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Cars That Could Have Been Great, But Missed

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,312
    Of the cars in the Intrepid' 2.7's price range, I think you made the best choice. From what I've heard, the 2.7's sludge problems were avoidable with proper maintenance. Your experience supported that this engine delivered good service when properly maintained.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    If the 'Trep hadn't been wrecked, do you think you'd still have it?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    If the 'Trep hadn't been wrecked, do you think you'd still have it?

    Yeah, probably, although it would have around 164,000 miles on it by now (had 150K when wrecked, and I've put 14K on the Park Ave).

    The Trep actually saved me a bit on maintenance though, getting wrecked when it did. It was about due for a transmission service, which I tried to do roughly every 30,000 miles. Rear brake pads tended to last around 50,000 miles, so it was probably going to need them again soon. And, as preventive maintenance, I might have changed the battery by now.

    Now, if the engine or transmission had gone out in that car, I would have junked it, but both were still working fine, so I'm sure they still had a few good years left.
  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    Even as a kid I didn't know why they changed the looks on Riv/Toro for 1970 just for a year. Sales of the 70's tanked, and probably from the looks. OTOH, I have a car buddy who had a green 70 Riv and likes them for "uniqueness".

    Another odd look from GM for 1970 were the full sized Pontiacs, they looked alot less sporty than the 65-69 and the big grille was like an antique radiator.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    I never did like the '70 Riviera, but can still tolerate the Toronado. At least with the Toro, it seems like they only botched the front, but with the Riv, they messed up the whole thing. Almost overnight, it seemed to go from sleek, sporty, tasteful, to an odd combination of old man's car and pimp-mobile. I think the one redeeming feature was that 1970 was the year the Riv hit its peak horsepower, before the decline.

    I think Pontiac was trying to apply Grand Prix styling to the big cars for 1970, and that retro style, or "neoclassic" as they called it back then, was starting to come into vogue. It worked on the '69-70 Grand Prix, but I think the result was a bit less tasteful on the big cars. They were just too wide to wear a grille that narrow and tall, and it left too much room on either side. And trying to fill it in by spacing the headlights out a bit, and making the fake horn ports, which gave it a "6-headlight" look, just didn't work.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    I guess that explains the 1970 full-size Pontiac's weird look. They tried to make it a massive Grand Prix. I always thought the 1970 Riviera looked like a Skylark on steroids. The fender skirts were bad enough, but that vinyl sweepspear was really overkill.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,276
    Actually, given a choice between the '69 and '70 big Pontiacs, I'd take the '70. I liked the attempt at pseudo-classic styling, and the '69 by comparison seems bland. I think the '70 looks better to my eye now than it did when it was new.

    There is nothing at all good I can say about the Riv for that year though. Dunno what they were thinking. At least on the '70 Toro you could order the GT option which gave it the most power it would ever have along with a dual-cutout rear bumper like the 4-4-2.

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • oldbearcatoldbearcat Posts: 180
    My Dad owned a 70 Toro GT. It was quite a beast. If you uncorked it at a stoplight, the front tires would go up in smoke. Turns out - this was his last Olds. One evening in 1977, he took the Toro downtown, and, came home with a new BMW 530i. The BMW dealer must have thought that he was nuts. He left the house dressed in a old sweatshirt, and, a pair of WWII vintage fatique pants. He'd just finished mowing thw grass, and, I guess he just decided to go swap cars. I didn't even know he had been looking at BMWs.

    Regards;
    Oldbearcat
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    One evening in 1977, he took the Toro downtown, and, came home with a new BMW 530i.

    Yikes, so close. Its too bad he couldn't hold on a litte bit longer and go for a 528i instead.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    Yeah, he missed the Rhine River barge on that one. Oh well, what's a few cracked cylinder heads among friends?

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  • oldbearcatoldbearcat Posts: 180
    Would you believe Dad owned that BMW for 17 years, and, the head never cracked. Did a bunch of other bad things - including catching on fire twice.

    Regards:
    Oldbearcat
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    One evening in 1977, he took the Toro downtown, and, came home with a new BMW 530i.

    That might seem like a drastic change in automotive choices, but I can see the rationale behind it. All you have to do is look at what the Toronado had turned into by 1977. Other than being big and heavy and FWD, it was nothing like the 1970.

    I'm sure the '70 could be quite a handful, and probably nothing you'd want to take through the slalom at high speed, but at least it was still powerful, fast in straight line, and imparted a youthful, sporty look. Sure, not too many young'uns bought them, but that's because they were expensive and out of reach.

    By 1977, the Toronado was even bigger and heavier, and powered by a slightly hopped-up Olds 403 that might have put out 190-200 hp (it put out 185 in most other applications). It was pimpy and bloated and cushy, and was doing its damndest to isolate the passengers from the world outside. And that youthful spirit was, for the most part, gone. Although that XS model with the wraparound rear window was pretty cool, but it wasn't enough to make up for everything else.

    Personally I like those big 70's Toronados, but if I wanted something that handled well and had some performance to it, it wouldn't be my first choice!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    I think there was also a Toronado XSR that had retractable T-tops.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,108
    I think there was also a Toronado XSR that had retractable T-tops.

    That was in the works, and I think even made it into the brochures, but unfortunately the retractable T-tops were troublesome. I believe only one or two prototypes were built, but it never made it to mass production. Even the XS model was pretty rare. I believe only around 3,000 were built.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,198
    1977 Toronado XSR

    I heard this particular car now resides in Rockville, MD.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    He was way ahead of the curve buying a 5er in the 70s. Did he have another car afterwards (not sure of his age etc)?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    Well the failure rate on cracked heads for the 530i was only 10% (which is a LOT for a factory defect but still you have a 9 in 10 chance of dodging it).

    Also these cars suffer from horrible gas mileage (as low as 12 mpg) and pernicious rust issues in the wheel wells.

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  • oldbearcatoldbearcat Posts: 180
    You're right about the Toro's handling. Driving it on back country roads here in WV was miserable. It was so nose heavy that cornering with any enthusiasm was dangerous. It was a great interstate flyer though.

    Regards:
    Oldbearcat
  • oldbearcatoldbearcat Posts: 180
    He keep working until age 85, and, actually bought three more cars after the BMW. He had his hips replaced, and, went looking for some really comfortable car seats. He switched over to big Chryslers. He bought a couple of the big long-nosed plush monsters, and, his final car was a Chrysler Concorde. Mom had me sell it after Dad passed away 4 years ago.

    Regards:
    Oldbearcat
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,671
    The last Seville was produced last week. Sad, I was amazed at the original, striking good looks and what seemed to be the real potential (never fully realized) to take on the Germans...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,708
    Cadillac did so many things right, and a couple of things really really wrong.

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    I think the STS was mainly rental fodder for the past few years anyway. Who would buy one new? Good used deal though.

    For new, the prices weren't that low, and other than in the V, the mechanicals were nothing special. Combined with boring interiors, hard sell.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Sounds like a character, early adopters are interesting. A 5er back then was a very left field choice.
  • oldbearcatoldbearcat Posts: 180
    Fintail:

    Dad was a character to be sure. My mother also loved the BMW - she was a closet drag racer. She also loved to drive my Grandfather's 66 Olds Cutlass. It was an unassuming looking green 4 door, but, under the hood lurked a high performance 330 4 bbl rocket engine coupled to a 2 speed automatic. In a red light Grand Prix, few cars at the time could beat it.

    Regards:
    Oldbearcat
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    I'm assuming that 5er back then cost as much as maybe a nice loaded Olds or Buick, but probably less than a lowline Caddy. How things have changed, as now a 5er costs more than anything but the highest Caddy or Corvette.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,671
    I helped a friend's dad buy a 528i in '79, and I think it was around $15k. One reason they didn't cost as much relatively is the much lower level of options. But I'd buy that car today if I could find a clean one, great combination of performance (it was a manual), room, and quality.
  • oldbearcatoldbearcat Posts: 180
    edited May 2011
    Correct. Dad indicated at the time that the BMW was the same price as a Olds 98 was. His BMW was loaded too - Leather, AC, automatic, sun roof, Blaupunt stereo, power everything, and alloy wheels. He even bought the emergency kit (Hoses, bulbs, extra sparkplugs, etc.) and the factory shop manuals with it. The BMW was a beautiful metalic bugundy red with black leather interior.

    Regards:
    Oldbearcat
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,312
    If the BMW was so good, why didn't stay with that brand, instead of going back to domestic cars?
  • lilengineerboylilengineerboy Posts: 4,116
    If the BMW was so good, why didn't stay with that brand, instead of going back to domestic cars?

    I never understood this brand loyalty thing so much. I try to get the best car for me at the time I need a car, independent of who makes it.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,189
    Really, maybe not such a bad deal nwhen looking at things. A nicely equipped (but not totally loaded) 5er today will be about 60K. So 4x more. Lots of things cost more than 4x today, not to mention the weakness of the dollar.
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