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Cars That Gained Or Lost Respect With Time



  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,040
    Of course, they kept a few in stock that had another 1000.00 in dealer installed accessories that you cojuld drive home if you didn't want to wait

    Yeah, that's one thing I think a lot of people today forget, is how back in the day, cars really came "a'la carte'. When you look in those old car books and they quote the base price, the cars look so cheap, and we think about the good old days, but truth is, once you optioned them up, they got really expensive, really fast.

    For example, my grandparents bought a brand-new 1957 Ford Fairlane 500 4-door hardtop, pretty well-equipped. Base price, if you look in the books, is around $2500. Well, Granddad saved everything, and one day, showed me the paperwork from that sale. By the time you added the automatic, big V-8, power steering, brakes, radio, heater, etc, that sucker was around $3500.

    My '57 DeSoto Firedome hardtop coupe had a base price of $3,085. But, I spec'ed it out once, using one of those American Standard catalogs, and as equipped, more like $3800. In today's dollars, that's like $28,630. For a car with no a/c, crank windows, AM radio with one speaker, no ABS, traction control, etc.

    And that '57 Ford? $26,370 in today's dollars.

    A/C added about $500 in those days. Or, about $3700 in today's dollars!

    And we whine today about cars costing too much money. Honestly, all things considered, I think cars today are pretty cheap!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Solid #3 Karmann Ghia convertible? Maybe....oh...$7500?

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  • benjaminhbenjaminh Posts: 2,877

    Well this has been a fascinating thread to read. As a kid and young driver I had experiences with many of the cars talked about here.

    The car my parents had when I was born in 1964 was a 1961 Falcon station wagon. They kept it until in 1970 we got a 69 VW Bus. That Falcon has 3 on the tree and seemed ok most of the time, from what little I remember. It had pretty amazing amounts of room all around, even though it was a lot smaller than a full size wagon.

    My girlfriend in 1991 (and now wife) had a 1961 Dodge Lancer. That was a superior car to the Falcon in every way I think. It had pretty snappy power for the time (while the only thing that made our Falcon look fast was the later 69 Bus). That slant 6 engine was pretty impressive with the push button transmission. I think flooring it you could maybe get to 60 in about 13 seconds, which was excellent for an economy car at the time. The body was very solid, whereas I think the Ford was more flimsy. That Lancer just seemed like a well engineered car. Even had seatbelts and a padded dash. Amazing visibility. Practically 360. My future wife grandma bought it new, and when we had it it had only 60-80,000 miles on it. Ran like a top and needed almost nothing mechanically. The one thing that broke I remember was the windshield wiper. Passenger side, fortunately. Parts could not be found anywhere, even a junkyard, for love or money. We had only one windshield wiper after that.....

    Cars are so much better today. I'm amazed I'm alive, really. Take a look at this 59 full size chevy folding up like an accordion, while the 09 Malibu--a smaller car--does much, much better.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    I don't know what's with the guy with the Ghia.

    I called him and he immediatly asked me for my number and told me he would have to call me back in 30 minutes which he never did.

    Three hours later, I called again and left a message on his machine which at this point, he hasn't returned.

    I've learned that when a seller doesn't put a number on the For Sale sign that it's usually overpriced. I know I won't call him again.

    I've always liked those and I can't remember the last tme 've seen one much less a convertable.

    7500.00? I'll report back if he calls me. Thanks!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Biggest issue with the Ghias is, of course, rust, so the car needs to go on a lift before you buy. These K-Gs are very expensive to restore---the rear fenders do not unbolt like on a VW, so it's all about welding in new panels. And "nose damage" is common.

    The convertible top is quite pricey if you have it done professionally and correctly. Otherwise, pretty much VW underneath, so easy to work on and mechanical parts should be everywhere.

    My brother had a very early Ghia coupe. I remember it had corduroy interior!

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  • martianmartian Posts: 220
    I mean, they were designed much like a Chevy-rear drive, live rear axle, recirculating ball steering box, American style front suspension.
    You paid a hefty premium for the car-only you got a small 4 cylinder engine (instead of a 6).
    Had you ordered a Chevy of the time, and gotten a upgraded suspension (HD shocks and springs)-you would have a Volvo-only better and cheaper.
    As for their (alleged) longeveity-if you maintained the Chevy like the Volvo, it would last just as long.
    The other thing about Volvos-in their early days, they came with Philips radios-those radios had terrible FM sections-if you were more than 10 miles from a station, you couldn't pick it up.
    Most people opted for a japanese radio.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    The Volvo 544 was really fun to drive. I can't think of a similar Chevy that would have been. I mean, a Chevy II with HD springs and shocks would ride like a 3/4 ton truck and probably not have a 4-speed. Vega was nice looking but pretty nasty to own. Maybe the Corvair was as close as you'd come to "fun" but you had to be careful how much you threw it around turns, and the 4-speed was simply awful.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    Oh, I know about the "nose damage" problem but I had forgotten the rear fenders didn't unbolt.

    He still hasn't returned my calls so my interest has waned.

    I did look on Ebay and I'm thinking that 7500.00 estimate may have been a bit on the light side.

    Heck, he might have sold it!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    Oh, yes, very much fun to drive and that wonderful sound they made.

    I once had a chance to buy a 544 wagon. It needed too much work but talk about a cool car!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    edited December 2010
    Well for a #3 car, which is, you know, a pretty decent car but with some chips in the paint, maybe a split seam or two, unrestored underneath (road dirt, surface rust), some dull trim, etc, I would think $7500 is fair. When you get over $10K on these puppies, they have to be pretty darn sharp top to bottom.

    These "Carmen Gears", as the ads sometimes call them, can get real ratty very quickly and are a pain to sort out because they are rather fragile. If you have bent belly pans or a dented nose, it's a real hard job getting those straight again.

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 19,603
    Oh, no...this one is much nicer than that from what I could tell.

    Still no callback.

    Once time I was driving down the Nimitz Freeway in heavy traffic. I was following a flatbed truck when I noticed a piece of unsecured machinery was about to land in my lane. I had a split second to make a lane change.

    In my mirror, I spotted a yellow Karmann Ghia ram this thing. Cars were flying all over.

    On the news shortly thereafter, they announced that all lanes in that direction had been closed. On the evening news that night I watched a helicopter identify this mystery object as a cigarette machine.

    I don't think anyone was hurt and my 1979 Celica GT got to live another day.
  • omarmanomarman Posts: 850
    "If you have bent belly pans or a dented nose, it's a real hard job getting those straight again."
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Do you have *any* idea of the cost of cosmetic surgery these days? :P

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  • stickguystickguy Posts: 25,363
    there is a white on on Ebay at the moment. Doesnt look too shabby (from the lousy pictures), and is claimed that everything works. think it is listed for $6,500?

    just have to go to Fairbanks to pick it up!

    2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.4i Limited Tech (mine), 2013 Acura RDX AWD (wife's) and 2015 Jetta Sport (daughter's)

  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    I'm surprised DeLorean didn't use the old stand-by - the small-block Chevy.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    edited December 2010
    In those days the small block kind of sucked---it was strangled by emissions. The Lotus Esprit Turbo motor would have been the ticket. The car would have been no more reliable, but way faster. Actually he was just a little too early for the Buick V-6 turbo that eventually got pumped up and put in the GNX.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,600
    In addition to shifty's points, the Chevy engine was too mass market. Also, as an ex-GMer who had been spurned for the top job, he might have wanted to avoid sourcing his revolutionary car's engine from GM.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,783
    Shifty, I have to ask. You said the 544 was great fun to drive and almost indestructible. By the time of the 740, you characterize them as no fun and expensive to maintain. At what point do you think they went wrong? Or was it a slow but steady descent? For instance, my father had a 122 that I enjoyed (of course I was young) and I had a 142 that wasn't bad (although much less quick). I even owned a 164 for a while and enjoyed the comfort, but it wasn't exactly 'tossable'. However, my sister went the way of a 244 and I have to put it in the same category that you put the 740. Any thoughts on Volvo's unfortunate path?

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Well that's an interesting question because their sister company Saab starting getting even more interesting as Volvo got duller and duller.

    I guess the answer lies in Volvo's determination to appeal to the American car buyer---the type that would not buy a VW or Fiat or Peugeot or quirky (at that time) Saab.

    You can see the transition in about 1968. Gone was the Volvo 123GT with no real equivalent "sport sedan" in the 140 series. The P1800 sports car was an odd duck, having the same exact engine as the sedan and a rather porky little thing to boot, with truck-like steering.

    The later P1800E sport wagon was a step in the direction of redemption, but too little, too late IMO.

    Now and then Volvo gives a reluctant nod to sporty driving, and really, they have gotten better over the years, but behind all that posturing is still a Swedish Ford.

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