First of all Chevrolet did not make a 1959 Malibu. Want to rephrase? The Malibu came out later.
Want to try Bel Air? The quickest way to distinguish a 59 is the tear drop tailights vs the 60 rounds.
Secondly, I doubt few on here have driven and owned the cars I have. I consider it more fortune than dwelling on it. The Cadillac is world class. It is not a straight line vehicle. It has close to 600 HP, a 6 speed manual trans and 0-60 in under 4 seconds. I have a new Corvette, and highly recommend the Cadillac that's the world's fastest production sedan. Fast forward to the present when commenting, as you are far off the mark.
I realize too that someone driving an old Lincoln may not be financially ready to buy. I just think there are quite a few individuals thinking that Cadillac today is a stodgy car. It's absolutely amazing today. When we retire, we do not have to give up performance, handling, ride, room and reliability. And a 6 speed manual! What a blast.
If you truly believe that Volkswagens are "harsh, buzzy, loud, and jittery", it is perfectly clear that you haven't owned nor driven one in at least the past 20 or 30 years.
"Today's luxury cars command no respect and all look the same"
The same goes for luxury cars in the 50's and onwards; look at a '61 Impala and a '64 Lincoln, or a 1980 Caprice and a 1980 LTD.
There is absolutely no such thing as the "Good ole' days". People tend to over-romanticize them and forget the bad times of whatever era. In the 50's there was McCarthyism, Duck and Cover, lack of equality for large chunks of the population, and so on. Were there good aspects to that time? Sure, but the same is true with any time period, where there are both problems and successes. When I was a child, my Dad used to say something that still sticks with me to this day: "All you can expect in life is change". So too does the world. Personally I think the 21st century is great so far. I'm doing quite well, and am having the time of my life, and hope others will feel the same.
As far as there not being any "real" cars; sounds to me what that means in this context is there "aren't any cars that I personally like". Of course those cars are real. People buy them. As far as modern cars falling apart, well that too is a broad generalization. Some new cars are good. Some are bad. But as a whole, technology has progressed, and with it has come improvements in reliability, ride, handling, economy, and quality. The tolerances on the seams on even some of the cheapest cars are those that would have been unobtainable decades ago: the machinery - namely machinery controlled by computers and robots - didn't exist.
In regards to Cadillac, well numerous models they've made recently have been winning big praises from automotive journalists and the press alike. Give credit where credit is due. The cars they made in the 90's and early 2000's were utter jokes and the automotive press had largely written the brand off. Now they've totally turned the corner. Not sure where they're strictly cars that rich parents buy their kids either... but whatever.
Also - the reason cars changed and you don't see as many full sized cars isn't because of government regulations or whatever other unrelated reasons. They changed because consumer taste changed. Like I said before, all you can expect in life is change, and that applies to automobiles as well.
I've driven old cars all my life, always had something vintage. My newest car is a 2002 Deville, owned it since new. It now has 69K on the clock. Aside from some minor nicks, it still looks and drives like a new car. It is the best car I've ever owned.
I still have a 78 Eldorado with 38K. I bought it in 2000, and there's no comparison. The 78 is nice as can be, but the 02 is far superior. For ancient comparison, I had a 66 Deville convertible, bought in 1980. Although a nice car, it was inferior to everything sold today.
MPG was 8 for the 66, 12 for the 78, and over 20 for the 2002.
As far as affordability is concerned, the standard of living for the working guy has fallen dramatically. When I was young in the 1970's, most men could own a Cadillac or a Lincoln at least once in their life. Those cars were in the reach of a working stiff. I had 2 new Cadillacs in my life, a 93 and an 02, I cannot buy a third.
But I'll say that the new cars are far superior to the old land barges. The cheapest car today is utilitarian and expensive, but driving a stalling, sputtering car from the 50's - 70's is unacceptable for most on the go people.
A 1959 Malibu? I saw the crash comparison that you were referring to, and I hate to tell you, but the car from 1959 was a Bel Air v.s. a 2009 Malibu.
Also I wouldn't necessarily say that $40,000-$80,000 is cheap. That's how much a #'s matching 1955-1957 Chevrolet Bel Air is worth, depending on the way the car was equipped. 20 years ago they were worth a little less.
Way off the mark. 50s cars are extremely popular in car shows and cruise nights. The children that grew up with parents who are car enthusiasts are only limited by budget. I went with my friend to pick up a 57 Chevrolet at 27k recently. All the 50s Vettes are hot. The 55 to 57 Thunderbirds and 50 Mercs. At Carlisle they have huge shows on just the large fin models alone. 2 door models and even wagons are popular.
Recently I have seen 50s pick ups as being extremely hot with guys in their 20s and up. It's very hard to find 55 or 57 2 door Chevrolets, especially at affordable prices for young guys to buy; that's what I see as the main limitation, not because of the era. I see some that own and love these cars. There are quite a few going in the rat rod direction however. It's a lot cheaper if that's your thing to start out with. But even they can add up cost wise over time.
You left out cars earlier than the 50s. They will never lose popularity as well. I own newer cars as well. You will always have the Corvette, Camaro, Mopar, Mustang clubs as well. There are some amazing cars out today with blistering performance. There are cars for everyone and every era. I can jump in a 57 Chevrolet Corvette or a 2013 Corvette, and not see either one with any less popularity.
The safety point on the older cars was missed as well. Insurance is dirt cheap for classic insurance. The cars are garaged, limited typically to 2500 miles a year. The actual exposure to accidents is limited. If you even watch the news, how often do you see a vintage car shown or reported in a physical accident? There is so much work and time invested, and owners are careful. I see the same cars all year. The Hurricane Sandy in our area had more of an effect on cars stored than driven. I have one car that has never been driven in the rain or snow. Lots of us drive 500-600 miles a year per car on average. The limited accident exposure is very slim. The biggest investment is buying the car. You pay the small insurance and they are there. Once the cars are completed, I pull them out for fun. I feel safer in mine than the Mini Coopers, Fiats and other tiny models being driven today out next to the tractor trailers during the week, exposed to danger every day. I would rather ride in a large 1959 2 door Cadillac Eldorado and feel safe.