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Thread: How cars have changed/improved over the years

  1. #1
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    Default How cars have changed/improved over the years

    On the other thread I got into windshield wiper improvements; wiping more of the windshield, interval wiping, and such. I think that was a great improvement.

    They don't rust out so quickly is another improvement.

    Power windows are nice.

    I think the automatic transmissions are much better than they used to be, although the one in my '55 Olds was terrific. I understand Rolls Royce bought that design from Oldsmobile, but never tried to verify that. I do know the '56 Olds trans had a lot of problems, so something happened.

    Let's talk about changes cars have undergone that we like, or don't like.

    They do all look pretty much alike, and that's a bummer.
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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    EVERYTHING about the current crop of autos and light trucks is better than 50 years ago; even 30 years ago. People think NOTHING buying a used car with 100,000 mils on it today. My wife wants a new car because her Campy has 85.000 mi on it. I tell her it'll go to200,000, sweat. (She just want anew car) I had to fill a rust hole Her previous Bonnevile's rocker panel (9 yrs old) with Bondo and paint it. The current Camry has no rust at all.

    Still, I always wished I'd bought the 1933Buick I saw for sale for $$00 in 1957.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    They start when it's cold. Remember spray cans of ether? Engine heaters? (Yes, I know they still use them at 60 degrees north, but not at 45). Trying to get gas vapors down a long, cold intake manifold from a carburetor was no fun; a fuel injector just upstream of each intake valve is much, much better.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    they don't just come in black. . .

    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Im not impressed with new cars. Not long ago I rented a VW. I got into the cabin, had a seat, started her up and was familiarizing myself with the cockpit when I noticed a paper advertisement on the window wiper. I got out of the car, engine running ,,to remove this paper and the door blew closed with the wind ...AND LOCKED !!!!!

    auto locking doors ? Who invented this junk ????

    cars are just full of junk that you dont need.

    I had to return to the office and ask them to let me into the car.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Heated seats.

    While I like the remote door locks, I preferred 30 years ago when I didn't need them where I live. (BTW: I've owned VW's & Audi's for many years & never had one lock me out of it)

    Vastly better heat & defrost, easier starting as mentioned above.

    However, all the modern conveniences & electronics do come at a cost - as one must be a computer tech to fix many things on a car nowadays.

    Did I mention heated seats?

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    I remember the cold mornings when half the cars on the block wouldn't start.

    I'm not sure I like the automatic electronic locks. It's nice to push a button and lock all the doors, but my car locks all the doors as soon as it moves, and it's a pain more often than a help.

    I often wonder if Jiffy Lube and similar places don't play a role in cars going farther than they used to.

    Back in 'the day' we either changed the oil ourselves, or we left the car at the gas station for a whole day. A lot of oil changes didn't get done.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Heated seats.

    While I like the remote door locks, I preferred 30 years ago when I didn't need them where I live. (BTW: I've owned VW's & Audi's for many years & never had one lock me out of it)

    Vastly better heat & defrost, easier starting as mentioned above.

    However, all the modern conveniences & electronics do come at a cost - as one must be a computer tech to fix many things on a car nowadays.

    Did I mention heated seats?
    I think the computer part works both ways. The computer often tells us what needs to be fixed. Before that, it was a mechanic who needed to figure it out, and they were not always reliable in their diagnosis.

    I had found one who was an excellent diagnostician, and I really appreciated his skill in that area.

    I'm sure the computers make some mistakes, but less so, I'd think, than humans.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    They are much more crash resistant.

    Brakes are infinitely better

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    I agree that almost everything about today's cars is a vast improvement over the past of any era. One of the important things about cars, for a lot of people including me, is the visual aspect. (My car doesn't look like every other car out there and that is a small reason I like it.) I actually like to sit on my porch and just look at it, just like I like to look at my boat on it's trailer, because of the 'lines.' All of the materials of today's cars are way better because of incremental improvements over time, from the paint to the tires, as well as incremental improvements over time with respect to the design and engineering and building of cars. I still don't like some of the plastic cheap crap they sometimes use in lieu of steel or the like. All of which just makes me wonder again why the hell don't the manufacturers resurrect some of the great sculptural lines of the past (not funky 'retro' styled new stuff) and build, for instance, a forty ford or a fifty-seven chevy, with current tech and materials, like ABS and engines that'll go 200k miles without a rebuild. How 'boat a brand, spanking new '60s XKE with a 3liter six making 300hp?
    I've often wondered similar.

    One thing that also puzzles me. My car lets me know if I leave the lights on. Many have automatic lights. Do any let you know when a light is out, be it a brake light or a license plate light? These are things you can't know unless someone or something tells you.
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Anti-locking brakes and all wheel drive are huge improvements particularly in places where the roads are sometimes slippery. What sold us on our current car was the anti-locking brakes. I tested them by driving 50 mph on a snow covered parking lot and slamming on the brakes. The car stopped in a straight line with my hands off the steering wheel.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    Heated seats.

    While I like the remote door locks, I preferred 30 years ago when I didn't need them where I live. (BTW: I've owned VW's & Audi's for many years & never had one lock me out of it)

    Vastly better heat & defrost, easier starting as mentioned above.

    However, all the modern conveniences & electronics do come at a cost - as one must be a computer tech to fix many things on a car nowadays.

    Did I mention heated seats?
    Vulva warmers, their real name.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Mahan View Post
    Don't you periodically do a 'walk-around' and check your lights, etc?
    How does one do a walk around to check brake lights?
    "alternative facts (lies)" are a cancer eating through a democracy, and will kill it. 1st amendment is not absolute.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    How does one do a walk around to check brake lights?
    Back up near a wall and look in the mirror

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Cleaner, faster, heavier, safer, more features, all of which is pretty irrelevant for the younger generation not buying new cars.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    In 1977 I bought a 1967 E-type Jaguar coupe. At that point it as just a 10 year old used car. There was a delightful 4.2 liter double overhead cam straight 6 motor producing 265 hp, 0-60 mph in 6 sec, 18 (US) miles per gallon at 70 mph on the highway, four speed manual transmission. No air conditioning, not enough radiator for use in the southern US, leaked oil, brakes were iffy and difficult to bleed all the air from the lines. But, the car was an absolute hoot to drive. Bury the right foot and the combination of acceleration, exhaust noise and the air sucking into the 3 large SU carbs would put a smile on your face.

    In 2006 I bought a 2007 BMW Z4 coupe. There is a delightful 3.0 liter double overhead cam straight 6 motor producing 265 hp, 0-60 mph in 6 sec, 32 (US) miles per gallon at 70 mph on the highway, six speed manual transmission. Wonderful air conditioning, plenty of radiator for use in the southern US, no leaking oil, anti-lock brakes, heated seats and everything works all the time. Bury the right foot and the combination of acceleration and exhaust noise (no air sucking into the 3 large SU carbs with fuel injection) still puts a smile on your face. And it's a hoot to drive.

    Looks like progress to me....

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I remember the cold mornings when half the cars on the block wouldn't start.

    I'm not sure I like the automatic electronic locks. It's nice to push a button and lock all the doors, but my car locks all the doors as soon as it moves, and it's a pain more often than a help.

    I often wonder if Jiffy Lube and similar places don't play a role in cars going farther than they used to.

    Back in 'the day' we either changed the oil ourselves, or we left the car at the gas station for a whole day. A lot of oil changes didn't get done.
    I trusr a mechanic I've known for years far more than some 19YO @ Jiffly Lube.

    Jiffy Lube, just like Midas costs us all more. They do only the most profitable jobs - leaving the less profitable ones for the real garages - but since they don't have the easy money jobs, they have to charge more. The profit margins at muffler shops in particular are pretty fat. Jiffy Lube makes a fortune upselling filters (& charging $25 on one they buy for $6) & other services. Oh, but they have to deal with all the old oil, you say? They sell it - IOW, they make $ on that too.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Tires. Brakes. Suspension geometry that eliminated roll steer.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by John Smith View Post
    I think the computer part works both ways. The computer often tells us what needs to be fixed. Before that, it was a mechanic who needed to figure it out, and they were not always reliable in their diagnosis.

    I had found one who was an excellent diagnostician, and I really appreciated his skill in that area.

    I'm sure the computers make some mistakes, but less so, I'd think, than humans.
    The computers are useful maybe 50% of the time & in fact have forced mechanics to develop a whole new skill set: interpreting the computer's codes. "Cylinder 1 misfiring" tells you where the problem is, not what it is. Could be plug, coil, injector, etc. Other codes are far less specific & could be caused by dozens of things. Then you can get 4 codes at once. Might be caused by 4 components being bad. Might also be a loose vacuum hose.

    Do not begin to think that the codes mechanic's get from a car's computer does anything more than point the mechanic in a direction. Even more - it's sometimes an incorrect direction.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael D. Storey View Post
    Vulva warmers, their real name.
    Ummm... I use mine 3 seasons & I don't have one of those. Their real name, btw, is "heat seaters".

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    I agree that newer cars are better, but I do wonder if some of the improvements are better for us. New cars accelerate better, handle better, and they have fantastic brakes when compared to almost any car of the 1960's.

    All of that is great, but the great handling, brakes, and acceleration means that today's driver can get into trouble very quickly, and the problem is, quite simply, that there isn't an app for that....

    Jeff C

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    I was thinking of the old ford falcon my family had. It never went to the shop...always repaired at home.

    try that with a new car.

    when parts were needed dad went to the junk yard....found the piece, then fixed the trusty falcon.

    try that with a new car.

    young folks who grow up with new cars will be ignorant because they have no idea how things work.

    These ignorant youth will need warnings on their coffee..careful its hot, On thier keys.... dont put too many keys on your chain or you will break the switch....

    when they get older and take charge of the country problems will arise and they will have to import Chinese to solve them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leikec View Post
    I agree that newer cars are better, but I do wonder if some of the improvements are better for us. New cars accelerate better, handle better, and they have fantastic brakes when compared to almost any car of the 1960's.

    All of that is great, but the great handling, brakes, and acceleration means that today's driver can get into trouble very quickly, and the problem is, quite simply, that there isn't an app for that....

    Jeff C
    Statistic, I believe, would say that the trade off is well worth it in terms of safety.

  24. #24

    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    I generally find myself at odds with forum members on all things automotive. I work in the industry, and I have worked in a vintage car restoration environment. I keep updated on modern systems, and even take the tech training on some subjects, even though I now work in automotive sales. Car history is a favourite of mine, and I like to trace the evolution of safety systems, as well as new innovations in fuel delivery.

    Personally, I support the industry initiatives supporting the selling ban on certain parts to consumers for home repairs. Most people should no longer attempt repairs on suspension, fuel system, or safety systems (brakes) on their own cars. They don't know what they're doing, and it is a danger to other motorists. The other part of the industry that is slowly grinding to extinction is the general mechanic. The independent service industry is battling intensive training, hardware and diagnostic requirements, as well as the ongoing desire for manufacturers to squeeze them out of the market. For the most part, I wouldn't consider taking a new up model car to anyone but the dealer.

    I also support a much higher level of mandatory training in order to get your license.... not time, training..... and finally, mandatory safety checks on cars after a certain period of time and mileage, perhaps every two years or so.

    The cars? The only thing a car has in common with it's forefathers of 35 years ago is they both have four tires and an engine. Everything is safer, longer lasting, and requires less maintenance.
    Last edited by Peter Malcolm Jardine; 04-13-2014 at 11:49 AM.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Malcolm Jardine View Post
    I generally find myself at odds with forum members on all things automotive. I work in the industry, and I have worked in a vintage car restoration environment. I keep updated on modern systems, and even take the tech training on some subjects, even though I now work in automotive sales. Car history is a favourite of mine, and I like to trace the evolution of safety systems, as well as new innovations in fuel delivery.

    Personally, I support the industry initiatives supporting the selling ban on certain parts to consumers for home repairs. Most people should no longer attempt repairs on suspension, fuel system, or safety systems (brakes) on their own cars. They don't know what they're doing, and it is a danger to other motorists. The other part of the industry that is slowly grinding to extinction is the general mechanic. The independent service industry is battling intensive training, hardware and diagnostic requirements, as well as the ongoing desire for manufacturers to squeeze them out of the market. For the most part, I wouldn't consider taking a new up model car to anyone but the dealer.

    I also support a much higher level of mandatory training in order to get your license.... not time, training..... and finally, mandatory safety checks on cars after a certain period of time and mileage, perhaps every two years or so.
    ..when I open the hood of a modern car I have no idea how it all works...i can only identify the oil dipstick.

    can you purchase the shop maintenece guide, like you did in the old days, for a new car ?

  26. #26

    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Nope, and you wouldn't have the tools to fix it anyway. I'm not being rude, because the first thing you need is the diagnostic tools. A modern dealership has access to the dealer based software and computer linkup. If you purchased an aftermarket system that could do all the diagnostics, you would have to be a well heeled consumer. Second, you might need proprietary tools to do certain maintenance repairs.

    Got an Audi? The cam lock tool for changing the timing belt is $3000. Beemer? Same thing, lots of very specific proprietary tools for disassembly.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Better handling mileage and performance. MUCH fewer pollutants.
    Most importantly though is the safety aspect:



    A couple of weeks ago a local gentlemen driving an antique car was killed a mile from my house by an uninsured, "undocumented" alien attempting an illegal pass in the shoulder. Had he been in any modern car he would have survived. I'm done with old cars.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Its a dilemma. If i purchase a car it will be an old 2cv ...easy to fix.

    the same thing has happened with marine diesel engines. Very complex.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Quote Originally Posted by slug View Post
    Im not impressed with new cars. Not long ago I rented a VW. I got into the cabin, had a seat, started her up and was familiarizing myself with the cockpit when I noticed a paper advertisement on the window wiper. I got out of the car, engine running ,,to remove this paper and the door blew closed with the wind ...AND LOCKED !!!!!

    auto locking doors ? Who invented this junk ????

    cars are just full of junk that you dont need.

    I had to return to the office and ask them to let me into the car.
    Quote Originally Posted by slug View Post

    young folks who grow up with new cars will be ignorant because they have no idea how things work.

    These ignorant youth will need warnings on their coffee..careful its hot, On thier keys.... dont put too many keys on your chain or you will break the switch....

    when they get older and take charge of the country problems will arise and they will have to import Chinese to solve them.

    Seems the problem with their keys are not restricted to the young people.

  30. #30

    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    I love old cars, but as a daily driver, I wouldn't consider putting a member of my family in an 10 yr+ car. The safety difference is way too big. As for the fix, meh, the most reliable of the new cars don't require much service and don't break much.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    As to the complexity of modern cars and the inability of the shed tree mechanic to work on them I don't care. I'd rather spend my free time building a boat or sailing than getting greasy!
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

  32. #32

    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    I'm with you.... I don't bother doing my own service on cars anymore. I get a discount on service... let the dealership do it. I have little enough free time to fix and use my boats.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    Its the snowball effect...to accomplish a simple task everything is complex. .you can't fix it.

    last week was a set of dual station electronic engine controls. At both stations reverse has become hard to find ?

    i broke out the book, flipped to fault finding section, searched intermittent reverse gear and it told me to...contact a qualified service technician ?

    err emmm...how do I find one of those ?

  34. #34

    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    It is definitely hard to keep abreast of new technologies anywhere. That's why fixing things has become more specialized. It's an assault to my way of life and education, but then, I'm becoming an old fart anyway.

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    Default Re: How cars have changed/improved over the years

    I do the maintenance on my 97 Mustang, but I let the repair shop do everything on my Astro van, as it is a complete nightmare to work on, and my supply of swear words is finite.

    Karen's Cx7 is serviced by the dealer.

    i do understand that new cars are much more safe, but I wouldn't avoid driving an old car because of that. Driver safety is not just about being in a well designed (for safety) vehicle.

    Jeff C

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