This is a really subjective topic. Lots of forlorning over the now extinct massive boats of the past. Now - I too will admit that I also like these gigantic floaty cars, as I happen to own one myself. It's not like this is even ancient history. Both the Crown Vic, Buick Roadmaster, Chevy Caprice, and Cadillac Seville were all sold in the not-so-distant past. So the question is if these were supposedly the cars people wanted, then why did they stop making them?
The reason is because consumer's taste and preferences change, and these sort of cars were not selling well. There was a mention above that one of the poster's elderly neighbors really liked the big floaty cars. That more or less sums up what happened to big 3 during their growing pains of the 90's and 2000's: Brands like Buick, Lincoln, and Cadillac were increasingly associated with cars that older consumers bought. As such, if they had continued making those kinds of cars, they would have not done themselves any favors, and would still be losing heaps of money. Perhaps some people might complain that the type of cars THEY like aren't made anymore. Others probably only ever listen to music from the 50's and 60's - the music of their youth. It's what they know and feel comfortable with. As such, they don't listen to new music. The same is true with cars: someone in their 70's might have grown up with big floaty cars, and what do they drive? A big floaty car. But meanwhile the world goes on, tastes change, and so companies must continue to follow that progress.
As far as today's styling, well I'd counter the suggestion that no new cars look good by taking a look at the current Cadillac lineup. As recently as the early 2000's, Cadillac was making big bloated cars that lacked styling, and in no way competed with anything out of Europe or even Japan. They were a former shadow of their once glorious past. That brand underwent a Renaissance, and now they have models that are every bit as competitive, and in some cases better than even the best out of Europe, and on top of that, the styling is truly cutting edge - which is what that brand was famously known for. The new ATS is nothing short of a driver's car. None of their older lineup could have done anything more than drive to the grocery store.
Lastly, just because something is made of thicker material, doesn't mean it's better. The thicker steel on older cars did not compensate for the lack of structural engineering and the lack of proper safety cages. If you get into a serious accident, of course your single biggest concern is going to be your personal safety. So what if the car is damaged. In older cars, the occupants took almost the full impact of the crash. Most of those older cars lacked shoulder belts, so even if you wore it, your head would probably nail that nice, sturdy dash. The dash in my classic is seriously made out of solid steel. Not exactly forgiving. There's a video out there somewhere. It shows a 1959 Malibu getting into a head-on collision with a new Malibu. The new Malibu basically went right through the old Malibu, completely crumpling up the car all the way to the rear seats. The frame on the classic actually sheared in half. Sure - the steel in that old Malibu was a lot thicker. But since it lacked the sophisticated unibody frame of its newer counterpart, the car was basically not structurally able to withstand an accident such as that. That is one VERY good reason, that when I drive my classic, I do so extremely cautiously.
They still do make big cushy cars, they're called "Full-Size SUVs and Trucks". They get better gas mileage than old American boats, while still having styling that'll impress people. They also need less work past 50k miles.
As far as cars having not really changed in the last 100 years... well what cars in 1912 had 500 horses? What cars in 1912 could be driven off a cliff and protect the drivers?
Of course old people will go on and on about cars of their youth; 40 years from now, I bet elders will be going on about Toyotas and Hondas.
When it comes to durability, most 80's - modern cars will not need the work that your car has at just 78k miles. And don't tell me that it's your car's age that's worn things down; I had a 1975 VW that required less work, but it could at least stop and turn, and the interior was still solid after all those years.
I don't agree with you on the 300, but I do love the look of the Challenger. Too bad we can't have a full-sized (and I mean real full-size, not a car that would pass as mid-size 10 years ago) Buick, Cadillac, or Lincoln, or better yet, one from each brand that had classic style like that car with a soft suspension and no stupid console between the front seats to just make it more cramped.
I just don't understand why the sports and GT models are the only ones that Detroit seems to want to give some style and pizazz. Just think how much better some of the basic sedans would sell if they had styling like that.
Speaking of things not based in reality, you think a mid-size from the 70s weighs less than a modern car of today?? You are very wrong. A 1976 Buick Regal sedan weighed about 4,100 lbs and a 1976 Ford Gran Torino weighed in at over 4,200 lbs. To compare, a base 2012 Buick LaCrosse and a base 2012 Ford Taurus weigh approximately 3,700 lbs. Yes, the loaded models weigh closer to 4,000 lbs. But just think of all the weight added by all those extra options that the larger 1976 models didn't have available. If they did, then you would have to add another 200-300 lbs. Many of them didn't even have power windows or radios. And to be fair, both of the 2012 models I mentioned are considered "large" cars, and their equals from 1976 both weighed over 5,000 lbs. The majority of modern cars are not much over 3,000 lbs.
"The bottom line: cars today are made solely for profit, nothing else."
I agree 100%
They did not make a Malibu in 1959. I prefer thicker sheet metal when doing a restoration. But that's earlier cars Fuel economy is the main reason for thinner sheet metal. Chevelles are really hot right now, especially 67 and the 70 models. Malibu is a trim level for that era. I bought my mother a nicely optioned 2002 white Malibu a while back. Hardly any miles on it. The sheet metal thickness is not noticeably different in my 70SS. Thick metal was 50s and earlier.
The Volkswagen was a terrible car. As for my 1980s full sized cars - they required far, far less repair and expense than any modern-day truck or SUV.