Pontiac Solstice Forum banner

1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,844 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Maybe it's a sign of age, but I've got some questions I've been wondering about:

Have you noticed how cars used to be big, heavy, body-on-frame, V8 powered and rear wheel drive. Then American car makers built only small, uni-bodied, V6 powered cars with front wheel drive. And everyone started buying SUV's that were big, heavy, body-on-frame, V8 powered and rear wheel drive?

Why is the new Caprice (Chevy's biggest car) smaller than the Nova (Chevy's smallest car) of the sixties yet the weight of the 2004 Caprice is more than the sixties Caprice? Or another way to say it, half again as much as the Nova of the sixties. I know the structure is stronger because we now expect the doors to close with a "thunk" and not a rattle, and the crash worthiness has dramatically improved but new plastic weighs a lot less than old metal. Have we come to expect that much more gadgets and gee gaws?

Have you noticed that the new thing is a stiff "backbone" frame and the stressed-skin unibody is old school? Wasn't that what was on small cars of the thirty's? Was Detroit so enanmored of the Beetle that it made all their cars like it regardless of size? There's a reason why an ecto-skeleton insect can only get so big.

Yes, cars are magnitudes better now than they were. My first car was an "old, high mileage beater" that needed a complete rebuild of the drive train because it was 8 years old and had over 50,000 miles! Now, thanks to new EPA regulations, drive trains must last 100,000 miles and usually last twice that. And they have. at the same time, both fantastic proformance and unheard of gas milage. And the standard features would make a Caddy owner green. But, the price has sky rocketed when compared to percentage of adverage annual earnings.

But, I'm still dreaming about my new Solstice, my first new car in 10 years (she always got the new one)!
Just some spare time and idle ramblings. :cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
275 Posts
Front, rear, and side beams have a lot to do with the weight of new cars as do things that are now standard in most like A/C, radio, & power everything.

Looking back on it, I have had very few cars under 3,000 lbs (Fiero, Fiat 124 spyder and most today are in the 3200-3500 range.

Do know that both my 67 GP Convertible and 72 LeMans wagon were well over 4,000 pounds at the curb (as I suspect the 66 Caprice my sister had would with it's two page window sticker - back then every glove box, cigarette lighter, and trunk light was a seperate option as was everthing related to a radio (on my '78 Sunbird the "radio accomodation package" was a seperate option - no radio, or antenna, just the wiring and static supression for one)).

So like Net and Gross HP to compare the "curb weight" of a 66 "loss leader" in any model to a modern car with standard power brakes/window/seat/steering/CD/ABS and RKE is apples and oranges
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,844 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
'Spoze yer right. Never actually put a car on a scale and knowing how "anything goes" they were with the HP numbers, I guess the published curb weights would be equally suspect.
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
I can remember my fathers old 1972 Maverick. It was painted Richard Petty Blue! :lol It was that color when he bought it.

I do not know how much that car weighed, but there was not a lot to it other than the frame and body. Simple dashboard with a couple guages. HVAC controls and a radio. A bench front and back seat and a forced air window defroster. One center speaker in the dash. A lot of room in the engine bay around the straight six. Just an empty trunk, no carpeted liner or anything.

Take a look at a Taurus today, and it is burried in a LOT more stuff. What it has that the Maverick didn't: Miles of wires (literally) to run the electrical systems of the car, the air bag system, big stereo systems with 6-8 speakers and subwoofers, multiple storage bins, consoles, and storage areas, lots of sound deadening materials throughout, power windows, doors, locks, keyless entry system, ignition kill system, maybe power seats, thick headliner, much bigger wheels and tires (and much heavier), etc etc. Cars are not even close on content today as they were years ago. Sure, a piece of plastic doesn't weight a lot, but there is a ton more of plastic parts, metal parts, foam, cushioning, wire, components, etc etc in a car today than there was. It all adds up!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
What comes around goes around, and there is no accounting for American buying trends and fashions. Why people want to drive around daily in lumber wagons is beyond me.

New vs. old? I have been a fan of old American cars most of my life. I used to drive cars from the '40s '50s and '60s as my daily driver. No more. I dearly love those cars from that time and always will, but they have made HUGE improvements in cars since then in regards to driveability. More efficient, quieter, handle better, stop better, in many cases much faster, safer and the engines seem to last forever, but I will always have old cars in my garage.

New cars are better than old cars in everyway except one... the excitment they generate. Lets face it, 30 years from now there is not going to be a multitude of clubs and aftermarket parts companies for the Toyota Camery. No ones going to reminisce about the great Ford Taurus they once had, and say "I wish I'd kept that one". Technically, the new cars are marvels, but the souls of this new breed is about as engaging as the hard drive in your computer. Sure it's great now, but two years from now it's a paper weight.

Art reflects life. The cars of the past reflect the optimism and look to the future of the people who built them. The future used to be a bright and better place, now it's thought to be dark and complicated. Few believe in a great future now and the industrial design of our recent past reflects that. Things are designed purley for function and the here and now because there is no future.

Still a part of us still loves the light that shines from that optimistic belief in the future of the past, and has kept it alive by collecting, repairing and restoring cars, boats, furniture, appliances, and all kinds of other artifacts from the past. This in turn has started a "retro" revolution in design. Good design lasts forever. Mediocer design fades away quickly, and bad design is remembered only because it was bad. Design studios and auto executives have come to realise that.

The Solstice is an example of what I hope is a new trend in car design. It is not just a copy of some past glory (Like Ford likes to do), but a return to good styling basics of balance and harmony. It barrows from many cars before it, yet looks like no other. I hope the new generation of designers embrace the past for it's proven lessons in design and use that knowedge to make cars worthy of having enthusiast clubs 30 years in the future. I think this is happening right here, right now, with this forum and many others like it dedicated to the new crop of cars that I think embody a new hope for the future. I've waited along time to get excited about a new car.

Here's to the future car clubs that have yet to be! :cheers
 

·
Mod Emeritus
Joined
·
7,468 Posts
So true Aerodave. I have read letters and editorials more than once in magazines like Pontiac Enthusiast about the difficulty they have had in attracting younger members into the Pontiac enthusiast hobby. Nearly all cars are more or less bland people movers. That goes for all automakers. The reason there are not many young enthusiasts restoring more recent Pontiacs, is that nobody gets excited over 1993 Grand Am's, or 1995 Bonneville's. Sure plenty of people have owned these cars and really liked them, but there is still a big stretch from liking a car, and having a real emotional response to it.

I hope your right, and this is a trend in styling towards cars that elicit more emotion. There are just way too many bland mobiles running around, and an extremely limited number of vehicles with great looks. Especially at prices most people can afford to pay.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top