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Old 05-16-2014, 01:50 AM   #1
JimmyLee
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Default Reliability 1953 vs. 1973 vs. 1993 vs. 2013

Corvette mechanical reliability 1953 Vs. 1973 vs. 1993 vs. 2013. Opinions?
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Old 05-16-2014, 01:56 AM   #2
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Corvette mechanical reliability 1953 Vs. 1973 vs. 1993 vs. 2013. Opinions?
Improved.
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Old 05-16-2014, 04:53 AM   #3
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Cars of the past needed much more regular maintenance that cars since the mid 80's or so just don't need anymore. Items like points, plugs, condenser, chassis lubrication, carburetor and clutch adjustments, frequent oil, transmission fluid, differential fluid and coolant changes required attention every 12-24k miles. Leaded fuels could ruin plugs in a performance engine in 2-3k miles easy. Those old cars are so simple compared to a modern, emissions legal, computer controlled car. My Dad had a early '65 Mustang with the 260 CID/164 HP V8 with an A3 tranny, padded visors and 14" wheels and nothing else. He tracked every gallon (he kept a log in the glove box) of fuel he ever put in that car and got 16-18 mpg, once in awhile he got 19-20 mpg. That car, in its day was a good performer. I took it to Lions Drag Strip in about 1967 and it ran the 1/4 mile in about 17.80 seconds at about 79 mph. I had that car weighed with a full tank of gas it was 2,880 pounds. Compared to a late model Corvette the old cars, God love them, were a joke. Plus things like chrome, paint, upholstery and rubber parts all started showing significant wear in only 4-5 years. Considering their complexity the late model Corvette is a paragon of efficiency, performance, comfort and reliability.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:39 PM   #4
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Cars of the past needed much more regular maintenance that cars since the mid 80's or so just don't need anymore. Items like points, plugs, condenser, chassis lubrication, carburetor and clutch adjustments, frequent oil, transmission fluid, differential fluid and coolant changes required attention every 12-24k miles. Leaded fuels could ruin plugs in a performance engine in 2-3k miles easy. Those old cars are so simple compared to a modern, emissions legal, computer controlled car. My Dad had a early '65 Mustang with the 260 CID/164 HP V8 with an A3 tranny, padded visors and 14" wheels and nothing else. He tracked every gallon (he kept a log in the glove box) of fuel he ever put in that car and got 16-18 mpg, once in awhile he got 19-20 mpg. That car, in its day was a good performer. I took it to Lions Drag Strip in about 1967 and it ran the 1/4 mile in about 17.80 seconds at about 79 mph. I had that car weighed with a full tank of gas it was 2,880 pounds. Compared to a late model Corvette the old cars, God love them, were a joke. Plus things like chrome, paint, upholstery and rubber parts all started showing significant wear in only 4-5 years. Considering their complexity the late model Corvette is a paragon of efficiency, performance, comfort and reliability.
Well said....
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:15 PM   #5
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At least you could work on a 53 and 73.

Just look at Cuba. They have kept 50's and 60's cars running with homemade parts. I saw one TV show where a guy was actually building piston rings for a 57 Chevy out of 4 inch steel pipe.
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:11 PM   #6
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...and here I clicked to see your in depth,well thought out chart of reliability of all the years mentioned! Here's my opinion... TODAY'S CARS RUN BETTER THEN YESTERDAYS...BUT I STILL LIKE THE OLD ONES TOO!
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Old 05-16-2014, 11:44 PM   #7
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Cars of the past needed much more regular maintenance that cars since the mid 80's or so just don't need anymore. Items like points, plugs, condenser, chassis lubrication, carburetor and clutch adjustments, frequent oil, transmission fluid, differential fluid and coolant changes required attention every 12-24k miles. Leaded fuels could ruin plugs in a performance engine in 2-3k miles easy. Those old cars are so simple compared to a modern, emissions legal, computer controlled car. My Dad had a early '65 Mustang with the 260 CID/164 HP V8 with an A3 tranny, padded visors and 14" wheels and nothing else. He tracked every gallon (he kept a log in the glove box) of fuel he ever put in that car and got 16-18 mpg, once in awhile he got 19-20 mpg. That car, in its day was a good performer. I took it to Lions Drag Strip in about 1967 and it ran the 1/4 mile in about 17.80 seconds at about 79 mph. I had that car weighed with a full tank of gas it was 2,880 pounds. Compared to a late model Corvette the old cars, God love them, were a joke. Plus things like chrome, paint, upholstery and rubber parts all started showing significant wear in only 4-5 years. Considering their complexity the late model Corvette is a paragon of efficiency, performance, comfort and reliability.
I bought that Mustang from my Dad in the summer of 1967. Like most of my friends I spent a lot of my time working on my car. I really went to school on that notchback. After the usual mods (even converted it to an M4) I got a best of 14.87 @ 97.5 running on a open diff that ruined launches. It was set up for cornering more than straight line work. It was great fun but it was hard to start when it rained, would spit back through the carb at WOT if the plugs weren't fresh, the exhaust made your eyes water, it was so loud (side exit exhausts), so hot (no air conditioning, vinyl seats), so hard to drive (manual everything) that it was only marginally useable but that car was alive! It was such a blast to drive. I loved that car and the experience of owning it but every time I get in my GS it is very easy to appreciate just how far we have come.
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Old 05-17-2014, 03:55 AM   #8
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I bought a 1972 new. It had multiple problems, including a ring and pinion replacement. New cars are just so much better than the older ones.
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Old 05-17-2014, 04:35 AM   #9
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Sometimes I wish I was around in the late 60s to buy an affordable muscle car. While I know inflation has gone up, as well as salaries, it seems like those cars were be more accessible. I've loved vettes ever since I drove my first one and they are relatively cheap. But the thought of buying a new car for a couple grand and being able to work on it yourself is very appealing. New vettes definitely are more reliable for the powertrain but there wasn't the sophistication of computers and electrical components as there once was. I believe we are in a golden era of cars with reliability getting better and better, even as tech also advances. I don't think there's a single car I'd call bad/un reliable right out of the gate that's sold in America today. Where as ten years ago there was some cars lacking initial quality. I've driven a lot of 1-3 year old cars as of late and they feel so much more put together in quality and refinement compared to any car I've ever owned. The great thing IMO about the c6 is even a clean 2005-7 feels like a 1-3 year old car to drive which I love because that's what I'm hoping to get and I definitely want that feeling of a new car.
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Old 05-17-2014, 05:19 AM   #10
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For a car lover the 60's were an exciting time to be sure. As for affordability, yes they were cheaper but the cars had so many limitations that they served only as a starting point for someone searching for a well rounded vehicle.

That 65 Mustang of mine had the factory optional 14" x 5" wheels that included the 10" drum brake upgrade, Wow! It was fitted with what had to be the cheapest 6.50-14 (4.5" of tread width!) bias ply tires that Goodyear made. With a 2 barrel carb and single exhaust the engine was done at 4,400 rpm. Back in the day all the engines were rated in the SAE Gross standard so you needed to deduct about 20% from the published rating to get an approximation of what it really produced in today's horse power. The chassis of these classics were so under developed and limber that most of them were next to worthless in a corner and don't even ask about the brakes! Typical 1/4 mile performance for the strongest stock big block muscle machines was 13.50 sec. @ 105 mph, anything in the high 15's was considered strong. My buddies 66 Olds 442 tri-power, M4 close ratio Muncie, 4.11 Posi "rocket ship" was good for 14.05 @ 99 and with those gears top speed was only 99 mph and every day gas mileage was 7.5 mpg. The aftermarket offered a bunch of go-fast goodies but chassis reinforcements, shocks, springs, sway bars and brake upgrades were minimal. As for infotainment bring a map and your 4-track tape collection, FM radio was optional and not available on many models. Custom seats and interior upgrades? You are kidding right?

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Old 05-17-2014, 05:58 AM   #11
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Lets not forget about the rust issues. I remember buying cars back in the sixties and the first question you would ask was " how much rust does it have".
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Old 05-17-2014, 06:27 AM   #12
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Lets not forget about the rust issues. I remember buying cars back in the sixties and the first question you would ask was " how much rust does it have".
Not such a big issue in SoCal but those cars used lots of untreated mild steel so cars in the snow belt didn't do well that's for sure. In 67 the typical ten year old car was probably on the way to the wrecking yard not a cruise might. The idea that you could easily find top quality, low mileage, original cars like today's used C4, C5 and C6 Corvettes was unheard of.
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:12 AM   #13
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Lets not forget about the rust issues. I remember buying cars back in the sixties and the first question you would ask was " how much rust does it have".
5 years in the Midwest and you better start learning how to do Bondo. 10 years and don't hit a big bump or the frame might bend.
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Old 05-17-2014, 08:30 AM   #14
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Yes, no doubt the new cars are better.... and in some ways worse. They can have vexing issues, that it seems are impossible to figure out some times. Things that never went bad in the old days, are problems now.

After reading the posts in this thread, it made me remember some things from around 1970. Two of my friends had great muscle cars. One was a '70 SS Chevelle with an LS6, the other was a '70 Olds 442 W30. Both cars ran in the 12's at US30 dragstrip. Eventually, the Chevelle made it into the 11's with slicks, some tranny mods and engine bolt-ons. My '64 Vette best ET was 12.97. My opinion is that tire technology was a big limitation to performance back then.

Back in the '90s, I was collecting and restoring Mopars. I read an article in one of the Mopar magazines where they built five 426 Hemis to factory specs and dynoed them. They averaged 495hp at the flywheel and as you might recall, they were rated at 425hp. A competent backyard mechanic could work on these engines, bolt-on mods and tune'em and such.

I for one, enjoyed doing the maintenance on the cars back then. I could do an oil & filter change... and change the plugs in about 30 mins. Changing points and condenser was easy and then retiming the advance was a piece of cake. Using a hydrometer and distilled water for battery maintenance, it seemed we got more years out of the batteries back then. Belts and hoses were super easy to change. Heck, I did a clutch change on my Vette in a couple of hours one time, even with pulling the motor out. If I remember right, I had the motor out of the car in less than 45 mins. And I wasn't rushing, just plodding along.

I actually miss those days, when things were easy.
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:07 AM   #15
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Of course as the years pass, cars need less maintenance, and become more reliable.

The big downside for me, and most everyone else, is the inability for most of us to repair our own cars.

Changing plugs, points, condenser, distributor cap & rotor, ignition wires, distributor, carburetor replacement, or float & jet adjustments and repairs, intake manifold swaps, fuel pump replacement, thermostat, water pump, radiator, etc., etc.

From a small block 327 to a 409, a 383 to 426 wedge, 351 Cleveland, we all worked on our own cars. With the exception of a major internal engine or transmission repair, we all did our own work under the shade of a tree. A good set of sockets, and some basic tools were all that was needed.

There was a feeling of accomplishment and pride, not to mention the money we saved.

Today, most folks may change their battery, air filter, tinker with a few mods, but the technology, and tools required, have left most car owners today at the mercy of the dealers and repair facilities, and that's sad.
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:04 AM   #16
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So instead of fixin', I'm reading this (dumb) thread ...

TGF
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