AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

The forum just turned ten years old! Where has all the time gone?

Author Topic: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1970s, 80s and 90s  (Read 75355 times)

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)

I recently found a treasure trove of old MotorWeek reviews from the 1980s and 1990s.  It's kind of amazing to see how truly pathetic cars got as a whole in the post OPEC Embargo era.  This would be the era of 0-60 times of 12 seconds for regular old cars being acceptable along with 85 MPH speedometers and boxy styling.  It's strange to see diamonds in the rough like the Buick GNX, the Shelby K Cars, the Turbo TA among others.  The weirdest thing is that some of the higher end cars in the 80s even had primitive touch screens, it's even stranger to hear them discussed how they would be the future and all.  Anyways this is the playlist link, it's worth hours of fuhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMsXLYFU0pUn if you are interested in cars in general:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8HILNMicoi6frBzfDro05x0W-44D1ZWz

But this that said I had to link the most pathetic one that I can find; the Pontiac 1000.  First off....the Chevette rebadged as a Pontiac...if you know anything about how terrible those cars really were it is truly mind blowing they sold so well.  This thing rumbled to 60 MPH in 30 seconds and even has a "made in USA" sticker to show that red, white and blue pride.  :-D

« Last Edit: July 18, 2016, 09:59:47 AM by Max Rockatansky »
Logged

Jardine

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 716
  • Location: Midwest
  • Last Login: September 06, 2018, 02:05:15 PM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2016, 11:54:24 AM »

My '84 Ford Mustang (bought new) was a piece of shit.

No shit, final tally after I traded it off was it cost over $0.90/mile to drive.

And I didn't have to pay for the new motor it needed at 75,000 miles since I got rid of it when I found out it needed one.
Logged

Jardine

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 716
  • Location: Midwest
  • Last Login: September 06, 2018, 02:05:15 PM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2016, 11:58:20 AM »

Not kidding, a friend of mine bought a Pontiac T-1000 not realizing under the Pontiac label was a piece of shit Chevette.

He almost died when Jim and I started giving him shit for buying a goddamn Chevette.  He paid the loan down as fast as possible and traded it as soon as he could.

Afterwards it was a forbidden subject.



Chicago area posters here:

Remember the Long Chevrolet commercials on tv, "Chevettes !  Chevettes !  Chevettes!" ??   That dealership went out of business and I gotta think selling shitty cars was a big part of their failure.
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2016, 12:08:17 PM »

At 3:19 you can see the test driver shaking his head in total disgust.  :-D  I remember my Grandma bought a new Chevette from the dealer in Detroit in 1980.  For some reason she thought that piece of crap was wonderful despite it being a total piece of garbage and completely useless in the winter.  If I remember right my Dad tried to convince her to buy something else that was front wheel drive and did find body rust on it (the grand legend of show room Chevettes) shortly after it was purchased.  She hung on to that piece of crap until 1989 when her and my Grandpa got a new Lumina.  For some reason they were completely loyal to GM despite never have worked for the company themselves.  I think that it had something to do with my Mom being an accountant at GM rather than anything logical...people really blindly followed brand loyalty back then.

kurumi

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1534
  • Location: Cupertino, CA
  • Last Login: Today at 11:37:34 AM
    • kurumi.com
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2016, 12:43:13 PM »

This is a real ad, not a parody, from 1988, and it's the most 1980s thing I've ever seen:
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2016, 02:18:49 PM »

This is a real ad, not a parody, from 1988, and it's the most 1980s thing I've ever seen:

The 6000 SUX isn't far off these commercials:


Incidentally, does excitement include jumping over the passenger door of a Pontiac Sunbird?  :-D  That poor little Fiero could have been something special too if it was saddled with crappy engines like the 2.5 Iron Duke and 2.8 L44.  The L44 should have been standard equipment with something like the 3.8 Buick as an option.

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2016, 02:48:09 PM »

Actually I forgot the ZX completely. My Dad picked up an 82 turbo used in 1984 and got rid of a couple years later for a Plymouth Laser.  Funny to think that 180hp and a 7 second 0-60 time as really good nowadays:


God that test track is terrible, why the hell would they try to test cars with all that ice on the ground. lol

Stephane Dumas

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 1787
  • Last Login: Today at 02:34:48 PM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2016, 03:24:21 PM »

Before the Pontiac 1000, there was the Acadian who was a rebadged Chevette for Canadian Pontiac dealers.
http://www.oldcaradvertising.com/GM%20Canada%20Ads/1970s/1978%20Acadian%20Ad-01.html
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/cc-capsule/cc-capsule-the-cold-canadian-chevette-pontiac-acadian/

The Chevette seem to be more solid than its predecessor the Vega or some other rivals like the Renault Alliance.

And we got late the Sprint/Firefly aka Geo Metro.
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2016, 03:48:28 PM »

Every once in awhile I would see an Acadian that would wander over from Ontario.  I don't really know about all that with the Vega to Chevette comparison, both were pretty poorly built cars.  The Vega has two things going for it over the Chevette; it's much better looking and at the very least the Cosworth variants were decent performers for their time.  Even the Metro was a much better car than the Chevette was, especially at being an economical basic transportation piece.  During the last gas crisis in the U.S. there were a lot of people buying up old Metros because of the fuel economy rating.  My neighbor had a red 1989 model, I never did get around to asking him if it was the 3 or 4 banger. 

Incidentally found this video on Youtube, competitive three cylinder Geo Metro drag racing:



And nobody is laughing at this Metro with the 3.8 turbo out of a GNX in it:

Stephane Dumas

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 1787
  • Last Login: Today at 02:34:48 PM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #9 on: April 30, 2016, 05:20:22 PM »

Still, I seen worse, I remember a time when we got Lada cars in Canada. These was our Yugos.

And the Brazilian version of the Chevette (based on the same chassis, the T-body) have other variations like a 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan and a pick-up truck "El Camino" style. http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2009/05/13/the-coolest-brazilian-chevettes-ever/
http://vauxpedianet.uk2sitebuilder.com/vauxhall-t-car---aka-chevrolet-chevette-brazil
Logged

froggie

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 10361
  • Location: Greensboro, VT
  • Last Login: Today at 10:51:47 AM
    • Froggie's Place
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2016, 05:45:36 PM »

This is in no small part why the Asian-based companies (Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, etc etc) rose as considerably as they did during that time period.  They built cars that, by comparison, were smaller than the average American car, but also held together much better.

Only '80s era car we had was an '85 Caprice Classic, and that was only because we inherited it from my grandfather when he passed in '87.  Otherwise, our main car from my childhood was a '78 Dodge Magnum.
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #11 on: April 30, 2016, 06:10:50 PM »

Really about the Lada that I remember that was worth about anything was the Niva 4x4s.

It's funny for the longest time the domestic automakers would sell some of their best stuff outside the U.S. market.  Aside from the Chevette some more recent examples were the European Focus and the all the rear-drive Holden platform cars that would never seem to make it over this way.  It's something that has only really changed since GM and Chrysler have gone bankrupt.

It was a lot of things that led to the domestic automakers losing so much of their market share.  The biggest one was a failure to adapt to market changes post OPEC Embargo which led to all those Japanese and Korean companies to exploit the void with quality smaller cars.  There was a ton of things like corporate arrogance in assuming people would continue to buy American despite build qualities and designs falling far behind the competition.  Although platform sharing was a thing before OPEC it got way out of control in the 70s and 80s which led to cars like the Pontiac 1000 in addition to Cadillac Cimmaron.  It's not like any of the bigger or sportier cars were better, I remember my Dad's 82 Corvette was a told dog on the 15 year old C3 platform which had ballooned in weight over it's life span.

The weird thing is now you started to see the reverse trend in the late 2000s.  Once Toyota started to close in on GM for highest volume of cars sold their quality dropped off the map.  For what it's worth the playing field seems to be a lot more competitive across the board and there aren't very many blatantly terrible cars like there was in the 70s and 80s.  Even recent designs like the Vibe, PT Cruiser and Aztec were still infinitely better than say a Chevette, Yugo or Pinto of yesteryear. 

thenetwork

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2318
  • Age: 2015
  • Location: Grand Junction, Colorado
  • Last Login: Today at 08:59:39 AM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #12 on: April 30, 2016, 06:45:37 PM »

I forget whose vans they were, but in the 80s, I remember a lot of people installing rear bumpers made out of wood, because the old metal ones tended to fall off.

Or the rear bumpers on certain cars that were originally molded in yellow and then (poorly) painted black -- it didn't take long for those bumpers to fade or scratch, revealing that ugly mustard coloring.  How hard was it to mold them out of black-colored plastic?
Logged

Stratuscaster

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 558
  • Last Login: April 05, 2019, 11:19:30 AM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2016, 06:52:24 PM »

The time is often referred to as "The Malaise Era" by Jalopnik (I believe the term was coined by Murilee Martin, former Jalopnik writer.)

The first brand new car that I bought on my own was...a 1984 Chevette. Base as can be, only option was an automatic. Went to install a radio and speakers and found the door panels were not much more than vinyl-coated cardboard.

Went out with some friends and came back to find my father standing up through the hole he had just cut in the Chevette's roof. He was going to surprise me and install an aftermarket sunroof. Realize that at this time I had only made THREE payments on the car. Surprise, indeed.

All that said - it wasn't a bad car all around. It was cheap, didn't use much gas, and served it's purpose as basic transportation.

Logged

Stephane Dumas

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 1787
  • Last Login: Today at 02:34:48 PM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #14 on: April 30, 2016, 07:49:24 PM »

Really about the Lada that I remember that was worth about anything was the Niva 4x4s.

It's funny for the longest time the domestic automakers would sell some of their best stuff outside the U.S. market.  Aside from the Chevette some more recent examples were the European Focus and the all the rear-drive Holden platform cars that would never seem to make it over this way.  It's something that has only really changed since GM and Chrysler have gone bankrupt.

It was a lot of things that led to the domestic automakers losing so much of their market share.  The biggest one was a failure to adapt to market changes post OPEC Embargo which led to all those Japanese and Korean companies to exploit the void with quality smaller cars.  There was a ton of things like corporate arrogance in assuming people would continue to buy American despite build qualities and designs falling far behind the competition.  Although platform sharing was a thing before OPEC it got way out of control in the 70s and 80s which led to cars like the Pontiac 1000 in addition to Cadillac Cimmaron.  It's not like any of the bigger or sportier cars were better, I remember my Dad's 82 Corvette was a told dog on the 15 year old C3 platform which had ballooned in weight over it's life span.


The "downsized" 1977 full-size GM cars, was beginned to be studied as early as 1972 with some earlier clay models popping up in 1973.
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/vintage-review-1977-chevrolet-caprice-downsized-by-design/
http://www.curbsideclassic.com/blog/vintage-ads-and-brochures/vintage-ad-general-motors-announces-its-1977-full-size-cars/

The "plucked chicken" 1962 Dodge and Plymouth ironically was around the same size as the 1977 GM. Bit their controversal design got a cold reception, they was originally planned to be bigger but William Newberg who was Chrysler president had heard of rumors then Ford and GM plan smaller cars who was in reality, the mid-size intermediate Fairlane and the Chevy II http://ateupwithmotor.com/model-histories/chrysler-downsizing-disaster-1962/  There some photos of clay models of how they should had originally look. http://www.allpar.com/history/plymouth/1962.html  There was also some plans for a 1962 DeSoto http://bangshift.com/general-news/car-features/check-rare-photos-1962-desoto-mockup/  A bit extreme compared to that clay model and design made by Don Kopka http://auto.howstuffworks.com/1960s-chrysler-concept-cars1.htm  If the first oil crisis happened in 1962 instead of 1973, Chrysler would had been more lucky.

The US wasn't the only one who got a "malaise era", the UK had faced the same music as well as Jeremy Clarkson noted.
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #15 on: April 30, 2016, 08:56:37 PM »

Funny how 60s cars that were in the ball park of 180 to 190 inches in length like the Nova, Dart, Falcon, Camaro, Firebird, Mustang, Cougar, Barracuda, Challenger, Duster and Corvair were all considered "compacts" by the standards of the time.  By today's standard the class usually falls into the 175 to 180 inch category which is a tick up from the standards of the 80s which were anywhere from 165 inches to usually 175 in non-hatch back form.  It's funny since it seems like the compacts of the 80s largely have evolved into what we would have considered a mid-sized 30 years ago and sub-compacts have taken over the void....incidentally my sedan Sonic is 173 inches and falls into said category.  By comparison my rather large by modern standards Challenger which is 198 inches which would have roughly put it on the low end of the mid-size category of the 1960s.  It seems as gas prices decline weight and length always decrease in the American market.  That's probably why trucks skyrocketed in popularity in the late 90s and early 2000s since there was a huge void in the car market given that gas prices tanked.

The thing that I always like about cars like the Nova and Dart was that even though they were small you could basically get almost any engine you wanted in it.  Sadly with almost all the compact and sub-compact cars today being FWD it doesn't allow much in the way for drive train variation.  It's too bad concepts like the RWD 2004 Nomad concept really never took off.  I would love to see a 175 to 180 inch RWD drive car that you could configure from a I4 all the way up a V8.

In regards to the vans with wood bumpers I think that was the Ford Aerostar.  I seem to remember a ton of them had missing bumpers or had poor quality black ones.  Thankfully nobody is doing that painted black over yellow plastic thing that they used to do back then.  I seem to remember cars like the Cavalier used have a painted bumper delete option where you could get a credit for taking the non-painted version.

And those sound like some serious upgrades to a Chevette. lol  It's probably unfathomable to people buying cars today that things like radios, power windows and even an AC were once debated optional equipment much less a sun roof.  Incidentally my uncle and I have been debating the merits of the Vega, Chevette and Monza all afternoon, he sent me this piece of handy work the Chevette:

« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 08:58:59 PM by Max Rockatansky »
Logged

leroys73

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 330
  • Age: 70
  • Location: Dallas Area
  • Last Login: January 07, 2019, 08:33:11 AM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #16 on: April 30, 2016, 09:23:59 PM »

Those days were suck city.  It all was started in 1971 when compression started coming down because of low to no lead.  Then in 1973 the looks went away with the 5 mph bumper, then 1975 the catalytic converters started putting the nails in the coffin.  From there with only a few exceptions it was all down hill compounded by the oil embargo.  A lot of the cars then became performance cars by just adding some paint, letters, and/or numbers.  Almost all were dogs and fell apart. 

Talking about rebadged cars.  Remember Cadillac rebadged Chevys. 

My wife had a high end Plymouth Acclaim with the V-6.  It really was not a bad car.  For the day it handled pretty good, not too slow, and it was comfortable.  My wife and three daughters took a cross country trip in it.  We had to dump it at 200,000 + miles.  Transmission went out at 77,000 and replaced under partial warranty, we paid half. 

I had a 95 Dodge full size van it was good.  Had the 360 with the old 727 auto with OD, whatever they numbered it with OD.  I got over 200,000 mi out of it then my daughter drove the s*** out of it for another year, but hey, it was really a truck.  I now have a 1993 Dodge Dakota with the V-6 and 216,000 miles on it, the AC still works.  But once again, it is a truck.
Logged
'73 Vette, '72 Monte Carlo, ;11 Green with Envy Challenger R/T,Ram, RoyalStarVenture S,USA Honda VTX1300R ridden 49states &11provinces,Driven cars in50 states+DC&21countries,OverseasBrats;IronButt:MileEatersilver,SS1000Gold,SS3000,3xSS2000,18xSS1000, 3TX1000,6BB1500,NPT,LakeSuperiorCircleTour

nexus73

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1607
  • Age: 63
  • Location: Coos Bay OR
  • Last Login: Today at 11:58:28 AM
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #17 on: April 30, 2016, 09:26:24 PM »

Actually I forgot the ZX completely. My Dad picked up an 82 turbo used in 1984 and got rid of a couple years later for a Plymouth Laser.  Funny to think that 180hp and a 7 second 0-60 time as really good nowadays:


God that test track is terrible, why the hell would they try to test cars with all that ice on the ground. lol

I used to own a 1983 Datsun (last year for the name) 280ZX Turbo 2+2 with T-tops.  In my eyes it was a Japanese equivalent of a Buick Riviera.  If you mashed the gas at 25 MPH, the turbo made for great get up and go.  55+ MPH?  Then you saw a typical gutless wonder 6-cylinder result.  As for comfort and style, the 280ZX was a fine machine. 

This would be the only import I ever bought.  Cadillacs suited me better...LOL!

Rick
Logged
US 101 is THE backbone of the Pacific coast from Bandon OR to Willets CA.  Industry, tourism and local traffic would be gone or severely crippled without it being in functioning condition in BOTH states.

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #18 on: April 30, 2016, 09:45:20 PM »

Actually I forgot the ZX completely. My Dad picked up an 82 turbo used in 1984 and got rid of a couple years later for a Plymouth Laser.  Funny to think that 180hp and a 7 second 0-60 time as really good nowadays:


God that test track is terrible, why the hell would they try to test cars with all that ice on the ground. lol

I used to own a 1983 Datsun (last year for the name) 280ZX Turbo 2+2 with T-tops.  In my eyes it was a Japanese equivalent of a Buick Riviera.  If you mashed the gas at 25 MPH, the turbo made for great get up and go.  55+ MPH?  Then you saw a typical gutless wonder 6-cylinder result.  As for comfort and style, the 280ZX was a fine machine. 

This would be the only import I ever bought.  Cadillacs suited me better...LOL!

Rick

Yeah my Dad got his as a replacement for his 82 Corvette.  He was all ticked off about how much better the 84 Corvette was and dumped it for the ZX because he got a good deal on it.  For what it's worth he loved the frigging thing and I have huge 18x18 photo of him with it.  At the time he was doing some computer work for GM and he got a ton of $$&# from some of the co-workers and my Grandpa who was a long time Chevy Exec.  Funny thing was we hung onto the ZX even after my sister was born but dumped the 69 Camaro SS that was collecting dust in the garage...it was the only non-American car he bought and the one of two non-GM cars for him.  On the flip side my Mom had a Vista Cruiser at the time which was adequate for shuttling me around but she wanted the new Caravan in the garage which is probably the real reason the Camaro went away.

Takumi

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 3601
  • #yogapantsbutnotstance

  • Age: 33
  • Location: Greater Richmond
  • Last Login: Today at 11:17:42 AM
    • Flashing Lights (blog)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #19 on: April 30, 2016, 10:01:44 PM »

My '91 Prelude Si gets a lot of love from people who remember those days. While 140 HP, 135 lbft, and a 0-60 of 8.7 seconds isn't much today, it was respectable (for a 4-pot, at least) back then.




I recently did a write-up about it over on Jalopnik offshoot Oppositelock.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2016, 11:09:40 PM by Takumi »
Logged
Don't pick apart my vision of complete psychotic breakdown, please.  I'm trying to make a point here.

Insta | Kinja

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #20 on: April 30, 2016, 10:05:34 PM »


Those days were suck city.  It all was started in 1971 when compression started coming down because of low to no lead.  Then in 1973 the looks went away with the 5 mph bumper, then 1975 the catalytic converters started putting the nails in the coffin.  From there with only a few exceptions it was all down hill compounded by the oil embargo.  A lot of the cars then became performance cars by just adding some paint, letters, and/or numbers.  Almost all were dogs and fell apart. 

Talking about rebadged cars.  Remember Cadillac rebadged Chevys. 

My wife had a high end Plymouth Acclaim with the V-6.  It really was not a bad car.  For the day it handled pretty good, not too slow, and it was comfortable.  My wife and three daughters took a cross country trip in it.  We had to dump it at 200,000 + miles.  Transmission went out at 77,000 and replaced under partial warranty, we paid half. 

I had a 95 Dodge full size van it was good.  Had the 360 with the old 727 auto with OD, whatever they numbered it with OD.  I got over 200,000 mi out of it then my daughter drove the s*** out of it for another year, but hey, it was really a truck.  I now have a 1993 Dodge Dakota with the V-6 and 216,000 miles on it, the AC still works.  But once again, it is a truck.

Not only that there was a huge issue with California emissions regulations dictating a lot of lackluster low compression drive trains.  Some common examples you would see in California and in high elevations were the Chevy 262 small block V8 in favor of the 350 or 305 in addition to the Pontiac 400 being subbed out for Oldsmobile 403s.  Basically even today high end cars are designed to run on 91 octane as opposed to 93 like most the country simply due to the fact that it's more cost effective to build from the strictest emissions regulation.

Not to mention safety standards or lack thereof played a huge part as well.  You mentioned the 5 MPH bumpers and all the extra weight they caused.  But things like leaf springs, drum brakes on mid-size plus cars, lack of shoulder harness belts in each seat, lack of air bags and even incredibly thin crappy tires all made cars of the 60s or muscle car era incredibly dangerous by the standards we consider today.  There was a huge insurance company push in the late 60s to push the premiums of most muscle cars through the roof which led to a lot of buyers being discouraged.

Out of all the cars I've had (and don't presently own) only one of them I've driven less than 100,000 miles and that was a 2012 Camaro SS I sold when it was apparent the value would take with the 2016 model looked so much better from an engineering perspective when the ATS came out.  I had a Silverado that I bought all the way back in high school that had 9,000 miles on it and ran it into the ground at about 200,000 when it became my desert off-roader over the course of 15 something years.  I also had a 2011 Ford Focus that I put 150,000 miles on in 2.5 years on a job that had me on the road half the year.  Basically cars will last if you maintain them how it says to do so in the service manual but I'll save that rant for thread I already elaborated on in the Road Trip board.

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2016, 08:39:16 AM »

My '91 Prelude Si gets a lot of love from people who remember those days. While 140 HP, 135 lbft, and a 0-60 of 8.7 seconds isn't much today, it was respectable (for a 4-pot, at least) back then.




I recently did a write-up about it over on Jalopnik offshoot Oppositelock.

Found this for you:


That 0-60 and quarter mile time out of that VTEC is still pretty good for compacts by modern standards.  I'm actually surprised more car companies don't offer performance compacts the only ones I can think of are the Civic Si and the Focus ST right now.

Takumi

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 3601
  • #yogapantsbutnotstance

  • Age: 33
  • Location: Greater Richmond
  • Last Login: Today at 11:17:42 AM
    • Flashing Lights (blog)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2016, 07:09:01 PM »

Yeah, the 4th gen VTEC was ahead of its time in a lot of ways. With the refresh in '94, it gained an updated speedo/tach cluster that lit up when the car turned on, similar to the fuel/temp gauge, as well as standard leather. It was pretty expensive though, over $40k in today's money. A 2015 Civic Si, by comparison, cost about half that. Still, the Si feels a lot more sterile.
Logged
Don't pick apart my vision of complete psychotic breakdown, please.  I'm trying to make a point here.

Insta | Kinja

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 8408
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 02:33:12 PM
    • Sure, Why Not? (Highway Blog Spot)
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2016, 11:04:28 PM »

Yeah it's interesting to look back at the mid-90s and see a lot of really good preforming cars that were just plain not popular.  Those were the years when performance started to rebound but you sure wouldn't know it by the habits of car buyers.  Hell it's basically inconceivable nowadays how cars like the Supra, Camaro, Firebird and even the Prelude would just disappear over the next decade.  The Prelude might not have been a bargain but there sure was a lot of them during the era, it seemed like most people wanted to jump to trucks and boxed SUVs.

briantroutman

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 1910
  • Location: Philadelphia
  • Last Login: Today at 11:34:47 AM
    • briantroutman.com/land
Re: The Sorry State of Affairs in Automobilia in the 1980s and 90s
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2016, 03:49:36 PM »

I think your definition of the “dark days” is about a decade too late. The American auto industry arguably hit its nadir in the mid to late ’70s. The Malaise Era is typically defined as running from about 1973-1983.

At least by the mid ’80s, American cars had regained a sense of purpose—fuel-efficient, space-efficient transportation with improving build quality. If you think 0-60 times are the be-all and end-all of automobilia, that proposition might not excite you, but at least it’s something of value.

Contrast that with about a decade earlier. Performance fans were frustrated by newly emissions-strangled V8s that wheezed out horsepower numbers we see in economy cars today, and these emasculated whales struggled to crack 15-second 0-60 times. But economy-minded drivers were no happier, facing real-world mileage numbers barely reaching the teens. And while design is largely a matter of personal taste, I think few people would argue that the ungainly, overwrought baroque auto styling prevalent in the mid to late ’70s will ever be considered timeless.

But perhaps most egregious of all, quality was abysmal. Assembly line workers would show up drunk or hungover—or they wouldn’t show up at all. Workers who did come in would be lax in their jobs or even actively sabotage the cars in protest. Consider these actual road tests from 1978 (below; reviews begin at 18:28). Here are just a few highlights of the faults in these brand new cars. I’d be embarrassed to drive around a ten-year-old used car with these problems:

AMC Spirit - Clock lost 30 minutes in a week; fuel and temperature gauges jammed during most of the test period.

Ford Mustang - Loose, rattling dash trim. Carpet hanging loosely from center console. Engine stalled after cold starts and hesitated on acceleration. Cruise control rarely worked. Electrical system would die during rain.

Chrysler New Yorker - A/C ceased working during test. Brake lights failed—and when brakes were applied, the internal clock cut out and an interior light flickered on. Several-inch paint run on rear door. Front doors stuck intermittently. Hazard lights would not stay on. Leaking window soaked rear carpet.

Logged

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.