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Feb 06, 2003 (10:05 pm)
My objection was to your repeated use of "mass production" as a mutually exclusive condition for exceptional quality. Mercedes has been markedly MORE of a mass producer than Cadillac for a number of recent years now, yet I don't see that same reasoning being used towards M-B. Yet it should be; as Mercedes' recently admitted & reported quality problems of late are well-known, while Cadillac's engineering has been comparatively trouble-free during the same period. Now it seems it is Mercedes that's coasting on it's reputation for a change.
Point being: Quantity alone does not automatically determine quality.
I listed many reasons & specific practices by Cadillac with regards to their past engineering, yet they were ignored or outright contradicted without any supporting data- driven only by vague perceptions. These practices are not fabricated, they are not exaggerated... yet here they are not accepted.
And the Rolls comparison is no compliment- powertrain-wise Rolls has traditionally been a dinosaur- years behind other luxury (and non-luxury) makes. Quiet, yes, and that's about it- technology-wise they hung back a good 10 years from contemporary tech, sometimes many more. Cadillac is traditionally an innovator, Rolls is not.
ndance- here's one back atcha:
Are we proving anything here with regards to the topic at hand?
Feb 06, 2003 (10:18 pm)
Feb 07, 2003 (6:56 am)
Question. Isn't the mind set not any different today, where cupholders are carefully analyzed to make sure they can hold a "big gulp", or that companies research where women keep their purses in the car when driving, or how people plug in their cell phone?
In the 60's, I'm taking it wealthy mink wearing people were common Cadillac buyers.
I realize neither really improves the technology of the vehicle, but I don't know if things are any different today.
#62 of 88 I'm just bummed...
Feb 07, 2003 (10:47 am)
by how divergent my tastes are becoming from those of the average new car buyer. For a sedan, for instance, I'm thinking...
. LS1 + whatever that 6 speed is called
. no cup holders
. manual windows, seats, locks, trunk, no alarm
. no cladding, spoilers, wings, etc.
. 4 door, sort of medium sized BMWish body
. no cd player
. no abs
. 4 wheel disks
. simple dash
. say, $25k or so
. live axle is probably fine
The last decade or so has seen the U.S. devolve into a nation of Cadillac drivers. Overweight, gaudy cars, filled with 'content'. This sort of thing is fine for specialty cars, but when all cars (except for the cheapest economy cars/trucks) are filled with stuff that, to me, just represents more road-hugging weight and long term reliability problems, I get left out of the loop.
Feb 07, 2003 (11:03 am)
WQ: I never equated the term mass-production with a lack of quality; quite the opposite--I kept repeating how amazing it is that mass produced engines WERE so good; also, you may have missed that I specifically said that Cadillac taught Mercedes how to make mass-produced quality cars. I actually said that, a couple times. I also said how precision engines that are "narrowly engineered" can be a great deal fussier than simple cast iron powerplants that are "tolerance-tolerant". I also said that a Cadillac V8 was more reliable than a Rolls Royce.
Your junkyard post also agrees with what I've been saying---99% of all 4-door sedans will be in the wreckers, no matter who makes them. Very few people restore 4-doors, not worth it.
Read the posts, then complain, okay?
ndance: I think what we are seeing is another version of the Great American Dream---that luxury can be enjoyed by the middle class, not just the well-to-do. Of course, this isn't really true, but there are these relatively simple-to-produce/provide "trappings" of luxury and refinement going into middle-range and even entry levels cars, as a new marketing tool.
The old saying is "You can't sell anything to a happy person". So first you have to make a car owner despise his roll up windows, lack of a/c, cloth interior, etc., and then get him to pay a bit more for something "better".
You can see how well this has worked if you read around the Town Hall boards. Cars that are without these "amenities" are often thought to be "low-rent" or "low-tech".
You yourself by espousing a return to practicality and functionality in cars (even if you put performance at the top of your list) run the risk of being branded a fearful technophobe without an E-ticket to the future.
It's all pretty amusing to watch.
Feb 09, 2003 (8:01 am)
No, the reason for excessive factory run-in durations was to 'seat' components of less-than-precision tolerances. Long periods of running-in only waste manpower & elevate operating costs- nothing else. They are not an indication of quality thinking (nor is such a practice required prepatory for high-RPM use) UNLESS the very real possibility of initial deficiency is present. Rings, valves, seals, bearings, etc need to set & mate and be established as reliable & leak-free before the engine leaves the factory, otherwise there's a unkown risk of engine breakdown & warranty costs once in the consumer's hands- not to mention (once again) the accompanying undesired publicity. Precision-manufactured engines --regardless if they are built from a "simple", less-glamorous iron or not, or include 'old-tech' components such as pushrods or not-- do not need these excessive run-in intervals and they do not further require break-in periods under private ownership. Cadillac engines are not "GM engines"- they were designed & engineered autonomously from the other divisions by Cadillac engineers and they were not used in other division's products. Cadillac set the standard for precision manufacture in the first half of the automobile industry, and their manufacturing practices in the '60s merely continued this SOP.
Cadillac engines WERE designed to run at redline for many hours- they were tested at WOT for long durations during R&D and their tolerances and precision allow this as well. There is no design flaw or cost-cutting or deficiency, no- not even a 'snap-ring', that would disallow this. Cadillac blocks have a 20% nickel content and tensile strengths up to 70,000 PSI. No other GM-division's engines were so spec'ed.
>>"I also said that a Cadillac V8 was more reliable than a Rolls Royce."<<
And I replied that is absolutely NO compliment. #1: Rolls' are not built in relative quantity as, driven nearly hard or far as, or maintained as poorly as just about any other make. Their reliability is therefore for comparison's purposes: unproven. I'd rather stake my reliability dollars on a (insert any other low-priced car here). #2: Rolls' design & engineering keystone is 'obsolescence'. Roll's has never been the engineering target of an other manufacturer with the exception of NVH levels. Their powertrains specifically have remained unchanged for decades at a time, and are usually years behind the average vehicle's technology level.
Feb 09, 2003 (4:07 pm)
wq-- I'm not sure what you are trying to say here.
If your premise is that a 60s Cadillac engine has better metallurgy or is more carefully assembled than a 60s Chevy or Pontiac engine, I wouldn't contest that as I have no knowledge of it being otherwise, and the proposition seems like a reasonable one at any rate. Sure, why not?
If however you are saying that a 60s Cadillac engine is built more precisely and assembled more carefully than a 60s Benz engine, or runs at closer tolerances, then the evidence gets very dicey.
For one thing, having taken quite a few engines apart, I can tell you with no doubts in my mind that a Cadillac V-8 looks externally and internally like a Vermont Wood Stove next to a Benz engine, and this alone puts me in a state of skepticism regarding the presentation of a Cadillac engine as a precision unit of equal sophistication.
It's like handing me a Timex and a Rolex and telling me they are essentially the same because they both say the same time.
In the life of an average 60s car, all this may not even matter, but craftsmanship still shows regardless.
Feb 09, 2003 (8:59 pm)
I always thought combining Cadillac-style amenities with the ride, handling and braking of a Mercedes (or other European sedan) was a good idea. I like a responsive vehicle - and a vehicle with power windows/door locks/sun roof, CD player, air conditioning and ABS.
Plus, most of those power assists are pretty reliable today - at least on the Hondas that I have owned.
Feb 10, 2003 (10:24 am)
That's basically what the S class Benzes of the 80s came to...big, big V8 luxury cars that can handle, brake and accelerate in remarkable fashion for their size. Ditto Lexus, although it wasn't quite the handler.
Cadillac finally got the idea with the STS, but it still wasn't good enough to compete with the Benz 300 & 500 series, and the LS400.
Last STS I drove extensively was a '93, and back then I thought it was at least 5 years behind Benz and Lexus in development.
So Cadillac might be closer in 2003. Haven't driven a new one.