Older Vehicles vs. New Models


I was thinking the other day how 100k mikes on a car would be a very used car - basically the life gone in it - when the 60’s and 70’s models were new. Today, we say a car isn’t broken in well at that mileage. So how do we interpret the phrase “they don’t build cars like they used to” with this thought in mind? Just wanted opinions. Not out to create any NYE drama. Lol. Happy New Year to everyone! Thanks for your help and entertainment in 2018!


My response would be THANK GOODNESS they don’t build cars like that anymore!

Modern cars are safer, the exhaust cleaner, last longer, have greater features, faster, better handling… the list goes on and on. The evolution of design brings us the bar-of-soap cars to the sharp edges of current Cadillacs to the over designed Honda Civic R. Lots of choices out there to satisfy most car buyers! And hopefully a few CARS will remain after the purge for those of us who don’t like to drive tall station wagons.

I’d also say that since I volunteer at a car museum housing cars from 1896 to 1995, I appreciate the character and beauty of the “used to” cars. The exclusivity and style of a coach-built Packard, Delahaye or Bentley is something not readily available today. Heck, they weren’t readily available back then either because of the cost! The faults that exist in a Porsche 904, or an Abarth Simca are what make them interesting cars as well.

And finally, Happy New Year! Have a safe evening!


It amazes me how much people will pay for a BBC Corvette from the late 1960s yet today’s equivalent Z06 will drive rings around it an less than half the price.


It does not surprise me. It may have been the vehicle they wanted while still in school or starting a family they could not afford at that time.

A lot of people want or collect things that make no sense at all to other people.


any 60’s muscle car has scarcity going for it. a hemi cuda is 100k while a 318 challenger is 10k. drop in a fresh hemi/trans/rearend for 20k and you have the same performance. but not the value. ok, maybe a fresh 440 is easier.


If I had the money I’d buy a 60’s or 50’s Vette over the Z06. Those older vettes cost 6 figures these days. I also think the C1 and C2 are the BEST looking Vettes made. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I think most of the cars from the 60’s are far better looking then cars today.

I would love to get a 53 or 54 Vette and spend a couple years doing a retro-mod. I might replace the Blue Flame with small block V-8, or upgrade the I-6.


texas metal will swap in a new frame and motor for your 57 vette for 140k. easy


After owning that vintage Corvette for 5 years, you can sell it for the same or more than you paid for it while that 5 year old Z06 is worth 40% at best.


And, we can add MUCH better brakes to that list.

When I was a kid, back in the 50s, almost every car in the neighborhood needed a “ring & valve job” by the time that it reached 50k miles. And then, before it reached 100k, that same car would have to be junked because the body was so badly eaten away by rust.

I love looking at old cars, and romanticizing about them, but anyone who thinks that cars were “better” in those mythical “Good Old Days” just isn’t working within a sphere of reality.


Since I give museum tours, I always point out how much work a driver from 1912 needs to do to just start the car. Oil and fuel checks of ALL the systems - decent oil seals were just a dream back then. Pump up the tires, lube the chassis points. Set the spark advance, put the car into neutral, set the choke, set the throttle, hand pump up air pressure into the fuel and oil tanks (since neither have mechanically driven pumps), hand crank the engine to near TDC for at least one cylinder, prime the carb and give the crank a good yank.

If you are lucky, it doesn’t kick back and break your arm. Extra lucky and it fires on the first pull. Now run around to the steering wheel and adjust spark, throttle and choke being careful not to kill it. Let it warm up, hop in, pull your goggles down, and try and find a gear. Off you go! Now clutch and shift! Don’t forget to pump the oil and fuel up every once in a while. Brake very early since they only have mechanical rear brakes! Be prepared for flats, they happen often. Enjoy the freedom of the open (dirt) road!


I agree with the C1, but only the MY 61 and 62. I prefer the stingray rear and the dual, fixed headlights. I’m also very fond of the C6 and C7 designs.


All I can say is that if they still made the Pontiac G6, I’d go buy another one the day after tomorrow. Problem is they just don’t offer anything with similar features so here I sit trying to figure out what to buy from a bad list. I’m not trying to sync bluetooth or screech my tires but sheesh.


If you really love the 53 and 54 Corvettes, but would like to put in a small block in it, buy a 55. It looks like a 53/4 but already has the 265 V8. You will have to look hard because they only made 500 but at least you won;t ruin the value.


Consumer Reports did several articles on that subject, and the general conclusion was “Thank God”!

They compared a Mustang as well as a top of the line Buick (Roadmaster) of the 50s.

In addition to better rust protection, nearly every item has a longer life expectancy designed in. And all cars are very much safer.

I remember an ad slogan that said “Time for a Texaco Fall Tune-up”. Another said “Is your car ready for Spring?” Yes many owners had twice a year tune-ups and had plugs and points filter, oil, grease job and coolant changed! If you had to price that out at today’s rates that would be a tidy sum for just routine maintenance.

My original new car, a 1965 Dodge Dart V8 (the best compact that year) , was pretty well worn out at 154,000 miles .Only the transmission still was in pristine condition, just about every thing had been changed and the body, even after a paint job at 90,000 miles, was thoroughly rusted out.


I recall that the '55 SBC engine had dippers slinging oil and feeding the babbit rod bearings. The '56 model upgraded the oil galleys for full pressure feed lubrication and used bearing inserts. I can only imagine a dedicated purist dealing with that early engine but of course installing a different engine would drop the value quite a bit I’m sure.


Older vehicles were much easier to work on. Unfortunately they had to be worked on much more often. Older vehicles were generally cheaper to repair. An engine could be rebuilt rather than replaced on an older model. You could change your water pump in 30 minutes rather than taking the engine halfway out to do it. I see pros and cons to each.

It also depends on how “old” we’re talking about. I’m not certain I like some of the brand new models as much as I liked some of the vehicles from 20 years ago. Power and fuel mileage are better. Reliability, cost to maintain, etc…I’m not sure if the brand new stuff with cylinder deactivation, direct injection, turbocharging, and/or autostop will prove to be better in that area.


Many years ago, Hemmings did a test-drive comparison of a '54 Henry J with a '72 Maverick, and their conclusion was that there had been VERY little progress in the design of low-end American cars during that 18 year period. The “Good Old Days” of American cars were pretty dismal–for an extended period of time.


We definitely get a lot of technology and function in new cars these days. The price increases are a little concerning though. Doesn’t do much good to have all that technology and function available if the new cars aren’t affordable to the majority of buyers. Does anybody know how many days of work it took for a lower middle class family to buy a new car in 1970 vs now?


If you compare similar vehicles with similar equipment, there hasn’t been much change in price.


It’s hard to do that comparison however, b/c many of the technologies and functions in cars now weren’t in cars in 1970.