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60s-70s big Chevrolets vs. big Fords



  • ehaaseehaase Posts: 328
    There is a beautiful picture of a 1973 Country Squire on page 5 of the 1/21/02 issue of Auto Week. It is an article about the new crossover vehicles, with pictures of the Chrysler Pacifica and VW Magellan.

    I find the Country Squire far more appealing than those new sport wagons.
  • I like the idea of diving something that little bit different, so after looking at a variety of European vehicles from the seventies, the only manufacturer that still has support for vehicles of this age is Ford. As I already own a 1983 Ford Granada (European Model) and after talking to one of my friend who own a late seventies Cadillac I like the idea of soemthign American.

    When it comes to cars in the UK, you have three major expenses. Insurance, Road Fund License (A tax of vehicle ownership) and Fuel.

    Insurance is easy as if you use one of the many specialist companies you can issue most American cars far cheaper that European models. In my friends case he pays about $160 a year for his Caddy and almost $900 for his VW Golf. (Insurance can be strange over here).

    Next is the Road fund License: This is free on any car built before 1973. And about $170 a year on any car built afterwards.

    And finally fuel. This can be the most expensive as fuel run at about $5 to $6 an gallon, however, American car enthusiast over here are now turning to Liquid Propane Gas conversions. As it's consider to be a clean fuel and it does not have emissions Tax.

    This means that it almost three times cheaper the regular pump Gas.

    Taking all of this into account, if you choose sensible you can run a full size American car for the same or even less than a newer European model. Add to that the number of parts suppliers and the low cost of parts then it just all adds to the appeal.
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    I think a 6-71 sticking through the hood of your Marquis would be a stirring sight. Maybe some discrete flames too.
  • spokanespokane Posts: 514
    I agree that the '71 engine had far greater possibilities than the low-compression '73. Of course you can use Speedshift's "huffing plan" and change the fuel mileage from 11 MPG to maybe 6 MPG....

    I enjoyed ownership of a '73 Ford LTD 429-4V for ~80K miles. I believe this engine was the same as yours although my reference book shows 201 HP for the Ford and 171 HP for the Marquis. (I believe 201 HP is correct for both cars.) By deactivating the EGR valve and setting the time as high possible without detonation and using regular gasoline, I was able to obtain 14.5 to 15.0 MPG on the highway. I recall that 70 MPH was no worse than 50 MPH. Even though gasoline isn't what it once was, I believe you could see a worthwhile MPG improvement by optimizing the ignition time, "adjusting" the EGR, making sure the carb float level is correct, and possibly replacing the main jets. No huffing in this scheme....
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Oh sure, I just like the sound of the word "huffed". "Huffed." Nitrous might be interesting though.

    Spokane is right, just undoing all the Mickey Mouse smog tuning would do a world of good. I don't know if anyone does dyno-tuning anymore, but you can duplicate it by recurving the distributor advance, cranking in more initial timing and rejetting the carb. Take off any external smog controls like EGR or ported spark.

    I don't think you want to go beyond that. Changing the cam, intake and carb (the Edelbrock Performer package is a great street set-up) would certainly wake up the engine but I don't think the end result would be worth the expense. Not unless you're going to go sedan racing...
  • I don't know? A tuned motor, lowered slightly and a set of 18 inch rims, could be just the ticket!

    I saw a nice looking Country Squire as a show here in the UK last summer. It looked like a 69 or 70, was a dark metallic blue with what looked like late model Lincoln wheels and was slammed on the deck.

    It didn't have any specs posted and I never had the opportunity to talk to the owner so I don't know what was under the hood, although I suspect that it would have had either hydraulics or air suspension because it sat right on the ground. Looked good though.
  • jrosasmcjrosasmc Posts: 1,711
    In comparing the last of the full-size Chevys, the '96 Caprice, with a similar-year Ford Crown Vic, which sedan weighed more? And which one got better gas mileage and had better performance?
  • ehaaseehaase Posts: 328
    I don't have exact figures, but the difference in gas mileage and weight would be marginal.

    A Crown Victoria with a 4.6L V8 would probably be marginally faster (if at all) than a Caprice with a 4.3L V8, but a Caprice with a 5.7L V8 would be much faster than any Crown Victoria.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,048
    I looked up some figures on Edmund's. The Crown Vic/Grand Marquis come in at just under 4,000 lb. The Caprice was around 4100 lb. Engine size doesn't matter, since the 4.3 and 5.7 are the same block.

    A few years back, I test drove two Caprices: a '94 with the 4.3 and a '96 with the 5.7. I also have a friend with a '95 Grand Marquis GS, that he had just bought at the time. I'd say the Chevy 4.3 and the Ford 4.6 are about the same...nothing to get excited about. The 4.6 has a lot of torque for an engine that size, but it hits it at a high rpm. And the Chevy's 200 hp sounds good, for a 4.3, but it only puts out 245 ft-lb of torque, which is about what the typical boat-anchor 305 used to put out in the '70's and 80's.

    Now Ford does offer a performance package, which includes better tires, stiffere suspension, dual exhaust, and quicker gearing. Stock gearing is something like 2.73, but optional, Ford seems to switch back and forth between 3.23 and 3.55. This model would most likely dust any base Crown Vic or Caprice 4.3, but the LT-1 350 would still blow it away. In fact, when I got behind the wheel of that '96 with the 350, I fell in love! But the dealership just gave me a bad vibe, so I walked. Ended up buying a brand new '00 Intrepid a week or so later (for about $50-60 more a month than the Caprice's note would've been). The Intrepid's been a good car, but sometimes I wish I'd found another Caprice with the LT-1!

    Oh yeah, fuel's some figures I found for 1996...
    Crown Vic 4.6: 17/25
    Caprice 4.3: 18/26
    Caprice 5.7: 17/26
    Crown Victoria Cop 4.6: 17/23

    I figure the police-spec Crown Vic would roughly equate to the civilian models with the performance package.
  • ehaaseehaase Posts: 328
    I owned a 1989 Crown Victoria with a 150 hp 302 for many years.

    About 2 years ago, I test drove a 2000 Grand Marquis with the 200 hp 4.6L V8. It did not feel any faster than my Crown Vic. Except for the new car smell, it felt no different to drive.

    Hopefully, the new versions with 220 hp feel a bit faster.
  • 67 Galaxie with the 390 v-8. I have not driven the car in about a month, but it was in the 50's and sunny today, and it had rained earlier in the week to clean the salt off the streets, so I thought I would take the convertible out.

    Tried to start it, and nothing at all happened. No clicking noise like the starter solnoid firing, just the dash warning lights go out when the key is turned to the start position. From having a Miata in storage every winter for years, I assumed it was the battery. The accessory position on the ignition switch works, radio works. Took the battery in for testing, (4 years old 60 month battery). After about a 10 minute test at Autozone, the battery came back as good. Hooked up a trickle charger, waited overnight, still nothing this morning.

    The ground wire looks good, and I cannot come up with anything else that would just happen on it's own after sitting for a month. I noticed in December the car turned over a little weak, but it was in the 30's and I knew the battery may have been drained a little then.

    Any other possibilities besides the battery? I thought maybe it just needed charged, and I really don't want to start tearing the starter off. I don't know how old the starter is, could be original for all I know, but I would think the solenoid would fire if it was the starter itself. I am 90% sure it is electrical.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,048 '67 Catalina pulls that stunt sometimes. In my case, it's the gear shifter. It's a bit loose, so if you don't shift it firmly into "Park", then when you go to start it again, it thinks it's in Reverse, and nothing. So maybe a problem with your shifter, or the neutral safety switch, or something like that?
  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Well, that's fairly exotic stuff. I'd start with the basics or you could end up doing a ground-up restoration on the car and wishing you'd bought a Camry.

    It could be the starter but before pulling it I'd clean all the battery cable connections with a wire brush and coat them with Vaseline. Better yet, just replace the cables with good quality parts, not neccessarily the stuff your corner parts store sells. I'm not a big fan of replacing parts for the heck of it but cables can look good and still have high resistance, making the battery work harder. It's something I'd do automatically, like replacing all the hoses and belts. Cheap insurance. A four-year-old battery wouldn't give me a lot of confidence either.

    I'd also buy something like my well-worn copy of "Fix Your Ford" by Bill Toboldt, 1969 edition.
  • Andre & Speedshift,

    You are absolutely correct! I was looking through my list of winter projects on the car, and the shifter interlock issue was at the top. I completely forgot about it!

    One of the battery cables was replaced a few years ago, but the other looks original. That should be an easy fix. I'm glad this board is here, as I like to bounce things off at least one or two others before yanking parts. I just remember how my 69 Catalina ate starters, didn't want to start messing with it.

    I'm getting laid off at work, so my mind is screwy this weekend. However, I already have a job interview lined up this week with a better organization. I'm a tax accountant, and they say death and taxes are the only certainties!

    May be a good time between jobs to do the center console project, the gear indicator light bulb is burned out, and the neutral switch on the console shifter issue is the same as Andre. I know DetroitIron offers the shop manuals on CD-ROM.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,048
    JSylvester, don't feel too bad. Back in '95, my Catalina pulled it's little "I'm in Park but I think I'm in Reverse", while my (at the time) wife was driving it. She drove it to the shopping center up the street, where there's a K-mart, grocery store, and a bunch of other little shops, looking for a job. When she came back to the car, and went to start it up, nothing. She called me, and I came and looked at it, turned the key, and nothing. I fooled around with the battery cables, but still nothing, not even a click. So I gave up on it, and had the mechanics at K-mart look at it. They spent about an hour messing with it, and couldn't get it to start either. So then one of the guys said "Oh crap, we're gonna have to push this monster!" But then one of the guys jumped in to put it in neutral, and he said "It's not all the way in Park!" He shoved it all the way up, and the thing fired right up!

    As for eating starters, that must be a common Pontiac trait. My '69 Bonneville used to eat starters, or more specifically, starter solenoids, on a regular basis. It had been struck by lightning though, so I guess it had an excuse! Anyway, good luck with the job interview. I've never been laid off, but every time our contract goes up for renewal, it always hangs over our heads. Scary feeling!
  • rea98drea98d Posts: 982
    A couple of months ago, my T-Bird wouldn't start. I had a lot of things going that day, so I called a friend from church to give me a ride. That afternoon, we get back to my house, and I spent the better part of three hours trying to take my ignition switch apart, poking under the hood for a starter relay, unsuccessfully jump-starting...none of it worked. All the accessories worked, voltage guage showed good, but the engine wouldn't turn over. I figured I needed a break to rest my brain, and went to help my friend move his washer & dryer into his apt. I got home that afternoon, sat down in the driver's seat of my T-Bird, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. I moved the gearshift into drive, then back to park, and hit the starter. VROOM!!! At that point, any feeling of jubilation for getting the thing started was overcome by the overriding sense that I was a complete and utter airhead. But at least we had a good laugh out of it.
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    As long as we're talking about stupid moves, here's my entry.

    In 1989, I got the opportunity to buy a white, 1958 TBird hardtop with 49,000 original miles from the original owner, a 93 year old lady.

    Car hadn't been run in three years, and was sitting on four flats, parked nose in, in a very narrow one car garage.

    So, my brother-in-law and I rented an air compressor, filled up the tires (surprise; they held air), and rolled the car out.

    We removed the plugs, squirted some oil down the sparkplug holes, threw on a set of jumper cables, poured a little gas down the carb, and cranked the motor. Started right up, but ran a little rough.

    We take it for a test ride; car shifts fine, but continues to run rough.

    What the heck, she only wanted $4,000, so I figured that the gas was bad, or the plugs/wires/distributor cap were shot, so I bought it.

    Drove it home about 15 miles and started to get a little concerned about the miss. Parked it in the garage and went in for dinner.

    After dinner, I went to the garage and popped the hood on my new toy. That's when I realized that, while I had connected the four plugs on the driver side of the car, my brother-in-law had not connected the plugs on his side. It was running on four cylinders.

    Needless to say, the miss went away as soon as I connected all eight wires.

    Car now has 60,000 miles, and is one of the nicest unrestored originals you'd ever want to see. Even has the original dealer paperwork showing the price (in the $4,000 range) all the options (like skirts) and the buyer's trade-in: $700 on a 1950 Nash. I've replaced the front bucket seatcovers, had the back bumper rechromed (five pieces), and changed the cracked dashpad (major undertaking).

    The part that kills me is that the little old lady confessed that, back when they bought the car, she and her husband really wanted the two door, but were a few weeks late with their order. Argh!!!!!
  • ghuletghulet Posts: 2,628
    Did you mean two seater? Sounds like you got a great deal at your $4000 anyway, hope you're still enjoying it.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,048
    Unless he meant to say a '68 and the old lady got a 4-door instead of a 2-door, but then the 4-door wouldn't have been a hardtop. And I doubt you'd get $700 trade-in on a '50 Nash in 1968! ;-)
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    They wanted a two seat 57 and bought a two door 58 instead.

    Another brain cell shot!

    Getting to the point where I should seriously consider selling the TBird or the 64 Galaxie convt. Just not getting the enjoyment out of them like I used to.

    I'd probably sell the convt and do some restoration work on the TBird, a much more solid car. (Convert's too far gone with underneath northeast coast rust and over 200,000 miles.)

    Tough decision.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,048
    Too bad about your '64 Galaxie 'vert. I always thought those were sharp looking cars. We had a '64 when I was a little kid, but it was just a 4-door sedan, and I think it had a 352 in it. My Granddad picked it up for something like $75.00 and gave it to us, because at the time my Dad had a ragged-out '64 GTO with a stick shift, but he'd drive off in Mom's car, a '68 Impala, and leaver her stuck at home, alone, with the GTO, and Mom can't drive a stick! Guess that's one way to keep them wimmen folk at home ;-)
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    Actually, even with the high mileage, the Galaxie is the car we take to the Wildwood NJ carshow every September. (160 miles one way)

    Show is held right on the boardwalk. It became a hotrod show as opposed to a classic car show, but there's still hundreds of cars, many of which are classics. Police set the town streets up for a Saturday night cruise, but, the show has gotten too big.

    Cars range from classics to customs to hotrods to new specialties (saw a Mustang Bullitt last September in the show).

    If you want to ensure that your car will get on the boardwalk (which opens at 8AM), you need to be in line before 6AM.

    If you're lucky, you can still catch a warm, late summer/September day, park the car on the boardwalk, and spend most of the day in the warm ocean.

    Unfortunately, the burnouts late at night have possibly placed the show in jeopardy. It's not uncommon to see 100 people out at 2-3AM throwing water on the street and coaxing the hotrodders to "light 'em up!". (Of course, there's a police cruiser on the next block, just waiting.)
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAPosts: 15,294
    ...remember the scene from "American Graffiti where Richard Dreyfus' character chains the rear axle of the 1961 Ford Galaxie police cruiser to a steel post?
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    that was one of my favorite movies. Reminded me of my own crusin' days in San Jose, CA in the 60's.
  • jerrym3jerrym3 Posts: 202
    My 64 Galaxie 352 keeps blowing exhaust manifold gaskets due to head deterioration.

    I used to be able to get full metal gaskets that would hold/seal better and last longer. Can't find them any more.

    Any suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 58,514
    Maybe you need to pull the heads and have them fixed, either milled on the ports or welded and then milled if they are badly galled. Also, your exhaust manifolds should be trued up, they could be warped. Once there is just a little gap in the gasket, it'll burn through like a welding torch.

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  • speedshiftspeedshift Posts: 1,598
    Head deterioration? My guess is that the problem is in the exhaust manifold(s). Maybe it isn't flush against the head because the manifold has warped. Milling would cure that. Or maybe the manifold isn't torqued to the head correctly because a bolt or a thread in the head is stripped. Heads can be damaged but I've never heard of one wearing out around the exhaust port. I've never seen an exhaust manifold wear out but they do crack.
  • kiilewkiilew Posts: 17
    Discovering (and reading) this 60's and 70's Chevy vs Ford forum brings back many great memories...although my experience relates primarily to '69 thru '78 Fords and Mercurys.

    In 1969 my grandmother bought a brand new cream colored '69 LTD 4dr hardtop. As my family lived with her, my parents and I (at the age of three) enjoyed her car as if it was our own. The car was a Brougham model with a beautiful dark green cloth interior. Options included interval wipers, AM radio, tilt wheel, and a 6 way power seat. Interestingly, it did not have power windows or locks, or cruise control, or even a vinyl top. It did, however, have the 429 2v V8 engine. I will never forget the sound of that car! Even though it exhaled thru a single exhaust it had one of the sweetest sounding idle notes I have ever heard. To this day, my parents never let me forget the fact that I once made a tape recording of the exhaust!

    Before long, the '69 shared the garage with my parent's new '70 Galaxie 500 with a 390 V8. That car shared the LTD's exterior color, but was a four dour sedan. The Galaxie, with it's full framed doors and windows, proved to be a much better sealed car than the hardtop LTD; important in our dusty rural farm country.

    In '73, my dad's brother, who lived a mile away, bought a new '73 Mercury Marquis Brougham 2dr hardtop, complete with a 460 V8. Jealous of such a fancy car, my envy eased a little when we traded in the Galaxie on a '75 LTD Landau 4 dr pillared hardtop. It was equipped with just about every option, including the very plush Landau Luxury Group option. The only thing missing was a 460; the engine powering this car was actually a 400 2v.

    In '78 my uncle ordered a new Grand Marquis 2dr hardtop with a 460; his youngest son, just out of high school, then inherited the '73. One of the first things "we" did was take my cousin's "inheritance" to Midas Muffler to get a 2 1/2 inch dual exhaust with turbo mufflers installed. It was an awesome hour long ride home from the muffler shop -- the sound alone was worth the $200 dollar cost, or so we juvenile delinquents thought at the time!

    Meanwhile, my uncle's Mercury fever had spread to his oldest son, as well, who shuttled his family around in two 460 powered Grand Marquis 4dr sedans; first a '75 and then a '78.

    In 1983, I inherited the '75 LTD as I headed out for college. Two years later I spent part of my summer vacation swapping out the 400 for a used 460. That was the most ambitious mechanical project I had ever attempted, and many lessons were learned the hard way. Perhaps the most memorable was when I cranked over my completed engine for the first time only to discover that I had installed the wrong bolts to secure the flexplate. The bolts were too long, extending beyond the crankshaft flange and compressed against the engine block! After dealing with that headache, I was dealt my next blow in the form of a collapsed piston. Thankfully, the local Ford dealer's service manager, who was a personal friend, then rebuilt the engine himself. At that time, he installed an edelbrock performer cam and a dual exhaust system. The result was a car I enjoyed for many years; a brick on wheels that occasionally embarrased a few "high performance" cars during stoplight drags.

    All of those cars are long gone now, replaced by a steady diet of GMC Jimmys and Chevy Blazers and Tahoes over the last decade plus. Oh well; sorry to all you other posters for enduring my long-winded tale, but thanks for the memories!
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 6,866
    I remember back in the 60s and 70s my dad bought a new car every 2 or 3 years. After being a Ford man in the early 60s he shifted to GMs mid-decade. But we always considered both makes before he bought. I remember I was infatuated with the '69 Ford when it came out because of the dash design, with everything clustered in front of the driver and the passenger side being recessed. But my mom hated it (guess she wanted something to do while in the passenger seat) and he bought a '69 Impala.

    Then in '71 he was in the market again, and again I liked the Ford. But I remember being in the showroom looking at a 4-door with them and they didn't like the way the back doors didn't cut all the way back to be paralleled with the rear seatback; there was some part of the C-pillar that made the door opening a bit smaller. But with the GM strike that year he ended up buying a new '71 Monaco (I *loved* that car!).

    By the mid-70s he wanted a smaller car so the fullsizers were out of consideration. But I remember those '75 to '78 Fords as being massive beasts. You could get a Custom 500 hardtop for not much money the last few years; I guess they may have been suffering saleswise and priced them pretty competitively. I always thought they were a great buy.

    2017 Cadillac ATS Performance Premium 3.6, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

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