Of course a Lincoln could seat 6 in absolute comfort - even the downsized 1980s Town Car could. A 70s one would be a paragon of comfort.
I never owned one, but I had a '73 Cadillac Deville, and it was enormous inside - plenty of room for six adults (admittedly my friends were not fatties) to sit very comfortably on many hours long journeys.
My later cars - mostly Caprices and Delta 88s from the 1980s, while very comfortable, were not quite roomy enough for 6, in my opinion, but still better than nearly all of the new plastic cars.
Ever ride in a new Suburban?
They said CAR not SUV. To be fair, they also had huge Suburbans and station wagons in the 70's too, but they also had "family cars" that could comfortably seat six people. Modern "large" cars are about 7-10 inches narrower than full-sized cars from the 70s, significantly cutting down on hip and shoulder room. Also, even though they are taller, because most modern sedans have roof lines like sports coupes, they have cramped rear head room as well. Wheelbases are also about 5-10 inches shorter than the big cars of the 70s, and even more in some cases.
Modern engineers are a lot better at space efficiency (mainly because they have to be) than they were in the 70's, but considering how much smaller cars are today, there is only so much they can do.
Also, while wheelbases have gotten a little longer in recent years, overhangs have become all but non-existent, making trunks smaller (remember when big cars had trunks as large as a 21 cubic foot deep freeze) and hoods are soo cramped, making it nearly impossible to work on your car at home.
Size isn't as big an issue actually, the old Chrysler K-car was a bit compact, but it could seat 6 full-size people without too many issues. As for moving with 6 people...
Modern car interior designers do try to make more spacious interiors, but the problem is they also have this pointless need to make the driver feel "cocooned" so that they feel comfy, thus a gratuitous amount of plastic is applied all around the interior.
That and this idiotic need to have a "sporty" roof line on everything; I just never understood today's fascination with making even the cheapest economy cars have a "sporty" appearance.
No interior room? These things could easily fit 6 people or even more. Not to mention the trunk space of the cars back then...
I completely agree with you, some of the older, smaller, downsized Cadillac's of the late 70's had the same amount of interior space, if not more than the earlier bigger Cadillac's that preceded them. But even then, those downsized Cads are still huge compared to the modern car of today.
Sure, the modern egg shaped mid sized cars have alright interior dimensions, but look how huge the overhang is, and how there is hardly a hood and a trunk that sticks out like the old cars used to have. The rinky dink wheelbases don't help the design or ride quality either.
Back then, it was both about making a statement, being stylish, and providing loads of space and comfort for people to ride in. Engineers didn't have the struggles like they do now with tinier interior dimensions to work around, because they are trying so hard to squeeze every last inch of "car" they possibly can out of something so small, thus the styling is sacrificed for increased amounts of space, such as headroom, which is very generous even in the smallest of smallest of cars these days. This has been going on since the 90's, but it's gotten a lot worse in recent years, with more and more economy cars like the Nissan Versa and Sentra flooding the market. They look absolutely atrocious; it's comical really.
Mid size cars suffer from this reality as well. New cars are now sold and advertised based on 2 main things. #1. MPG's - who has the best numbers.... #2. Who has the most features and power. That's pretty much it. Car manufacturers know that their styling sucks, and they aren't as good looking as the classics of the past, when every ad on TV or in the mags, always emphasised heavily the car's styling, power, space and creature comfort; it was almost like a calling for you to dream and desire the car that you saw in the ad. This is not done anymore, if you ever notice while watching a car commercial on TV. We don't lust over the majority of the plastic cars made in the 21st century, like people did in the 50's and 60's. This is why classics rule, and will always dominate in the styling department for many years to come. Long live our big boats and Yank Tanks Baby!!
If you were to actually get into a big Ford or Chevy sedan from the mid 70s (not to even mention a Cadillac or Lincoln) and then directly compare to a 1980s K-Car, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. A 1976 Caprice was 79.5 inches wide, and a 1981 Dodge Aries was 68.6 inches wide. Unless the doors on that Dodge were paper thin, which would not be very safe, you are going to have significantly less shoulder and hip room.
Yes, cars nowadays have zero overhangs, and as a result, have longer wheelbases, meaning more leg room.
The large luxury ones such as RWD Benz's and BMW's are trying to do what domestics did naturally years ago, and that was have a long hood and some width, but just take a look at the stunted trunks in the above mentioned; you get a nice long hood, although it is also an illusion in design, as the front wheels are pushed so far forward to allow for a longer wheelbase, and you end up with a half developed car, instead of what should be a classic in the making.
BTW, the Chrysler 300c is another with a stunted trunk; it should also have better proportions.
I can't agree more! I just can't figure out where the car designers heads have been in the last 5-10 years. There have been some bright spots, but those are mostly in the sports/GT and truck/SUV category. Those of us that prefer sedans seem to be left with hopelessly boring designs with ever increasingly disproportional shapes. Seems to me the designers of the modern sedans must have something for turtles!
I would sit in a K-Car, but they've all broken down!
As far as these old yachts being better than new cars, try avoiding something on the road or braking from 40 mph. You could just crash into that stopped car, but that wouldn't be very nice.
Yes, these cars look good, but that's it.
As someone who owns a "Yank Tank" myself (except mine is actually a true classic - a '55 Mercury), one thing that's missing from the conversation is handling. My Uncle owned a Lincoln of about the vintage in this review, and the thing handled like a log in a river. Sure - it made a "statement", but it drove horribly.
Yes - it's true many newer cars make better use of interior space. There have been a lot of changes in structural engineering when it comes to car frames. As a result, less space is used for framing and more for interior space. A lot of the compact cars today actually have more interior space than some of the medium sized cars from the 80's.
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