21st Jun 2013, 01:59
Cadillac does not currently make any big cars. The (discontinued) DTS was a mid-sized car at 207.6" long. The last full-sized Cadillac was the 1996 Fleetwood at 225" long.
21st Jun 2013, 12:00
It isn't even a question of 'better built' necessarily, it's just a question of MASS. You can't beat mass. True, the big cars were very well built, but in fairness, perhaps some of the plastic/aluminum cars are as well. It just doesn't matter - the massive vehicle will plow right through the light one.
21st Jun 2013, 18:02
Yes, in 1975 a car measuring 207 inches long would have been considered mid-size (on the smaller side to boot), however for the better part of 30 years a car that size has been considered full-size.
Personally I love the big land yachts from the 70s, measuring in at over 230 inches, however truth be told, for everyday driving a car around 210 inches long is a lot easier to drive and park.
Modern ones are nearly as roomy inside as the huge models of the past, and some models ride nearly as well as they did too. I would be perfectly happy if there were still cars close to 210 inches like the Buick Park Avenue or Cadillac DTS of recent years. Of course if there were bigger models around, admittedly I would probably buy them.
Modern "big" cars are just pathetic, and most are not much bigger than what was considered mid-size a few years ago.
21st Jun 2013, 18:06
Out of curiosity what constitues a full-size-car? Do you consider the Panther Platform cars full-size? They really weren't that big either at around 212 and 215 inches. Both would have been considered mid-size in the 70's. Actually FoMoCos mid-size models were longer than even the modern Town Car until the LTD II was discontinued in 1979.
22nd Jun 2013, 12:18
For me Panther-platform are just barely 'full sized'. I grew up with a couple of these, and many more of the GM B-body 'full-sized cars, so to me these are the 'standard sized' cars - but I never felt that they were in any way 'large'. We always thought of them as trim and downsized, and with quite small motors (302s, 305s, 307s).
I also had a few 70s and 60s cars, and the only one of them that really seemed 'full sized' in the proper sense - that is, large - was my 1973 Cadillac. A car for 6 adults.
Panthers and GM B-Bodies are my idea of a good standard size for normal families or individuals.
24th Jun 2013, 07:17
I share the same sentiments. I used to own a 93 Town Car, which was actually pretty big inside, and very comparable to some 70's full size cars in interior room/leg room, but they still don't compare to the massive 70's Cad's and Linc's in terms of shoulder room, hip room and leg room. The only "modern" true full-size luxury car that shares similar dimensions of the older and bigger 70's luxury rides, if we're just talking strictly about interior space only, I have to say that the 93-96 Cadillac Fleetwood would be the only car on the road today that feels like you're driving a huge 70's Cadillac Deville, minus the shorter hood LOL, and it handles a lot better too.
Just today I sat inside a 77 Mercury Grand Marquis, which is the first time I have ever been inside one, and it was pretty enjoyable. But still, even though it's a big car, the same year Lincolns are more massive inside and just feel like a way bigger car.
I would say the 90-97 Town Cars had more space inside, which is definitely noticeable and feels very spacious compared to the later 98 on up models, which are very tight inside by comparison. The bubble years weren't that nice inside either; more cheap flimsy plastic, and crappy materials for a so called "luxury car' UGH... The 70's models were the best, even the materials were so much better; although plastic ruled in those days too, the plastics and vinyl were much sturdier, and actual metal was used on the inside on many trim components. The older the model, the better, especially if we're talking about Fords.
The smaller Cadillac Broughams from 77- 92 had such nice interiors that literally blew away any 80's Town Car with better materials, and details like emblems, door panel velour, cloth, and cool chrome accents that the Lincoln lacked severely, so that's one exception...
Also you can't substitute wheelbase. The older 70's Lincolns, Mercurys, and GM makes like Buicks, Cadillacs all rode on huge wheelbases that made them drive and ride so much better than the newer stuff. The Lincolns feeling the most isolated due to their superior body structure/solidarity and extra soft suspension setup. The heavy curb weight, solid heavy duty steel body panels, and great noise insulation materials made the old school rides the best long trip cruisers in the world. Even to this day, nothing rides like the 70's luxury cars, except for the BMW 7 Series and other higher end luxury makes. That is if you enjoy complete comfort and isolation from the road. The old school era was the best!!
24th Jun 2013, 11:37
It's all about proportioning. For instance, I recently ran into a 1963 Lincoln Continental, which is only 213.3 inches long; however, it looked much bigger than that. Even a 1980s Cadillac Brougham looks bigger than it really is, mainly due to its excellent proportioning. 1980 and up Lincolns don't have that on their side, making them seem smaller looking than they really are.
25th Jun 2013, 16:11
You have to keep in mind that after 1973, all American cars had to be fitted with the huge 5 mph bumpers that added at least 10-12 inches of extra length. These big chrome bumpers with their extending bumper guards were used well into the 1980s. Compared to a car of the early 60s, the bumpers would have extended out a lot less from the car, thus making for a shorter overall length. These days some car bumpers don't hardly extend from the car at all. This is kind of nice looking, but just asking for trouble in even a small fender bender. It doesn't help that most modern cars are void of any overhang at all either.
10th Jun 2018, 12:33
That is a great article you wrote. I've had over 200 old cars and wish I had kept them.
You are an inspiration to this hobby.
Keep up the good work, and congratulations on your awesome collection!!
G in Florida.
11th Jun 2018, 20:33
"Awesome collection" -- seriously??
The only one of even slight interest is the Pinto Cruising Wagon, assuming it's not a rusted out bomb like most Pintos ended up as.
The only thing Mavericks are good for is small block transplant conversion to drag cars. The six cylinder stock Mavericks were, and are, mind-numbingly boring to drive: the very definition of a plain, generic car. The rest are just typical 70s Ford full size sedans, the likes of which were demolition derby fodder not that long ago.
The owner said he was "picky" about what he bought, but low price certainly seems to have been the primary factor, judging by what he ended up with.
17th Jun 2018, 13:20
If I were a Ford/Mercury collector on a budget, my first pick would be a first gen Cougar. They are still out there and can be picked up reasonably with time and diligence. It still has nice looks and drives well. They didn’t have the appreciation that a Mustang has. You can drive it often and over distance, with a reliable drive anywhere drivetrain. They usually were not stripped and had power steering, brakes, 12V, and a small block that runs well on modern gas. I am not referring to the XR7 or the Eliminator at higher cost. Or later ones. My mom had one from 67 new to mid 70s and I drove it at times. A bit spirited in high school, but it still held up very well. These were luxury cars in their own way. A Mustang from that era will cost more and be worth more.
This car was often sadly overlooked. Also an insurance beater. Some had the rare 4 speed. I see a 68 quite a bit at cruise nights and area shows. Nothing done to it and the typical surface rust of this era if not garaged. It even won a trophy at an area show for most original. I sat next to him in a couple of shows over the years. A guy with kids and high overhead, but he appreciates his car as much as myself. I went with my mother when she purchased her 67 new. In my opinion this car would be a nice all around car to enjoy. Take it to cruise nights and simple mechanically. Likely led a better life as well.