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Memories Of The Old GM And Its Cars

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  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    GMC makes $$$, so as an 'owner' per the bailout, I say it stays. :P
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    I actually prefer the styling of the GMC line, for the most part, compared to Chevy trucks. It's not as noticeable with the Yukon and Tahoe/Avalanche, but with the regular trucks I much prefer the look of the GMC to the Chevy. I felt the same way about the previous model, too. The GMC Sierra looked nice and sleek, I thought, whereas the Silverado had that "angry appliance" look going on.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,189
    Here's a case where I definately think the GMC truck is nicer looking:

    image

    1969 Chevrolet truck

    image

    1969 GMC truck
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    Those are both good looking trucks, but yeah, I much prefer the GMC.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,861
    Too much liftover height. Even if the GMC wasn't jacked up, the stepside is way handy.

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  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,650
    And very little in those videos worth remembering.
  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    GM's old RWD cars were proven and tested, but the new FWD cars in the 80's were rush jobs with bugs galore.
    The old X body Novas would run forever, but FWD X's died early.

    By the time these cars were more reliable, they looked ancient. Compare an 80's Taurus to a Celebrity, or even a '90 Lumina to see who was design king then.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    GM should've just stayed with their extremely solid B and C RWD cars and updated them as appropriate. They probably wouldn't be in the mess they are in if they had.

    I would have liked to have seen that happen, as I like the old GM B/C bodies. However, interest in cars of that size slowly died out over the years. It's to the point now that only the Crown Vic/Grand Marquis/Town Car remain, but their days are numbered. And I don't think private individuals can even buy these cars anymore! Aren't they limited to police forces, taxi companies, livery services, rental companies, etc?

    The Crown Vic is a good example of how this type of car WAS improved over the years. While it's still based on the 1979 Panther, I'd imagine that very little would actually interchange. The engine is different, the transmission is different, the body was redesigned in 1992, the rear suspension was redesigned in either 1998 or 2004, and the frame was even tweaked for 2004.

    The Caprice went through a similar change, as the 1991 model had a radically different body, although it was still on the same 1977-vintage frame. But over the years, the transmissions changed, and the engine got a radical overhaul for 1994.

    But, it just wasn't enough change, and GM left this market after 1996. To be fair, they dumped these cars to capitalize on the SUV craze, but even if they had kept them in production, I'm sure production would have tapered off year after year, just as it did with the Crown Vic and its siblings.
  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    I said this to many who defend the big cars, people who want room have bought trucks in the past 20 years and don't think of buying a 'large' car. To loyal SUV/'people mover' buyers, a Crown Vic is just another car. And to car buyers it is old fashioned.

    Today's "full sized car' is actually the current Accord, classed as a 'large car'.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,650
    Today's "full sized car' is actually the current Accord, classed as a 'large car'.

    While an Accord maybe physically smaller than a CrownVic, I wouldn't be surprised in interior volume isn't to far off except for maybe width. My dad went from a '92 Crown Vic to a '00 Taurus and he now has an '09 Accord and it does seem big inside. Plenty or room for me in the backseat.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    My dad went from a '92 Crown Vic to a '00 Taurus and he now has an '09 Accord and it does seem big inside. Plenty or room for me in the backseat.

    I've noticed that, too, that the Accord isn't too far off from the Crown Vic in many respects. However, IMO at least, the Crown Vic always felt like the smallest of the downsized Big Three cars. The transmission/driveshaft hump is really big, the back doors are small, the rear wheel wells intrude too much into the back seat, and the dashboard seems to jut out too far. A friend of mine had a '95 Grand Marquis and now has an '04 Crown Vic. I've banged my knee on the dash getting into it.

    One thing I just noticed, according to the EPA's website, is that the Crown Vic's interior volume was rated at 111 cubic feet from 1992 through 2006. But for 2007 and newer, it's 107. I wonder if that's a typo, or if Ford actually did something to the interior?

    In comparison, a 2008+ Accord is rated at 106 interior, and 14 cubic feet of trunk. The EPA's threshold for a "full size" car is 120 combined, so the Accord barely qualifies. Get one with a sunroof, and it's actually a midsized car! FWIW, most midsized cars have been right around this threshold for years. A 1978-83 Malibu sedan, for instance, has 102 cubic feet of interior, and 17 cubic feet of trunk.

    Most "traditional" full-sized cars had interior volumes of around 110 cubic feet, plus 20+ cubic feet of trunk space. And on top of that, they usually had 60" of shoulder room or more. So that might have made some of them "feel" roomier, even if they really weren't. An Accord feels about as big inside to me as an old Malibu, or maybe about the size of my old '89 Gran Fury, so regardless of what the EPA says, it still feels like a midsize to me. A GOOD midsize, but still a midsize!

    The EPA also considers my Intrepid to be full-size. The Impala's considered full-size...yet I can't even fit in the back seat! No legroom, regardless of the published specs, and my head hits the ceiling. The 2000 Taurus was also considered full-size, because that year's restyle raised the roof and decklid just enough to give it more rear seat headroom and one more cubic foot of trunk space.

    I think what's happening now is that what passes as a full-sized car is more focused on being a comfy 4-seater, than trying to be a 6-seater. I'd imagine that most people rarely see the need to haul more than 4 people on a regular basis, and those that do go for something bigger like an SUV or minivan. And IMO at least, they haven't made a car that can seat three across comfortably since maybe the 1979 Lincolns or 1978 New Yorker/Newport. Anything since then just didn't have the shoulder room, and even if it did, downsizing ensured that the transmission humps and driveshaft humps made the center spot less comfortable. Plus, once split bench seats and center armrests became more common, forget about that center section!

    My '85 Silverado probably has more shoulder room than any car ever built. Yet on the few occasions I've gotten three people in the cab, it's felt like a tight squeeze.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,650
    The Impala's considered full-size...yet I can't even fit in the back seat! No legroom, regardless of the published specs, and my head hits the ceiling. The 2000 Taurus was also considered full-size, because that year's restyle raised the roof and decklid just enough to give it more rear seat headroom and one more cubic foot of trunk space.


    I don't know what GM did with the Impala redesign. My wife was shopping for a new company car in 06 and she had the options of an Impala, Grand Prix, and Ford 500. The 500 felt like a limo compared to the GM alternatives and she picked it over the other two. The 06 Impala felt like it had less rear seat room than the 01 Impala my wife had. Due to being relocated, she ended up getting stuck with an 07 Grand Prix, I have to give GM credit for figuring out how to get so little comfort and usable room out of a car of its size.

    I'll have to look at the specs of the 2010 Taurus, it looks like it's a big car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    I don't know what GM did with the Impala redesign. My wife was shopping for a new company car in 06 and she had the options of an Impala, Grand Prix, and Ford 500. The 500 felt like a limo compared to the GM alternatives and she picked it over the other two. The 06 Impala felt like it had less rear seat room than the 01 Impala my wife had.

    IMO, the W-body has always had a bad back seat, but I noticed that too, that the '06 Impala seemed tighter in back than the '01-05. Legroom and headroom both got worse.

    I like the Ford 500. It doesn't quite feel "full-sized" in shoulder room, and legroom feels a bit tight up front. The seating position is high, but not far back, so it's kinda like sitting in an old pickup to me. But yeah, the back seat is almost limo-like! I'm curious to see what the 2010 Taurus is like, too.

    I drove a 2010 Fusion a couple weeks ago. It's the same size as the old model I think, but it felt a bit bigger inside to me. Maybe they just gave it more seat travel? Anyway, it seemed big enough for me.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    The Caprice went through a similar change, as the 1991 model had a radically different body, although it was still on the same 1977-vintage frame. But over the years, the transmissions changed, and the engine got a radical overhaul for 1994.

    But, it just wasn't enough change, and GM left this market after 1996.


    GM made a huge mistake with the redesign of the Impala/Caprice when the fat guppy styled version appeared around 94-95. The only version that looked "marginally" acceptable stylewise was the SS Impala.

    The previous generation looked smaller overall and had good proportions. Too bad that GM went for SUV craze and did not instead just refine the rwd platform of the late 80's early 90's Caprice.

    Had a 77 Caprice station wagon that served well as people hauler and "stuff" hauler. With middle row seat folded down, and it folded flat, could and did haul lots of 4x8 material. Had the third row seats but never put anyone (kids) back there. Had front bench seat. Recall that could comfortably fit 6 adults, 3 front, 3 middle in that Caprice. Do not remember that hump for driveshaft was an issue with me.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,189
    It has never really been a matter of interior volume to me. I'm 5' 11', I drive a big car, yet sit rather close to the steering wheel. I just like the proportions of a longer, lower, and wider car. I love looking out over that long hood as I'm driving using the hood ornament to aim the car. Longer cars are just sleeker looking and have more of a presence than, say, an Accord.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    I love looking out over that long hood as I'm driving using the hood ornament to aim the car. Longer cars are just sleeker looking and have more of a presence than, say, an Accord.

    "Aiming" is a good word for large GM cars of the past. Last GM I had was a Suburban with big broad hood. One positive about it in maintenance was that engine bay was so big, one could get at everything in there to do work. At times, I used a small stepladder to stand on and then leaned way over fender to get at stuff.

    About hoods and Hondas, some that I have had in past, driver could not even see the hood in that it sloped down sharply.

    When wife and I had Hondas and the Suburban at the same time, I recall that the Suburban was generally aimed while the Hondas were precisely driven.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    About hoods and Hondas, some that I have had in past, driver could not even see the hood in that it sloped down sharply.

    My Intrepid is like that. I can't even see the hood of the car unless I lean forward while driving. I also can't see the rear of the car, beyond the back window. Luckily though, there's not much car back there. It's also really rounded off on the corners, so despite the blind spots, it's pretty easy to maneuver.

    In the past though, one reason I usually preferred Mopars to GM cars was that it was easier to judge the corners. On every other Mopar I've had, besides the Intrepid, I could usually see, within a couple inches, of where the car ended. But on the GM cars, the trunk sloped off enough that I usually couldn't see all of it, and the front corners were often vague. When I first got my '79 Newport, I used to think that the trunk wasn't closed all the way, just because I wasn't used to a car of that era having such a flat decklid that you could see most of. With my '80 Malibu, '82 Cutlass, '85 LeSabre, and '86 Monte Carlo, they all sloped off more.
  • xrunner2xrunner2 Posts: 3,062
    In the past though, one reason I usually preferred Mopars to GM cars was that it was easier to judge the corners.

    I've read somewhere that the 59 Cadillac holds the record for the largest tailfin ever on a car. Don't know how that was measured/authenticated. The 57 Chevy probably was easy to park, maneuver what with its tailfins. But, the 57 Dodges and Desotos probably had bigger fins than the Chevy.

    In terms of judging things/distance, etc, saw a recent large Jeep big suv in a parking lot with monster size chrome rims, perhaps well over 20". The owner had "curb feelers" at all 4 corners, no doubt to protect his $2000+ wheel rims. Did not know that curb feelers were still available.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    I've read somewhere that the 59 Cadillac holds the record for the largest tailfin ever on a car. Don't know how that was measured/authenticated. The 57 Chevy probably was easy to park, maneuver what with its tailfins. But, the 57 Dodges and Desotos probably had bigger fins than the Chevy.

    I've heard that too, about the '59 Cadillac. However, I think the height might have been exaggerated by making the trunk lid slope down, whereas on the Mopars the decklid was pretty flat. They did slope it for '60-61, but then went back to a flatter surface for '62. The fins on my '57 DeSoto come up about to my belly button. I'll be at the GM show in Carlisle this weekend, so I'm sure there will be a '59 Caddy to compare! They might not have measured it from the ground though, but maybe from some other spot on the car, such as the top of the rear bumper?

    One thing that's weird on the DeSoto, when I drive it, is seeing the left fin in the rearview mirror. That's not something I'm used to seeing in a rearview mirror, so at a quick glance it makes me think that there's a car cruising in the blind spot off my left flank.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,817
    Funny thing about fins...for the MB "fintail" cars, period promo literature actually mentions them as a parking aid, as if they were somehow designed for that purpose. I think they couldn't admit the one time they followed a fad.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,577
    About hoods and Hondas, some that I have had in past, driver could not even see the hood in that it sloped down sharply.

    I remember test driving a new TR-7; you couldn't see the hood at all. You had to raise the retractable headlamps in order to guesstimate where the front bumper was...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    One other thing with big cars is the stigma for now middle aged Baby Boomers, they refuse to buy them. Mid sized sounds "better", and if they want room, then it's SUV shopping.

    But the Impala is a stretched to the extreme W body, kind of like a pair of pants let out at the seems as far as the tailor can, but still tight.

    Also, back seats of Crown Vic taxis with 'bullet-proof shields' are very tight. Sure are not the old Checker cabs.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,362
    The Impala is kind of the Sans-a- belt of cars...
  • berriberri Posts: 4,206
    Except Sans-a-belt is supposed to stretch to fit - don't know about that back seat?
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,270
    How often do people carry three adults in their rear of the sedan? I know lots is made about the W-car's rear seat but I think it's a relatively small number of trips made with 3 in the rear. Buyers who routinely want to carry 3 will purchase a larger car or an SUV.

    I see many trips with two adults in the rear for a few owners. I tried the seating where I adjust the front seats for myself and then sit in the rear seat behind each one. I have enough leg room. However, I fully understand that someone taller in front and someone taller in the back will have a paucity of kneeroom.
  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,270
    A red new Camaro was starting his motor to leave the small town cruise-in this evening. He started the Camaro and goosed it a couple of times and I was transported back to the big motors of the 60s and early 70s for GM. That car has a great-sounding exhaust. I commented to the driver. He said something about having an LR3 motor and 400 horsepower and he had set it up that way. I think he meant he had changed the exhaust for that beautiful sound.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    How often do people carry three adults in their rear of the sedan? I know lots is made about the W-car's rear seat but I think it's a relatively small number of trips made with 3 in the rear. Buyers who routinely want to carry 3 will purchase a larger car or an SUV.

    By my standard, there is no such thing anymore, as a car that can comfortably seat 3 across in the back. Oh sure, it can be done, but the key word is "comfortably", and my definition is going to be different than someone else's. Like you said, nowadays, people that regularly need to carry that many people just get a minivan, SUV, or whatever.

    FWIW, when a friend of mine bought his '04 Crown Vic, we tried to get 3 across in back to see how it felt. Horrible. The car actually had the shoulder room for it, something like 61.5 inches. However, seat is really only contoured for two people back there. The armrest and driveshaft hump make the center spot uncomfortable, while the wheel well intrusion and curved sides make the outboard passengers tip inward. There's also very little room for your feet under the front seat.

    The Crown Vic also isn't all that generous when it comes to legroom in back. The published specs look good, but in real life, it just doesn't measure up IMO.

    My main beef with the Impala, and all W-bodies, has always been the legroom in back. With the front seat adjusted to where I'm comfortable, I can't even fit in the back unless I sit sideways. I can actually fit more comfortably in my '76 LeMans, which is a low-slung coupe. AND my head doesn't hit the ceiling like it does in the Impala! Now granted, I'm 6'3", so when I adjust the seat to where I'm comfortable, it's going all the way back in just about any car ever made (one exception is the new Camaro) and that's going to make the back seat really tight. However, when I find that I can actually fit in the back seat of a Civic, Neon, and Corolla more comfortably than I can a W-body, which is midsize (passes as full-size with the Impala), that just doesn't seem right to me!

    I think one thing that might work against the W-body, in my case at least, is the "theater style" back seat. The cushion is higher, which might be good for a shorter person, but for someone like me, all it's going to do is push my head more into the ceiling. And when you're tall, sometimes it's easier to squeeze into a lower back seat, because your legs aren't as straight-out, but angled upward a bit so they actually need less fore-aft room.

    But, it's not that often anymore that I have back seat passengers these days, so a big back seat isn't critical anymore. So that issue alone wouldn't keep me from buying a W-body, if something came up and I needed a car, and found one I liked at a good price.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,206
    I don't mind Impala's for rental cars. However, it not just legroom in the back, Something about the seat bottom angle and design makes it uncomfortable just like the Venture minivan. Also, the front seats can get uncomfortable (at least for tall people) on a longer trip. Generally, I find Ford seats more comfortable for long hauls. But I know that can be an individual thing.
  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    Some still wish for 6 passenger cars, but the center front is not meant for sitting, especially since there are no shoulder belts.

    The days of three across in a front bench seat went away with driving without seatbelts.

    BTW: Do big pickups have middle front seat shoulder belts?
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