It all really comes down to how well you have maintained your car throughout the years. Obviously the older 70's vehicles have all kinds of vacuum lines and emission equipment that need to be checked for leaks, including proper carb operation. I will say that modern cars are great to zip around in, and are much more trouble and worry free than the older stuff from 50's-70's. But I feel that in the last few years, with a lot of auto makers heavily focusing on developing new turbo 4 bangers, they are risking reliability due to the fact that a turbo charged engine tends to need to be looked after more carefully vs a non turbo 4 cylinder engine. I just feel that a good ole 6 cylinder is much better in the long run for both power and longevity purposes. 4 bangers will easily stress more under load than a V8 or V6, especially since auto manufacturers are stuffing smaller and smaller engines into heavier cars, which puts more strain on them, thus causes faster wear. I notice many 4 cylinder based engines tend to need valve adjustments when the miles are high. They also tick and clatter more.
This is where a good old fashioned V8 is king. Even with many miles racked up on the engines, they still operate smoothly and silently for the most part. As for build quality, these old Lincolns are over built and could last indefinitely. The older full size luxury cars from the 60's-70's were constructed from heavy duty materials that last. The suspensions were soft, but still solid and strong. Things tend to wear out slower, and can take a heavy beating from my experience. I feel that a new Toyota Camry or any FWD car will most likely have to get more repairs done to their suspension, since they are built with much lighter alloy metals that are soft and is more prone to failure, compared to the more reliable steel, especially if you live in a city with terrible roads.
Modern cars have their positives, technology and engineering have come a long way. What the older cars had going for them before all the emission crap, was gobs of HP and torque. New cars have more HP than low end torque due to their design. They also have to work much harder to achieve similar output compared to the classics with a big displacement engine. So in a way, that old 454 Chevy or a Ford 460 is a much better option than a tinier, higher revving motor that are on par in terms of power and performance with the old pushrods IMO. The only real benefit is in MPGs, but I am sure if someone decided to modernize that old Ford 460 by adding direct fuel injection, computer controlled ignition system and other engine improvements, they could easily increase fuel economy in the big block. This applies to other popular big blocks that have aftermarket parts readily available.
"It's not that uncommon for most any modern vehicle to easily go 250,000-300,000 or more without any serious issues."
Engine and transmission problems can occur if there's low quality parts installed from the factory.
They all wound up at junkyards, because back then, you had to always have the latest body style. In 1980, these cars were suddenly "out of date" and people got rid of them ASAP to replace them with a 1980 Cadillac or Lincoln.
That is true, the older full size RWD Cadillacs and Lincolns used big engines and transmissions, that were made from heavy duty parts that last for a very long time. Before I sold my 72 Caddy Deville, it had almost 130,000 original miles on it, and that massive 472 engine and turbo 400 trans never once gave me a problem. The engine didn't smoke or burn any oil either. I think during the early 70's, GM and Ford had some of the best drivetrains ever made, that were more reliable than at any other point in history. Sadly, as they started to downsize all their cars in the 80s, so were their mechanical parts, which ruined GM and Ford's reputation for years, as the newer models weren't built as well as their outgoing tanks of cars.
Modern cars are fine in their mechanics, but to say that our classic 70's Lincoln Conti's are worse off or not as good as the newer stuff, is completely fooling yourself. The old stuff can be just as good, with vast improvements made in lubrication technology, older vehicles are better protected from thermal breakdown in critical components like transmissions, rear diff and power steering units, since the newer fluids last much longer compared to the old fluids. So sludge and loss of additives is no longer a problem, especially if one chooses to go full synthetic.
I'd say that automotive engineers would totally disagree with a statement that somehow 40+ year old cars are better than today's cars. That's sort of like saying that those big, heavy computers running on punch cards from the 50's were wayyyy better than some of today's puny little computers. Saying old cars are better over and over doesn't compensate for countering facts. Then again, facts don't really seem to be a part of this conversation anyway...
Will you please stop comparing computers to cars, or maybe just go back to defending your Toyota threads.
These cars were more durable, safer, far more comfortable, and much cheaper to operate (other than fuel) than modern cars, however nowadays fuel has supposedly become too expensive to market anything remotely similar.
The idea that things 'get better' or that there 'is progress' is as far as I can tell a sort of delusion. There's really no evidence for it. One would think the very nature of human existence - mortality - would educate us that it is more reasonable to expect decline rather than improvement.
Comparing the old computer processors that took up entire rooms to a modern computer, and comparing an old large car to a modern one, really is not the same thing at all. Sure, in the case of the computer, the significantly smaller size has made the modern computer much more versatile, whereas in many ways for the automobile, it has done the opposite. Computer technology has also boomed, while the automobile has changed very little in the last 20-30 years.
Modern cars definitely have some benefits to older cars. In most cases they are significantly more reliable and require less maintenance. However on the flip side, they are so complicated few people can even do simple repairs or maintenance themselves anymore. Obviously they are also more fuel efficient and safer, but for many people the older cars have a lot to offer that modern cars no longer do. For those of us that prefer a large car with smooth "floaty" ride, non-generic styling, and seating for six, there are really no cars available like that anymore. Many of the things that make the older cars more appealing to many people are subjective, but after all, wasn't the automobile meant to be a product that appealed to your emotions. Modern cars just don't really do that anymore; they have become necessary appliances.