By on January 19, 2010

A Shelby GT350 pictured here with a tragic example of America's obesity epidemic

Forget distracted driving, the new Shelby GT350 proves that obesity is the real epidemic in America’s automotive life.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!


41 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Modern Obesity Edition...”

  • avatar

    meh, it’s just the body kit that makes it look fat…
    Body kits are kind of like implants, they cost just as much, and are mostly for aesthetic value.

    • 0 avatar

      And it’s only black paint on the rocker panels of the standard car that make it look thinner than that be-winged and be-skirted fat lady up there.
      It’s nice to look under old cars… no black paint or plastic skirting… just air.

    • 0 avatar

      Agreed. That was my thought exactly.

      That fluff doesn’t weigh much and probably improves airflow and mileage if it’s designed right.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    Put  up a 65 Chevy  C10 pick up or a 65 F 100 to its current  counter parts.

  • avatar

    Put up a ’85 Ford Crown Vic and an ’88  Honda Accord next to a 2009 Accord.  I saw this trio in the lot the other day.  Talk about obesity…

  • avatar

    Car obesity is a problem, yes.  But I’d much rather crash in the new Mustang than the old one, not to mention drive it all day in better comfort.
    Some of this is due to government regulation, some due to the growing appetite of the market.  The automakers don’t make these choices on their own.  Airbags, 18-inch wheels, 10-way CD changers with 8 speakers, lumbar supports, electric windows, sound deadening, special shocks, ABS, door beams, roof reinforcements, and catalytic converters all come at a weight penalty.
    I’d guess that the 2425-lb curb weight of my 05 xB is about as low as you can go for a 5-passenger car these days, and even it is no picnic to drive for more than 2 hours.

    • 0 avatar

      Aside from the change in style, the technical improvements are what people often fail to take into account.  As a comparison, compare the 1955-era  against the 2002-era T-Birds…

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    I know it shows my age, and I admit that the new Mustang is a far better machine, but good grief, that original is a far, far more attractive machine.  Those body kits are our version of Banglizing a perfectly good looking machine.  By the way, has anyone started a “Kill Bangle” movement yet?

    • 0 avatar

      If the Shelby today is the harbinger of design to come, as it was in 69 and 70, then the next refresh of the current Mustang is in grave danger of becoming the worst interpretation of the Kinetic Design theme…

  • avatar

    +1 to those comentators who said park the old cars next to modern equivelents period, or even non-equivelents.  I would much rather drive a Fusion than a Taurus but that’s because I realized I was looking for something the size of the old (1980s) Taurus.  When model names stay continuous bloat usually sets in.

  • avatar

    both still have a live axle 40 odd years later
    all cars have that mid life girth increase
    one would scarcely believe the modern Civic is descended from that 600cc looking minicar in the 70s
    the mustang as it is, isn’t too bad – 3,500 – 4,000 odd lbs
    if you wanna see tragic compare a modern Camaro to a 196os Camaro… or worse a modern Challenger to a 1960s Challenger

    • 0 avatar

      “or worse a modern Challenger to a 1960s Challenger”
      Nope. Old Challengers were 3400-3800 lbs. due to the E-body front clip being almost ideanitical to the B body Charger and Satellite (but that made them able to comfortabley swallow any engine that the Charger could while Ford and GM had to shoehorn in some of their biggest engines). Back then, just like today, Chrysler did not have the money to create an entirely new platform from scratch.  The 1970 Challenger and Barracuda were the largest and heaviest of the ponycars. So history has repeated itself with today’s Challenger.

  • avatar

    How about comparing it to a ’73 model.

  • avatar

    I have a 67 Camaro. You can open the hood and see the ground around the engine.
    It’s quite pleasant to work on and fun to drive.
    But these vintage cars have almost no emissions or safety equipment.
    I feel much better about my daughters and grandchildren driving modern stuff, chubby and complex as it may be.

  • avatar

    What’s really intresting is that their only about 1000lbs apart. When you consider all the accessories and safety that the modern GT350 has to all the light weight stuff the early model has, its quite remarkable their isn’t a more pronounced increase in weight.

  • avatar

    I hope it comes with a lifetime supply of zMax…

  • avatar

    From a technical/engineering point, the new Mustang is light years ahead, but, my God, that original is still beautiful!

  • avatar

    Safety equipment weighs as much as 2 and a half sportbikes? Take away the aero kit and you still have a fat mustang!

    • 0 avatar

      not just safety equipment which by the way includes multiple airbags and electronic modules. Power seats, locks, windows,Steering, Air Conditioning, A back seat, center console, head rests, pounds of sound deadening and insulation.  I think there wasn’t even a spare tire and the back window was plexi glass.

      We take for granted all the bells and whistles even some of the most basic modern econo-boxes have.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s what I don’t get.  I want someone to itemize this.  How much do the airbags weigh, the extra beams in the doors, the ABS, the traction control, etc., etc.  Then in a separate list the non-safety stuff, like the nav systems, the huge wheels (anything over 16 inches), the speakers after the basic four, etc.  I want this list to be specific and detailed and also to break out the minimum equipment required by the gummint versus all the extra stuff that is glommed on because we have bought the sales pitch that we “need” it.  Lastly, comparative weights old and new on the basic stuff.  We need engines, transmissions, windshields, things like that.  Then we can get an idea of how we can Jenny Craig our cars within the bounds of 2010 legality.  Where the new part does the same thing as the old part but is noticeably porkier, let’s ask hard questions.  Like “Why?”

    • 0 avatar

      I want someone to itemize this.  How much do the airbags weigh, the extra beams in the doors, the ABS, the traction control, etc., etc.
      Most of the mass is the frame (many older cars were a simple frame and a tin-can bodyshell; they crashed like it, too).  A huge chunk after that is trim, sound-deadening and seats.  Then you get to the transmission, air conditioner, wheels, brakes and suspension.
      Traction control and ABS weigh nothing; they’re all software.  Same with most of the electronics: their mass is negligible.  Even airbag modules aren’t that heavy.
      People like to say it’s the modern conveniences, electronics and safety equipment, but it really isn’t.  Most of the time it’s frame, seats, unsprung weight (have you seen modern wheels and brake discs?!) and, versus compacts from the 1980s, the big-mutha engines.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know about the engines, psarhjinian. Back in the 60’s most motors were cast iron blocks and heads. You were lucky if the intake manifold was aluminum. Today it’s aluminum blocks and heads with a composite intake manifold. So even if displacement increases I would think it would be a wash. Does anyone know how much the new 5.0 Ford motor weighs?

  • avatar
    Telegraph Road

    Thanks, TTAC.  Now I understand why U.S. vehicle fatalities per miles driven were over 3 times as high in 1965 as today.

    • 0 avatar

      I suspect the body is only a small percentage of the weight gain…due to crush zones, side impact and roll over improvements.  Modern high strength steel frames aren’t obsenely obese…years ago the metal was actually thicker.  Similarly, alloys have helped keep engines from getting too heavy.  There is weight in many things…here are some that come to mind.
      1.  Multiple coats of paint…primer, clear coat.  (Cars no longer rust.)
      2.  Sound deadening panels, better seals.  (Now we can talk in cars without raising our voices.)
      2.  Emissions system…catalytic converters.  (Pollution is hundreds of times lower.)
      3.  Multivalve heads, hydraulic tappets…etc.  (Engines have less maintenance and are more efficient.)
      4.  HVAC and HVAC distribution systems.  (Modern AC and fans and vents cool cars quickly and evenly.)
      5.  Interior trim everywhere and often with multiple soft coatings.  (Makes the car nicer to feel and sit in.  Also reduces noise and vibration.)
      6.  Airbags…front, passengar, side…(Cars are much safer now.)
      7. Power everything…seats, windows, locks, mirrors…all these motors weigh a lot. (convenience.)
      8.  Wiring for all the accessories/sensors. Despite the progress in electronics, too much of it is still done the old fashioned way…one wire for each accessory, sensor..etc.  There are miles of copper wires running all over the car.  (Necessary for all the emissions, safety and convenience items but could be much better with better communication standards.)
      9. Electronics and electronic consumption requiring beefier electronic subsystem.  This is similar to #8, but refers to the larger battery, alternator and all the other computers, relays and gizmos required to feed the technology beast.
      I’m sure there is more stuff I am missing…but those are a bunch that come to mind.  Some could be skipped, but the manufacturers would have a hard time selling the cars without them.  Others are necessary to meet federal requirements.

      If you want to see what can be done, and still meet the minimum of Federal standards one only has to look at the sub 2000 pound Lotus Elise. That is a “drivers” car.

    • 0 avatar


      You’re right; and compare the Golf/Rabbit Mk1 to the current, and there’s way more going on than just what you (carefully and wisely) noted. On top of that, reliability was lost along the way. To be fair, VW’s not the only one.

  • avatar

    From what I read, for the price of the new GT350, it will be possible to buy two new Mustang GTs.

    IIRC, the original 1965 GT350 was a little pricey, too, but was it that expensive in relation to a V8 Mustang back then?

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    (Ross MacLean / Arthur Richardson)

    Here’s a silly ditty,
    You can sing it right away
    Now, here is what you say
    So sing it while you may

    Here’s a silly jingle,
    You can sing it night or noon
    Here’s the words, that’s all you need
    ‘Cause I just sang the tune:

    Oh, I don’t want her, you can have her
    She’s too fat for me
    She’s too fat for me
    She’s too fat for me
    I don’t want her, you can have her,
    She’s too fat for me
    She’s too fat
    She’s too fat
    She’s too fat for me

    I get dizzy
    I get numbo
    When I’m dancing
    With my Jum-Jum-Jumbo


    Can she prance up a hill?
    No, no, no, no, no
    Can she dance a quadrille?
    No, no, no, no, no
    Does she fit in your coupe?
    By herself she’s a group
    Could she possibly
    Sit upon your knee?
    No, no, no

    She’s so charming
    And she’s so winning
    But it’s alarming
    When she goes in swimming


    She’s a twosome,
    She’s a foursome
    If she’d lose some
    I would like her more some


  • avatar

    Thank you, Telegraph Road, for calling out the dark side of these gripes about the good old days. If highway fatality rates were the same now as they were in ’65, we would have an extra 80,000 deaths a year. A lot of that decline in fatality rates is attributable to those heavier frames, impact-resistant beams, stronger seats, larger brakes, and other weight-adding safety features.
    Hey, let’s be conservative and say that 3/4 of the improvement came from better tires and suspension, ABS, seat belts, and airbags–the things that don’t add a whole lot of weight. Who here is ready to step up and say, “Yeah, I’d happily see 20,000 people a year die so I could drive a nice, lean old-school Mustang”?  Anyone?

    • 0 avatar

      As a guy with patents for safety-related automotive devices (in prodution, and even in use on that new Mustang), I can tell you that all the new stuff is good, great even, for reducing death and injury severity …

      I can also tell you that the increased use of safety belts, and the social pressure against drunk driving has contributed enormously to highway safety.

      Despite that, and regarding your challenge … I’m not prepared to accept the trade off that you suggest …

  • avatar

    I like Mustangs but that thing is god awful. And it’s 2010 and it still has a mast antenna? WTF?

    • 0 avatar

      Take it from a car radio designer:  the full length mast antenna is both the cheapest AND the best performing type available.   Short antennas and hidden antennas appeal mostly to stylists and partly to car-wash-damage-worriers.

  • avatar

    With the continued speculation around the Ford Falcon here in Australia, I took a cursory glance at the Taurus (SHO in particular) and thought to myself: “3.5L turbo, AWD, it won’t be so bad to see these on the road instead.”
    Then I saw the weight figures, the Falcon at ~1,800kg (~3,950lbs) is a bit of fat bastard, but 1,990kg (4,388 lb), near as 2 tonnes, what the hell are you lot building them out of? Depleted Uranium?

    • 0 avatar

      Unobtainium, just look at the sticker price.  But then Ford NA originally intended  the new Taurus to replace the Crown Victoria.  So is the current falcon the size of a Crown Victoria?

  • avatar

    All this talkl about safety equipment makes me think.  I have never heard of a car killing anyone.  The driver of the car on the other hand is a different story.

    I will drive my 66 Mustang until the day I die.  Although I will admit it has been upgraded with 4 wheel power disc brakes and a much better suspension and some sound deading.

  • avatar

    It shouldn’t be too hard to find out the weight difference in the frame.  Dynacorn classic bodies makes several model years of 60s Mustang body shells and might be able to quote you a shipping weight (less hood, trunklid, and front clip).
    Ford, from what I recall, sells current body-in-white Mustangs for race teams.  Anyone who can dig up contacts at both companies could get reasonably comparable weight figures.  I’d be willing to bet at least 1/3 the weight difference is in the body/frame.

  • avatar

    That thing is just god-awful. An overwrought, blinged-out bastardization of a perfectly good Mustang. $34K for what, tacked on ricer-look body cladding, a supercharger, lower springs, stripes and dubs? You gotta be shitting me! Oh…forgot….it’s the Shelby M.O. Sell a schmuck, make a buck.

  • avatar

    Boeing (whose CEO was Alan Mullaly at the time) is now fighting for the all-new carbon-fiber 787 Dreamliner to be lighter to comply with contracts with the airlines. Ford (whose CEO is now Alan Mullaly) keeps making cars fatter and porkier. And Toyota. And Honda. And Chrysler. And…
    Heavier ain’t safer. Ask the SUV people.

  • avatar

    #1. AAA reports that nearly 70% of motoring fatalities are  from people being too stupid to wear a seat belt.

    Width and length add weight as proven over 110 years of the designers making every iteration of their  “new & improved” models bigger and dumber than the last. And it wasn’t safety items they were building into the bloat, just an unconcious, slavish following of the “bigger is better” syndrome.

    I liked the new Mustang, till I saw what a porker it is. It is what it was…. in 1973. Might as well call it the LTD III.

  • avatar

    Sure it looks fat. It also most likely outperforms the original GT350 in speed and handling and probably gets better fuel mileage to boot, all while being a much safer car with nice features like A/C and a nice sound system. Also, with fuel injection, electronic ignition and a digital ECU that actually knows what’s going on inside the engine, modern cars are much more reliable.
    I’m old enough to remember when you carried around a screwdriver just so you could jam the choke open when you flooded the engine trying to start it.
    BTW, the ’65 Shelby had a curb weight of ~2800 lbs. The 2011 is about 1200 lbs heavier.

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • SaulTigh: This, and at 13 years old with 123k on the clock, if the hoses have never been changed it’s dang well...
  • JohnTaurus: So minivans and the LX cars aren’t profitable? I find that very hard to believe.
  • APaGttH: That is a HUGE price to pay for RAM and Jeep. HUGE. I 100% agree that basically, the only thing FCA has of...
  • mmreeses: #2 that’s the sticky point stopping #3 from happening.
  • Coopdeville: I don’t like it and can’t even describe it. It’s not as dark as forest green, not as...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote


  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States