October 26, 2013 at 12:41 am • Posted in ALL POSTS5 Comments

I am sick and tired of hearing about the great mileage the new cars are supposed to be getting. I am also tired of hearing about how safe they are supposed to be. I started driving in 1962 when cars had real bumpers, not styrofoam and plastic bumpers. They were simple to fix, service, and some when maintained well, some would go 300,000 miles before engine or transmission work was required. Now most cars have to be thrown away when something major goes bad because repair work takes much longer and is far more expensive than it was for older vehicles.
When I was in college, I drove a economy car in the sixties that averaged 35 miles per gallon (mpg). I also owned a 1958 Chrysler 300 D that got 17 mpg even though it had a twin four barrel 392 cubic inch Hemi. It weighed approximately 5000 pounds and had a guaranteed top speed of 153 miles per hour when it was new. My wife drove a V-8 powered 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. She averaged 23 mpg driving on secondary roads and in town running her errands. Both cars had enough power that we had to accelerate carefully to keep from spinning our tires. My father had a V-8 powered 1965 Valiant station wagon that got 25 mpg on the freeway. Even my 6500 pound, seven foot tall, ¾ ton 4-wheel drive Dodge power wagon averaged between 16 and 17 mpg on freeways and two-lane roads.
All of these vehicles had steel bumpers, some weighing approximately 100 pounds. Cars of that era also had steel gas tanks that didn’t rupture when the car was hit in the rear. Your children were safe when riding in the back seat. I have a newer car bumper. It weighs 7 pounds. New cars have plastic or fiberglass gas tanks that can rupture in rear-end crashes posing a fire danger. The distance between the passenger compartment and the front and rear of new cars is far shorter than older cars. This places passengers closer to impacts from other cars or fixed objects.
Two of my brothers would have been killed in high speed accidents if they had been riding in new cars. My older brother was riding in a 1958 Chevy convertible at 85 mph when a tie rod broke causing the car to flip three times and slide to a stop on its top. Neither he nor the driver received so much as a scratch. The hardest problem they had was to kick the passenger door open so that they could out to get help. My youngest brother struck a 12 inch diameter tree and a light pole simultaneously at 70 mph while driving his 1959 Desoto Adventurer. He told me later that as the tree and the pole loomed up in the windshield, the thought occurred to him, “This is not a fender bender, – this is going to hurt.” Both he and his passenger exited the car after the crash, decided that since neither of them knew what constituted a concussion, they must not have one. They walked a mile to the nearest phone booth to call a wrecker to have the car towed to my parents place. Sometime later, when the car had to be moved, he was able to pry the hood open, cut the fan belt, start the car up, and drive it onto a car trailer. Neither of the cars had airbags or seat belts.
My oldest daughter was in a minor crash in a new car and was seriously injured by the airbag. Hundreds of people have been killed needlessly by airbags when cars were involved in minor crashes. Many have been decapitated. I knew three people who died because of a jammed seat belt. My wife knew a fireman who had to watch a woman burn to death in her car because they couldn’t get her seat belt off.
In summary, I feel that nearly every product made during previous generations is far superior to most products made today. Our electric stove was purchased before World War II and all 4 burners still work. They can’t be replaced, because all the circuits are spot welded together including the switches. The oven elements are replaceable and have been. Our two refrigerators were manufactured in the mid fifties and still run just fine.

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