Throwback Friday

Whoa, look at these prices!

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Those prices are only impressive until the wages people were making at that time are included .


That’s what most people forget to mention when they talk about “the good old days” with 69 cent gas or a loaf of bread costing a nickle. That gallon of gas might have been half an hour of work for someone


When I was a high school kid in the 80’s minimum wage was $3.35, a gallon of gas was .93, and a pack of cigarettes was $1.40. An hour of work would buy me 2 gallons of gas and 20 smokes.

Today, minimum wage is $15. Gas is $4.00 and a pack of cigarettes is $10. A teen working for an hour can buy 2 gallons of gas and 15 smokes. Kid probably shouldn’t be smoking anyway. :grinning:


Ditto, more or less…
When I was working my first job–at A&P–my wage was $1.15 per hour.
Gas was 28.9 per gallon, and cigs were ~.30 a pack.
One hour of work paid for 2 gallons of gas, plus a pack of Luckies, with a few cents left over.

Edited to add that–after payroll taxes–there actually wouldn’t have been anything left over.

Well, in 1966 I got a body shop to paint my Morris minor for $20. I had to do all the prep but that included the paint and labor and paint booth. DuPont enamel. Not that long ago. Then the war.

What about other things like the cost of rent and liability insurance for the car?

Campbells soup was 10cents in 1920. I bet many people made 10cents/hr in 1920. Would you pay 1 hrs wages today for 1 can soup?

I said one hour of work would buy those things. Hours 2 through 8 are for the remaining expenses.

Fortunately Mom and Dad didn’t charge me rent when I was 16.

Like I said before my first policy with State Farm for my vw in 1967 was $26. 15 hours of work though at $1.65.

For the 6 month insurance period?

Yeah, six months, but an unmarried 17 year old on my parents policy. They gave me a good student discount though.

If this is Throwback Friday, I’ll contribute something from Studebaker’s better days…

… and something illustrating their valiant effort to remain in business, which–sadly–didn’t help:

Well, as a 9th grader, we had a teacher that had one of those cars. The guy was a died in the wool studie fan. I’m sure the cars were great but us 9th graders kinda snickered about it behind his back. So I’m just saying styling wise, they just weren’t tuned in to the next car buying generation. Fords, Chevy, Plymouth caught our attention though and we would be at the dealers first thing to see the new styles. Whenever that teacher though is involved, we still discuss his studie, triips to the museum in south bend and so on. He is still a believer, and after we talk, I still think to myself that they never quite lit the fire of the next generation.

Studebaker suffered greatly from really bad management decisions over the space of a couple of decades. They were sitting on a pile of cash following the success of their First by far post-war car, but they blew it with bad decisions, such as refusing to sell the rights to their automatic transmission to Ford.

When sales cratered in the mid-late '50s, they didn’t have enough capital for a major redesign, and had to muddle through with warmed-over designs that most people realized was more or less just old wine in new jugs. The Lark was initially successful, but because it was just their old '53 sedan with the front overhang and the rear overhang chopped-off, it didn’t lend itself to much restyling, and after a few good years, sales of the Lark dropped-off sharply.

They even had the opportunity to buy the rights to a very sturdy RWD Isuzu sedan design, which they could have assembled in The US–with a Stude nameplate–but they decided against it.

They tried diversifying by buying an airline, a kitchen appliance manufacturer, and a floor equipment company, but those were all bad investments and the red ink continued to flow. Adding to the problem was a huge outmoded factory complex and a workforce that was paid more than the workers at Ford, GM, & Chrysler. Put it all together, and it’s almost a wonder that they lasted as long as they did.

Everything was a nickel back then- and we got change back!

Me too $1.15/hr. However, two gallons of gas would barely wet the bottom of the gas tank in my Chrysler Newport and it got abysmal gas mileage. My gas line sprung a leak once and I was frantic to avoid losing all my precious gas I worked so hard to afford.


The Chrysler/Plymouth dealership I worked in charged $12/hour for labor. We mechanics got $4/hour of that.

In 1973 I worked as a laborer in a steel mill, the lowest paying job. I made $4.50 per hour and thought it was magnificent.

I was making cans and bottle caps then for $3.50. But with overtime and stock matches, made a lot of money in a year or so in comparison. Plus I had muscles then because of it.

We have had the wage/price discussion before. In my opinion gas prices today are about the same as the 60s, $0.35/gal/$1.15/hr vs $3.50/gal/$15.00/hr. Not going to do the mat, lol…, but close enough for me.
You could toss in McDonalds “3 course meal” for $0.45 to the conversation.