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The Best Cars From The '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s

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Comments

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,580
    I think Cadillac would have been better off in 1982 if they simply started using Olds 307's rather than that aluminum 249 V-8. But initially, I guess there was some "prestige" to having a Cadillac-only engine, even if it wasn't too long before people found out how bad it was.

    FWIW, the city rating of a 1982 Electra or 98 with the Olds 307 was 16, while it was 17 for the Deville with a Caddy 249. Those were raw laboratory numbers, so don't expect to be able to repeat them! In those days though, I guess every MPG mattered.

    The Buick 252 V-6 was rated at 18 city, in the DeVille, 98, and Electra. Both it and the 249 had the same hp, 125, but a nasty little secret was that the Buick engine actually had more torque...something like 200-205 ft-lb versus 190-195 for the Caddy 249. So, the Buick engine might have been the better performer of the two! :sick: I wonder if the Buick engine was lighter, as well? The Buick V-6 only weighed around 375 lb, which was pretty lightweight for its displacement. I think the Chevy 229 was around 425 lb, and the old 250 inline-6 was around 450, and the Mopar 225 slant six topped the scales around 475 lb.

    The Caddy V-8 was aluminum though, so there was some weight savings there no doubt.

    Still, shame they couldn't have just taken an Olds 307, and maybe put fuel injection on it to get a bit more power, versus the 4-bbl, and then make that a Cadillac exclusive? They were fuel-injecting Olds 350's ever since the '75 Seville, so I'm sure that was feasible.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,890
    And in 1982 we were blessed with the Cimarron, a real 3 series competitor it was :shades:

    It was also a continuing age of faux Rolls grilles, padded tops, faux wire wheels, etc.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,580
    I'm not trying to defend them too much, but I think Cadillac really was caught between a rock and a hard place back in those days. There were still plenty of people who really WANTED a big, beefy Cadillac, at any cost. Unfortunately, GM couldn't keep building them with big 425 or even 368 CID engines, not without torpedoing their CAFE ratings and paying fines. So, they resorted to things like the V-8-6-4, Buick 252, Caddy 249, and widespread use of the Diesel. As for the Cimarron, that was probably forced onto the market because dealers were pushing for a small car to compete with the likes of BMW and Mercedes. Plus, it did help get those CAFE numbers back up a bit.

    People still bought a lot of those big RWD DeVilles and Fleetwoods, even in the dark days of 1980-83. Sales did taper off in 1984, as the 1985 FWD model rolled out early in the model year. Or I guess it could be argued that it was late, as it was originally intended to be a 1984, but things were delayed as GM tried to work the bugs out of the transverse 4-speed automatic.

    They got the Brougham more or less right again in 1986 when they dumped the 249 for an Olds 307, but by then they were cutting back production and focusing on the FWD models.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,000
    It was also a continuing age of faux Rolls grilles, padded tops, faux wire wheels, etc.

    In all fairness that was probably even more attributable to Ford and Lincoln. And Iaccoca also brought his pimp styling and marketing over to Chrysler.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,347
    edited September 2011
    Yeah, that is exactly what happened. The early 80's were dark days for all of the manufacturers but I think Cadillac got hit the worst.

    Trying to sell a Sedan De Ville with an Olds engine may not have set well but didn't Cadillac sell a few with the Olds diesel engines?

    Those Olds diesels were another mistake.

    Then Cadillac came out with the Northstars. A VERY complex engine that had a lot of plusses. Soon it was discovered that they would develop the dreded "Northstar Leak" that requires the engine to by pulled. About a 4500.00 job that will total an older Caddy. They had serious head gasket problems too.

    In spite of all of this, they continue to survive somehow.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,580
    Trying to sell a Sedan De Ville with an Olds engine may not have set well but didn't Cadillac sell a few with the Olds diesel engines?

    Yeah, and in the early days, before its troubles became so well-known, I believe it was actually a fairly common option. I think it was getting to the point that Cadillac buyers didn't care if it took 20 seconds to get from 0-60; they just wanted a big, comfy car that.

    Interestingly, in the EPA text files, the 350 that Cadillac used in the '75-79 Seville, '79 Eldorado, and the California '80 Eldo/Seville is listed as "GM-CAD" rather than "GM-OLDS". Even though it's an Olds 350. I wonder if there's a code in the serial # or Vin # that differentiates an Olds 350 from a "Cadillac" 350?
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,270
    Now a V-6 Accord would absolutely eat its [Mustang 289] lunch in a drag race.

    The fact is, with a 0-60 in the low 6's and a 1/4 mile in the mid 14's, a V-6 Accord would have been considered a supercar back in the '60s. Believe it or not, that was stock Plymouth/Dodge Hemi territory.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,580
    And not only that, but the '60's Hemi wouldn't have air conditioning, power windows, probably no power brakes or steering, either.

    If they put short enough gearing in the Hemi, it would still manage to blow off the Accord initially, but that would hinder top speed, so it wouldn't take long for the Accord to catch up to it.
  • andres3andres3 CAPosts: 5,278
    Ever since Honda came out with the 240 HP 3.0 V6 in 2002 for the 2003 models, I've always admired the Accord's V6, but that was a +40 HP gain over the previous generation V6's from Honda which were still pretty good at 200 HP.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,423
    "The fact is, with a 0-60 in the low 6's and a 1/4 mile in the mid 14's, a V-6 Accord would have been considered a supercar back in the '60s."

    So the new Camry's 5.8 0-60, 14.3s/101mph 1/4 mile are even more impressive...Ferraris of the 60s were in the 6-7 second range, but the better muscle cars were in the 5s.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,270
    If they put short enough gearing in the Hemi, it would still manage to blow off the Accord initially, but that would hinder top speed, so it wouldn't take long for the Accord to catch up to it.

    That's a good observation, Andre. The typical muscle car of that era was geared such that the engine was turning about twice as fast in high gear as a modern car like the Accord.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    My thoughts have been circling back to the mid-late '50s Chrysler Corp. cars. GM was generally acknowledged as the post WWII style leader, but for brief periods other domestic automakers stole GM's thunder. One example is the '57 Chrysler Corp. lineup, as we've discussed in recent postings. In thinking about this, maybe the genisis for the '57s dates back to the '30s. Back then, Chrysler made a bold attempt to steel the styling lead with the Airflow. I love those cars, but they failed so miserably in the marketplace, that Chrysler played it safe through '54. Its cars after the Airflow were solid, well engineered, reliable and comfortable, but boring as heck. Then, for '55 Chrysler ditched its staid image and fired a shot across GM's and Ford's bow. The problem is that its two larger competitors also came out with new, winning designs, so Chrysler's offerings made less of an impact than they otherwise would have. I believe the '55 and '56 models succeeded in putting Mopars on a lot more shopping lists than they would have if they had continued to play it safe. In fact, they may have saved the company, because by the early '50s the auto industry had gone from being a sellers' market to a buyers' market, and Chrysler was rapidly losing market share.

    I imagine the question at Chrysler in the mid-50s was, okay, now what? The answer was the dramatic, and hugely successful '57s. The problem was that, while Chrysler owners took good quality for granted through the '54 model year, quality started to deteriorate with the '55 models. One example of this was that they rusted quicker. Then, the '57s and beyond were near quality disasters. Body panels were frequently misaligned, fit and finish took a dive, and they rusted even sooner than the '55s and '56s. If only they had been well assembled and had had better rust proofing, Chrysler might have overtaken Ford, by retaining more of the new customers it had acquired.

    Of course, Ford and the independents also missed opportunities to become industry leaders. Oh well, if my grandmother had had a moustache she would have been my grandfather, proving that discussions that begin with "if only" are kind of useless.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    I think the first generation Audi A4 deserves honorable mention as one of the best cars of the '90s. The reason I cite this model is that, of all the cars that tried to take on the legendary BMW 3-Series, the A4 came closest to taking the sports sedan crown away from its German rival. One of the interesting things about the A4 was that it was anything but a copy cat of the 3-Series. It featured great original styling and a beautiful interior, and relied heavily on its innovative Quattro system for handling, traction, stability and safety.

    In some ways the A4 was arguably better than the 3-Series. Its price was lower, and I, for one, preferred its exterior and interior styling. As is the case with all cars, though, the A4 had its negatives. It was less reliable than the 3-Series, and at least as high maintenance. Also, whereas BMW and Mercedes do a great job of stocking parts for their old models, Audi doesn't.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,580
    I always wondered what would have happened if Mopar had held off until 1958 to redesign, rather than rushing those 1957's out. I have a feeling that warmed over '56 models would have still sold pretty well, with the exception of Plymouth. Without an all-new model, they would have given a lot of sales to the all-new Ford most likely, who would have then overtaken Chevy by an even wider margin.

    But, further up the ranks, the '57 Pontiac wasn't such a hot seller, and a facelifted '56 Dodge would have probably stacked up well against it. The '57 Olds, Buick, and Cadillac, while all-new, didn't look that radically different from the '56 models. The '57 Mercury, while all-new, didn't go over all that great with the public, either.

    This would have meant that those new Forward look cars would have debuted in a recession year, but one reason Chrysler's sales in '58 were so bad was a backlash against the '57's, for quality control issues, so they might have done okay.

    Plus, one reason the Fords and GM cars got so garish was in an attempt to out-do what Chrysler was doing, so if Chrysler pushed back their '57's a year, maybe GM wouldn't have gone so over-the-top with their '58 cars, and the '58 style might have lasted through '59, and perhaps been more tasteful.

    Then again, maybe not. For 1959, GM was originally planning to update the '58 Chevy with a "central theme", inspired by the Edsel's grille, Tucker's third headlight, etc.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    "I always wondered what would have happened if Mopar had held off until 1958 to redesign, rather than rushing those 1957's out."

    It's a question that's been asked, but to which we'll never know the answer. I think that Chrysler Corp. made a strategic decision to get a jump on the competition, rather than to give its rivals more time to learn its plans and react to them. It seems to me that Chrysler made a decision to assign a lower priority to quality with its '55 cars, and the company continued to execute on that plan with the '57s. Maybe if the '55s and '56s, which were well received, had been even bigger hits, the company could have afforded to keep those platforms in production for another year. However, the competition for styling innovation was fierce in those years. The marketplace rewarded dramatic changes, and Chrysler did its best to satisfy this desire.
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