Only an idiot would claim that Ford handled the Pinto correctly. That's
a textbook case of a car company MIShandling a problem that was solvable
with a *very* simple design change. Toyota seems to have studied the
text very carefully in the sludge fiasco, which is why I believe that
Toyota is indeed the next General Motors- in EVERY sense of the word.
With the huge size and utter market dominance comes complacency and
we're already seeing it. Sludge, Tundra brakes, Priuses that reboot when
the traction control engages.... But I digress.
What the "Pinto fans" (if there are any left) rightly pointed out was
that the actual engineering change needed for the car was really, really
small, and the car wasn't the grossly defective rolling piece of crap
that it was portrayed to be. But that only serves to highlight how
S-T-U-P-I-D-L-Y Ford dealt with the situation.
Hey, I'm with you on the cockroach - um PRIUS. :-) I think they're a
work-in-shaky-progress, but Prince Albert (Al Gore Jr.) managed to get it to
100 mph. Of course he was high at the time...
As for the sludge, etc. You keep saying this stuff, but you offer no proof.
I know Tundra has problems as well, but I would probably buy a domestic
OMG we AGREE.
What are your thoughts on the cops frying in Crown Vics - just curious.
If you get the chance, slide under a late model Crown Vic and
look at the placement of the gas tank, then slide under a 68
Galaxy and look at that gas tank.
They are so similar it's like they're using the same stamping
dies except for the differences in the electric fuel pump and
EVAP system on the late models...
So where were all the frying cops in the 60s and 70s?
I've worked on retired late model cop cars that had sheet metal
screws run thru the fuel tank from the trunk bulkhead from the
mounting of radio equipment, shotgun racks and the usual other
cop car accessory stuff. This stupidity isn't going back to the
state/county/city fleet mechanic that did the deed to begin
I didn't suggest that you work on them, I suggested that you look
As someone else had already posted, they didn't.
The Crown Vic PI doesn't suffer any greater fire risk than it's
counterpart from GM. But, since Ford already -had- public
notoriety from its Pinto and Taurus fiascos, the media
capitalized on it.
"I've worked on" means that I am a mechanic by trade.
"retired late model cop cars" means vehicles that were previously
in service to law enforcement agencies and are now in private
service as private security patrol vehicles, taxi cabs and
"had sheet metal screws run thru the fuel tank from the trunk
bulkhead from the mounting of radio equipment, shotgun racks and
the usual other cop car accessory stuff." means that in the
process of equipping said vehicles when they are put into
service, the people installing the equipment would not think
about where and what they are drilling holes/driving sheet metal
screws thru/into. Sheet metal screws have pointed tips that when
driven with crash force can and will puncture a fuel tank unless
of course the screw already has punctured the fuel tank during
installation of the cop equipment.
Makes for a bomb just waiting its chance to go off.
"trunk bulkhead" means the forward most vertical wall of the
trunk compartment which happens to be the next part of the car
directly behind the fuel tank.
" mounting of radio equipment, shotgun racks and the usual other
cop car accessory stuff" means all of the not supplied by the
original vehicle manufacturer pieces of equipment that gets
bolted down in a police vehicle. IOWs, cops carry a lot of crap
in their trunks.
The rest means that basically, the damage that compromises the
vehicles crash worthiness, i.e., the screws aimed at or already
puncturing the fuel tank is self inflicted by the agency or
municipality that owns the vehicle. It would certainly look bad
for them to take responsibility for their mistake so they instead
opt for suing the vehicle manufacturer for building an unsafe
vehicle (even though it isn't), it's the American way.
And someone with just enough knowledge to be dangerous noticed that the
Panther fuel tank placement was different than the GM B-body, or the
Mopar M-body, or the older Mopar C-bodies, R-bodies, and B-bodies, or
any other copcar (except other Fords) and so capitalized on that. My
That depends on the car.
I'll have to speak up for my '63 Chev II 6 cyl.
It wasn't very sophisticated, but it was one tough car that took me 100k
miles, including 15k miles towing a 1,500lb trailer.
Then I traded it in still with the original brakes.
Well, if I wanted to be a nit-picker I'd point out that steel IS an
But since I know that you mean lighter alloys like aluminum and
Aluminum started being used commonly in the 60s and 70s, but some cars
used it way back in the 30s. Duesenberg, for example, had a 32-valve
dual-overhead-cam aluminum bock v8 with aluminum connecting rods back in
the 1930s! But you gotta remember, buying a Duesenberg in the 30s would
be like buying a Bugatti Veyron today- not something most people could
afford. Chrysler introduced an aluminum-block slant-6 in 1960 and
produced it for 2 years, but the advantages over iron didn't outweigh
the cost of the expensive die-casting process needed to build it. GM
tried with the Vega, but the engine got a bad rep very quickly. GM
finally got it 100% right with the Northstar family of engines in the
early 90s. Iron *still* has many advantages as an engine block material,
so quite a few production engines are still iron.
Chassis-wise, light alloys really never have caught on much for run-of
the-mill production cars, apart from suspension components. There've
been a few- for example the Plymouth "Feather Duster" from 1976 had an
aluminum hood structure and aluminum bumpers to save weight (and it got
close to 30 mpg, with a 4-speed overdrive and slant-6). But for the most
part, composites (plastics) have been the material of choice to lighten
bumpers and body panels where possible. Sheet steel is still used most
places. The biggest lightening of car bodies has come from thinning the
gauge of metal used in body panels, and also transitioning away from
body-on-frame construction. Again, Chrysler led the way on that by only
retaining one body-on-frame model beyond 1960, and phasing that one (the
D-body Imperial) out in 1967.
But that's not the whole story. If you look at curb weights of cars, you
might be surprised to compare old and new, though, because sound
deadening and "creature comfort" materials have more than offset the
savings in chassis weight. Safety equipment adds some weight, but not
nearly as much as sound deadeners and luxury equipment like power
umpteen-way seats, heated/cooled seats, etc. My 1973 Plymouth's curb
weight is actually within a couple hundred pounds of my wife's 93 LH,
even though to look at them you'd swear that the Plymouth weighed 800
lb. more. The Plymouth can tow and carry far, far more, but the car
itself weighs almost the same.
Yep, I'm so used to typing "v8" that my fingers do it regardless of what
my brain is daydreaming about. I have had the pleasure of seeing a
Duesenberg J (non-supercharged) arrive and depart a local car show under
its own power for the last two years. An amazing machine- the engine is
about the size of a small piano. And the sound is like nothing else I've
On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 17:49:16 -0000, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
I had one...amazing in some ways, typical GM ridiculousness in others.
The 215 in the Olds variant ran 10.5:1 compression, and when they
slapped the Monza turbo and Rochester H Monza carb on it, they didn't
decrease the CR at all...thus the need for the "fluid injection"
system that worked very well...if and when it worked. Vapor injection
had been around in aircraft piston engines since the late '30s as a
method of preventing detonation at high CRs that tetraethyl lead
couldn't completely eliminate at the time. When the vapor injection
system on the Jetfire worked, it worked pretty well indeed. When it
didn't, you were looking at serious engine damage if you ran the boost
on a dry day with no injection.
Another problem with the Jetfire was the "Slim Jim" Roto HydraMatic
transmission, an attempt by GM corporate to come up with a cheaper
alternative to the four speed Dual Coupling HydraMatic for its
Pontiacs and Oldsmobiles. Buick had their own "slush boxes" going at
the time. The Roto and "Slim Jim" eliminated 2nd gear, replacing it
with a "torque multiplier" in the fluid coupling, making it an ersatz
torque converter. The theory was that the multiplier would eliminate
the need for the 2nd gear. In reality it provided a VERY slushy and
low 1st gear with a HUGE ratio drop to what became 2nd (3rd on the
real HydraMatics). Cars so equipped would have all kinds of torque
and acceleration until the shift point, and then bog down. The Roto
went away, along with the expensive but better HydraMatic, in 1965,
replaced by the perennial favorite, the THM 400, which was cheaper to
produce than even the Roto.
The Jetfire wrung 215 BHP out of 215 cu. in. and was a real screamer
off the line...until you hit the first shift point, anyway. Keeping
the injection system working properly was a normal weekend chore, with
miles of vacuum lines and the like giving lots of trouble. I used to
run cheap vodka and water in mine sometimes, which allowed even more
head room against detonation. Most turbo equipped Jetfires from '61
through '64 would go away, made into simple 4 bbl. 215s for free by
the Olds dealers under a special warranty from the factory. Thus, a
working turbo equipped Jetfire is quite valuable.
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