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Thread: Do you remember when?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Do you remember when?


    Here's an updated ten point automotive IQ test - or age test.

    See how many of the following ten features you can remember vs. those you've got no recollection of - and maybe never even heard about!

    How about:

    * Rear-facing seats?

    The last time these were around was in the early-mid 1980s (I think) when they were offered by Subaru in the Brat. Prior to that, you'd find them in big station wagons. But the safety nags killed them off; if you're under 30 today, you've probably never seen (or sat in) one.

    * Steering wheels without air bags?

    Now we're reaching back to the '90s, the final decade when you could still buy a new car sans the air bag. Some cars of that era had automatic seat belts instead. Remember them? If you're 30-ish today, you just might. Air bags have undoubtedly saved lives - but they've also pretty much ruined steering wheel design. Most are just blobs with spokes and can't hold a handle to the spoked and chromed coolness of decades long gone.

    * 85 mph speedometers?

    For a few years, courtesy of the federal government, new cars were not allowed to have speedos that registered higher than 85 mph. This was during the early Reagan years and some automakers (Ford, for example, with the Mustang SVO) got around the prohibition by leaving room after "85" on the speedometer - with just slashes instead of numbers to give you an idea of how fast you were going. Another trick was to remove the little stop that limited the needle's travel; that done, it was possible to wind 'er all the way around the dial back to 10 or 20 mph... if you had enough oats underhood!

    * Exposed metal bumpers on passenger cars?

    The 1969 Pontiac GTO pioneered the "bumperless" look - with an integrated plastic/composite nose that flowed seamlessly into the quarter panels and hood. Exposed chrome bumpers lasted about another 15 years before fading into extinction; today, the only vehicles that have them are pick-ups and SUVs.

    * Multiple ashtrays (and cigarette lighters)?

    About ten years ago, smoking began to become seriously un-PC. The automakers responded by replacing ashtrays with cupholders - and cigarette lighters with "power points." Only a few '08 model year vehicles come standard with cigarette lighters - or ashtrays. Often, they must be ordered as part of an optional "smoker's package" - if they are available at all. Steve McQueen would be very unhappy.

    * Outside hood latches?

    There was a time when you opened the hood by rooting around the grille area to find the catch. Now you pull on a handle inside the car. I'm not sure when the transition occurred but I haven't seen outside latches in 20 years at least. A relic of the era of bell bottoms and before - and a reflection of the fact that people will rip off anything they can put their hands on.

    * In-car dictaphones?

    This will rewind you to the go-go '60s and groovy '70s, when a few automakers (including Chrysler) offered a primitive - by today's standards - voice recording device that could be used to make audio memos to yourself. If you can remember these things, you can probably remember Nixon, Watergate and Three Dog Night!

    * Vinyl roofs?

    How long has it been? For decades, one of the signature design touches that defined a luxury car or luxury car-wannabe was a vinyl roof - sometimes with light bars and opera windows. They're nonexistent today; partially because they were water traps and thus, rust magnets - partially because they smelled of Old Man. No one under 60 would be caught dead driving a car with a vinyl roof nowadays - which are days when 60 is the new 40 and even old people don't want to drive old folks' cars.

    * Rear wheel drive economy cars?

    This one will definitely date you. But there was a time when even lowly econo-cars were still rear-wheel-drive; models like the venerable Chevy Chevette, for instance - which had a genuine solid axle rear suspension, complete with "pumpkin." Ditto the Ford Pinto - and, of course, the original VW Beetle. There's no such animal today. All low-priced compacts are front-wheel-drive. If you can remember when it was otherwise, you also likely remember the Soviet Union, Coke with sugar (not high fructose corn syrup) and styrofoam boxes at McDonalds!

    * Four-barrel carbs?

    I have some great memories of flipping the air cleaner lid on the engine of my mom's Oldsmobile 98 (307 V-8; last of the line) and hearing the Quadrajet four-barrel carb's secondaries open up when I floored the thing. It's a sound no modern car with fuel injection can make - and air cleaners today are square boxes with multiple latches instead of wing nuts holding the top down. To find a car with a carburetor, you have to go back to 1987 - the last year they were built before the transition to EFI.

    So, how did you do?

    If you could dial up first-hand memories of more than six of the previous ten features, you're approaching the crest of the proverbial hill. If you got all ten, congratulations! You are officially an OF - and are now entitled and empowered to hate all things new - and carp endlessly about the "good old days."

    Welcome to the club.



    END

  2. #2
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Eric,

    Great article just posted it on the main page. The Rochester Quadrajet 4bbl actually was produced until the end of the 1990 model year. Most passenger GM passengers cars dropped it by the end of the 1987 model year. However the 1988 - 1990 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser and Chevrolet Caprice station wagons still had the 307 with the 4bbl. With the B-body redesign for 1991 the Quadrajet and the 307 did not return.

    Here's an ebay ad of a 1990 Caprice Classic Wagon with the Olds 307 and Quadrajet 4bbl:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Chevr...spagenameZWDVW

  3. #3
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    All of the above but the dictaphone -

  4. #4
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric

    Here's an updated ten point automotive IQ test - or age test.

    See how many of the following ten features you can remember vs. those you've got no recollection of - and maybe never even heard about!

    How about:

    * Rear-facing seats?

    The last time these were around was in the early-mid 1980s (I think) when they were offered by Subaru in the Brat. Prior to that, you'd find them in big station wagons. But the safety nags killed them off; if you're under 30 today, you've probably never seen (or sat in) one.

    * Steering wheels without air bags?

    Now we're reaching back to the '90s, the final decade when you could still buy a new car sans the air bag. Some cars of that era had automatic seat belts instead. Remember them? If you're 30-ish today, you just might. Air bags have undoubtedly saved lives - but they've also pretty much ruined steering wheel design. Most are just blobs with spokes and can't hold a handle to the spoked and chromed coolness of decades long gone.

    * 85 mph speedometers?

    For a few years, courtesy of the federal government, new cars were not allowed to have speedos that registered higher than 85 mph. This was during the early Reagan years and some automakers (Ford, for example, with the Mustang SVO) got around the prohibition by leaving room after "85" on the speedometer - with just slashes instead of numbers to give you an idea of how fast you were going. Another trick was to remove the little stop that limited the needle's travel; that done, it was possible to wind 'er all the way around the dial back to 10 or 20 mph... if you had enough oats underhood!

    * Exposed metal bumpers on passenger cars?

    The 1969 Pontiac GTO pioneered the "bumperless" look - with an integrated plastic/composite nose that flowed seamlessly into the quarter panels and hood. Exposed chrome bumpers lasted about another 15 years before fading into extinction; today, the only vehicles that have them are pick-ups and SUVs.

    * Multiple ashtrays (and cigarette lighters)?

    About ten years ago, smoking began to become seriously un-PC. The automakers responded by replacing ashtrays with cupholders - and cigarette lighters with "power points." Only a few '08 model year vehicles come standard with cigarette lighters - or ashtrays. Often, they must be ordered as part of an optional "smoker's package" - if they are available at all. Steve McQueen would be very unhappy.

    * Outside hood latches?

    There was a time when you opened the hood by rooting around the grille area to find the catch. Now you pull on a handle inside the car. I'm not sure when the transition occurred but I haven't seen outside latches in 20 years at least. A relic of the era of bell bottoms and before - and a reflection of the fact that people will rip off anything they can put their hands on.

    * In-car dictaphones?

    This will rewind you to the go-go '60s and groovy '70s, when a few automakers (including Chrysler) offered a primitive - by today's standards - voice recording device that could be used to make audio memos to yourself. If you can remember these things, you can probably remember Nixon, Watergate and Three Dog Night!

    * Vinyl roofs?

    How long has it been? For decades, one of the signature design touches that defined a luxury car or luxury car-wannabe was a vinyl roof - sometimes with light bars and opera windows. They're nonexistent today; partially because they were water traps and thus, rust magnets - partially because they smelled of Old Man. No one under 60 would be caught dead driving a car with a vinyl roof nowadays - which are days when 60 is the new 40 and even old people don't want to drive old folks' cars.

    * Rear wheel drive economy cars?

    This one will definitely date you. But there was a time when even lowly econo-cars were still rear-wheel-drive; models like the venerable Chevy Chevette, for instance - which had a genuine solid axle rear suspension, complete with "pumpkin." Ditto the Ford Pinto - and, of course, the original VW Beetle. There's no such animal today. All low-priced compacts are front-wheel-drive. If you can remember when it was otherwise, you also likely remember the Soviet Union, Coke with sugar (not high fructose corn syrup) and styrofoam boxes at McDonalds!

    * Four-barrel carbs?

    I have some great memories of flipping the air cleaner lid on the engine of my mom's Oldsmobile 98 (307 V-8; last of the line) and hearing the Quadrajet four-barrel carb's secondaries open up when I floored the thing. It's a sound no modern car with fuel injection can make - and air cleaners today are square boxes with multiple latches instead of wing nuts holding the top down. To find a car with a carburetor, you have to go back to 1987 - the last year they were built before the transition to EFI.

    So, how did you do?

    If you could dial up first-hand memories of more than six of the previous ten features, you're approaching the crest of the proverbial hill. If you got all ten, congratulations! You are officially an OF - and are now entitled and empowered to hate all things new - and carp endlessly about the "good old days."

    Welcome to the club.



    END
    Rear facing seats were available on the Ford Taurus Wagon until it was discontinued.

    The only thing I don't miss on that list was the 85 mph speedometer. In 1982, Ronald Reagan's administration repealed FMVSS 127, which mandated these monstrosities.

    I don't remember in-car Dictaphones. My parents (and I) are audiophobes, so we didn't get a car with an FM radio until 1973 either.


  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    All of the above but the dictaphone -
    Uh oh... you hit the OF jackpot!

  6. #6
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    All of the above but the dictaphone -
    Uh oh... you hit the OF jackpot!
    Lots of practice, that's all.

    I can even remember when each manufacturer made cars which looked different from the next.

  7. #7
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    I can remember when GM had five unrelated large-block V8s.

  8. #8
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    I thought many of the listed characteristics were quite modern.

    Including changing styles from year to year... a sure error, reducing cars to the level of fashion.

    I never thought that 'looks' would descend to the choice of food-blender-style.

    I think probably the most ageless fairly modern car is the 1968-design Jaguar XJ6. All it really needed was a 4-speed auto. The 1959 MkII was pretty good too.. but NOT the Daimler V8 equivalent.

    For city travel, an 848cc BMC Mini.

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    Re: Do you remember when?


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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    I thought many of the listed characteristics were quite modern.

    Including changing styles from year to year... a sure error, reducing cars to the level of fashion.

    I never thought that 'looks' would descend to the choice of food-blender-style.

    I think probably the most ageless fairly modern car is the 1968-design Jaguar XJ6. All it really needed was a 4-speed auto. The 1959 MkII was pretty good too.. but NOT the Daimler V8 equivalent.

    For city travel, an 848cc BMC Mini.
    At one time in the US, the annual styling changes were no more than minor adjustments to the chrome trim while every third or fourth years there would be some sheet metal variation. But, there have been several 'at one times' or cycles of production and there is no real long term way to describe the inanity.

  11. #11
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by jdm
    , there have been several 'at one times' or cycles of production and there is no real long term way to describe the inanity.
    In my usual unbiased way I judge the 1997-2005 GM Holden sedan to be timelessly perfect. So long as you accept the need of an electronic engine/car management system. Otherwise it would need SUs and Lucas as in 1968 Jaguars...

    A more serious thing is that I have mislaid my cellphone and cannot therefore send Margaret cryptic text messages. It was on my lap when I left the bedroom, but not there after I hosed the dust off the car this morning. I suspect supernatural effects. [It must be turned off. I ring it and get an answerphone message]... Possibly it fell off my lap and bounced under a bush, and was buried by a passing hedgehog.. to be discovered in 50 years.

    We had thunder and hail and violent wind yesterday. Proof of global climate disaster.

  12. #12
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick
    Me too, amigo.... and it's a sure sign of getting old when you begin to dislike the way the world's headed!

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    Re: Do you remember when?

    The phone was found in agapanthus bushes after I hosed-down the far side of the car after a storm.

    It was not on the ground nor visible, and had fallen sideways at least two feet...

    It took a woman to find it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member misterdecibel's Avatar
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    The phone was found in agapanthus bushes after I hosed-down the far side of the car after a storm.

    It was not on the ground nor visible, and had fallen sideways at least two feet...

    It took a woman to find it.
    Women have plenty of experience locating lost phones.

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterdecibel
    Quote Originally Posted by robmcg
    The phone was found in agapanthus bushes after I hosed-down the far side of the car after a storm.

    It was not on the ground nor visible, and had fallen sideways at least two feet...

    It took a woman to find it.
    Women have plenty of experience locating lost phones.
    Not mine; she loses hers all the time!

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    Re: Do you remember when?

    As I remember, while the Chevette was RWD, some of the cars GM built based on the same platform in other countries had FWD. GM felt Americans weren't ready for FWD just yet. And they problably weren't ready at the time to produce a lot of transaxles for FWD cars.

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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by pgranzeau
    As I remember, while the Chevette was RWD, some of the cars GM built based on the same platform in other countries had FWD. GM felt Americans weren't ready for FWD just yet.
    The European-market versions, Vauxhall Chevette & Opel Kadett, had rear wheel drive.

  18. #18
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    It's easy to forget that the Chevette was the best-sellling American car in 1979 and 1980, at least according to Wikipedia. And it's front end went on until the late 80's under the Fiero.

  19. #19
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric

    Here's an updated ten point automotive IQ test - or age test.

    See how many of the following ten features you can remember vs. those you've got no recollection of - and maybe never even heard about!

    How about:

    * Rear-facing seats?

    The last time these were around was in the early-mid 1980s (I think) when they were offered by Subaru in the Brat. Prior to that, you'd find them in big station wagons. But the safety nags killed them off; if you're under 30 today, you've probably never seen (or sat in) one.


    * Vinyl roofs?

    How long has it been? For decades, one of the signature design touches that defined a luxury car or luxury car-wannabe was a vinyl roof - sometimes with light bars and opera windows. They're nonexistent today; partially because they were water traps and thus, rust magnets - partially because they smelled of Old Man. No one under 60 would be caught dead driving a car with a vinyl roof nowadays - which are days when 60 is the new 40 and even old people don't want to drive old folks' cars.
    They were a big sales item back in the early 70's Chrysler in NZ used to spray them on .and they looked it! Ford at least used the material which eventually rotted in the sun and started peeling.

    I dont remember the dictaphone thingees in this part of the world
    Rex
    On the Sunshine Coast, in the Sunshine State Queensland (QLD), Australia

  20. #20
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Do you remember when?

    "I dont remember the dictaphone thingees in this part of the world."

    They were an unusual option even back then - and prized today by collectors!

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