it? Check the quarter mile times. They will bear it out using the power to weight ratio. I am 45 years old and when I first got my license, it was in 1975. The cars we had were from the 60's since we did not have the money for new ones. I thought that era was the best. When I turned 21 and started going to bars, I listened to the older guys say that the 50's cars were the best. I decided that I will not stick to an era based on my age but judge cars based on the way they are. Back in the 60's you had 12000 mile plugs, 6000 mile point adjustments with a 12000 mile replacement,12000 mile fuel filter and so on. As the points wore, the cars performance changed. Now they run solid their whole life. They used to have bias ply tires that were not speed rated and dangerous at high speed. No air bags, no anti lock brakes, worse gas mileage,4 wheel drum brakes on a 4200 pound car with much more brake fade. No crumple zones in the sheet metal, no shoulder harness, junk radios from the factory, no factory alarms, thin sway bars on heavy cars, 40 amp alternators(remember sitting at idle and watching the amp gauge go to d(discharge)?) Just check these performance times and you will see that the 60's and 70's cars can't touch today. And now they are adding even more power. Before you say, yeah but look at the prices, They say that 5000 dollars in 1966 is equal to 45000 today. The top performance cars then were 4200-6000 then. No difference. Don't mean to open a can of worms but I want to give credit where credit is due. http://www.musclecarclub.com/musclecars/general/musclecars-50fast.shtml
Check the chart and you will see that you stiil go very fast but you ride in more comfort and luxury(no vinyl seats or vinyl floors with no a/c and vent windows) and much more safety all on unleaded gas with better milege in a car that you can take on a trip because it doesn't have a 4.11 rear end without overdrive and a lockup converter. My 2 cents
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Well said! I am older than even you.. Ha! I'm 67 years old and the cars I remember were 1935 Plymouth, 1937 Chevrolet, 1940 Chevrolet 1950 Mercury then I found Studebakers! Ah, the love of my life a 1954 Studebaker Commander Hardtop it was 20 years ahead of itself in styling and some engineering features, like a hill-holder, overdrive and underseat heaters.
I love to look at the old cars but I don't want any of them back, it is "OLD" technology.. Every thing you said about short life spark plugs, carburetors, and dist caps and rotors.. ugh! FULL tune-ups every 5000 miles if you wanted to keep it running in tip top shape.
Gas mileage of 15- 18 on the road was really GOOD.
Bob...

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R,
I know where you are coming from, I'm an auto mechanic. But,.... In 1966 your average Joe didn't pay $5000 for an ordinary sedan. In 1967 you could have purchased a Lotus Europa sports car, that would do over 110 mph for about $4000. I have a 1967 magazine in front of me, that advertises this. This would be a car that would have been out-of-reach, for a middle class worker in '67.
I have been living since 1966, and in 1975 my sister purchased a Buick Skyhawk V-6 for $4100. That's 9 years after 1966. At the time, it was a new model, and cost more because of this.
Most average people can't repair today's problems in vehihicles. In 1966 it was easy,... points, plugs, filters. A person could tinker. With today's vehicles, it's almost always a trip to the shop.
The more electronics and technology added to a vehicle, the higher the price, and this price (cost of the vehicle, and service), has exponentially exceeded the "cost of living" increases, that a middle class worker earns today.
Much of it is due to EPA regulations, and fuel shortage. You wouldn't see fuel injection, catalytic converters, etc.. on standard vehicles today, if we were not worried about pollution, and fuel economy. Fuel injection would most likely have been put on sports cars and such. There also would have been no need for an powertrain computer, if you could still used a carburetor.
Once again, I'm a mechanic. I don't like to hear the complaints, but I do believe that they are justified, in some ways. Vehicles today will start-up at 10 deg below zero. They also handle better, and get better fuel economy. But the more electronics,wiring & connectors, power equipment, you add to a vehicle, the more chance of a failure. Constant temperature changes and vibration, are something that auto engineers have to deal with, along with the bean counters that want to reduce the price, at the same time.
It's not so surprising.
GMdude
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R wrote:

Wow. You need some prozak. :)
Seriously, I mostly agree with you. I've owned lots of cars: (1970, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1982, 1984, 1986, 1990, 2001) and I'm only 30. (www.rollingviolation.com if you really want to see them all)
The new ones need less maintenance and are better in almost every way. Almost. :)
Pull the engine on the 70 Buick - maybe a 1/2 hour to unbolt stuff. To pull the engine in my 01 Trans Am would be a full day affair.
Diagnostics - there was like three vacuum lines on the Buick. Air, fuel and spark. A basic set of handtools and you can do anything. You need a laptop just to clear the MIL on the 01. (which is nice when the car tells you what it thinks is wrong.)
Where new cars suck: Personality. Most of them just don't have one.
Seriously, they don't build 'em like they used to, and that's a good thing. However, they used to build 'em like that, so put on the rose colored glasses and enjoy the NEAT parts about old cars. Styling from the 50's, the V8's of the 60's, the sheer mass of the 70's. :)
My buddy wouldn't trade his 72 Nova for anything... why? :)
Ray
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Ray,
You gotta love the '72 Nova. Great car.
When I get my 3 car garage, one day, it will have a Nova in it ('69-72). Whatever I can find in good, "close-to-stock" shape. I had a '77 in high school, but my love rests in the earlier years.
GMdude
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GMdude wrote:

Yeah, he's owned it now for about 12-13 years. Originally a 6 cyl, it's now sporting a 350, buckets, air conditioning, new quarters, new driver's side floor, new paint, and more that I can't remember. It's his never ending project car. Might be doing engine #2 next year - the "core" is on a stand in my garage while he decides how "wild" to go - engine #1 was pretty much stock with a cam and intake.
Ray
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My parents had an orange 73 nova with the 350, incidentally they sold it when I turned 15, I wonder why...
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Yeah personality. Like 3 pumps on the gas in the morning, let up slow to set choke. Start, stall, repeat with one pump and she's running. Every car had it's own formula for cold starting, learned by experience with the beast. The guy late for work always would pull out and stall in the road or stall at a light 'cause it wasn't warmed up enough. A good driver would know how to pump the gas and keep it running when the cold stall happened or knew what to do if the choke stuck closed. Funny, back then folks would not be on the horn when someone stalled at a light as it happened to everyone. Especially on cold rainy days. IMO the old cars made drivers more aware, driver input was needed to start and operate them, today's cars are appliances operated by the mostly brainless masses.
--
John
"anything you say can & will be misquoted & used against you"
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Repairman wrote:

Well, I meant more along the lines of styling. I'm thinking 80's cars here - most run for 100,000 miles without much fanfare but are absolutely generic - they all look like boxes. Then early 90's cars all look like Tauruses. They all have that generic 3L 6cylinder sound.
Ray
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head to grandma's house with the wife & kids or off for a weekend with the girlfriend they'll take a safe reliable car they can depend upon.
PS as for repairs,... unless I'm mistaken there's fewer mechanics per vehicle than years ago.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com says...

I dunno...all my old cars are simple and easy to repair(if something actually broke!) All they need are oil changes and the occasional points adjustment.
And when I drive down the road....I don't blend in like all the jellybean cars today.
--
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Dennis Smith
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Smith,
I wouldn't Dwell on the fact you have to adjust yer points.
LOL !
========Harryface ======== 1991 Pontiac Bonneville LE 3800 V6 ( C ), Black/Slate Grey _~_~_~295,865 miles_~_~_
~_~_~_~_U.S.A._~_~_~_~_~_
~~~The Former Fleet ~~~ 89 Cavalier Z 24 convertible 78 Holiday 88 coupe 68 LeSabre convertible 73 Impala sedan
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On Thu, 11 Nov 2004 20:37:33 -0600, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (Harry Face) wrote:

AGRHH.............. Very Punny.....
Rolling eyes...
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You are absolutely right.
Cars in general are far superior today in so many ways. Comfort, safety, drivability, longevity and even price. My main complaint and why I'll never own a GM again ( I have owned only GMs and now Toyota) is GM's lack of quality in the simplest things. Alternator bearings, fuel pumps and fuel gauge senders, hinge pins on the full sized pickups and Suburbans, engine gaskets that don't seal properly. The list is really long. Look through this newsgroup and others like alt.trucks.chevy and alt.autos.4x4.chevy.trucks. Checkout the kind of problems others are having with their GMs. Allot of these people are having real issues with basic lack of quality. Notice too that a large number of these posters are having trouble with late model GMs. I am calling 5-6 year old cars and trucks late model. In my opinion most of these problems should have been avoided with proper engineering and quality control. Just for fun you might want to look through the Toyota based newsgroups. I think you will find fewer serious flaws and quality issues.
You drive what ever makes you happy. I know I will.
Chuck in Phoenix

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Perhaps, but one can't compare the vehicles they owned even five years ago to what is available on the market today. From what we see in our business there is little difference of the overall quality among today's vehicles. The only real difference we see in the thousands of vehicle we service is style and price. Don't forget it will cost you twenty to thirty percent MORE to drive home a similar sized and equipped Toyota as well.
mike hunt
Chuck wrote:

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well, I'm still driving an '83 Malibu with the original driveline, untouched engine and transmission. It has cost almost nothing in actual repairs. I wonder what it would cost to keep a new car running for the next 20 years. Power and acceleration don't interest me in the least. I just want to drive cheap. And by the way I only had one break down needing a tow in all that time.
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The original post was about "old" cars (50s and 60s) not the "new" ones of the 80s!! <G>
We used to hear the same thing back then. "They don't build them like they used to" and I would say "Thank God". Those from the 30s and 40s would be wore out when they got to 50K miles.
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I obtained my drives license in 1943 and my first new car in 1947. Anyone that thinks cars were 'better' in the past is looking back with rose colored glasses in my opinion. I am a collector and own a '41, 64, 71, 72, and 83 automobiles, top of the line models or luxury brands. They are all in mint or near mint condition. All one needs to do is drive one of them and the it soon become apparent as to which are better cars.
In those days the warranty was as low as 1,000 miles of 30 days. Today warranties are up as high as 100K or ten years. Today one can buy a vehicles that will start every time with a short spin of the starter and will run to 100K, problem free, with only minor preventive maintenance. Back then we had to change the oil every 1,000 miles, installed plugs and point every 10K and replaced the tires shock and brake lining before 20K and the rings by 70K. ;)
mike hunt
R wrote:

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You're absolutely right ! Cars are better, more durable, require less maintenance.
It's possible to buy a new car, and do little more than put gas in it. .... a light will even tell you when to change oil.... and that might be 10,000 miles from now.
Change spark-plugs ? New plug designs, and electronic ignitions mean up to 100K miles between plug changes.
I think the manufacturers have done a terrific job in improving reliablity and maintenance requirements.
In the 1950's you spent the first month at your car dealers, having a 50-item punch-list corrected. And you planned on replacing your car at 35,000 miles ( before it'd start to fall apart )
Now-adays, you can buy a new car, drive out, and it may be the last time you go to the dealers until it's time to replace it. BUT When something does break........ We've just read about the $750 fuel pump. And if you ever have to replace a headlight or tail-light cover, prepare to bend-over and squint !
<rj>
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R wrote: Before you say, yeah but look at the prices, They

Not to nitpick, but if you go but the Consumer Price Index, 5000 1966 dollars would be the equivalent of $27881.34 today.
--
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