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Thread: Ugly Cars

  1. #166

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    Piano: From the 50's through the 60's (the car's hey day) the Vette's interior was indeed luxurious:

    The standard interior from 1965-67... top-class all the way, looking every bit as swanky as anything else built at the time:

    http://www.60scorvetteseats.com/stor...ors2/66blk.jpg

    67 Mercedes
    http://www.ritzsite.demon.nl/280SL/P...7_interior.jpg

    '60 Vette
    http://www.chevysportsltd.com/invent...6/p7036-10.jpg

    '58
    http://home.arcor.de/mrchevy/pagepic...3_interior.jpg

    AND please note: the Corvette's image was NEVER that of a muscle car. It was always a powerful stylish sports car. Definition of a "muscle car":

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muscle_car



    GM began really cheaping the interior in the 1980's. A painful mish-mash of cheap ill-fitting plastic:

    http://www.web-cars.com/images/vette...terior_a_s.jpg

    http://www.vette-net.com/images/years/1984in.jpg

    Things have improved since then, but sorry, in today's market-place this is not worthy of a car with a base price of $47,000 (coupe) to $55,000 (convertible). ( and even with 600hp, unacceptable in the $100,000 bracket) :

    http://www.autospies.com/images/user.../SNAG-0485.jpg

    (note the econo-car textures, cheapo controls and over-all dull design. Just dreadful)



    ---

    One more time:

    http://www.60scorvetteseats.com/stor...ors2/66blk.jpg

    ---
    Last edited by Fabrizio; January 10th, 2008 at 12:58 PM.

  2. #167
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    I can't speak to what the Corvette represented 40 years ago. Indeed, there were probably many fewer variations on what car interiors looked like back then, what with the lack of options and everything.

    I don't know how else to explain this to you, Fabrizio, but...maybe there's something being lost in translation. I just don't think "plush interior finishes" matters as much to Americans as it does to Europeans. The very idea of a "Chevy" with expensive wood trim and leather paneling almost sounds ridiculous to me. Chevy is the "everyman" car here. I don't know who in their right mind would expect its interior to look like a top of the line Mercedes. And I stand by the statement that the increase in costs between models is a factor of performance, not interior detailing...just as it is with the Mercedes.

    In any case, here's the interior of a Dodge Viper (starts at around $86,000). It looks a LOT like the interior of my 6 year-old Chrysler Sebring coupe:



    The Shelby Mustangs, which go all the way up to $50,000, don't fare much better in that department.

    All these high performance cars are simply...higher performance versions of cheap American coupes. The higher performance versions of the Mercedes are...higher performance versions of a Mercedes. Get my drift?

  3. #168
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default

    This is not about an ugly car, but about something ugly that happened to a beautiful car (and some ugly repurcussions) ...

    My Dad was a pretty conservative guy, but he did love his cars. By 1960 he had achieved some success and he got himself a red Alfa Romeo convertible (the other family car at the time was, of course, a station wagon). He happened to play poker with a fellow who had the local Chevrolet dealership and, by 1963, he managed to get the first Corvette Stingray delivered in northern California. It was a white convertible with red interior. When the top was up there was a smallish compartment behind the bucket seats, just big enough to contain the folded-up top. Back there is where I would ride on occasional long trips, with Mom & Dad up front. At the time I was young enough and limber enough to curl up in there and still be comfy enough for a cruise.

    This Corvette was the car in which my older brother learned to drive a stick shift. Unfortunately some local toughs stole the 'vette and drove it into the ground. They found it mangled -- the fibreglass body all shredded and torn. Completely totalled (imagine how ugly that was ). So, aside from going up and down our very short driveway before I had even taken one real driving lesseon, I didn't get much chance to drive that baby.

    However I did secretly learn to drive a stick in my Dad's next car (still too young to drive on the streets). It was a gold '67 Camaro convertible with black top & interior, which he got to replace the stolen Stingray. By then he figured there was no way he was going to let his teen-age kids drive around in another Corvette. Plus there was the insurance issue (which was really ugly -- and got uglier after my older sister totalled the Camaro ).










  4. #169

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    Pianoman writes: "I don't know how else to explain this to you, Fabrizio, but...maybe there's something being lost in translation."

    You know, I think you're right.

    I think anyone who has followed my posts on this forum is aware that I do have a hard time with the English language.

    So I usually find myself running your posts (in particular), through the free on-line Google translater.

    And when I do, it often giggles and rolls it's Googley eyes.... but it only does it with your posts.

    Once it even belched and wispered, "garbage in, garbage out"

    Strange.

    ----------------------
    From Businessweek:

    "Cars: What's Inside Is What Counts: Interiors become a crucial battleground for the Big Three"

    "The Big Three are making up for lost ground. It's a matter of survival. Consumer surveys generally rank foreign carmakers higher than domestic companies on interior quality. With foreign competition setting the benchmarks, the Big Three can't afford to annoy consumers with poorly organized dashboards, cheesy upholstery, or flimsy knobs. "They see their market share slipping and know what they have to do," says John Phillips, director of advanced product development at auto-interiors maker Lear Corp."

    "European car execs seem almost amused that Detroit took so long to wake up to the mystique--and value--of interior design. "GM has discovered that upgraded interiors sell cars," says BMW Chairman Helmut Panke. "For us, the interior has always been a priority of design."

    http://www.businessweek.com/magazine...5/b3797096.htm

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    From an Interview with the president of GM

    "Better panel fits, closer gaps, better door-closing sounds, better-tailored seat covers and more precise knobs and switches. Soft, low-gloss plastic parts instead of hard, shiny ones. All of those things are part of what the customer registers as a quality perception, which is why we call it "perceived quality." And your real quality can be outstanding, but if your perceived quality is off, the customer says, "Gee, I don't know, this is a pretty lousy-looking interior. I can't believe this is a good car." And you turn them off."

    http://www.edmunds.com/advice/specia...0/article.html

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Another article from Businessweek:

    "Rand and his design team went to work, charged with transforming the company's interiors. Many GM products had been maligned by auto analysts and consumers for being seas of sexless hard plastics and flimsy components. Taking cues from furniture, jewelry, and graphic design, the GM team started with the basics: audio and climate controls, instrument clusters, seats, and even keys."

    "The first generation of new dash components—knobs, switches, buttons, and radio and climate controls—was dubbed "black tie," as in elegant and goes with everything. These elements—not the dashboard forms themselves but the components that populate them—could be used in Cadillac models as well as less expensive Chevrolets."

    "The idea, according to Zak, was to give components a weight and level of detailing noticeably more refined than previous products, and to distribute those improvements across the company's many brands."

    http://www.businessweek.com/innovate...214_849575.htm

    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Car and Driver reviewing the Vette:

    "Also on the debit side, the interior looks decidedly low rent in this company. Sure, it’s the cheapest car here, so we will cut it some slack, but we’re confident that Z06 buyers would be willing to spend an extra five grand for an interior that has plastics and leather that are comparable with the Porsche’s. And although the seats are comfortable enough over long journeys, they lack lateral support and feel flimsy."

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparis...vette-z06.html

    ----
    Last edited by Fabrizio; January 10th, 2008 at 07:06 PM.

  5. #170
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabrizio View Post
    I think anyone who has followed my posts on this forum is aware that I do have a hard time with the English language.
    Nothing like sarcasm to kill a discussion.

    Once it even belched and wispered, "garbage in, garbage out"
    Ouch.

  6. #171
    Chief Antagonist Ninjahedge's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Sometimes "translation" has nothing to do with words.

  7. #172

  8. #173

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    Quote Originally Posted by kz1000ps View Post
    The USA edition is horrible. Ford is in dire straits, sales of their light trucks are going down with the economy, and this is what they release to compete with the Civic, Corolla, Mazda 3, ect.



    it already looks like an aging piece of shit even when new!
    That's pretty sad.

    I've been saying for some time, that the American automotive industry needs to relocate out of Detroit. They need to be located to a city like New York, Chicago or somewhere in California where there is a ubiquitous design culture and the automotive design industry can florish through cross-polonization with other design disciplines— industrial design, art, graphic design and of course architecture.

    American automotive design is, on the whole, just crap.

  9. #174

    Default true, but things were also not great in the 30s

    Look, before the 1930s, the American car industry was very dynamic with many automobile players and a heavy entreprenuerial spirit, and the American car is basically the same product we had in 1929. We can't even innovate to make the car smaller because corporate inertia of the big 3 and the unions prevents them from rapidly making that obviously needed change for the marketplace.

    Once unions formed, we have basically been stuck with the big 3. I don't think you can really evaluate the 1930s and the impact of unions - the great depression and the war would distort the result. If I talked about unionization in the 1930s, I'm sure you would give me another lecture of how uninformed I was for conflating union problems with the Great Depression (for the record, to the extent they helped pass the Smoot tariffs, they did cause the Great Depression, but that's a shared screw up that companies are just as culpable for).

    Let's analyze something Zippy - why can Japanese car manufacturers in non-union states with non-union workers produce good cars in the US? Why do they want non-union workers? Why are right to work states in the south all economically growing faster and outperforming union friendly states in the midwest? It's either because you need to be a bible thumper to produce a car, or its because unions disrupt the ability for management to improve productivity and quality. Look at the way Toyota runs a plant - they give you a performance review which you must hang on your door and all your coworkers see so they help you with your faults. Can you imagine a union allowing that?

    Why did the unions insist on the benefits package for retirees hobbling Detroit right now? That benefits package rewards NOT working, instead of working. As a consequence, Japanese companies outperform.

    By the way, I'm not against unions in countries with logical laws about them. After all, Japanese workers also have unions. What I'm against is laws that don't give the company a chance to argue its point because that amounts to intimidation, or fails to allow companies to respond to worker strikes. Japan has collective bargaining without silly litigation that prevents companies from acting to improve. We shouldn't ban unions in the US - we should restore some logical rights to companies negotiating with them to ensure unions that work with the company and defend employee interests can thrive - and most important contracts that prevent companies from rewarding productivity increases rather than seniority, making staffing decisions, placing union rules above management discretion about how to operate the business, etc, should be discouraged.

  10. #175

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    ^
    Why do you continue to run away from things you state. From the other thread:
    Look at the history of Detroit. Before labor unions, American cars were innovative and Detroit had high wages. After labor unions started forming in the 1940's, innovation in American cars basically stopped and we've had a long slow deterioration ever since.
    You say wages were higher before the industry unionized. Got figures?

    The UAW was formed in the 30s, signed a collective bargaining agreement with GM in 1936.

    Give examples of American automobile decline after 1936.

    Your subsequent explanation of the above quickly drifted to the present day global auto market.

    Once unions formed, we have basically been stuck with the big 3
    The Big Three was forming long before the UAW came along. The union had nothing to do with it.

    The auto industry achieved its greatest growth from post WWII through the 60s.

    It was the UAW that tried to get the Big Three to pay attention to foreign imports and build more fuel efficient cars. Management basically told them to run the union, and leave product line decisions to them.

    I response to your general rant about unions:

    In my own industry, although I've had problems with some of the policies of my company; it should be noted that it was the non unionized companies, MCI Worlcom, Global Crossing, etc that engaged in criminal behavior that led to the companies going belly up - something we're still paying for. The unionized companies like Verizon and AT&T survived.

    Enron? Non union, we're still paying for that.

    You live in a fantasy world if you think that companies only want to play by rules, and don't break the law. Or that unions are the major problem with American industry.

    You say Japanese auto companies want non union workers in the US, but also state that their companies in Japan are unionized. Know why? Because the business environment in the US is hostile toward unions.

    Unlike unions in the US that are connected to particular company or industry the unions in Europe are ingrained into the political system. The result is a higher quality lifestyle - unless you think working yourself to death is an admirable goal.

    Just wondering - what do you do?

  11. #176

  12. #177

    Default hi zippy

    Hey, zippy, sorry I hadn't replied to you earlier. I'm a computer programmer. My only job involving unions was as an intern in high school, but I guess what left me dumb founded when I did were rules about what people could do and the general attitude that people couldn't go outside there area to pitch 100 percent. I think its fair to say that left me with a negative impression of the attitude they had towards their job and their morale, although I'd argue there are some industries (like casino workers) where union workers seem very motivated.

    The MCI issue seems like a red herring. I'm not arguing that its impossible for crime to occur outside a union. I'm arguing that if you give anyone too much power, they're more likely to commit crime or pursue corrupt interests for the sake of power. In states like New York (and in the US in general) I think the balance of power away from individual rights has gotten out of control.

    By the way, jasonik brings up one example of how **NOT** to fight unions. Obviously, Henry Ford's efforts to do work in Germany to avoid unionization were the wrong approach, to put it mildly. People should have the right to organize and express themselves (the original purpose of the Wagner Act). But if their strike costs money, or the company can't argue its case about why the union is wrong, or the worker can't get a job without joining the union, then that gives the union more power than the individual. I read a case just yesterday about the NYPD suing to stop rookie cops from getting paid a signing bonus because that was outside the collective bargaining agreement. How is that in the interest of workers? It's a power play for the union, plain and simple.

  13. #178

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    Well, thanks for explaining how after labor unions started forming in the.... uh... 1940's, innovation in American cars basically stopped.

    ----

    Ford's best in 1949: http://www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/showroom/1949/fordbig.jpg

    Ten years later: http://cache.viewimages.com/xc/52199...4831B75F48EF45

  14. #179

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    From today's Times:

    German Law Seeks to Maintain the State’s Role in Volkswagen

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/17/bu...olkswagen.html

    ---

    Earlier I compared a 2007 Mercury Sable to an 8 year old Passat. In the meantime the Passat was restyled and given a new body. Now VW is showing previews of the 2008 Passat. Restyled AGAIN:

    http://www.omniauto.it/foto/popup/60...agen-passat-cc

    Click on the photos. Note BTW the interior.

  15. #180
    Senior Member Capn_Birdseye's Avatar
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    When are Ford going to return to good design principles again and turn out another winner?

    E D S E L

    If you are reading this, you are probably a student who has been assigned to do a report based on the Billy Joel song, "We Didn't Start the Fire" and want to know what the line "Edsel is a no-go" means.

    Well, the Ford Motor Company introduced the 1958 model Edsel automobile on September 4, 1957 after much fanfare. Initial sales were disappointing to say the least. Ford had hoped to sell 200,000 of the 1958 model Edsels, but ended up only producing 68,045.

    To try and bolster sales, Ford redesigned the car somewhat and removed some features that had not done well on the 58's, but again sales were very low, compared to expectations. Only 47,396 of the 1959 models were produced.

    The 1960 model was released in the fall of 59, but was basically a 1960 Ford with some sheet metal changes and did not resemble the earlier models very much at all. Only 2,846 of the 1960 models were produced, mainly just to fulfill dealer contracts.

    Ford decided to discontinue the Edsel in favor of smaller cars that were becoming popular at the time, and on November 19, 1959 announced that it would no longer produce Edsels. Therefore, Billy Joel correctly says that in 1959, the Edsel was a no-go, meaning that it flopped, and was discontinued.

    Hope that you get an A!
    5 8
    Undoubtedly the most controversial feature of the new EDSEL was the shield, or "horse collar" grille. Designed to be instantly recognizable as an EDSEL from a distance of several blocks, the grille was said, by some, to resemble a toilet seat and made the car look like "an Olds sucking a lemon".


    Total 1958 production: 68,045

    5 9
    Edsel designers restyled the grille for 1959. The basic shape remained the same, however, it was softened significantly to make it more acceptable to buyers. Other troublesome features of the car, such as the Tele-touch transmission, were also scrapped for the new model year.


    Total 1959 production: 47,396

    6 0
    By the debut of the 1960 model, the horse collar was gone and all that remained of the original shield design was a small emblem in the center of the grille. The last EDSEL came off the assembly line on November 19, 1959, as Ford announced that they were discontinuing the car. This shortened production run makes the '60 models among the rarest of EDSELs.


    Total 1960 production: 2,846

    http://www.edsel.net/billyjoel.html

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