14th Jul 2016, 17:04

As I'd mentioned, I restore and collect old stuff. I have 2 fridges and 1 deep freeze, all from the 50s. Other than defrosting, they will probably outlast me. The stereo console in the living room is a 1959 Motorola with the sales tag attached to the cord still. In 1959 it cost $850, which was a lot back then, and still a lot today.

The thing is that people kept things like that because they cost so much to produce. Everything was more or less hand made. The wiring in that console is all hand-wired and there are no circuit boards. But they were also serviceable, and after I overhauled it, all it might need moving forward is an occasional tube. We are also talking about a generation that bought these who were like my Grandfather who grew up in the depression, fought in WW2, came back, and really appreciated what they got in return.

The things we buy today are often assembled by machines. I'd mentioned in an earlier post that the US actually manufactures more now than they did in the 1980s. The reason that it doesn't seem so is because as also mentioned, a lot of what's made are things you don't find in a big box store, and secondly the plants making them are now very heavily automated and require less workers on the floor. This holds true for computers, TV sets, and even cars.

I think today we take for granted that the cars we drive are in many ways more reliable than cars of the past. My Volt is the most complex thing I've owned, having 2 separate cooling systems, 2 drivetrains, and then all the other stuff that is stuck in such as the power seats/mirrors/AC/heating/windows and a billion other things. Time will tell if this will be a reliable car, but 5 years on and 78,000 miles and so far so good. The engine coolant, transmission fluid and even engine oil lasts for long periods of time. In fact little maintenance other than changing the oil once a year is required. Back in the day you needed to adjust the points, change the plugs, change the oil, and other stuff on a more frequent basis. My 60 year old Mercury also has around 15 Zerk fittings that require greasing.

5th Feb 2017, 05:37

Even if the Crown Vic was hypothetically the most reliable car ever mass produced, it would still exhibit all the qualities of a loaf of Wonderbread.

6th Feb 2017, 19:47

My biggest praise was having them as company cars. Best cars ever with zero personal investment.

7th Feb 2017, 13:35

You know it's so true regarding appliances and other things that were made 50+ years ago, they were built to last. I have a 1960's Waring blender that still works to this day that used to be my grandmother's. My mother owns a 1972 Osterizer blender that still works perfectly as well, plus her 70s Toastmaster toaster.

I don't believe newer ones built today will ever last that long. On one hand, progress and advancements in technology have improved which in turn, has allowed for some amazing new products like iPhones, tablets, drones etc... and reliable cars. But at the same time, I really think the quality for a lot of different goods we buy today has fallen off a cliff in terms of durability and longevity. Appliances made now don't feel as sturdy and are pretty much all plastic; even newish furniture doesn't compare to the high-quality sofas and china cabinets built many years ago. A similar extent goes for modern cars; a lot of cheap plastic, and imitation leather everywhere compared to cars built in the 40s-60s, but they are much more reliable, are quieter, and worry free.

Speaking of reliable, Ford's Panther has to be one of the best platforms ever for the brand, including GM's D-B bodies RWD tanks. Sure they were lousy in tech and features content, but sometimes the best cars out there are the simplest ones to deal with.

7th Feb 2017, 19:03

Planned obsolescence and the throwaway society. Manufacturers know how long parts, switches etc will typically last. It's cheaper to throwaway than support spares. Many products are sealed to even repair or diagnose at all. There are high end manufacturers, but few of the masses are after commercial quality, high end appliances. I could buy Sub Zero, Blue Star Stoves etc or go to Lowes or Home Depot for builder grade. I just looked at a new Infinity. Do I really need white 2 tone seats for an extra 5k? People want high end, but is there enough demand. It's what it is.