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#10169 - 02/07/04 06:16 PM What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New?
LTDan Offline


Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 12403
Loc: Gloucester,VA STOP MOVING HERE
I was born in 1973 (Nov 6,'73 to be exact, so if I were a car I'd be a '74 )and by the time I got my license ('90) all of the '60s cars were rusty and beat to hell. So, what were they like when they were new or late-model cars? Like what problems were indigenous(sp) to what brand of cars, etc. stuff like that. I dig these stories!
_________________________
68 Coronet R/T 440/4 speed
69 Charger 318 survivor-ish
71 Road Runner 440+6
71 Satellite sedan 318
77 Grand Prix Model J 400
79 Volare wagon 318
10 Challenger R/T 5.7/6 speed
The best cars have faded paint, ripped seats and greasy engines

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#10170 - 02/07/04 06:31 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
Jim_Lusk Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 03/18/03
Posts: 16103
Loc: Fresno, CA
Fit and finish was generally poor to fair. They weren't quite as fast as people remember them. The drum brakes were scary in consecutive hard stops or water.

On the other hand they were a blast (and I was a little too young to remember them well when they were new). Even my GTS (I bought it when it was 15 years old) drove nice and stopped nice (except for in water with the drum brakes).

When the first gas crunch hit the cars got REAL CHEAP. I know of a 66 Hemi Coronet that was sold in 1975 with a spare hemi in the trunk. The price was $950 or $975.

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#10171 - 02/07/04 06:32 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
63CandyMatic Offline
pro stock

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 1291
Loc: Land of the Brave, Home of the...
I have had the chance to work on, drive and examine a few unrestored original mopar muscle cars.

In a word, anything that could be considered "wrong" by todays standards, often was.

Paint was usually very poor, compared to modern vehicle standards. (Lots of orange peel, and runs, etc..)
Fit and finish was usually also pretty bad. Good restorer's spend a lot of time trying to get body lines, fenders and doors to fit better than they did from the factory.

Lot's of overspray, and a lot of variation existed between cars. That's why it's funny when an "expert" claims that "THIS IS THE CORRECT WAY THIS PART-CAR-PAINT MARK, ETC.., IS SUPPOSED TO BE." Never say never with an old mopar.

Also, people need to remember that folks weren't as fussy as they are now. Wind noise, rattles, squeeks, etc.., were all just an accepted part of these cars, even when they were new.

Lastly, the crazy part is how bad they generally handled. Way overweight, noseheavy and overpowered, especially for the tires and suspensions of the time.

I think people were more responsible or at least more capable generally back then. If you sold someone a hemi car on redline non radial tires today, they'd crash leaving the dealership, and there would be a class action lawsuit against the corporation.

People today are wusses.

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#10172 - 02/07/04 06:37 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I remember my uncles 70 Super Bee when it was brand new. Plum crazy, white top and int, 383 4 speed. I thought it was the greatest car ever. He said it was the biggest POS he had ever bought
In 1974 I owned a 68 Dart GTA(new for me at 17). That was the best car I ever owned. Bone stock old lady car,318.a/c, p/s,p/b green ext, black vinyl top, black bucket int w/console, sweeeeet! Drove the crap out of it and it never failed me.....til my brother side swipped oncoming traffic HI Lloyd

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#10173 - 02/07/04 06:42 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: 63CandyMatic]
amxautox Offline


Registered: 05/13/03
Posts: 89078
Loc: On The Boat , On The Lake
I don't remember how they compaired to today's cars. I was having too much fun driving them to worry about quality of paint. It was good for the time. Some would rattle and some had a tinny sound when you closed the doors. But what do you expect? It was the late '60s and early '70s. My '71 Sebring sounded tight and solid compared to my friend's '72 Challenger that sounded tinny. Both cars were bought new. My '67 Mustang was a little tinny too. But they were fast for the day also. But I liked corners and never took a car to the drags. Til about '78. Didn't impress me and wasn't all that fun so never went back. Even after I pumped up the engine, set it up for corners. Still like corners.
_________________________
Tom

"Everyone should believe in something; I believe I'll go fishing."

-Henry David Thoreau



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#10174 - 02/07/04 06:45 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were N [Re: 63CandyMatic]
KingMopar Offline
top fuel

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 1614
Loc: Littleton, NC
Man....do I remember when Dad brought home a 71 Duster brand new. Total price was like 2g with tax, title, free tank of gas, etc. Had rubber floor mats/no carpet, 225 slant with 3 speed on the floor, with air. Runs all in the trunk and under the hood, though had that new car smell. Exterior paint was bright red, but not the gloss we're use to now. The slant ran like a sewing machine though.....but Mom hated the thing due to the manual steering and the tranny was somewhat "clunky" to shift. It just didn't look right with those skinny tires and didn't ride all that well at all. Wandered in the corners.....and braking was darn well sluggish(compaired to today).

My sister ended up with the slant. Dad sent $ to college to get sis to change the oil. Seems it went to beer instead. Once, she came home and the darn thing was dented to hell and Dad sprung for an oil change while she was home. Slant still running like it was no tomorrow......and the mechanic remove the plug and the oil ran like goop.(Remove pan and removed sludge) Flushed/filled/ran/refilled with Kerosene and afterwards oil(man, DAD was PISSED) and the darn thing ran another 4 years till she graduated. Sold to another gent.....who ran the same engine another 8 years. When I turned 16, we found the car....dented more....the the old slant was STILL taking him to work everyday, burning a 1/2qt between changes and ran like a top. Body was toast however....but my sister did most of it. It WAS a tough old bird......somewhere in a new Honda....may she rest in peace.

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#10175 - 02/07/04 06:46 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: 63CandyMatic]
LTDan Offline


Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 12403
Loc: Gloucester,VA STOP MOVING HERE
Quote:

I think people were more responsible or at least more capable generally back then. If you sold someone a hemi car on redline non radial tires today, they'd crash leaving the dealership, and there would be a class action lawsuit against the corporation.

People today are wusses.



hahaha you sure got that right!
_________________________
68 Coronet R/T 440/4 speed
69 Charger 318 survivor-ish
71 Road Runner 440+6
71 Satellite sedan 318
77 Grand Prix Model J 400
79 Volare wagon 318
10 Challenger R/T 5.7/6 speed
The best cars have faded paint, ripped seats and greasy engines

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#10176 - 02/07/04 07:12 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:

Quote:

I think people were more responsible or at least more capable generally back then. If you sold someone a hemi car on redline non radial tires today, they'd crash leaving the dealership, and there would be a class action lawsuit against the corporation.

People today are wusses.



hahaha you sure got that right!





I know sombody that won't drive their Camaro because it has a V8. Owned it for 8 years, never driven it once.
________________________________________

My uncle was telling me that he had a friend that had a HEMI 'Cuda, he said that it felt like it was gonna fall apart beneath you when it drove, but when he laid down the pedel, it WENT!

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#10177 - 02/07/04 07:39 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: Jim_Lusk]
poorboy Offline
master

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: Freeport IL USA
I got out of high school in 74, I worked at the best auto repair service station in town back when new car dealers were for buying new cars, not for fixing them. Things I observed from working at that station from 72 through 78 were, cars with any ware near 100,000 miles was almost unheard of, most died around 80-90K. But, you could find more Mopars that survived 100K, next were Fords, then way off in the distance was GM.

Mopars had squeaks and rattles, fit and finish sucked, Mopar starters sucked. Mopar drum brakes weren't any worse then anyone elses drum brakes, but most GM had disc on front by 74 and they were way better. Mopar seemed to package their cars for performance better then the rest, if you bought a Mopar(new) with a high performance motor, brakes, suspension, transmission, and rear end were upgraded as well, I think that's why they seemed to live longer. Reguardless of what anyone said, Mopar performance was carried on the back of the 383 maginum. Only rich guys had 440s or Hemis and the Hemis were poor street motors, had to be rebuilt at 50k miles.

GM electronic ingnition had problems when it was new (74), timing chains on many GM went bad around 60-70K (Pontiac seemed the worst, then Chev). Chevy motor mounts were junk, any abuse almost guarenteed motor mount replacement. 396 was the GM preformance motor, followed by the 427 (for those that could afford one). The 389 Pontiac wasn't bad for the first 50K before the timing chain crapped out.

Ford had a horrable upper controle arm set up. There were grease fittings that were a real pain on the Mustangs and Torinos that if not taken care of would devolope a nasty squeak. Ford changed their electronic ignition every year for the first 3-4 years they had it. The biggest problem with Ford was inconsistantly. You could never count on getting two of the same line of cars, or parts, that were the same quality, one Mustang might be great, but the next 5 might be junk, then there might be 5 great ones in a row. The problem ran in all of Fords car lines. Add to that Ford stuffed some really big motore in really small cars that were a real PITA to work on. Motors were pretty much the same deal. The 390 carried most of the performance load, but like everything else Ford, some were strong and some were not so strong. Most of the 427s were great, if you could afford on when you found one. The 428 were so-so, and the 429s were a joke. BTW the 302 was too small to compete with all the monsters.

By mid 74 the gas chrises hit with times when no gas available (for a day or two) at any price for a peroid of about 6 months. When it became available again, the price had gone from $.36/gal up to $.60/gal. Most people pannacked and anything with a big motor could be had dirt cheap (just what any 18 YO dreams about) It was a fun time to be a teenager. Gene

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#10178 - 02/07/04 08:07 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
Anonymous
Unregistered


RangerDan, They were fun to drive and for me, it was just another new car crusing down the boulavard. Not many thumbs up routines to experience. The thing couldn't get a wheel if it was sitting on a stick of butter, and it was a 383 4BBL engine. All of that has changed now that I found a good Mopar mechanic and with Herb McCandless's assistance. Ole Red runs better now than it ever did back in 67. Comp Cam and freshly blueprinted 383 4BBL engine with the same Carter AFB carb and the 727 trannie that has had the hands of a Mopar guru in it leaves plenty of black marks with the sure grip when it is punched. Ole Red gets thumbs up all the time now and it is a real blast to drive now.

~ Don ~

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#10179 - 02/07/04 08:13 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
A12 Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 16977
Loc: N.E. OHIO, USA
THE COOLEST!

(Attached photo of my first car with my sister, ordered in the spring of 1969, I was 19, 383, 3:91 Suregrip, Air Grabber, Hardtop, Troqureflite, buckets, console, black interior, light package, power steering, 14:07 ET (once) 14:20's most of the time, Hooker's and the Mopar cool exhaust sound out the chrome tips, yeah too cool for a teen and into his 20's )


Attachments
691423-MY 69 RR w JO ANN.JPEG1.jpg (813 downloads)


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#10180 - 02/07/04 08:13 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New?
Just Cameron Offline


Registered: 01/22/03
Posts: 26545
Loc: Sebastopol, NOR*CAL.
Being born in '76, I wasn't around when they were brand new either.

One thing I do know is they sure weren't spray painted.
_________________________
"When applied at precisely the right time ignorance in a powerful tool. Usually surpassing even knowledge." EJ "Michigan Madman" Potter VP At Large, MPM C/C.

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#10181 - 02/07/04 08:25 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: Just Cameron]
LTDan Offline


Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 12403
Loc: Gloucester,VA STOP MOVING HERE
Cool stories! Keep 'em coming!
It seems to me that if the cars were only good for about 80-90K miles back then, why does everyone b$tch and moan if their new <insert late-model car here> can't get 150,000??? (It seems that guys especially like to complain about late model Mopars here, too)
Anyway, how about car crashes? How did real metal cars fare against each other? It seems that maybe insurance companies may not have been so quick to total out a car back then.
Were warranty claims as red-tape laden as they are now?
_________________________
68 Coronet R/T 440/4 speed
69 Charger 318 survivor-ish
71 Road Runner 440+6
71 Satellite sedan 318
77 Grand Prix Model J 400
79 Volare wagon 318
10 Challenger R/T 5.7/6 speed
The best cars have faded paint, ripped seats and greasy engines

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#10182 - 02/07/04 08:40 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were N [Re: LTDan]
Anonymous
Unregistered


People complain about the quality of modern cars because most of the old ones left have huge mileage! So if I get a Dodge Dart used with 80,000 miles, and it goes to 150,000, then I think that all cars should! Of course, no mention is made of the cars that died and went to junk yards.

The reality is that modern cars go longer before they begin having problems, but once the problems start it is difficult to fix them.

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#10183 - 02/07/04 08:51 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
NAS Backyard Offline
master

Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 5435
Loc: Woodbridge,CA
I rode in many Mopars in the mid 70's an a young kid. The ones that standout were the 70 Purple R/T Charger 440 auto, a real dog , My neighbors 69RR 4 speed, went through 6 clutchs, probebly his fault. 70 blue Superbee 4 speed ran really strong, 70 Chally pumped up 383 4 speed , one BMF! My favorite was a 72 Chally 340 auto blue/silver with the strobe stripe, that was a tight car. He let that one go back to the bank when he went in the army. There were also 2 68 RT Coronets , but I never rode in them. One of the guys said he was doing 140 taking his little brother to the hospital. I remember another guy buying a 70 Charger with a 440 6 pac from a used car lot in about 74 for 1800.00 He compained about the gas milage alot.
_________________________
1970 Challenger Ragtop 426 4 speed 1961 Olds 88 2 dr Sedan 394 4 speed GVOD 1968 Pontiac Firebird 428 4 speed 2000 Ford F-150 2002 HD Roadking 1961 Licence Plate collection 1995 Buick Roadmaster www.nogreenautolaws.com

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#10184 - 02/07/04 08:59 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: NAS Backyard]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I wasn't born until 1970. I'm assuming they were like virgins on prom night. The chances of going home innocent were very slim.

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#10185 - 02/07/04 09:01 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Quote:


Anyway, how about car crashes? How did real metal cars fare against each other?




When I was really young, I saw a fulled size '70 Mercury station wagon t-bone a parked Volare wagon and pin it to a steel Burger-Chef sign like a giant butterfly. The Mercury was still drivable and the Volare was about 2 feet wide afterward.

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#10186 - 02/07/04 09:11 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
RUNCHARGER Offline
I Live Here

Registered: 01/20/03
Posts: 14724
Loc: Kelowna B.C. Canada
My brother hired on a Chrysler dealership in 1964 and took his apprenticeship there, I hung around there a bit. My Father bought a new Mopar every three years and I vividly remember them as they came from the factory.
The cars came off the truck needing the windows adjusted, the engines tuned up and generally a bit of care on the predelivery, not like now when they basically have to be cleaned up. If you bought from a good dealer you usually got a good car. The paint was okay, certainly they didn't have todays technology. The upholstery on the stripper versions didn't last long, and the popular vinyl upholstery was not so good in winter or summer. If the dealer PDI'ed the car properly the windows wouldn't leak, the doors would close just fine and there would be no rattles.
You had to change plugs and points and take a screwdriver to the carb once in awhile but it was easy and anyone could do it with good chances of success.
My Dad worked out of town and it was not uncommon for him to drive 4 or 5 hours at speeds in the triple digit zone, he changed oil at regular intervals and never had a mechanical problem of any sort except for a bum carb on his 65 Fury and leaky rad seam on his 71 Chrysler. Brakes were not as good as discs but no one followed with their bumper up someones tailpipe like they do now. On Highway trips if you seen a moose on the road you drove around it in those days, unlike today where most drivers jam the brakes to the floor and let the airbag do it's thing.
My Dad worked in logging in the winter and would drive bushroads with a car, hauling a toolbox full of tools in the trunk, try that with your new Mercedes for a few winters and tell me about what quality means to you, remember the speed factor too. Dad did add an extra main leaf to each rear spring to haul the tools. A pickup truck didn't haul a family very well and in those days you couldn't afford more than one vehicle.
Mopars did not squeek and rattle (other than E-bodies rattling), GM's did especially the front end. Mopar balljoints lasted about 80,000 miles with gravel and highway miles if greased, the T-Bar front end was very trouble free.
Mopars were very reliable in street racing as well, Ford's Drivetrains were good but their engines weren't as tough as Mopars, Chevy had a pretty good engine other than rocker arms and timing chains, the rest of their powertrain was second rate. Many a GM musclecar was towed home after an attempted acceleration run. GM Clutches, transmissions, rear ends all were weak compared to Ford and Mopar.

Sheldon
_________________________
Generation nothing, it's a 426 Hemi, a real one.

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#10187 - 02/07/04 09:16 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: RUNCHARGER]
Anonymous
Unregistered


12in rear ends w/ a posi aren't too bad.

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#10188 - 02/07/04 09:40 PM Re: What Were Our Musclecars Like When They Were New? [Re: LTDan]
poorboy Offline
master

Registered: 01/19/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: Freeport IL USA
Anybody that owned and really drove the late 60s and early 70s cars on a daily bases says the new cars are not as good as those were has a short memory. I have owned a lot of Mopars, both cars and trucks since 72 that had over 100K. Without any doubt, the newer cars are much better. The older cars were simpler to work on, although easier to work on is still in question. The cars back in the day could be repaired at home with simple tools, if you knew what you were doing, the newer cars require more special tools and repair information in harder to come by and more complicated, but if you know what your doing they are still repairable. The older cars seemed to have parts go bad at certain intervals, exhaust, brakes, shocks, and things like that were wore out about every 30-35K. Many people would trade in their cars at 35K, or around 60K, once the miles passed 70-75K used car dealers wouldn't give you anything for a trade. The conception was that by then the car was wore out, and they were hard to sell (except to teenagers.) Ever hear of the stories of "bought this car from the back row of the dealership for little or nothing" those were the 6-7 year old cars with 70-80k. I bought a 70 Road Runner from the back row in 75 with 60K, had a 383, 727, and a Air Grabber for $600.00.

Most of the new cars back then had 12 month/ 12,000 mile warentee. It pretty well had to be a real heap to have anything done under warentee.

As far as crashes, often the cars held up better, but the passengers came out on the short end of things. Some of the cars were poorly designed and a 5mph bump could cause $500 damage! Remember, new cars could be bought for $4,000. Insurance would fix just about anything if the estamate came in under 1/2 the cars value. Most people didn't want a car fixed, they would fight to get it replaced.

It was a different world back then. Sometimes change is good, sometimes it isn't. The older we get, the less we like things to change. But I'd bet for most of us, if we could jump into that time machine and go back to those "good times", we probably wouldn't want to stay there. Gene

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