Older Vehicles vs. New Models


My 190D has 375k miles on the clock and it’s 30 years old so I think it has done pretty well so far


And as you said it’s a 1989, and also one of the more bulletproof Mercedes examples from that era.

That said, I know of several Civic-platform vehicles from the late 80’s/early 90’s (same generation) that made it to 400,000, and I know of two that made it to half a million, so yours is not the only reliable example out there.

That said, I work on my 1991 CRX and my 1993 MR2 a lot more than I work on my 2007 TL, and it’s not just because the TL is a lot newer. Both of the older cars have more frequent and varied routine maintenance.

I talked about the 50’s cars because you specifically highlighted the 50’s in your post. Cars have always had frills. The frills have gotten fancier over time, but even the Model T had unnecessary brass bits on it. “nonsense” bits on cars does not automatically mean the car is unreliable or hard to work on.


My Dad owned a 70-something Toyota Corona wagon. Well over 150k miles on that car until it was t-boned by a drunk driver. Luckily no one was in the vehicle.


Let me add some fodder to the “high maintenance” argument re old cars. There were at least 6 of these


on cars in the 50s and early 60s. And failure to top those cups off would be costly.


Good Post! Today’s cars need much less maintenance and the parts last a lot loner. In another post I related to all the items that had to be replaced on my 1965 Dodge Dart 273 V8. And all before 154,000 miles.

Here it is again as I recall:

  1. Water pump
  2. Ignition switch
  3. 2 sets of shocks
  4. Rear springs
  5. Exhaust systems
  6. Heat riser valve
  7. Drive shaft U joints
  8. Gas tank
  9. Windshield Washers
  10. 3 batteries
  11. Complete paint job at 100,000 miles
    12 head gasket
  12. Fuel Pump
  13. Torsion bar anchor
    15, Seat belt rewinder

Only the transmission and the radiator were trouble-free.


Sounds about right!

My list:

Timing belt. Water pump, seals, pulleys did not “need” replacement but I had them done anyway.
Spark plugs.
Hood struts.
Couple sets of front brake pads and one set of rear.
Power steering pump inlet gasket (that one cost me 90 cents and 5 minutes of work. Real hardship that was!)
Um… That’s about it.

I haven’t even burned out a headlight yet!


I’m not suggesting that older cars were safer, got better mileage, required less maintenance, but you gotta admit that the Desoto pictured was a work of art. If you want a car today that is a similar work of art, you pay about $150,000. Styling my man, styling. (It appears Dodge was kind of sexist though but they must have figured women had a lot to say about what car to buy.) Then there were nav systems and low fuel lights. . . Oh oh, I just connected some dots and didn’t even know it.


I always thought that the DeSotos of 1955-1959 were better-looking than their Chrysler siblings or their Dodge & Plymouth cousins. I think it’s ironic that the best looking cars from that company sold in such low volume that they had to pull the plug on production just a couple of months into the 1961 model year.

However, it became obvious after a few years that Chrysler needed to “plug a hole” in its lineup, and that is when they introduced the Dodge Custom 880. That was essentially the replacement for the DeSoto, albeit a not very good looking replacement.


The desoto with the fins in the top pic was actually a 57 Firesweep, built on a Dodge chassis with a Dodge powertrain, to provide a less expensive car to sell. The accessories were from the 56 LaFemme submodel of the Fireflite series. We have completely lost the sense of style that cars used to have and as a result turned them into simply transportation appliances. They used to serve as a representation of who we were. I can remember, in 1959, my father looking for a new car to replace our fatally flawed 57 Chrysler New Yorker. I suggested we that Rambler was very popular, and maybe we should look at them
Dad informed me that was a sh*y little car, driven by sh"y little people! We got a 59 Olds 98. The car you drove back then truly defined who you were .


I really liked those 59 Olds better than my Pontiac. I suspect the reclining seats in the Rambler might have impacted your recommendation though.


La Femme was a sub-model–or trim variation–of the '55 & '56 Dodge.


You are correct im mixing my mopars ( I usually just mix my metaphors). Thanks


Remember, in the 50s the Lawrence Welk Show was sponsored by
“The Swept Wing Dodge” in its hay day. Towards the end its was laxatives and other stomach remedies.


Well, it is important to try to attract sponsors whose values align with those of the viewers, and that might involve advertising hay (for the farm folks), or laxatives, or stomach remedies.
It is most important to remember that–even in its heyday– The Lawrence Welk show attracted mostly viewers who were somewhere between the age of 80 and death.


They were popular in the Midwest for the previous generation that used to go to big band dances. I think they toured South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, etc. Of course the polka bands were also a hit and kinda fun even for us youngsters. Then the Beadles hit and it was a generational shift. Myself, I couldn’t stand Welk.

Still popular among the fair crowd. That kid is about 10 years old and wild on the drums.

Here’s the kid on the drums. I think he was about 8 years old then. Just for fun but I’m sure they had to drive there. I was really looking for Apples, Peaches, Pumkin Pie.


One thing that has improved in modern cars from the cars of the 1940s through the 1960s is the clock. The optional automobile clock in this earlier time period was essentially useless. It had a spring that was wound every two or three minutes by a solenoid. These clocks never seemed to be accurate. The digital clocks in today’s cars don’t put the drain on the battery as car clocks did in the 1940s through the 1969s.


In the 50s a local widow who was very partial to pink was talked into special ordering a DeSoto, pink of course, with luggage, raincoat and an umbrella matching the car’s pink plaid upholstery. When the car arrived the lady wouldn’t have it and a family friend bought it and surprised his wife with it. He was very surprised when his wife wouldn’t even ride in the car to return it. Although the widow had a pink stucco home with a totally pink master bath I only saw her driving black CadillacSedan deVilles.The pink DeSoto became a local legend.


Actually I thought those pink and black Desotos looked pretty good for the time. Those pink Mary Kay Caddy’s though to me are hideous and if I won one I think I would just leave it in the garage.


Right now I’m seeing in my mind’s eye a 58 Sedan de Ville in pink with a black top. A great, beautiful car.


How about this pink, grey, and white Hudson?