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



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,422
    well, you know what they say--"lipstick on a pig". :P


  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    I remember the 1975 Pontiac Astre Safari (4-speed manual) I had, and as I recall, the interior was nicer than any car I had previously owned (keeping things in perspective... which, at that time, wasn't many).

    My memory may be fading, but my wife agrees. Nice, burgandy-colored cloth upholstered front bucket seats. The back seat was a bit cramped, but I had it folded down 99% of the time. She really enjoyed driving that car so much that, when our girls grew up, she got her 2005 Mini convertible (manual) because she had always wanted another car that was as much fun for her to drive.

    I was one of the lucky ones... I got around 75K miles and had no problems with the car. Traded it for a 1978 Chrysler LeBarron.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,593
    edited January 2013
    We should define any 10+ year old as a survivor, and thus a classic.

    Didn't I read that 11 y/o is the average for cars on the road nowadays?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    He was quoting me and I was kidding.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I knew a girl in college with an orange '75 Astre wagon, woodgrain, saddle Custom interior, 4-speed, and she drove it 'til '82 at least, and across the country more than once, with no significant issues. Worst thing I remember about it was the driver's door 'sport mirror' had fallen out and her Dad had replaced it with a square piece of mirror in the housing himself.

    I have wondered if some of the touted '76 improvements actually started getting phased in in the '75 model year.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I suspect they were. I'm pretty sure my 75 had the plastic fender inserts/liners.

    It was a real dilemma for me when I traded the car. Up to the day I sold it, I had zero problems, but I was just out of college at the time and I simply couldn't afford to be stuck with a car that had major expensive problems and no resale value. I think the salesman at the Chrysler dealership where I traded it must have had some plans for the car, because I couldn't believe the trade he offered.

    Literally, he made me a deal I couldn't refuse. And the car we traded for gave us 7 years and 120K miles of service, only requiring front brake calipers and pads to be replaced. Overall, not bad.

    Still, I would have to say my personal experience is a great example why anecdotal evidence is so unreliable. It still had the self-destructing engine, and for each experience like mine, there were probably thousands that weren't so fortunate.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 1,746
    yeah I drove them new or nearly new, when I was a young 'un working on cars. That's where my "cheap and nasty" remark came from. I was, even at that time, a foreign car buff (except for a few domestics I really liked)

    Your biases have been quite evident for some time, so no need to rehash them.

    It was nowhere near as bad a car as you make it out to be, as others have demonstrated with their experiences. While the early ones had long-term durability problems, they made an excellent initial impression.

    2011 Buick Regal Turbo, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    Saw an obviously restored 62 Corvette crawling through the grinding negligently managed traffic this afternoon. Red on red, hardtop on, thin stripe whitewalls.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I love-love-love '62 Corvettes, but would rather have a more obscure color than red! In fact, if I had to list my all-time-favorite '62 cars, the 'Vette would be at the top of my list.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I have wondered if some of the touted '76 improvements actually started getting phased in in the '75 model year.

    Now that I think about it, the '75's already had a coolant recovery tank and a "Low Coolant" light that the first ones didn't, and I think (accent on 'think') the radiator was already larger than the first ones too.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    You also bought a Chrysler in the very darkest days of Chrysler Corp. by most all yardsticks. My Studebaker buddy worked for his cousin's Chrysler dealership in '78 and his stories are pretty shocking. Iaccocca's book talks about that period in Chrysler's history. But you got good service out of the car.

    That said, I always liked the looks of those LeBaron and Diplomat coupes. They did a very good job of disguising a Volare/Aspen and moving it upscale. Great interiors IMHO.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,168
    edited February 2013
    I'd say the same about the LeBaron and Diplomat sedans, especially the LeBaron. However, they were soon overtaken by the '78 downsized GM intermediates. Despite some flaws, such as weak automatics, they were better cars, in my opinion.

    I owned a '78 Lemans with the Chevy 305 and touring suspension. It was still going strong at 114,000 miles, when it was totalled by being rammed on the right side by a panel truck. It was a good car, and more modern for its day than the Mopar twins.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    The one thing that Chrysler had on the Diplomat/Lebaron automatics was the "lock-down" torque converter, which felt like shifting into a high-gear overdrive.

    We never had a any transmission issues, and for cars at the time, it got very good mpg on the highway.

    Both my daughters rode home from the hospital (after their birth), and my wife really had to "work" on her emotional release of the car when she traded it.

    It was a 4-door light grey with grey cloth interior, very nicely done for a car in that price range for the day. The rear seat was also elevated a couple of inches, so one riding in the back didn't feel like he was sitting in a hole.

    Dollar for dollar, that car was probably the most "bang for the buck" I've ever gotten from a car...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I'm sure someone over on the GM forum would tell you you were paid off by Chrysler or something to say that, but I'm glad to hear that.

    This has gotten me thinking more about those cars. I'd love to see a black or maroon or metallic light green LeBaron coupe at a cruise-in or car show. I haven't seen one in a long time.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I'm sure someone over on the GM forum would tell you you were paid off by Chrysler or something to say that, but I'm glad to hear that.

    One has to remember that cars of that level back then weren't highly "optioned out" like today's cars, so there wasn't a lot to break in the first place.

    In fact, the one we owned had hand-crank windows... Ancient transportation by today's standards.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,852
    Was your Diplomat that really light non-metallic gray that I think they called "Dove Gray"? I see that color show up on occasion at various car shows...usually on something like a Cordoba or C-body New Yorker. Very nice, IMO.

    Chrysler interiors in those days could really be a mixed bag. My grandmother's cousin had a 1979 Volare wagon, that looked pretty sharp in 2-tone black over silver, with a red interior. Inside, the viny seats seemed pretty nice, and I liked the fact that the door panels were full vinyl. No carpet on the bottom as I recall, but no hard plastic either, and no exposed metal, or hard plastic piece at the top. But then, the dashboard seemed a bit cheap, and the headliner was some kind of heavy duty cardboard pegboard looking stuff!

    I always thought the Diplomat and LeBaron were a really nice step up from the Aspen/Volare though. And they did a great job of disguising the fact that it was based on the Volare. You could even get leather seats in a Diplomat/LeBaron, which had to be a rarity for that class of car back then. At least, I've seen coupes with leather...dunno if you could get it on the sedan back then.

    Those '77-79 Diplomat and LeBaron coupes seemed like they'd be a good alternative to personal luxury coupes like the Monte Carlo, T-bird, Grand Prix, etc. It's a shame they shrunk them for 1980, to make room for the downsized Cordoba/Mirada.

    Which engine did your Diplomat have? 318-2bbl I'm guessing? I had a '79 Newport with that engine, and liked it a lot. It wasn't so fast from 0-60, but seemed to have pretty good pull above that. And, it got pretty good highway economy. Around town I was lucky to get 13 mpg, but I also delivered pizzas in it and was rough on it. Out on the highway, it had no trouble getting 22 mpg or so. And as far as weird optioning, that Newport had crank windows...but power locks!
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaPosts: 5,108
    I'd put maybe a 20-25 year cutoff for "survivor" status, regardless of mileage.

    Yeah I'd be leaning more towards the 25 year mark.

    When I started driving in the mid 90s, a 10 year old car was indeed a survivor back then because anything from the early 80s was either a rusted out import (like my first car, an 82 Accord), or a malaise domestic.

    Now it's still quite common to see 200k mile early 90s Accords and Camrys. Cars don't rust nearly as much so even cosmetically most of the stuff from the 90s look decent. And since stylistically vehicle looks haven't dramatically changed over the past 20 years to me the early 90s cars look somewhat modern too (maybe it's cause I grew up with them).

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

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    We had the Dove Grey LeBaron with the 318 and Auto transmission, with light grey cloth interior. The interior cloth felt very upscale (at the time, anyway).
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    Red on red is too much for me, too. I am not a big fan of red cars. Looks good on some late 50s stuff, but even if I had a Ferrari, I think I would want something different.

    Local high end lot has a blue 55 Corvette, amazing car with a six figure price.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,515
    Cars are so much better built for no maintenance long hauls nowadays, you can get a Camcord up to 200K with virtually no work. Although I do notice when I see a mint 20 year old Accord or Camry, not to mention less reliable cars.

    I feel the same about age - is a 1992 car really old? I remember when they were new. I started driving about that time. Maybe I'm the one who is old :shades:

    Speaking of that, today I saw a pristine early W220 S55 - no later than 2002. Those cars could be troublesome, to see one bone stock and looking as-new almost counts it as a survivor, to me - many of them are beat and wearing ugly mods. Mint W140s also count as survivors to me, not many around anymore.
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