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Memories Of The Old GM And Its Cars



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    BTW: Do big pickups have middle front seat shoulder belts?

    Here's a shot of a 2008 Silverado interior, and it doesn't look like it has a shoulder belt for the center spot...

    Big pickups are starting to get sort of the same way big cars started getting with the advent of downsizing, where it seems like they make that center spot less comfortable. I've noticed that the center spot on a 2008 Silverado is worse than it is on my '85. The seat is more thinly padded, and the transmission hump is bigger. The bottom of the dashboard also juts out further. I think the dash and the seat are both higher up as well. Here's a pic of a 1985 or so Silverado, to compare...

    Nowadays, I think most big pickups essentially have two thinly padded, flat buckets in the with a stationary section in the middle that can fold down into an armrest with a big, flat writing surface on it. I have a friend who has a 2005 Silverado, and I know the seats are individual, but I can't remember how they're set up, whether it's a 50/50 split, 40/60, or what. It's a stick shift, but you can still get 3 people in it...just not comfortably!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    actually, it looks like they have added a shoulder strap to the center section of pickup truck back seats nowadays. Here's a 2007+ Silverado, with a seat cover on, showing the center shoulder strap...
  • toomanyfumestoomanyfumes S.E. Wisconsin Posts: 1,004
    My wife is one of 5 Kids. They're family car growing up was a 1973 Delta 88.
    4 kids in the back, one in the front with mom and dad. :surprise:
    2012 Mustang Premium, 2013 Lincoln MKX Elite, 2007 Mitsubishi Outlander.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    My wife is one of 5 Kids. They're family car growing up was a 1973 Delta 88.
    4 kids in the back, one in the front with mom and dad.

    My grandparents had a '72 Impala 4-door hardtop. I remember as a kid, going on trips with them, actually climbing over the seat! If I got bored in the back I'd climb up front to sit in between Grandmom and Granddad, and then climb back over when I got bored up front. Sometimes I wonder how we survived our childhood, growing up in those carefree days!

    Back in college, I used to help out with the youth group in the church I attended back then. One time we took the kids to an amusement park, and I remember squeezing 6 of them in my '69 Dart hardtop. 4 in the back, and two in the passenger side bucket seat. The lap belt stretched enough to hold the two up front in, while the ones in back were on their own. Plus, that was long enough ago that nobody really cared if a back seat passenger wasn't belted in. Now, these also weren't big kids...just 10-13 year olds.

    I wonder how many you could pile into a 70's GM full-size, if you really put your mind to it?

    I think the last time I really tried cramming a car to the max, it was my '89 Gran Fury. Got 6 people in it. That car only had 56" of shoulder room, whereas any full-size car worth a damn should have 61+". However, that car was also slab-sided, and the dashboard and wheel wells were out of the way, and the driveshaft/tranny hump weren't all that bad. Plus, it had a solid bench seat up front (but still had an armrest) and no armrest in the back, so the center spots weren't too bad. Still not something I'd want to do for an extended trip, though. Plus, 6 passengers would probably exceed the GVWR of most modern cars!
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Heck, I had EIGHT of us in my 1975 Cadillac Sedan DeVille one time. It was cramped, but everybody fit.
  • tomcatt630tomcatt630 Posts: 124
    The 80's Gran Fury M-Body was actaully a slightly stretched Volare'/Aspen F-body [no, not related to the GM f body Camaro!], called a 'compact' in 1976.

    And sure those old big cars could fit 7-8 people, but safety is more important.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    The 80's Gran Fury M-Body was actaully a slightly stretched Volare'/Aspen F-body [no, not related to the GM f body Camaro!], called a 'compact' in 1976.

    Actually, it was on the same 112.7" wheelbase as a Volare sedan/wagon, although there was a bit more overhang. I think my Gran Fury was about 205" long, whereas a Volare sedan is around 202. Not a huge difference.

    And sure those old big cars could fit 7-8 people, but safety is more important.

    Well, my Gran Fury had an airbag. Crumple zones. Rudimentary crumple zones by today's standards, but still had 'em. Side door guard beams. Fewer blind spots than probably any car built today. EXCELLENT brakes, as it was a copcar. Also had a beefed up suspension, and enough power to get out of its own way. It was also a heavy, solidly built car. Smaller than a Caprice or Crown Vic, but not much lighter.

    Your typical similar-sized car of today is going to be safer, as time has marched on and so has technology and safety standards. But I'd hardly call an M-body a death trap. I also wouldn't recommend 7-8 people, as it only had 56" of shoulder room! My guess is that it's about as big inside as a Ford Fusion, but actually feels roomier because of the big windows, no center console, less intrusive dash, less curvature of the sides, etc.
  • dieselonedieselone Posts: 5,721
    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.

    Considering that many W-car's have been sold to fleets as company cars it's probably a fair amount. My wife often has 3 other people in her company car when traveling to meetings and/or lunch. I find the backseat of her GrandPrix to be borderline dangerous as my head gets wedged between the roof and the rear window, it's horrible. It's fine for kids, but anyone over 5'10 and/or has long legs will not want to sit back there long.
    HAMMER@NJ.NET ;) ;)
  • I agree, so does my Chrysler Concorde
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    I agree, so does my Chrysler Concorde

    How is the center spot on that Concorde? I'm curious, because I have a similar 2000 Intrepid, although I have bucket seats. I've seen a few of them with a split bench though, and that center spot looks like a total waste to me. The dashboard juts out at the center. Plus, while it's FWD, the engine/transaxle are longitudinally-mounted, and do intrude a bit into the passenger cabin. You don't really see it so much with the bucket seats, because the console hides most of it. Also, these cars do have a vestigal "driveshaft hump", as they were originally intended to have an AWD option that never materialized.

    I think those split bench seats can be nice because they let you stretch out more, and the center armrest is usually more comfortable than what they give you with buckets and a console. But for 3 across seating, I'd imagine they'd be horrible.

    I also have a 1985 Silverado, which just has the old fashioned regular bench seat. It has about 65 inches of shoulder room, more than any car ever had, with the exception of maybe GM's '71-76 big cars, and their '91-96 "bathtub" style cars. Honestly though, even with that truck, I don't like putting 3 across, at least not for a very long trip. As the driver, it just makes me feel hemmed in.

    Guess it just depends on what you're used to.
  • I also have a 2002 Intreped with bucket seats. The bench seat on the Concorde is
    nice the 3 or 4 times that I needed to make a brief trip with 5 other adults. It was not too uncomfortable. Once I made a round trip of about 70 miles with 2 other adults and three teenagers. It was not too bad. You would not want to do it too
    frequently. The Concorde is an LXI with a dual power leather bench seat. The Intrepid is a base model, cloth interior driver side power only. I think that with 2
    people in the front the confort is about the same. I do like the Concorde better
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    My first car, in high school, was a '71 Buick Electra 225 four-door. It had a non-split bench seat (power). I regularly had eight people (granted, I weighed about fifty pounds less then) in that car (usually other kids). Not exactly comfy, but that car did hold six real adults quite easily. Actually, my ('downsized') '77 Caprice wasn't much worse....I do remember two of us and the entire contents of our dorm rooms returning from school. Good times.
  • berriberri Posts: 7,724
    A bench seat and a necker's knob on the steering wheel aren't a bad combination when you're in school!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,270
    Maybe I'll want a bench seat and column shift when I'm 85- but I sure hope not.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • martianmartian Posts: 220
    My Dad was a Chevy driver, and bough new Chevrolets every 4-5 years, from about 1960-1978. As I remember, these cars were very reliable, and never gave any major problems. So, GM was capable of making good cars. But why the 4-cylinder engine disasters? The Vega I-4 was terrible-the engine was noisey and failure=prone. For other 4 cylinder engines, GM would saw a V-8 in half-which meant you had an unbalanced engine, with lots of noise and vibration. Why didn't they just copy a good Toyota or Nissan i-4 design? The Japanese 4s were smooth and quiet-while GM spent a fortune to come up with a crappy Vega engine-and wound up pissing off a lot of customers! :lemon:
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    Well, at the time, GM and the other domestic automakers, (save AMC) had very little interest in compact and subcompact cars as the profits were to be made on big, luxurious full sized-cars. Henry Ford II himself would say, "Mini cars, mini profits."
    The so-called "Trophy Four" in the 1961 Pontiac Tempest was a V-8 sawed in half.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    ...on the 1967-1970 full-size Buicks and 1958-1959 Chevrolet trucks in the current (Feb 10) issue of Collectible Automobile.
  • bruce6bruce6 Posts: 29
    Martian, I'm glad your family had happy experiences with GM cars in the '60s and '70s, but you may have just been lucky. When I was little, my parents bought a new 1964 Pontiac Catalina Safari station wagon. It was big, had piles of room, and the air conditioning (still comparatively rare in those days) worked well. Nothing else in the car worked well -- or at all, most of the time. The car stranded us several times, usually with malfunctions of big stuff -- engine, transmission, cooling system. After about 40,000 miles it developed a habit of shaking like it had a bad case of automotive Parkinson's disease anytime you got over about 60 MPH.

    The family grew to utterly despise this car. It finally met its end when, while parked on the street in front of our house, a driver who was lapsing into a diabetic coma plowed into it and totalled the thing. My parents' response was -- literally -- to applaud. It was a long time before they bought another GM car.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    The transmission in the Catalinas and the Grand Prixes from 1961-64 was something that was nicknamed the "Slim Jim", and supposedly very troublesome. The Grand Prix and Star Chief used the older, sturdier, 4-speed Hydramatic.

    Other than that transmission though, those early 60's Pontiacs were supposed to be pretty good cars. How many miles did your parents' have on it when it was finally totaled? And what did they replace it with?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    " It was a long time before they bought another GM car."

    Which GM model did they buy when they tried GM again?
  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,875
    What a story!! Talk about a tragicomedy!

    I had a 1969 Pontiac Catalina Safari wagon for all of about 8 months in 1986. Not surprisingly for a car that age then it needed a lot work. But when it ran it was pretty cool. Just an absolute monster of a car. Huge beyond belief. Held 9 people easily, and if some were small and kids you probably could have fit 11. It was probably a bit bigger than your 64...
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJPosts: 10,330
    Applauding the totaled car reminds me of the old 61 Valiant wagon we inherited from my grandfather. It was a real piece of junk and one day my dad left work and the car wouldn't start. When a mechanic looked at it he said someone had try to hotwire it to steal it and couldn't get it started. We were all sorry he hadn't succeeded.

    Also have a horrible Pontiac wagon story. My dad picked up a really cheap 58 Safari wagon that was nothing but trouble. One day my brothers and I, who were maybe 11 - 14 at the time pile into the car where a woman that worked for him was going to drop us somewhere. Right in the parking lot the thing had a sudden acceleration issue with my dad standing there watching! She managed to right the thing with no damage to anyone or even the car but that was the end of that one.
    2013 Mazda 5 Grand Touring, 2010 Toyota Prius IV. 2007 Toyota Camry XLE, 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999 Mazda Miata
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    edited September 2011
    100 Greatest Chevrolets of All Time (Inside Line)

    Happy Birthday Chevy (11/3).

  • berriberri Posts: 7,724
    Now that scenery doesn't look like the UP - what is it around a 65 Malibu? Clean lines on that one.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    That's #53 in the gallery:

    "1966 Chevelle SS 396: With 72,272 sold, this model solidified the Chevelle as a muscle car icon. All SS models packed 396 big-block V8s, with horsepower ratings of 325, 360 or 375".

    The vegetation looks like it could be lower Michigan. Dunno.
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