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GMs Homliest Car?


Hudsy Wudsy
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Mr. White, in regard to your response in post #119, I had to laugh about that one.  I was careful - very careful in fact.  What a lot of folks will not take into account is this - the '42 Olds was more than likely designed in late 1937 to early 1938.  I would be willing to put money on this.  GM, Ford, and all of the automobile companies at that point in time were working 4 to 5 years out because of the time involved to get tooling ready to begin production.  It was a different ballgame back at that time.  There was no CNC machining of body panel dies.  There were no computers to assist in styling.  I have tried to follow this hilarious thread and at a few places have stopped to laugh myself delirious.  The '41 Olds that the guy has made such a stink over is classic art deco styling at it's finest.  That is a very beautifully styled automobile.  Like I said in a previous post - give me that car in a Bright Red with a Khaki top convertible body style and that would steal the show that it was entered in.  There is just no accounting for some folks' taste in automobiles.  I guess that is why we ended up with Buicks and Cadillacs and Fords and Chevrolets and on and on and on.  There is one thing for absolute certain here - based on some of the comments that have been made, it is very clear to me that I and some of these guys on here would NEVER be in a fight over the same woman.  That can be taken to the bank!!

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas  aka  Doo Dah

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based on some of the comments that have been made, it is very clear to me that I and some of these guys on here would NEVER be in a fight over the same woman.  That can be taken to the bank!!

 


 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas  aka  Doo Dah

 

 

True.

Some guys prefer less attractive women.

They don't have to worry about someone trying to take her away from them.

And, if they do, who cares?? ;)

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The fact that folks see identical things in many and varied ways is old news. However, that some see things in degrees, subtle shades and nuances, while others hold strident views of "yay or nay", "pass or fail" or "go and no go" is old news, as well.

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The hideous GM H3 Hummer - don't know if it is a car, truck, SUV or some other mad-monk automotive alphabet designation. And it may not be the ugliest, but makes my top 5 ugly GM products. Somewhat cartoon like as it turned out since it has little of the capability it pretends to have.

Ingress and egress is torture, then there are those tank slit windows. Rides like a cement mixer and about as noisy.

Out of the GM lineup today. Truly a mercy killing.

I never thought of the hummer/humvee being a car so I did not even consider it.  If I had, it is hard tell what I might have said.

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Caprice IS the first scale successful attempt to take Chevrolet into the higher price market even though it is not a "C" body car. 1977 full size Cadillac shares no sheet metal with 1977 full size Chevrolet, also 1975-1979 Seville, while based on Nova, shares no sheet metal with Nova.

The downsized B & C bodies were the unfortunate start of what became a disturbing trend, which only contributed to GM's downfall.  Four and a half years later, all five of GM's North American car divisions had a J-body, not to mention Vauxhall and Opel versions over in Europe.  All of them shared sheet metal, regardless of their status.  Thing is, the Caprice worked and at the same time, it did NOT steal sales away from BOP or Cadillac.  Go back earlier, the 1958 Buick Limited sold for more than some of the base Cadillacs that year.

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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  Go back earlier, the 1958 Buick Limited sold for more than some of the base Cadillacs that year.

 

Craig

There has always been price overlap at GM. In that same year a 58 Impala sold for more than a 58 Pontiac Chieftain, a Bonneville sold for more than a Olds 88 and a Olds 98 sold for more than a Buick Special.

 People perceive the 60's as the golden years for GM and it's cars. In January of 1963 Chevrolet and Pontiac were told by corporate to cease all sponsorship, hardware, engineering assistance basically anything to do with racing. Why, because GM was trying to cut back sales because GM had about 55% of the market. The performance thing had driven Chevrolet sales very high, Pontiac in 1956 was a division that was going to go away unless sales turned around. From 1957 to January 1963 Pontiac had become a performance division which catapulted it by 1961 into the # 3 sales slot over Plymouth and Rambler. With 55% of the market GM had heard rumors from within the government that if this trend continued that the Government would break off Chevrolet division. Part of the reduction effort on GM's part was to get out of any organized racing to kill the success formula Pontiac and Chevrolet called " win on Sunday, sell on Monday. Keep in mind this 55% of market share.

Many people consider the years of the 70's, especially the mid to late 70's as terrible times for cars so with that thought in mind I have to remind you that in 1977, the year GM downsized it's large cars that GM's control of the car market was 56.6%. Just a FYI even though Cadillac had shrunk many inches and reduced weight by 950 lbs. sold much better than 1976 Cadillac. BTW all this reduction was induced because of the government fuel mileage requirements. 

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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Like I said in a previous post - give me that car in a Bright Red with a Khaki top convertible body style and that would steal the show that it was entered in.  There is just no accounting for some folks' taste in automobiles.  I guess that is why we ended up with Buicks and Cadillacs and Fords and Chevrolets and on and on and on.  There is one thing for absolute certain here - based on some of the comments that have been made, it is very clear to me that I and some of these guys on here would NEVER be in a fight over the same woman.  That can be taken to the bank!!

 

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas  aka  Doo Dah

Well Terry, you might be right about stealing the show but to really be sure to capture a trophy you would also have to play the part of a homeliest guy  to go along with your homeliest 42 Olds     

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There has always been price overlap at GM. In that same year a 58 Impala sold for more than a 58 Pontiac Chieftain, a Bonneville sold for more than a Olds 88 and a Olds 98 sold for more than a Buick Special.

 People perceive the 60's as the golden years for GM and it's cars. In January of 1963 Chevrolet and Pontiac were told by corporate to cease all sponsorship, hardware, engineering assistance basically anything to do with racing. Why, because GM was trying to cut back sales because GM had about 55% of the market. The performance thing had driven Chevrolet sales very high, Pontiac in 1956 was a division that was going to go away unless sales turned around. From 1957 to January 1963 Pontiac had become a performance division which catapulted it by 1961 into the # 3 sales slot over Plymouth and Rambler. With 55% of the market GM had heard rumors from within the government that if this trend continued that the Government would break off Chevrolet division. Part of the reduction effort on GM's part was to get out of any organized racing to kill the success formula Pontiac and Chevrolet called " win on Sunday, sell on Monday. Keep in mind this 55% of market share.

Many people consider the years of the 70's, especially the mid to late 70's as terrible times for cars so with that thought in mind I have to remind you that in 1977, the year GM downsized it's large cars that GM's control of the car market was 56.6%. Just a FYI even though Cadillac had shrunk many inches and reduced weight by 950 lbs. sold much better than 1976 Cadillac. BTW all this reduction was induced because of the government fuel mileage requirements. 

 

That's one interesting post!

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Many people consider the years of the 70's, especially the mid to late 70's as terrible times for cars so with that thought in mind I have to remind you that in 1977, the year GM downsized it's large cars that GM's control of the car market was 56.6%. Just a FYI even though Cadillac had shrunk many inches and reduced weight by 950 lbs. sold much better than 1976 Cadillac. BTW all this reduction was induced because of the government fuel mileage requirements. 

That is correct, in 1962, there was talk in Congress of a 'Seven-sisters'-like breakup of GM; not unlike what happened to AT&T in 1984, resulting in some corporate retrenchment on their part.  The 1977 downsizing was arguably GM's last full-scale, across-the-board success story.  The 1978 A-body redesign was not so well received as the downsized B-C bodies the previous year, and actually fell short of sales expectations.  It was a perfect example of GM's arrogance which was starting to become noticeable, both for their dealers, and the buying public.  The 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best selling car in the US at the time, and instead of keeping the strongest selling lines of the 73-77 A-body style around for a few more years while the sales were still good, GM arrogantly ceased production, expecting the 1978's would sell as well.  Even the dealers complained about that action on GM's part; especially ones who sold Oldsmobile.  (GM did learn from that somewhat.  When the industry swung back to large cars in the early 1980's, GM did import the B-body Pontiac Parisienne from Canada at dealer insistence in 1983.)  The 1980 X-body cars should have been a great success story for GM and initially, sales were promising, but all those recalls stifled any sustained interest and high sales of them.  By the end of 1985, they were replaced with the N-body. 

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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That is correct, in 1962, there was talk in Congress of a 'Seven-sisters'-like breakup of GM; not unlike what happened to AT&T in 1984, resulting in some corporate retrenchment on their part.  The 1977 downsizing was arguably GM's last full-scale, across-the-board success story.  The 1978 A-body redesign was not so well received as the downsized B-C bodies the previous year, and actually fell short of sales expectations.  It was a perfect example of GM's arrogance which was starting to become noticeable, both for their dealers, and the buying public.  The 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best selling car in the US at the time, and instead of keeping the strongest selling lines of the 73-77 A-body style around for a few more years while the sales were still good, GM arrogantly ceased production, expecting the 1978's would sell as well.  Even the dealers complained about that action on GM's part; especially ones who sold Oldsmobile.  (GM did learn from that somewhat.  When the industry swung back to large cars in the early 1980's, GM did import the B-body Pontiac Parisienne from Canada at dealer insistence in 1983.)  The 1980 X-body cars should have been a great success story for GM and initially, sales were promising, but all those recalls stifled any sustained interest and high sales of them.  By the end of 1985, they were replaced with the N-body. 

 

Craig

GM must have to have done something right in 1978 because they went even higher in market penetration than 1977's mark of 56.6 to 57.9 %. A large bulk of those sales were the new "A" bodied cars. "A bodied cars in 1978 were just as popular than the 77 models and sales figures prove it. In reality GM could not meet CAFE fuel requirements if they had held onto the old "A" body design. It was not a arrogant decision to replace them. The real arrogance was the government mandate because there were plenty of other cars in the GM model line up for fuel conscious customers to buy. This is a government knows best move. I remember in 1977 that a Cutlass or Chevelle was about the same size and weight ( possibly more) as the new downsized "B" bodies. this also happened again in 1977 and was really interesting to see a car like my 76 Omega Brougham ( considered a compact! ) larger or just as large and weighed more than a Cutlass or Impala....Even GM couldn't downsize all it's models all at once!

The reason the 2nd generation X body's were replaced by 1985 is because they were at the end of their design cycle. The N car was on paper when the 2nd generation X cars made their debut.

 

FYI in 1979 GM's market penetration went to a unheard of 59.2%. This is a impressive figure considering cars from Japan were fully entrenched and on the verge of manufacturing, VW, doing so well that Rabbit production was now in Pa. at a VW plant from 1978......and all those GM cars some of you have been criticizing like the down sized "A", "B" and 1/2 mid year 2nd generation X cars were so terrible! Time to re-think some of those cars and give them a welcome place in car clubs and shows.  

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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I never thought of the hummer/humvee being a car so I did not even consider it.  If I had, it is hard tell what I might have said.

You could have said Macho, although I think this is a word that has just gone on the NO use list of politically incorrect word usage. To me Hummer certainly does evoke a Macho image. Definitely not a Homeliest car that would have a owner saying to you, "want some cookies?".

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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A few notes:

 

Throw another log on the Aztek fire from me as well.  There's just no excuse for it.  The car was chosen deliberately for Breaking Bad, right down to the color, for the same reason Walter White frequently appeared early on in ill-fitting tighty -whitey underpants.  It was meant to show a man that, prior to discovering his Heisenberg (and his Chrysler 300), was completely defeated in life.

 

The 1959 Buick was not a styling mis-step, but it begin a period of slow sales for the marque.  Those slow sales resulted from some very ill-built 1955/56 models, and damage they did to Buick's rep for a time.  Those mid-50s boom era cars were slapped together as fast as possible, and if you read that era's Consumer Reports there were severe consequences as those cars aged.

 

The downsizing of GM's cars in the late 1970s resulted in cars some 800 lbs lighter that actually had larger interiors and trunks than the 1976-era cars.  They were better and more appropriate cars, and along with the collapse of Chrysler in 1979 resulted in GM's best market share.  Sadly it also resulted in a sense of market entitlement there that came back to haunt them...

 

...which ran counter to the idea for the need for Saturn, which in turn was never fully realized or exploited.  To this day, even in the era of "the new" GM an the vastly improved cars they're building, there is still an attitude/sense that small cars should be less well made than big ones.  It has hurt GM for generations now.

 

Hummers were not cars or trucks.  They were costumes.

 

==================

 

Now, as to GM's homeliest car I tend to weigh more heavily against the cars from the era where GM had every advantage and should have done (and generally did) better.  For the most part the GM cars of the 1960s were their most attractive, but one stands out to me as a huge miss.  The heavily restyled 1967 Pontiac full-size cars to me look like they're trying to look even heavier and more ponderous than they are.  I just don't see a balance or theme to the design except to advertise it's bulk, something the other A-bodies didn't seem to do.  It had to be deliberate, and I've never thought of it as attractive.

 

I had a friend in the 1970s that had a 1967 Pontiac hearse by Superior.  The bulk of the hearse body actually made for a better looking vehicle. 

 

67cat.jpg

Edited by Dave@Moon (see edit history)
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A few notes:

 

Throw another log on the Aztek fire from me as well.  There's just no excuse for it.  The car was chosen deliberately for Breaking Bad, right down to the color, for the same reason Walter White frequently appeared early on in ill-fitting tighty -whitey underpants.  It was meant to show a man that, prior to discovering his Heisenberg (and his Chrysler 300), was completely defeated in life.

 

The 1959 Buick was not a styling mis-step, but it begin a period of slow sales for the marque.  Those slow sales resulted from some very ill-built 1955/56 models, and damage they did to Buick's rep for a time.  Those mid-50s boom era cars were slapped together as fast as possible, and if you read that era's Consumer Reports there were severe consequences as those cars aged.

 

The downsizing of GM's cars in the late 1970s resulted in cars some 800 lbs lighter that actually had larger interiors and trunks than the 1976-era cars.  They were better and more appropriate cars, and along with the collapse of Chrysler in 1979 resulted in GM's best market share.  Sadly it also resulted in a sense of market entitlement there that came back to haunt them...

 

...which ran counter to the idea for the need for Saturn, which in turn was never fully realized or exploited.  To this day, even in the era of "the new" GM an the vastly improved cars they're building, there is still an attitude/sense that small cars should be less well made than big ones.  It has hurt GM for generations now.

 

Hummers were not cars or trucks.  They were costumes.

 

==================

 

Now, as to GM's homeliest car I tend to weigh more heavily against the cars from the era where GM had every advantage and should have done (and generally did) better.  For the most part the GM cars of the 1960s were their most attractive, but one stands out to me as a huge miss.  The heavily restyled 1967 Pontiac full-size cars to me look like they're trying to look even heavier and more ponderous than they are.  I just don't see a balance or theme to the design except to advertise it's bulk, something the other A-bodies didn't seem to do.  It had to be deliberate, and I've never thought of it as attractive.

 

I had a friend in the 1970s that had a 1967 Pontiac hearse by Superior.  The bulk of the hearse body actually made for a better looking vehicle. 

 

67cat.jpg

Dave, what you said; " The heavily restyled 1967 Pontiac full-size cars to me look like they're trying to look even heavier and more ponderous than they are. I just don't see a balance or theme to the design except to advertise it's bulk, something the other A-bodies didn't seem to do."

That full size Pontiac is a "B" body. Interesting you picked the homeliest model when you could have picked this;

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTKJ9Av4B0M5SODFWDWFqmIsbffIbfmMJikkj-znDZgaT634yeajg

http://www.collectorcarads.com/Picture2/672+2-9.jpg

http://assets.hemmings.com/uimage/41167171-770-0@2X.jpg?rev=1

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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The 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass was the best selling car in the US at the time

 

...partly because the full-sizers had been downsized to the same, if not smaller, dimensions as the mid-sizers.  People knew what they wanted. ;)

 

 

That 1977 model year has always fascinated me because of the full-size downsize.  Beyond that, Ford downsized 2 model years after each of the GM downsized.  The GM full-sizes downsized for 1977; Ford's full-sizers downsized for 1979.  GM's mid-sizers downsized for 1978; Ford's for 1980.

 

 

Cort :) www.oldcarsstronghearts.com

1979 & 1989 Caprice Classics | pigValve, paceMaker, cowValve
"T-tops down in my Cutlass Supreme" __ Uncle Kracker/Kid Rock __ 'It's Good To Be Me'
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FYI in 1979 GM's market penetration went to a unheard of 59.2%. This is a impressive figure considering cars from Japan were fully entrenched and on the verge of manufacturing, VW, doing so well that Rabbit production was now in Pa. at a VW plant from 1978......and all those GM cars some of you have been criticizing like the down sized "A", "B" and 1/2 mid year 2nd generation X cars were so terrible! Time to re-think some of those cars and give them a welcome place in car clubs and shows.  

If they were such great cars, then it stands to reason GM should have had no problem retaining that 59.2% and possibly even gaining MORE market share in the eighties, right?  In reality, the 1980's were far from kind to GM, as it started progressing downwards to 17.9% we see today, (and only 13.5% in Canada).   Good as those B-C body cars were mechanically, they were the blandest, most stagnant, middle-of-the-road design ever for a full-size GM car, and they remained that way for an unheard of 14 model years, until the 1991 redesign.  GM did NOTHING in between that time to do anything to those poor B-C cars other than some exterior and interior trim rearrangements to make them appear different from one year to the next.  The excessive funds that were wasted on the GM-10/W-body should have been allotted to what was their best selling car at the time, and used on improving it. 

 

Craig

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GM management had an embarrassment of narcissists and prima donnas in those years (they ALWAYS had them, but seems the 80s defined the breed). Combined with the utter stupidity some of those MBAs and consultants sold them, it was a recipe for disaster. Oldsmobile bore the brunt of GM's mismanagement during those years as the money that Division made for the parent got squandered on the W10 and Saturn projects as well as trying to salvage Cadillac from the mess the corporation had made of it. That money should have been steered toward R&D for the B/C cars.

 

I've often said that if 70s-90s GM management had been held financially and criminally accountable for the mess they made of that company, the prisons would have been full and the end products would have been much improved.

 

Now as far as the fugly and sometimes bizarre styling GM has been guilty of thruout its existence, can't explain that.

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GM management had an embarrassment of narcissists and prima donnas in those years (they ALWAYS had them, but seems the 80s defined the breed). Combined with the utter stupidity some of those MBAs and consultants sold them, it was a recipe for disaster. Oldsmobile bore the brunt of GM's mismanagement during those years as the money that Division made for the parent got squandered on the W10 and Saturn projects as well as trying to salvage Cadillac from the mess the corporation had made of it. That money should have been steered toward R&D for the B/C cars.

 

I've often said that if 70s-90s GM management had been held financially and criminally accountable for the mess they made of that company, the prisons would have been full and the end products would have been much improved.

 

Now as far as the fugly and sometimes bizarre styling GM has been guilty of thruout its existence, can't explain that.

Know what you mean Glenn, all those incompetent people who turned over their factories for U.S. war production. As you say they always had them. The 80's breed were torn apart by tradition and keeping up with the times. Stagnation can occur everywhere, in the best of companies, people and countries.  

 

If they were such great cars, then it stands to reason GM should have had no problem retaining that 59.2% and possibly even gaining MORE market share in the eighties, right?  In reality, the 1980's were far from kind to GM, as it started progressing downwards to 17.9% we see today, (and only 13.5% in Canada).   Good as those B-C body cars were mechanically, they were the blandest, most stagnant, middle-of-the-road design ever for a full-size GM car, and they remained that way for an unheard of 14 model years, until the 1991 redesign.  GM did NOTHING in between that time to do anything to those poor B-C cars other than some exterior and interior trim rearrangements to make them appear different from one year to the next.  The excessive funds that were wasted on the GM-10/W-body should have been allotted to what was their best selling car at the time, and used on improving it. 

 

Craig

 

 

Craig,

 Lots more competition in the 80's. Remember the 80's are the time period when Toyota, Honda, VW and Nissan start manufacturing here and fuel prices and vehicle mileage plus the governments wishes/threats are factors. Still, I would love to have a 1979-80 Eldorado, or for the family a 82-83 Olds Regency 98 4 dr. although many consider those cars environmentally un-friendly.

  In trendy So. Cal. and the S. Frisco Bay area and the South East trendy spots the hot ticket was to been seen in a Mercedes, BMW, Saab, Volvo and Jaguar with many people of those origins having their ( GB ) ( D ) ( S ) ( CH ) ( IRL) ( F) ( NL ) etc. on their front grille. You were "IN" if you drove a import.

s-l1000.jpg

Edited by helfen (see edit history)
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 Lots more competition in the 80's. Remember the 80's are the time period when Toyota, Honda, VW and Nissan start manufacturing here and fuel prices and vehicle mileage plus the governments wishes/threats are factors.

You know what they say when the little puppies that were nipping at your heels do when they turn into full-grown adults?

 

Toyota, Honda, Nissan, & VW saw the golden opportunity at the smaller end of the market where GM only took a half-hearted look at, and Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz, (and later, Acura, Lexus, Infiniti), saw the golden opportunity at the opposite end of the market where GM didn't have any contenders (although they are really trying at playing 'catch-up' by constantly reinventing Cadillac). At the smaller end of the market, GM was still competing with their first world car, the T-body Chevette (I do not count their captive imports) when Toyota, Nissan, Honda and VW had fwd hatchbacks with better handling and more efficient engines by 1980.  As I stated in a different thread, Cadillac moved downmarket in the late 1960's in the interest of higher volume, where Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, maintained their higher status, and sales for those marques started to steadily increase in the 1980's.  Somehow, GM failed to noticed that, but Honda, Toyota, and Nissan sure did, and responded with Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti by the time the '80's were over.  All I can say, is I am glad they sold off Lotus before they dragged it into the ground like they did SAAB!

 

Craig

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You know what they say when the little puppies that were nipping at your heels do when they turn into full-grown adults?

 

Toyota, Honda, Nissan, & VW saw the golden opportunity at the smaller end of the market where GM only took a half-hearted look at, and Audi, BMW, and Mercedes Benz, (and later, Acura, Lexus, Infiniti), saw the golden opportunity at the opposite end of the market where GM didn't have any contenders (although they are really trying at playing 'catch-up' by constantly reinventing Cadillac). At the smaller end of the market, GM was still competing with their first world car, the T-body Chevette (I do not count their captive imports) when Toyota, Nissan, Honda and VW had fwd hatchbacks with better handling and more efficient engines by 1980.  As I stated in a different thread, Cadillac moved downmarket in the late 1960's in the interest of higher volume, where Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, maintained their higher status, and sales for those marques started to steadily increase in the 1980's.  Somehow, GM failed to noticed that, but Honda, Toyota, and Nissan sure did, and responded with Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti by the time the '80's were over.  All I can say, is I am glad they sold off Lotus before they dragged it into the ground like they did SAAB!

 

Craig

The features on "foreign cars" in the 1980s meant nothing.  Frankly the Dodge Colt, 2 Datsun 210s, Mazda 323, and Subaru BRAT I drove in those years were probably no more enjoyable or cutting edge or trendy/status driven as the 3 Chevettes I also drove frequently (although none of the Chevettes were mine).  What those "foreign cars" were was obviously and profoundly of better quality than the Chevette, as well as the other small GM cars of theday.  The difference at the time was mind-blowing.  It was a revelation that a small/inexpensive car didn't have to be a poorly made one*.  That difference was hammered home in the late 1980s and beyond when larger, more upscale "foreign cars" (Accord, Camry, Legacy, etc.) didn't have to be (and weren't) any better made than the small cars that got them in the door. 

 

That continues to this day.  My Toyota Yaris, while small and cheap, is assembled just as well as the Toyota Avalons I was selling until recently.  They're all equally well made.  Did anybody ever claim their Chevette was as well made as a Caprice? 

 

It continues to this day.  A Chevy Spark/Aveo/Sonic/Cruze is nowhere near as well built as a new Impala.  I've driven and sold almost all of them (used trade-ins) so I have seen it firsthand, but all you have to do is pick up Consumer Reports to see it as well.  (BTW, before people begin bashing CR bear in mind that lately the love upmarket Buick, in some cases more than some "Japanese cars".) 

 

There has never been a cheaply made Toyota (at least since 1975).  Ditto for half a dozen other Asian car brands (some of which today have higher domestic content than any GM car).  When we can say that about GM over a 40 year stretch maybe they'll be back where they once were.

 

======================

 

*And for people who never understood Saturn, that was why they existed.  For as long as the SL/SW Series continued, they actually pulled it off too!

Edited by Dave@Moon (see edit history)
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The features on "foreign cars" in the 1980s meant nothing.  Frankly the Dodge Colt, 2 Datsun 210s, Mazda 323, and Subaru BRAT I drove in those years were probably no more enjoyable or cutting edge or trendy/status driven as the 3 Chevettes I also drove frequently (although none of the Chevettes were mine).  What those "foreign cars" were was obviously and profoundly of better quality than the Chevette, as well as the other small GM cars of theday.  The difference at the time was mind-blowing.  It was a revelation that a small/inexpensive car didn't have to be a poorly made one*.  That difference was hammered home in the late 1980s and beyond when larger, more upscale "foreign cars" (Accord, Camry, Legacy, etc.) didn't have to be (and weren't) any better made than the small cars that got them in the door. 

 

 

I agree with what you are saying.  I will take one exception with your first sentence.  One 'feature' that got consumers to actually LOOK at Asian cars in the 1970's were those 'features' which were taken for granted as optional; even on the upscale American (and German, I might add) cars were standard on the Asian brands.  More was included in the base price on Toyotas and Nissan (Datsuns) at the time.  This included a radio, floor mats, armrests front & rear, courtesy lights, and more.  I remember being quite astounded a Toyota Corona and a Datsun 510 would offer a radio as standard, while it was an option on nearly every other American or German car at the time.

 

Craig. 

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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I agree with what you are saying.  I will take one exception with your first sentence.  One 'feature' that got consumers to actually LOOK at Asian cars in the 1970's were those 'features' which were taken for granted as optional; even on the upscale American (and German, I might add) cars were standard on the Asian brands.  More was included in the base price on Toyotas and Nissan (Datsuns) at the time.  This included a radio, floor mats, armrests front & rear, courtesy lights, and more.  I remember being quite astounded a Toyota Corona and a Datsun 510 would offer a radio as standard, while it was an option on nearly every other American or German car at the time.

 

Craig.

With regards to standard features in a Nissan/Datsun. Radio's and a/c in , LB110, B210, 510, 610, 710 F-10 310 and all early Sentra and pick up trucks--all were dealer installed, along with other accessories like roof racks, bumper over-riders and wood grain on wagons etc. This was also true of VW. Other cars like 810, Maxima usually came factory equipped along with later Z car, 200SX, 240SX. This all started to change in the mid 80's, but it was because dealers were no longer ordering stripped cars for inventory. The cars were so hot that dealers were getting over MSRP so they loaded them up straight from the factory. In the 60's 70's and early 80's accessories were big money in new car prep. For Nissan/Datsun all the cars and trucks up to 1973 used Nissan U.S.A. approved aftermarket A/C called Frigiking. That all changed in 1974 when Hitachi ( the factory supplier) made A/C installation kits so that dealers could install factory units. The install time was about 3-4 hours longer to install than a frigiking which in some cars only took a little over 2hrs.

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With regards to standard features in a Nissan/Datsun. Radio's and a/c in , LB110, B210, 510, 610, 710 F-10 310 and all early Sentra and pick up trucks--all were dealer installed, along with other accessories like roof racks, bumper over-riders and wood grain on wagons etc.

That is correct that A/C, overrider/grilleguard, and woodgrain trim were dealer-installed accessories as was an upgrade to an AM/FM radio or tape deck.  An AM radio was standard.  The reason the Cressida and Maxima came along had to do with the voluntary quotas; it allowed them to build/ship over less vehicles with fatter profit margins.  In turn, it forever dispelled the 'cheap tin box' image many had in their minds about Asian cars up until that time. 

 

Craig

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That continues to this day.  My Toyota Yaris, while small and cheap, is assembled just as well as the Toyota Avalons I was selling until recently.  They're all equally well made.  Did anybody ever claim their Chevette was as well made as a Caprice? 

 

 

Proof of that is the Lexus ES vs Cadillac Cimarron.  NO ONE derides the ES for being based on a lower level Toyota Camry as the build quality is already excellent.  And most can remember the blasting Cimarron got being based on a poor quality J-car; especially when all the car magazines compared with a BMW 320i?

 

Craig

Edited by 8E45E (see edit history)
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That is correct that A/C, overrider/grilleguard, and woodgrain trim were dealer-installed accessories as was an upgrade to an AM/FM radio or tape deck.  An AM radio was standard.  The reason the Cressida and Maxima came along had to do with the voluntary quotas; it allowed them to build/ship over less vehicles with fatter profit margins.  In turn, it forever dispelled the 'cheap tin box' image many had in their minds about Asian cars up until that time. 

 

Craig

In my early days as a mechanic/technician I spent a lot of time installing radios and A/C in the cars I listed. Nissan in the late 70's wanted to go upscale for first the mid level market share and the 810, 910/Maxima was produced, later in another phase it would be the luxury market with Infiniti. Product planners of the company in those days were very methodical and patient in their how ever long it takes to achieve a goal approach. Nissan also wanted to take the Z car out of the sports car segment and move it to Grand touring market. Unfortunately for Nissan that was a wrong move and because of this the Z car went away for a few years until the 350Z came about bringing the car back more closely to it's roots
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Umph. Someone was prattling this morning about having a lead on a 73 Camaro Rally Sport and I remembered how homely I thought that face was, then and now...

 

Split bumpers just didn't "do it" for me, then or now.

 

Don, I well remember when the Z car lost its way. Some lounge lizard who lived in same apartment complex I did had a 280ZX in French Beige with a magenta velour interior. That thing was over the top even in the mid 80s.

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  • 2 weeks later...

#132 reminded me that even though I've always been a huge fan of Oldsmobiles, and still am, the '65 through '70 full size models did, in my eyes, appear atrocious! Especially the '67-'68 four door models. Oh they may have been high quality, dependable road vehicles, but good looks just wasn't happening. I've always felt that Cutlas achieved it's popularity because of the ugliness of the full size models. They did manage to turn things completely around with the '71-'72 full size models, and again in '77-'79. I consider those to be some of the best looking cars of the era.

Edited by Larry W (see edit history)
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  • 1 month later...

Everyone knows that I am an 'old' Buick enthusiast, but, I gotta say that the 1948 Pontiac Convertible on the cover of the July/August 2015 Antique

Automobile magazine is one really fine looking automobile. But, there are probably some on here who will lump this car in with GM's ugliest cars ever

produced. I feel sorry for you folks.

Terry Wiegand

South Hutchinson, Kansas

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  • 7 months later...

The Aztec pretty much wins hands down. The styling misstep for the 42 cars was pretty much limited to the grille. The Aztec was terrible from pretty much every angle.

By the way did anyone see the 42 Olds in the swap meet at Hershey on Tuesday this last year? Even with the styling misstep, that car was gorgeous.

The Aztec was like some GM designer was trying to make his mother's Ford Motor Company shares worth more and he sure succeeded! It was nothing short of an embarrassment. Wayne

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I was never a big fan of the 58 Chevies, especially of the rear. But I do admit after many years of more and more nauseatingly ugly new cars being made, the 58 Chevy began looking good to me. But it is a homely car compared to other cars of the era.

chevrolet-bel-air-35.jpg

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I recall my one rental Aztec. Almost made it out of the airport before I brought back and asked for anything else. Was a safety issue. There was a misty rain going on and you could not see out the back. Rear window just did not drain and there was no rear wiper.

 

But did not consider that ugly, more confused. Ugly I reserve for a Daimler SP250.

 

And on the subject of imported cars, IMNSHO what made them dominate was the 55 mph speed limit. Most small cars in the early 70s buzzed at 70-75 but were quiet at 55 while things like Vegas/Astres and Novas (Nova, Omega, Ventura, Apollo) might take while to get there, you could cruise comfortably at 70, even with a loss-leader six.

 

I recall a FIAT 124 sedan that you could not carry on a conversation at 70 and the small diameter tires tended to have a harmonic above 65. However at 55 all was good and made sales possible. By the time the 55 went away, they could make foreign cars in the American style.

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I was never a big fan of the 58 Chevies, especially of the rear. But I do admit after many years of more and more nauseatingly ugly new cars being made, the 58 Chevy began looking good to me. But it is a homely car compared to other cars of the era.

chevrolet-bel-air-35.jpg

Bleach, I am with you on the 58's and I am a Chevy guy I always thought they were pretty ugly, however I like looking at it from behind, it's the front that does me in. The Impala interior is out and out bizarre.  I don't think it is the ugliest car in that era, but it is far from as pretty as everyone thinks it is. I guess we all have an opinion 

Edited by John348 (see edit history)
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I never thought much of the '58 Chevs either but an old "junk": man west of our town had one.

The man died many years ago but within the last few years a son FINALLY got his hands on it and brought t back......in BLACK.

Beautiful shiny black, BLACK, and that car is truly gorgeous now.

It's the only '58 I ever REALLY liked.......and I'm a Chev guy too but it's the '59's that trip my trigger.......  :wub:

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