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1960's Pontiacs

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  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,353
    When did the B and C-bodies go to compact spares? I know my grandmother's '85 LeSabre had a compact, but I guess they switched over sometime between '77 and then? Maybe 1980, when the B/C bodies went through another round of weight reduction?

    '80 is probably right, although I don't know for sure. My parents' '77 Impala had a full-size spare tire. Matter of fact, my '93 Caprice Classic had a full-size spare although it was optional at extra cost.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    I've thought about trying to find a compact spare for my '76 LeMans. The trunk isn't very big, as it is, but worse, where they put the spare tire, part of it ends up occupying the deepest part of the trunk! Whenever I put my beer cooler in there, I have to position it just right, and I put a towel over it to keep it from rubbing on the underside of the trunk.

    I guess it might be easier/cheaper to just get a cooler that's not quite as tall. :P
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    backed into a driveway in Linthicum Heights, MD. Couldn't tell the series, as I just saw it from a distance, and only for a split second. Looked like a hardtop coupe, and dark green.

    Also spotted, out on Interstate 97, a '76-79 Volare coupe rolling along. Silver with a burgundy landau top, which gave you those oddly shaped, square opera windows. It looked like it was in pretty good shape. No visible rust, paint still fairly shiny, top in good shape.

    One thing that really struck me as how odd this car looks, by today's standards. Normally, the 2-door looks better than its 4-door counterpart, but by this timeframe, often it was just the opposite. I thought the same thing with the Ford Granada/Mercury Monarch. The 4-doors have a handsome, somewhat modern look to them, but the coupe just seems more dated, with the opera window cliche.

    I think the difference is even greater with the Aspen/Volare, as the coupe rode a 4.7" shorter wheelbase, and was noticeably lower. Meanwhile, the 4-door version might have represented the birth of the trend towards taller, more upright cars that persists to this day. I think this coupe would have also looked a lot better if it didn't have that landau roof.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    "I had a new '90 Corsica 4-cyl. 5-speed for 108K miles and 6 1/2 years."

    I understand that the Chevy 2.0 4-cylinder was prone to head gasket failure, so you did well. What condition was your Corsica in at 108,000?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited January 2012
    "My best friend had a 1980 Chevrolet Citation...He managed to put 195K miles on this car..."

    That's impressive! Did your friend's Citation have the Iron Duke 4 or the V6? Either way he beat the odds.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    I would guess the Iron Duke. I knew someone who had a Skylark or Somerset Regal coupe (can't remember the year now) with the Iron duke and a stick shift, and he and his wife got something like 190-200,000 miles out of it, before getting rid of it. I don't think anything actually failed on it, but they were just getting tired of it.

    I've known a few people with Cavalier Z-24's, with the 2.8 V-6, and those things tended to blow a head gasket by 80-90,000 miles, it seemed.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,118
    edited January 2012
    As I think I've mentioned to you, I was the original owner of a '86 Grand Am with the Iron Duke and 5-speed. Contrary to the reputation of '80s domestics, this was a reliable, low maintenance car. It's demise came at 188,000, when the head gasket blew. The head gasket started to leak at about 185,000, but I managed to nurse it along for a while longer.

    It was a slam dunk decision to junk the car at that point because just a couple of nights before the engine died the friend of the teen ager who lived across the street backed into my driver's side door.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,353
    edited January 2012
    "I had a new '90 Corsica 4-cyl. 5-speed for 108K miles and 6 1/2 years."

    I understand that the Chevy 2.0 4-cylinder was prone to head gasket failure, so you did well. What condition was your Corsica in at 108,000?


    Worst thing about it was, the paint was beginning to look a little thin in one place on the car, below the left part of the rear window...maybe a fifty-cent piece size. People besides me wouldn't have even noticed it. But, no paint flaking off at all. A/C still cold. Ran fine. I wanted another car.

    I'm pretty sure it was a 2.2 liter four, not 2.0.

    Actually, I had '90, '97, '02, and now '08, 2.2 liters. The first three all had well over 100K miles. Never had head gasket issues in any of them.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,071
    His car was the 4-cylinder
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,590
    Actually, I had '90, '97, '02, and now '08, 2.2 liters. The first three all had well over 100K miles. Never had head gasket issues in any of them.

    I know someone who had a Cavalier, although the year eludes me now. Late 90's, at least. I think it made it to around 120,000 miles, when something went bad in the engine. I think it was the head gasket, but not sure. The car was still driveable, IIRC. I remember the mechanic telling her that it was actually pretty rare for those engines to fail that early on. Usually, the rest of the car would fall apart around the engine. And, since they tended to have bad resale, if they got traded in, they were often wholesaled off or simply junked.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,353
    edited February 2012
    My last one, the '02, looked like new at 112K. It sat out all the time, too, in our NE OH weather. It was sharper IMO than the '97 4-door I had before it. The '02 was dark green metallic--darker/richer than the earlier dark green used in '01 and before--and had the very slight decklid spoiler, 15 inch tires and flat-finish aluminum wheels (filled the wheel openings better), 5-speed and black cloth seats with gray headliner. It was a 5-speed with AC. I liked it. My daughters complained about it being a two-door though.

    For cars with the reputation as disposable, I still see a bunch of em, '95 and later, around here being used daily.
  • potter660potter660 Posts: 11
    edited August 2012
    The '69 GTO's automatic/manual transmission ratio of 60 percent automatic/40 percent manual was quite a dramatic change from just three years earlier (1966) when 75 percent had the manual (3 or 4 speed) and 25 percent had the automatic (a 2-speed). The following year (1967) saw those numbers shift the other direction as a larger number had the automatic than the stick for the first time in GTO history. This was due to the introduction of the 3-speed Turbo Hydra-matic for the first time, which replaced the 2-speed.

    Similar results were found on Chevy's Chevelle SS-396 as sticks outnumbered Powerglides on this series in 1966 but then yielded to the slushboc when the Turbo Hydra-matic came out in 1967. Still, there were a lot of stick SS-396s (and later 454s) with the Turbo 400 accounting for 60-75 percent of sales in most of those years. This despite the fact the Chevelle with stick had the lousy Muncie shifter rather than the much-better Hurst shifter that came standard on all GTOs and Oldsmobile 4-4-2s with floor-mounted 3- or 4-speed sticks.

    Olds 4-4-2s, surprisingly because of Oldsmobile's more upscale image than Pontiac or "Chevy, were also sold with the majority of them sticks with Hurst shifters in 1965 and 1966 (all '64 4-4-2s had the 4-speed) rather than the 2-speed Jetaway automatic (similar to the GTO's 2-speed). In 1967, when the 4-4-2 got the Turbo Hydra-matic as the shiftless option, automatics outnumbered sticks in this series by an even wider margin than in GTOs or SS-396s.

    Corvettes for years had the greatest majority built with the 4-speed manual, while the 2-speed Powerglide and the standard 3-speed manual being the minority - mainly because the Corvette was a sports car and the fact the PG was only offered with the base engine and none of the optional mills. In 1968 when the 3-speed Turbo Hydra-matic replaced the PG and made available with almost all engines, including the big block 427s - the ratio of manual/automatic Vettes went to about 60/40 and then 50/50 for 1969-70 before the automatic began dominating sales in later years.
  • Automatics make sense for the Corvette because the average age of the buyer is something like 58! :surprise:
  • Quite a change from the good 'ole days. Before the late 1960s, the idea of a sports car with an automatic transmission was considered to be "ridiculous" by many enthusiasts - most of the foreign sports cars came only with manual transmissions, and MG never offered an automatic in its models though Triumph caved in by adding an optional slushbox to the '76 TR-7. The '68 Mako Shark Vette had a wider transmission tunnel than the Sting Ray to permit the availability of the Turbo Hydra-matic 400, which did crowd into interior space (a bit more cramped than the Sting Ray). By then, the Corvette was placing more and more emphasis on luxury than all-out sport so the automatic did make sense and most were now sold with air conditioning, power windows and many had leather seats, too.
  • How true. I do think, though, that you could get an automatic with the MGC, the rather poorly-received 6 cylinder version of the MGB.

    Let's face it---for most folks, driving a full size Pontiac in the 60s or 70s as a 4-speed was a chore. The purists loved it but for most people, rowing that truck-like gearbox on a car was wide and high as the Queen Mary couldn't have been much fun day after day in traffic.
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