What's Wrong With Old Car Designs?

So what is wrong with old cars? I read that a lot of people criticize the Chevrolet Calier, because the chassis design is around 20 years old-so what? It seems to me that the best thing that an auto mfg. can do is keep a basic design, and use the money to iron out the existing bugs. Instead, auto mfgs. Seem to delight in bringing out new platforms every few years-this is a huge investment, and results in higher prices to the consumer. And (as with any new designs) there are always numerous bugs, and unanticipated problems. That is why publications like “CONSUMERS REPORTS” always advise against buying a new model car, in it’s first year of introduction. It seems to me that car manufacturers would better serve their customers if the used a basic body design, and every year focused in on fixing and removing the noted defects. Then (hopefully) by the time the design is 10 years old, you should have a defect-free car? I don’t know why this isn’t done.

That was the premise behind VolksWagen. That’s why they have the same beetle shape as in the late 30’s

I think Saturn also takes that tack.

I agree with egkelly…personally, MY dream auto would be a 1932 Packard Custom Eight Dietrich Sport Phaeton.

Ooh. Late 50’s Caddy El Dorado. Convertable. Yeah, Miles of Chome and Fins to boot.

Or, 57 Chevy Bel Air Convertable. Classic.

It’s been tried. In addition to the Saturns, Cavaliers and VW’s mentioned above, Chrystler tried it with both the Aries/Reliant and Omni/Horizon. Ford did it with the Escort for a number of years, etc.

The problem is, we the customer get bored. Take a look at that “classic” wedge styling that both GM and Chrysler used in the early 80s. Then contrast it against the introduction of the Taurus. Then look at the 95 Taurus (original styling) with the 96 model.

Hell, a few years ago, Ford even tried selling the old-style F-150s alongside the new restyled models. Despit the difference in price, customers wanted the new, hot model – and that was a truck, where customers are supposed to be less style-conscious.

I think part of it is just if you have the new car, some people want EVERYONE to know it’s new. New styling announces “I bought a new car”. I’d rather they paid more attention to engineering and manufacture, but that’s me…

I think that’s why the PT Cruiser was/is such a big hit. It’s very retro. Older cars just seemed to have more ‘character’ somehow.
Or maybe we’re just nostalgic for our lost youth.
I lust after a 48-51 Willys Overland Jeepster like the one my uncle used to take us kids to the beach.

To answer your OP. There’s nothing wrong with old cars style-wise. With the obvious exceptions of safety equipment and fuel efficiency, (and emissions control), there’s really no reason for a particular model to be superceded except that Detroit wants to sell us the shiney new Belchfire 5000 every year.

I’d better post this before somebody else comes along.

I want a '49 Plymouth just so I can poke fun at the PT Cruiser. :slight_smile: (which looks vaguely like a half-scale '49 Plymouth)

I drive a '71 Nova sedan now, and am looking for a '55 Ford Fairlane to hotrod–'55-'57 Chevys are overdone.