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prs519

Your opinion on the best (hardiest) makes and years?

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woody wagons? low production - low survival rate - but much wanted - I just purchased a 51 Chrysler newyorker wagon - survivor of 251 produced, and know of others still around - my few cents Tom

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Ironically a similar issue probably is seen in the popular slant six Mopars, Mustangs and Buick/Olds/Pontiacs of the 1960s and 1970s. The mechanicals were excellent but the bodies often rusted to oblivion and resulted in scrapping the car.

I think this was more so with the Fords and GMs not so much the Mopars, especially not the "compacts" like the Dart and Valiant. These cars were built like tanks. They seemed to me like they used a heavier gauge steel in the bodies than I saw in other cars of the era. You could probably use a shovel as a patch panel for one these to match the steel. Pounding out dents took quite an effort sometimes. But that's just a former owner's perspective originally from California.

The only issue I saw was the seat fabric was already in threads before the car was even 10 years old. The vinyl otherwise held up well.

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Some years ago, I read an article in a magazine, listing the 10 best products ever produced in America. Along with the Zippo lighter was the AD Chevy pickup. Many of those 65 year old trucks survive. Quite a few of those are still working every day, earning their keep.

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Many of the Zippo lighters survived, too. I put mine away when I quit smoking in '88, but I still have it. Talk about a distinctive sound.

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I think this was more so with the Fords and GMs not so much the Mopars, especially not the "compacts" like the Dart and Valiant. These cars were built like tanks. They seemed to me like they used a heavier gauge steel in the bodies than I saw in other cars of the era. You could probably use a shovel as a patch panel for one these to match the steel. Pounding out dents took quite an effort sometimes. But that's just a former owner's perspective originally from California.

The only issue I saw was the seat fabric was already in threads before the car was even 10 years old. The vinyl otherwise held up well.

I think my 76 Olds Omega is one of my cars that really surprised me. It has a 4.1 Chevy six, turbo 350, a GM ten bolt posi. I special ordered it with white vinyl seats and door panels instead of the standard brougham cloth velour seats for durability. At 110,000 mile the engine, trans, rear end have never been out or repaired. Still in it's original paint, engine still in it's original paint. On it's third set of tires, second set of ft. brake pads and second water pump. With oil changes every 2,000 miles, transmission, P/S and rear end fluid changes and wheel bearings repacked every 10,000 miles. Coolant and brake fluid changes every year along with dialectic grease under the module in the distributor. The carburetor has never been apart, Original fuel pump, Original Brake master cylinder, ft brake calipers, rear wheel cylinders ( by flushing the brake system once a year keeping moisture out triples the life of the hydraulic parts in the brake system), and original rear brake shoes. Another key to longevity is letting the car warm up to 118 degrees before driving. In the place of the original coolant temp sensor I use a late 50's early 60's G.M. temp. sender which has a hot and cold switch built into it. When the cold light goes out it's ready to drive. As soon as I got the car home from delivery I used two large spray cans with plastic tubes of silicone spray to spray the insides of the doors, fenders and cowl area, also behind the molding on the front and rear windshields all access holes in the hood and trunk lid. This prevents any rust from forming, just make sure this stuff runs out of every drain hole.

For the most part ALL cars fairly competitive. How they last is mainly due to how their taken care of and knowing the weak points and heading those points off before they happen.

Since this car has been taken off active duty the fluid changes to the engine, trans have now been done on a bi-annual basis-the rest of the maintenance schedule is the same. I might add that all seven of my cars are on this type of schedule. See the car below:

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20832/images/img_0124.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20832/images/img_0125.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20830/images/p1080789.jpg

Edited by helfen (see edit history)

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1949 through 1952 Chevys seemed to be survivors,

and so do the

Early 1960s to mid-1970s Valiant/Plymouth/Dodge/Chrysler models.

My 1960 Valiant V-200 had more than 338,000 miles on it when I bought it, verified by the prior owners hand-written log showing every oil change, fuel fill-up, repair, etc. I drove it another 120,000 miles before selling it to a neighbor who needed a reliable car to drive to work.

Our 1941 and 1954 Cadillacs seem representative of a strong group of survivors per their relatively small production numbers in comparison to lower priced cars. Could it be that owners of luxury cars were able to, or more inclined to provide the extra maintenance which kept them in better condition?

My 1977 Chevy C-10 (Half-Ton) Suburban was bought used from a neighbor with 58,xxx miles and a 305 ci "Target Master" Chevy brand new engine (replaced when a Chevy dealer's mechanic left the oil drain plug loose and cooked the original engine). The replacement engine was re[placed with a 350 ci Target Master at 176,xxx miles when a new fuel pump leaked gasoline into the oil, causing an explosion the next morning after a 60 mile drive. The 350 Turbo-Hydramatic transmission was still in good shape, but was refurbished at this time.

This set-up was amazing, trailering our old cars both open and enclosed all over the country, as well as for business as a travelling sales representative all over the Southeast. Eventually we clocked 1,423,xxx miles before the rust got the better of the '77 Suburban (yes, that was One Million, Four Hundred Twenty-Three Thousand miles, but of course the differential was replaced or rebuilt three times, the tranny was gone through three times, and the engine itself had "only" 1,347,xxx miles before the first retirement. Eventually we decided to recussitate the truck and bought a factory remanufactured 350 ci engine. After some minor rust-repair it was put back on the road. The truck was eventually given to a friend who builds Street Rods, along with TRIMACAR'S former 1978 Suburban which had its original 454 ci Chevy engine and 400 Turbo-Hydramatic -- truly a dynamite combination !!

We have the same 454/400 drive-train combination in the 1986 3/4-ton Suburban, which also came from TRIMACAR back in 2000. It has a bit of rust-through showing in the bottom of the left-side front and rear fenders now, but is still capable of pulling as if there is no tomorrow.

The '86 3/4 -ton 454/400 Suburban might eventually be up for sale since it is now only a novelty in our collection, and the towing is relagated to the 2002 Suburban 2500 series with the 8.1 Liter engine, and to the 2000 Ford Excursion 7.3 Turbo-Diesel 4x4.

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Im going to have to say Ford trucks from the 69 to 75.

From what I see, they are the most common vintage vehicle on the road today.

I'm guessing that you live where they don't use much salt. It was sadly comical it was to see these poor cabs rust out the body mounts to the point where the body fell down on the steering column. There haven't been many of them on the roads of Minnesota for a long while.

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About the Vega. They got a bad reputation because of some easily rectified defects that Chevrolet took too long to fix. It was too bad because the fixes were not very difficult or expensive. I know of some later ones that gave excellent service for over 100,000 miles without complaint. I drove one and was very impressed by its smooth quiet comfortable ride. It drove like a big car.

You must remember that they were selling against the Pinto, VW beetle, Plymouth Cricket, AMC Gremlin and in that group they looked pretty good. Many people shunned Vegas and bought Monzas and were happy with them, even though a Monza was a Vega with a restyled body.

I recall that Vegas had such weak frames that the weight of the engine made them sag. A simple alignment could get mighty expensive when it involved straighting the frame. After the frame straightening, they would vibrate like the dickens for a while until every thing up front finally settled down.

I think that there were some cars that may have stuck around too long. I turned ten in 1960, and I can recall hating Chrysler product styling of the forties. No matter what front end was on the car, and, no matter what sort of tail light arrangement was used, they all looked the same to me. The roads were still full of them and it seemed to me that every model had the same trunk lid and rear fenders. Ironically, I would latter learn to admire Chrysler products greatly.

Minnesota cars don't remain attractive very long with our winters. Rust patches and holes are ugly by anyone's judgement. Much later those '70s Corollas were an example of cars built well enough to still be on the road long after they looked like they shouldn't be. Also those crappy, but relatively indestrucatable Omnis and Horizons. Geez, I can remember people driving them with broken off door handles (both inside and outside), windows that no longer rolled down, or else, where taped up to keep them from falling down. I was glad to finally see them go.

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I recall that Vegas had such weak frames that the weight of the engine made them sag. A simple alignment could get mighty expensive when it involved straighting the frame. After the frame straightening, they would vibrate like the dickens for a while until every thing up front finally settled down.

First of all Vegas do not have a frame, and the uni-body is quite strong enough as the Vega uses the same platform as the Monza which came with a V-8 as a option. There are quite a few people who have installed V-8's-small and big block engines with no problems to the uni-body.

A friend pictured here really liked the body style but wanted to give his car a little more power so.... this car is so sano it looks like the factory built it.... and by the way this car is built to go around corners.

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20723/images/p1010264.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20723/images/p1010265.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20723/images/p1010261.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20723/images/p1010263.jpg

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Dodge owners replace ballast resistors. Chev owners replace engines.

Like saying.....Wow, My dad can beat up your dad.

Come on pal let's make everyone feel good.

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Helfen, you have a 36-year old car on it's third set of tires. I hope your name is on it. I would not want to get picked up if I was walking.

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I recall that Vegas had such weak frames that the weight of the engine made them sag. A simple alignment could get mighty expensive when it involved straighting the frame. After the frame straightening, they would vibrate like the dickens for a while until every thing up front finally settled down.

First of all Vegas do not have a frame, and the uni-body is quite strong enough as the Vega uses the same platform as the Monza which came with a V-8 as a option. There are quite a few people who have installed V-8's-small and big block engines with no problems to the uni-body.

A friend pictured here really liked the body style but wanted to give his car a little more power so.... this car is so sano it looks like the factory built it.... and by the way this car is built to go around corners.

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20723/images/p1010264.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20723/images/p1010265.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20723/images/p1010261.jpg

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20723/images/p1010263.jpg

I should have said crossmembers. Otherwise I stand by my statement. I don't recall it being an issue with Monzas, or, come to think of it, later Vegas. Chevrolet undoubtedly made improvements as they went along. That aluminum engine with the large cast iron cylider head wasn't very well loved. It's been some time but, my recollection is that they were always being compared (unfavorably) to the Pontiac iron duke. I don't recall their weakness right now, but I think that when they failed, they required resleeving at substantial expense. I beleive that they were pretty much considered disposable, like too many other later engines.

Edited by Hudsy Wudsy (see edit history)

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Helfen, you have a 36-year old car on it's third set of tires. I hope your name is on it. I would not want to get picked up if I was walking.

That third set is four years old, anyroad I don't pick up strangers so you could just......keep on walking!

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Some years ago, I read an article in a magazine, listing the 10 best products ever produced in America. Along with the Zippo lighter was the AD Chevy pickup. Many of those 65 year old trucks survive. Quite a few of those are still working every day, earning their keep.

Close, Mustang, but the AD's came out in 1947, so the oldest ones are hitting 65 years old just this year. I've got a '48 in my garage.

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Close, Mustang, but the AD's came out in 1947, so the oldest ones are hitting 65 years old just this year. I've got a '48 in my garage.
The AD was introduced in the summer of 1947, prior to the 47 passenger cars. It is, currently, the summer of 2012. 2012 minus 1947 is 65.I may be off by a few weeks, but I stand by my rudimentary math, especially as I was born in 1947 and am the same age as the first ADs. I am also rusty and creaky but still functional

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Like saying.....Wow, My dad can beat up your dad.

I thought that was what this whole thread was about: My preferred make/model/year of vehicle was/is the best (hardiest)... :)

I think that in addition to personal prejudices it depends on where you live. I know that many years ago on my first trip away from home I was surprised by the composition of the fleet of vehicles I saw on the road in Upstate NY compared to where I was raised in the sunny Southwest: "New" cars like my family's 7 year old car were non-existent due to rust issues. Characteristics that we thought were required for a durable and reliable car like a good cooling system were unimportant in Upstate NY and on the other hand a design that gave great rust resistance made no difference to us.

A long while ago I owned a '63 Dodge D200 truck that I thought was built like a tank and pretty indestructible. In fact there are a couple Dodge trucks in my area of about that same vintage that look like they are soldiering on quite well. But this weekend on a ranch near the wind swept shore I spotted the remains of a '63 or '63 Dodge truck that was a almost unrecognisable pile of rust. Again, different environment leads to different outcomes and opinions.

Based on casual observation in my area, I'd say that Toyota made some pretty durable Corollas twenty or thirty years ago. While not common, I sure see more of them on the road here than GM, Ford or Chrysler product sedans of the same era.

And based on last weekend's little road trip in the old car, I'd guess that most of the still serviceable type 1 and type 2 VWs from the 60s have ended up in the rural areas of Marin County. Either that or they happened to be hardiest there and less hardy elsewhere. :)

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I thought that was what this whole thread was about: My preferred make/model/year of vehicle was/is the best (hardiest)... :)

I think that in addition to personal prejudices it depends on where you live. I know that many years ago on my first trip away from home I was surprised by the composition of the fleet of vehicles I saw on the road in Upstate NY compared to where I was raised in the sunny Southwest: "New" cars like my family's 7 year old car were non-existent due to rust issues. Characteristics that we thought were required for a durable and reliable car like a good cooling system were unimportant in Upstate NY and on the other hand a design that gave great rust resistance made no difference to us.

A long while ago I owned a '63 Dodge D200 truck that I thought was built like a tank and pretty indestructible. In fact there are a couple Dodge trucks in my area of about that same vintage that look like they are soldiering on quite well. But this weekend on a ranch near the wind swept shore I spotted the remains of a '63 or '63 Dodge truck that was a almost unrecognisable pile of rust. Again, different environment leads to different outcomes and opinions.

Based on casual observation in my area, I'd say that Toyota made some pretty durable Corollas twenty or thirty years ago. While not common, I sure see more of them on the road here than GM, Ford or Chrysler product sedans of the same era.

And based on last weekend's little road trip in the old car, I'd guess that most of the still serviceable type 1 and type 2 VWs from the 60s have ended up in the rural areas of Marin County. Either that or they happened to be hardiest there and less hardy elsewhere. :)

Exactly, but you should have posted the whole Quote:

quote_icon.png Originally Posted by Rusty_OToole viewpost-right.png

Dodge owners replace ballast resistors. Chev owners replace engines.

Like saying.....Wow, My dad can beat up your dad.

Come on pal let's make everyone feel good.

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Ply33, in 1983 I took my family on vacation and about a week of the vacation was spent in Michigan. Here in West Virginia most of the cars in the neighborhood were probably less than 5 years old and I expected everyone in Michigan to be driving an almost new cars. A lot of the cars I saw in driveways and on the roads were well-faded and well-used up 15-20 years old. It was a shock.

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A few answers have surprised me, leading me to wonder just how much geography (latitute and precipitation), might have on the longevity of

different vehicles! Had never thought of that as a possiblility. Re: the Vega, I was thinking the initial furor over their quality developed due to

extreme camshaft wear. Am I dreaming, or do others remember that, too?

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Vegas were prone to oil burning which was blamed on cylinder wear due to their "soft" aluminum engine blocks. A Chev engineer later stated this was not true. About the time the Vega came out, the first endoscope for looking inside cylinders was developed. The mechanic would look in there, see some scratches on the cylinder and say "there is the problem". Later it turned out to be faulty valve stem seals not the rings or cylinders at all. A different valve stem seal solved the oil burning problem. The scratches on the cylinder were minor, and did not cause the oil burning.

The Vega had several problems caused by inadequate development and testing, or cheaping out on certain parts. By the time they fixed them up it was too late.

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Oldsmobile should get a mention. They made some extremely tough long lasting V8s from the fifties right up through the seventies.

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Rusty, I traded my car on some real estate in the early '70's and needed a car in a hurry. Bought a '68 Chevrolet Impala conv. with a 307 engine. It also had valve stem seal problems. A mechanic replaced them but told me it was a common problem on that engine and not to expect them to last. I did not keep it long and traded it off.

Vegas were prone to oil burning which was blamed on cylinder wear due to their "soft" aluminum engine blocks. A Chev engineer later stated this was not true. About the time the Vega came out, the first endoscope for looking inside cylinders was developed. The mechanic would look in there, see some scratches on the cylinder and say "there is the problem". Later it turned out to be faulty valve stem seals not the rings or cylinders at all. A different valve stem seal solved the oil burning problem. The scratches on the cylinder were minor, and did not cause the oil burning.

The Vega had several problems caused by inadequate development and testing, or cheaping out on certain parts. By the time they fixed them up it was too late.

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I can speak for my experience here in Brazil, every car show I go here from south to the north, beach area or country side, two cars are very common, so only resistance could explain their survival: 1928-1929 Ford Model A's and 1950 to 1953 Chevrolet sedan's. It is amazing how these cars have survived in our wet weather and road conditions, because until lates 90's was very dificult to import spare parts to Brazil. My 1928 Chevrolet and 1951 Plymouth seem to be rare in Brazil, when compared with those other cars. And I do not believe it is a matter of few imports back in those days, because Chevrolet assembles cars in Brazil since 1925, and Plymouth and Dodge cars were very popular here in 1950's.

JRA

1928 Chevrolet National, touring

1929 Chrysler "75", roadster

1951 Plymouth Cranbrook, 4 dr sedan

1954 Willys-Overland Jeep, CJ3B

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