<VV> Reflections on newer cars, Corvairs (was Spyder/Corsa turbo -- fast & furious)

Karl Haakonsen (cityhawk@pobox.com) karlhaakonsen at comcast.net
Sun Dec 26 01:29:17 EST 2010

During my adolescence and formative years in the 1970s, there was a sense that cars had reached their peak in the 1960s. Sure, there were improvements in emissions and some improvements in mileage, though the improvements in mileage were mostly due to cars being made lighter (in other words, more flimsy). The improvements to emissions came at the cost of performance as emissions control systems were in their nascency and tended to sap engines of their power. Cars were made of thinner sheet metal and tended to rust out faster. 

Cars of the 1960s still seemed "modern" in terms of driveability. They were able to maintain current highway speeds, handled at least as well as the current cars, and held up better. 

The 1980s were spotty as well, though there were some improvementst to some cars, but the American economy cars were still, by and large, pretty crummy. 

Anyway, since the early 1990s, cars have been improving in most respects leaps and bounds, with a few periods of bean-counter cutbacks here and there. But the fierce competition and technological improvements have created cars that are faster, smoother, cleaner, more reliable, and for the most part, hold up at least as well as the cars of the 1960s... though their technological complexity may make maintaining them for decades too much of a headache compared to their older brethren. 

Yet, improvements notwithstanding, can anyone here imagine a faithful, dedicated following of any of today's cars (with the exception of expensive sports cars and luxury cars) 40-50 years from now? Imagine the Corolla Society of America in the year 2060 having several thousand graybeards with a passion for Toyota Corollas of our day . Perhaps a bad example since they'll probably still be making Corollas in the year 2060. But you get the idea. 

Someone mentioned the small number of Corvairs on the road as a testimony to their lack of durability compared to new cars of today, but, seriously, they are 40-50 years old!. T ime will only tell what percentage of today's economy/everyday cars are still around in 40-50 years. Actually, the main reason why most Corvairs are long gone has more to do with Corvairs being persistently undervalued in the marketplace of antique cars due to the old (ill-informed , yet persistent) Corvair "stigma." This stigma keeps the value of restored Corvairs much lower than it should be as well as the value of rust-free cars. Today, a person can find a relatively rust-free Corvair for a couple thousand dollars (or less), so a great many restorable cars get relegated to the scrap heap because they have a little rust and nobody wants to bother with it because, why bother when a rust free car can be had for so little money? 

Happy Boxing Day 
Karl in Boston 

More information about the VirtualVairs mailing list