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If You Had the Power, What Would You Make Automakers Bring Back?

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Comments

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,070

    Yeah, but if cars were too light, they'd either be unsafe, or too expensive. I imagine that FWD probably makes power steering more of a requirement, as well. Not only is the weight distribution more biased toward the front, but often the engine/transaxle is mounted so that the bulk of it is either on top of the front axle, or slightly ahead of it. On most RWD cars I've seen, the front of the engine is just barely even with the front axle, so you have more of the bulk between the axles, so the rear shares some of that weight.

    I don't think I've ever driven a car with manual steering, except maybe a friend's early 80's Dodge Colt, back in college, and that was just around the parking lot. Now I've driven plenty of cars with failed power steering, but that's a different story! Actually, even something like my '79 5th Ave, with failed p/s, isn't bad in most situations. Parallel parking, or even any kind of low-speed maneuvering is a chore. But once you're moving, you hardly even notice it. Making a sharp right turn, say, from a stop sign is a bit of a workout.

    I drove my '68 Dart V-8 for about 40,000 miles with failed power steering. One of my friends even took his driver's ed test in it. First time he failed, early on in the course, and the cop who took him out had to drive it back, and was griping about it the whole way.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,013

    My dad's 68 Fairlane had manual steering (and brakes, and a 3 on the tree, fun car!) - a chore to drive. Call me spoiled, I'll pass on that experience now. I think the 60 Ford had power steering but manual brakes, which might be more sensible. I suspect the Horizon had manual steering too, given its size and weight.

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,070
    edited May 14

    I briefly owned a 1967 Newport that had power steering, but manual brakes. Prior to me, it belonged to a petite, little old lady who had owned it since 1971, and she had no problem handling it. However, I imagine that disc brakes today make power almost mandatory. Manual drums aren't that big of a deal to stop, unless you slam on them a few times on a really hot day, get them wet, etc.

    When my DeSoto comes back from the mechanic, I'll be curious to see how its upgraded brakes compare to the originals. Originally, it had 12" drum brakes all around, and two cylinders per wheel up front for that they called "Total Contact" braking. All things considered, it stopped pretty well, although those brakes did get out of adjustment fairly easily.

    Now though, it has M-body copcar discs up front, which are bigger than a regular M-body, and interchangeable with what's on my '79 New Yorkers. At least, interchangeable enough that when my '89 Gran Fury copcar quit running, and my '79 5th Ave needed new pads up front, I swapped them! Yeah, I was kinda poor back then... :s I forget what's on the back...it's still drum brakes. I'm thinking 11" drums, but not positive. It's an E-body 8.75 rear, I know that much...

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494

    My '64 Studebaker Daytona had no power steering or power brakes. The steering wasn't bad at all unless parking at a near-stop. The brakes were a PITA IMHO though.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,013

    The 60 Ford definitely didn't have discs, and I don't remember it being hard to drive with manual drums. I think my mom even drove it once. I did some of my driving practice in it, and it was easy enough - although as it was the size of an aircraft carrier, you'd cruise and glide in it rather than drive in a way that would make it act up.

    Speaking of being a poor/cheap, when I was a student, I put shocks on the fintail from a W108 (fintail replacement) that was being parted out - they looked nearly new, and the guy parting the car said I could have them if I removed them. They are still on the car B)

    On fintails, power steering and brakes both were optional on early models, power brakes became standard, power steering was technically optional, but I think all sold in NA have it. It has pretty good brakes, steering is more communicative than a period American car, but not like driving a sports car.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,319

    I think rear drums would work fine on many of the newer cars but the manufacturers have everyone convinced that discs all the way around are the only way to go. Either that or they are in a feature war. I dunno - do all the fancy stability gizmos work better with rear discs?

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,070

    The first car I had with 4-wheel discs was a 2000 Intrepid. It didn't have ABS or traction control though. I would actually consider it inferior to the '89 Gran Fury copcar I had before it. At least, it was easier to make the Intrepid lose control, than it was the Gran Fury.

    I'd like to think that they improved things since my old 'Trep, but my 2012 Ram, armed with 4wheel discs, ABS, and traction control, is no great shakes in the snow. It seemed fine the first winter I had it, when we never had more than a couple inches on the ground at any one time. But it didn't like it at all once it got much thicker...especially once you threw a little ice into the mix, heck I think that old Gran Fury would've done better! One problem with the Ram is that the traction control is too overprotective. I ended up having to turn it off to get traction!

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,962

    My '82 Accord hatchback didn't have power steering (although, it had power brakes). It was a great car, but it was a bear to park, for such a small car. (early FWD had a lot of weight over the wheels)

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,792

    I really do not like the electric steering on our 2013 CRV!

    It feels numb and disconnected compared to the 2003 CRV that I usually drive.

    The 2013 also suffers from poor visability compared to the 2003. The A and C pillars are so thick I feel like I'm sitting in a tub.

    I realize they have to be this way to hold the curtain airbags and to improve rollover strength but I still don't like them!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,356

    a car doesn't have to be heavy to be safe. Some of the safest cars in the world are among the lightest (race cars). The problem is that "safe + light" is expensive.

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  • thebeanthebean Texas!Posts: 41

    I know I'm likely in the minority, but I would like for the manufacturers to give me an option to delete the big screens/touchscreens in the middle of the dashboard stack on every new mid-size car I am considering. I don't need these - the controls as configured on my 2001 ES300 and 2002 Civic are just fine, thank you - and I think these screens are just more stuff to go wrong. I also don't need any way to connect a cell phone into my car. If I need to make a call, I pull over, park, and pull the cell phone out and make the call. Again, just more stuff to go wrong. Maybe call this the Luddite option package delete.

    Also, maybe put in something on a car that will shout "Get off my lawn!!" when I pull into my driveway. :)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,356

    I would like to see a LONG list of "electronic deletes" (pick your gadget). I realize this is often not practical since so much of these electronics are integrated into the car's systems, but it would be great for automakers to offer at least one "electronics lite" performance car for the enthusiast.

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  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,196

    Genuine two and four-door hardtops along with an affordable large station wagon, (not a minivan, not a SUV, not a cross-over). Most of all, I'd like to see a genuine full-size, full-frame, RWD, V-8 car like my Grand Marquis, only updated with today's modern technology.

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,693

    Hear hear on the electronics and touchscreen delete options!

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,070
    edited May 18

    @lemko said: Genuine two and four-door hardtops along with an affordable large station wagon, (not a minivan, not a SUV, not a cross-over). Most of all, I'd like to see a genuine full-size, full-frame, RWD, V-8 car like my Grand Marquis, only updated with today's modern technology.

    Considering how high the beltlines are in today's cars, it probably wouldn't be too much of a stretch to make a hardtop sedan again. One reason hardtops started becoming impractical was that windows were getting larger, while the back doors were getting shorter, so there was simply no place for a window to roll all the way down into.

    With the thicker, stronger pillars of today's cars, a 4-door hardtop would probably do fairly well in a roll-over, despite the lack of a B-pillar. I guess side impact protection might still be a sore spot, though.

    About the closest equivalent to a big throwback car, with updated technology, would probably be something like a Charger or 300 today. V-8 availability, RWD, and a full-sized 120" wheelbase. They're unit-body, but that doesn't bother me. With the exception of Imperial (through 1966), every Chrysler car from 1960 onward has been unit-body. In fact, Chrysler coined the term "Unibody".

    My only beef with the Charger/300 is that they just don't feel like a "big" car to me. It's full-sized by EPA standards, but IMO just doesn't have the shoulder room and trunk volume to really feel like a "big" car. To put it in old fashioned terms, it feels more like an '83 Malibu inside, than an '83 Caprice. Or in more obscure Mopar terms, closer to a Diplomat than a St. Regis!

    IMO though, it wouldn't take too much to make a 300 feel bigger. Maybe bump out the wheelbase by two inches, and put all of that into the back seat. And maybe give it another 1-2" of shoulder room. You wouldn't necessarily have to widen the whole car for this...might just be able to redesign the inner door panels. I dunno how much you'd have to lengthen the rear of the car though, to get the trunk volume from ~16 cubic feet to around 20. And, in the overall scheme of things, I'm sure it would never happen. Even cars the size of a 300, Avalon, or Impala are more of a niche market these days. So it would make even less sense to make something even bigger. Unless it was sold at a premium price, in order to bring profit and prestige.

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,013

    I wonder if MB could do a HT E or S-class (it is the brand that has had at least one hardtop coupe in continuous production since 1961). There's been rumors of a 4 door convertible S for years, a hardtop would be easier than that.

  • KCRamKCRam Mt. Arlington NJPosts: 3,516
    1. A good ol' front bench seat
    2. A horizontal dashboard without the center stack design so that middle passenger of the bench has someplace to put their feet
    3. Fully-separate 5-mph steel bumpers, instead of those full plastic body caps with "impact beams" underneath that do nothing to protect the surface
    4. Keyholes on the passenger-side front door. Who thought it was a great idea to have to unlock the whole car/truck just to access anything besides the driver's door?
    5. Headlights I don't need more than a simple screwdriver to change if they blow or break
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,394

    @KCRam said: 1. A good ol' front bench seat 2. A horizontal dashboard without the center stack design so that middle passenger of the bench has someplace to put their feet 3. Fully-separate 5-mph steel bumpers, instead of those full plastic body caps with "impact beams" underneath that do nothing to protect the surface 4. Keyholes on the passenger-side front door. Who thought it was a great idea to have to unlock the whole car/truck just to access anything besides the driver's door? 5. Headlights I don't need more than a simple screwdriver to change if they blow or break

    All good ideas. I especially miss the bench seat in front and the passenger keyhole.

  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,319
    edited May 19

    I don't miss the bench seat especially, but the manufacturers insist on filling up the space between the buckets with big cumbersome consoles that my knees bang in to.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,356

    Wasn't the Lincoln Town Car pretty much a bench seat (faux bench seat?)

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,070

    @Mr_Shiftright said: Wasn't the Lincoln Town Car pretty much a bench seat (faux bench seat?)

    I think the Town Car is one of those 40/20/40 things, similar to my 2012 Ram. Basically, two bucket seats with a small, stationary piece in the center, with an armrest that can flip up to be a backrest.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,356

    and no console as I recall---at least on some of them. I mean, you might want to have your honey snuggled up next to you, but your father in law? :)

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,962

    In the '70s, Lincoln had a 50/50 seat.. they met in the middle, and it wasn't really uncomfortable (by the standards of the day) to sit in the middle. I don't remember the seat being out of line with the steering wheel, either (it's been a long time ago...lol)

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,070

    My grandmother's '85 LeSabre had a 50/50 split, and each side had its own little armrest. The driver/passenger positions were very comfortable, although the passenger side sat kind of low. The center position though, was horrible, mainly because of the contouring. The back seat was pretty bad too in the center spot, because of the way it was contoured.

    My '79 New Yorkers have a 60/40 split, with a big armrest on the driver's portion. Its center spot seems more comfortable than that LeSabre was, because of the contouring, but also the driveshaft/transmission hump isn't quite as large. However, I think the outboard driver/passenger positions were more comfy on the LeSabre.

    I hate that driving position, where the steering wheel feels out of line with the seat. Two vehicles I remember really noticing that in were the Toyota Tacoma and BMW 6-series, although I'm sure other cars have done it. Now, whenever I've had three people across, I'd have to sit off-center with the steering wheel, in just about any car, but that's a different story.

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