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Project Cars--You Get to Vote on "Hold 'em or Fold 'em"

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Comments

  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,240
    When I was on my quest for a Blazer xTreme, I found lots of ads for vehicles that had stereo upgrades, lowering kits, chrome, etc ...

    What I found this to mean in most cases were that the car had a lot of glitz, but was poorly cared for. When I decide to sell mine, it will be listed as "excellent condition, unmolested original."

    An S10 Blazer with 22" wheels is just painful to look at.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,772
    In looking at older MB, I am always scared away by aftermarket wheels and stereos. People who properly care for these cars seldom add such items.
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    And when they do add them they usually screw something up. The stock stereo in a Benz is great and very few aftermarket ones are going to be better.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,772
    I see a lot of the old Becker Grand Prix style units swapped out. I know these were not the best stereos, but they are good enough for normal use, and more importantly to me, they look right in the car. My eyes find it very unappealing to see the somber high quality interior of a W126 or W124 clashed with by a bright busy modern looking stereo face.

    I think in the W211 and up cars, it is pretty impossible to swap anything out, as nothing will fit in the hole without looking like crap.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Ha; a.k.a. "test" pipe. The cat is gone, although if you're lucky he might still have it laying around somewhere.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,772
    Why is there a 90s fax machine stuck on top of that Corvette engine? :P

    That Supra has probably seen a harder life than the average 30 year old Beirut taxi.

    That Olds 98 coupe is hilarious, I can't see how that thing can take a corner at more than 15mph.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    That Olds 98 coupe is hilarious, I can't see how that thing can take a corner at more than 15mph.

    LOL...well if it just has the V-6, as the seller claims, 15 mph might just be its top speed. I also notice the the seller thinks it's FWD. :confuse:
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,772
    lol...I was going to say something about that, but was so amazed by the wheels that I forgot.

    I see that kind of thing often, people don't know the specifics of their car. Was something that big regularly produced with a 6? Of course, back then a V8 might not have had much more power.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    Starting in 1981, they started putting the Buick 4.1/252 CID V-6 in the 98 as the standard engine. It was a 4-bbl with 125 hp, which actually wasn't too bad for that timeframe. Ford and Chrysler were only getting 130 hp out of their 302 and 318 engines, and I don't think any of GM's little V-8's, like the Chevy 267, Olds 260, or Pontiac 265 put out quite that much. And stuff like the Chevy 229 and Buick 231 were only good for around 110 hp. But that was really too much car for this little engine.

    The Olds 307 was optional, and I suspect most of them were actually built this way. It had a 4-bbl carb, and was only rated at 140 hp. However, it was pretty torquey. My grandmother's '85 LeSabre had this engine, and I always thought it seemed pretty peppy, given that low hp rating.

    Still, that shows how far these cars fell. The '76 had a 455 standard with around 200-205 hp. The '77-79 had a 350 standard, usually with around 155-170 hp, and a 1985 hp 403 optional. Considering the weight they shed in downsizing, I imagine the 403 models performed as well as the '76 with the 455.

    But then for 1980, the 307 was standard, and for 1981 it was the 252 V-6. I imagine 0-60 must have come up in around 18-20 seconds! I know people don't buy a car like this to take out on the drag strip, but considering that these things were flagships in their day, they should've had SOME dignity about them!
  • jlflemmonsjlflemmons Posts: 2,240
    I saw maybe one or two of the V6 Olds come through the dealership. Almost all were either 307 or more common 350. The 403 was strong enough for the car, but not too many came through.

    Now, I did have a friend who drove a brand new '76 Delta 88 2dr with the 455 4bbl. Sure, it was de-tuned from the '70 model, but holy cow that sucker had some torque. No point punching it off the line, you would melt the rubber off the rim before that sled got moving. But give it a 20mph rolling start and a lot of Camaro's and Firebirds of that generation got a rude surprise!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,772
    The strongest point in the malaise era must have been 1980-82. I am glad I was just a little kid then and can't really remember the automotive scene from the time.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    Yeah, that was probably about the peak for the worst of it, although I don't think it really hit everybody at the same time. GM's bigger cars weren't too bad in 1980, although I guess the Buick V-6es, especially the 252 that was just making the scene, and the Pontiac 301, and the lightweight 200C transmission were still troublespots. Some of the bigger engines were also cut, as the Pontiac 400, Olds 403, and Cadillac 425 played out their final act for 1979. And even in '79, they started cutting back these engines. My old car book shows the 403 being limited to the Electra, 98, big Buick/Olds wagons, and Pontiac Trans Am for 1979, but no longer offered in the sedan/coupe versions of the LeSabre or Delta. And while my book shows the 400 being offered in the Catalina/Bonneville for 1979, I've heard that it was actually dropped after '78.

    After 1980, they dropped the 350 engines in these cars as well. Well, unless you wanted a Diesel. :sick: That just left the Chevy 305, Pontiac 301, and Olds 307 as the biggest engines for 1981, unless you went with a Caddy, which had the 368, or the Corvette, which could still be had with a 350. So in just two short years, they cut the top horsepower in the big GM cars from around 180-185 hp down to 140-150, and they gave up a LOT of torque along the way.

    1981 was when GM started putting ECU's in their cars, with the module being down in the kick panel in the passenger side footwell. That caused a lot of problems for them, although I guess they got the kinks worked out after a couple years. The 4-speed overdrive version of the THM200 was initially troublesome, too.

    By 1983 though, I think they were staring to get their acts together and 1984 would be better still. The move to FWD presented another reliability/durability hurdle, but the older, simpler RWD cars tended to be fairly good.

    Now that I think about it, the biggest piece of junk I ever had was a 1982 model. A Cutlass Supreme coupe with the 231. Only car I ever had where both the transmission AND engine went bad. In its defense though, it was 11 years old when I bought it, and I only paid $800 for it. The previous owner could have been just as much to blame for it as GM.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,597
    Yeah, '73-'83 was the decade of pain, with average 0-60 times from a bunch of reviews in the 11-14 sec range :sick: In '85 they dropped back below 10 sec. :)
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    "Yeah, '73-'83 was the decade of pain, with average 0-60 times from a bunch of reviews in the 11-14 sec range."

    While no one wants to go backwards on performance, the slow acceleration times wasn't nearly as important, in the scheme of things, as the poor reliability of the cars of that period.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    That's why there are older people in America who won't buy an American car as long as they live. The pain and suffering are seared into their brains. The young 'uns, they didn't go through the agony of 1974-1984, when reliability was an option you had to order on an American car.

    It's no accident that people who "collect" cars from those years modify the hell out of them.

    One of the major problems was that this was "transitional" technology, where the emissions and engine management were electro-mechanical, with use of vacuum actuators and complex relay circuits, overlaid with tubing, piping, air pumps---good grief.

    Now it's all in one black box, more or less.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    "...the agony of 1974-1984, when reliability was an option you had to order on an American car."

    In most cases, that option was unavailable at any price.

    Not to defend Detroit, but In fairness to Detroit, was the reliability of the European cars that came to our shores from, say, the '73 model year - '82 any better, or materially better? Didn't each of the European models have one or more frustrating, chronic problems, and wasn't their cost for maintenance and repair generally higher than for Detroit iron?
  • lemmerlemmer Posts: 2,676
    Trying to think of sports cars from that time that had solid performance and mechanics in stock form:

    Porsche 911 SC
    Porsche 944
    Mazda RX-7

    That might be it.

    As for reliability, Japan had great commuter cars. Europeans were awful.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    It's no accident that people who "collect" cars from those years modify the hell out of them.

    One of the major problems was that this was "transitional" technology, where the emissions and engine management were electro-mechanical, with use of vacuum actuators and complex relay circuits, overlaid with tubing, piping, air pumps---good grief.


    I think my mechanic said that the next step with my '79 New Yorker, if the carburetor rebuild didn't fix its starting problem, was going to be to ditch the Lean Burn. I guess that's one good thing about cars from that era, is that for the most part they were just 60's cars with some experimental 70's crap bolted on. When the 70's crap failed, you could find ways to bypass it.

    As the years went by and all that crap became more sophisticated and integrated, it would be much more fatal to the car when it failed. Components just become more complex and expensive to fix. I imagine that it would be easier, in the long run, to nurse my '79 New Yorker along than it would with my '00 Intrepid. The NYer would be more of a nickle-and-dime-you-to-death type of car, where the Intrepid would sort of save it up and hit you with financial hardship all at once.

    I guess one indication is that '79 New Yorkers, for being almost 30 years old, aren't that hard to come across these days. When you consider they weren't that popular when new (about 54K built), weren't put together very well, yet as used cars made for great taxis (and demo derby cars, as they were more solidly built than the downsized Ford/GM rivals), and are really just old 4-door cars from one of Chrysler's darkest periods, it seems that they survived pretty well.

    But in the year 2030, I wonder how easy it would be to find a still serviceable 2000 Intrepid? Or even an Accord, Camry, etc? I've had things fail on the Intrepid that didn't even exist on a 1979 car. And other things, like brake rotors, have been reduced to a throwaway part. While other components, like the thermostat housing, have gone from a $5.00 part you can install yourself to a part that's $200+ installed.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,772
    In the early 80s MB had a very sold lineup, much narrower in scope than today, and based around engineering rather than bling. The sturdy W123, already classic 107, and the new W126 which was arguably the most advanced sedan in the world and had a nearly flawless introduction. Seeing how many MB of that era are still around today, I'll say they were the best European car of the time. In the mid 70s some MB models are kind of sketchy though, I think there are a lot of FI issues in 1975-77 models.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    I think the Japanese cars were pretty good back then---obviously, since they sold a lot of them and started gobbling up market share (and they aren't done gobbling it, even today).

    Mercedes were spotty but they looked great and handled and braked nicely; Porsche had a bad patch 75-77 but came out into blazing sunshine with the SC model in 1978. Volvos were over-rated as usual but they were rugged and had a good reputation (perception is as good as reality). Saabs, Fiats, Audis all sucked. Alfas were pretty good for what they were, and they were attractive and fun.

    I guess the problem with the domestics in the 1974-1985 Dark Ages was that they really had NO strong suit to offset their bad points, whereas most imports had strong points that outweighed their weak points.

    Aside from the Buick GNX and the Corvette C4, I doubt if any domestic car from say 1977 to 1990 or so would ever be missed by historians.

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    Aside from the Buick GNX and the Corvette C4, I doubt if any domestic car from say 1977 to 1990 or so would ever be missed by historians.

    I'd say from a historical standpoint, cars like the 1977 Caprice/Impala (the dawn of the age of efficiency), the 1980 Citation (mass-produced FWD, and could have been a real turning point in the battle against the imports, had the quality been there), 1981 K-car (saviour of Chrysler), and 1986 Taurus (reinventing the family car) were pretty significant. And around 1983-84, that's when performance started to make a return in cars like the Mustang GT, Trans Am, and Camaro. And the Mopar 2.2 Turbo also helped in getting power to the people. The 1984 Voyager/Caravan were VERY significant, blurring the distinction between car and truck and rendering the traditional wagon nearly obsolete.

    Now from a collector's/speculator's standpoint, no. None of those cars I mentioned will ever be worth much. But from a historical standpoint, those 13 years represented one of the biggest changes in automotive history.

    As for the Corvette C4, is there really much collectibility there? Whenever I think of that car, I always think of Dirk Benedict on the A-team trying to sweet talk some lady. Or I think of the one that a manager here at work just let deteriorate to the point it wasn't driveable anymore, and then when he moved, he just left it in the parking lot at the apartment building where he had been staying, where it sat until it got towed away.

    And are there really that many domestics built SINCE 1990 that are ever going to be destined for greatness? There's the 1994-96 Impala SS, the Taurus SHO, some of the Mustangs, Camaros, Corvettes, and Trans Ams, perhaps. Limited production stuff like the Dodge Viper.

    But I think the days are gone forever, when someone will get excited about a mainstream, run-of-the-mill car like an Accord, Camry, or Impala. A 4-door 1965 Impala, Fury, or Galaxie, with just a base V-8, will at least generate some interest these days. Now they'll never be in the league with their hardtop, convertible, big block counterparts. But I doubt if your typical 4-door of today will even reach the status of a stereotypical mid-60's family car.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Well perhaps historians and collectors do have different points of view, you are right, but in the case of the Citation or the Voyager or K-car, I think they are all destined for the dustbin of history. Nobody cared about them then, and aside from a few lines of text in some encyclopedic tome, they really aren't much worth mentioning. It's the same as say in military history. There's the Battle of Antietam and then there's the skirmish at Pig's Bluff. Each gets the appropriate amount of space and investigation I think.

    But you know, if someone wants to take a car from the Dark Age and re-fit it with a good powerplant, maybe customize the body to make it more interesting....hey...it's a cheap way to get into the hobby. Just don't get silly and think you are "preserving history", unless of course you are operating a Wax Museum :P

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  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Aside from the Buick GNX and the Corvette C4, I doubt if any domestic car from say 1977 to 1990 or so would ever be missed by historians.

    Lemko and myself are very insulted that you didn't include our FWD H-Bodies in that statement. :sick:
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    Lemko and myself are very insulted that you didn't include our FWD H-Bodies in that statement.

    I have to admit that, in a perverse sort of way, I'm kinda proud to own two examples from Chrysler's darkest hour...1979. Although with the way things are going now, I wonder if some of their current hours are darker than that?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    '74 was also a very dark year for Chrysler Corp. There were rumors that it wouldn't survive. Chrysler managed to recover, but it was like a rallye in a bear market, because it hit a lower low in '79. Will its current current problems surpass the desperation of the late '70s, and usher the company's demise, or will it turn around yet another time? Time will tell, but if I were to guess, I'd say that another merger or sale of the company is in Chrysler's future.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,998
    I don't know what my fascination is with Chrysler and the cars from its dark years, but I have to confess that there are some '74 models I like, too. I thought that year's Fury and Monaco were really attractive cars. They seemed to have been influenced heavily by Buick styling from around 1971-72, but I thought they were clean, handsome looking beasts. Here's a 1974 Fury 2-door hardtop. Now once they started going for that odd look with the single headlights, I didn't care for them too much. And I thought the Dodge Monacos looked better with the quad headlights than with the hidden headlights.

    I guess that '76 Gran Fury is a bit of an oddity, being a 2-door hardtop used as a police car.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,772
    Now that's obscure, an Andre-mobile with Russian plates....along with a lemko-special Caddy with Russian plates in the background, and a boring old Lumina. The pic is hosted in Russia as well I see. I know American iron started heading over there as soon as things stablized a little in the mid 90s. Cold war propaganda didn't work!

    That thing really does look like a Buick.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,772
    Every unwashed 140 owner thinks he has an armored car - also, the "presidential edition" 140 was only available in sedan form IIRC, and has nothing to do with being bulletproof. Some people...
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