Last post on Feb 24, 2013 at 9:32 AM
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Classic Cars, Coupe, Convertible, Truck, Sedan, Wagon
#506 of 527 Re: Restorability of Modern Cars [srs_49]
by MrShift@Edmunds HOST
Aug 20, 2011 (7:03 am)
There's already an aftermarket in engine management systems, like for running a fuel-injected V8 crate engine in a '55 Chevy---but I don't know as they would design one for an old Benz or Lexus.
Jan 09, 2012 (1:44 pm)
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#513 of 527 Evolution of Luxury '46-Circa '79 vs. '80-Present
Feb 08, 2013 (3:33 am)
Detroit defined luxury in the first three decades after WWII. With few exceptions, mega size, big engine displacement, convenience features such as PS, PB, AC, power seats and windows first appeared on high end GMs, Chryslers and Lincolns. Vinyl tops and abundant chrome trim dressed up the exterior. Soft velour seats and rich carpeting did the same for the interior. Of course, a soft, floaty ride was generally prized over better control, and brakes were marginal. The '52-'54 Lincolns firmed up the suspension some, in an effort to provide better road holding. Chrysler/Imperial took the balance of ride and stability a step further with the introduction of the torsion suspension in '57. For example, these cars leaned a lot less than the competition on curves, and the steering was quicker, though very light. It wasn't long, though, before Chrysler softened the ride. Most Americans still valued soft, quiet isolation.
The main exception to American luxury in the late '40s-late '50s that stands out in my mind were the Jaguar sedans and XK sportscars. The dimensions were trimmer, as were firmer suspensions. No vinyl tops. The interiors featured bucket seats covered in leather and beautiful wood dashes. Power was supplied by DOHC I-6s of moderate displacement instead of big block OHV V8s. Many Jags were equipped with 4-on-the-floor, with or without overdrive rather than column shifted automatics. Rollers and Bentleys were always factors in high end luxury, but limited due to cost of ownership. They always turned heads.
By the '60s Mercedes and and BMWs appeared in greater numbers, and by the '70s these Germans, and to a much lesser extent Audi, became the cool ones to own. Understated luxury rose in popularity as large, nouveau riche receded. Volvo, Saab and other Euro brands were near luxury outliers. Lexus, Infiniti and Acura were a variation on the German business model, but with greater emphasis on value.
Cadillac and Buick, Lincoln and Chrysler are still trying to define themselves in the luxury segment.
What comes next?
Feb 08, 2013 (4:16 am)
I forgot Packard. Packard was a factor in the near-luxury and luxury market from '46 through the early '50s. It deserves to be remembered.