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Were Old Cars more Fun Than Modern Ones?

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  • berriberri Posts: 4,159
    However, the '55 Plymouth had a new platform

    Oh yeah, that's right- they advertised it as something like the $500M look. I don't really know, but I heard one drawback to it was reduced legroom? I always liked the looks of the 55 DeSoto and Dodge.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    edited January 2012
    Very favorite? Actually I like them all. I do have a soft spot for the 52's since that was my first car. I have owned several 49's 50's and 54's.

    Someone in my family, or possibly an old tenant, once had a '53 Chevy. Here's an old pic of my house, taken in 1965, according to the date stamp on the back of the pic:
    image

    BTW, does anybody know when color film started becoming common? For some reason, this pic just feels older than 1965. I always wondered if it was just a real old pic, that didn't get developed until years later.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    Oh yeah, that's right- they advertised it as something like the $500M look. I don't really know, but I heard one drawback to it was reduced legroom? I always liked the looks of the 55 DeSoto and Dodge.

    Dunno about the reduced legroom, but none of those cars from that era were very generous with regards to legroom. I've sat in a '55-56 era DeSoto and Chrysler, and up front, they're really not all that roomy. The seat is high, but it's sort of like sitting in an old truck. You can't really stretch out.

    I've heard that, for the most part, those cars were designed to be a perfect fit for a male driver around 5'10" or so. I remember one year at a car show, someone let me sit behind the wheel of his 1950 or so Olds 88, and that sucker was cramped for my 6'3" body! Headroom was good, but the steering wheel was way too close, and legroom was horrible. I would love to know how fat and/or tall people were able to drive those cars!

    Also, I think it was the 1956 Chrysler that was advertised as "The car with the 100 million dollar look" Or something like that.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,629
    Yep, that's a 53 Chevy all right!

    It's the stripper model, the 150.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    Somewhere around here, or at my Grandmother's house, or my Mom's, there's a some really ancient pics of the house, with a '37 Plymouth parked in that spot! Wish I could find those!
  • berriberri Posts: 4,159
    BTW, does anybody know when color film started becoming common? For some reason, this pic just feels older than 1965. I always wondered if it was just a real old pic, that didn't get developed until years later

    I remember as a kid that color film and its processing were both kind of expensive, even in the mid sixties (like 3 or 4 X more expensive than b&w) - just like color tv I guess. Yearbooks and the like were all mostly b&w back then. I'm thinking color photos got relatively cheaper somewhere in the 70's. In fact, b&w tv's were fairly common around homes until the 70's as well. So I think a 65 b&w picture is quite likely to be real. By the way, that house kind of looks like it could be a vacation home in some resort area. Maybe its the front porches.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,571
    Didn't your grandparents usually have more modern cars? I remember you mentioning their old Fords and Chevys. Or is that from the other side of the family? That car does look kind of aged in the pic.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,571
    Thanks. It comes out mostly on Sundays when the weather is nice.

    The hubcaps are on there pretty tight, and there are actually sellers who carry replacements - for a price. Almost half my life with the old beast now and nothing has fallen off yet.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    Didn't your grandparents usually have more modern cars? I remember you mentioning their old Fords and Chevys. Or is that from the other side of the family? That car does look kind of aged in the pic.

    Yeah, they did. This house is from my Mom's side of the family. My grandmother's Uncle Luther built it, with the original part of it dating back to 1916. It used to be a general store with just two rooms and a front porch. Then, a kitchen was added on, and an apartment upstairs. The earliest my grandmother can remember the house is 1934, when she was 10 years old, and used to come down from Harrisburg PA to visit, and would sleep in the front room upstairs. She was 10 years old then.

    Uncle Luther died in 1960, and Aunt Carrie signed the place over to my grandparents, with life rights to it. But, she didn't like staying there alone. She'd rattle around the house all day, but then go across the street to sleep at my grandparents' place at night. In 1961, they moved her in with them, and started using it as a rental property.

    My uncle remembers one of my great-aunts (Granddad's baby sister Maye, who always reminded me of Betty White's Ellen character on Mama's Family) as having a white '53 or so Chevy. But I don't know why she'd have it parked in that spot.

    Anyway, by the 60's, my grandparents were doing the the station wagon thing. They bought a new '60 or '61 (nobody who's still alive remembers the exact year) Nomad wagon, and then a '64 or '65 (again, nobody remembers the exact year) full-sized Chevy wagon. And, after that, came the '68 Impala 4-door hardtop that my Mom ultimately got, that I vaguely remember as a kid.

    I'm guessing that '53 Chevy belonged to a tenant. One of the tenants actually died in this house, at some point in the 60's. I remember, when I first heard that, it freaked me out. Until I found out that TWO people died in my grandmother's house across the street! Aunt Carrie, and then, in 1969, Grandmom's mother. Back in those days, in rural areas at least, I think it was common for people t just pass away in their own home, rather than go to the hospital.
  • nvbankernvbanker Posts: 7,285
    To be fair, those things weren't the pinnacle of quality of refinement,

    Oh, you are so right!!! IMO, they sucked when they were new, but from an historical perspective, and given the condition of this one, it's very cool. Not sure there's enough oil in Kuwait to keep it full, though.... ;)
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,571
    Is she a dripper already?

    I guess if it is an immaculate survivor and it was cheap, why not...will always have some parts value.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,571
    I think that happened a lot more in the olden days in general - more people died at home. If you think about it, most old houses probably have witnessed a death. It's cool that old house has stayed in the family so much, and that it isn't some insane estate, just an ordinary old house - it being less special actually makes it more unusual I think, kind of like survival rates of sedans vs convertibles.

    My grandmother has had her house for about 50 years now, and there are some pics out there with old cars in front of it I think.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    It's cool that old house has stayed in the family

    Its funny you mention that we were just talking about that. My Grandfather sold his house last Sept and moved in with my parents. We really wanted to keep it in the family, but it needed alot of work and we all are very settled in our own houses.

    The house was just a typical 50s rancher, but there were tons of great memories there.

    I really would love to have some of my Grandfather's cars back. Boattail Rivieras, Coupe DeVilles, etc. Who back then knew that today's cars while better in most respects have no soul.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,571
    I could possibly end up with my grandmother's house as it is a workable commute for me (although about 100x more than my current commute), but I don't have enough attachment to want to buy it - and as it will go to my mother, I'd have to buy it. It's as pristine a 50s style rambler as one can find, but I don't know if I want to be shackled to it. I can't recall all the cars my grandfather had, but I have seen pics of a cool blue and white 57 Ford 4 door HT, and his red 65 Chrysler seemed like a solid car. I know somewhere out there, there's a pic of his fuselage Chrysler sitting in the driveway, but that car was troublesome from the stories I've heard.

    My great-grandmothers house had been hers since the 40s, she finally moved out in 1999, but it needed a lot of updating and I was in school then, so a no-go for me. In an area that flew up during the housing bubble and has now popped.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,148
    Heck, my Grandmom has had her place for over 65 years! Grandpop and her moved in in 1946. Their house used to be a small hospital with a basement tunnel connecting to two other buildings: the doctor's house and a pharmacy. The tunnel was sealed years ago before I was born. I wish I could've seen it.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,534
    Old places like that are great. My brothers and I would have been down there with picks and shovels!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,148
    I can recall almost all my Grandpop's cars, but he never had anything as awesome as a Riviera or Coupe DeVille. He was very conservative with his money much to the benefit of my Grandmom. He easily could've afforded a Cadillac, but he thought buying a fancy luxury car was frivolous. His cars were:

    1941 Chevrolet.
    1947 Hudson.
    1953 Plymouth Cambridge.
    1961 Plymouth Valiant.
    1964 Chevrolet Biscayne.
    1967 Chevrolet Bel Air.
    1974 Chevrolet Impala.
    1980 Chevolet Impala.
    1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Brougham.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    He always bought them a year or two old. GM lost him when he bought a beautiful Mark VI Givenchy when I was in kindergarten. My Grandmother would bring me to school in it. After that he was a Ford guy. He bounced back and forth between Town Cars and Grand Marquis.

    1999 Chevy S10 / 2004 Merc Grand Marquis / 2012 Buick LaCrosse

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    None of my grandparents' cars were anything all that exotic. Lessee, on my Dad's side of the family, they had...

    1949 Ford: their first car. They got married in 1939, but lived in DC, and in those days a car wasn't all that necessary (and I guess, if you live in a big city, it's still not THAT essential. I know some people who manage to go car-less) They bought it used, and I think they might have bought it when they moved out to the suburbs.
    1957 Ford Fairlane 500 4-door hardtop: First new car, paid $3500 for it, so it must've been just about fully-loaded.
    1961 Ford Galaxie 500 4-door hardtop: Also $3500
    1963 Mercury Monterrey 4-door hardtop: Granddad loved the Galaxie, but liked the Mercury's "Breezeway" rear window, and figured it was good for hauling lumber and such. He also got a pretty good trade-in: Monterrey was also $3500, but it ended up costing him the Galaxie + $1200.
    1966 Pontiac Tempest hardtop coupe. All the kids were grown by this time, so no need for a big 4-door car.
    1971 Tempest hardtop coupe. First car I can barely remember, as a kid. But only faintly.
    1975 Dodge Dart Swinger. Stalled out all the time, so they got fed up and traded it after two years on a...
    1977 Granada coupe that promptly chewed up its transmission.
    1981 Granada
    1985 small LTD
    1989 Taurus LX
    1994 Taurus GL...their last car. Granddad gave up driving when he turned 90, in 2004. Offered to give it to me, but I didn't need it, so one of my cousins got it. Still had it as of 2009. It was getting pretty beat-up, which was sad, because Granddad took pretty good care of it.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,333
    It appears that he settled on Chevys starting in 1964 with a Biscayne, and worked his way up the trim levels from there.

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

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,902
    that last message got a bit long, so I thought I'd break it up. Anyway, here's what my grandparents on my Mom's side of the family had...

    1939 or 1940 Chrysler Royal coupe: the car Granddad had when he met Grandmom, in 1946.
    1949 Pontiac: their first brand-new car
    1952 Buick: bought used around 1955.
    1955 Pontiac: bought used around 1958.
    1960 or 61 Chevy Nomad wagon: bought new. By this time, they were taking in foster kids, plus had Grandmom's Aunt Carrie living with them, plus my Mom and uncle, so they needed more room.
    1964 or 65 Chevy Impala wagon: bought new
    1968 Impala 4-door hardtop: bought new. By this time they weren't doing the foster kid thing anymore, and my Mom and uncle were of driving age and had their own cars. This is the first car I remember, as it got handed down to us when I was a little kid.
    1972 Impala 4-door hardtop: bought new
    1953 DeSoto Firedome 4-door sedan: Granddad bought it from his brother in law, for something like $125, in 1978. Scored a new hood, fender, grille teeth, and bumper at a junkyard for $80. He wanted to fix it up to use as a second car, I think so they could help make the Impala last longer, and put off having to buy a new car as long as possible, which were getting too newfangled and complicated for his tastes. But, it pretty much just sat around, and then he sold it once I got close to driving age, because I expressed an interest in it. Probably one reason why I've always liked DeSotos.
    1982 Malibu Classic Estate Wagon. Bought new, for around $11,000. Grandmom cursed it out, and called it "The most expensive cheap car we ever owned" upon discovering the back door windows didn't roll down.
    1985 Buick LeSabre Limited "Collector's Edition", a whopping $16,200 out the door, and the most expensive, luxurious car they ever owned. And the last. Granddad died in 1990, Grandmom retired in 1994, had to give up driving in 1999, and gave it to me. I kept it until 2002, when the brakes went out on it.

    Granddad alway had a pickup as well, but here the history's a bit sketchy. I'll have to ask my uncle to fill in the gaps, but here goes...
    1939 Plymouth: a used 4-door sedan that Granddad picked up, cheap, cut the back part off, and built a makeshift pickup bed.
    1955 or so GM pickup (can't remember if it was a Chevy or GMC)
    1965 or so GM pickup (again, can't remember)
    1973 Chevy pickup. Regular cab, 8 foot bed. I think it was a 3/4 ton, but don't remember it very well. I think it was sort of a mustard yellow color
    1976 GMC crew cab, 3/4 ton pickup. Sort of a burnt sienna color with white roof and white insert. They bought a silde in truck camper, and we went on a lot of trips in that thing.
    1972 Chevy LUV: bought used, around 1978, from a family friend for something like $200. Given to my uncle, who wrecked it.
    1981 Dodge Ram D-50. bought to replace the LUV, and something small and economical to drive around in, and save on gas. Accelerator pedal stuck at the gas station one day, and they ended up taking off and crashing into the woods beyond the parking lot. Fixed, but Grandmom was spooked by it, so they sold it to a neighbor, who had it well into the 1990's.
    1985 Chevy Silverado. Granddad's last new truck. Regular cab, 8-foot bed, half ton. Granddad tried to drive it around the block with the camper on it, didn't like the way it acted, so that was the end of an era, for camping and vacationing. He actually did keep the '76 GMC until around 1986-87, before finally selling it. The slide-in camper sat in the yard until 1995 or so, when it was finally given to some relatives. I still have the '85, although its days are numbered. Needs suspension work, and rust is really getting to it.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,159
    I came from a pretty small family and some that lived right in the city didn't even own a car. I do remember a few that stood out. My uncle had a 58 Plymouth, but it wasn't a very good car and he then got a 60 Chevy Impala flat top. Another uncle had a very sharp, black 59 Buick LeSabre coupe as a company car. That was probably the wildest 59 GM put out! My dad once had a 54 DeSoto Firedome - nice looking car inside and out with a small hemi, but kind of a lemon. However, I like DeSoto's too despite that experience. I think it was kind of a laboratory for Chrysler Motors like Olds was for GM.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,188
    "I would love to know how fat and/or tall people were able to drive those cars!"

    There were far fewer fat people in the '50s than today, and the average height was probably a tad less too.

    Regarding the '55 Plymouth having less rear seat leg room than the '53s and '54s, it's possible, although the '55s were considerably larger than the earlier ones, and not as low as the all-new '57s. I find it believable that the '57s may have had less leg room than the '55s or the '53s/'54s, but not so much the '55s and '56s. If anyone could clarify this for us, it would be you, andre.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,148
    The 1964 Biscayne was the first car of my Grandpop owned that I can clearly remember, though my Grandmom was driving the Valiant by then. There is a picture of my Mom coming out of the back seat of the Biscayne in front of the church for her wedding when the car was new. When Grandpop got his 1967 Bel Air, he passed the '64 Biscayne down to my Grandmom. Grandmom drove the Biscayne until 1973 when she got, of all things, a new mustard-yellow Vega! Yuck!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,369
    And I think it's quite appropriate for this discussion, no?

    image

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,333
    Grandmom drove the Biscayne until 1973 when she got, of all things, a new mustard-yellow Vega! Yuck!

    That brings back a memory. When my father was in his '50s, and after us kids were out of the house, he fell in love with a '74 Vega wagon. Orange with fake wood side panels, no less. I don't know what the heck attracted him to it, he had bought Volvos before that, but I have to say that he had good luck with it for the three years that he owned it.

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

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,148
    Wow, I forget there was a Vega wagon, let alone one with woodgrain sides. Your father's car must've looked similar to this one, except the wheelcovers on this car are from a much later Chevrolet Citation:

    image
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,534
    edited January 2012
    "I forget there was a Vega wagon, let alone one with woodgrain sides. "

    The Vega had to compete!
    image
  • au1994au1994 Posts: 769
    My best friend in HS had a 72 Pinto wagon as a 3rd car that they had owned since new. When we were thrashing around in it (late 80's), it had ~172k on the clock and was on the original clutch.

    Not a bad little car given what we put it though! Never broke down on us!

    2013 335i Sport Line Alpine White over Coral Red w/Black Trim

    2005 330cic ZHP Monaco Blue over Natural Brown w/Black Trim

  • omarmanomarman Posts: 696
    The Vega had to compete!

    Yep but in the 70s who could compete with Wisco? :)
    Photobucket
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