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Auto Reliability: The 21st Century vs. The 70s & 80s

Auto Reliability: The 21st Century vs. The 70s & 80s

Auto Reliability: The 21st Century vs. The 70s & 80s


You may have just read the title of this article and thought to yourself; “Is there really a comparison?”  Well, even with all the ‘smart-technology’ of today, the ‘Green-option’, emergence of the ‘Hybrid’, and ever-growing demand of ‘Flex Fuels’; you may be surprised to find out how the cars of ‘yesteryear’ ranks and stacks up against today’s automobiles.  This should be a great read; it’s going to be the classic battle and debate of; ‘Old School’ vs. ‘New School’.  Think of it as, Fuel-Injection vs. Carburetors, rear Drum Brakes vs. rear Disc Brakes, DIS and Coil Packs vs. Sparkplugs, Plug Wires and Distributor caps, Leaf Springs vs. Shocks—we can go on-and-on, but we think you get the idea—let’s get started.


Framework  &  Chassis

Okay, let’s start from the ‘ground-up’ with this, shall we?  No matter what it is you build, or you’re building, you always need a good foundation, right?  So we’re going to start with the way frames and chassis were built in the 1970s and 80s compared to the technology we use today.  Throughout time, there have been various types of automotive frames built; C-Shaped, Boxed, Ladder, X-Frame, and numerous others.  However, the biggest difference between the 70s and 80s in comparison to today’s frame is simply design.  While the 70s and 80s produced fairly sturdy chassis; today’s frames are reinforced and designed to withstand higher stress levels, weights, torque, and are more flex-resistant.


Suspension  Systems

Most modern vehicles utilize or operate off an ‘Independent Suspension’ system, whereas in the 70s and 80s the ‘Solid-Axle’ design was more common.  The old, Solid-Axle designs had poor traction, ride, and a very hazardous “wheel shimmy” at higher speeds.  The Independent Suspensions eliminates and corrects all the Solid-Axle’s shortcomings, offers enhanced stability, and also limits the effects of “bumps” and so forth to the individual wheel absorbing the shock rather than both wheels of that particular axle; hence the name/term—“Independent”.



Whether it’s an ‘Automatic’ or ‘Manual’; transmissions have come a very long way—in a very short time.  Manual transmissions have gone from 3-speed ‘Column-Shifters’ to 7 and 8-speed, ‘Dual Clutches’ and ‘Button-Shifters’.  Automatic transmissions are faster, have more gears which allows for better traction control, more torque, better gear ratios, less slippage, smoother shifting and ride, less maintenance requirements, and simply, flat-out, overall better performance.  However, the 70s and 80s transmissions were the ‘test-tube-babies’ for today’s transmissions and the birthplace or origin point for today’s technology—so thank the predecessor’s for their contributions.


Engines,  Engines &  More  Engines!

Yeah, this the part you’ve been waiting for, isn’t it!?  Despite the fact that we now have amazing ‘Turbochargers’ and ‘Superchargers’, and ‘Supercars’ that mash out 0 to 100mph in five seconds or less—the ‘Small Blocks’ and ‘Big Blocks’ of the 70s and 80s can still teach their successors a thing or two.  Many of today’s best ASE Certified mechanics prefer to service, repair, and even drive the older generation of cars simply because of the engine. The older generation or ‘Old Schools’ have bigger engine compartments which allows for easier accessibility to damaged parts, as well as a more spacious workspace.  In the 70s and 80s the United States was also heavy into the Muscle Car scene, and was ‘rippin-asphalt’ with a die-hard vengeance with ‘Blowers’ emerging from the center of the hood.

Today’s cars, despite being reborn classics of the 70s and 80s such as; The Dodge Challenger and Charger, Ford Thunderbird, and Chrysler 300; the ‘New School’ generation engines provides for faster cars with top speeds in excess of 200mph.  With the advancements in fuel-related studies and projects such as the introduction of ‘Flex Fuels’ and FFVs; today’s engines are also more fuel-efficient than the Old School generation and have made a huge contribution to the reduction of air pollution.  These engines are made of more durable and higher heat-resistant materials are energy-efficient, like the ‘Hybrids’ that utilize both a traditional battery as well as an electric battery.  Today’s engines are also more ‘electronic’ than the Old School and can assist the driver in a number of operations.


The Verdict

There are many more comparisons to be made between cars of the 70s and 80s and cars of the 21st Century and 2014—which one generation is truly better—well, that may depend on which you have more of a preference for. Regardless of which used vehicle you are shopping for, you can guarantee that here at Ride Now Motors we have already checked your vehicle over thoroughly to ensure that is is worry free when you make your used car purchase



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