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GM News, New Models and Market Share



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,238
    As a new car? (as opposed to driving a new car to a 30-year old car?) No way would I. You could get a Caprice Classic and a Monte Carlo still back then. As late as 1983, Car and Driver had the Caprice Classic on their "Ten Best Cars in the World" list.

    My only issue with using a 30 year old car as a daily driver is that, sooner or later, it's going to break down and leave you stranded. True, a newer car will do that too, and even a brand-new car can strand you. But, the older the car gets, the higher the likelihood.

    1983 was sort of a turnaround year for GM's RWD cars, too. I think they finally got rid of all those under-sized V-8's like the 260 and 267 after 1982 (Pontiac's 265 was dropped after '81 I think). And the kinks were getting worked out of the emissions systems and computer controls, so even though rated horsepower wasn't going up, the cars were beginning to accelerate better, and real-world fuel economy was starting to improve. And, while they still had a ways to go, they improved the 4-speed THM200-R4 transmission, so it wasn't as troublesome as the 1981-82 versions.

    I really liked my Mom's '86 Monte Carlo, which unfortunately I only had for about three months before I got t-boned while delivering pizzas. It was a base coupe (not the LS with the composite headlights or an SS) with the 150 hp 305 and 4-speed automatic. It was a really good blend of size, interior room, handling, performance, and fuel economy. 0-60 came up in about 10 seconds, and I think it was EPA rated around 17/24, although I usually got around 15/22. Never did take it on a good, long dedicated highway run, and a lot of that mileage was a result of delivering pizzas. Plus, it had about 179,000 miles when Mom gave it to me, so it was hardly a spring chicken!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,538
    I remember when I was a kid, someone a couple houses down had one of the Impala/Caprice sport coupes with the big rear window, and another person in the neighborhood had one of the seemingly seldom seen Caprice notchback coupes.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 42,431
    Everything else being equal, I want all the safety gizmos, and fuel economy I can afford. Not to mention all the improved engineering into the ride quality, noise level, yada yada.

    I don't want that stuff enough to trade in my '99 just yet, but it seems a bit marginal now compared to the latest and greatest.

    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me -

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,238
    Pro-"today's cars" people like to say if it weren't for foreign competition, we'd still be driving 1970's automobiles sold as 2012 models.

    Well, there was the Crown Vic, which dated back to 1979! :P And I have a feeling that, if SUV's hadn't become such cash-cows in the 1990's, that the Caprice/Roadmaster/Fleetwood/Impala SS would have held on awhile longer. But, perhaps not. IIRC, stricter side impact standards came out for 1997, and I don't think the B-bodies would have passed, without some major revising. Something about the belt line being too low, and the way the car hung out over the frame rails, I think.

    But, even without Japanese competition, I think the auto manufacturers would have improved, eventually. Stricter emissions and fuel economy standards, and safety regulations would have forced it. And, eventually, I'm sure the public would have demanded it.

    One reason that classic cars started becoming so popular was because of the direction new cars were going in the 70's and 80's. If they had kept going down that route, I think people would have held onto their older cars with even more passion, rather than buy a new one, and new car sales would drop off unless drastic changes were made.

    Oh, here's one possible future that never materialized. Supposedly, before the first oil embargo, GM was working on a series of 500-600 cubic inch V-8's! It would have been interesting to see what kind of monsters those would have gone into!

    I wonder how much bigger the cars would have realistically gotten in the 70's, if the oil embargo had never happened? When it came to big luxury cars, they actually didn't grow *that* much over the years. In 1957, I think the longest domestic car was the Lincoln at 227", followed by Imperial at 225". Cadillacs were actually pretty tidy in comparison...around 216" for the sedans, 221" for the coupes and convertibles. The longer 60 Special was around 224" though, and the Fleetwood 75 Limo was 236".

    In the 1970's, I think Lincoln topped out at around 233" for the Continental sedans and coupes, 231" for the Mark IV and V. Caddy DeVilles hit 230.7", while the Fleetwood Brougham (replacement for the 60 Special) was 233.7" and the 75 Limo went to 252". I think Chrysler managed to stretch the Imperial to about 233", and the '76-78 New Yorkers weren't that much shorter.

    So, at the upper end, cars didn't get THAT much bigger, but at the low end they certainly did. I think a '57 Chevy is about 200", a Ford is around 202", and a Plymouth is 205". But the '76 versions of those cars, I'm sure, were around 220-222".
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,614
    edited March 2012
    This may be a bit difficult to read, but here is a portion of a page from my 1965 Car and Driver yearbook. This shows the Model, Cylinders, Bore x Stroke, Compression Ratio, Carburetion, BHP, TQ, Transmission w/Ratios [ sometimes ? ] and Final Drive ratios - STD. and (optional).

    Looking at the Catalina - There are 5 different HP ratings for versions of the 389, and 11 possible engine \ trans. combinations w/the 389. Plus another 10 for the 421.
    - Ray
    Did not want to spread flat a 40+ year old magazine to scan it.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,714
    There was a time, after reform of working conditions, overtime, 40 hour week, that companies DID NOT provide pensions nor health care insurance. Didn't these latter two perks come about because of a labor shortage? Companies trying to get workers to work for them?

    I'm not sure how old you are, but I wasn't aware of a company that did NOT offer a pension or health care, if you were a full-time employee, until probably into the early '90's. They had provided things like that for decades.

    I don't think it's a demand, like 'buy me birth control', but one does wonder why it was taken away after so many years, and years of the company making much moolah.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,714
    We (well, parents) bought a new '77 Impala coupe in Oct. '76 and I loved it. It was new enough that people would stop me and ask me about it.

    I loved the packaging. To this day, I could very much enjoy a '77-79 Caprice coupe, F41, 350 engine, those plastic scooped-out spoked wheel covers. To me, the car is almost timeless.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,232
    I remember those coupes with the big rear windows too! There was a jade green 1978 Cparice Classic Landau that was parked in front of a neighborhood candy store all the time.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,232
    Funny, I don't remember being a designer back then! When I was in 10th grade, I drew a big dark blue GM-esque two-door hardtop combining the front of a 1969 Cadillac with the rear of a 1970 Impala/Caprice with FOUR taillamps per side, the wheelcovers of a 1961 Chevrolet featuring mid-60s Buick spinners and powered by a 650 cid V-8! :P I wanted to see what a car with all my favorite features would look like. I actually came across looking pretty awesome - sort of a smaller Cadillac with huge, powerful, big-block V-8: A Cadillac muscle car!
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    I loved the packaging. To this day, I could very much enjoy a '77-79 Caprice coupe, F41, 350 engine, those plastic scooped-out spoked wheel covers. To me, the car is almost timeless.

    I had a Caprice Classic Station Waagon. Looking at pictures of the Caprice Sedan, 2 or 4 door, today, I find them very attractive of a design. My preference would be a 4-door. I would agree that from 77 on through the 80's that the styling, design is timeless. I like the large windows, full doors front and back.

    Looking at some specs, the sedan with V8 weighed 3700 pounds. The same design, style with updated mechanicals, safety would be a very nice car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,238
    This shows the Model, Cylinders, Bore x Stroke, Compression Ratio, Carburetion, BHP, TQ, Transmission w/Ratios [ sometimes ? ] and Final Drive ratios - STD. and (optional).

    Interesting that the 4-bbl carb is a Carter. I always associated Carter with Mopar, Rochester with GM, and Holley with Ford. But, I guess they mixed and matched from time to time. I think my '68 Dart's 318 had a Holley 2-bbl.

    I wonder why they don't show the gear ratios for the automatic transmissions? I think the THM400 that the Catalina used had ratios of 2.48:1, 1.48:1, and 1.00:1. That 2-speed that's showing for the GTO probably had a first gear of around 1.75:1, I"m guessing.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    1975: Eight lines of cars...

    How many unique platforms, though?

    Today we'll soon have the Spark, Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, and Impala. Seems like plenty to me.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,614
    Available final drive ratios from 2.41:1 to 4.33:1.
    - Ray
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    edited March 2012
    raw resources for the batteries come from Canada, where it's mined out of the ground through a process so dirty that NASA declared the surrounding area a dead zone or something like that

    That report was grossly inaccurate, link to where we discussed this previously:

    Sudbury, Canada is in much better shape today than it was when they started supplying nickel for use in hybrid batteries.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,238
    Available final drive ratios from 2.41:1 to 4.33:1.

    My '67 Catalina has the 2.56:1 axle, but its engine was built-up at some point in its life, before I bought it, so it doesn't take full advantage of that power. Still, with that tall axle, it's kinda fun how when you stomp it, it'll hold first up to around 50 or so and then chirp the tires when it shifts into second. I used to have 215/75/R14 tires on it, and with those, sometimes it would even chirp on the 2-3 shift. But now I have 225/75/R15's, on heavier 7" wide rims, so I think that extra weight, as well as friction from the bigger tire, keeps it from spinning out so easily.

    Plus, I tend to go easier on it nowadays, because I don't want to wear out the new tires too quickly. It's not all that easy anymore, to find a whitewall, especially in a 70-series.
  • rayainswrayainsw Posts: 2,614
    The Corvette Coupe w/A6 transmission that I bought is late 2006
    also had a 2.56 final drive ratio.
    And about 1550 RPM at 70 MPH.
    - Ray
    Just about twice idle RPM...
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    My point was only to demonstrate that how good or bad you think it is now is always relative to the date you pick as a comparison date.

    And, I live in SC, not CA, and if you really like working in a cotton mill or in fabric weaving, then things pretty much suck for you now in SC. Of course, when SC was the leader in textiles, say... 30 years ago, all you ever heard around here was the complaints about the bad pay, the poor working conditions, the health issues related to dust, etc.

    But, like the coal miners in WV, the auto workers in Detroit, the steel workers in PA, the textile workers saw their employment as a birth rite. It wasn't then, and it surely isn't now.

    Welcome to reality.

    When an above market price, or wage, is being paid, it's stealing from someplace else... Usually, the future. That's what happened to the big 3. They continually pushed the real cost of labor (and benefits promised) into the future.

    And, the taxpayer got a huge chunk of the bill.

    No one can actually say they are free market capitalists and at the same time, support tariffs, bailouts, etc. and be consistent.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I wonder how many who idolize cars from the 1970's would rather be in one of them .vs. a 2010 model seconds before a head-on collision.

    I'm an old car fan, and I love the cars from the 30-50's the most, but I wouldn't want to be in one in an accident!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,238
    How many unique platforms, though?

    H-body (Vega/Monza)
    T-body (Chevette, which came out as a mid-year '75)
    X-body (Nova)
    F-body (Camaro, and it uses some of the X-body architecture, mainly suspension, the isolated front sub-frame, etc)
    A-body (Malibu/Monte Carlo)
    B-body (Bel Air/Impala/Caprice)
    Y-body (Corvette)

    So, seven basic platforms. Or, I guess you could say 6 1/2, if you want to sorta group the Camaro and Nova.

    Today, if you add in the Camaro and Corvette to the five you mentioned, you still have seven basic platforms.

    There's more variety in small cars these days than there was in '75. Back in '75, you couldn't even get a small domestic car with 4-doors...they were all 2-door hatchbacks, or sedans that looked like hatchbacks, or wagons. In compacts, with the Nova, you could get a 2-door coupe, 4-door sedan, or 2-door hatchback. In intermediates, you could get coupe, sedan, or wagon, and the coupe offered several different roof treatments. In full-sized cars, you could get coupes or sedans, both hardtop and pillared, convertible, and wagon.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Health care is a relative newcomer to the workplace, and is usually seen as being added during and shortly after WWII, due to wage and price controls being in place. It was a way to pay incentives and avoid the wage controls.

    In SC, pensions were only standard in the textile industry, and even then, were impossible to live on without the aid of SS. My neighbor's mother worked for 40 years in a sewing plant, and her monthly pension was an unbelievable $90.00/month in 2000.

    The highly-industrialized mid-west was far different from most of the rest of the country, primarily due to its high unionization and the power it wielded at the time.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,238
    I wonder how many who idolize cars from the 1970's would rather be in one of them .vs. a 2010 model seconds before a head-on collision.

    I don't think most 70's cars, the bigger ones at least, would be *too* bad in a head on collision with a modern car. A lot of improvements went into cars in the 60's, such as collapsible steering columns, seat belts, padded dashboards, rudimentary crumple zones, etc.

    My '76 LeMans would probably behave more or less like a '77-90 Caprice in an accident. It's about the same size and weight, and while the '77 B-body was supposedly all-new, I'm convinced that they still used the same frame, just with a new body dropped on.

    My '79 New Yorker is unitized, rather than body-on-frame, so it would probably do fairly well in a crash, too. Sure, a brand-new car is still going to do much better in a crash, but your typical 70's car would still do better than a 50's or earlier car, or many 60's cars.

    So, if we were going to give cars grades for crash worthiness, if a good modern car would get an "A", while that famous '59 Bel Air from the crash test a couple years back would fail miserably, I'd say a decent mid or full-sized 70's car would still get a solid C rating.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Today, if you add in the Camaro and Corvette to the five you mentioned, you still have seven basic platforms.


    Plus they probably sell crossovers instead of the old wagons.

    I don't think the menu is any shorter. :shades:
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I am in agreement... The later the model, overall speaking, the better the safety. Back in the 30-40's, before seat belts and safety glass, most victims were injured or killed by exiting the car and getting shredded by plate glass fragments.

    Personally speaking, having been in 2 head-on collisions where the opposing car turned in front of the one I was in at an intersection, and one with airbags, the other without, I can testify about the exponential "walk away factor" that airbags provide.

    I guess it all depends on the accident one plans to be Involved in... If I was given the choice of being in the 1970 Bonneville or the 2011 Smart in a head on collision, I might just pick the Bonneville.... But then, we usually aren't given a choice.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Most of those perks don't seem to be problematic in our developed world competitors systems.

    Are you ignoring financial news on Europe? Besides Germany, Norway (oil), and maybe a couple others, Europe is in mild to moderate Recession. The PIGS have been sustaining their perks on borrowed $, and things are not looking so rosy in France ... I belive it was Marchione who said last week that Europe needs to cut, cut, cut its auto production capacity. GM is losing $ on Opel.

    If you want another perspective, and a lot of times I don't think much of it, read Bernanke's comments today, that Europe's troubles are just in the beginning phases. Europe needs structural reforms; whether it's personal finances or government, you can't spend more than you make in the long run.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,714
    I don't think the menu is any shorter.

    Your opinion is your opinion, and that's fine of course, but I don't know how you could say that if you looked at a full-line brochure from Chevy back then, and compare it to what's offered today. Even back then, there were full-size Blazers, pickups, crew-cab pickups (like today's Avalanche), Suburbans, full-size vans (cargo and passenger), but we weren't even to that point of the discussion yet.

    Personally, I long for a red or maroon interior, but I know that's a pipe dream these days.
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    I don't think it's a demand, like 'buy me birth control', but one does wonder why it was taken away after so many years, and years of the company making much moolah.

    Well I can think of several policies the U.S. had which were maybe "charitable", which many said we would regret:
    1) allowing millions of foreign students to come to U.S. universities and be trained as engineers, scientists, and IT people, picking up the latest skills, and then returning to their foreign lands.
    2) economic aid to foreign countries like Korea to modernize.
    3) not asking countries like Korea to pay for the stationing of U.S. forces in and around Korea, rather than putting their $ into industry
    4) allowing U.S. companies to put factories in foreign countries, thus transferring knowledge, and then allowing the products from those countries back in this country.
    5) making U.S. factories comply with rules and regulations that foreign based factories don't have to.

    I'm sure we could add more. But I think you get the point, that we have done about everything we can think of from a policy-standpoint to undermine U.S. industry, and to make our good jobs compete with 3rd world jobs.

    GM and the UAW failed to adapt, or improve quickly enough, while maintaining the status quo of their insular work-rules and norm of "good wages".

    The world changes for good or bad, and what you expect can change. I remember a line (movie fiction or a history book I read?) about the Battle of Bastogne in 1944. With Bastogne surrounded and under constant attack some Army cook was being handed a rifle, by an officer. The Cook yells "I don't want that, I'm a Cook"; to which he gets the reply "You're a rifleman now".
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,538
    I don't believe healthcare and vacation time for workers are what is causing European malaise - a bigger part of it is excessive social welfare benefits doled out to the non-assimilating masses allowed to immigrate due to a false need for "labor", and quite a bit of public sector excess too. Also, those who aren't as productive as Germany have tried to live at a German standard, and now the credit lines are maxed out - to the detriment of many. If I make 50K and my neighbor makes 500K, I might not be able to afford the same car as him. I do agree, this is just the preface of a long mess in Europe, it will be worse there than it is here.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,238
    I think if you're a small car buyer, the choices are better these days. But for more traditional big-car buyers, the market has all but dried up.

    Now that the DTS and Lucerne are gone, GM is out of the big car game as far as I'm concerned. The new LaCrosse is nice, but it's more of a comfy midsizer with good legroom and a compact-car trunk. The Impala has a big front seat, good-sized trunk, but I swear the back seat of my '76 LeMans coupe is more comfortable than the Impala's!

    Cadillac is supposed to be coming out with that XTS or whatever, but it's going to be based on the LaCrosse, which means it's not going to be any roomier inside unless they make some huge modifications to the structure. It's not hard to add legroom...just stretch the floorpan and roof a bit, and make either the front, rear, or both doors a bit longer, but adding shoulder room is harder since you basically have to add width everywhere on the car, from bumper to bumper.

    Chrysler hasn't made what I'd consider a full-sized car since halfway through the 1981 model year. Something like a Charger or 300 is certainly big enough for my tastes, but despite that lanky 120" wheelbase, they just feel like midsized cars to me. Similarly, Ford's Taurus and MKS feel like midsized cars to me, as well, although they do have big trunks (Taurus especially).

    At best, I'd call this current crop "Tweeners", at best...a class that, IMO started with the 1985 Electra/98/ that had more interior room than any midsized car at the time, but still fell a bit short of a true full-sized car.

    And, they're all just 4-door sedans, as the 2-door, hardtop, convertible, and wagon variants are long since gone.

    I don't really think of my 2000 Park Ave as a very big car. Yet today, I don't think there are any cars left that are as big inside as it is. Unless you go WAY upscale, to something like a long-wheelbase 7-Series, S-class, or A8, maybe?
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,538
    Those 5 points are pretty much the largest American failures of the past 60 years. I'd like to see someone like Romney confronted with them, and get his reaction to each and every one.
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