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pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
12/19/21 1:16 p.m.

The recent big discussion on the Volvo Amazon contained a few comments about how they were really ahead of their time and feel/drive like a newer car than they are.

That got me thinking, are there any other cars from the 60's-70's era that were ahead of the curve and generally feel more modern than you'd think?

Mind you, I'm not talking about *technical* sophistication as much as an end product that generally feels like it was well-conceived, even if it's made up of simple parts (like the Amazon).

Javelin (Forum Supporter)
Javelin (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/21 1:18 p.m.

The unibody Ramblers come to mind.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) UltimaDork
12/19/21 1:31 p.m.

Datsun 510.

scottdownsouth
scottdownsouth HalfDork
12/19/21 1:31 p.m.

After driving a 62 ford truck with no power anything and a straight axle.... everything.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
12/19/21 1:47 p.m.

As much as I dismiss German cars, the Bavaria was a hell of a car for the day.

jh36
jh36 GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/19/21 1:48 p.m.

A little on the newer side, but I have a '75 450sel that drives with a very modern feel. I forget I'm in something old. 

alfadriver
alfadriver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/19/21 1:52 p.m.

Alfa 105/115 chassis.  5 speed, disk brakes all around.  Other than the stick axle, they are similar to driving a Miata in traffic.  And the stick axle is incredibly well behaved.

Trent
Trent PowerDork
12/19/21 2:02 p.m.

I describe the Fiat 124 spiders as the most miata-like of that era of vintage convertibles. 

The Lancia Fulvia from the late 60's has a feeling much like an 80's vw fwd chassis. 

 

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
12/19/21 2:08 p.m.

I'm going to say none. No matter how good the car is, you're talking about 40 or 50 years ago. They simply won't feel anything like a car built in the past 20 years.

red_stapler
red_stapler SuperDork
12/19/21 2:20 p.m.

Yeah cars from about 2001-on feel completely different because of the huge increase in chassis rigidity.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
12/19/21 2:33 p.m.


      If you depend on OBD2 to keep your car running nothing before 1997.  Or after 1975. Which pretty much eliminates  everything. 
    But that aside Jaguars of that era are beautiful cruisers. Top speed around 150 mph and decent fuel mileage for what they are. They aren't drag racers, too much luxury for that. Mechanically they are are as close to bullet proof as you will find, if you maintain them properly. 
  The EFI is actually simple. Basically it's 3 VW rabbit systems ganged together to start and developed from there.  
        Parts are readily available both new and good used stuff. Actually cheaper than Chevy's, except if you go to the Jaguar dealer. There an ignition module you can buy for $35  will cost you $1400!!!! Yep!   And a job an experienced mechanic can do in an hour is suddenly $1100 for labor. 
     Don't buy a rusty one. There are too many cherished ones properly stored away for winter but not running because the potential repairs might exceed its value. But remember what I said about bullet proof mechanicals?  They really are. 
  It's a car that rewards knowledge.You will go broke running to the dealer to have things fixed.  If you can fix an early Honda, VW, BMW, there is nothing you can't fix on a Jaguar but amazingly the engine is the part that's built the best!   I took apart 50 engines from rusty ones and ones that had Chevy swaps. And none of them had any measurable wear on the engine bores.  Bearings looked great. Valve clearance was all in tolerance, timing chains were are good etc. 

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/19/21 2:34 p.m.
jh36 said:

A little on the newer side, but I have a '75 450sel that drives with a very modern feel. I forget I'm in something old. 

 

I'll agree 100% here. My 79 Mercedes 450SEL drove better than a lot of 80s and 90s cars I've experienced. 

Tk8398
Tk8398 HalfDork
12/19/21 2:40 p.m.

More of an 80s-90s car (but technically still fits since the first ones were sold in 1979) but the W126 Mercedes is still good enough to daily drive even now.  I have had two in the past and used them to drive wherever I wanted to and other than being slow (both diesel) they were fine.

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
12/19/21 3:17 p.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:

Datsun 510.

I love them but they very drive like 70s cars......which for me is their charm.

My 71 Volvo 142E by contrast felt very modern; fuel injection, overdrive transmission 4 wheel disc brakes.

Sonic
Sonic UberDork
12/19/21 4:10 p.m.

My Citroen SM was way ahead of its time for the early 70s, but it still isn't modern in any way.  
 

Some cars just age better than others.   Driving my 84 Corvette back to back with my NSX really highlights it, even though they were designed only a few years apart.  The NSX feels excellent still and the Corvette is just so dated.   

11GTCS
11GTCS Dork
12/19/21 4:38 p.m.

My Dad had a ‘74 Mercedes 230 (gas) sedan that he bought used in 1983.   While not a performance car by any means it was a very competent car around town as well as on a long trip.  Built like a tank too! 

pointofdeparture
pointofdeparture UltimaDork
12/19/21 5:44 p.m.
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) said:

I'm going to say none. No matter how good the car is, you're talking about 40 or 50 years ago. They simply won't feel anything like a car built in the past 20 years.

Just to clarify, that's NOT my expectation, haha. I just said "newer than they are", not "like a new car". I would never expect something that old to feel like something from the 21st century!

I'm thinking more along the lines of Sonic's comment, cars that have aged well and feel forward-thinking, things like the prior mentioned Alfa 105/115, Volvo 142E, etc. Compared to something like a slant-six Plymouth Volare, which drives like a relic of its era, I'm sure those feel very forward-thinking.

(Now that I have finally escaped the rust belt for California I'm actually spitballing ideas for a pre-'75 driver to enjoy year-round, but it's just a thought exercise at this point.)

Uncle David (Forum Supporter)
Uncle David (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/19/21 6:20 p.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

As much as I dismiss German cars, the Bavaria was a hell of a car for the day.

Came here to write this. 

After years of 60's / 70's domestics, my completely rusted out, worn out Bavaria was a revelation.

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon Dork
12/19/21 6:35 p.m.

Second gen corvairs for sure easy to drive not much different then driving modern fwd cars.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/19/21 7:59 p.m.

911?

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
12/19/21 8:57 p.m.

In reply to pointofdeparture :

Much of what makes newer cars feel better is the tires.  The lower profile wider tread produces a tauter ride with a softer spring rate. 
 You can achieve much the same effect by   Putting those wheels/tires on an older chassis.   
    Look too at the sophistication of the suspension. Jaguar for example isolates all road harshness  by using front and rear suspension crossmembers isolated from the chassis by rubber.  That allows proper geometry to provide predictable handling traits without the need to feel every little pebble and crack on the road surface. 
 To capitalize on that geometry the chassis must be stiff enough to maintain the crossmembers accurately enough so the geometry isn't compromised.  
  American luxury cars lack that rigidity and so trade a barge like feeling for a soft  ride.  
    Wofting is how that precise yet comfortable ride is described.  As , "We wofted to the south of France in comfort and speed." 

jr10cross
jr10cross Reader
12/20/21 9:19 a.m.

78 Porsche 928. Compare it to a same year vette, hands down was a spaceship. The steering wheel and instrument pod were adjustable together. Awesome GT car!

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/20/21 9:23 a.m.

Another vote for 2nd gen Corvair. As someone who grew up on overpowered live axle muscle cars, having IRS and weight somewhere other than the tip of the nose felt great. 

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe PowerDork
12/20/21 11:02 a.m.
jr10cross said:

78 Porsche 928. Compare it to a same year vette, hands down was a spaceship. The steering wheel and instrument pod were adjustable together. Awesome GT car!

It really was and I say that as a Corvette guy. 

BMW 2002tii was another one for me that was just so far ahead when I drove it that I thought it was from the late 80's. Same with the Mercedes 230sl. 

 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
12/20/21 2:07 p.m.

Believe it or not, the Rover 2000 TC was a very good car - when everything was working as intended, and sadly that didn't happen very often.

And I've always regarded Jensen Interceptors as ahead of their time (and I've owned three of them). Grand tourers that handled, stopped and went the way no American car of the period ever did (not that I have ridden in, anyway).  But then they cost twice as much so they should have been better. (Last model year 1976 - they listed at $26,650 while a 1976 Corvette listed at $7600 - a 76 Cadillac  cost $14,000.00)

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