[rescue] What a load of...

Sandwich Maker adh at an.bradford.ma.us
Fri Sep 28 08:13:19 CDT 2007

" From: "Sheldon T. Hall" <shel at artell.net>
" Sandwich Maker writes ...
" > i won't dispute that cars today are safer and handle better, and that
" > they are more powerful - though i don't know why they need to be.
" Safer because they are unibody, which crumples in a crash, but with rigid
" passenger compartments.  Also, these days, we have padded dashboards (since
" '68), impact-absrbing bumpers (since '73), seat belts, airbags, collapsible
" steering columns, etc.  Cars 30-40 years ago had separate frames, no
" designed crumple zones, and little, if any, concern for the driver.  That's
" why we have fewer road deaths in the USA now than 40 years ago, although our
" population is up about 40%.

not safer because they are unibody; the saabs, volvo, and rambler were
unibody.  all nashes and amcs since the late '40s were unibody.  my
'67 lincoln was a unibody, heavy enough to make two ramblers.

i do understand about crumple zones.  i wouldn't be surprised if our
'71 saab had them.  it didn't have airbags, but airbags are no
substitute for seatbelts.

road deaths have indeed dropped by half in just the last 20-30 years,
due to better cars.  it's a shame though that we don't have better
driver training; many 'accidents' are attributable to driver error.

" On the "more powerful" front, though, I'm not so sure.

they are, on average, and that's what i don't see the need for.  the
saab and volvo both had about 80 hp - and were above middle range for
cars of their size - whereas a toyota echo weighing 2000 lbs and an
xb weighing 2400 have 108 and are considered underpowered.  and the
comparison is even more unequal than the numbers suggest...

" Remember, in 1963,
" anyone could buy what was essentially a NASCAR racer right off the showroom
" floor.  The famous "Fastback" Ford, complete with 427 CID engine, enormous
" 4-barrel carb, and somewhere around 400 horsepower.  For something so large
" the acceleration was astounding, and kept being so until well over 100 MPH.

remember that 400 hp wasn't measured the same way engines are today.
starting about '72, manufacturers have been required to test the
engine 'fully dressed' as installed in the car.  before then, it was
common to remove aircleaners, exhaust systems, and even fanbelts, and
tweak settings to get the most favorable dyno test readings for
advertising purposes.  if you read the literature in the early '70s
you'll see advertised hp decline massively - but engines didn't
actually become less powerful; reporting methods just became more
accurate.  still, detroit did make some -really-powerful- cars back

they didn't make many of those fastbacks, just enough to legalize them
as a 'production' car for nascar.  curious there's no song about them.
the beach boys immortalized both the chevy 409 and the superstock

" Even my mother's '63 Pontiac Bonneville 4-door (389 CID, "gas saver"
" 2-barrel) could tow a trailer at 110 MPH, with 5 people and their luggage
" aboard.

those big motors had -torque-, and even the bonnie probably weighed
only about 4000 lbs empty.

we towed a 2-axle u-haul loaded with a turn-of-the-century printing
press and type cases with our six-powered '66 chevy bel air wagon.  it
handled 60 from hartford to boston without trouble, though it was a
little hard on the clutch and brakes.

" For a little more money, say $6,500, you could buy an E-Type Jaguar, which
" was an honest 140 MPH car, with very decent handling and braking.  When it
" wasn't in the shop.

$6500 was more than 'a little more' back then...  i don't know about
cost of living numbers but taking the dow as a meterstick it's
something over $90k in today's dollars.  the jag was also nicknamed
'the world's fastest lorry' back then, due i think to the big, heavy
xk engine which iirc was a prewar design.
Andrew Hay                                  the genius nature
internet rambler                            is to see what all have seen
adh at an.bradford.ma.us                       and think what none thought

More information about the rescue mailing list