I speak from experience too because I own both. A '55 Mercury and 2 Toyotas. There's a very big difference between these. Now - granted it's unfair to compare the reliability of an almost 60 year old car to 10 and 16 year old ones. But the difference is that with the Merc, it requires steady upkeep. All of the adjustable setting for the fuel and ignition system on the Merc - the things that modern cars do automatically - has to be done by me in order for it to be kept running properly. Sure - it's not hard to do this and most can be done in minutes.
The difference is that today, if most people opened the hood on their car, they'd have no clue what to do. Yet in most cases their cars run for 200,000+ miles without an issue. You could never have done that with an old car. If you did, the car would run like crap because the points, carb, and so on would be out of whack. So the reason newer cars are better is because they tend to run longer and do so with less overall service.
In regards to arguing that cars from the 50's-70's were the best engineered; historically speaking I'd say that the era where the best cars for their time were built, was the 20's when we had absolutely stunningly well-built and engineered cars like Duesenburg, Cord, Packard, and Pierce-Arrow. This was back when we in this country actually made world-class, ahead of their time luxury cars that commanded huge prices and set new standards for advanced automotive design and technology. There was a very narrow sliver of time when the US commanded the luxury car market. That all went down the toilet in the depression. After that the US auto industry used a model of "Planned obsolescence", where the same old drivetrains were used forever and ever while the bodies got a redesign. The fact that I can actually use parts on my Merc that fit cars well up into the 70's and 80's is testament to this. The same old technology being used forever.
"the same old drivetrains were used forever and ever", "The same old technology being used forever".
Well, there is the old saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it". I also speak from experience, and any GM mid-size to full-size I have owned from the 70's and 80's were the best cars I had.
Precisely correct! Innovation is hazardous, and prone to error. The kind of people who think they can 'reinvent the wheel' every generation are far too reckless and arrogant to be vouchsafed the command of industry.
I also totally agree. In fact I think it's absurd that we drive around in newfangled, gasoline powered cars when horses and buggies were so much better. Likewise it's annoying to have to turn on light switches and replace burnt-out light bulbs. Give me a kerosene lamp or a candle any day. I also can't believe I'm sitting here writing on this worthless computer. Typewriters are sooo much better!
Then go comment on another thread about some ugly 2011 vehicle and leave this one alone. This review is for people who enjoy real cars.
Yeah - go and comment about real cars. All those new ones are really just holograms, and people are easily fooled. It's a pity they spend lots of money, then suddenly find themselves sitting on the ground when the fake car around them disappears. Yes - we who know what real cars are - like Pintos and AMC Gremlins are wayyy smarter!
Actually the review is about "A" car - not full size cars in general. The car in question is a 7' Ford LTD.
Yes this review is for real cars that meet this criteria: full sized, full frame, RWD V8. Once again, stick with commenting on the typical, yuppie junk of nowadays.
Oh - in that case I reckon the Mustang, Camaro, Charger, and MANY other classic muscle cars must have all been "yuppie" cars, given that all of these have been using unibody frames from the get-go. So I guess the question is why did these cars use a unibody versus body on frame construction? Because they were lighter, stiffer, and subsequently enabled the cars to go faster.
Also - this notion that those clunky giant cars with inefficient, slow drivetrains are "real" cars versus today's (I'm assuming) "fake" cars based on their construction is sort of silly. Not only are those old cars not as safe, but in many cases their modern counterparts will smoke em'. A new V6 Camry, Taurus, or any number of other typical four door family sedans can easily smoke even some of the muscle cars of the 70's. Why? Again - technological advances. There are some 4-bangers out there that generate more horsepower and torque than my full-sized 302 V8. So if these 70's full sized cars are "real", then what makes them real? If it's not for safety, reliability, speed, or performance... then what is it?
Comment 10:59 makes a valid point. My 4-cylinder Ford Fusion will blow the doors off many older body-on-frame V-8's. And yes, it is safer, mainly due to air bags and seat belts. Of course in a crash it would crumple like an egg compared to an old Crown Vic or Impala, but the air bags would make it much more survivable.
The only real advantage to the older big cars (or small ones either for that matter) was low cost of repairs. A repair on my '72 Plymouth that cost $5 would cost me $500 on my Fusion. Car companies have made repairs harder in order to make more money for their dealers.
'Safer, Faster, more Reliable' - apparently people will believe anything. It is easy to see why corporations find it so easy to market their products. All I can say is, please exert a little skepticism.
Here are some facts. First of all, today there are far stricter safety rules that automakers must comply with. Take any car from the 50's-70's, and apply today's safety regulations, and every single one of them would fail. Back then there was no such thing as crumple zones, structured safety cages around the driver, air bags, or shoulder belts. Seat belts were not even required until later. This isn't a case where automakers are somehow playing tricks on consumers or fooling them into buying things. It more that they are required by law to provide a safe product with very specific safety features. I own an old car myself, and there is no way that I would ever assert that it's anywhere close to being as safe as a modern equivalent.
Secondly, safety has become a major selling point for vehicles. There was less emphasis on this in the past. Read old advertisements for cars from the 50's-60's, and the emphasis was about how BIG a car you could get for the money. It was about quantity. In the 70's it was about how much horsepower you got. Now it's about fuel economy and safety. Times change, and products change to reflect this.
Lastly, I'm only in my mid-30's, and I can remember a time when people would brag that their car had 125,000 miles on it. That back then was pretty amazing. Now that marker has been moved up to the 200,000+ mark. In fact 3 of the 5 cars in my immediate family now have at least 250,000 miles on them, and the mileage is incidental, as the vehicles are nonetheless for wear. Reliability has increased because of improvements in machining, management systems, improvements in metallurgy and corrosion control, better and more efficient manufacturing processes, and overall advancements in technology.
Here's a perfect comparison. Back in the 20's-60's radios used to run on vacuum tubes. Back in the day you would routinely have to go to the grocery store, test your tubes at a tube tester, and buy a replacement or two. There was such a thing as a radio repairman. Your radio was something that needed to be maintained and adjusted constantly. Sure - as long as you were willing to continue this maintenance, they would probably last forever. But then came along solid state radios, and now there's basically nothing that goes wrong. In many ways this too applies to old cars. As long as you're willing to adjust points, grease zerk fittings, replace caps and rotors, rebuild carbs, rebuild engines, and so on and so on they'll probably run forever - like my old car. But on the same token, many aspects of today's cars have been improved upon to an extent where maintenance in comparison to older cars is minimum. It's totally common for a modern car to go for 100,000+ miles before a tune-up.
Anyway, this isn't really going anywhere. I appreciate "old school" stuff, but I would never make the claim that these old cars are inherently better than today's cars. They have their place. They contrast in a refreshing way to the somewhat almost boring aspects of today's cars - you can get your hands dirty and replace stuff. But truth be known, most people don't work on cars, nor do they really need to anyway, due to improvements in design.