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Old 05-09-2016, 09:16 PM   #41
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...a brand new Chevrolet Vega! The wagon, no less. WORST CAR EVER! ...
I don't know about that. We had a Pinto station wagon!
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:35 AM   #42
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Ok, though there is apparently no photographic evidence to support my claim, our Vega wagon also was special ordered in a color that came to be called "baby poop yellow".
It was certainly the ugliest car we'd ever owned.

But at least I can say we didn't ever own a Pinto, lol!
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Old 05-10-2016, 06:43 AM   #43
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:22 AM   #44
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On the Vega comment, they were not actually as bad as the reputation. Yes the engine would burn oil after 50K miles or so. Yes they did have a rust issue, it was related to the shipping technique, they were loaded on rail cars and flipped vertical. This caused some entrapped moisture and subsequent rusting issues.
The problem with the Vega was that it had an aluminum engine block. If the car ever overheated the block would warp. People would then have a major engine repair on their hands.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:37 AM   #45
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Back when I was in middle school, I started going to a private school because the public schools here got really bad. The school had a bus service, but you had to pay for it, and it didn't come out our way, so some of the neighborhood families got together and formed a car pool. Since my Mom and stepdad were working, Granddad did the driving. He had a '76 GMC crew cab pickup, a two-tone burnt-orange and white. This was around 1983-84, and a good deal of the families at that school came from money...or acted it, at least. Lots of Cadillacs, Lincolns, Benzes, high-end Buicks, Oldsmobiles, Chryslers etc.

Well, on nice days, Granddad would let us kids ride to school in the bed of the truck, almost like we were the Walton kids or something! It was a blast...I can still remember the other kids getting jealous because we got to ride in the back of a pickup truck, but do remember some of the parents rolling their eyes.
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:49 AM   #46
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I wasn't really talking about cars that were modified...I am talking plain Jane off the showroom floor.
I would imagine that stock, s '67 Chevelle SS-396 would do the quarter mile in around 15 seconds. Much of it would depend on the transmission and gearing. In those days cars were hampered by automatics that only had 3 forward gears at best (although the first GM hydramatic actually had 4), and stick shifts that only had 3 or 4 gears. So, they'd play around with axle ratios, and as a result you could have a car that was fast in the quarter mile, or a car with a really high top speed (until wind resistance factored in), but it was hard to get both.

Without looking it up, I'd guess a stock 396 had around 325-350 hp in 1967. And that's gross hp. In modern net-hp terms, probably around 250-280 I'd guess?
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:06 AM   #47
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Even my new Jeep is quicker, faster and handles better than most any older muscle car I have ever had, including several Vette's. I'll probably drive at least 50k miles this year and 98% of that will be in 2015 model years or later BUT, there is still nothing like the shake, rattle and rumble of a 45+ year old naturally aspirated 426 hemi or 427 big block chevy to make me smile.

LOL... yes, they did not handle that well unless modified...

I had a friend who had a Chevelle SS 396 with modified engine... was below 12 seconds in the 1/4 mile... when doing 70 he could hit the gas and the hood would lift and it just climbed in speed... BUT, when you let off the gas that thing bounced around like a rubber ball... very stable when accelerating though... but could not handle at all...


Another friend had a Firebird with a 400 something... the suspension was modified and the car lowered... had to weld a steel plate on the bottom as it would bottom out at times... the thing handled like it was on rails... I can remember taking some corners at 125 mph that you would be scared to do at 70... was not nearly as fast at the Chevelle but boy could it handle..

But both sucked gas at an alarming rate....
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:18 AM   #48
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I've never heard anything like that from my kids. Then again our kids attend one of the poorest schools in the district. The cars range from barely running old beaters to late model BMW/Lexus/Mercedes SUVs with a pretty uniform distribution (ie you'd never know 70-80% of the kids at the school receive free/reduced price lunch). I drive our 16 year old Honda Accord with peeling paint and get no funny looks. It's nice.

The main status symbol that I've heard from the kids is shoes. Some of the boys in class have $200 sneakers and make sure everyone knows how much they cost. They also bring toothbrushes to clean their sneakers if they get scuffed up (I think their parents beat them if they come home with dirty sneakers). Some kids routinely bring 2-4 pair of shoes to school so they can change before doing anything that might scuff the shoes (I think owning 2-4 pairs of shoes and bringing them to school is another status symbol in itself).

I've even heard a parent say "don't play on the playground. Just sit there. If you play you're going to get your shoes dirty." Sad. I'm glad our kids' shoes only cost between $3 and $50 and it's okay to play and get them a little dirty. That's where the real luxury is it seems.
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Old 05-10-2016, 11:23 AM   #49
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Uphill both ways through the snow?
Up here we had to walk through the snow even to go to summer school!

My rides to school were in a Plymouth Sports Suburban wagon, then driving an International Pick up if Dads newer work van was running.
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:17 PM   #50
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I would imagine that stock, s '67 Chevelle SS-396 would do the quarter mile in around 15 seconds. Much of it would depend on the transmission and gearing. In those days cars were hampered by automatics that only had 3 forward gears at best (although the first GM hydramatic actually had 4), and stick shifts that only had 3 or 4 gears. So, they'd play around with axle ratios, and as a result you could have a car that was fast in the quarter mile, or a car with a really high top speed (until wind resistance factored in), but it was hard to get both.

Without looking it up, I'd guess a stock 396 had around 325-350 hp in 1967. And that's gross hp. In modern net-hp terms, probably around 250-280 I'd guess?
Stock trim, probably in the 14s depending on engine (available were 325, 350 and 375 HP depending on build date) and a decent driver. The problem with the 1/4 mile times on those cars was lack of traction with stock tires. I had a 4.10 rear with a Muncie 4 speed and would just shred stock tires. Todays tires are much better, as are the automatic transmissions. I used to ride around the streets on M&H wrinkle walls screwed to the rims, and I could even light those up pretty good. Did not have access to a dyno back then, so hard to say what the actual rear wheel horse power was in stock configuration. Big torque made those cars feel very fast compared to many modern cars, but as the saying goes, torque makes the car feel fast, but HP wins races. In my cars modified state it felt like an absolute rocket compared to modern day high performance cars, and I've owned several of those, including one that was a sub 12 sec car with street tires. I do miss those days, and am addicted to watching street outlaws as a result. There was nothing like the sound of a big cams lopey idle with open headers and feeling the ground shake.
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:33 PM   #51
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The problem with the Vega was that it had an aluminum engine block. If the car ever overheated the block would warp. People would then have a major engine repair on their hands.
The bigger problem with the alum engine that affected many more customers was it had alum cylinder walls, without steel or iron liners. The excess wear of the walls would cause poor ring seal and excessive oil consumption. Iron rings vs alum cylinder wall, the walls lost that matchup. There was a hard coating put on the alum walls, but it did not last.

I do agree an overheated engine will/did cause head gasket sealing issues.
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Old 05-10-2016, 01:51 PM   #52
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No one bringing up the car that Ralph Nadar killed, the Corvair?
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Old 05-10-2016, 02:15 PM   #53
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Ralph Nader would love to take credit for it, but the Chevy II and then the Camaro are what really killed the Corvair. The Corvair was too complex and offbeat to make it as a cheap, mass-market car, and came nowhere near the Ford Falcon in sales. To its credit, the Corvair did discover a niche market for sporty small cars, and that niche got exploited to its fullest once the Mustang hit the market.

By the time Ralph Nader set his sights on the Corvair, GM had already decided there would be no more development work on it, and it would just slowly die out at the end of its natural product cycle. A shame, really, because most of the Corvair's safety issues were worked out later in the first generation, and the '65-69 was truly a thing of beauty.

New side impact protection standards took place, starting January 1 1970, I believe, and that might be why the Corvair was dropped after 1969. Another casualty of those standards was the Ford Falcon. The 1966-70 version was produced through the end of calendar 1969, and for the rest of the 1970 model year they issued a "1970.5 Falcon", which was a stripped down Torino.

Speaking of the Falcon, I always wondered how it slipped past Nader. It used a "drop in" gas tank. Instead of a normal gas tank that was strapped underneath the trunk floor, the top of the Falcon's tank doubled as the floor of the trunk. It saved a few bucks and a little bit of time on the assembly line, but in the event of a rear-end collision, if the trunk floor buckled the gas tank would rupture, and spill fuel into the car. The Mustang, based on the Falcon, also had a "drop in" gas tank, and I think the midsized cars (Fairlane, Torino, etc) did, as well? Anyway, it didn't take much of an impact to make them leak fuel.
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Old 05-10-2016, 03:22 PM   #54
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Want cool factor? At times in Hungary my brother who was 18 yrs older than I, would take me to school on his motorcycle. Never heard of a school bus until I got to the US. No helmets of course, only racers wore them. Private ownership of cars was unheard of.
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Old 05-10-2016, 04:56 PM   #55
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any excuse to post a "remembered" story.

Last year of college for my beloved and me, back n 1958... For her, Sargent College in Harvard Square, Boston, and me at Bowdoin, in Maine. It was in April, and we were scheduled to graduate in June, and to marry in July. Her dad had provided a 1952 Nash Rambler for her last year of school, and she was driving up from Massachusetts to visit me for a party weekend.. The red temperature light came on, and she kept driving until the car stopped.

We partied and then called my dad, who was a textile worker, but also had some mechanic skills. He and his friend drove the 160 miles up to the Maine Turnpike (new, then), tied a chain to the car and towed it back to Rhode Island, where we lived.

Now, we didn't have a lot of money, so dad ad I decided to do an engine job, to free the frozen engine. Like ... this was a little bit different that what most engine jobs were... We did the entire job without taking the engine out of the car, or even taking the head off the engine.

We put the car up on blocks and did the entire job from underneath the car. Can't remember all the details, but, we removed the crankshaft, then the pistons and rods, then forced new rings on, and then pounded the pistons back into the block. Somewhere along the way, yours truly managed to mix up the crankshaft bearings, so the reconstruction was a little bit hit or miss.
For the cost of rings and a few gaskets, finished the entire job in a day, in time to get back to school.

It wasn't exactly easy to get the car running again. We had six kids from the neighborhood push the car around the block about 10 times, before the engine loosened up enough to fire, and it ran a little rough for the first 20 miles, but the operation was a success... and we kept the car for three more years... marriage... honeymoon, and two kids later.

One of the early adventures in frugality... rings, gaskets and some small parts. Probably under $75.

Yeah, not what the thread was supposed to be about, but that blue Nash Rambler was good to us.
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Old 05-10-2016, 05:06 PM   #56
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Uphill both ways through the snow?
In my neighborhood, hills or bad weather didn't matter as much as knowing what routes to avoid to keep from getting your head bashed in on the way to school!
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Old 05-10-2016, 05:33 PM   #57
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...
Her dad had provided a 1952 Nash Rambler for her last year of school, and she was driving up from Massachusetts to visit me for a party weekend.. ...
Beep, Beep. Beep, Beep. His horn went beep, beep, beep.

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Old 05-11-2016, 12:14 PM   #58
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Good opportunity to explain "Paid For" and "Owe Money On."
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Old 05-12-2016, 03:06 PM   #59
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In the early seventies while w*rking in the Aleutian islands of Alaska I'd rent some villager's pickup truck.

A good one was that would start and actually move. What windows? Steering play about one and a half turn, fine view of the mud through the floor, where the floorboard would be. Don't need no steenking brakes either. A few gears not working, clutch slipping a bit. Had to stop at the swamp half way to the airport/bar/foodstore/feeding hole(restaurant) (4 miles) to refill the radiator. Only $50.-/ day. Can of Olympia water (beer) at the barwas $4.- Milk at the store when available was $8.-/gallon and drink it fast before it spoilt.

Still better than walking along and get cozy with the brown bear population. And the joy of ever present wind and rain, typically 40F in July. But the views were spectacular.

Was lucky if someone actually would let us have one.
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