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Towards the end of its time with me as a daily driver, I remember the HVAC fan in my '68 Dart shorted out, so all you got when you put the heat on is whatever hot air sort of drifted from the heater core. I'd always keep a towel or old t-shirt in the car to defog the windows when needed.
Once the car got warmed up, it didn't seem too bad inside. You could feel it getting warmer when stopped at a traffic light, but then once you got moving the warm air would dissipate. I also learned to dress accordingly.
Sometimes it's easy to get nostalgic for the "good old days". But now that it's getting colder, and I'm thinking back on those days, I'd rather not re-live them!
You're actually giving it more credit than I would. I'd call the Impala more "mediocre" or "tolerable" at best. I remember looking at them back in late 1999 when I bought my Intrepid, and wasn't all that impressed. Not a fan of the interior materials, the high beltline, tight back seat, or exterior style. But, it was adequate enough to tolerate.I never liked that model of the Impala. The exterior design in particular did not appeal to me. I had one for a week as a rental in Seattle back in '04. "Competent" is the best thing I could say about it. It wasn't awful. Of course I can understand the attraction of an older car with low miles and in good condition for a reasonable price as well, and how that may make one's choice different from what you would select in a perfect world.
I actually liked the Malibu better at the time, mainly because it made better use of its interior space. The Malibu felt like it would be a better fit for four tall/big people ,whereas the Impala was a better choice for 5/6 shorter people.
I think you're onto something though, where I'm finding the attraction in the condition and the low miles, and that makes a car that I would have ignored otherwise suddenly attractive. And, I guess there's also the fact that, if it's the LS, it'll have the 3.8, which was a pretty good engine. FWIW, I don't think the 3.4 in the cheaper models was all that bad, although it had the plastic intake issue (something some years of 3.8 had as well).
My cousin's Impala, while not a first choice, still might make for a good "beater". The Park Ave is starting to worry me a bit. Every once in awhile it shorts out and the trip computer loses its memory...trip mileage, distance to empty, etc. And when it does that little spike, the fuel gauge goes all the way around and gets stuck on the wrong side of the little peg that's supposed to keep it from going below "E". Imidazol97 taught me a magnet trick to get the gauge back around, but it's done it enough I gave up on it! The paint's also getting a little thin here and there, and there's some rust forming at the bottom of one of the back doors. My house mate borrowed it the other day, and he said that there was smoke coming from the passenger seat...so either one of the power assists or the heated part of it may be on the fritz. I haven't been able to get it to repeat that stunt, though. Oh, and the Park Ave does need new shocks and struts.
On Friday night, my friend with the 2009 Grand Marquis came over to hang out, and I tried to put a bug in his ear saying "You really want a new car, don't you?" in the hopes of talking him into going and buying a new car so I could buy his Grand Marquis off of him. But, he didn't fall for it!
Still looking great, Fintail! I did some cleaning in the garage over the weekend, and had to move four cars out of the way. The Catalina and 5th Ave started up fine...for older carbureted cars, that is. The LeMans, unfortunately, was so dead it wouldn't even jump start. So after I got the Silverado moved out of the way I pulled its battery out and put it in the LeMans and it fired right up.
Little by little, I've been trying to get the garage cleaned out to the point there will be room to squeeze the DeSoto in when it finally comes home, at some point in the undetermined future.
Wasn't it Audi that pretty much kicked off the trend of having the grille, or at least the suggestion of it, drop below the bumper line? I think it was called the "Bib" when it first came out. This is what I'm thinking of...Given the sycophant copycat world that is modern automotive design, I fully expect the Asian overstyling trend to spread. Just like Bangle's wonky designs spawned imitators.
I think the Lexus, with the hourglass shaped grille, is sort of an evolution of that, with a bit of channeling from Virgil Exner.
As for those locomotive cowcatchers, they actually make me think of what Buick is currently sporting on its cars. Even though the Buick grilles don't extend down to the base of the car, remaining more at the height of a more traditional grille, they still have that cowcatcher look to me.
Way back in 1987, when I got my license, my Granddad used to let me drive his '85 Silverado a lot. Grandmom was reluctant to let me drive her '85 LeSabre, and Mom wouldn't let me touch her '86 Monte Carlo, and I wouldn't touch my stepdad's '84 Tempo even if he begged me to...which he didn't! But, Granddad was really laid back about most things, so he didn't care. His attitude was hell, it's insured.I have the opposite problem, I've gotten used to the responsiveness of the Q50 hybrid and the Volvo. When I take the Pathfinder out I have to remember you can't pull out in front of someone like you can in the cars.
Anyway, back then its 165 hp 305-4bbl, mated to a 3-speed automatic, felt almost like a musclecar. It would walk the 1980 Malibu 229 my Mom gave me like a dog. And the Malibu would embarrass the cars that most of my friends had. 0-60 was about 12 seconds.
Anyway, fast forward to 2002. Granddad had passed away, and a few years after that, Grandmom gave the truck to my Mom and stepdad. They finally bought a new truck, an '02 F150, and sold me the Silverado for $1200. I remember the first time I had to floor it to merge onto a highway, I was thinking damn, what is this, 0-60 in like 20 seconds?!
But, nope. One day I took a stopwatch to it, and timed it, and got 0-60 in about 12 seconds. Same as when it was new. So, the truck hadn't changed one bit. Rather, time and technology marched on, and we got used to better and better things.
I still have the truck, but it doesn't get used much. Every once in a blue moon, I've let one of my house mates, or my uncle, borrow it. I always warn them though, don't drive it like you do the cars you're used to, or you're probably going to kill yourself. Or someone else, when they go up under the rear bumper because you don't accelerate as fast as you thought you could.
The only one of my old cars that acts somewhat like a modern car in acceleration is my '67 Catalina. 0-60 is probably 9 seconds, I'd guess. But, when you stomp on it, it immediately lays rubber, and throws you back in your seat a bit so you feel like you're going faster than you really are. Then it'll hold first until around 55-60, and chirp the rear tire (singular, because it doesn't have posi-traction) as it shifts into second, and that's accompanied with another jerk, that makes you feel like you're going faster than you really are.