26th Apr 2016, 00:00
Even better is a manual transmission. I have 7 gears to enjoy. I never liked column shifters of any kind including 3 on the tree. The only plus with that was eliminating it and having a clutch set up already in place. Even Cadillac offers a manual trans today.
26th Apr 2016, 22:16
Column shifters used a steel linkage to select the gears, which was a lot stronger than the cables that floor shifters use. I've replaced quite a few of these cables on different cars that have worn out or snapped in half.
Also it wasn't just the "US" that used column style shifters. Rolls-Royce and early model Toyota Avalon and Prius used them too. Any car with a bench seat used lap belts only for a third passenger. There were no shoulder belts.
All of your reasons in you state in the your comment are opinions. And again opinions vary. Personally I'd rather cruise down the road in a plush "underpowered" '83 Fleetwood rather than a cramped turtle shell looking XTS that Cadillac has the nerve to consider their flagship model.
29th Apr 2016, 04:45
Cadillac used the worst engines they could find in the 1990s; GM's "lowly" Chevrolet Caprice and Impala will wipe the floor with any Cadillac of the same year, and ride just as good.
29th Apr 2016, 10:22
Of course now you can drive a 638 HP manual trans Cadillac straight from the factory. Time doesn't sit still. Shifters belong on the floor with a console. Including automatics. I have owned 4 Impalas 63-64 SS and none had a bench seat. There's no enjoyment or performance benefit with 3 on the tree. Plus if someone skimped there it's likely to lack power steering. A terrible driving experience, especially in a full size car. Parking especially. In fact if I had a factory 3 speed on the floor, it would be removed at once for a 4 speed M21-M22 on a GM.
29th Apr 2016, 14:06
Actually, by the 1990s Cadillac's engine had improved. The HT 4100 V8 from the 80s was pathetically slow and unreliable, but by the early '90s it had a larger displacement of 4.9 litres and was much faster and a lot more reliable. Also the rear drive Brougham from 1990-1992 used the same V8s (305 or 350) that the Chevy Caprice used.
1st May 2016, 07:33
I had a 70 Cadillac Fleetwood Limousine that was actually very responsive power wise with its large V8. Most uncomfortable for the driver with its straight up seating position. But a very cool Cadillac with great build quality. One of the few GM automatics I have ever owned. And I had to park it outside as it would not fit in the garage.
I bought a Corvette Grand Sport 4LT with a manual trans with the dry sump system. This relocated the battery to the rear. This manual trans option also got a hand built engine off the line. This is a great value option.
If you need a rear seat, go with the Cadillac. You don't have to drive anemic ones today.
It's interesting that many automatics today are actually quicker than the manual transmissions. But are pretty boring even with paddle shift. Everyone is different and it's your money paying for cars. Shifting manuals is pretty effortless however today. And a blast to drive. If you enjoy automatics, it's definitely your decision as well. Cars are to be enjoyed and have a lot of fun. I will also never get the fun factor having strictly trailered cars that are not driven. Having shelves of plastic trophies lining the shelf isn't what does it for me. They need to be driven whenever possible.
1st May 2016, 22:06
Looks like there are multiple Chevelle owners on here. Add a barely street legal 1966 Pro Street Chevelle 468 cu inch with blower and 700R transmission (automatic).
2nd May 2016, 17:34
Well, my "opinions" are based on my personal experience with owning over 20 cars built from the 1960s to today.
And my "opinions" are what customers want today, not a stodgy 1986 Buick with an unsupportive velour bench seat with a clumsy column shift, listening to Lawrence Welk with cardboard speakers on a staticky AM radio.
The US has always been pathetically a decade behind Japan and Europe on designing cars with true comfort, style and performance.
2nd May 2016, 19:46
Well I have "experiences" too. GM midsize and fullsizes from the '70s and '80s with comfort, power, options, style and superb reliability. Never needed Euro or Japanese crap for that very reason. If you don't like "US" cars, why comment?
2nd May 2016, 20:47
Did you say today? I am absolutely incredulous. The technology in modern day domestics were and are certainly influenced by European sedans. I have owned Mercedes and they have not been a stranger whatsoever to the dealership service depts.
Of late there have been some classic cars mentioned on this review. My older one, complete frame off, cost more to purchase than my new car!
If you have an opportunity one weekend, pay a visit to a Cadillac, Lincoln or Buick dealership and test drive a brand new flagship model.
2nd May 2016, 21:50
I can't help but notice that you use an '86 Buick for an example of a stodgy low performance car.
Does that also refer to an '86 Grand National or Regal T-Type turbo (with or without a bench seat) that would blow the doors off of anything European or Japanese in its class from that era?
3rd May 2016, 14:41
The anti pollution, smog devices and 5 mph bumpers were a low point after 1972. Insurance pressure affected HP as well with manufacturers. Great seating, performance and ride control settings make it hard to select a brand new upscale domestic model. As far as performance, there are cars out today that have incredible power. The bleak period of the past is total history. Buying an import today with great handling and performance is no guarantee of increased reliability. I didn't keep mine when the warranty ran out.
4th May 2016, 11:20
I was referring to a 1986 LeSabre, Electra, or Park Ave. Which in reality were unbeatable cars in the 1980s, and not bad today if you can actually find one in good shape.
My point is, that instead of refining and improving them in the 1990s, GM continued with ridiculous things like Dynaride, the Quad 4 engine, cheaper dull plasticky interiors, badge engineering, and not standing behind their products is what killed Olds and Pontiac. The last Pontiac Grand Ams and the Oldsmobile Alero were some of the most terrible, ugly, unreliable cars ever produced. I rank them right up there with the 1st year Chevy Citation and Chevy Vega.
A 1996 Buick Roadmaster would wipe the floor with most of the old full sized/rear wheels drive cars from the 1980s and 1970s as far as performance... why was it so ugly and prone to rust? And sitting in a 1984 Park Avenue is like sitting in a Presidential Limo compared to a 1996 Roadmaster, which is like sitting in a cheap, plastic, Fisher-Price designed, oversized ox cart with leather seats.
GM didn't learn its lesson from the 1970s and went right back to building big, ugly garbage... they didn't take Honda and Toyota seriously as competition and suffered dearly for it. I used to be a die hard "Buy America" guy, but GM today continues to think that people will buy whatever ugly contraptions they come up with.
I agree with you that all modern cars are far too complex; if I hang onto one for more than three or especially 5 years, I get an extended warranty.
You continue to tout cars like the Grand National and Hurst or 442 as such great cars, and while I agree they were diamonds in the rough, they are even more scarce today, and were and still are the exception and not the rule.
My original argument still stands that the Olds 307 V8 is a laughing stock after 1984, and I would know because I own a '85 LeSabre with that ill fated engine. It won't die, and is built too strong yet powered too weak to destroy itself; that is probably the only good thing about that engine.
The Dodge Charger/Challenger/Chrysler 300 and Ford Mustang and maybe the Chevy Camaro are the only things that are built somewhat decent today; while I will admit they are not without their problems, these are what the big three should have focused on in the 1990s.