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OLD CARS -The truth .Owners tales.How they really were.

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Comments

  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    has one of those old canisters, and I've been putting off changing the oil here the last few days because of it. There's one good thing though-there's a separate drain plug on the bottom of the canister, angled to the side, that allows you to drain the oil out before you take off the canister, so at least you don't get a flood of oil in your face all at once. Thank god for that at least! Anyone know when Pontiac went to the spinons? I didn't realize Chevy didn't change until 1967-amazing!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Used the caninsters until 1968 when they finally changed them.

    The key was to loosten the bolt slightly, they turn the caninster until it dropped. Usually there was no real need to change the o ring every time. If you wanted to, you had to remove two small bolts and drop a plate. Around 1968, Wix made a conversion kit to convert these to a spin on. I installed one on my '62 Impala SS.

    I think they first appeared on Fords in 1957. GM and Chrysler in the late fifties/early sixties.

    But, to change, the Chryslers were, by far, the WORST! I suspect that many a dishonest shop simply wiped off the canister and charged for a new filter!

    And, remember the oil bath air filters? They are another filthy mess to clean and refill!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    Anybody know if they make a spin-on oil filter adaptor for the '57 DeSoto? I would love to convert mine. I think I would still have a mess though, because my cannister points up and not down. Still dumps it all over the place, but at least I don't get it in the face...that's what my '68 Dart is for!! V-8 engines and dual exhaust do not make for a convenient oil filter location!

    I had a friend with a 1955 DeSoto Coronado. I think it had the oil bath, but I had no idea how it worked.

    Come to think of it, I tried to get 1953 DeSoto Firedome for my first car. It was my grandfather's, and he was just letting it sit. Well, just before I turned 16, he got rid of it, saying that he didn't want me driving something that I would bring to him every time it broke. So I got my mom's 1980 Malibu instead...and brought it to him every time it broke!! I guess it would've had some kind of oil bath, too (the '53, not the Malibu ;-)
    -Andre
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    I think Pontiac went to a spin-on filter in 1959. My memory's a bit fuzzy now, but back when they used to list on the box what cars the filter would fit, I think the ones for my '67 Catalina listed the Pontiacs from 1959 to 1979, which would make sense, because I think '79 was the last year the Pontiac 400 was available.
    -Andre
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    Earlier this week I met up with a couple of buddies in Reno.

    Since they had never visited the Harrah's old car exhibit, we decided to go.

    There it was...a 1954 Dodge with the Hemi engine.

    The one with the b***h of an oil filter to change!!

    Ah...memories!
  • mmcswmmcsw Posts: 29
    Getting back to the subject that this topic is about, I'd like to voice my opinion on the subject. I first got my driving license in 1973, and have driven many various cars made from the 1960's on.
    I really like the styling of 60's cars and some of the larger ones were quite comfortable and didn't drive too bad. But they were prone to rust, oil leaks, had lousy brakes, and very poor build quality. I subscribe to several car magazines, such as Hot Rod, Super Chevy, Chevy HP, and I still drool over the 55 Chevys, Super Stock Dodges, Hemi Cudas, 63-67 Vettes; I wish I could afford these vehicles, but alas only the $11.95 a year subscription costs are in my price range.
    I currently own three vehicles: A '94 AWD Chevy Astro (mine), a '98 Chevy Tracker (wife's) and a '92 Pontiac Sunbird (daughter's).
    Overall my current vehicles would put most of the old Detroit iron to shame in terms of driveability, economy and reliability. 2 of my vehicles have well 100,000 miles on them and really run well (knock on wood). To get 100,000 miles out of a 1960's vintage vehicle here in the rust belt where I live was not very common. I can recall seeing cars as young as 3 years old having holes in there fenders. Now with two sided galvanized bodies, it's worth putting money into an old car because it still looks good. And of course the modern electronic fuel injected motors are great on those below 0 mornings. Remember those old carburated motors that only started with maybe a shot of ether down the air cleaner intake and then chugged and coughed for the first 5 miles?
    The nicest car I have ever personally owned was a 1963 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 2 door coupe that I bought in 1982 in San Diego with 63,000 miles on the clock ( the quintissential "granpa car"). It had a high compression big block 394 cid V-8, a 3 speed "Hydromatic" auto trans, and ran like the dickens. It would do zero to sixty in 8 seconds if you left it drive and in 7 seven seconds if you shifted manually. It had a gorgeous two tone white over maroon paint job (that I used to lovingly wax for hours), gobs of chrome both inside and out, and it was just great for cruisin'. Had to sell it when I got married....
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    The weak link was the Roto-Hydramatic they used in those years. It was also called a Slim Jim.

    They didn't get better untilk '65 when the Turbo 400 came out.

    The Dynamic was the base model. The Super 88 would have been even faster with the 4 bbl carb and hotter cam.

    They didn't stop very well either.

    Still, a nice car!
  • mmcswmmcsw Posts: 29
    Yes, the Dynamic 88 was the base model full size Olds. In '64 they lowered the size of the base motor from the 394 big block to the 330 small block. My '63 had a 2bbl carb, and single exhaust. The carb was quite large for a 2bbl (I'd guess 500 cfm) and it may have helped low end response vs. a 4bbl. It had about 10.25 to 1 compression and the only way I could keep it from knocking on the early 1980's gas available (short of retarding the timing) was to fill the tank 1/2 full with unleaded premium and then fill it the rest of the way with leaded premium.
    The trans of course was the funky PND21R Hydramatic. I agree completely that the Turbo 400 was vastly superior.
    But it was the looks of the car that I most fondly recall. If I could find another (and I had the funds, time, tools, equipment, patience, skill, storage space, etc.) I'd "restify" it with a modern drivetrain, brakes, sound system, Vintage Air system, but still try to keep it stock looking.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    It wouldn't be a true '63 Olds anymore. It would be something else.

    Guess I'm too much of a purist.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I'd just find a better tranny for it, and maybe add discs or Buick aluminum finned drums. Maybe the 4-speed Hydro would bolt up. That Roto Hydramatic was a bummer. I had several cars with it, including a '63 Starfire convertible, and whoever designed it should be forced to endure 100,000 1-2 shifts.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    I must either be dealing with the wrong newer cars, or I bought the right old ones, because I tend to see just the opposite...in a lot of respects, the old ones are putting the new ones to shame!

    For example, my roommate has a '98 Tracker. He got the thing stuck in the snow last winter, and I tried to help push him out. As he was backing up, I grabbed ahold of his front fender at the wheel well, and actually felt the fender buckle in my hands! I've lost track of how many times he's had it in the shop, although a couple times was to undo some sloppy work that Firestone did. The Tracker is also a good candidate for the game of "name that fluid." It already has rust on it, and I can go on and on.

    I have a 2000 Intrepid with 24,000 miles on it, that already has more bumper damage on it than any other car I've ever owned (including a '68 Dart with well over 300K miles) Nothing else has broken on the car yet, but I've noticed that when I close the door with the windows partially cracked (like in hot weather) the car's structure shakes like your typical 60's 4 door hardtop.

    I remember back in college, I drove a 1969 Dart GT, a friend of mine had a then-new 1989 Plymouth Horizon. Well, one day, the idiot decided to try and race me. Before I knew it, my little slant 6 was doing around 90, and he was in the dust. He caught me at the next light, complaining that I was going too fast. Then a week later, he told me that his car wasn't running right, and it turns out it never ran right again after that little drag race. Now I know a Horizon was a cheap car, and hardly the best representation of a modern car, let alone an '80's car, but hey, a Dodge Dart was a cheap car in the 60's and 70's.

    When I went to college from '88-'93, the average car in the students' parking lot was around 8-12 year old...it seemed like most of the kids were getting mommy and daddy's old hand-me-downs...lots of Impalas, Malibus, LTD's, Fairmonts, Volares, Darts, etc. Most of the newer cars were bargain-basement cheapies like Escorts, Hyundais, etc. I was on the campus yesterday, and noticed the average car seemed to be around 3-4 years old. Either Mommy and Daddy's stocks have paid off and they're buying new cars for the kids (which is the case, oftentimes), but also maybe Mommy and Daddy's Dynasty, Celebrity, Taurus, etc didn't hold up as well as the old LeMans, St. Regis, or LTD.

    Now they have made a lot of advancements in cars, I will agree. My Dodge Intrepid has a 2.7 with 200 horsepower, which will do 0-60 about as fast as, well, my '57 DeSoto with a 341 and 270 (gross) horsepower.

    The main advantages I see in newer cars come mainly because the automakers didn't know how to do certain things back then. Like everything, building cars is a learning process. Or the buying public just didn't want it at the time. Ford put seatbelts in the '56 Ford as standard equipment. Chevrolet went on a peformance kick that year with its new 283 V-8. Chevy trounced Ford that year, partly because a lot of people thought that the Ford must be an unsafe car if it needed seatbelts. I don't think the average buyer of a 1965 Bonneville gave a damn if it had disk brakes or not. If the customer doesn't care, why should Pontiac?

    Similarly, while the automakers learn how to make things better, they also learn how to make things cheaper, so we have bumpers that fall apart in a parking lot bump and then fail to protect in a real crash because another car over-rode it.

    It seems like newer cars require less maintenance (except for my roommate's Tracker) than older cars, but when they do go belly-up, it's time to get another one, where an older car will just nickel and dime you till you're sick of it.

    Sorry if I've rambled on too long!
    -Andre
  • mmcswmmcsw Posts: 29
    After reading the above post #132, I'd like to add a few remarks about how automobiles are engineered.
    Automobile manufacturers are in business to make money. They have to show a profit for their stockholders. They only make a quality product if it makes economic sense to do so. Most engineering done focuses on how to lower production costs, not on how to make a better product. The consumer and/or government regulations sometimes force an evolution in the end product. Detroit learned well from the success of the imports in the 70's and 80's. They were forced to improve their products or go out of business. The consumer really controls what is ultimately sold in the market place by what they buy.
    I have some first hand knowledge of this subject. Consider this- if an automotive engineer can lower production costs of one single part of a car by $5 and the manufacturer produces 200,000 annually, then he's just saved the company a cool million bucks and his job security is elevated. Quality is available at a higher price, if the consumer is willing to pay for it. A lot of the "improvements" seen in automobile engines for example have been in use for decades in industrial machinery that has to stand up to continuous use for months or years with little or no maintenance.
  • Okay, how in God's name did people park the really big boats? My office building was built in 1980, and I can barely get my '96 Bonneville around the corners, under the pillars, etc. When I had the '78 Grand Marquis, I could only park where there were two or three empty spaces so I could turn. I know I'm not the most talented at this sort of thing, but I still wonder how people managed when everything was huge. I can't imagine going back to 1980 and trying to park with a whole bunch of other late 70's monsters.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    Parking spaces were bigger back then. I've worked in the same location now for about 7 years. When I first worked here, I drove my grandmother's 1985 Le
    Sabre a couple times and parallel parked it with no problem. Now it won't fit in the spots...it overhangs at both ends.

    When I went to the University of Maryland from '88-'93, the spaces in the freshman lot were so small I could barely get my 1980 Malibu in the spaces...It was actually easier to back in than to pull in. Then they re-striped the parking lot one year. You could see where the old lines used to be, and the new spaces were about 6 inches narrower.

    When I took the Maryland driver's test in 1986, I had to parallel park in a spot that was 25x6 feet, which really doesn't teach you anything. My grandmother's LeSabre is just over 18 feet, so I'm guessing the parallel spots here are 18 feet exactly. It's quite sad, really, because 18 feet isn't really that big for a vehicle...most full-size pickup trucks are at least that, and they're the hottest thing on the market.

    One advantage to an older car, though, is even though a lot of 'em are bigger, they're usually easier to judge. I can parallel park my grandmother's 218" LeSabre easier than I can my 203" Intrepid.
  • Try getting a space in Walmart with all the Suburbans, Van, and SUV's. Sometimes it seems like everything is still huge. I was a Superbeetle driver for four years. I really did feel like a bug sometimes.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    I would venture to say that the average vehicle on the road today is larger than the average vehicle on the road years ago. The 2 most popular vehicles in this country are full-size pickup trucks. And unlike cars, pickup trucks have gotten bigger over the years. In 1955, if a Chevy pickup and a Chevy Bel Air collided, it would probably have been a toss-up as to which would come out on top. A bigger car like a Buick, Olds, or DeSoto would have torn it up. And against a Cadillac or Imperial, said pickup truck wouldn't have a chance. But nowadays a full size pickup or the SUV's based on them would probably slice through most modern cars (and a lot of older ones) like Al Bundy's Dodge through a Mercedes in an episode of "Married With Children".

    I think the biggest cars got,excluding limousines and the like, was around 233" or so, and that was the biggest Caddys and Lincolns of the 70's. But your typical full size pickup with a standard cab and 8" bed is around 225", and extended and crew cabs are considerably longer.

    It's time to start making the parking spaces bigger, not smaller!!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Well, there's more drivers every day, and they aren't making any more land. Maybe the folks driving full-size trucks and SUVs just for that rugged look deserve a little challenge out in the mall parking lot.
  • lweisslweiss Posts: 342
    Grew up in the 50's- got my license in 1964. I remember going on "Sunday Drives" with my family then (we lived in New York City then) and there were always cars pulled off the road to change a flat tire (when was the last time you even had to change one, or... do many people even know how to use the jack?). Also, over heating was very common, especially in Summer traffic. We then moved to Buffalo, and the cars of the '50's and early '60's had these 6 volt batteries that made starting in the Winter iffy at best.

    One of my friends restored a nice '68 Chevelle convertible- I had forgotten about those pull out vent knobs (directed all the hot air an exhaust to your legs!!!), the skinny steering wheels, the chromey radio controls, and heavens no a/c, power windows, power doorlocks, etc. !!!
  • The Merc was a 2-Dr to boot. Every time some yuppie creep with an Escalade would park on top of the line, I'd basically be forced to door-ding him just to get in. Gosh, it really broke me up to do that. And I couldn't tolerate anyone who crept into my space from the front. At roughly 19', I needed all of it. I actually gradually bounced an older Volvo back about two feet by gently tapping him. I figured it wouldn't hurt either car. Andre, I agree that they were easier to park, if you disregard space required to turn and squeeze in. The Mercury was like sitting at a table, you could see exactly where it ended. The Bonny drops out of sight about a foot in front of me. I just have to guess.
  • These modern monstrosities are so gross (both big & ugly). My memories of my families' cars in the '50s-'60 are mixed, they were all GM products,basically Buick,Chevy,Cadillac.I have to say the styling back then was very sharp, few modern cars can compare.I remember my moms new '61 Caddy conv. we were driving along & she decided to put the top down, got stuck half way! storm came, car flooded, I laughed my [non-permissible content removed] off! Traded that for a '62 Impala convertible, first car with A/C..wow. His '67 Buick Wildcat,(only three years old )would only drive in low,after I trounced on it,that car was fast! with my friends one day(I was only 17). Drove through a flood with his '70 Caddy(new) & toasted the starter. Anyway,I've owned (60s)Impalas,not new,(77)Impala new & perfect & (77)Caddy,that I just junked. ( A few comments I read are that old cars will keep running but will nickle & dime you to death..very true. I can't help to compare the style from my childhooh memory cars to these new ones..pretty sad. If I can just find a new 2DOOR American car that I can fall in love with...somehow I doubt it. Michael
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    Well, it's a 1985 LeSabre, so it's not THAT old...but it feels weird having to actually let a car warm up a couple minutes before driving on these cold mornings. My Intrepid's in the shop, and my roommate's '98 Tracker is about to go, so we're both stuck back in the 80's...me in the LeSabre and my roommate is borrowing my '89 Gran Fury. Ahh, the joy of carburetors and 14 mpg...and needing premium fuel to boot!!

    -Andre
  • First car owned 38 Terraplane '6' (Hudson)Should have been a diesel. Splash oiling system so if you were low on oil(perpetually due to oil burning)don't go up a steep hill.That car ate bearings like popcorn. Dad's car 1936 Hupmobile '8'pretty reliable, but a bear to start in Winter. He drove that till '52. '39 Buick Opera Coupe decent but running board fell off in heavy traffic in Detroit. '49 Chevy 4-dr, Fleetline..adjust bearings about every 2000 miles and change oil every 1000. Had an aunt with a '48 Hudson Commodore '8' that she drove for 18 yrs (she had a lifetime supply of Hudsonite Clutch Fluid) till the floor fell out (early unit body).
  • After the 49'Chevy,got hold of a '36 Reo Flying Cloud '6'with the clutchless shifter. Excellent car till couldn't get parts any more. '55 Pontiac Starchief convert..another excellent car, speedo broke about 8 times, transmission went twice and rear end once in 62,000 miles. '57 Ford Fairlane 500. Horrible car...automatic transmission problems from month one. Engine was too much torque for transmission. '58 Chrysler Saratoga..probably one of the best cars owned. Followed by '64 Chrysler Newport 383cu in with standard shift. Another great one.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Yeah, modern drivers would never tolerate what you had to do to keep old cars running, that's for sure!
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    ...of the carb. I've had to do that trick a couple of times when the car would get cranky and wouldn't start. I had to do it a couple times with my 1989 Gran Fury (which has been behaving very well lately for some reason), once with Grandma's '85 LeSabre, and occasionally with my '68 Dart.

    One day, my roommate was in the car with me, and in the parking lot, he saw a guy doing the same trick with a late 80's Caprice.

    Then, one day, his 1998 Tracker wouldn't start, and he wanted to know where he should stick the screwdriver!! I didn't tell him ;-)

    -Andre
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,496
    I know this isn't a fair comparison, based on just a few samples, but my friend just had to have the lower ball joints replaced on his 1995 Grand Marquis, at 83,000 miles. He drives like an old lady, and actually avoids as many bumps in the road as possible (and gripes about the county maintenance when he hits one!).

    In contrast, Grandma's '85 LeSabre had to have them replaced at around 145,000 miles. In addition to Grandmom and Granddad's driving, my uncle has used this car multiple times, and it's logged a lot of abuse with me, so it's not all old-lady driving!

    I had to have them replaced on my '68 Dart at around 265,000 miles, but I bought the car with 253K on it, so I don't know how long they really lasted. And it needs a new lower one again (at 338,000 miles), but I'll replace them all at once.

    I wonder when I'll start having suspension problems with my Intrepid...35,000 miles and so far so good, but if its suspension craps out at 83K miles (about 2 years) like my friend's Grand Marquis does, that's not going to reinforce any kind of new-car quality image on me ;-) At least mine is under warranty till 100,000 miles though, so it'll probably wait till 101K to crap out

    -Andre
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    The weak spot on that Dart was the front end. The original lower ball joints, tie rod ends and idler arms were usually shot by 50,000 miles.

    We used to replace them with aftermarket parts made by Moog. They were MUCH heavier duty and usually would last the life of the car.

    Of course, we didn't see 200,000 mile cars back then.

    The slant six coupled to the torqueflight was, beyond a doubt, the most reliable drivetrain available in those days.
  • dweezildweezil Posts: 271
    Love these posts. My first love was "Tiny" a 66 Mercury Montclair 4 door sedan in this beautiful jade metallic with an aqua interior. I learned how to drive on it,my Father never maintained it and still at 8 years old and nearly 95,000 miles on it it started right up after sitting under a blanket of snow for six weeks during an Iowa winter.I don't see very many of those any more EVER.I learned early body work re doing the rear fenders every summer as that long over hang was ideal for picking up stone chips and road salt. It started rusting at about 3.Bless my Dad for allowing me to do "surgery" on his car!!!He was a GS14 at Rock Island Arsenal,director of supply and I guess he wasn't worried about "image", because I never had many tools besides a can of premixed bondo,a putty knife [or one of my Mother's butter knives]and some sand paper....you can guess the result!My color matching was pretty good though!They even let me prep it for it's trip to MAACO for fresh paint.OY!What those guys must have thought spraying new paint over my wavy gravy body work!
    Tiny was supremely easy to park.We had a 71 Gremlin with manual steering that was nearly impossible to parallel park, but the Mercury was one palm easy,you could see all four fenders.
    Currently I can make comparison between modern and 60's product. I have a 99 Cavalier and a 63 Plymouth Valiant.I love the cars from the 60's. The Signet came with only radio heater and probably white walls;it has no power steering or brakes, no auto.nothing. It's like driving a truck with that 3 speed manual on the column.The Cavalier has ABS air bags 4 speed auto, traction control power steering air front disc power brakes. I think this would be called the "stripped" model because it doesn't have power windows,cruise,sun roof and "convenience and cosmetic"upgrades like fog lamps,styled steel wheels etc.It DOES have overhead valves,though,and bears a vague resemblance to the 75 Monza 2 plus 2.I bought it because it still offers features that I understand and I can actually SEE where everything goes under the hood.It's the newest 1975 car I could find.
    In previous posts there was some question about the affordability of cars today...Case in point:the Cavalier is built both in Lordstown Ohio and Mexico using tooling that has long since been amortized [1994];given that the payscale in Mexico is far lower than the labor costs of the Lordstown plant....why is the base vehicle 13,000????? And why does GM lose 1000 or so on everyone it sells?
    As far as that goes;after growing up with a $3600.00 66 Mercury,a $2600.00 AMC Gremlin and a $4995.00 Amc Ambassador Brougham,the price I paid for my new Cavalier [$11,808,new]is the LIMIT to what I will ever pay for a car.I don't think CONTENT or INCREASED VALUE explain the high cost of new vehicles.I suppose I could do 3 to 500 a month payments, but as much as I love cars, I have better things to do with my money. At these current prices they stop being cars and beome something else.I think I'll be looking backwards [as I usually do] for my next purchase[like a 62 Chevy II 4 cyl....did I say new "'75"]?
  • Our neighbor lady had a '30 Pierce-Arrow 4dr straight 8. I first laid eyes on it in 1947. She stored the car during WW2 per my mom. Beautiful car but no synchromesh transmission. That car had about 58K then. She continued to drive it until about '55. We moved away and who knows? Also, was in grade school in the 40's and saw another very early Pierce-Arrow with Florida tags driven by a late middle-aged couple. Nosy me, I asked what year it was...1925!! Also, we had two ladies that drove to a dairy near our house in a 1919 Baker Raulang electric car with a tiller instead of a steering wheel. Those P-A's must have been good.
  • My dad took me for a walk every Sunday that weather permitted. There was a man polishing a yellow Kissel Goldbug roadster from the 20's in his driveway. Our neighborhood was upper middle class in the '00s thru the 30's so there were many expensive and odd make cars owned by longtime residents. Nash Lafayette, Reo, Packard,
    Hupmobile, Cord, LaSalle, Studebaker, Chandler, Chrysler Airflow Auburn and Jordan's. (Chandler & Jordan were both built there) Always loved cars and enjoyed looking at whatever was parked on the streets and in driveways during the walk. Hope these ramblings don't bore everyone.
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