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I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    I remember catching an old episode of "Let's Make a Deal" on the Game Show Network a few years back, and a later-model Vega was one of the prizes. When the announcer was giving the description, I vaguely remember him mentioning some improvements that were made...can't remember if it was the rustproofing, engine, or what.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    edited February 2013
    Ads and the brochure for the '76 were full of all the improvements--primarily engine cooling and significantly improved rustproofing. The brochure was pretty detailed on the improvements, surprisingly. The tagline that year for the Vega, in ads and the brochure, was "Built to Take It".
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 3,719
    "I think more people look at Vegas than Pintos and probably Gremlins. People like to drop V8's into them. "

    Gremlins would not have been that much of a challenge, since AMC sold them from the factory with a V8, although I don't think it was done in all model years.

    I had a 232 in my '72 Gremlin - my first car. I could easily spin the wheels from a stop if I wasn't careful with the accelerator. Weird car in many ways though; I'll never forget that Chrysler starter!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    Not to belittle the 232's power, but since the Gremlin was essentially a trunkless Hornet, the light weight over the rear wheels made it easier to spin the tires.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    I remember catching an old episode of "Let's Make a Deal" on the Game Show Network a few years back

    There was a game show in the '70's with Tom Kennedy as the host, and I think it was called 'Split Second', but I'll have to check. There were five cars on the stage, always Chevys or Pontiacs, and the winner that day got a key and tried to start the car. If it didn't start, the winner would be back the next day. I always had to laugh when the person won five days straight, as they'd have their choice of the five cars. Always comical is that ABC must have told them to 'ham it up' when choosing, but you knew when there was a Vega, Nova, Camaro, Impala, and Corvette, which they'd be choosing. ;)
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    edited February 2013
    Here's a good first-hand account of how the Vega went from Darling to Damned in the course of one year:

    If you don't want to read through it, here's the summary:

    "The Vega-so promising, so tragic-was a first for GM: a complete quality disaster. Up to that point, Chevy was considered a reliable brand. The public held GM vehicles in high esteem. But anyone who owned a Vega no longer could hold that opinion. It was the first nail in the coffin. Many more were to come-X-cars, Chevy-mobiles, Cimarron-each one carefully nailed in place by a complacent, arrogant corporate bureaucracy, with the steadying hand of an indifferent workforce."
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,100
    One bad car after another. It's taking GM like 35+ years to recover and they're still not considered as good as most import brands.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    No doubt a long-term quality disaster, but it was still winning magazine awards and owner's survey awards in its third year and set sales records in its fourth year.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    edited February 2013
    The Vega was undoubtedly the first rock in the avalanche that buried GM and nearly killed them. They had rebounded mightily off the Corvair debacle, and not badly hurt from it all things considered, but only went on to design something far worse.

    How the Vega could have ever passed its shake-down cruise remains a great mystery.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    True, but it seems like import brands with quality issues get a free pass and people still beat up GM for the Vega forty years later. We hash it over constantly over on the GM forum, but I like to say, "Would you have not bought a '65 Mustang because your new Model A was lousy?". Same thing.
  • No company on earth made a car as bad as the Vega--at least no major American or foreign automaker. We are talking disaster on a massive scale here---as bad as the Yugo.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    edited February 2013
    Shifty, that column is an exact example of how memory is far from infallible.

    Consumer Reports even gave the Vega a 'better than average' reliability report after one year based on owner's surveys. Andre can confirm. And there is no way, absolutely no way, that rust bubbles appeared on the body within the first twelve months. I lived in salty, rusty, NW PA and was a student of the Vega and my grandparents had the first Vega our dealer got in. It simply did not one year.

    Two to three or so? Yes. Since the '74's sold like crazy, I've got to believe the word wasn't out yet. '75, yes, and in '76 they were forced to 'sleeve' the four and add rustproofing. Frankly, I had every Vega brochure from the get-go and I never remember them talking about rustproofing until the '76 model year.

    The car, particularly the early ones, was a quality disaster, no doubt. But that guy's memory is off...considerably, as far as a timeline is concerned.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,100
    people still beat up GM for the Vega forty years later.

    That and most of their offerings since then (apart from trucks maybe). Now I mentioned this in another forum yesterday I think, that when I worked at a GM dealer for 2 days I actually took aliking to the Chevy Cruze. It feels solid and well built, but people's perception and memory will remind them of the Cavaliers and Sunfires, and perceived depreciation might steer others away. However the old GM dealer old school mentality still remains as they tend to do things [non-permissible content removed] backwards, hence I left the GM dealership after only 2 days.

    2007 BMW 328i Sports Pkg, 1993 Honda Accord EXR (my 33rd car).

  • omarmanomarman Posts: 677
    edited February 2013
    In the slammin' 70s build quality was the brown acid in the summer of Car Love. Regarding door slamming in '74, if you drove a new Mazda like my sister did, those doors didn't slam so much as pop. And if you were doomed to buy a small fleet of new Vegas as delivery vehicles for your pizza biz like my cousin did, at least those doors were built with side beam protection. But my cousin was more troubled by the financial cost of Vegapocalypse '74 than the safety of crash protection. Pic below is a door comparison between a 70s Mazda and Vega.

    Regarding VW love...can we banish all such posts to a separate topic like the Studebaker fans? :) I'm just kidding! Sort of. :shades:
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    edited February 2013
    Your pics reminded me of when I looked at about '73 Subarus, as our small-town Pontiac dealer also decided to sell Subarus.

    I was stunned at how thin the doors were, and a very thin plastic instrument panel piece did come off in my hands--I believe it was an ashtray cover. I had never seen a car with smaller tires and wheels in my 15 years--they reminded me of Hot Wheels car tires/wheels. And normally I'd like frameless door glass...but it didn't do anything for those Subies! ;)

    The Pontiac dealer got out of them in just a couple or three years IIRC.

    I also seem to remember rotary Mazdas of that era having self-destructing engines a la Vega, just not overheating.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 32,917
    I have to imagine those old rotaries ate their apex seals and started drinking oil pretty quickly.
  • The reports might have lagged the actual occurrences, but the first year models were disasters right out of the box.

    I don't think anyone could present an adequate argument to apologize for the Vega.

    If anything, the magazines in the early days only show the desperate hope that America could produce a car that was a true "import fighter".

    The loathing that was eventually heaped upon the Vega was, I think in inverse proportion to the hopes people had for it.

    You might say it's like the fallen hero--the wrath of the mob is turned most fiercely on such a person.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,424
    edited February 2013
    And claims that GM is past the reliability issues of old don't jibe with the data:
    But VW and Chrysler have nothing to brag about, either.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    But VW and Chrysler have nothing to brag about, either.

    Not to mention poor Hyundai...looks like so many get junked 9 years out that none of 'em make it to 10! :P

    While VW, GM, and Chrysler are at the bottom of the pack, I'm sure they're still improving. If you pulled one of those reliability charts from 10 years ago, I'm sure they'd look a lot worse.

    So I'm sure GM is doing better. Only problem is, so is everyone else.

    That GM figure breaks down to 1.7 problems per car at age 10. I wish my 2000 Park Ave (okay, it's 13) only had 1.7 things wrong with it. It had to go in the shop the other day, and according to just the codes in the computer, there were four things wrong with it, right there! :blush:

    Within the past 12 months, it's also needed brake work (and not just new pads and rotors...they had to work on one of the calipers), new swaybar links (not the car's fault though, because the previous mechanic over-tightened them), and a new front axle and boot, because the old one was leaking and making a mess.

    It also needed a fuel filter...dunno if that's "maintenance" or "repair", but it was still a "problem".
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,361
    What's the source?
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