What is your basic point behind all of this? Obviously modern unibody vehicles are pretty safe as far as that goes, and obviously modern technology can help the full-size car market. Unfortunately, the Big Three are fighting a battle for survival, and need cars that sell like hotcakes because of their awful mishaps like the Taurus, Contour, and Tempo in the 1990s.
The cars sold well and all, but their quality control was awful and the foreign makers were able to emulate the small US cars, but without the awful quality. I can't believe vehicles like the 1986 Ford Taurus are actually considered to be a future classic (despite their accomplishments) because most of them have broken down by now.
While the big cars were relatively free from these issues, and were insanely reliable and durable, they never sold as well because they were usually more expensive. If 100,000 Crown Victorias were sold in say 1992, the smaller, crappier Ford Taurus sold around 300,000 or so. The smaller cars always appealed to more average Americans, while the bigger cars were more for well to do people back then. I mean, obviously an average Joe wasn't going out and buying a big Cadillac or Lincoln back in 1978, but his boss who was making a lot more money probably was.
Today Ford's big cars failed because of their lack of competitiveness compared to the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and BMW 7 Series. Why go out and buy a $45,000 Lincoln Town Car when you could buy one with 5-10,000 miles on it for less than half that, and even then, while a reliable vehicle, it lacked tons of options and features that most other modern luxury vehicles possess. The interior and exterior designs became cheaper and more bland near the end, turning away buyers. Ford had a chance in 2003 to save the Panther vehicles, but made minimal changes and decided to milk the livery markets for all they were worth with these cars.
Why is a Tacoma owner commenting on a full size car review? Because I ALSO own a '55 Mercury, that's why. Yes - a 22 foot long, 4 door behemoth/ boat of a car with 2 couch sized seats inside. My car will make a '78 Lincoln look like a compact. When I pull it in the garage, I have 3" to spare total. So if the comment made about why I was making comments here was based on the assumption that I wouldn't know anything about full sized cars because I own a compact truck, well sorry, but I've owned my classic for 13 years, so yes - I do in fact know a thing or two about classic AND full sized cars.
That wasn't the reasoning behind my comments, which had nothing to do with classics in general, but more to do with comparisons between new and old cars and the technological advances made. Like I said - there are a lot of comments made here that seem to allude that "ALL old cars are better than those newfangled new cars". At which point I countered that you can pick a time - ANYTIME and guess what? There will be people who will claim up and down that the things they had when they were younger were better than what's around today - regardless of the era. Hence why such comments have little to do with any actual, technical, factual basis.
I am 27 years old, and by the time I can remember, most of the old 70's land yachts were gone from the highways and byways. I however have always loved large cars, and for style and comfort I think the 70's GMs and Fords were some of the best. Obviously I did not grow up around these cars and unfortunately never got the opportunity to own anything like them. However, I have always had an affinity for them when the only real exposure to them I have had is through old television shows and old magazines or books. Of course you see one in person once in a while even now, but that is not common. I think the modern cars (especially the last 5 years) are way too small and bland, and the ride is not very comfortable. Go figure. I guess I just blew your theory.
Several of our friends have died tragically when their flimsy Japanese cars "crumpled" in accidents.
One friend hit a larger domestic vehicle in her poorly built Japanese car. The domestic car's driver drove it home. Our friend was buried two days later.
Another friend was hit head on by a "crumply" Japanese mid-size car that was going over 80mph. All four occupants of the Japanese car died instantly when the car's "crumple zones" collapsed in on them and crushed them. Our friend, who was driving a full-framed truck-based SUV, walked away with a sprained wrist.
Although no one was injured, a flimsy Japanese car totalled itself against our full-framed SUV. Our vehicle only got a tiny smear of paint on it, which easily buffed off.
The argument that any flimsy unibody car can stand up to any older, full-framed domestic car such as the Lincoln defies the laws of physics.
You need to compare trends to the time, not today. In the 50s the cars had advanced innovations for the time. There was a fascination with flight. This carried over into vehicle design. Power steering, power brakes, automatic transmissions. Sure in 2012 there have been advancements. The styling on many of these cars are greatly appreciated today. Since you mentioned 1955, I am sure a lot on here would not mind having a 1955 T-Bird, 55 Chevrolet 2 door, Corvette residing next to the 2012 car in the garage.
I went to Carlisle and thoroughly enjoyed the large fin cars from the late 50s, especially the convertibles. My friend's dad just bought a 57 Chevrolet 283 automatic recently for only 27k. Beautiful car. He then converted it to modern disc brakes vs the drums. When I buy old cars, I do reversible upgrades. The car can be reverted back to stock form. Power steering, power disc brake conversions, seat belts. I have even pulled the stock motors and stored them. And then put in a modern engine with air conditioning. A lot are putting in Tremec manual trans for fuel economy. But they appear stock on the road.
I think 20 years from now, there will be people that appreciate some 2012 models like the Challenger, Shelby Mustangs, Corvettes etc. A lot of the basic, bland, uninspired styling cars will be either in the boneyard or just a vehicle to tool around in. Nothing special.
There are any true car enthusiasts that appreciate cars from any era. And there will be those that do not care or understand. It's an appliance like vehicle to get groceries and a ride to work. Hope I never feel that way.
15:22 is still exactly right. You are not. The fact that you think 1970's cars are better, even though you are not old enough to remember them on the roads, proves nothing, because without the opportunity to have actually owned, driven and maintained them, you cannot appreciate the advances made since then in both safety, convenience and reliability. I knew plenty of guys back in the '70's who contended that the cars that were being built then were nothing but junk, and that the last really good cars were the Packards, LaSalles and Cords that were built before WW2.
They were not old enough to have owned any of these paragons, however. They were basing their opinions solely on what they saw in old magazine advertisements, and in old movies.