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Thread: During which decade do you think automobile technology advanced the most?

  1. #1

    During which decade do you think automobile technology advanced the most?

    I'm not sure if this has already been asked, so if it has, sorry.

    During which decade-not including the 1880's or 1890's-do you think the technology in mainstream cars advanced the most to what they build today?

    I personally think that during the 1930's technology advanced the most. Cars went from wood bodies to all steel, the automatic transmission became available with the Hydramatic. Cars went from having large diameter high pressure tires, to low pressure tires. The 1930's also saw hydraulic brakes become mainstream. Cars took on an aerodynamic streamlined shape, headlights were molded into the fenders, and automotive styling really took off. Radios were installed in mainstream production cars, so were heaters.

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dieseleverything View Post
    I'm not sure if this has already been asked, so if it has, sorry.

    During which decade-not including the 1880's or 1890's-do you think the technology in mainstream cars advanced the most to what they build today?

    I personally think that during the 1930's technology advanced the most. Cars went from wood bodies to all steel, the automatic transmission became available with the Hydramatic. Cars went from having large diameter high pressure tires, to low pressure tires. The 1930's also saw hydraulic brakes become mainstream. Cars took on an aerodynamic streamlined shape, headlights were molded into the fenders, and automotive styling really took off. Radios were installed in mainstream production cars, so were heaters.
    I would say the 1980s.

    This was the era when EFI became the standard, along with computer engine controls. Also, ABS, stability control and all the other electronic aids. Plus overdrive transmissions and the widespread use of turbochargers/intercoolers. This was also the decade when lightweight metals and composites began to become fairly common in mass produced cars. Lighting systems also improved exponentially, going from basic 12 V sealed beam units to the first HID-type units that are now commonplace.

  3. #3
    Senior Member grouch's Avatar
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    I'd say the decade, being 10 years, would be in the late 80's to late 90's. In 1986, fuel injection was just starting to be widespread, vacuum control systems were still in use, disc/drum brakes were the normal way of stopping, car bodies still had some major rust and paint problems, styling was still fairly boxy, and safety systems were pretty much the same as what was used for the previous 20 years.

    By 1996, OBD II computers were in use eliminating the problems of vacuum leaks, fuel injection was nearly universal on new cars, air bags for the driver and later the passenger were in use, styling was sleeker, brakes were going the all disc route with ABS, rust, while not completely gone was under attack and paint was staying on the body better, reliability was much improved and interiors were more comfortable and safer. The worst car built in 1996 was still better than the best car 10 or 20 years previous. Look at any car from 1996 (Cavalier, Taurus, etc.) and you'll see a major difference from the previous few years.
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    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Although each decade has had its own milestone, it's hard to just single out just one. The 1900's showed us how to increase production, with the Assembly line. How to mass produce parts, and to be able to take parts from any of the cars of the same Brand to make up one. Thus the interchangeability of parts. SAE became the Bible for assembly for most of the industry. Before that, every independent Manufacture had their own special assembly methods. Nothing was really that interchangeable with one another.

    The 1920's brought in new engines, a better way to mass produce them as well. Multiple cylinders, humongous Cubic inches, with low horse power, but lots of Torque. Body Designs were starting to show their age. Car Companies were merging with others, and creating new companies. At one time there were over 1400 independent Companies here in the US. Some became part of GM, Ford, Chrysler to name a few. Others just went out of business. Through no fault of their own, but due to economic times. 1931 saw the last of Fords model "A".

    The 1930's brought in new designs, new engines and more powerful cars. Cars were faster, more aerodynamic. Some Designs were disasters, like the Chrysler Airflow, that was ahead of its time. Ford introduced its Flathead V-8 in 1932, in a new model "B". It was rated a whopping '60' HP. Chevrolet had an Overhead "6" Cylinder, which it had developed earlier. Chrysler had a Flat head "6". Buick had an Overhead Straight "8" engine. Cadillac a "V"16, Packard a "V" 12, and a '6' Cylinder Engine.

    The 1940's did not advance to much because of WWII. No new cars, nor
    Models were produced from 1942 though 1945. All efforts were put toward the War for Military Vehicles, Artillery, Ammunition, and the like. After the war, 1946 saw the first new Cars coming off the assembly lines. They looked a lot like they did in 1942, because they were the same designs before the war. Wooden bodies and all. Although the All steel body had been developed earlier, some designs still called for Wood bodies. Such as the Station Wagon and other select Models. 1949 saw some major changes for car designs. Ford came out with a new Model that had a New Suspension, A lower Body, and a wider stance. Chevrolet also came out with a new design that was Sleeker. Oldsmobile came out with a New engine. An Overhead Valve design that had an enormous amount of torque. It was, at that time, the fastest Car on the road. Cadillac still had the flathead engine, as did Ford, and Chrysler. But that would change in the next decade. The only New design was with Plymouth, who came out with the First All Steel Bodied Station Wagon in 1949.

    The 1950's saw an enormous change in the Automotive World. And that to me was a major change in Automobile development. Ford came out with an Overhead '6' around 1952/3, 1954 saw an Overhead "V"-8. Buick dropped its Straight '8' for a "V"-8 in 1954. Cadillac saw its first Overhead "V"-8. Most Manufactures had developed an Overhead Valve "V"-8 in the Fifties. Chevrolet in 1955. But Chrysler Cooperation kept its little Flathead '6' banger until the late Fifties, into the early '60s as industrial engines used in Forklifts. The '60s saw a 4 speed Automatic Transmission, in the Oldsmobile and Cadillac. Each manufacture saw new engine development During the '60s. From "Y" Blocks (Ford), to the Hemi (Chrysler). From small blocks to big blocks. Auto designs were changing too. Some of the most beautiful, in my opinion, were developed during this time period. Two door Hardtops, Four door Hardtops, Disappearing roofs that allowed a Hardtop to become a Convertible in a matter of minutes. Sport Cars from both GM and Ford would rule the road, or so they hoped. The US was being challenged by European Manufactures during this time. The merger of Studebaker and Packard, Hudson and Nash, would be the last big merger during the '50s.

    The 1960s saw more development as a continuation from the '50s. Refinements of Engine, Transmissions, Brakes, Body Designs, Muscle Cars, and the invasion of a "Bug". A Tiger, Goat, Pony, a couple of Fish, and a bunch of other Critters became part of our culture. Gosh, those were fun times.

    The 1970s were a disappointment to a lot of us. With the FEDS getting involved with Exhaust Emissions, and other Safety concerns, the '70s were in most part a nightmare. No power, or fuel mileage, and Blah designs. Some tried to keep some excitement in their cars, but a lot were just trying to meet the Feds Mandates. Enough said on this.

    The 1980s, to me, was another dismal Decade. A lot changes, trying to meet CAFE standards. Sell the public these new cars that were half the size of years gone by. They weren't much in my opinion.

    The 1990s, we saw some spunk come back. We started to enjoy a familiar oder of long ago. The smell of rubber burning from a stock, American made Automobile.

    And that, my friends, was the end of my career in the Automotive field. Most of my career was in the mid '50s through the late '90s. I have had the pleasure of working on vehicles built from the 1920s through the 1990s. Some of the changes I have seen have been rewarding, some have been a nightmare. What comes in the future will interesting with all the new technology being developed. Have fun into the Future.

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    Administrator Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM View Post
    Although each decade has had its own milestone, it's hard to just single out just one. The 1900's showed us how to increase production,

    ..... <snipped> .....

    And that, my friends, was the end of my career in the Automotive field. Most of my career was in the mid '50s through the late '90s. I have had the pleasure of working on vehicles built from the 1920s through the 1990s. Some of the changes I have seen have been rewarding, some have been a nightmare. What comes in the future will interesting with all the new technology being developed. Have fun into the Future.
    You know, that is one of the best potted histories I've read in a long time. Thanks JZ.

    Ken.
    Die dulci fruimini!
    Ken.
    Wolds Bikers, Lincolnshire, England.

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