When GM was King

The year is 1969, you just got back from the war, thankfully mostly unscathed, mentally and physically. You are flush with cash, you get a high paying job at a local GM factory with a good wage and top notch benefits and a pension. Life is good.

You are tired of riding the bus so you stop off at you local chevy dealer, so many choices. Being a young guy you want something that will really Rip. Camaro or Chevelle… Or do we get really froggy and get a corvette? Tough choices they are.

Momma always told you to be sensible so you get a nice Camaro, nothing too flashy like an SS, with a modest 350 engine and a 3 speed on the column and sensible 4 wheel drum brakes and no power steering. Hey your a strong guy, and you know what was tough? The war. Luxuries like power steering are not an extravagance that is needed nor wanted.

Life is good.

Its late 1972 and you are married with a child on the way, her old 65 mustang is on its last legs so you go down to your local GM dealer to get a family car. Do we skimp and get the biscane? Or do we treat ourselves to a caprice? After all the horn of plenty is well and the money is coming in just fine. You have worked hard, lets treat ourself to a caprice. 350, auto, PS.PB, but lets not get too crazy here, no AC.

These are some bountiful times we are living in!

Its 1975 and the camaro is just about rusted out but that is not a problem because times are good and the horn of plenty is still providing for your wife and 3 kids. Being a bit older and even more sensible you decide to take over the 73 caprice to drive to work and get mother a new 76 caprice kingswood wagon. The factory work is going well and you have been promoted to a hot new line and your union has just negotiated a killer raise.

You decide to go all out, 400ci engine, 3 speed auto, and you even decide to splurge on ac. You take this car on many family vacations using your plentiful vacation time and everyone is enjoying the scenery and mom and dad are enjoying their well deserved smokes. Hamburgers out of styrofoam containers, seeing america in your cherolet. Times are great and GM gas made your wonderful life possible.

By the mid 80s you are driving a sensible buick and you have given the 73 caprice to your brother who never quite got past his demons from the war and has now developed a cocaine habit. The pot never numbed his pain and the coke only intensifies it.

The kids have a nice chevette to drive, and she is driving a luxurious, but not too flashy Oldsmobile. She has decided to go to work because college is expensive and the raises at the factory are not what they used to be, but the horn of plenty is still full.

Its 1994. After 25 years with the company you retire with a full pension and decide to buy a nice Cadillac fleet wood to celebrate. It has troublesome fuel injection and its a bit short on the ashtrays, but its still a nice traditional car and has a good solid frame under it.

GM Has been good to us.

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You have a completely different understanding of what is GOOD then I do.

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If someone has a pension from a company then a reasonable amount of appreciation is justified.
As for GM and good in the same post that is up for debate.

Nice Chevette ( not even ) Slow reaction to the ignition key problems ( again the word good does not apply )
The disaster called the 4-6-8 engine - GM might have been good to GM but not to the general public.

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This was a fictional account of the glory days. A time when everyone in America who “mattered” was prospering, a guy could have a decent retirement and we were living “the good old days”.

Its a time that we will never see again. A time of excess for all, glut, and we were harvesting the fruit of our labors. It was a bountiful harvest, in a simpler time.

We drove vehicles that swilled fuel like we couldn’t dispose of it quick enough, with engines that roared, and went on trips that burnt copious amounts of fuel, consuming gluttonous amounts of everything in our path.

I suppose these days still exist for people who can afford to purchase and operate vehicles such as American body on frame SUVs and pickup trucks, redneck America I suppose. But these folks usually have to choose between living in a decent house and driving sensible vehicles, or driving these gas guzzling monstrosities that represent the “American Dream” and living in a shack or a trailer.

The working class and lower middle class cant afford both. Usually only the more intelligent ones buy a decent house in a decent area and drive a sensible vehicle such as…say…Gasp an accord or camry.

But the mouth breathers usually chose to live in substandard housing and as long as there is a pickup truck in the driveway and beer in the fridge, life is good. Damn their children’s education or personal enrichment. Crank up your silverado, fire up a smoke and put on country music, crack a beer and waste fuel! This is America baby. livin the dream. Drivin me a treeeuk. Yeehaw.

Now I understand some people actually need Pickup trucks, but lets be honest, theres not many. Maybe 10 percent of F150s sold are actually needed by Joe Blow, not counting units sold to companies that actually use and need a pickup.

The pulse of the stupidity in America can be directly measured with pickup truck sales.

Peak oil cant come soon enough. I honestly think it will take care of some of the mouth breathers.

I agree.
I’ve owned GM vehicles twice in the last half-century. Unfortunately for GM, I also owned Toyotas… a number of them. When I traded my no-longer safe 4-year-old GM for my first Toyota in '76, I discovered what “good” in a car actually was. Subsequent Toyota purchases have confirmed my initial judgment. GM reliability didn’t even come close to Toyota reliability. Unfortunately for GM, millions of others who went from GM to Toyota made the same discovery.

I have no doubt that GM was probably good to you as an employer. But the cars? That you can’t determine if all you’ve owned is GMs. You have no basis for comparison. But I am happy for you that you’re happy.

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Stereotype much? Beer in the fridge with a pick up in front of the trailer? I think it might help to go on a road trip around the country a little to take a look. Don’t know where to begin except companies are screaming for folks that have a little higher work ethic and some mechanical skills.

I believe I know what You are getting at and You are right. The same can be said about a lot of other (included mine) countries

Operative word there is OLD. I have at least 10 relatives who are either retired from GM or Chryco or use to work for them and were laid off (some after 20+ years). Only ONE considered their overall experience was GOOD. Most felt cheated and betrayed. One cousin who was with Fisher Body in Syracuse NY for 24 years. laid off when they closed the plant in the 80’s. So at 44 with only a high-school diploma he now had to find work. Kids college money was gone, lost house, had to down-size. Took a job working at Sears selling furniture. And since then was going from job to job, until he passed away at 62.

As for my experience as a HUGE GM fan from the 60’s and 70’s. We bought our first Honda in 1987. Then I sold my piece of junk 84 GMC S-15 in 1990 with a little over 100k miles and bought a Nissan Pathfinder. Sold that in 98 with over 300k miles and purchased another Pathfinder and passed that to my daughter with over 300k miles and she finally sold it with well over 400k miles. Your experience of GOOD isn’t close to my experience of GOOD with our Honda’s, Nissans and now Toyota’s/Lexus’s.

GM has a LONG LONG ways to come back and get me as a customer ever again.

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Hmmm… More like a case of looking at things through rose-colored glasses, IMHO.


Please provide a list of the people/groups who did NOT matter, in your opinion.


Because all your overtime counts as pension time so you can retire before you hit 30 years like all the salaried employees. Or you worked at Central Foundry and your lungs look like charcoal briquettes so you’ll dies in about 18 months. Well, heck, you smoked too, so either-or is gonna kill you.

All during that period, many of your co-workers were putting in their time, drinking their 40’s and a joint for lunch and working 4 hours of an 8 hour shift because they’ve “made-out” by producing only as many parts as the union negotiated for them. Some tried to be better employees but had that beat out of them pretty quickly by their union brothers. HEY, only janitors pick up brooms - waddya tryin’ to do, take a guys job away?

Or your division is spun off into an independent parts company, Delphi, that still has inept GM management and the stink of poor GM quality. Plus much of the Delphi retirment fund is invested in GM bonds and stock!
Yep, INdependent parts division by eye! A few years later the spin-off files for bankruptcy. That means the UAW contract is null and void so ALL the plants get closed and moved overseas.

A few years after that, after the former parent, GM, files for bankruptcy, the Delphi salaried retirement gets dumped into a government retirement insurance fund because the US president says the bondholders - Delphi’s retirement fund - gets to take a haircut. A big haircut because the then president thinks that’s only fair even though the law says different. That’s OK, because GM salaried employees got hammered, too. The UAW? Not so much.

For those employees that were distrustful of their employers and contributed to their 401Ks, retirement can still be good. Maybe not as flush with cash as with that promised GM retirement, but good anyway. The rest are still working for the Chinese and will need too far past 65.

Meanwhile Delphi exits bankruptcy as a British company headquartered in Troy, Michigan with few American employees. The company started by Charles F. Kettering in Dayton, Ohio no longer exists anywhere near Dayton. Many of those former employees now drive Kentucky Camry’s or Ohio Hondas. And some drive Fords.

You understand of course that we can’t really discuss this topic without talking about the DC bozos and corruption that either encouraged this, looked the other way, or profited from it. I’m thinking Humpfrey may have been the last real person concerned about the average American as he and Freeman drove out the Communists from the party in Minnesota at least, but it’s like Wac A Mole.

My take from Rick_Rugerson’s opening post was that life with GM in the 60’s and 70’s meant a decent pay check where one could afford a respectable lifestyle. And that the jobs that enable one to have that lifestyle are often memories, especially in auto manufacturing.

Nothing is ever perfect, but I remember many living the dream Rick paints in his opening post.

Anything in DC accounts for less then .01% of the blame. The blame is squarely on GM and the other big-3. They screwed up and don’t want to take ownership of it.

Not seeing a lot of ‘good old days’ here:

or here:

Don’t really understand everything you were trying to communicate, but it was a good read and it kept my interest. 8 out of 10 for you!

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I liked this story. My whole extened family was a GM family for four generations going back to WW2. Except for uncle John (now passed) who worked for Ford. He alone drove Fords. However, in the 1970s and 1980s we had three Chevy and Buick models back to back to back that had serious issues including premature engine failure. All were bought new, all were “disowned” by the dealer network when trouble started. My grandmother was the first to switch in the early '80s. She bought a Camry and we all loved that car. I’m glad the General worked out for your family. Ours has owned pretty much every Japanese brand and a VW since the '80s and by my count, GM lost about 25 new car and truck sales due to poor workmanship by comparison to the competition. All it might have taken was a few goodwill gestures by GM’s dealers to make right what we should not have had to fight for and GM would have kept us and a big family tree of customers. When my first Subaru had an early engine failure the dealer replaced it at no charge, gave me a loaner while work was done, and Subaru offered up a 100K transferable bumper to bumper extended warranty. A move like that by GM would have paid the company and shareholders back in spades. I don’t have a single family member with a GM product now and it’s sad. (We do still have one Corolla clone Geo that my grandmother bought just before she passed if that counts. She wanted to buy a GM, but still didn’t trust the company to make it.). My kids are learning to drive in a Highlander. Could have been an Equinox. Ironically, it is now Subaru who owners report being given the runaround by when trouble starts. Maybe it’s time we reconsider the grudge?

When GM was King

Wait… what? When??

It still is King to me!

I had the opposite experience. I started out driving Volkswagens (ugh!) and then drove an Isuzu (disguised as a Chevy Luv). It was okay, but in typical foreign car fashion was noisy and uncomfortable, not to mention the mpg stunk.

I skipped that era of owning GM cars in the 70s and 80s when GM and most other car companies had all the hippies high on drugs going through Jack-In-A-Box and then designing and building their cars. I was too busy driving crappy VWs and that lousy Isuzu truck.

Now I’m back to the KING and have had GM cars for a few decades now and have never had a bad one. I bought that little Grand Prix for a song and it is library quiet, extremely reliable, and a very comfortable, fun car to drive. My next vehicle will be a GM (unless of course I decide to buy a Mustang or something a little exotic to leave here in Florida for when I shuttle back and forth).

You know what they say about hindsight…
CSA :palm_tree::sunglasses::palm_tree:

Hold on a minute! I forgot, but when I married my wife she came with two old GM cars, a 74 Olds Omega 350 V-8 and a big old 2-door, 4700 pound, 76 OldsTornado 455 V-8. Those were great cars, too, for their time!

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In the 1990s I worked at a landscape construction company. The company had about a dozen trucks of all styles including huge dump trucks and things like F-350s etc. However, the foremen and the guys sent to chase parts and stuff had three Isuzu pickups to use. I came after the place had already owned a bunch. No joke here - the owner did zero maintenance on them other than fixing tires and replacing tires. No oil changes. No other service. I though the guys were kidding me, but I pulled the dipstick and the oil was like tar. Those trucks would run without fail for about three years and then the owner would turn them in for another new one. They cost about $5K back then. Isuzu is the Duramax 2.8-liter disel engine supplier for the current Canyon and Colorado, so they must be doing something right.

Your insulting post reveals a lot more about your own hate, prejudice, and ignorance than it does about the people you have been brainwashed to look down on.


Well GM sure likes them as well as you I see. If it wasn’t for these simpletons GM would have been out of business 10 to 15 years ago.

Americas economy revolves around our pickup trucks, at least in some areas.

We judge people by 1. Beer they drink, 2. Brand of chew they like 3. Ford, chevy or dodge.

You think im joking? sadly im not. America is full of simple people.