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

19579589609629631077

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I always thought the Tempo and Topaz coupes looked a little 'chubby', mostly because there was a lot of sheetmetal above the wheel openings I think. I'll say this, it seems like I saw a ton of them over the years though.

    My folks' last new car was a '90 Corsica V6 with column shift! I tried to be excited for them. ;) Dad traded in an '84 Monte Carlo 305 4-barrel and Rally Wheels for it.

    A few months later, when my wife's old '78 Chevette was on its last leg, I asked her if she'd prefer a new Cavalier wagon (which would've been my choice) or a Corsica. She chose the Corsica. They were about the same price. It was a four-cylinder 5-speed--same combo I'd have looked for in a Cavalier wagon. We drove it 6 1/2 years and 108K miles, and it was reliable.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    My uncle had an early Taurus, 86, base "L" model with hubcaps ,3.0. It did seem like a spaceship, and even at 10 years old looked decent. I remember it had a cool blue backlit clock, amusing plood, and cheap but nice upholstery - very low-pile, like in some old cars. It was good for some time, but I remember lost a transmission in 1996.

    My mother had a 93 Taurus, GL, usual spec, 3.8. I remember laughing at a little due to its fleet-style color scheme (white with dark blue interior), but for some reason, she loved that car. The facelift kept the car looking modern, but by that time was becoming a real rental queen.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    They do look kind of tall. The sedan looked sleeker, and had lines borrowed from the significant 1982 Euro Ford Sierra, which got the aero ball rolling for the mass market.

    When I was a kid, my parents knew an old couple who bought a new Corsica 5-door - even when I was 12 or 13, I knew that was an oddball car. I remember they replaced it with a big final run K-car NYer ca. 1993.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    Those first Tauruses did reinvent the field, didn't they? But, I'm afraid they started the 'jellybean' look, like it or not.

    First rental one I had, I liked it. I thought the back seat was roomy and had a center armrest...usually reserved for top-line sedans only then.

    A small thing, but those early Taurus low-line models were the first domestic car I can remember where the hubcaps were painted instead of bright metal.

    A guy I used to work with, who moved to WV, there bought a new Taurus with a stickshift! I never saw it, only heard about it. He thought it was a good car.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    My mother had a 93 Taurus, GL, usual spec, 3.8. I

    Rare to see a GL with the 3.8 that was mostly reserved for the LX models. Did your moms blow the head gasket? Mine did at around 75K IIRC.

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

  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    edited April 2013
    A guy I used to work with, who moved to WV, there bought a new Taurus with a stickshift! I never saw it, only heard about it. He thought it was a good car.

    Ah, the ultra rare "MT-5" they made about 7 of them from 86-88. I've never seen one but literature says they also made a wagon version in 86 and 87.

    It also could have been an early SHO as they were available in manual.

    image

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

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    At the time, it was the way to go. Malaise angularity was looking tired, and the cool Euros had been moving to the aero look for a few years. Comparing that Taurus to the Ciera that was in my family was night and day.

    My uncle's L had those hubcaps, I called them frisbee hubcaps. Very reminiscent of silver painted European style caps, which had been common there for several years prior (MB might have started it around 1980).
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    I think my uncle's car had that steering wheel and plood. IIRC, were the MT-5s all 4cyl?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,910
    Comparing that Taurus to the Ciera that was in my family was night and day.

    My grandparents' '89 Taurus got into a pretty major accident a few months after they bought it. Grandmom was taking Granddad to the foot doctor, and some woman in a '74 Catalina sideswiped them and pushed them into a telephone pole. I think every piece of sheetmetal except for the roof and trunk was damaged. Total came out to around $6,000, which seemed expensive back then, but nowadays with labor rates and the increased complexity of cars, I bet it would've been totaled.

    Anyway, the body shop had the car for about a month, and their loaner was an '89 Century. That thing seemed like a dinosaur compared to the Taurus. About the only thing nice about it was the velour fabric which seemed nicer than the Taurus, but also kind of a combination of Grandma's house and a bordello. And the dash padding seemed fairly high-quality, similar to what was in my other Grandmother's '85 LeSabre, or my R-bodies...almost has a leathery texture to it, and its very resistant to cracking.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    edited April 2013
    It was a GL that also had power seat/windows etc, and it had wheels. It's been so long now that I can't recall exactly, but when you either lifted the driver's door handle or unlocked it, the interior lights automatically came on. Somehow, this seemed cool to me.

    Yep, gasket went at 80K IIRC.
  • tjc78tjc78 JerseyPosts: 5,025
    were the MT-5s all 4cyl?

    As far as I know, yes. I bet being manual helped acceleration, I've driven a first gen 4 cyl auto..... slooooowwwwww.

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

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I remember seeing in the brochures and yes the MT-5 was manual only, and conversely the only way to get a manual.

    I think Audi may have done the look first, but Taurus brought the look to the mainstream and then made it successful, so they're typically given credit.

    My step mom had a Sable with the glowing grille/light thingy.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    I remember my uncle telling me about a 4cyl Ciera he drove that was also a real dog.

    Odd car sightings today - red E24 6er coupe of some kind, and a Mitsu Diamante wagon.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,910
    Audi often gets credit for doing that look first, but to me the Audi has more of an GM type of angularity to it. Sort of like a Celebrity, but a bit more rakish. And, with perhaps a bit of Mitsubishi thrown in.

    Now, I do think the Audi 5000 has aged better than a Chevy Celebrity, because cars have gotten more aerodynamic, and sort of followed that style. But, in judging early 80's standards, I don't think it really stands out.

    In contrast, I think one car that deserves credit for bringing us aerodynamics, that often gets overlooked, is the 1983 Thunderbird. They seemed downright radical at the time. And the 1984 Tempo/Topaz, while hardly beautiful to look at, really pushed that jellybean aero look.

    While the Taurus really pushed the midsized car forward, stylewise it wasn't *that* radical to me, I guess, because my stepdad had already had a Tempo since 1984. And IMO, a Taurus really isn't THAT radically different in style from a Tempo. Just a bit more tasteful and better proportioned, but cut from the same basic cloth.

    Another car from that era I think is a bit under-rated, is the 1985 LeBaron GTS and Dodge Lancer. I remember some buff rag calling them "what the Tempo and Topaz SHOULD have been!" I think they still look pretty good, although they could only round them off so much I guess, because of their K-car underpinnings.

    The 1987 LeBaron coupe and convertible deserve some credit as well.

    With GM, most of their efforts to advance aerodynamics were in the 1970's and maybe 1980-82. The re-skin of the 1980 full-sized cars got their drag coefficient down from around 0.55-.60 to maybe 0.45. And when the personal luxury coupes were restyled for 1981, they saw similar improvements. I've read that the 1982 Firebird was the first domestic car to break the 0.40 barrier, but I don't know how true that is. Supposedly the 1970 Plymouth Superbird had a drag coefficient of 0.28. But, it had that huge nose cone and rear wing to do it, and I've read that it didn't really give you any advantage over a RoadRunner with the same drivetrain until you hit 95 mph or so, due to the increased weight of the nose and wing.

    IMO, GM's first serious attempt at aerodynamic cars was the GM10 coupes of 1988...Cutlass Supreme, Regal, and Grand Prix. Unfortunately, they put too much effort into a dying market, and really dropped the ball on getting out sedans that were competitive to the Taurus.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I liked the LeBarons from back then as well.

    For whatever reason 3 of my friends were "Dodge Boys" so I saw a lot of those. The turbos would only last so long. They were quick, though.

    GM10s brought 2 big coupes when the market wanted sedans. Bad timing. It would be like spending all your R&D budget today on a minivan when the market wants crossovers.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    GM10s brought 2 big coupes when the market wanted sedans

    My guess is that the coupe versions of the cars they replaced were handily outselling the sedans...i.e., Cutlass Supreme coupe versus sedan, Regal coupe versus sedan, etc.

    But that is saying that the modern-styled FWD coupes would appeal to the same customer who bought the older-style RWD coupes, and I'm not sure they did.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Yes, less perceived sportiness, for starters.

    I liked the Regal coupe but had hoped for a Grand National of some sort.

    The Olds model was...odd? Plus the ads kept telling people it wasn't your father's Olds and alienated the people who might have actually bought them. I remember a hot rod I saw bracket racing that had "This IS your father's Oldsmobile" painted down the side. :shades:

    What was the 3rd? Pontiac Grand Prix. Yes, the wide track that had a track more narrow than its siblings, and about 300 pounds of plastic cladding. No wonder I liked the Regal.

    GM did sedans later but they all looked pieced together instead of designed from the ground up. At least the 3800 was grenade proof.

    Good case study for business schools. GM simply couldn't see where the market was headed. Had they done sedans from the get go their whole decade would have been stronger.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,613
    The '53 Stude was very pretty but technically it was 1948, and not very luxurious--which I think was the other poster's opinion -- that it was perhaps luxurious. My recollection of the car wasn't like that. It's *still* attractive to the modern eye, and often taken for a 60s car, not a 50s car.

    Most Americans back then equated "luxury" with gadgetry and gimmickry and nouveau riche touches, and the '58 Bird had plenty of all that.

    MODERATOR

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited April 2013
    Maybe not in the luxury aspect, but I was thinking more in the proportioning...low-slung, long hood, closely coupled passenger compartment, and a bit of a long-ish rear end. And sheetmetal that looked almost nothing like its sedan counterpart.

    The '56 Golden Hawk, IMO, could be called the first 'personal' car...luxurious, long hood, short deck, powerful. Its fins are tame compared to the '57's, too.

    Now that I think about it, the '55 President Speedster was luxurious inside (all leather; engine-turned instrument panel) and had the same attributes I mentioned. As long as it's not lemon and lime!!
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    The '53 Stude was very pretty but technically it was 1948

    We've disagreed on this before, but I think the Stude having an OHV V8 can't be discounted. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, had one in a few years after that. Though, even in '53, Packard, Chevy, Pontiac and others still didn't have one. Of course, Chevy didn't have an eight of any kind then.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,910
    edited April 2013
    My guess is that the coupe versions of the cars they replaced were handily outselling the sedans...i.e., Cutlass Supreme coupe versus sedan, Regal coupe versus sedan, etc.

    Part of the problem is that GM tried, three different times, to split up this market, with three different cars, and none of them were really class leaders.

    The first attempt was 1982, when the Celebrity, 6000, Ciera, and Century came out, ostensibly to replace the Malibu, LeMans, and RWD Cutlass and Century. However, they found a way to keep the old RWD cars around. For instance, the Malibu stuck it out in 1982-83. The LeMans became the Bonneville G for '82-86. The Cutlass Supreme sedan stayed around through 1987, and the wagon through 1983.. And at Buick, they simply took the Century sedan and wagon and re-badged them as Regals. The wagon went away after 1983, same as all G-wagons, and the sedan went away after 1984.

    The second attempt was 1985, when the Somerset Regal, Grand Am, and Calais came out. Originally, these were supposed to replace the Grand Prix, Cutlass Supreme coupe, and Regal coupe. But, as the bigger cars continued to sell well, and gas started getting cheaper, GM balked at the last minute, gave the larger cars a stay of execution, and tried to pass off these N-body coupes as upscale compacts. The Grand Am was positioned as sort of a 3-series contender. I'm sure it never fooled the purists, but it was a hot seller for awhile.

    In 1988, the final attempt to replace these cars was put in motion, as the GM10 Grand Prix, Regal, and Cutlass Supreme were born. Initially they outsold their 1987 versions. Especially the Grand Prix, which had really fallen from favor starting way back in 1982. But, I think GM was banking on a resurgence of the personal luxury coupe market, and that just wasn't happening.

    The new cars actually seemed a bit more focused for their intended markets, with the Grand Prix going for more of the traditional boy racer crowd, the Cutlass Supreme going for a more sophisticated, yuppie buyer, and the Regal going for a more mature crowd. In contrast, the RWD cars were more like a jack of all trades, or Mr. Potatohead. Same basic car, but you could deck it out to suit your needs.

    Want something inexpensive, yet still upscale looking? Get a base Monte, Grand Prix, Regal, or Cutlass Supreme. Want something luxurious? There were upscale packages called LS, Limited, Brougham, etc. Sporty? Monte SS, Olds 442, and Regal T-type Grand National were available. If you wanted old fogey, you could get wire wheels and a landau roof. If you wanted sportier, you could get bucket seats, console, and Rally wheels. But, all four models could be anything you wanted them to be.

    But, with the new ones, you couldn't turn a Grand Prix or Cutlass Supreme into an old people's car. And it was hard to turn that Regal into anything resembling youthfulness.

    When the 4-door sedans came out for 1990, they seemed kind of half-hearted, and awkward. And, I thought it was a big loss that Chevy never got a true replacement for the Monte Carlo, as its last year was 1988, when it was produced for a couple months, and then they had to wait until the 1990 Lumina coupe, for anything resembling a true replacement.

    I wonder if things would have been different if, in the early 80's, GM had simply replaced all of these A/G bodies at once, with something truly competent, rather than coming out with something half-hearted that the older model often ended up outselling?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    I remember the Grand Prix also having probably the worst exhaust note of any car from that era. The Lumina would also inherit this.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,910
    I remember the Grand Prix also having probably the worst exhaust note of any car from that era. The Lumina would also inherit this.

    To me, they all sound about the same. I tend to associate it wit a Cavalier Z-24. Even my Dad's '03 Regal and my Park Ave sound about the same.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    edited April 2013
    If some of those are all it takes, the Continental mentioned earlier would be the first "personal car" - (long hood, luxurious, short deck, powerful), and many 1930s classic were also designed like that.

    I've thought of the "personal luxury car" being relatively attainable, and kind of big and heavy - 58+ T-Bird, Riviera, Toronado, Monte Carlo, etc. The Studes are sportier, to me anyway.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    I think I recall the 3.1 and 2.8 being the worst. Sometimes like a hyper popcorn popper.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,613
    OHV V8s are not a new technology--they go back to the early 1900s. Chevrolet built one in 1917, with exposed valve gear of all things.

    The only reason they took so long to mature is that there wasn't the right type of fuel to justify their expense and weight. Once compression ratios could be raised, then it made sense to have an OHV V-8 motor and a short stroke for lower deck height.

    If you want to give Studebaker 4th or 5th place, that's cool.

    MODERATOR

  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited April 2013
    I can say this with a straight face...you are the only person I've ever heard say that an independent with a OHV V8 in 1951 wasn't an achievement. Same with Torsion-Level (no springs) being an achievement.

    The OHV V8 was not widely used by a good chunk of the Big Three by that time. That shouldn't be discounted...and isn't by most auto writers.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited April 2013
    I think I recall the 3.1 and 2.8 being the worst. Sometimes like a hyper popcorn popper.

    Definitely raspy. That, and in the salty areas in which we live, the exhausts didn't last very long, making them even raspier.

    A 2.8/3.1 is one of the only cars I could tell blindfolded...that, and '60's and '70's Mopars starting. ;)
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    If some of those are all it takes, the Continental mentioned earlier would be the first "personal car" - (long hood, luxurious, short deck, powerful), and many 1930s classic were also designed like that

    True, but a decade or more later, I am hard-pressed to think of anybody other than Stude and the Continental Mark II doing 'long hood, short deck'. Starting with the '63 Riv I think, everybody else started to after that point.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,591
    I guess I see the Stude as being too small and sporty to be a personal luxury car. It has similar proportions, but I don't know if that was the intention. Correctly equipped, almost more like something to compete with an early Corvette or T-Bird roadster.
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