30th Oct 2012, 23:06

"Seems to me the designers of the modern sedans must have something for turtles!"

Exactly what I was thinking...

31st Oct 2012, 10:33

I brought up handling several times in the comments. These tanks may be tough, but the handling is downright scary.

As for a '55 Mercury, I think the mid-50's were a good time for American car styling, before everything got gluttonous later on in the 50's.

31st Oct 2012, 13:01

My 1973 Cadillac Deville handled great, and my 1980s Oldsmobile Delta 88s and Caprices, if anything, even better. I had one 1982 Caprice that apparently had the 'police suspension' (something about sway bars), and it was a dream to drive.

Front wheel drive cars (which are near universal today) have inherently somewhat unpleasant handling. No, I prefer the old boats, thanks.

31st Oct 2012, 17:25

So if your Merc is a "true classic", does that mean the Lincoln in this review is a false classic?

When a car reaches 25 years in age, it is indeed considered a classic; I don't care what brand it is.

How do you know how your uncle's car handled? Did you actually drive it?

31st Oct 2012, 18:18

Honestly guys, do you really think from the 50's to the 80's, everybody was just driving in their land yachts, and rear ending each other and running over curbs, because they couldn't handle their cars?? You learn to handle a car like this. Is it different from driving a Prius, of course, but they are perfectly easy to maneuver and handle after some getting use to. No different, if not easier than the huge full-size SUVs on our roads today.

31st Oct 2012, 19:57

These cars are all about the ride quality. Improving the handling would have affected that. There were no compromises back than in the luxury car market; unlike today.

Today, unfortunately, most "luxury" car makers want to appeal to young kids who just wreck their expensive Lexus, BMW, Mercedes because they usually try to push them to the limits. Sad, because nowadays I don't know any young people with money for expensive cars; it's almost like luxury car brands are trying to market themselves to a market group that barely exists.

31st Oct 2012, 20:07

I think it's to deceive people into thinking they're still getting their money's worth when they pay up the wazoo for their new cars, when in reality they're being ripped off. The quality of the exterior and interior materials in cars has fallen steadily since the early-1980s in almost all cars (foreign and domestic). The only cars that still remain true to their origins are Bentley and Rolls-Royce, and they sell for at least $250,000, way beyond any of our price ranges. Back in the day, a fully loaded Cadillac or Lincoln was quite affordable by median wage standards, and they were well built, stylish, and reliable luxury cars on par with any Rolls of the same year. By God, how the standard of living has fallen over the decades.

31st Oct 2012, 20:13

I think the reason why automobiles are being cheapened, and made smaller and less comfortable, is to meet the ridiculous government imposed fuel economy standards and such. CAFE and other government regulations on the auto industry are stupid, and do more harm than good. Notice why the quality on cars in general started slipping in the 1980s, when downsizing became popular? The regulations and their effects are hurting the automakers, and costing them lots of money.

It's all just the government trying to gain a foothold on our car industry, like what happened in Soviet Russia.

1st Nov 2012, 07:28

Who, exactly, has decreed that a car deserves to be called a "classic" just because it has managed to stay out of the scrapyard for 25 years?

If someone who owns a car like a 1987 Escort or Yugo can now claim to have a "classic", doesn't that just make the term meaningless?

1st Nov 2012, 09:29

Yes - My Merc is a true classic in the sense that if one were to show up at a classic car show in a late 70's Lincoln, people would wonder what they were doing there. The quality of American cars at that period was outright atrocious, and there was a lot of cutting of corners in their construction. Yes - I drove my Uncle's car and yes - the car handles like a wallowing whale. Yes - people are probably going to wail about how their late 70's Lincoln is a thing of beauty. Indeed beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But calling such a car a "classic" is a bit of a stretch...

As far as the comments made about newer cars somehow being inferior, well for starters, be thankful that you can now buy a car that has more horsepower, more torque, and better handling than a comparative older car and still get good fuel economy. Gas is over $4 a gallon where I live. Driving something that gets 10-12 MPG is totally impractical unless you're retired and drive a few miles around town. The EPA also eliminated leaded gas and mandated catalytic converters. Please don't say that we would be better off with leaded, untreated exhaust fumes.

I wouldn't say that today's newer cars are necessarily better than older cars, because that's an unfair comparison. The technology, knowledge, and materials we have today didn't exist back then. The amount of improvements in the last few decades has been paramount. It's totally routine for most any car to go at least 200,000 miles or more without a problem. Even the modern coolants and transmission fluids will often go 100,000-150,000 miles without any serious degradation. Improvements in metallurgy, welding technology and frame design means today's cars are tighter, stiffer and better able to withstand corrosion, torquing and metal fatigue. The implementation of ECU's and engine management systems mean engines run more efficiently, require less maintenance, and get better fuel economy while delivering more horsepower and torque. Some of today's 4 cylinder engines are actually more powerful than some of the large V8 engines from the 70's. Back then it was all about brute power from displacement. Now that same power is achieved with a much smaller, more efficient engine.

Now I know that there will be a cascade of responses claiming that modern cars are all puny, poorly made, and so on. But that more or less flies in the face of reality. There is a difference between preferences and if some people 'think' their older larger car is better - then that's the best choice for them. But to say that all modern cars are inferior is not really based in fact.

1st Nov 2012, 10:09

Beautifully stated and I could not agree more! However it is the standard of living of working people that has fallen - the per capita GDP is quite a bit higher, and productivity is very high, it's just that it all goes to the rich now.

American used to be a land of a very large, unionized working class that could easily afford a good house and car (typically a Chevy/Ford/Olds), and a quite large professional/middle management class, which could easily afford a big house and higher end Buicks/Lincolns/Cadillacs. There were only a few families in the Mercedes/Rolls Royce class. Nowadays it's a plutocracy like 1890 again.

1st Nov 2012, 16:54

As far as the term "classic" goes, yes if we go by the "anything 25 years old" logic, then even a Hyundai Pony could be seen as a classic. A shoddily built, badly designed luxury car is not a classic.

We all have cars that we can enjoy, but let's please separate objective qualities from subjective, before assuming that everything's being cheapened out.

I've driven old boats and brand new Japanese cars; the interior quality isn't significantly different, but with the Japanese stuff, everything actually felt bolted down.

I can understand why people assume that modern cars are notably cheaper than their 20 year old rust buckets; it's easy to discriminate a car when you haven't driven one, nor actually experienced it.

People who live and breath older cars should drive what they want, but if other people want to go around in modern cars, they shouldn't be criticized for it.