60s-70s big Chevrolets vs. big Fords



  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    One reason I'd always thought that GM cars had different engines is that they were all independent car companies before they became a part of GM. Chevrolet, Olds, Buick, and Cadillac all have a history outside of GM. Only Pontiac was formed from within GM, but it was a spinoff of Oakland, which I believe also predates GM.

    Over the years, these individual car lines came together, becoming more and more alike as time went by, and the engines were just one of the last things to become standardized and shared.

    The divisions of Ford and Chrysler were formed differently, though. Ford did buy out Lincoln, in 1922, I believe, but it was a hopelessly outdated product at the time and was ultimately completely overhauled by Ford. But then when Ford tried to expand into uncharted territory, it just created new nameplates like Mercury and Edsel, by using mainly existing parts. Chrysler was similar. Although the company did acquire Dodge, an independent company, it created Plymouth, DeSoto, and Imperial from within, and again with mainly existing parts. They tried to differentiate the cars at first, mainly with bigger engines and more mass as you went up the price scale. But eventually the myriad of Hemi and Poly-head engines gave way to three basic engine designs...the A (273/318/340/360), B (350/361/383/400), and RB (383/413/426/440). I don't know why they felt the need to have two 383's, but I guess they were still trying to keep Chrysler unique from the others, as initially the RB's were only availabe in Chryslers and B's in Plymouths, Dodges, and DeSotos.

    I know that Olds became infamous in the late 70's for using Chevy 350's. I heard that the reason this came around was that the Olds 350 was pretty much dedicated to the existing Cutlass Supreme. Well, the Cutlass ended up being much more popular than they had intended, so Olds used up their 350 supply on them, and had to put Chevy 350's the Delta 88. The 350 was also the standard engine on the 98, so I wonder if any of them ended up with Chevy units? I also wonder why they picked the Chevy 350 and not a Pontiac or Buick 350? A Buick or Pontiac engine should still mate up to the existing tranny, but I think if you used a Chevy 350 you needed to swap trannies, as well. Then again, GM probably got away with putting more 305's and 6'es into the Caprice/Impala and Malibu, while more Pontiac/Buick customers would've demanded something the size of a 350. So maybe they just had a better supply of Chevy 350's?

    I've also seen Buicks with Pontiac 301's...mainly LeSabres and Regals. The Regals you can spot because they have a "4.9 Litre" badge on the fender. I think this was actually planned though, because I don't think Buick had an engine in the 301/305 CID size range. I think their smallest V-8 was the 350. A few years ago, I also saw a 1979 Bonneville with a Buick 350. I almost bought it, but passed because of the engine. I don't know...maybe the Buick 350 is an ok engine, but I just wanted my Pontiac to be a Pontiac at heart! Besides, I'd noticed that, at the local junkyard, most of the Buick engines of that era were shot, but it was much more rare to find a car with a bad Pontiac engine, unless it was a 301. I know, not the most scientific method to be sure, when it comes to picking a used car!

    During that era, did any Chevies ever get engines from other divisions? I've also wondered too, are there any records or estimates as to how many Delta 88's got stuck with Chevy 350's? I wonder if, years down the road if these things become collectible, if it'll make a difference in their values?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    My guess as to why they used Chevies is that the engine was designed to be cheap to build.

    The Buick small block is known as a durable engine. There was a 300 CID version they used in the '64-5 Skylark. Don't know why they didn't bring that out of retirement instead of messing with the Pontiac, but this was also when they stroked the Olds 350 to 403 cubes instead of using one of the many 400s they already had. Seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess. Economics or maybe the Olds was easier to smog.
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    I would think that if Oldsmobile had had the lack of foresight to only produce 50,000 350's (I pulled that number out of the air for an example), then they would only produce 50,000 transmissions to go with them. Without an engine, a transmission is pretty much an expensive paperweight, so why make more than you have engines to mate them to. If that logic holds true, then Buick would need more transmissions to go with the engines they need to buy, so it really doesn't matter if the go with a Chevy 350 or a B-O-P 350 at that point.
  • ab348ab348 Member Posts: 18,186
    I grew up in the 60s and had the experience of seeing my dad buy cars from each of the big 3. He had been a Ford man until a bad experience with a '61 (a big, low, too-softly-sprung boat with no ground clearance) sent him to GM. We had '63, '65 and '67 Pontiacs (Chevy-based in Canada -- I loved our '65), a '66 Olds 88 (with a literal stump-puller of an engine), a '69 Impala (same experience as the '61 Ford) and then a '71 Dodge Monaco. All of these were purchased new (he was a salesman and put lots of miles on his vehicles). Plus he bought a '63 Belair for my brother to drive.

    Generally speaking it seemed to me that the Chevys and Ponchos had much nicer interior treatments than the Fords of the era. I recall dad looking at Fords each time before purchasing the GM products. He had good experiences with all of the GMs except for that '69 Impala, a butternut yellow sports coupe with black vinyl interior, which we were all convinced had the wrong springs in it because it was so wallowy and soft. The 2-speed autos weren't such a big deal with the lazy, torquey big engines they used back then.

    Fords of the late 60s and early 70s had severe rust problems. In Canada there was a class-action suit around '74 or so because it was so bad. You'd get body perforation within 2 years. We bought a '74 Maverick new and I have never seen such ferocious rust -- a hole in the quarter panel within 18 months, the entire front lip of the hood rotted after 2 years. The car got sold by us after 3 years and I'm sure it only lasted another year or two.

    Of all of them, I liked the Dodge the best. Not sure why, it just felt the most substantial and powerful. I wanted dad to buy a '69 or '70 LTD though... I just loved that swept-away dashboard. But mom took one look at it and said no way -- she wanted something to look at and touch, and hated the far-away Ford dash. I still think it looks cool. But nothing compared to the '67 and '68 Chevy dashes, which were pure 60s. Just beautiful.

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6

  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    was 67 the only year Chevy had round gauges? My neighbor in the mid 80s had a 68 Impala convertible, it had the standard 'horizontal' speedometer, but I seem to remember 67 biggies having pods (this was a Caprice my aunt owned in the 70s).
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    The '67 Chevy had round gauges (two, I think) but the '59 and '60 also had maybe four small round gauges that looked a little like the Corvette instrument panel. The '62-66 had the ribbon speedometer and horizontal gauge layout.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    My grandfather had a gold 1967 Chevrolet Bel Air with a black interior he purchased new. He later replaced it with a new 1974 Impala. I recall that '67 dash had round gauges and was so huge that it looked like it reached all the way to the floor.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I guess when you had 50% of the market, you could afford to canabalize sales from each other. I think the realization was made that GM needed to focus more on the competition from outsiders, and with the dramatic changes required of automakers in the 70's, all their resources needed to be better focused. Perhaps Ford didn't have that luxury, look what happened to Edsel.

    Fast forward to today, and it appears GM, Ford, and Chrysler are becoming truck companies that sell cars, rather than the other way around as it was in the 60's. Of course, Chrysler doesn't really exist anymore (R.I.P). GM's share of the automobile market is under 30% now, and it will fall further as Oldsmobile is phased out, and the next Cavalier will be designed in Europe, not the U.S. Plus every engine/tranny combo has to be tested and certified for the EPA, which adds expense.

    Will we ever see a big Chevy again?
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    'big' being a relative term, we do still have an Impala, a nice car, but really more of a Lumina than an Impala to me.

    I doubt GM will produce another really big RWD car again. Perhaps the next Impala will be a bit larger, but I wouldn't count on it. In the 50s-60s-70s, there were lots of families with more than three children who needed really large cars. Those big families are less common now, and the ones that do exist purchase SUVs and vans for the most part.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    I've always wondered, is there any real advantage of a horizontal "strip" speedometer over a round one, or vice versa? One thing I always hated about strip speedometers is that the numbers in the midrange always get compressed together, although some are worse than others.

    I guess I've always wondered why they chose to use strip speedometers in some cars, and round ones in others. Cost considerations, or just styling? Or maybe with a big strip speedometer there, it draws attention away from the fact that they've usually replaced your real gauges with idiot lights!
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    Makes your car look like it is accelerating even faster from a stop to 30 mph! Also, plenty of dash space back then.
  • ab348ab348 Member Posts: 18,186
    Yeah, with those mid-60s strip speedos that were about 18 inches wide it wasn't a huge problem. I had a late 70's Delta that had one that was about half that size though and it did get a bit compressed...

    Those big wide mid-60s GM strip speedos always remind me of when I was a kid and dad's cars. They all had the same sort of graphic look to them despite the GM brand it was in.

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6

  • wtdwtd Member Posts: 96
    I used to have a 69 caprice 4door with a 396 and 400 turbo trans. car had quite a few options but I parted it out to put the motor & tranny in my 70 monte carlo. I kind of wish I had that car back, it had 73,000 original miles on it.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    the 69 Caprice was a nice car (albeit a big, unwieldy boat), but 4 doors aren't worth all that much right now. The Monte is probably worth more now than the Caprice would have been.

    My grandparents had a 69 Kingswood Estate (sort of a Caprice wagon), apparently it came with the wrong size tires from the factory (they put 14" tires on 15" wheels), which then were replaced with 14s several times. I guess grandpa couldn't figure out why that car ate tires so quickly!!
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    were all the rage when I was in High School, but my mom's car was a 1969 Mercury Marquis with a 429 4-V! Factory rated at 385 hp, I believe, and something like 10,000 ft.lbs. of torque. You could rev the motor and the whole car would rock! One of my best friends mom had a 69 Caprice/Impala (don't remember which) with a 396 4-V. The classic Ford/Chevy battle raged every Friday/Saturday night! But the big Merc had him covered every time! He was delighted when his mom traded the Chevy for a Pontiac Gran Ville--remember those? If the Marquis was a land yacht, the Gran Ville was a land BARGE! But it had a 454 4-V and he thought he had me then. Unfortunately (for him) the Gran Ville was about a '73 or '74 and the compression had gone down and he was further behind that he was with the 396.

    I'll never forget the day my dad was shopping for the Marquis and I opened the hood (naturally) and saw this shiney sticker that read "429--4V Premium Fuel Only"! It was one of the highlights of my youth!
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    that wouldn't be a bad car to check out for someone who wants a decent daily driver (and a gas card with a high limit). They're rare and generally inexpensive. I'm pretty sure big Mercs all came with at least a 390 (kinda like Pontiacs, all had 400s or bigger) until the mid-70s.
  • sebringjxisebringjxi Member Posts: 140
    Didn't horsepower calculations change in the early '70s? I remember the 1971 351 2V being rated at 225 horses and the following year the same engine--no changes in compression or anything was rated at like 174. Am I dreaming or have those rating measurments changed? If I'm not mistaken, they've changed a couple of times since the '60s, right?

    If so, then how would today's cars compare on horses with the classics? Granted, there were lots of dynamic differences between my 64 1/2 Mustang, rated at 225 hp with the low compression 4V 289, and my 91 with the HO 5.0, rated at 225 hp, but there's no way the 289 was putting out the same horses the 5.0 was.....

    Is there a sliding scale chart to estimate relative comparisons?


  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    I think a rough estimate is that net hp is usually about 3/4 of gross hp. At least I know a Mopar 225 slant six was rated at 145 gross for 1971 and, almost unchanged, 110 net for 1972. I think GM and Ford also cut compression that year though, so the true hp went down along with the different rating, so the losses seemed greater. For instance, I think the Chevy 307 went from 200 gross to 130 net.

    I have some old Motors repair manuals that my grandfather used to buy every year and they'd list the compression ratios, along with the hp and torque and what rpm it came at. Another thing I noticed too, is that an engine's peak gross hp doesn't always come at the same rpm as its net hp. I think net hp usually comes at a lower rpm. I'd have to dig out those old manuals to throw out some examples, though!
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    I think that the change in the rating system of horsepower (from gross to net) was to cover the fact that many cars lost hp either way between 71 and 72 model years. I think many manufacturers tried to ''splain away' the losses by telling people the rating system is different.

    Chevrolet, for the standard 350 2v in 1971 listed horsepower as 245, in 1972 listed as 165.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, that's my understanding also.

    As for comparing to newer cars, I think most newer cars would easily whump 95% of all muscle cars 0-60, and the ones that survived a 0-60 thrashing would certainly run out of steam over 100 MPH. Most of the old big blocks ran out of either air or gearing a lot sooner than a modern V-8 would.

    There are, of course, notable and famous exceptions...some of the big brutes of days gone by...but even these cars rarely could top 125 mph, if for no other reason than their weight and aerodynamics.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    I think that's the engine my grandparents had in their '72 Impala. They got rid of it when I was around 11 or 12 though, so I'm not sure. I DO remember it was a 350, though. Looking through some old Consumer Reports mags at the library, I remember reading a test of a '72 Impala with the 165-horse 350. It did 0-60 in about 12-12.5 seconds. That sounds sad, I know, but when you consider that car weighed well over 4000 lb, I guess that's not bad.

    They also tested a '79 Impala with the 305, 145 hp, I think. It did 0-60 in something like 15.5 seconds, despite being a good 600-700 lb lighter! I guess no matter how bad things can be, they can always get worse.

    Sad thing is, once the 305 was back up to 165 hp in 1985, those Impalas, Caprices, and Parisiennes were only good for about 11-12 second 0-60 times. I don't know what gearing the '72 would've had, but I think the '85 full-size 305 cars had 2.56 rear ends.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Those 0-60 times remind me that back then any car that reached 60 in 10 seconds or less was quick. A '67 Impala SS 427 did 0-60 in 8.4 seconds for Car Life.

    Now magazines carp about sedans that 60 in the 8s. The newest Corvette Z06 gets to 60 in 4 seconds and through the quarter in 12.4 at 116 mph. Granted it's $50k but that's just the price of a new luxury car.

    Plus new cars emit what, maybe 1% of the pollutants of '60s cars and with better fuel economy and reliability. It's mind boggling, especially to anyone who suffered through the '70s.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    I think the worst 0-60 time in a fairly big car I ever read in Consumer Reports was for a 1977 Cutlass sedan with the 260. 0-60 in something like 21 seconds! I remember it got compared to an Impala, an LTD-II, and some Mopar, either a Monaco or a Fury. That year Consumer Reports refused to test anything larger, like the big LTD, Marquis, Newport, Royal Monaco, etc, saying the Impala made anything that size obsolete.

    Another thing, just to show how times have changed, is under cons, CR noted for the Impala "none significant enough to mention." Now for CR NOT to find anything wrong with a GM product, you know they just weren't trying!

    Earlier this year, I came close to buying a '76 LeMans coupe with a Chevy 250. I guess that would've been every bit as slow as that '77 Supreme, huh?
  • rea98drea98d Member Posts: 982
    Didn't the Daytonas and Superbirds top out at close to 200 mph?
    Or was that just the blue ones with "43" painted on the doors?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    A while back I read some old roadtests from British car magazines and I'll never complain about 0-60 times again. I think some of those times were in the 30s.

    Reminds me of a '50s newsreel I saw recently about the opening of Britain's first highway, the M1. The announcer said that not every car could handle the new high speeds. They had a shot of English Fords by the side of the road gasping for breath.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I can say my 67 Ford is just as quick, if not quicker, up to 30 mph compared to my Intrepid R/T. However, forget it after that once the 24 valve v-6 in the Intrepid starts breathing. It's torque just doesn't measure up to the 390.

    I'm thinking I read somewhere that a 67 Full size Ford configured like mine (automatic, 390 v-8, 2.75 rear end) did 0-60 in around 9.5 seconds. For comparasion, Car & Driver got the 2000 Intrepid to do 0-60 in 7.9 seconds.

    Newer cars are better for transportation in multiple ways over the 60's machines. However, I would never want a late model Sebring convertible in replacement for the XL I have now.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    we actually timed my friend's 1980 Accord from 0-60. It had 3 people on board, and was on fairly level ground. Came out to something like 26 seconds! It was an automatic though, so I'm sure a stick would've been a bit faster.

    We also timed my '69 Dart GT, but with 4 people on board. 17.9 seconds. I could've done better, but this was from turning right at a red light onto the main road, so the turn probably cost a bit of time. It was interesting though, to see how little added weight affected that car. Consumer Reports tested an almost identical '68 with a 225, and got 0-60 in 14 seconds. I'm sure they don't test with 4 people on board, which was good for probably another 500 lb! Plus, I doubt their test car back then would've had a/c, which would've added weight, too.

    As for my Intrepid, which is just a base model, I know my Catalina will whoop it from 0-60, and maybe even in the 1/4 mile. The Intrepid does much better though, say, accelerating from around 60 mph on up.

    Didn't old Beetles back in the 60's do 0-60 in something like 30 seconds? It's amazing how far economy cars have come since those days. Still, I see them every once in awhile, and they seem to have no trouble keeping up with traffic.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    I had a 77 Caprice with that 145hp 305/2v in high school and college. It wasn't 'fast' by any means, but it didn't seem as slow as the times mentioned above. Of course, at the time (1986-89), there weren't too many quick cars to compare it to, so.....
    On the flip side, that was *by far* the most reliable car I've ever owned, and the cheapest to fix (I blew the trans in 87, cost $500 to replace, including labor).
    I saw one almost exactly like it (icky brown with tan vinyl) on ebay a few months ago (original old man owner, with something like 60k miles), for like $2k. I probably should have bought it.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    I don't remember the 0-60 time on the '77 Impala that CR tested, but for some reason, I do remember the '79 they tested was considerably slower, even though it was still a 305-2bbl. I remember the '79 was tested against a St. Regis with a 318-2bbl with 135 hp, and a Ford Crown Vic. I forget what engine/hp the Crown Vic had, but I do remember the 0-60 times were something like 13.5 seconds for the Ford, 15.2 or so for the Impala, and 15.9 for the Dodge. I'm guessing the Ford had a 302, although there were some seriously emasculated 351's available, that put out about the same hp as Chevy's 305!

    I thought their '79 test was kind of whacked, though. I had a '79 Newport, equipped like their St. Regis. I never timed it, but it *felt* a lot quicker than 15.9 seconds. In fact, it felt a tad quicker than my grandmother's '85 LeSabre 307, which I've read had a time of 12.0 seconds. 1979 wasn't the best year for emissions controls though, so maybe they just got stuck with some bum models that needed tuneups.

    I do remember the '77 Impala was Motortrend's Car of the Year, and the model they tested was a coupe with a 350, and it did 0-60 in 10.8. I just wish some of the more useful stuff I learned in college stuck in my mind as well as all this 0-60 trivia and the like!
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    The reason your cars felt quicker than the 0-60 times is that they still made relatively good torque at low rpm.

    Then again, it could have been the "variable-ratio throttle linkage" some automakers used, the kind that open most of the throttle in the first inch or so of travel.
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    Andre, I know exactly what you mean. I, too, have an excessively good trivia memory, especially for cars, music and bad old sitcoms. Don't ask me anything about the 15 or so Political Science (my major) classes I took......LOL.

    It's funny how much faster cars are now, though I swear most of them don't 'feel' any faster. Perhaps it's sort of like a placebo effect, we have a V8, so we automatically assume it's fast. Most new four cylinder engines make as much HP as those V8s from the late 70s. As Speedshift mentions, the fact that there was at least a decent amount of torque made at lower RPMs helped, too.

    Perhaps the lack of electronic 'middlemen' in those old cars made them feel faster. No electronic transmissions, traction control, fuel injection, etc. I dunno......
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    What you say is quite true...older cars, especially the older sports cars, have a very "direct" feeling....by direct I mean feedback to the driver, not necessarily "precision"...and this feeling of contact, through steering, brakes, engine noise, shifting, etc., is something you can't get in a new car. Newer cars are isolating the driving experience more and more even though they handle and steer so much better.
  • ndancendance Member Posts: 323
    I'd be suprised if a stock Superbird could hit 200 if it were dropped from an airplane. Aerodynamics not good enough.....

    On the old vs new front. It is pretty amazing how fast the newer cars are in terms of 1/4 mile times. I don't have a lot of personal experience driving new muscle cars, but the ones I have (Mustang GT and Z/28 rental cars) just don't seem that quick.

    The clock doesn't lie, so I imagine the illusion of older = fast comes from a few things...

    . Modern tires and suspension system actually launching the car rather than performing street theatre style burn outs.

    . Cars with standard transmissions feeling faster than cars with automatics. I've only driven four speed old cars and automatic trans late models.

    . Noisiness. Since louder equals faster, all that racket that, say, an LS6 Chevelle produces (not just the carburator, but, man, those M-22's are LOUD) makes it seem faster than it is (in addition to the absurdly small stock rear tires spinning about a million miles an hour). For a bonus, you get the little door on the hood flipping up.

    I'd wouldn't mind owning a newish Z/28, but I hate the seating position (too deep), the depreciation, and (while I hate to be snotty about it, well, maybe not) looking like an assistant manager at an Arby's or Sears automotive department. Darn it, why doesn't GM ship in a few of those Holdenesque things they sell in Saudi Arabia.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    I'd heard it was something like 160 mph for the publicly-sold models, and 200 for the Nascar models. My uncle remembers one of his friends back then having some old Mopar with a 160 mph speedometer, but he doesn't remember the exact car. He said they came close to pegging it though. I guess it's possible, considering that some of the old police cars back then could hit 140, and their aerodynamics would be far worse, not to mention the added weight.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Actually I think the Superbird CD numbers aren't bad at all, certainly better than say a Viper.
    Sometimes raw horsepower can work miracles.

    There's this thing called "naive aerodynamics", which means that because a car looks sleek, it has good aero, or conversely, because it looks bulky, it can't possibly. But interestingly, many cars that look very slick are not in fact, e.g., the Viper. Also, some clunky looking styling, like the kamm-back on the Corvette C5, are actually pretty good designs for airflow.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    I drove a '95 Pontiac Formula with 350 and six speed for about a year and I'd have to agree with ndance--it just didn't feel as quick as its numbers.

    Besides all the reasons ndance mentions, there might be one more: both the 350 and 302 aren't known for their right now torque. A long time ago I read a test of I think a 327/350-hp that the tester called "sneaky quick". You end up going really quick without quite knowing how it happened.

    Then there's NVH--noise, vibration and harshness--which is almost an endangered species these days but gave us that sensation of speed we miss now. However, both the Mustang and Camaro/Firebird are old platforms and the F body in particular can be pretty punishing, so the ponies still give you plenty of that good old NVH.

    But that Formula was genuinely quick. When I owned it I worked with a guy who rode a big bike. He told me he followed me on a freeway on-ramp once and had trouble keeping up with me as I pulled into traffic--very surprising considering how fast big bikes are.

    It was also the only car I ever drove so fast that I scared myself--in fact my legs were shaking. It was on a winding mountain road I'd driven way too fast since I was 16, but that Formula could go way WAY too fast.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572

    At Discount Tire, they sell a set of 4 new "Arizonian" all season tires with a treadwear rating of 360 for $100 that fit a full size Ford - 215/75/15. I have to say since my car never sees the rain, they will work for cruising. As a daily driver, I'd would spring for better tires.

    For comparasion, the cheapest tire that fits my Intrepid R/T is $105 each, original equipment tires are $178 each.

    So that $100 a set vs. $712 a set. Wait, not sure if they are whitewalls, have to have whitewalls on a 67 full size Ford.

    At 2,000-3,000 miles a year, it would still take at least 10 years to wear them out, and they still probably handle, stop better, and ride more comfortably than what came with the car in 1967.

    Another rationalization to use on the wife to talk her into buying an old big Chevy or Ford, "Honey, the parts are cheap!"

    P.S. Yesterday morning the hot looking girl that lives next door forgot she was dressed in her skimpy neglige' and stood in the door looking at my car. Another bonus to old cars!
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    An old car is always an excellent 'conversation piece' (my euphamism for 'attracts people').

    As for tires, I think it's safe to say almost anything made now is better than almost any tire made in 1967--weren't most, if not all, tires bias ply back then? I think steel belted radials were invented in the early 70s.
  • carnut4carnut4 Member Posts: 574
    around way before the 70's, mostly in Europe. Michelin offerd steel belted radials 20 years before that. I almost bought a set of Michelins for my 65 Plymouth back in 1967.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Some of the old cars (many of them actually) don't like radials and don't track very well with them. You might want to make a buy back deal with your tire store if you are going to put radials on a 60s automobile.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    I've heard that, too. I think it had something to do with older cars having firmer suspensions, which were then compensated by the softer bias-ply tires. Cars with radial tires as standard equipment, I believe, had suspensions tuned softer, to compensate for the firmer tire.

    In fact, didn't Pontiac make a big deal out of "RTS", back in the early 70's? All it stood for was "Radial-Tuned Suspension", but I'm sure to the unsuspecting public, it sounded exotic! Also, didn't a lot of people complain about radial tires when they first came out? Too rough, or too much tire noise, or something like that? In actuality, probably too much road feel? ;-)
  • ghuletghulet Member Posts: 2,564
    Andre, I know you have two or three 60s cars. What kind of tires do you run?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Member Posts: 1,598
    Just do what my father did back in the day--go down to Sears and buy the cheapest tires they have. Preferably something designed for light-duty farm machinery.
  • jsylvesterjsylvester Member Posts: 572
    I believe the previous owner swapped out the shocks for gas charged ones 8 years ago. Tracking seems to be fine, just that I get a vibration sometimes between 35-40 that goes away again until about 75 mph, I think one of the front tires (Goodyear Decathlons from about 1994) may have a slight flat spot from sitting too long. I'll take it back for a rebalance to see if it solves it.

    One other observation, my full size 67 sits up higher than most modern cars. Not as high as an mini-SUV, but I'm a good 6-8 inches higher than many cars, including the Intrepid. I'm assuming due to either the drive shaft or the suspension design. The back end of the car is also a little higher than the front, due to the suspension.

    There are four 67 Galaxie Converts for sale right now on E-bay, the most I've ever seen at once. I hate to say it, they look better with the OEM hub caps than aftermarket wheels.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    Ghulet, I have radial tires on all the '60's cars I've ever had. Well, I did have a '67 Newport for a few months, and I think it had bias-ply tires. I sold it when I bought my Intrepid, partly because I owed my uncle money, and felt guilty getting a new car and still owing him (for an '88 LeBaron that I bought when I got married)

    Anyway, I did have a '69 Dart GT that had bias ply tires on it when I bought it. I swapped them out for some 205/70/R14's that made a world of difference. It rode a little rougher, but the improved handling more than made up the difference. Before, ruts in the road or those steel seams in bridges would make handling very squirrely if you hit them right. But with the lower-profile radials, they didn't affect it any more.

    My '68 Dart and my '67 Catalina had radials on them when I bought 'em. Also had a '69 Bonneville with radials...225/75/R-15's, I think. For as big as it was, that Bonneville handled very well...probably all that weight in such a low-slung body. The Catalina's 215/75/R-14's just feel too small for a car that big.

    I do have bias ply tires on my '57 DeSoto. 8.55x14 is the measurement of them. It doesn't handle worth crap compared to newer cars, which is kind of ironic, because the '57 Mopar lineup was supposed to be the best handling of the Big Three that year. It's comfortable though. You hear the bumps more than feel them, I'm guessing mainly because sound insulation wasn't as good back then. Also, with its long 126" wheelbase, it feels strange going over bumps, because it seems to take too long for the rear wheels to go over after the front ones! I'd be curious to see how a more modern tire would make that car handle. I think it has the same 4.5" bolt pattern that Mopar used for years, so I guess I could swap the 235/70/R-15 wheels of my '89 Gran Fury sometime, if I want to test it out.

    Speedshift, funny you'd mention farm machinery...the only set of 215/75/R-14's I could find on Discount Tire's website were trailer tires! I've put maybe 10,000 miles on my Catalina in the 7 1/2 years I've owned it, so I guess something like that might actually work.

    Oh yeah, one last thing about my Catalina. One of the rear wheels makes a clicking sound. Last time I had it in to the mechanic to check it out, he said it was the hubcap making that noise because of the radial tires. Something about a minor vibration that the radials versus bias ply causes, if I understood him correctly. That's on the driver's side in back. The other back wheel has a habit of losing hubcaps, so it's gotten to the point that I just keep it in the trunk! If I go to a car show, I just put it on while I'm there, and then take it off when I go home. My mechanic said to try putting some grease on the rim, and that would stop the clicking noise, but it seems to me I would probably start tossing that hubcap, too, then!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Member Posts: 20,342
    When I managed a large Sears Auto Center, we learned that some older cars and radials just didn't work well together.

    This was actually in the seventies.

    Cadillacs were affected big time. The radials made them ride and handle differently. the blue haired crowd would complain that they had lost the "Cadillac Ride". Others thought there was no problem.

    This was amplified when a new set of heavy duty shocks were installed at the same time.
  • lemkolemko Member Posts: 15,261
    I used bias-ply tires exclusively on my 1968 Buick Special Deluxe from 1981 thru 1992. They are less expensive, however not as long-lived as radials.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Sometimes suspensions on old car are pretty worn out. The radials track the road so well that the car needs constant adjustment to stay straight. It's very tiring.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,393
    That might be why my '67 Catalina actually takes well to radial tires (well, except for that clicking noise in the back, and the other rim that likes to throw hubcaps!).

    The first thing I had to do to the Catalina was replace all the ball joints. So in a lot of respects, the suspension is a lot like new. The first Dart I had only had 49,000 miles when I bought it, and the second one, while it had 254,000 miles, had a ton of suspension work done on it.

    Can you even get bias-ply tires anymore, with the exception of places that specialize in classic cars? I bought tires for the DeSoto way back in '93, from Coker Tire. Those suckers will probably dry-rot before they wear out!
This discussion has been closed.