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Old car myths

jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
edited June 2007 in General Discussion
Some of you fellas who actually have driven cars from the 50s, 60s, etc., care to weigh in on this?

My folks, grandparents, heck even Archie Bunker romanticize how great cars in the past were, but I just don't see it. Let's ignore lack of A/C, CD players, etc., and just look at the car.

Engine: Basically the entire ignition system had to be rebuilt every 10k miles. New points, rotor, cap, wires, plugs. The carburator was a useful, but tempermental beast- though I will admit that I've never had trouble with the one on our boat- but in no way as good as fuel injection. Gas mileage was lousy, tune ups more frequent, and in general, not as reliable as a modern car. I mean, a lot of cars now say, "100,000 miles before the first tune up."

Tires: Bias ply, good for what, 10,000, 20,000 miles? No lifetime radials were available! Plus innertubes.

Body: It might sound cool to say, "Yeah, you could crash that 69 Impala into a telephone pole and hardly scratch it." But the REASON that cars crumple today isn't that they are made of junk- but rather that they are DESIGNED to crumple! Think about it, do you want the CAR to give way, or your NECK? Try punching a wall, first with your arm locked solid, and then bending at the elbow, and you'll see what I mean. Better to have the car absorb the quick deceleration by crumpling than to launch you through the windshield at 50 mph when it comes to a dead stop instantly. Plus no seat belts or airbags.

Now don't get me wrong, old cars are COOL and I'd love a 67 Mustang, 69 Chevelle, or a host of other cool Sports or Muscle cars. But I'd in no way think them SUPERIOR to modern ones. Less reliable, less safe, less comfortable.

Whaddya think?
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Comments

  • 11BravoCrunchie11BravoCrunchie Member Posts: 33,424 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Where you may be right on all points, old cars were built primarily in the good ol' US of A. New cars are constructed of sub-assemblies that are built outside the country. Lots of stuff that goes into Ford products comes from Canada.
  • p3skykingp3skyking Member Posts: 25,750
    edited November -1
    But immune to EMP.

    No way for big brother to remotely deactivate your transportation either.

    I will always have an old car parked around.
  • select-fireselect-fire Member Posts: 69,479 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I don't want any Jap Junk cars
  • spanielsellsspanielsells Member Posts: 12,498
    edited November -1
    I dunno.

    My 1973 Impala Custom was one of the best cars I ever owned. It had a 454 in it. Sure, it ran on glass tires, and the rear tires lasted maybe 500 miles, but I was 16 and it had a 454.

    It was comfy as hell. You could steer the car with your pinky, even when not moving on the pavement. It had power seats that could recline in just about any position, the seat actually went back far enough to be comfortable for my long legs, and the seats were plush.
  • Warpig883Warpig883 Member Posts: 6,459
    edited November -1
    You are right. They are much better as far as safety, reliability, fuel mileage. They last for many more miles with less maintenance than old cars.

    On the old cars I was always replacing starters, voltage regulators, shocks, alternators, fuel pumps, carb kits, points, plugs.

    Now I just drive and change the oil and filters. Don't have to work on anything anymore. Kind of takes the fun out of it.

    The styling sux on new cars. They have no character.
  • SCorversSCorvers Member Posts: 2,063 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Good topic. The main thing is that cars built prior to 1973 had character and style. Cars nowadays lack character bigtime. They really all look the same. Boring.
    A lot of folks nowadays are taking the old cars and adding modern equipment to them. Upgraded brakes, suspension, tires, ignition, and fuel delivery systems. I daydream daily about building a '71 Dart with a fuel injected small block, big brakes, and a chassis that sticks to the road like cat guts.
    I miss chrome bumpers, vent windows, and vinyl bench seats.[:(]
  • 11BravoCrunchie11BravoCrunchie Member Posts: 33,424 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by SCorvers
    Good topic. The main thing is that cars built prior to 1973 had character and style. Cars nowadays lack character bigtime. They really all look the same. Boring.
    A lot of folks nowadays are taking the old cars and adding modern equipment to them. Upgraded brakes, suspension, tires, ignition, and fuel delivery systems. I daydream daily about building a '71 Dart with a fuel injected small block, big brakes, and a chassis that sticks to the road like cat guts.
    I miss chrome bumpers, vent windows, and vinyl bench seats.[:(]



    Before or after you left a layer of skin on them after a long drive in the summer heat with shorts on?
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    Oh I agree, old cars had more style. That's why I like the new retro mustang so much (and bought one) is that it doens't look quite like a regular car- but still not as cool as one from the 60s. But yeah, every regular sedan just looks kinda like a jellybean.
  • Warpig883Warpig883 Member Posts: 6,459
    edited November -1
    It really pisses me off that cars don't have bench seats and the automatic shift lever on the column where it belongs. I even liked 3 on the tree!

    And while we are at it put the damn dimmer switch back on the floor.
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    jonk ... you missed the point ... entirely.[:0][:0][:0]

    WE WERE 16-18 YEARS OLD, MY FRIEND!

    Junkyards abounded in those days - parts almost FREE -
    sometimes they WERE![;)][}:)][;)]

    Points cost about $1.50 - plugs about 40?/ea. You
    TUNED YOUR OWN cars - you'd NEVER have a shop
    do it!

    Time was NEVER a problem when you were that young!

    Cars were FUN to work on!

    Cars were SIMPLE to work on!

    Gas cost us about 30? a Gal.!

    The 'cheerleaders type gals' absolutely LOVED a big V8 with cutouts!

    Those cars had BIG back seats![}:)]

    Cops, generally, liked teenagers!

    You could go out of town (about a five minute ride) after the Drive-In's
    last of a DOUBLE FEATURE show and race to your heart's content. ...
    and NEVER see another car/cop!

    ... no, my friend, it's YOU YOUNGER GUYS who have MISSED OUT!

    I feel sorry for YOU!
  • longsantafelongsantafe Member Posts: 468 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I drove a 60 ranchero for years, single line brake system, no brakes several times, the carb would boil on on hot days after parking, steered like a tank [power steering by armstrong ]it had a 305 and would go in a strait line but sucked on corners, it needed tire once a year,I sold it when the rust got so bad in the floor boards I thought the seat might fall out.
  • select-fireselect-fire Member Posts: 69,479 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by zipperzap
    jonk ... you missed the point ... entirely.[:0][:0][:0]

    WE WERE 16-18 YEARS OLD, MY FRIEND!

    Junkyards abounded in those days - parts almost FREE -
    sometimes they WERE![;)][}:)][;)]

    Points cost about $1.50 - plugs about 40?/ea. You
    TUNED YOUR OWN cars - you'd NEVER have a shop
    do it!

    Time was NEVER a problem when you were that young!

    Cars were FUN to work on!

    Cars were SIMPLE to work on!

    Gas cost us about 30? a Gal.!

    The 'cheerleaders type gals' absolutely LOVED a big V8 with cutouts!

    Those cars had BIG back seats![}:)]

    Cops, generally, liked teenagers!

    You could go out of town (about a five minute ride) after the Drive-In's
    last of a DOUBLE FEATURE show and race to your heart's content. ...
    and NEVER see another car/cop!

    ... no, my friend, it's YOU YOUNGER GUYS who have MISSED OUT!

    I feel sorry for YOU!




    My 74 Corvette was the last year for points.. I still have my dwell meter.. points set 28-32 [:D]
  • Colonel PlinkColonel Plink Member Posts: 16,460
    edited November -1
    The difference is you could work on the older cars.

    Nowadays, you need a PhD in engineering.[8D]
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    the world has changed. gas was cheap. parts were cheap. road surfaces changed. speeds have changed. people did their own work on their cars as a matter of pride.
    changing parts often, kept the car economy in operation. we were self sufficient and other countries envied us and copied us.

    it all changed when the gas crisis hit in the 70's. others got better at making things last because the other countries saw the market and attacked it and won.

    we became followers ever since.
    its that simple.

    and what good is a safe car? all it did was lure younger fools to go faster based on a false sense of security, which trumped the safety features and people still die anyway. todays accidents are more violent. more people died back in the old days because the medical field was lacking. today, they can patch you up faster and better. which adds to the false sense of security that if you crash....'no sweat, emt will save me.'
    its one of biggest gambles and biggest lies people fall for every day driving.
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
  • Don McManusDon McManus Member Posts: 23,229 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I've got a '56 T-bird, and anything negative that can be said about old cars is true of it.

    Drives like a truck.
    Neither Hardtop nor Soft-top really keep the rain out.
    People really were shorter 50 years ago.
    A two-speed auto was never a good idea, even with 245 HP.
    Oh, and it drives like a truck.

    On the other hand, there will never be a car that looks like.
    Taking it out on the open road just feels good.
    When you open the hood, you can actually understand what is going on.
    It also takes a person back to the mythical perfect world that was Ike's America.

    Knowing what I know now, I would not have bought it, but I doubt I ever get rid of it.
    Freedom and a submissive populace cannot co-exist.

    Brad Steele
  • IAMACLONE_2IAMACLONE_2 Member Posts: 4,725
    edited November -1
    You could rebuild your own 3 speed transmission every weekend for under $10.
    30 cents for gas, full service, pumped for you!
    I remember 19 cents a gallon backin 1963.

    Ex-wifes 57 Buick Roadmaster could take down small telephone poles at ground level and never dent the car.[:p][:p]

    Try that with your new Lexus SC450.
  • bobskibobski Member Posts: 17,868 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    AND... telephone poles were made out of wood back then! not, base sheering alloy.[:p]
    Retired Naval Aviation
    Former Member U.S. Navy Shooting Team
    Former NSSA All American
    Navy Distinguished Pistol Shot
    MO, CT, VA.
  • select-fireselect-fire Member Posts: 69,479 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    And you could tune your car by the exhaust fumes.. A little richer till your eyes teared on the carburation.
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    Yep - my girlfriend's dad had a '56 T-Bird. ... and that's all
    true. Best thing that ever happened to it was that it
    (mercifully) caught fire at a gas station and burned to
    the ground. Never did like them, either.[xx(][xx(][xx(]
  • He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 49,765 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Zipper is spot on, EXCEPT, he is a child. Gas cost .018 when I was a kid, though in PRkali it probably was .30. I would actually agree with your on all points Jonk, except for fender benders under 10 mph, which now cause $750 damage and used to scratch a little chrome [chrome- the highly polished silvery metal that coated the metal bumpers that used to be on cars before they were made of plastic covered parts that disintegrate when breathed upon].

    I certainly would not like to return to the days when highways were two lanes, not divided, and went through the middle of every little town along the way. The mother road is a nice legend, but actually driving 66 and other highways in those years was less fun than watching the tv show.
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    LOL ... as I recall, I am older than you.

    ... but, thanks for the compliment![:D]
  • sig232sig232 Member Posts: 8,018
    edited November -1
    The old cars were so simple to work on. You could sit in the engine bay and work on the ignition system. Points, plugs, timing, condenser were easy to change out at 10-12,000 miles. Tires were crap and did not last that long.

    A car with 75K miles was considered to be on its last leg. Engines and auto trannys did not last like they do today. Generators and batterys on pre 1950's cars were a nightmare!

    Gas economy was good on the standard transmission cars! They had no emission controls to bog down the engines. The cars were heavy guage steel back then but were not treated well and would rust out when roads were salted in the midwest.

    I remember the 1940's cars with fondness. The classic lines of the 1932 Fords, the old caddys, LaSales, and many others.
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    quote:Generators and batterys on pre 1950's cars were a nightmare

    ... yeah, but with a core exchange, you'd get a rebuilt (better than new)
    down at Pep Boys for $15![8D]
  • Old-ColtsOld-Colts Member Posts: 22,702 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Ahh, the good old days of tuning your car daily/weekly to keep it at the peak of performance. I have to admit I loved my old 70 Z/28 Camaro (my last muscle car) and sure wish I still had it. However, what I don't miss is adjusting solid lifters, setting/synchronizing a Mallory duel point distributor, re-gapping spark plugs, setting timing, experimenting with jets and power valve combinations in a Holly double pumper, changing out rear end gear ratios to get that just right launch to top end ? mile speed performance combination, and experimenting with every conceivable aftermarket add on just to achieve that illusive extra "1" horsepower.

    Today's engine and drive train technology have dramatically improved. You don't have to have a wildly radical sounding engine to have a quick car, but having said that, a radically sounding engine is still the best sound around. You can't beat the sound of an old muscle car idling at 1000-1500 RPM and firing with the valves open until a quick hit of the throttle.

    Sadly, I think my Lexus would actually give my cherished old Z/28 (stock version) a run for the money.

    If you can't feel the music; it's only pink noise!

  • dcon12dcon12 Member Posts: 31,644 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by He Dog
    Gas cost .018 when I was a kid,


    Damn!!!! You are older than I thought. Don
  • Colt SuperColt Super Member Posts: 31,007
    edited November -1
    In 1959, my Dad and I drove from Euclid(Cleveland), Ohio to Sacramento and back in Dad's '57 Lincoln Premier 2 door Hardtop. It had factory air conditioning, cruise control, automatic headlight dimmer, power seats, windows, steering, brakes, and a leather interior. A 368 cu in (6 liter), 10.5 to one compression, 300 horsepower, 4 barrel, dual exhaust, engine, that my Dad had done a little tuning on, and it would peg the speedometer at 130 MPH, and then some. The tires were Goodyear's best with safety tubes - I suspect that most of you have no idea what those are. On that trip the car averaged 19.2 mpg on Sunoco 260 in the east and Chevron Custom Supreme (white pump) in the west. The premium gas hovered around 21 cents a gallon. On that trip we traveled several hundred miles at 100MPH. Dad didn't want to go any faster, 'cause he didn't want to "attract attention." He bought the car new, and I don't know what he paid for it, but he also bought a '57 Lincoln Continental Mark II that year for my Mom and he paid $10,080,00 for it. That was in 1957 dollars. That works out to just over $60,000 in today's pretend money.

    As for maintenance, he and I would do oil & filter changes every 1,000 miles for about $3.00, except on the trip, and tune-ups every 7,500. Tune-up consisted of replacing points, plugs, rotor and cap, with new plug wires every other tune up. Adjust the carb, check the timing and set the dwell on the points. Tune-up parts cost around $10.00.

    It drove nicely and handled nearly as well as the torsion bar suspended Chryslers. The car was jet black with a white top and had really elaborate(and pretty) hub caps - came from the factory with fender skirts - something else most of you probably can't identify.

    Today, I would rather have it than about 95 percent of the cars on the road.

    Doug
  • jimbowbyjimbowby Member Posts: 3,496
    edited November -1
    [8D]-In my jounger years (70's) I pulled the 351 Windsor out of my Pantera and replaced it with this Modified Cleveland--


    scan0001uk5.jpg


    --those days it was fairly cheap and easy to do it--not now--

    --[:D][:D]--JIMBO
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    LOL ... I pulled the 900 Lb. 235HP (way) oversized Jap 230 straight 6 copy out of a new
    FJ-40 Landcrusher and swapped in a 350 fourbolt main Chevy - before I was finished
    she was a regular firebreathing Blazer, Bronco and RamCharger Eater. She had full time
    headers, 4 barrel offroad 650 cfm on top of an Offey intake. Left the high compression
    heads on ... and STILL got a wholloping 13 Mpg![:D]

    ... THEM were the 'daze,' my friend! ... thought they'd NEVER end!

    They did.
    [:(]
  • ObiWanObiWan Member Posts: 1,054 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I would take a 1960's-70's car over anything made today.

    I'd take a brand spankin new Vega over a Pontiac Solstice for example.

    Put the two into a head on collision...only one will drive away. Put me in the steel car please.
  • jonkjonk Member Posts: 10,121
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by ObiWan
    I would take a 1960's-70's car over anything made today.

    I'd take a brand spankin new Vega over a Pontiac Solstice for example.

    Put the two into a head on collision...only one will drive away. Put me in the steel car please.




    Just what I'm saying; one CAR will drive away, the Vega, no doubt. The Solstice driver will hit his airbag, be restrained by his seat belt, have his impact cusioned by his crumple zones, and probably get out of it with only minor injuries, whilst you will likely either smash your face against the steering wheel or go through the windshield.

    Though I do agree with the previous poster, for hits under 10mph, then I would also take an older car. But even then, let's do a little math. Sorry I gotta do this in metrics, that's how I learned it. Let's say that I have a mass of 97 kilograms or 97 000 grams (I do, about 215 pounds). 10mph is 4.4 m/s. E=1/2MV2, right? Or, Energy =Mass times one half times velocity squared.

    So: E=1/2(97 kg*4.4m/s^2)or E= 91,079.12 kg/m/s^2 (or joules). That means that my body suddenly has a weight of about 10 tons, in terms of kinetic energy acting on me! Or about 800,000 pounds per square inch when I impact something.

    This is, of course, a theoretical maximum (and I fully admit I'm no math genius) for a car stopping dead with no transfer of energy via the friction of the seat, the strength of my arms, etc. to the car, but just shows what kind of kinetic energy your body has JUST AT A 10 MPH CRASH! Now wouldn't you rather the steel crumple and absorb that than your body??? (It also says something about moms who think they can hold on to their baby in a crash and don't need a seat).
  • 11echo11echo Member Posts: 1,001 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Cars up to the 73 you could actually stick your hand down inside the engine compartment to do maintenance! AND didn't have a bababooey load of "black boxes" to deal with! AND parts were mostly metal and not plastic! And you dealt with mechanics that knew something about the cars ...not mechanics that have to wait for the computer to tell them what to change, and hope that takes care of the problem!
    HECK give me a 65 GTO 389 tri-power ANY day!!!
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    Chips started the end of all the old time fun of owning a car!

    "Cars today typically come with microelectronics to control everything from the mirrors to the radio aerial and the infernal combustion engine. And that trend is not going away as the industry wants to increase additional electrical functions for the sake of safety and comfort. With that comes the integration of these functions in a smaller number of chips."

    Uh huh, right!

    Total the number of chips carried, worn, or implanted in my littlest brother, AND the number of chips in my Chevy ... and the answer is STILL zero!
    [:D]

    my56ChevyTommy.jpg
  • Colt SuperColt Super Member Posts: 31,007
    edited November -1
    When you seriously consider the cars, you really need to consider the eras, also.

    Cars, and a lot of other stuff fill the niche and time they were designed for, and the desires of the prospective buyers.

    Contrast the time periods, and you get more insight. The break point in auto design - drivetrain and styling - occurred during the first gas crises. Performance and style gave way to the need for better fuel consumption, achieved through a variety of methods: computers for engine and drivetrain management, reduction of aerodynamic drag, and other factors.

    The advances in technology also have a lot to do with it. To put the computing power of a modern car into a vintage car AT THAT TIME, would require dragging along a computer the size of a house, and 20 techs to go with it. Manufacturing methods and materials also play a large part.Also, governmental interference can't be ignored.

    I think that in many respects, the good old days were the good old days. We can't forget, though, that the good new days are here,now.

    The truth is, though, I would sure prefer a 1957 Chrysler 300 C convertible to nearly anything offered today.

    Doug
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    A wise man, indeed![8D]
  • Colt SuperColt Super Member Posts: 31,007
    edited November -1
    You too - to be able to recognize that.

    Many people (almost everyone) overlook it.

    Doug
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    Nah - I recognise greatness when I see it - generally, though,
    I just refuse to acknowledge it ... unless ... she's REALLY CUTE!
  • 1911a1-fan1911a1-fan Member Posts: 51,193 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    it's one of those things that if i have to explain it to you!!!!!!










    i would quickly buy a 69 dodge over anything made today, emergency tool box could include a basic set of wrenches, and a pair of pantyhose
  • zipperzapzipperzap Member Posts: 25,057
    edited November -1
    I always found that a small bottle of Kahlua in the toolbox was an indespensible
    part of my 'night tools!'

    It was always good for loosening those old stuck nuts in the dark!

    ... actually, still works, even today ... as old and rusty as they are!
    [:D]
  • dheffleydheffley Member Posts: 25,000
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by jonk
    Some of you fellas who actually have driven cars from the 50s, 60s, etc., care to weigh in on this?

    My folks, grandparents, heck even Archie Bunker romanticize how great cars in the past were, but I just don't see it. Let's ignore lack of A/C, CD players, etc., and just look at the car.

    Engine: Basically the entire ignition system had to be rebuilt every 10k miles. New points, rotor, cap, wires, plugs. The carburator was a useful, but tempermental beast- though I will admit that I've never had trouble with the one on our boat- but in no way as good as fuel injection. Gas mileage was lousy, tune ups more frequent, and in general, not as reliable as a modern car. I mean, a lot of cars now say, "100,000 miles before the first tune up."

    Tires: Bias ply, good for what, 10,000, 20,000 miles? No lifetime radials were available! Plus innertubes.

    Body: It might sound cool to say, "Yeah, you could crash that 69 Impala into a telephone pole and hardly scratch it." But the REASON that cars crumple today isn't that they are made of junk- but rather that they are DESIGNED to crumple! Think about it, do you want the CAR to give way, or your NECK? Try punching a wall, first with your arm locked solid, and then bending at the elbow, and you'll see what I mean. Better to have the car absorb the quick deceleration by crumpling than to launch you through the windshield at 50 mph when it comes to a dead stop instantly. Plus no seat belts or airbags.

    Now don't get me wrong, old cars are COOL and I'd love a 67 Mustang, 69 Chevelle, or a host of other cool Sports or Muscle cars. But I'd in no way think them SUPERIOR to modern ones. Less reliable, less safe, less comfortable.

    Whaddya think?


    All of these points are true, and I would add the brakes were bad and the suspension worse. Still, they were the best cars built in the world at the time, except for maybe Mercedes.
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