Why 70s American cars were terrible

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by Colin1, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    One of the guys I work with is restoring a 1973 Hurst Olds. Needless to say the heads have been worked the cam upgraded along with the induction system. Should be somewhere near 425-450 horsepower.:) They were a PIG stock.:rolleyes:
     
  3. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Sounds more respectable
    can those old crates be made to handle?
     
  4. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Yes, a company called Global West makes suspension parts for them. You can actually get them to out handle a stock Corvette and if you are willing to go a little further you can dish it out with a ZO6.:) We built a 1969 Chevelle that will pull 1 G , run the quarter mile in 12.61 seconds at 118 mph and I have seen 145 mph down the backstretch at Road Atlanta and the tach was only reading 4500 rpms. Air Ride Technologies silver Mustang could not keep up with it on the autocross course either.
     
  5. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    ...more like it! 8)
     
  6. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    I'll have to see if I can find some photos of it, it made it into at least three magazines and made the cover of Popular Hot Rodding in March 04'.
     
  7. timshatz

    timshatz Active Member

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    Also the Cars in the US back in the 70s were designed for "Planned Obsolescence". In other words, they were supposed to fall apart in 3-5 years. And they did.

    Lousy cars but fun times in them!
     
  8. Messy1

    Messy1 Well-Known Member

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    The only way the American manufacturers could meet new emission standards the government placed suddenly on the auto industry in the early 70's with the motors they had on hand, was to basically lower the compression drastically. Suddenly, high performance motors were a bad thing. So, cars went from one year earlier having 400 plus horsepower on hand in big blocks from GM, Ford, and Chrysler, to under 300, then 200 horsepower and it steadily dropped off. Not only did horsepower drop off, but most cars continued the current trends of the time and kept on getting bigger, and bigger. A friend of mine owns a late 70's Corvette, GM's flagship for performance. It has a plaque on the dash boasting of it's IIRC 170-180 hp, and about the same torque!! Detroit was suddenly thrust into the economy arena where gas mileage and emissions were the most important, not performance. And they had neither the motors or cars to combat the more and more popular import cars from Japan.
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Messy1; the number one reason the muscle cars headed for extinction was not the gas mileage or emissions.

    It was the insurance costs. Those agency's were beginning to require some hefty big time premiums.
     
  10. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    Right on the money there Tim. Every time I'm in the States and I get in a US-built car I am horrified by the build quality and the, well, sluggishness. My first car was 15 years old, my second one eight, at the time I bought them, and they both ran fine, and lasted well - in fact the second one is still around and the 1st would be if it hadn't been nicked and smashed up in the process. I doubt you'll see an American car last that long... OTOH, you guys probably do more mileage going to the shops than I do going to work, the shops and everywhere else, so there is an element of swings and roundabouts :lol:
     
  11. davparlr

    davparlr Well-Known Member

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    Incompetent and greedy management. Faced with redesign cost due to fuel shortage, crash protection, and emissions, and, with a desire to maintain stock prices and bonuses, needed to reduce cost and did that by reducing quality. An example,in the 80s, was the Pontiac Feiro, a four cylinder pseudo sports car with possibilities. The engine manufacturing manager was graded and paid based on quantities delivered. He had a failure problem in the manufacture of connecting rods, a 6% failure rate. He determined that this was an acceptable failure rate and implementing changes would be more expensive than repair (kind of like the pinto problem). However, a 6% failure rate is one bad rod in sixteen, and, since each Feiro engine has four connecting rods, the Feiro experienced an engine failure in every fourth car, a 25% failure rate, and that just killed public opinion. In the 70s the American auto manufactures had the money and the talent to build high quality cars that addressed all the issues, just like the Japanese. They just did not want to spend their bonuses to provide the cars that their, up to that time, loyal, customers wanted. Take that and add to the unbelievable greed from unions and you take a company, GM, nudging 60% of the largest auto market in the world and take it to bankruptcy in 30 years.
     
  12. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    Oh I beg to differ BT. I have a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 244,100 miles on it. I burn no oil, it leaks very little. Everything on it still works. It gets 18 to 20 mpg back and forth to work which is 31 miles one way and even better on trips. It is a 5.2 liter V8 and I would not trade it for the world. The 70s were a bad time for the auto industry. Between insurance and gov. restrictions it was tough. I don't agree with all of the rules and regulations they have now but car built here last as long or longer than ever but you must take care of them.:)
     
  13. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    ...as anyone who can remember British Leyland will testify :cry:
     
  14. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    The good ol' US of A iron, were at its best in the late 20's, the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's and a few in '70 and '71....'71 Hemi Cuda! Mmmm! :oops: :lol:
     
  15. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    +1 my friend!

    Jeeps rule! My older 95 Grand Cherokee was a 5.2 V8. When I finally got rid of her, she had 199,000 miles on her and had been going strong!

    My new Jeep Grand Cherokee is very well built (as all Jeeps are) and she is very far from sluggish. MPG is also great for a SUV.
     
  16. robwkamm

    robwkamm Member

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    being in the auto repair industry i agree with some of your comments. the jeeps had great long life engines. the old strait six is bomb proof. i own about 10 cars in the currrent collection. i have a 76 trasns am 455 4 speed which makes the 73 olds look fast! 200hp. i have a 71 mini (british playland) thats a blast to drive when its not broken down. its all good. the current crop for new cars out there arent so stellar either. keeps me in buisness. whats the deal with brake rotors? they rust away on low milage cars nowadays.
     
  17. Njaco

    Njaco The Pop-Tart Whisperer
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    My main complaint was design. Detroit never learned that the "Bigger is better" mantra of the '50s didn't sit well heading into the 70s. The Mercury cougar to me is a prime example: Great car (design-wise, attractive) when it came out in '68 but OMG it ballooned. Mustang didn't fare any better with some reverse design - making it smaller by putting it on a Pinto chassis. Big mistake.

    Creativity took a back seat in the 70s and as far as I am concerned, still holds true today. I think the cars of today are cream-of-wheat - suppositories on wheels.
     
  18. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    On my first tour
    one of the REME lads in the LAD had a Mercury Cougar XR7. I'm glad it wasn't painted grey, Steven Seagal would've shot Under Siege in it. He used to run workshops for anyone wanting to learn about car mechanics on a couple of evenings and I'd look in on his while he was working on it. Everything was big. The bonnet (hood) was bigger than my whole car (well, not quite but you get the picture) :)
     
  19. BombTaxi

    BombTaxi Active Member

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    I will stand corrected on that one then :lol: But my general experience is that US cars are, in the main, still built with a short life expectancy compared to European and Japanese counterparts. Also, 18-20mpg would induce heart attcks here, I felt very hard done by getting 36-37 out of my 1.6 litre Astra! (Although, granted, the US gallon is somewhat smaller than the Imperial measure)

    I'm looking at upgrading in the near-ish future to a Seat Leon 1.6 TDi. It uses the VW Group engine, which achieves about 60 to the gallon and emissions are so low that it is exempt from UK road tax. More money to spend on filling it up and blasting around the countryside in it! 8)
     
  20. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    In a 1.6 diesel??? :)
     
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