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Friday, November 15, 2019

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To

They Don’t Make Them Like They Used To
Automobiles that is, they don’t make them like they used to. 

I love those old car shows that towns have from time to time.  I love looking at and remembering those old beauties.

Big fins, classic lines, and bumpers that actually protect from bumping.  Some of those old bumpers looked like they were made to not only protect, but to do real damage to intruding autos.  Large bullet like hunks of steel protruding on either side of the immovable bumper ready to pierce the armor of any other car that dared to not stop in time.

Those cars were great, built to last.  Well except the old cars of the 70’s and 80’s, they were built to maximize profits in Detroit. 

If the fifties and sixties were the “Golden Age” of big beautiful American cars, the 70’s and 80’s were the “Crap Age” for cars.  Cars that broke down when plastic parts gave way, cars that burst in flames in accidents or sometimes just for spite.  The “Crap Age” was put to rest by cars from Japan.  They were cheaper, more economical and built better.  The cars from Japan forced American cars to improve. 

The early Japanese cars did have issues.  It took a while for them to learn how to properly protect their cars.  They used crappy paint and not very many coats.  I had a Honda in ’81 that was a great car.  Drove like a dream, but after 8 years it didn’t just suffer from rust, it basically dissolved.

The cars built in both the “Golden Age” and the “Crap Age” needed an oil change and lube every 3000 miles.  If they got 20 MPG to a gallon of gas it was a great thing.  I had a ’68 VW bug that got terrific mileage compared to the American cars, maybe 28 MPG.  Of course, it had a 40-horsepower engine that would not move it any faster than 60 MPH.  It went from zero to 60 in about 15 minutes.

One hundred thousand miles was the gold standard for most of those old cars.   If you got that many miles out of it, you did really well.

I still think cars need service every 3000 miles, but my dealer will not even let me in with less than 5000 miles.  They recommend 6000 miles.  I read an article the other day about the 50 models today that should run like a top for 250,000 miles if maintained properly.

Practically every model made today.  Dang, 250,000 miles! 

Today’s cars have shit bumpers.  One tiny bump and you need a new one for about $750.  Today’s cars don’t have fancy classic lines.  They all look alike.

Those old cars, after the 100,000-mile mark, would burn oil and leave a smoke screen trail behind them.  I can’t remember the last time I saw one of those old smoking Hooptees on the road.

Cars today look alike, but with power everything, rear and side cameras, safer breaks, gas mileage of 25 to 40 MPG, a life span of 250,000 miles, maintenance only every 6000 miles, and tires that last for 30,000 miles or more.  

They just don’t make them like they used to.

Today’s cars are a bit boring to look at, but all in all, I am glad they don’t make them like they used to.

I do miss those old bumpers that would punish anything that got in their way.


  1. Some of those old cars were the best. I do believe cars are more safe in some areas and others not so much.

    Have a fabulous day and weekend, Joe. 😎

  2. Today's cars all look the same, especially the mid range SUVs. That's why I'm always going to the wrong one in the parking lots. Our realtor had a Prius. She loved them. One she finally had to replace after about 240,000 miles.


  3. I'm with Betty that so many cars look the same today.

    I beg to differ on the bumpers . . . I was rear ended twice in my Honda Odyssey and had a deer hit and bounce off my back bumper and I swear to you, no damage to my van any of those times. I still can't comprehend it.

  4. Those new bumpers. . . they (along with the front and rear frames) are designed to crush on impact (it's actually some pretty sophisticated physics). Which means, unlike those sturdy old bumpers, they won't end up in the passenger compartment, cutting off legs or other things. Because of those new bumpers, injuries and fatalities are down considerably from what they were in the Golden Age. And part of that 40 mpg thing is a function of lower mass; not so many 4000-lb land-yachts on the road as there used to be. . .

    But yeah, the repair bills are a higher, and it's probably more likely that your car will get totaled if you do crash it. But you'll walk away a lot more often than you used to. . .

    I was so proud when my old '79 Chevette rolled over 100k miles. The last five vehicles I've owned have all gone over 200k, and the one I'm driving now is at 290k and going strong. With regular oil changes, it should see 300k pretty easily. . .

  5. I was just telling SWMBO the other day that I can't tell one car from another anymore and the lines of most of them are boring. Take me back to the 50's. Well, maybe the 60's.

  6. My hubby lives to identify all the old cars we see on the road (lots of them down here in the winter). He loves to tell me about the grills, headlights, taillights. And engines. Makes him happy. But cars today have no personality. They all look the same.

  7. I too had an old VW. My bug was a 74 vw bug. No heater either. Once the engine got warm you got some warm air through the vents. In winter in Erie PA that could take driving to Cleveland Ohio before the warm air/heat was felt. I also didn't have defrost. My girlfriend used to say I only picked her up so she could scrape the ice off the inside of my windshield as I drove. That wasn't true, but it sure came in handy. :-)

  8. I agree, the old style carts looked really great. I remember driving dad's Wolseley.

    God bless.

    1. Cars NOT carts. They don't make computers as they used to. Today's computers can't spelll ! ?

      God bless.

  9. That bumper looks like a torpedo! Good thing road rage wasn't such an issue back then.

  10. Pardon my language here, but I remember my dad coming home with a brand new Pontiac Bonneville in 1969 (bronze with a blacktop and lonnnnnng) and my mom asking how much it cost. When my dad said "around 3 grand" she said "Don, Jesus Christ!" Loved the car, but it was always getting worked on!!

    In 2002 I bought a brand new Honda Civic Coupe (ordered it from the factory to get a custom ink-green color). I drove that car until I sold it to a college kid 10 months ago--and aside from new tires 4 years ago and an oil change every other year, never had a single issue with it. NOT ONE.

  11. They all look alike is what bothers me the most, and every production there "a colour", chosen by who-cares and every model produced that year is 'that colour', so for a while we had white cars as far as the eyes could see, then came the year of the silvery blue, or gold, now we're in a silvery grey sea of automobiles that all look the same. I'm surprised anyone can find their own in any parking lot.

  12. I remember the shows and the oldies were fab. Hubby and I never missed a show but I'm wondering if they still have them.

  13. They do look alike. My friends who drive a black SUV always complains that I never wave as they go by. Huh?? If all the cars I pass aren't black SUVs they are white ones. I drive a 2003 Toyota, 171,000 miles and zero repair time. Tires, one battery and oil changes are all. BTW Walmart still believes in the 3000 mile standard of oil change but I lean towards 4500 much to their annoyance.

  14. I loved our Chevy Caprice Classic..that thing was a tank and the bumpers did not dent..just ask the state patrol officer when I rear ended him. Thankfully he had a Caprice Classic too. You're right about all the cars looking alike. One Saturday Jack and I went on our usual grocery run. In the parking lot I stood at the car waiting for him to unlock it. I wasn't paying too close attention until I looked up and saw him about 3 cars over looking at me with that "look" know, like what are you doing? look...they all look alike!

  15. It's a trade off, isn't it. If i had the money, i'd have a newer model for everyday use, and one of those old classics just for fun.


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