Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Best era for cars? Now!

Here’s a great article on how today’s cars have better power and economy than ever:


Comparing them to 70’s cars is pretty low hanging fruit. Personally I miss the late 80’s/early 90’s, when you could get a 50mpg car without having to pony up a significant premium for a hybrid drivetrain.

1 Like

I’ve made that statement in this forum several times in the past years I’ve been a memver.

The one thing I do like about the vehicles of the 50’s and 60’s and into the early 70’s is Style. With very few exceptions vehicle of today don’t have any where near the styling of vehicles of yesteryear. Back then vehicles from manufacturers was very distinct…now it’s almost cookie-cutter from one vehicle to the next. The styling differences are very subtle.

With all due respect to @MikeInNH that very lament was given to me by my grandfather about 1950’s and 60’s cars! :slight_smile:

Seems like each generation feels the same way about the cars they noticed, drove or coveted at that time. Cars made after they stopped paying as much attention all seem to look the same with no individuality. I personally love the 1967 Pontiac GTO but let us be honest. It looks a LOT like the 1965 and 1966 models. There are enough differences that I can tell them apart but few 30 year old “kids” can.

I like Cadillac’s current styling, and Ford’s and Toyota is coming along nicely with the new Camry. But performance of today’s cars is FAR better than the “old days.” Even economy cars would whup the 0-60 times of the base V8’s from the 60’s and 70’s and crush those from the 80’s!

A couple weeks ago I went to the parking lot at work to drive home. My highlander was parked next to a mid-size Ford Suv and a Hyundai SUV. They were so similar in style it was difficult to tell them apart.

Yes…but it looks completely different then the Ford Galaxy 500.

1 Like

I Agree with you… but I’m not sure the kids would agree…

Both are squared off 3-box designs with vertical quad headlights, chrome grill and bumpers and sloped rear windows. The Galaxy is bigger but from a distance looks a lot like the 67 GTO. Sort of like your SUV comparison. :grin:

See the similarities? Both 67’s They even have the same Coke-bottle rear fender design… never noticed THAT before… :laughing:


Best era? I would argue the very early 1900’s. That is, after all, when they became affordable for the masses. Were it not for that era, we’d be debating the best horses.

There’s another dramatic change yet to come. I’ll bet that 15 years from now at least 60% of all new cars will be electric. That represents a massive change in automobiles, with implications we can’t even foresee right now. It’ll affect the automotive service industry, perhaps the fuel-providing infrastructure, perhaps the expected life of cars, and maybe even the sales industry… Tesla is currently forcing a change in the way cars are bought. If that change “takes”, we may be buying our cars at Walmart.

As to what era I like so far, I can name perhaps 1/2 dozen designs from every decade that I like except for the '80s and '90s. IMHO the last half of the '70s to the late '90s was overall a long stretch of bad automotive design.

@MikeInNH Several years ago, I got a frantic call from my wife. She had a doctor’s appointment and couldn’t get the door to open on our charcoal gray Toyota 4Runner. She said that neither the key fob nor the key would open the door. When I got to her office, I couldn’t find her car. There was a charcoal gray Honda SUV in her lot. When I went up to her office, her secretary was laughing up a storm. My wife was trying to get into the wrong car–the Honda SUV. She discovered her mistake and told her secretary to tell me that all was o.k. when I arrived.

An hour glass has that shape as a result of function. Coke bottles (and other bottles) have that classic hour glass shape because of form. It imitates the shape of the female body.

Car companies haven’t figured out how to have a car blow in your ear or talk dirty to you (although that’s now feasible). However, they do know that they can shape the car like something men are known to be attracted to and willing to spend a lot of money on and go to extraordinary lengths just to begin an affair.

It worked on me! :laughing: I kept pursuing a Grand Prix until I caught one. It’s truly got that sexy classic body shape, a beautiful automobile! :bikini:
CSA :wink:

1 Like

I have to agree with Mike. The styling in the late 50s and early 60s was much better than today. You could tell a Ford from an Olds. Now its more monkey see monkey do with all the brands looking the same. They didn’t always get it right but a 61 Ford or Olds were truly beautiful creations.

1 Like

computer engine controls is nice. I look back at the 91 vette zr-1 and compare it to any new v8 from chevy-ford-dodge and its amazing. 400hp is almost standard now. throw in the supercharged motors and its freakin awesome what kind of power you can get now.

I miss small pick up trucks. Went shopping for a new truck a few years ago and it was really sad. Nothing but silly 4 door trucks with 5 foot cargo beds. I also miss the older econobox cars for the gas mileage. You have to get a hybrid now to see that mileage. I agree about cars all looking the same now. I can’t tell a Hyundai from a Mercedes until I get right next to it.

There are cars from any era that look great, but cars never performed better than today. I see these Mustangs, Camaro, and Corvettes of yore going for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but you can buy one built today that will drive the older versions into the ground while costing much less.

While we’re at it, let’s add the cars of the 1930s to the list of great looking cars. The Rolls Royce, Talbot Llago, Lincoln, Cadillac, and Bughatti of that era look fabulous. All had balky manual transmissions and terrible brakes.

For me, good looks and top performance make today the greatest era in automotive history. Oh, and you can have all those old cars now if you pony up for them, but you couldn’t have today’s cars back in the day. Yeah, today’s the day.

1 Like

That’s true. When microchips met fuel injection decent injection control was born. Damned fine prodigy.

Lemme throw in one of the most beautiful cars I’ve EVER seen of any era. This one is a 1937 Delahaye 135M

Reportedly inspired by a reclining woman. :smiley:

Most eras have their beauties as well as the uggos.

1 Like

I agree, but I would amend it to state, “to the early '90s”.
In any event, the fact that a modern econobox can frequently out-accelerate a muscle car from the '60s–while generating almost no noxious emissions, and getting far better gas mileage–is testimony to the ability of engineers to conquer barriers that had been considered insurmountable.

See! That’s what I’m talking about! It got you, too! That’s what sells cars.

Are you sure that’s not a Nike-Mobile? It looks like my running shoes! :smile:

1 Like

Today’s cars seem to have noticeably faster accelerations than even the same model cars 20 years ago. You’d guess this would make traffic fatalities increase in concert, but I don’t see much data supporting that theory. There was an increase in fatalities in 2015, but that might have been a fluke. I do notice the roads seem to get more chewed up than before, I wonder if the more powerful engines are related to that?

I will agree that today’s cars perform better that any previous generation.
However, every generation of cars since the 1940s have become less comfortable and roomy for me. Our 1941 Studebaker Commander would comfortably swallow 6 adults and the trunk would hold a large suitcase for each. The seats were chair high and well padded, the steering and shifting were light with good feel. The shifting was vacuum assisted and the hill holder feature was very useful in the hills. The windshield was almost upright so there was almost no glare unlike my Toyota and there was ventilation from the cowl and both front fenders plus wing windows so there was no need for a/c to stay comfortable here in the North unlike today’s hotboxes.
The comfort started going away in the late 50s. I had a 56 Desoto that was extremely comfortable and I remembered being very disappointed in the 59 Buick. I thought it was a great looking car, but when I got in, the seats were down on the floor giving me an instant backache. I still have that problem with GM cars today, even the trucks and suvs. The seats look good but the floors and pedals are so high they put all the pressure on the base of your spine rather than the bottom of tor rear and legs.