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Design Flaws & Foibles

2

Comments

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    I like that blue, Delray. It reminds me of the steely blue that you used to be able to get on Intrepids. In fact, if I had it to do over again, I would've probably bought that color. For 2000 they offered two shades of green, but one of them was really washed-out and looked gray at a quick glance. The other was kind of a forest green, but just seemed to "Crayola-ish".

    Then, around 2003-2004, they offered something called "Butane Blue" on the Intrepid, which was a really light metallic blue, similar to the new Camry color. I really liked it.

    That green on the Australian Camry looks cool, too!
  • bryanbryan Posts: 217
    Wow, some of those pictures really bring home the point about boring car colors. I would buy that green on the Camry on a Buick Lucerne tomorrow. (GM guy all the way)! I would pair it with a neutral leather interior, and the chrome 18 inch wheels. That would be sweet. That particular version of the Camry is very attractive.

    Andre, the blue on that 75 LeSabre convertible was everywhere like you say. That's a beautiful car with the white interior and boot. That color was available on the Olds Cutlass that year, and I had a good friend who ordered one in that color with the darker blue half (landau?) vinyl roof and matching blue puffy seated interior, and it had the chrome-like spoked wheels (IIRC--30 years is a long time!) That car was just beautiful. I remember once sitting at a light and and the driver in the next lane just went on and on about how beautiful that car was.

    With all the retro styling going on these days, I'd love to see GM do something in a two-door coupe using the Cutlass styling cues--either the 68-72 or the 73-77 versions--and make a convertible available in some great colors and I'd be first in line to get one.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    ...that airbag techology improvements are allowing for smaller airbags that can be placed once again in good-looking steering wheel hubs.

    The 1990s were a pretty bad time...all those gigantic, rounded rectangle hubs that looked alike. Much smaller and more shape variety these days.

    Though I'm still waiting for a return of the preforated steering wheel spokes for performance cars... :shades:
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    Andre, the blue on that 75 LeSabre convertible was everywhere like you say. That's a beautiful car with the white interior and boot.

    I wonder if that shade of blue was only offered by GM in 1975? I found this paint chart for the 1975 Pontiacs (warning, it's a big pic) and I think it was called "Arctic Blue" on the Pontiacs. Sometimes these charts lose their true color when they get scanned, but I think that's the one. I'm sure that Buick, Olds, and Chevy all had their own names for it.

    There was a 1975 LeMans coupe for sale recently on eBay in that color, and for some reason, on that car I didn't think it looked quite as good. But on the '75 LeSabre, I think it's perfect. Seems like it was pretty common on the '75 Caprice convertible and Delta 88 convertible as well, and I've seen it on the Bonneville/Grand Ville, but in this case it seems like metallic blue was a bit more common.

    But then, I can't recall ever seeing a '74 or '76 GM car in that color. In 1977, it looks like GM offered something called a "Lombard Blue", which looks similar, but seems a bit brighter to me. Almost TOO bright. IIRC, there was a special edition of the Firebird that came in this color, and it just didn't look right on that car!
  • bryanbryan Posts: 217
    Wow Andre, you have quite the collection of all kinds of car-related stuff. Seeing both those paint charts just reinforces my disappointment with what's available today. I mean, look at how many different (nuanced?) colors there were that weren't just slight shade differences of grey/silver, etc. One chart has 21 colors; the other 26. That's twice as many as you can get on most car lines today (by model anyway).

    Do you recall some type of regulatory change by the EPA about paint composition? I'm fuzzy about it, but I seem to remember about 20 years or so ago, that there were some car manufacturers who had trouble getting the new "clean" paint to adhere, and there were a lot of claims for repaint, etc?

    I do admit though that there are some cars that do not look right in some colors, and that there are some cars where black, for instance, is just right--like most Mercedes. The Acura TL is awesome in the medium gray metallic, and I like it in black or the dark blue, but the lighter colors don't do as much for me. So I guess I'm arguing with myself here. ;) But for me, that's not unusual!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    ...two-tone paint schemes on cars again. I just saw a really nice 1988-91 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency in silver and maroon two-tone sans vinyl top. The two-toning really lowers the profile of the car and makes this rather short car look long and sleek.
  • derrado1derrado1 Posts: 194
    The curvier cars get, the tackier two-tone paint jobs look. On boxy, 70's personal luxury coupes it looks great. Rugged SUVs? Sure. But just think of the average sedan/coupe these days, and try and picture two-tone paint. With maybe a few exceptions (it could be passable on a Lucerne, for instance), it would look pretty darn bad.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    Wow Andre, you have quite the collection of all kinds of car-related stuff.

    Thanks, Bryan. Actually I got lucky with those two paint charts. I have a '76 LeMans, and theres an online site devoted to the '73-77 LeMans (guess if you look hard enough, you'll find a website devoted to ANYTHING! :P ), and that's where I found those paint charts.

    Around 1987, I think they did start requiring the paints to be more environmentally friendly. IIRC, they switched from an oil-based paint to water-based? Or something along those lines. Or it may have been the primer. Anyway, the paint had problems sticking to the primer, and it would peel away. Whereas in the old days, your paint would just fade and thin out, and crows-foot if it was metallic, these newer paints would usually peel off while still shiny!

    Then on top of that, they started using clearcoats more often around that time, and the clearcoat tended to burn off. Looked real pretty when it was new, with a nice, deep luster, but once it was gone, it looked really horrible.

    As for reducing the choice of colors, I'm guessing that was just a sign of standardization and cost-cutting. Instead of offering you 20-25 colors, plus a few two-tones, to pretty much guarantee that any buyer could get what they want, they started just going for a few basic colors that would still make the majority of the people happy, and forcing the others to just deal with it.

    Plus, I'd imagine that many of those more off-beat colors had to be special-ordered by the customer. In situations where the dealer ordered the cars for the sales lot, they probably just went with the most popular choices anyway.

    I think it's interesting too, that back in the day they'd often have two colors that seemed only a few shades off from each other. When I was a kid, my Mom had a '75 LeMans. It was kind of a metallic fiery burgundy that my Mom always called "Bronze". A couple years ago, my Dad and I were talking about that car, and he called it "Persimmon". Well, lo and behold, for 1975, Pontiac offered both! There's one called called "Persimmon" and one called "Fire Coral Bronze"! And both of them look similar enough to me that either one could have been on Mom's old Pontiac.

    One thing I always remember though, is even back in the 70's, when that car was new and wilder colors were everywhere, it stuck out like a sore thumb! We never lost it in the parking lot. She traded it in 1980 for a light blue Malibu coupe that was a nice color, but practically invisible compared to that LeMans. It was a car you had to really look for in the parking lot. It didn't just jump out at you like that LeMans did.

    As for the Acura TL, I think it looks good in the darker colors. There's something about its styling that, IMO, is kind of crisp and formal, yet at the same time athletic and muscular. Kind of like putting a football player in a tux, maybe? There's a guy at work who had an '04 TL, I think it was a really dark blue. Very sharp looking car, I thought. He has an '07 TL now, but I haven't seen it yet, and forget what color he told me it was.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    White-faced gauges.

    I used to kinda like them when only a handful of performance cars came with them, but they're everywhere now (Chrylser in particular seems to like them).

    I still think for most cars, the traditional white on black gauges look better...
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    White-faced gauges.

    I used to kinda like them when only a handful of performance cars came with them, but they're everywhere now (Chrylser in particular seems to like them).


    Guilty! My 2000 Intrepid has them! My gauges look like the top one in this pic:
    image

    They never really bothered me, though, either way. At first, I was afraid that the white-faced gauges would be hard to read, but they're not. They've come a long way since the 50's, when they'd sometimes put gold or silver numbers on white faces!

    The Intrepid was also the only car I ever had with white-faced gauges though, so I guess I thought it was kind of a novelty at the time.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,512
    My C43 had them, and I will admit that I thought the white faces combined with the italic font seems really gimmicky, as I suppose it was back in 98. The new car is standard colors and font.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    I always hated was the strip speedometers where the central numbers are all squeezed together. Like this style, from a 1978 or so Cutlass Supreme:
    image

    I think my '82 was almost the same, except that instead of 10-20-30, etc it went 5-15-25-35, etc, with the 55 highlighted in orange.

    For some reason, Oldsmobiles seemed to compress those central numbers more extremely than other cars. I've had two full-sized 60's Pontiacs, two late 60's Darts, and an '80 Malibu with horizontal speedometers, and while there was some compression towards the center, it wasn't nearly this extreme. You'd think that the older cars, with their 120 mph speedos, would actually be more compressed as they had to get a wider range on there, but that didn't seem to be the case.

    Just for comparison, heres an old Dodge Dart cluster:
    image
    Now that I see the two side by side, I guess the reason the Dart's wasn't as compressed is because it used a longer needle, part of which was contained in that lower part of the cluster below the odometer, so only part of it was exposed in the display. On the Cutlass, they just didn't have as much room, so they used a smaller needle.
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    One thing I don't like on speedometers is the trend toward ridiculously high posted speeds. A good example is the speedo of the late Toyota Celica:

    image

    While I really like the tach positioning (red-line is vertical pointer), there's really no reason for an max speed of 160 mph. Almost 1/2 of the speedo is taken up by speeds either impossible to reach (at the high end) or undesirable for most drivers to reach (at the low end).
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,512
    I think the weirdest speedometer and cluster was in the fintail.

    image

    In the car itself, it was less odd, but still never fails to attract attention.

    And yes, the needle changes color as it rises. I made a crappy little video of it with my phone that I might post sometime.

    I like the high end speeds on the speedos of my AMG cars, as they technically are attainable!
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    ...speedos from the '70s and '80s that have a little red "55" on them? It's an awful reminder of the automotive dark ages when I see them today!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    The speedo on the 2006 Xterra is similar:
    image
    I mean, it has a pretty powerful engine and all, but would you really WANT to take something that upright and tall up to 140 mph, even if it could theoretically do it?!

    One thing I don't like about the Xterra's gauges is the way the speedo and tach only take up half of the gauge face. That forces the numbers to all get crunched together, and isn't the best for visibility. Also, when you turn the car on, those little chunks in the lower left corner of the speedo and tach face glow orange. Took me the longest time to stop associating that with an idiot light!

    Also, the oil pressure gauge always catches my eye before the temp gauge, because it's actually in the face for the tach. At a quick glance, I'll see the oil pressure needle creeping up toward "H", and my first thought is "damn, this thing is running hot". Until I realize that it's NOT the temp gauge. :blush:
  • john_324john_324 Posts: 974
    I know what you mean re mistaking gauges. My father's old 911 has 3 different oil gauges...temp, pressure and level, all clustered together.

    While oil temp and pressure always read properly when the car is on, oil level only reads properly when the car is running, but stopped and on a level surface.

    This has led (more than once, I'll add) a heart-stopping situation where I'm motoring along at a good clip, only to glance down and see a needle in the red! I freak out for a few seconds before realizing which gauge it is. :blush:

    The little pictograms don't help much either, as they all feature the same oil can, just with different things happening to it...
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,120
    ...my 1988 Buick Park Avenue has similar-sized speedo and tach with the numeral placed approximately the same distance. The speedo is on the left and the tach on the right. They should be the other way around as the tach is more in my line of sight. Aside from that, I like that the car has full instrumentation - something very unusual for a late '80s domestic luxury sedan.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    I will chime in to say I am kinda sick of white-faced gauges too. Once all the Chrysler Group minivans have them, the trend has gone too far!! :-P

    Apart from that, most things about speedos never bother me, except when they are.......digital! GAWD, no, please! Honda, are you listening???

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,851
    Apart from that, most things about speedos never bother me, except when they are.......digital!

    Digital speedometers can be fun sometimes, though. Back when my uncle had his '88 LeBaron turbo coupe, before he sold it to my wife and me, I remember driving my grandmother in it once or twice. Just for kicks, out on the highway, I set the display for Metric, so it didn't take much to get it to register over 100!

    Scared the h-e-double-hockey-sticks out of her! :P
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