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Cars That Gained Or Lost Respect With Time



  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    I had forgotten about that. Yes, they were the same engines!

    Delorean must have designed the car than then looked around..." Oh, I'm going to need engines for these"

    Of course Peugeot was there for the rescue.

    At least Tucker found some Helicopter engines that I heard weren't bad!
  • The Delorean was supposed to be turbo-charged but the engine deal fell through, so he had to scramble for what was available.

    Tucker converted the helicopter engine from air to water-cooling and also changed camshafts, etc. But apparently it was a sturdy motor. He actually bought the company.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    edited December 2010
    Yep, in his scrambles, he couldn't have picked a worse engine.

    Didn't Howard Hughes have something to do with those Tucker engines?
  • I don't think so. "Aircooled Motors", which made the Tucker engine, was formerly owned by Republic Aircraft. The Tucker family held onto the company for a while after Tucker's death. Eventually it was sold and moved to Poland.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    OK, thanks. I don't know why I thought there was a connection.
  • Maybe there is---I just never heard about it in the research I've done on Tucker.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,577
    My neighbors had a 1989 740 wagon. They bought it used in 1992, and got rid of it in 1998, with around 90,000 miles on it. It was starting to get expensive towards the end of its life, and every month or so had to back to the Volvo dealer, to the tune of around $1000 per visit. They replaced it with a Subaru Legacy Outback, and have stuck with Subes ever since.

    And for some reason, back then, none of the local mechanics wanted to even look at it, so their only choice was to take it to the Volvo dealer, which was 20-some miles away. Is there anything about a Volvo that's so exotic that your run-of-the-mill mechanic wouldn't want to mess with it?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    That's what I suspected. It also occurred to me that, more likely, she loves her 740 so much, for whatever reason, that she's blind to its weaknesses.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    I thought the 544 was a step up in price from the VW Beetle.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    It's my understanding that Volvo shared that V6 with Peugeot and Renault, and DeLorean purchased the engines for his sportscar from Renault.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    It may have been a couple of hundred dollars more and that was a lot of money in those days.

    Still much more of a car in every way!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    You know, I think it was Renault that made that miserable engine.
  • About 500 bucks more, so a tidy sum more in those days. But the 544 was cheaper than the Karmann Ghia, and in that comparison way more car for the money---faster, stronger, warmer and probably more reliable.
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 674
    News stories about the Hughes H-4 Hercules "spruce goose" were circulating in the news at about the same time as the Tucker Torpedo - which was ironically called the "tin goose." That may have lead to some confusion as to a Hughes-Tucker connection.

    Also Howard Hughes became interested in helicopters and founded Hughes Helicopters in 1947 and produced the fascinating XH-17 flying crane.

    The XH-17 was originally designed by Kellett Helicopters as a huge ground test platform for a tip jet powered rotor system for the military. Howard bought the rights from Kellet and in 1949 was awarded an Air Force contract to develop the test rig into an actual flying, heavy lift aircraft. It was first flown in 1952 and testing revealed a very limited range and stress/vibration issues with the massive rotor system.

    I've seen the length of the rotors reported variously as 125, 134, or 136 feet long atop the 35-ft tall aircraft which was powered by twin modified GE turbojets. That is one big chopper. :surprise: People who witnessed the XH-17 flying in the 50s and 60s recall the slow turning rotors and distinctive whop-whop sound of the blades.

    Take a look at this "futuristic aircraft" video, you'll see the Hughes XH-17 flying crane at 2:10.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    While I've neither ridden in nor driven a 544, I believe all the positives that shifty and isell say about it. I think what held back sales in the U.S. was that it looked like a shrunken '41-'48 Ford, and was priced like a Ford.

    The 544 could probably give most Fords of its day a good run for their money in acceleration, and handily out corner and out brake its larger American counterpart. However, it clearly lost when measured by the bigger-is-better standard. Volvo also had a small dealer network, but the 544 succeeded in establishing the Volvo brand in the U.S. That was no small feat. It succeeded because it was a good product.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,628
    edited December 2010
    Hughes was a fascinating man. Now our "heroes" don't create amazing aircraft or 300 mph trains---they create "facebook". Whoopie.

    Volvo 544 -- this was really the first credible, rugged Volvo that could run on American roads and survive. The 444 wasn't up to the job, with its 3-main bearing crank and tractor-derived 1600 cc engine. The 544, with the legendary B18 engine, sturdy 4-speed and a suspiciously Chrysler-looking differential, was a virtually indestructible automobile. You had to literally atomize it through rusting to kill it.

    Weaknesses? Fiber timing gear running against steel crank gear---not so good. Also soft camshafts. But they'd run anyway.

    American mechanics didn't "understand" the SU carburetors. I'm not sure why, since they only have three moving parts.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    Was it 500.00 more?

    Can't say "only" 500.00 because that was a whole lot of money then.

    Funny you would mention Karmann Ghia.

    Right now, as I type these words there is a Karmann Ghia parked at a locak school with a For Sale sign on it.

    I had to stop of course. No price on the sign, just a phone number which is never a good sign. I did call and leave a message.

    It's a 1974 Convrtable and walking around it I have to say it's a solid Number 3 car in every respect. Maybe even a lottle better.

    Baby blue, black top.

    What do you think it's worth?
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    Those had the smoothest, sweetest shifter and they had a certain sound to them that made me drive sometimes with the radio turned off.

    One night, a buddy who had a black 544 decided to throw an M-80 over a classmates back fence as a prank. By luck, it just happened to land on a glass patio table. I had wondered how it made so much noise?

    The next day at school the story went around. A neighbor told the police that it was some guys in a black 1948 Ford!

    No, we didn't get caught.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,577
    Yeah, sometimes it's hard to remember how different money was back then. For example, in 1969, you could get a stripper Valiant 2-door sedan for as cheap as $2094. I've heard a VW Bug from that era cost around $1600. On the surface, IMO at least, that doesn't sound like a lot of money. but, plug it into an inflation calculator, and that $1600 comes out to $9258 in 2009 dollars (2010 aren't available yet), while that Valiant, in 2009 dollars, comes out to $12,116. Pretty big difference there.

    And, as a comparison, my old '69 Dart GT hardtop MSRP'ed for around $3600 in 1969. Auto, power steering, a/c, vinyl roof, 3-speed wipers, heater, ratio, etc., but still just a 225 \6 and 3-speed Torqueflite That's like $20,831 in 2009 bucks!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,346
    Back in the late sixties there was a local VW dealership. Kendon Motors.

    If you wanted a new VW, you paid full price, picked your color and waited six weeks.

    Of course, they kept a few in stock that had another 1000.00 in dealer installed accessories that you cojuld drive home if you didn't want to wait.
This discussion has been closed.