By on November 15, 2019

1979 Lincoln Continental Bill Blass Edition Profile, Image: © Forest Casey

Despite what the media tells us, kids have a lot of dumb ideas. That said, plenty of youngins possess a wit and canniness that defies their years, sometimes — perhaps even often — making them better company than obnoxious know-it-alls in their 20s.

I used to babysit a coworker’s son by taking him to the bar, so these sentiments come from experience.

Thinking back to one’s own childhood, it’s often embarrassing to recall the things we believed at the time; things that the march of time revealed to be untrue. In regard to the automotive realm, what beliefs did a younger you hold as an unshakable truth?

This writer’s elementary school years saw a Ferrari Testarossa and Ford Mustang GT adorn the walls of his bedroom; in the corner sat a pile of Collectible Automobile magazines dating back to the first issue. It was at a very young age that I fell in love with overstuffed land yachts…

But it was because of this fixation on old cars that, at a single-digit age, I was more concerned with domestic features that had already fallen by the wayside a decade-plus earlier than anything new coming out of Japan. Like, for example, the one feature that always sends a thrill up my leg: Hardtops. Pillarless hardtops.

Early on, however, I had somehow come to believe that the definition of a hardtop had to do with the distance from the A-pillar to the B-pillar in relation to the distance from the B-pillar to the C-pillar, at least when viewing the car with windows up. Some pillarless coupes and sedans looked fairly pillar-ly with glass up. Obviously, this was dumb. Pillarless means no B-pillar. Simple as that, but it took awhile for the confusion to end.

I also believed at the time that personal luxury coupes with canvas faux-cabriolet roofs — not just your run-of-the-mill vinyl landau-style roof — were actual convertibles. These tops were most commonly seen on the Lincoln Continental Mk. VI and Chrysler Cordoba. Good job, Detroit — you fooled a kid. I eventually learned why no owner seemed to want the wind in what was left of their hair.

In hindsight, it’s amusing to think of the things we once believed. What were you once convinced of?

[Image: © 2017 Forest Casey/TTAC]

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117 Comments on “QOTD: Recalling the Ignorance of Youth?...”


  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Steph, Never portray a Mark in a negative light. Although not my favourite model, or option package (and there appears to be an issue with the suspension) that is still a striking auto in the photo.

    As someone who had Lincoln Marks and a 1st generation Cordoba, I have nothing but fond memories of them.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I used to think that once you built or restored a car right, it would somehow stay in that state of grace without any further work needed. Instead old cars – and the older they get – will always require varying amounts of work to keep running. Because there is always _something_ that will niggle on the mind.

    Case in point: put a new engine and transmission and rear and front seats in a 1986 Monte Carlo SS. Oh and then I had to do the t-top seals. And then a new carb to replace the old one. And then I started eying the carpeting. And the door trim. And the weak 7.5″ rear which was too weak for the engine. And… and… and… I sold it to another hobbyist who had more time than I did to OCD over the car.

    Full restoration – from the frame up – was where I should have started but that would have taken more money that I had.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    The FB Mustang group I belong to – for the most part – were not happy with the Mustang name being slapped on a crossover.

    Will this be like the protest against the Probe as the Mustang replacement? Don’t know!

    Good performance specs though, at least in the GT trim.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    I always thought the makers would come to their senses and stop listening to the marketeers and their faux-cus, and builsd something fun and affordable. What a fool I was. Mach-E indeed.
    >:-O

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I figured Lotus made solid reliable cars because they made race cars.

    But I was skeptical of the one where big heavy cars hold the road better because of gravity. We now call that chick logic.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I thought that many cars from the 50s with their big chrome faces had personalities and owners to match. If the grille and headlights resembled a mean face then the car and it’s owners were mean. If a car looked happy then the car and it’s owners were happy. Even until this day some Mazdas look happy and bring a smile to my face when I pass them, because of course the owners must be happy as well

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I used to think that El Caminos were cool.

    On the other hand, I was on the right side of history when I disagreed (at about 8 years of age) with two several-years-older family friends, who argued vehemently that if you hooked two cars together they’d have double the top speed.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I loved BMW and Mercedes when I was between like 12 and 19 years old.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      So did I, the difference being both brands were legit kick-a** when I was that age!

      (You can still get good stuff from them as long as you’re willing to radically overspend.)

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      Ditto. I had thought BMWs were reliable and easy to repair. They were somewhat more reliable in the late 80s and early 90s, but thats gone the way of the dodo bird. And they are infintely more complex to repair nowadays.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I believed that the highest numbers on the speedometer of a car were actually representative of how fast the car could go. I thought with great faith that cars from the 55mph era were pathetic scum when compared to their (sometimes otherwise identical) counterparts from before and after.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yes, I remember as a kid a neighbor getting a new 1963 Riviera, the speedo went to 140mph, most all other cars went to 120mph. I was SO impressed by that

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        I had a car that would tap the speedometer on the ledge beneath 120 mph. Everything I know about the world says that the car could maybe do 100 mph on its best day and the rest was speedometer error.

  • avatar
    CitizenK

    I thought that expensive cars were automatically better than inexpensive cars. Surely they had to be. “You get what you pay for.”
    I was mistaken.

  • avatar
    lonborghini

    When i was a child i believed in God and Carroll Shelby. I still believe in Carroll Shelby.

  • avatar
    ArialATOMV8

    During my childhood/young adult life I learned a few interesting facts about cars.

    -At 5 years old I thought PT Cruisers were cool. Learned later on this was not the case (2002?)

    -At 7 I learned Toyota was not American and actually Japanese.

    -At 9 I learned that cars do not run on invisible tracks like a train and can hit objects like trees after a accident I was in. Thankfully everyone was unharmed and our Land Cruiser was repaired.

    -Finally Senior year in HS I got through my thick skull 2 important lessons after my family decided to get rid of our 100 series Land Cruiser due to several expensive jobs it needed to keep it roadworthy.

    a. Even with good maintenance cars don’t last forever and sometimes its just better to get rid of a car you may adore if its becoming too expensive to maintain.

    b. Older cars are not necessarily more reliable than new cars (packed with with more electronics) because as a car ages, parts wear out. Eventually, things will be breaking left and right on a older car and it will get expensive!

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      The first about the PT is an opinion. Some people like them. And that’s OK. The PT bashing is old and not funny anymore.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        What year is your PT, Teddy? My mom has one of the first ones sold, a 2001 she’s had since new. It’s purple and all tricked-out with custom pin-striping. She has 42K miles on it, it looks and runs like new. A local car dealer sent her a sales promo offering her $750.00 on a trade. She was so offended

      • 0 avatar
        ArialATOMV8

        After thinking about it a lot your right. The PT Cruiser is not a uncool/bad car. Instead its just a car that no longer fits my taste.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    I used to think that working on my family’s vehicles with my Dad was a chore and a hassle. New carb on the wagon; headers on the van; plugs and wires on everything; air filters and timing guns and running for tools. I’d now give a lot to have just one more of those Saturday afternoons.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      +1

      I’m getting ready to rebuild the rear end on my work truck and wondering how I can incorporate my 4&6 year old boys into it without loosing my mind.

    • 0 avatar
      2drsedanman

      “I’d now give a lot to have just one more of those Saturday afternoons.”

      Me too. I was too young and dumb to appreciate it at the time. I thought working on cars was something we could do anytime, on any day. When you are young, you always think there will be more time or opportunities. Hindsight shows you how fleeting and rare those occurrences/opportunities actually are.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        I guess I’m lucky, me and my 92 year old father still get under the hoods of our cars just to check things out. Poor dad doesn’t have a clue as to whats going under there anymore, so I try to explain what the different parts are and what they replaced, but I am thankful that we can still bond under a hood to some extent anyway

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Yep. Thanks Dad.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Great post and a good reminder.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Believing that newer means better, when it’s clear newer increasingly means worse in 10 ways and better in 1 unimportant way.

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      Disagree. My current car is more comfortable, more reliable, better handling, and more fuel efficient than any car I have ever owned. I have owned domestics and imports, large and small. My 2015 Mazda6, which I paid only $25k for new, without doubt, is the best car I have owned.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        My current car is more comfortable, more reliable, better handling, and more fuel efficient than any car I have ever owned.

        I’m betting your Mazda isn’t as comfortable as a 92 Lincoln town car, or any of the older American iron in that class. Reliability is very dependent today, high pressure fuel pumps, turbos, CVTs, the sweet spot for reliability was around 1990-2010 from what I see. Handling has always been available, it’s just widely associated with a poorer ride quality, which is why few manufacturers would associated with it. Fuel efficiency at a high cost of dealing with a small motor, FWD, and cheap construction is a bar I’m not really willing to grab. A geo metro was fuel efficient after all.

        Compare a 09 Malibu to a 2019 for example.

        • 0 avatar
          conundrum

          Comfortable in what way, that Lincoln? An isolated from the road, ill-handling heap of ladled-on glitz was about all the Lincoln offered. Skin deep luxury. Face it, not everyone thinks your opinions are beyond reproach, even if you think they’re incontrovertible. The Mazda walks it in terms of fit and finish over a Ford, which anyone can ascertain by the simple act of inspection by eye. That’s the point, all your other mournful opinions about engine size and so on are extraneous and beside that fundamental point.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            Fit and finish != comfort, and is by no means the be all and end all of vehicular measuring sticks.

            And what is the expected lifespan of the Mazda before it succumbs to rust?

            We all come in with preconceived biases, myself included. Let’s not pretend we can objectively say a 2015 Mazda is better in all respects than a 92 Town Car or vice versa.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            My Miata is a ’93 and has no rust, and it has never been garaged since I bought it about 16 years ago.

            There’s also something to be said about getting 25-30 MPG instead of maybe 10 on a good day.

  • avatar
    geo

    When I was five, my dad test-drove a Rabbit. The occupants included our family of five plus the salesman, so I sat in the hatch area.

    The ride felt bouncy, and I believed this is why they called it a Rabbit.

  • avatar
    Thomas Kreutzer

    I used to believe Volkswagen made decent cars.

    I mean, the Germans have never done anything bad, right?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      On top of this comment I used to believe Bosch made good components.

      • 0 avatar
        pwrwrench

        Bosch stuff was a cut above most of the rest for a long time. That faded about 1990. It’s now about average. Seemed like they were the first, in the 1960s to make an electric FI pump that would last. Occasionally I see a 50 year old VW with Bosch FI with the original fuel pump.
        My youthful strange thinking was that anything with a V8 was a waste of gasoline. I changed my thinking when I found out how much better a Suburban was for towing a trailer with a racecar or racing motorcycles than something with a 4 cylinder.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          I don’t have experience with the older stuff, the engine sensors from O’reilly have a tendency to be bad out of the box.

          • 0 avatar
            pwrwrench

            This is probably like most other makers, searching for the lowest cost of manufacture. In the 1990s, the Bosch boxes stopped having “Made in Germany” on them. Other places like Spain, Brazil, and I imagine now, China started appearing. Not that there’s anything wrong with those countries, but when the goal is the lowest cost of manufacture quality will suffer.
            I have used Bosch stuff from the above countries and it is as good as the German stuff. Some of it not so much.
            I have a German vehicle that is 35 yrs old. I replaced the O2 sensor when I replaced the exhaust system about 10 yrs ago. I wanted to change to a 4 wire sensor, heated. The original was a single wire.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        “On top of this comment I used to believe Bosch made good components.”

        … and Bose made good speakers. Hahahaha!

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      They do. I know someone with a Jetta. Been in it many time. It’s a decent car. How are their cars any different than other brands?

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        “How are their cars any different than other brands?”

        –They are more expensive and less reliable.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          I dunno, I just turned in my ’17 Jetta. Picked it up in December 16, got it for about $16,000. Drove it for a tad less than 40,000 miles, and had zero reliability issues. It’s my second VW – my first was an ’81 Rabbit that ran great but ate window crank handles.

          I think VW gets a bad rap, personally – I doubt they’d be as bulletproof as, say, a Corolla, but they’re not bad at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Thomas Kreutzer

            I think if you buy a VW new, drive it for a few years then dump it you’ll do OK. Get the goody out of it and sell while the resale value is high.

            In my experience, buying one with the intention of keeping it is a recipe for frustration. Once thing start going bad they pile up. Bad sunroof seals and all the soft touch plastics going sticky and crappy were what really turned me ahah at VW. I mean, the mechanical stuff that happened, well maybe it would have been better if I had better dealer support- which I gave up on when I took it overseas- but all the little crap that constantly happened just made me think it was a crappy car.

            I was so happy to be rid of it and while it was a pretty little car that I loved when I first purchased it I haven’t missed it at all in the years it has been gone. And that’s unusual for me.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            “Ate window cranks”. How can you take such old and basic technology and mess it up?

            Aside from any reliability arguments, what about the price of parts for VW’s?

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            The trouble with VWs is they’re essentially made out of the garbage that used to plague East German cars. Is a VW ignition coil obscenely expensive? No. Having to install repair kits on the attendant wiring and finding a bunch of leaks while your mechanic diagnoses the bad wiring is expensive.

            2.0 GDI engines often need timing services that are expensive enough that the cars aren’t always fixed.

            Some newer diesels have what sure resembles a throttle(on a diesel?) that is expensive and made of recyclable plastic. Every opening and closing wears the plastic stops to its travel until it doesn’t seal when closed. The cheapest solution is an aftermarket insert that is made out of something hard enough to do the job for several years. That’s great if you’re a DIY with an ME degree, less so if you’re at the mercy of a shop that works on VWs. And so it goes.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      VW had a good reputation when their cars were air-cooled. Those cars never faced the varsity on level ground. Water-cooled VWs have always been junk. I had a 1985, West-German assembled Jetta GL 5-speed. I loved it, having come from a bondo-beast 240D, a Ford by Kia, a Fiat, and a couple of Plymouths. I accepted that a car with 61K miles needed every A/C component. I accepted that it needed new engine mounts soon after to stop the block from bashing into the firewall. I accepted that it needed struts within months. I accepted that it then needed a heater core because of a bad radiator cap. I was a bit disappointed to learn that the heater core/radiator cap problem had been going on for years and that the shop that worked on the car tested brand new radiator caps from Germany on a jig they built just for that purpose because so many of them failed to release pressure right out of the bag they came in.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        What about oil leaks and self destructing exhaust systems?

        My Type III squareback was nearly indestructible.
        My Type IV was light years ahead of any domestic, or Japanese competition in terms of design, but flawed in its execution.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          I’ll bite. What elements of the Type IV’s design did you find to be light years ahead of Detroit and Japan? I have read reviews from its introduction. Even then it was considered a throw-back rife with pre-war thinking. That was before it spent years stinking up the market. VW’s air-cooled MacPherson-strut cars did more to alienate Porsche-disciples than they did to advance the state of the art.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Todd: then you were mislead.

            My Type IV was a squareback (as was my Type III) and it came, quite surprisingly for German vehicles with a blue interior and matching, pile/plush carpeting.

            The Type IV had fuel injection, rack & pinion steering, unibody construction, coil springs, trailing wishbone rear suspension, and a MacPherson strut front suspension. Its engine was the same as in the 914.

            Its windows were scalloped on top to provide draught-free ventilation, it had metallic paint, radial ply tires, full plush carpeting, an electric rear window demister, flow-through ventilation with a 3 speed adjustable fan and multiple instrument panel vents that could be close/opened and re-directed, an actual heater and it also came from the factory undercoated and with ‘glare resistant’ window tinting. Later models were among the first autos to have halogen headlights.

            It had steering wheel column mounted windshield wiper controls with a one-swipe feature, as well as a column mounted headlight/light controls with a flash to pass feature. It was one of the very first cars with 4 way flashers and these worked even when the engine was turned off.

            It had an interior hood release and integrated head restraints (front seats only). It had releases on the side of the front seats that had to be engaged before they could be ‘folded down’. Automatics had a floor mounted shifter (bucket seats) and the back seat folded down to create a large flat loading area (which was also carpeted). It had 2 interior lights with their own switches so they could be turned off/on by the passenger and with the engine off.

            All of the above were either unavailable or optional on domestic or Japanese vehicles in its ‘class’ at the time, or even on many that were much more expensive. And that includes the Type III. Yet today we take most of these for granted, as nearly every vehicle has them. The Type IV was that far ahead at that time.

            As I had/drove many other vehicles of that era, including a ‘fully loaded’ Ford Pinto wagon, I could actually compare them. The Pinto felt pre-historic compared to the Type IV.

            D3 vehicles of that era had floor mounted highbeams, carbs, no headrests, knobs for the wipers/lights and other antiquated design elements, including their suspensions.

            The Type IV was derided for being ‘4 doors, 11 years too late’ because VW continued the Type I for too long.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Forgot to mention some other design elements on the Type IV that were unusual or generally unavailable at that time and which we now take for granted. It had a ‘flat’ passenger compartment floor, passenger side mirror, vanity mirror, the ‘traditional’ VW grab handle(s), and ‘electronic’ clock. It also had ‘self adjusting’ front wheel disc brakes and rear drums. My memory may be playing tricks but I seem to remember it having an interior gas cap cover release and 6-way adjustable driver’s seat.

            There were 2 problems with the Type IV. a) VW had publicly been musing about an ‘improved’ Mini style car for years. So the rear wheel drive, rear mounted air cooled engine was seen as ‘out of date’. Even Porsche tried to move away from that set-up in the 1970’s (928). b) The Type IV suffered from some ‘build quality’ issues. Anyone with VW’s of that era will remember the ‘squeaking brake syndrome’ that tall disc brake equipped VW’s of that era seemed to suffer from. The brakes suffered from severe fade problems when hot. These cars also suffered from electrical glitches, including discharging while being parked for an extended period. It may be due to the location of the battery (under the seat). Mine had a cute flaw in that when you ‘honked’ the horn, the right headlight would ‘flash’ on and off in unison with the horn. Made the car look like it was winking. And the allegedly ‘thermostatically controlled’ heater was still a ‘full on or off’ set-up in practice. So you were either boiling hot, (it did work very good as it was basically a miniature gas powered furnace) or freezing cold.

            I have not seen a Type IV in decades and don’t really expect to. Due to the astronomical increase in asking prices for 914s and even Karmann Ghias, Type IV engines are highly sought after as replacements when those cars are rebuilt/restored.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Asked and answered! I didn’t realize how well equipped they were, and of course when you ride in a car years after introduction all the good ideas have become common features. I do recall that the criticism stemmed from its weak performance and high price. Beetles were inexpensive cars. The 411 was competing with Oldsmobiles on price and it still performed like a ‘value’ import. I just pulled a bunch of ’60s and ’70s car magazines out of storage and I’ll post an update if I find a review.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @Todd, A major reason for the creation of TTAC is/was that mainstream car reviews were so flawed. Remember that Motor Trend has selected the Corvair, Vega, Mustang II, Monza, Aspen/Volare, Citation and Renault Alliance as their Car of the Year. Not exactly cars that are looked back at as ‘exemplary’.

            Air cooled, rear engined, RWD vehicles were viewed as passe by the time the 411 arrived. The Hillman Imp probably being the nadir of rear engined vehicles.

            Even the 911 fell out of favour, being derided as ‘the dentist killer’ and was to be replaced by the 928.

            With the 411 we started to notice the build and wiring flaws that were to plague VW for years afterwards.

            Was the 411 a ‘great car’. No. But it had design and detail elements that were far ahead of its time or price point.

            I forgot to mention that it also had a relatively high ride height, which combined with a high flat roofline and enormous greenhouse created a real feeling of space that was lacking in the broughmasized D3 vehicles and most Japanese cars of the era.

            The 411 was a ‘dog’ off the line. However on the highway with that engine happly revving it was surprisingly ‘peppy’ blowing away many bigger and more powerful cars.

            As for pricing, yes it was not in the Type I (Beetle) category, and helped initiate VW’s attempt to move up market. However even compared to mid-range cars of the time it was innovative and fairly well equipped.

            Totally off topic, on a very cold morning (at least here in Toronto) the AMC network is broadcasting A Bronx Tale, followed by Goodfellas. Can’t think of a better double bill. Particularly as I look forward to watching The Irishman when it debuts on Netflix on November 27th.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            @Arthur:

            “I have not seen a Type IV in decades and don’t really expect to.”

            My father in law has a 411 sedan in a shed that has not seen the light of day in years if not decades. I’ve often wondered why he has hung on to it for so long; perhaps he was as impressed as you were with the car when it was new. In any case, thank you for the detailed info on the model, I was completely unfamiliar with most of it.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            In the US market all 411s and 412s were 3-speed automatics, which isn’t going to excite the enthusiast press when attached to 72 hp and 2,500 lbs of curb weight. They also weren’t offered for long, having apparently shown up late in the 1971 model year only to be rendered obsolete by the Dasher in 1974. They were around at the perfect time to have American fans of German cars experience sticker shock as the dollar collapsed relative to the DM.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            “In the US market all 411s and 412s were 3-speed automatic”

            As usual, not bothering to know any facts, just blathering on with your ignorant pre conceived notions and making up things to suit .

            Only in California were there no stick shift Typ IV’s, not that you care about truth honesty etc.

            The Typ IV was an O.K. car, expensive but as mentioned, it was VW’s second attempt at going up market and those who liked them (not me) really liked then a lot .

            There are still some zipping around in the dry states .

            -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            My sources were the “Automobile Almanac ’71” and a couple different issues of Car and Driver from the early ’70s that have brief specs of every car on the market. If both sources are wrong, then it wasn’t for lack of trying to find information of the Type 4. On the other hand, a burned out twit who has learned nothing of value from life says that I made it up.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            I have no idea regarding the American market but in Canada we did get manual Type IV’s.

            However as we acknowledged the Type IV was not a big seller and is almost forgotten in North America. I would love to know how many of the B&B have ever seen one on the road, let alone owned/driven one.

            There was a Rare Rides 412 about 12 months ago, and for many it was their introduction to this automobile type. And this is exactly the type of vehicle that I like to see in Rare Rides, not some expensive exotic supercar, but something that represents a daily driven survivor.

      • 0 avatar
        pwrwrench

        Yep Todd, I worked at a VW dealer in the mid 1970s when the liquid cooled cars started to appear.
        The old, obsolete, air cooled cars almost never needed warranty repairs. The exception was reverse gear in the, mostly, manual transmissions. It seemed that many drivers had learned on automatics or were just new to driving. Shifters were forced into reverse with the car still moving or without pushing the clutch all the way down. After some of this treatment they would jump out of reverse. Certainly when backed up a steep hill at full throttle. Maybe they were trying to imitate Jim Rockford.
        Warranty on reverse gear was okayed once before 3 yrs/36K miles.
        The liquid cooled cars had so many problems it would take several days to list them. Some of those that pissed off owners the most were: Carburetors that never worked properly (hesitation, stalling), Windows that would not roll up or down, and all sort of problems with the overhead cam cylinder head (quick wearing valve guides, head gasket leaks, timing belt breakage), and cooling system trouble.
        Later when I opened my own shop I also had to buy a cooling system pressure tester. As mentioned, many of the brand new caps were NFG. Either would not hold pressure, relief at too low pressure or too high. When we bought cooling system caps we’d buy twice as many as needed, test them and send the bad ones back.

  • avatar
    d4rksabre

    I came of age during the height of the Fast and the Furious “tuner” craze and I *hated* imports because of it. I bought hard into hating on “ricers”, and I think my dislike of that era of tuner “culture” is probably still somewhat warranted, but I’ve come around on classic Japanese cars, drifting, etc. There’s good stuff in there, you just have to accept the early 2000s US tuner craze (and all the illegal street racing that came out of it) as an aberration.

  • avatar

    That the Corsica 5-door was a rare and sporty car.

    That the 1996 Toyota Avalon was intensely luxurious and desirable.

    The 1992 Chrysler New Yorker was a desirable car in which to be seen.

    The 1993 Town and Country (green and gold) was an unattainable luxury conveyance.

    The 1994 Grand Cherokee was vastly superior to the GMC Jimmy in every way.

    A Renault Alliance was a rare and desirable car, as it had a diamond on the front.

    The 1996 Maxima GLE was a pinnacle of sedan sports luxury.

    The Chevrolet G20 Gladiator was the nicest van anyone could make, as it had wood and a VCR in it.

    The 1994 Corolla and Camry were secretly the same car, just different trims.

    Volkswagen was a luxury car maker like BMW.

    The most desirable coupe in the world was the Mazda Eunos Cosmo (thanks GranTurismo.)

  • avatar
    geo

    I believed the old “special carburetor” legend — that there was a Chrysler sold to a man who quickly noticed that it hardly used any fuel, after which executives showed up at his door to buy back the car, which turned out to have a special carburetor that achieved 200 mpg.

    I also surmised that trucks would get better gas mileage if they had tiny tires, believing that the energy burned from rotating once a large set of wheels would be the same as turning a small set. So you’d get far more rotations from a small set of wheels using the same energy.

  • avatar

    Pushing the hazard flasher button would bring the car to a screeching halt.

    (My mom told me this.)

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I was convinced Miatas were for chicks and hairdressers, which was nothing more than a thinly veiled code word for “gay”. That was the prevailing attitude of most young males in the early 1990’s and it was constantly bantered about. No one wanted their masculinity questioned.

    I couldn’t have been more wrong, not only about the car but the fact I was worried about being called gay. Young and ignorant often go hand in hand.

    So, a light-weight, convertible with an excellent drive train, bullet-proof reliability, extremely fun, and young ladies loved to ride in it. Crazy how we look at things through young eyes.

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      In the 90’s, it actually was mostly true. Not so any more.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      A friend of mine attended hair dressing school in the late 1970’s. As per the prevailing societal norms of the time his sexuality was questioned.

      His response? “There are 35 young single women, 4 gay guys and me in the class. So there is zero chance that I can’t score”.

      His attitude and smarts were so much greater than ours, that he has now gone on to become a multi-millionaire with homes in 3 countries, and a range of super model clients.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        The guy that had the FILA Thunderbird is a straight hair dresser. He has two sons that I went to school with. I don’t know if he is the same guy you went to school with, but he is definitely doing well cutting hair for a couple hundred bucks a shot by appointment. He sold the nice home he lived in and built a 6,000 square foot or so one next door to the guy that owns Crutchfield, although it is on the same street as the one he raised his sons in. I preferred the 280SL he had thirty-five years ago to his new Cayenne Turbo S, but it’s his money. He once told me he received the manual-transmission-equipped Pagoda to settle a debt. I recall a 100 mph ride on a back road in it while sharing the passenger seat with two other people in middle school. I also recall that my friend borrowed it one day before learning how to drive and ended it on a tree in a neighbor’s adjacent yard, having traveled maybe 150 feet from start-up. Fun times.

        That being said, if anyone ever said to me, “There are 35 young single women, 4 gay guys and me in the class.” “So there is zero chance that I can’t score,” I’d have had to ask him if he had his eye on a particular guy. I once had a job in commercial banking operations, where the numbers were quite similar. I always chose my words to describe the situation more carefully than that!

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Unless your friend was from the GTA then they are different people.

          Of course I approve of his choice of a FILA T-Bird.

          Perhaps associating with hair stylists of all types help to improve ones ‘design/fashion taste’?

          As Al Bundy said, “If I were gay do you think that I would be living in a house that looks like this?” (My apologies if any find this offensive.)

  • avatar
    jack4x

    When I was a kid, I believed some cars had two brake pedals, rather than a brake and clutch.

    On a more cynical note, I used to believe Ferrari sent legitimate cars to comparison tests.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      When I was little, my parents had cars with automatics. My grandparents had cars with manuals. When I was four or five, I was curious why they always started in first gear only to have to keep upshifting. So my Dad explained torque multiplication to me. Then I asked why they always shifted up through high gear even if we were only going to go 45 mph.

      Yesterday I read a 1966 comparison test of big-block intermediates from Ford and GM. Car and Driver called them super cars instead of muscle cars. Chrysler neglected to deliver cars for comparison, noting that GM and Ford would provide test cars that had nothing to do with what was available to the public. Sure enough, the Ford and Mercury were accompanied by the Holman and Moody racing team to keep them tweaked. The fastest one blew up anyway. Car and Driver admitted that no stock 390 could exceed 5,000 RPM, but the test cars were spinning to 6,500 enthusiastically. The cars were grouped around 14 second ETs, although nobody had achieved better than 16.5 with a stock 390 Ford Fairlane or Mercury Comet. The four GM cars were almost as unrepresentative of what was being sold. At the end of the day, the only definitive statements the reviewers could make were the number of gears of available automatic transmissions, usefulness of trunks space, and opinions on styling.

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        I used to believe Car and Driver comparisons.

        [Read Letters on the throne and dreamed of the day I would own a Brand X Model Y with Driver Preferred Package Z. Moved to Detroit to work for the world’s largest automaker. Brock Yates drove right past me on my own street without stopping to talk cars – disappointment. :-) ]

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    I used to believe that if you bought a new car it was exempt from entropy.

    I used to believe that General Motors Research & Development existed to bring innovations to their mainstream passenger vehicles. [Catalytic Converter was 1974 – what have we seen since then? EV’s are not yet “mainstream” at GM. Magnetorheological dampers are amazing, but not widely available. Anything else?]

  • avatar
    DanDotDan

    I used to think that if the speedometer went to 120 mph, then the car could do 120 mph.

  • avatar
    forward_look

    Bondo and rattle can paint will make a car look like new again. For many years, not just through the winter.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    As a kid I thought that if you maintained a car perfectly, according to the maintenance schedule, nothing would ever break.

    I also thought that power from a turbo engine was not “real” power somehow, and (despite knowing some 0-60 times) that turbo cars were slower than other cars with the same power.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    The biggest misconception I believed when I was young was two-fold: First, that people who like cars get into them at age four and Second, that there’s was no such thing as a first-generation hot-rodder.

    How many articles about a sweet project car have been written about the first person in a family to get into cars and build himself a sweet vehicle?

    Okay, now how many articles are about the owner of said sweet car being a third or fourth generation hot rodder – who’s been wrenching with dad and grandpa since he was three?

    I always thought this was a given – that if you like cars, you’re into them since you can walk and you learn helping dad do tuneups.

    And also, that you weren’t a “real” car guy if you got a late start – say 20 or so.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Forgot about this one.

    That if you revved an engine over 2,000 RPM, you’d break it (my parents weren’t car people).

    I remember spooling up the engine in my ’99 S-10 Xtreme and holding it against the rev limiter for about 15-20 seconds while my dad implored me to back off.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I thought I knew anything about cars .

    That was really foolish as the more I learn the more I discover how little I know .

    EDIT : I’d not have the car in the lead photo (? is that Jordan Downs housing project in L.A. ?) but I still like it as long as I don’t have to drive/feed/fix it .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    TS020

    When I was late teens I lusted after a TVR Speed 12. Thankfully I didn’t get the Speed 12 because I wouldn’t be here to write this comment, since I would be wrapped around a tree somewhere instead.

  • avatar
    Mike-NB2

    Off topic, but since the author mentioned it Collectible Automobile is an amazing publication. I once bought a bunch of back issues and had them shipped to Maine. I had to bring them across the border into Canada myself and got sent for secondary search at the border by just saying I was transporting a bunch of back issues of a magazine. I expected that though. Just saying it sounds creepy and would make someone think I had bought back issues of Pedo Monthly.

    Great magazine though. Highly recommended for car folks.

  • avatar
    Boff

    I worried that taillights integrated into the bumpers were an explosion hazard. Also, I was so upset after watching footage of a Funny Car wipeout that I had my mother help me write a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to ban the “souping-up” of cars.

  • avatar
    DM335

    When I was 13 or 14, I remember seeing a Pinto on the showroom floor that I really like. Heaven help me, it was a Red Metallic Pinto Runabout with the Squire package, glass hatchback, fancy wheels and red/orange plaid cloth interior. This was the first (only?) year that Ford offered woodgrain on a the hatchback. What was I thinking?

    • 0 avatar
      -Nate

      RE : Ford Pinto

      Although almost all gear heads decried it, that facts are that Pintos were cheap and sturdy and withstood rigorous abuse by average American owners .

      I remember so many that made 150,000 miles in the original clutch and shocks, a rare thing in those days .

      I drove a few and rode in many, they were cheap basic transportation and that’s all, making them pretty damn good for the price .

      God help those who rode in the tiny & cramped back seat of the two door .

      -Nate

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    I believed that anything larger than the most compact vehicle required at least a V6 in order to move about. Imagine my surprise when I get older and get my first midsizer, a 2003 Accord, with a 4 cylinder engine. I also never knew what my father meant when he discussed “large” and “small” fours.

    Anything German was automatically a premium car, including VW.

    Turbocharged cars were for yabbos.

    Only women drove automatics and men had to know how to drive a 5 speed. (I was 7 and had only ever seen my dad driving a manual and my mom driving an automatic. I’m fully aware this is sexist and do not claim this as a current belief.)

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Some more on the VW Typ IV.
    They did not do well in SoCal. As mentioned by others, most were automatic. The 411 had a torque convertor seal that could not survive the heat of summer. Later a seal made of high heat tolerant material became available, but not before many 411s had 3 or more replacements. Yes 4 speeds were available, even in Calif, but few bought them. Most of the Typ 4s here had AC installed. With the marginal cooling system the extra load of AC meant shorter engine life. The engines suffered the same problem as the 914s and VW vans. The O-rings failed and leaked. It was at least 5 years before a Viton O-ring arrived.
    As Arthur mentioned the brakes had trouble with quick wear, fading, pulsation, and squeaking. Most of that was fixed with the 412 which got thicker discs and pads and larger calipers.
    The improvements were too late as VW wanted to move to the liquid cooled front drive cars. Big mistake as it turned out.
    The 412 also had the engine enlarged to 1800cc over 1700 and an improved FI system. The car should have had the 2.0 as used in the VW van about the same time. However the cooling system was barely adequate for the 17-1800. When I had a Van with the 2.0 air cooled motor, I had to install an extra oil cooler and run synthetic oil to keep the rings from sticking in the piston grooves.

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