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

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057
    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.

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    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 happen...in 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: 5,108
    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: 713
    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.
    Photobucket

    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: 7,494
    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: 33,825
    I have to imagine those old rotaries ate their apex seals and started drinking oil pretty quickly.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057
    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.

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  • texasestexases Posts: 5,610
    edited February 2013
    And claims that GM is past the reliability issues of old don't jibe with the data:
    image
    But VW and Chrysler have nothing to brag about, either.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    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: 7,494
    What's the source?
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,610
    Consumer Reports, summarized by brand.

    And Andre, you're absolutely right, all makers are much better than they did, say, 20 years ago. The bar keeps being raised.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Based only on subscribers to the magazine. ;)

    OK, I'll stop. ;)
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Not to mention poor Hyundai...looks like so many get junked 9 years out that none of 'em make it to 10!

    Yeah, what's up with that?
  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,638
    if the data is from CR, it probably means that they had insufficient data for models that old.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • texasestexases Posts: 5,610
    I think you're right. That was an older version of the graph, here's the newest I found, same basic trends:
    image

    I always get a kick out of how folks dismiss the thousands of data points that go into the plot, as if there is some mass hysteria present in CR subscribers...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited February 2013
    The chart really shows that most of the companies are really clustered very close near the top, for ten year old cars.

    Over on the GM forum we'd discussed some how in a recent CR the 2011 Nissan Juke shows "much worse than average" while the 2012 shows "much better than average". Even CR seems a tad sheepish about it, only saying in the text that 'reliability should be average'. I, frankly, have a little trouble believing that there is truly that much difference in the two consecutive model years, even knowing that the 2011 was the first model year for the Juke. In my forty years of looking at CR, I've never seen anything that dramatic before. But I won't get into that more here, since it's the classic car forum and I'd be hard-pressed to identify any ten-year-old car as a 'classic'!
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,610
    edited February 2013
    Don't confuse small sample statistical variation from one model in one year to another with large sample statistics, brand vs. brand.

    And CR did a review of new vs. existing models, found that new models were more trouble-prone, consistent with your Juke observation...

    I bring this up because, as much as GM, etc, have improved from the dark days of the 80s, they're still playing catch up.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited February 2013
    Small sample variation? The two model years vary by four of CR's reliability levels.

    Upon re-reading your post, I get what you're saying.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited February 2013
    The difference between the very best and the very worst is less than 1 problem per car. Lets keep that in mind, also seems like all cars are better, and fairly reliable, really.

    So Hyundai's implode right after the warranty is up. ;)

    We should define any 10+ year old as a survivor, and thus a classic.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 1,992
    Did you ever drive one when they were new?

    It was a much nicer driving car off the showroom floor than the Pinto and light-years ahead of just about any economy import. We owned a pair of Volvo 144s in the mid-'70s that drove OK - the '73 was far better trimmed than the '68 - but were reliability disasters. Dad would get rental cars when they were in the shop, so I drove a lot of rentals. One week we got a '74 or '75 Vega hatchback and I drive it for a week. It was a nice car. Sporty, like a shrunken Camaro. I liked driving it a lot better than the Volvo.

    Long term quality issues were absolutely true. But I can see why they sold so well. They were great at making a good impression.

    2011 Buick Regal Turbo, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    "...nearly killed them."

    I'd leave the "nearly" out, since the new GM is essentially a new company.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited February 2013
    We should define any 10+ year old as a survivor, and thus a classic.

    Anyone else here like to comment on this comment? ;)
  • jljacjljac Posts: 649
    Ten years sets the bar pretty low for a "survivor" car. I consider a ten-year old car to be almost new, just old enough to change the spark plugs. I think a survivor car should be at least 20 years old and/or from the 20th century.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 29,239
    I think he was only referring to ten yr old Hyundais. ;)

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057
    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), and let's just say Vega was certainly built to a price--cheesy interior, very raspy, vibrating engine, bizarre gear rations.

    I liked the styling though, and I can see why people would make rods out of them---what they are doing essentially is getting rid of the two worst parts---the powertrain and the interior.

    Given what Detroit produced in the 60s, the car was junk, really.

    RELIABILITY---well, at least you can say that GM has "matched the biggest imports in reliability"---if you compare it to VW! :P

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My comment was tongue-in-cheek but the thread is funny so let's just go with it!
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    I'd say mileage is as important, or nearly so, as age. So, to me, a 10 year old car with, say, >200,000 miles that's still usable could be considered a survivor, while one with 50,000 isn't. I suppose at some point, say after 25 years, even a low mileage car could be considered a susvivor. It's subjective, as the responses to your question suggest. To me, though, survivor equates to some combination of age and mileage.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited February 2013
    I think the Custom Interior package on a Vega made all the difference in the world...like the difference between a Scotsman and a Golden Hawk or a Biscayne and a Caprice. Took you from hard plastic door panels and acres of black plastic on the panel, and woven vinyl seats, to soft vinyl door panels with vinyl pockets, Camaro bucket seats in good quality cloth or leather-like vinyl, and add the GT and you got full instrumentation, in a woodgrain panel and a fat steering wheel.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I love the 'survivor' (or HPOC) class at car shows like the huge AACA show at Hershey. They're only origihal once.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,825
    I'd put maybe a 20-25 year cutoff for "survivor" status, regardless of mileage. Then the car is old enough to have required some luck in staying together, even if in a garage most of the time.

    I too like the preserved original cars, especially with original paint and interior.
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