Why is there yet another person coming onto a thread relating to a 1970s full-size car, trying to debate the point that these cars are relevant. I know I don't go on the import threads and write my opinion of those cars, of which I certainly have one, but I assume that the owners and admirers of that type of car simply don't care. Same applies here!!
These people act as if it offends them that our opinions differ from theirs. Would you want someone standing at the front entrance of your place of worship on a Sunday morning and trying to convert you to their religion?? Same basic principle applies here. Enough already!
"Secondly, I'm not sure where the notion that a compact car, simply from having an engine compartment with less room for the mechanicals, would be less reliable."
I wasn't knocking reliability. Just said that some parts are harder to access. Props to you for working on your own cars. Labour cost is a big factor if you take your car to a shop.
The only misinformation here is your same opinions that sabotaged the Lincoln Continental thread.
First of all, manufacturers did not just "slap" emissions equipment on older designed engines. There were many different new V8's that GM had engineered to meet the CAFE and EPA bull crap of that era.
Pontiac had a 301, Chevy had a 305, Olds had a 265 and 307 also, and Cadillac had a 425. All of which were rock solid and durable. If you still wanted performance in the late 70's, Pontiac still had that to offer with a 6.6 litre in the Trans Am and Grand Prix, and let's not forget the early turbo powered Regals and soon to follow Grand National (there's a slow one for ya).
I guess your grandmother's LeSabre must be one of a kind, seeing how the plugs on the 3800 motor are quite easy to replace; this goes for every full-size car it was used for. The whole job should take less than 20 minutes. If you want a nightmare V6 to change plugs on; go for certain Toyotas with the 3.0-3.5 engines, where you have to remove the top part of the intake just to remove the back 3 plugs.
Those "fugly" Delta 88's from that era are becoming more desirable as time goes on to collectors or somebody who wants a weekend cruiser. In my opinion they definitely were better looking than any import luxury car of that day, or today.
Oh - and one more thing, Cadillac's glory days did not represent plastic small non-V8 engine cars with no interior space. Good for you if you like the ATS and CTS; I'll continue to adore a formal and elegant looking 1980 Coupe DeVille.
I don't really see the comments pointing out the drawbacks of the mid-to-late 70's full size cars as an attack on either the cars or their owners. There is no question that these cars were extremely solid, reliable and very well built. There is also no question that these cars are no longer practical.
And yes, manufacturers for the most part most certainly DID "slap" emission devices on existing engines in the mid-70's. Just look at the drastic drop in horsepower in all cars of that era. Full-size cars with monster V-8 engines put out less horsepower and were far, far slower than today's 4-cylinder compact or midsized cars. My current 4-cylinder Ford Fusion would blow the doors off my old Pontiac Bonneville with its 389 4-barrel carb V-8. And it would get three times the gas mileage doing it.
The older luxury barges were great in the days of 25-cent a gallon gas. They were dog-slow but comfortable. I'd love to have another old Bonneville like the one I had. But as a daily driver? No way. If gas were a quarter a gallon maybe, but due to the horrendous damage those old cars did to the environment, my conscience would probably rule out driving one even if gas were cheap again.
In my 50 years of driving I've driven a lot of cars. I sometimes daydream about cruising along turtle-like in one of those old land yachts. But then I snap back to the present era of a polluted Earth and outrageous gas prices, and I am very happy in my much faster, better handling Fusion. Life changes and so must we. I appreciate so much the progressive attitude of today's younger generation. The Earth of the future is theirs and they care about keeping it livable.
This is what gets me; we all have different opinions regarding new vs older cars, and both viewpoints are valid for different reasons, but to say that these old Mercs are bad cars in every way shape and form is just wrong. Once you actually experience getting behind the wheel of one, there's nothing like it! No new car can even compare. But if you like going fast, or are into sports cars, then don't bother with it. If you want to understand that true isolated feeling of a ride these old boats give you, then go drive one now! I'm being serious! LOL.
Yes, the late 70's wasn't the best of times for American cars, but it was an era of massive change that the automakers weren't and couldn't adapt to fast enough. With all the compromises that had to be made in engine performance due to the increasing smog laws in a short amount of time, many cars simply had horrible HP ratings, emission equipment that failed/was problematic, and were slightly less reliable and troublesome vs the early 70's models.
Besides the problems during this time, Cadillac, and especially Lincoln/Merc were still making huge cars that were plush, solid, great riding and fairly reliable if they were Full-Sizers. We just don't and never will see that "plushness" and soft relaxing, non intimidating interiors ever again in modern vehicles.
All modern car interiors seem, look, and feel very "Hard" in many ways. They all might look great inside, and use better materials than some of the cheap, horrible plastic interiors of the past, but they still all look rather similar to each other (the blacks, the greys, and the tans make it even worse), and no automaker has bothered to design and make soft ultra plush seats and door panels, like the cars of the 70's.
The Government has no doubt influenced a lot of what can and cannot be implemented in vehicles of today, and it's only going to continue to get worse.
At least in the 70's and even until the early 80's, the luxury makes still had good looks with lots of chrome trim, they also had character, and you could tell the difference between a Lincoln, Mercury, Cadillac, Chevy, Buick etc... Flash forward to around 1990-92, and all that changed. Modern design, the "Bubble" look, started to take over, and pretty much killed the classic body styles of the old Ford and GM makes. Plus the quality got a little worse, such as the exterior sheet metal, and the use of even more plastic on GM and Ford full size RWD cars in the 90's vs the 80's.
Japanese cars looked and felt like crap in the 80's, but ran good. Same goes for BMW and Mercedes. Lincoln/Merc's and Cadillac looked far superior and classy than anything from Europe and Japan in those days.
If you take away some of the performance issues of the late 70's US cars, and just admire them for their styling and presence alone, I think we all can agree that the old 70's Merc's looked great, even up till the very end in 78, while GM full sizers looked paler in comparison to the Merc. The Merc was truly a "looker", even if it wasn't the best of times for automotive styling like the 50's-60's were. And yes, these cars are slowly starting to attract collectors, as many different 70's makes of the past are, which is a good thing, since the lack of respect is so common when it comes to any mid-late 70's American cars, and that's unfortunate.