7th Oct 2013, 14:35

They were also very expensive in the day. A rich person's 2 door.

8th Oct 2013, 06:57

It's kind of hard to imagine a mid to late 70s 455 getting the same MPG as say a Pontiac 3.8 engine.

8th Oct 2013, 14:53

Interesting about the comment about how domestic cars in the eyes of one responders "look better" due to their trip to the EU and seeing their cars in comparison. Interesting, seeing as how many of the popular cars sold now, like the Fusion, Fiesta, and Cruze are ALL based off of European models that were simply re-badged or re-configured for the NA market.

Moving on, there also seems to be as bit of revisionist history going on here. Now - were ALL engines that the Big Three made during the "Malaise" period in the US auto industry bad? No, and as mentioned some had been designed in decades prior and had a proven track record. But a lot of the cars that were designed in response to the fuel crisis and the emission requirements were total design and engineering disasters. All anyone has to do is look up the faults tied to cars like the Maverick, Pinto, Vega, Gremlin, Omni, and Monza. These cars were... AWFUL in more ways than one. It was cars like these that did more to ruin the reputation of the companies that made them for an entire generation of car buyers. It wasn't just the cars, but the quality control situation at many plants at that time. Not only were there labor issues, but quality control problems - the Vega being a well documented case.

So again, it's not like ALL of the cars the Big Three made were bad back then, but more that they made a number of crappy products, which were bad PR for them and damaged their overall reputations.

As far as the Toronado, that was sort of a one-off FWD car that not only didn't sell very well, but it was expensive, heavy, overly complicated, and prone to body sag. Not exactly a positive benchmark to start with.

In regards to the Tundra and its design, if you look at all of the major truck makers, ALL of them are pretty conservative when it comes to their design. The newest Chevy Silverado... not exactly stunningly different from the last generation. The Ram, which got its revolutionary "tractor trailer" style design in the early 90's, has been little changed other than slow but sure refreshing over the years to its current design.

That isn't to say these are not good looking trucks, but it's important to realize that trucks are usually designed conservatively and with small baby steps forward, because well - their buyers are more likely to have conservative tastes when it comes to styling. Those companies know this, and hence why the designs are a little more muted. So if Toyota were to suddenly come up with some "cutting edge", very aggressive design for a new truck, that might not actually go over very well. But compared to the other manufacturers, Toyota has probably gone the furthest the fastest. Their first attempt was the T-100, which was a joke. Then came the first Tundra, which was more along the lines of the other competitors. And now the current version, which is even more so.

But the thing is that unlike the Big Three, Toyota has had to break into a totally new market segment, and one that is tough because a lot of truck buyers are EXTREMELY loyal to their brands, and to get that consumer base to buy their product was a heck of a much steeper uphill battle. Even now, some of the comments here, which more or less scoff at the idea of Toyota making a full sized truck, prove how difficult it is. Just remember - at one point nobody took Toyota cars seriously. Now their cars are the industry benchmark...

9th Oct 2013, 12:08

I love Jay Leno's Toronado. As well as his other vehicles. I am the same age, but never in his league.

9th Oct 2013, 14:20

Most people who buy full size trucks are more discerning as far as power train choices, overall strength, and versatility than someone looking for a Prius type vehicle.

I'm sure executives at the Big 3 had big smiles on their faces when they saw the "newly re-designed" 2014 Tundra.

9th Oct 2013, 16:36

Pontiac never built a 3.8; there was a Buick 231 and a Chevy 229. Both were 3.8's.

10th Oct 2013, 05:00

While in France there were mostly Peugeot, Citroens, Renault, Fiat, and Skodas. I did not see any Toyotas in any of the 20 zones. Personally I question how reliable they are, but gas is a factor. Maybe the new Fiats are better than the ones I recall in the past in the states. My Aunt bought a black Renault Le Car over here new, and sold it a year later. Very unreliable car. This was in the 70s. I could barely drive it and understand the gauges and controls. She thought it was a cute chic car with the slide sun roof in our beach town. I saw Mini Coopers, which I like, and have ridden in a supercharged version my son's girlfriend bought in the USA. Overall, I would rather have a car made in America vs Europe. Except a new Porsche of course. It is on my bucket list to work for and own.

10th Oct 2013, 08:21

Well you are very far off on the Pontiac comment. I had that engine in new company cars I had in the 90s time frame. Also a marine version in my IO boat. Here's a nice link and a sharp engine bay.


10th Oct 2013, 12:28

I owned a 1974 Comet G.T. 302 V-8 (same as Maverick) 30 years ago. That was quick and reliable, and not awful in any way. Actually, many of these cars are being fully restored and are becoming somewhat of a classic. The Ford Mavericks/Comets aren't in the same category as the Vega, except for the Vega's that had 283-350 V-8's dropped in, which many guys did back then.

10th Oct 2013, 15:02

One bright hope is ordering aftermarket upgrades to your full size truck; Tundra, Silverado etc vs the blasé factory look.

I like http://sii-elink.ca/Sherwood.aspx Sherwood Innovations.

I have redone my late model GM interior, new street legal exhaust, intake etc. All reversible to boring stock. It's still always going to be a truck, but this definitely makes it far more stylish and not garish! This is the way the factory missed. And they do make for the Tundra. Really sharp.

11th Oct 2013, 00:00

The first generation Toronados were body on frame. There is no way the bodies were prone to sag. I never heard or read of it on that particular car.

One of the main problem was 4-wheel drum brakes stopping a heavy but yet powerful car.

11th Oct 2013, 08:59

A bold new design, when sales are slim like the Tundra, may draw many buyers. My first Toyota was the very sharp Celica GT in 1977. It looked like a Boss 302 Mustang. I got tons of compliments on that car, and they sold well. There are a lot of people that have $ to buy. I certainly didn't buy over gas or MPG, as it was cheap then.

My other comment was the quality of the body and paint in that era. Great paint jobs. The paint on many new cars, no doubt to the EPA, is easily damaged and body panels seem too light.

As far as Europe, specifically Paris, I likely would not own a car. The car offerings there seem historically more of the more trouble prone ones in showrooms. The mass transit system is highly advanced and many do not own cars. I would own scooter or motorcycle as it's well set up for them. Not so much for the MPG in my case, but for the narrow winding streets and ease of parking at cafes, shops etc.

In America, it seems in my area it's a never ending expansion of highway work that never seems to improve. The rush hour is tedious and it seems the expansion returns to the prior overload of more commuters. I love riding motorcycles even more so than cars. I recently sold mine only because of the other drivers texting, violating cell phone call usage, GPS set ups and other distractions. I am glad I have a very short commute, but it still is jammed with traffic. It's amazing with the price of gas, how many commuters one faces every day. You lose convenience with mass transit must be the reason. I feel people are going to drive no matter what gas costs.