8th Dec 2010, 16:17
I think the point is that in 30 years, cars have gone almost nowhere in terms of fuel efficiency and reliability. 23.8 MPG for a 1982 Buick that weighs nearly 4000 pounds is outstanding, even by today's standards. Take into consideration also that the 1982 Buick is severely underpowered by today's standards with only 140 HP, with no fuel injection on top of it.
The only thing produced today that is similar to this Buick (TRUE, BIG FULL SIZE FRONT ENGINE REAR DRIVE V8) is the Dodge Charger R/T and Chrysler 300M. That fact alone is sad in and of itself. Take into account $40,000 well equipped, and they still don't get much better fuel mileage than a 30 year old Buick, Even with cylinder deactivation on the new Chrysler.
And for the Record, I own: a 2007 Dodge Charger R/T, and a 1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88 sedan, very similar to the car in this review (and exact same drive train).
Keep the Oldsmobile under 70 MPH on the highway in the flats, and I usually get over 23 MPG highway.
Keep the Dodge under 70 MPH on the highway in the flats, and I get close to 25 MPG on a GOOD DAY, the norm is closer to 23 or 24 MPG. All this on a nearly $40,000 car that has more technology under the hood than we sent to the moon, yet it can barely beat the fuel economy of a 26 year old Oldsmobile. It has also seen the repair shop more in 3 years than the Olds has in the last 10 years. Truly pathetic.
9th Dec 2010, 15:28
I couldn't agree with you more. I have a 1990 Chevy Caprice with a fuel injected 305 V-8 and it gets 28 mpg on the highway, no joke.
My friends Toyota 4runner with a 3.0 liter gets way worse mileage, and he paid a lot for it.
The old technology is really hard to beat, so simple, easy to fix, abundance of aftermarket parts too.
I will continue to drive these old RWD GM land yachts forever; they cost nothing to buy, and they are cheap to maintain and insure.
I spend a bit more on gas than if I owned a Hyundai Accent, but I get a lot more car for the money.
My old reliable Chevy has saved me tons of money over the years, I love it.
9th Dec 2010, 17:54
Another sad fact, the Buick Lucerne is about 1.5 feet shorter than the '82 Electra, some 2-3 inches narrower and it has unibody construction with front wheel drive (which I am not against as many big car fans are), yet it weighs about the same. Its V6 also doesn't get the fuel economy of the great 3.8, which was once available for this car. If anything, the car manufacturers are going backwards. Even when I compare my 2005 Buick Park Avenue to the most recent releases from Buick, it becomes sadly apparent how quickly the American automobile is dying.
9th Dec 2010, 21:39
Not sure if I agree that "old" technology is necessarily better. I own a '55 Ford Fairlane. Beautiful car, great looks, RWD... but the thing has to be constantly adjusted and maintained. The carb has to be cleaned and tuned - usually twice a year. The chassis has 15 grease joints instead of sealed bearings. The points have to be either adjusted or cleaned. The list goes on and on.
On the other hand, I have a 15 year old Tacoma that basically just requires having the oil changed every 3,000 miles along with new plugs maybe every 50,000, the coolant flushed and changed every 50,000, the tranny about every 100,000, and that's it. The fuel system is completely automatically regulated by a computer. No need for adjustment. The chassis uses all sealed bearings. The tolerances in the engine are better. It's overall more reliable, and far less costly to maintain.
10th Dec 2010, 12:48
Well obviously if you are comparing a 1955 car to a modern car, it won't fare so well. The height of automobile technology was from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.
13th Dec 2010, 10:46
Of course if you compare a car from 1955 to that of today, or 1995, it will require more maintenance.
However, most cars from the late 1970's on didn't have points; except for more computer regulation and controls, ignition systems haven't changed much at all in nearly 35 years. Even cars from the early 1980's are light years ahead of 1955 in terms of technology and reliability.
I owned a 1984 Chevy Caprice with a computer controlled carburetor for nearly 6 years (1986-1992), and I never had to adjust it. The car already had 64,000 miles on it in 1986, and nearly 180,000 when I traded it in 1992. One of the most reliable stalwarts I've ever owned. The only thing I had to touch was an EGR valve and a water pump.
I own a 1988 Mercury Grand Marquis with the fuel injected Ford 302 V8. I purchased it in 1992 with 83,000 miles for $7500. Yet another Full-Size Rear Wheel Drive winner. It is still one of my daily drivers with 311,000 miles on the original engine and transmission. It gets 16 MPG city and 23-26 MPG highway, just like it did nearly 20 years ago. Outside of normal recommended maintenance, I have done virtually nothing to this car. Only recently has the car starting to burn half a quart of oil every 5000 miles. Sometimes I have gone periods 5 years or more, with only changing the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Oh, and those sealed ungreaseable suspension components you rave about? Give them a good 7 years or 100,000 miles (being optimistic here) and they will eventually get dirty, wear out, rattle and break. My Mercury still has all the original tie rods, ends and sway bars, control arms, and ball joints, because I GREASE THEM MYSELF and don't pay a high school drop out at a lube place to lie about doing it on paper. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to buy a grease and find the zerks on a full size RWD car or truck.
This idea that "I can drive my car forever and only put gas in it and change the oil as a luxury ever 5 years" is what has led to the downfall of the American automobile. "Then I can bash the manufacturer when it blows up on me from abuse."
The fact still stands that fuel efficiency and reliability have gone virtually nowhere since the 1980's.
26th Jan 2011, 19:35
I couldn't agree more. People today are brainwashed into thinking that newer is always better. And that they can just drive their cars forever without spending so much as a dime on maintenance.
I noticed my neighbors bought their kid a new Scion or Toyota. I watched him start it up the other day, in 10 below zero weather, put the thing in gear immediately, and stomp on the gas and drive away at break-neck speed. How long will this car last? In my opinion, it's well on its way to the junkyard already.
I own a 1989 GMC Sierra 1500 4 wheel drive with 487,000 original miles one engine number 1 and transmission and transfer case number 2. I bought it with 198,000 miles. Its only real purpose is to haul wood, furniture or appliances when I need it, get me to and from work in extreme winter weather, as I live on a gravel road in the woods. And it tows my small fishing boat or snowmobile trailer. 13 MPG City/17 MPG highway, same as its been for the last 14 years.
I can easily afford a 2011 F150, Ram, or Silverado, even nicely equipped, but for what? On something I use maybe 2 weekends a month? I could spend that money elsewhere and pay for half a house.
Cash for Clunkers was a scam by the US Government, designed to destroy old reliable cars like the Buick in this review and replace them with gimmicky, flimsy junk that breaks down all the time. I own several classic cars from the 1960's through the 1980's, and wouldn't trade them in no matter what I was offered. The days of quality, durability, and piece of mind in any new car, foreign or domestic, are long gone.