This one causes me to trip up a bit. I can believe a Valiant going 200,000
miles if the motor gets rebuilt two or three times, and the tranny replace
another couple, but I can't see it going 200,000 miles in anywhere near a
reliable manner. Hell, by 60,000 these things were well suited to mosquito
control with all the spew coming out of the exhaust pipe. Yeah - the slant
six kept running, no matter what, and the damned thing would run forever
with no rings at all left in it, but a lot of cars would meet that criteria.
Didn't make them good cars. We got by with a lot of junk in the old days by
doing things like throwing thicker motor oil at them and not worrying about
the blue cloud behind us.
The worst of my half dozen Valiant or Valiant based cars went 197,000
miles with a slant 6, no rebuilds, oil changes every 3,000 with filter
change, and not much else in the way of care except the occasional set
of points and plugs and brake shoes. I got that mileage on a '72
Duster I bought new in Albany, NY, and I got 211,000 on a '65
Barracuda my mother gave me--slant 6--and again on a Dodge Dart,
another '72, as well as on a '69 Valiant four door I bought new. Hell,
I had the slant 6 in my '87 pick-up, but I sold that at 199,000, with
no oil burning or other problems. Though it was a long time ago, I
don't recall oil burning problems with ANY of those slant 6s. I do
recall the unibody construction not being suitable for northern NY
roads and their salt: that Duster was ready to break in two just in
front of the rear seat by '78...when I traded it on the '72 Dart.
I don't know where or how you got your slant 6s, or even the 318 (had
that in a '66 Formula S before that was such a wild package), but I
never have heard of the slant 6s having major oil burning problems.
Now, if you want to talk about my '50 Stude 6, or my '51 Ford V8 and
oil consumption, let's do it. I used to use drain oil from the garage
where I worked in the Stude. Even low cost oil at 15 cents a quart was
too costly for that thing. It really needed a new engine, but instead
I put very, very heavy oil in it and traded it on my '57 Chev. That
was the only time I went above 30 weight oil...oh, wait: until I got
an '81 Olds V8 in '86, which I promptly traded on a '78 Mustang II
with the 302. Neat little car that would spin out if you stood on it
and the road was even damp. Too much power for the wheelbase, I guess.
Well then indeed - you did have some great performance out of those
I never owned one. The only MOPAR I ever owned was a '66 Dodge Coronet 440
with a 361 and a MOPAR factory equipped 4 on the floor. I forget now, how
many miles I put on it, but it was under 100,000. My comments on the slant
six are just based on being around back then, and being somewhat familiar
with the motor based on other people I knew owning them. I do recall the
slant six as running forever, but as being a pretty significant oil burner
well before 100,000 miles. My father-in-law owned one in a Dodge truck
(late 70's I believe). I recall it being all the engine a basic
transportation pickup ever needed (not suited though to heavy use like
plowing or carrying loads on a regular basis), but his too was a burner
before 100,000. To its credit, it just kept right on running for as long as
you wanted to keep throwing oil into her.
You've evidently never owned one, then. I've had three. The *shortest* lived
one made it to 161,000. [nitpick: mine were Dodge Darts, not Plymouth
Valiants, but except for minor changes in trim and chrome, the same car.]
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
I grew up mostly in the late 60's or 70's and found some of the cars from
the 50's to be really neat (but then, I was influenced by "American
Graffiti" :-) ) Got to drive a 70 Pontiac LeMans to school -- that had a
certain amount of style to it. It was the later models where all the cars
started looking like 1/2 used bars of soap (I think mid-70's, early 80's
where that really hit). Just about the only way to tell the make was by
looking at the label
... on a boar hog comes to mind.
I find the new Ford pickups kind of appealing. I really like the pre-90's
Ford pickups; I just really like the clean lines on the late 70's era
pickups much better than the rounded shapes of the 40 and 50 era and the
squat square shapes on the early 60's models. Even though I drive an 86, I
really like the earlier style.
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
Now, I really LIKE that half-a-bar of soap description. I may steal
it. It is dead accurate, though I think you may be a little early on
your dating: when my wife and I started dating, she had an '84 Ford
Tempo (now, if you want to discuss a POS, that one comes very, very
close to the top of the list) that was just edging its way over into
soapdom (it was already decrepit and had been since it rolled off the
line). We unloaded that for Plymouth Caravelle, which we ran 145,000
miles before trading it on a LeBaron four door, which got about the
same mileage. The mileage is more from my distrust of tiny engines
than from any real problems, by the way. I just have a hard time four
cylinders can haul that much weight around for so long and still be
sound. We'll be trading our Stratus soon, and it has less than 120,000
on it. I want to make a driving trip to NY later this year, to see an
old junior high school friend and my niece. She's on the island, he's
upstate. So, maybe, a Scion. A neat car that lets my wrecked knees
ease their way in and out with no struggle.
Yeah, well, that's a large part of the appeal, that shoe shape, with
all the room in the shaft of the ol' work shoe. That and well over 30
MPG...which is why a used one is in order; the '08s are larger,
heavier, more powerful, all of which adds up to worse gas mileage.
As to wanting to be seen in it, who of such importance is going to see
me that it will affect my income? Otherwise, why give a rat's ass.
Unless you can afford cars I can't, and wouldn't drive daily if I
could, style is all in the sense of comfort, safety and economy the
vehicle brings to you.
I think they're kind of nice in an ugly way. I also think UniMog makes
Form follows function, I always say..... well... not ALWAYS, but
Hummer = looks good
Hummer H2 = looks like shit
Hummer H3 = just plain silly.
Is it any wonder all these companies are in trouble?
"Let's see here...where can we hang some more gaudy plastic do-nothing
LOL...I just remembered... do you recall those yellow/brown plastic
trunk straps they put on blue Thunderbirds? They're revisiting that
era, I think...
On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 10:55:27 -0800 (PST), Charlie Self
Remember the "Home Improvement" episode when Jill bought an
Austin-Healy 3000 without Tim's approval? He liked a lot of features
of it--bucket seats, stick shift, convertible (replace those features
with "comfort, safety, and economy") but he kept choking and saying,
"but it's...BRITISH!" (a sentiment most gear heads on this side of the
pond can appreciate--e.g. why is British beer always warm? Lucas
Substitute "scion" for British, and you will get my point.
Anyway, it was a funny episode.
Uh, yeah, except that Scion doesn't sub for an AH 3000 in any way,
shape or form, including being British. It is based, or was
originally, on the Toyota Yaris, which isn't a world beater, but is a
decent, long lasting car. Austin Healey cars were a lot of fun, but
not particularly long lasting or decent quality otherwise. Brit cars
were like Brit bikes back then: you could always tell where one was
parked after it left; there was a sizeable oil stain.
I can understand a lot of the reasons for not liking British cars,
having grown up in the Lucas, Prince of Darkness, era for both
motorcycles and cars. There simply is no comparison.
On Fri, 22 Feb 2008 08:13:05 -0800 (PST), Charlie Self
Similarly, Brit bike riders from the streak of oil up their back. I
still have (I think) my old, yellow windbreaker with its oil stripe
from back in my Norton days (late '60s).
Of course it may have been worse for Norton riders because of the
automatic chain oiler...Didn't anyone test ALL the ramifications of
that concept before taking it to market?
By the late '60s, I'd transferred to rice burners. First, a Honda
Superhawk, then a Yamaha RD350 (with a short--very short and
unpleasant--interlude with a factory prototype TX750, a royal POS). I
was also doing the paella bit, with an OSSA enduro bike.
On Thu, 21 Feb 2008 22:59:29 GMT, email@example.com (Doug Miller)
Since there's no way the Aztec (and I wholly agree with your notice of
it) is uglier than the Scion, can we agree on a four way tie for
first? Or, as further compromise, I'll give you the Avalanche for 4th
place and you give me the Scion and Element to tie with the Aztec for
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