Sat. Apr 20th, 2024

Our Topic: Car… Improvements?

    There are so many improvements to cars it’s hard for an classic car nut and Studebaker fanatic to say old cars were better. In some ways hell, no, in some ways hell, yes!
     First the no…
    You want a simple motor to work on, the roar of a V8, V12, V16, solid frame that feels like it could be hit by a semi and driven away? Classic is sort of your jam. But stop! That same solid frame may make the semi bounce back; as I found out in a 55 Dodge Royale: YOU take the punishment. Or a 60’s van when a fast car hit me behind the back.
    One improvement that made really old classic cars far less safe was safety glass. I’m sure I wasn’t happy about it at the time, but safety glass peeling back towards my neck was bad, but better than being shredded by sharp shards.
    Yet, those who may consider early 80, and many late 70 classics, may be very disappointed by the quality. Even early 70’s had some REAL bummers. Pinto: especially the ones with the Brit engine.. Vegas: cheap metal, bad electronics, cheaper door and window handles. The late 70, early 80 Cadillacs had cheap grills, electronic loaded door arm rests that “melted” under your arm and hand, I swear if you could eat them they’d melt in your mouth.
    If you have seen, or heard, the M&M ads with that phrase one might think Caddy made their armrests out of candy.
    All these cars I either had, or knew the cars through friends, employers… though I must admit some quiet satisfaction when the snob, snide wife of the boss got her the arm rest fell off, comeuppance. She loved that car, I suspect he bought it for her. I can even hear her in my head saying they should buy a quality car.
    Minor complaint: as many of you know I am a Stude fan, however that big bullet thing almost made humongous fins make more sense. Almost. Both intended to make a car look like it was fast and/or could fly. They didn’t.
 New cars? I LOATHE cars that lock themselves. Not supposed to do it but I have had keys locked in cars. I don’t get how I can leave a self locking car over night and it doesn’t lock itself, but I turn around to walk away and I hear, “click!”
    I don’t want a car that locks itself. just like I want to be the person who turns off and on the lights, I want to decide lock or no lock.
    I get it. 99% of the time you’re saved from a dead battery, and saved from an accident because someone saw your headlights. It may be senseless, but with all cars we’ve had with auto on and off I wait and watch: make sure the lights go out. The times I haven’t I wake up in the morning and find a car with a dead battery Self braking cars? NO THANKS!
    The AutOmObile Critic knows the history behind those efforts, yet I know the “We know better than you” auto industry is probably right. They work well most of the time.
    Doesn’t mean I have to like it!.


     The Automotive Critic is a column by Ken Carman, who has been writing a weekly column since 1972 called Inspection, as a beer judge several beer judging and beer industry-based columns. Ken is also the author of Autocide: which he started researching over 20 years ago. Autocide is alternative automobile history filled with funs, odd twists and quirky characters. He has been into cars, working with cars as part of his job, since he bought his first cvar: a 61 Lark, at 14. Mr. Carman lives in Eagle Bay and Beaver River, NY.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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By Ken Carman

Retired entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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