Today’s cars are superior to the cars of 50 years ago for many reasons. I grew up during the era of 1950’s and 1960’s automobiles. Back then, cars were not expected to last more than 100,000 miles and, quite frankly, you were quite lucky if your car had 50,000 or 60,000 miles and didn’t have engine and/or transmission problems.
The gas shortage of 1973 changed everything. The Japanese started exporting inexpensive “econo boxes” – compact sedans and hatchbacks- cars that were cheap to buy and maintain. The Toyotas, Hondas and Datsuns (later Nissans) didn’t break and they got excellent gas mileage from their small 4-cylinder engines. Within a few years, the American “big three” auto companies, in order to compete with the Japanese, introduced completely new cars that were smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient. So, taking the lead of the Japanese companies, American auto manufacturers designed more efficient and higher quality cars.
Today’s cars, which includes the American, Japanese, German and South Korean brands, have evolved into the highest quality automobiles ever produced. Many of today’s cars run virtually trouble free in excess of 200,000 miles, especially true of the Japanese models. The following are the reasons that make today’s cars better than cars manufactured 50 years ago.
1. Quality Control
Pioneered by Toyota, today’s cars are manufactured in factories that place the emphasis on quality control The principal objective is quality : sales are very important but do not sacrifice quality for sales goals. A direct result of this focus on quality is reflected in the better “fit and finish” of today’s automobiles versus cars produced 50 years ago.
2. Superior Tires
Many tire brands have a 30,000 to 50,000 mile lifetime and, because of their better quality, have virtually eliminated “blow outs.”
3. Better Quality Dashboards
The cars of 50 years ago had dashboards made out of metal. Today’s dashboards are contoured, padded and made from softer vinyls that are considerably safer than their predecessors.
4. Fuel Mileage
Most older cars were gas guzzlers. Their big 6 cylinder and V-8 engines rarely got more than 15 to 18 mpg, and, muscle cars got 8 to 12 mpg. Today’s engines are refined and sophisticated and many cars get upwards of 30 mpg.
The cars of years ago had seats constructed of plastic and vinyl and were hard and uncomfortable. They were stiff bench seats with few contours. Today’s seats have come a long way. They are contoured and made of durable and dirt resistant fabric and/or leather trimmed material that is washable and very durable.
6. Motors and Transmissions
Today’s cars have refined and technologically advanced motors and transmissions capable of lasting 200,000 miles or more. In addition to much longer lifetimes, today’s engines are more fuel efficient. In addition to the conventional gasoline powered engines, hybrid, all-electric and fuel cell powered motors are ultra high mpg alternatives. The introduction of fuel injection is an example of advanced gasoline engine technology. Fuel injection made carburetors obsolete. Fuel injection atomises the fuel through a small nozzle under high pressure where the carburetor uses a suction method. Fuel injection provides a smoother delivery of fuel and increases fuel efficiency.
7. Synthetic Oil
Today’s synthetic oils are so good that oil changes are recommended at 5000 mile intervals. Mobil 1 Extended Performance Synthetic Oil is recommended for oil change intervals up to 15,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first.
Many cars of 50 years ago had clear glass and were hand cranked. Today’s cars have tinted glass that keep the car cooler in the summer and help to deflect sunlight. Also, power-operated (electric) windows are far superior to manual cranked windows.
Cars of 50 years ago were basic AM or AM/FM radios. Today’s car radios are highly sophisticated. They have AM/FM, satellite, GPS, internet access and CD and Video players. The radios produce state-of-the-art sound due to the advances in audio technology.
10. Rust Resistance
Older cars were “rust buckets.” Today’s cars are dipped in rust inhibitor chemicals and are virtually rustproof.
The difference in safety between cars of 50 years ago and today’s cars is like “night and day.” Today’s cars have crumple zones, are constructed of higher strength and lighter weight steel, have advanced air bags, superior seat belts, reinforced bumpers, safety cage passenger compartment, ABS (anti-lock braking systems) and state- of -the-art active and passive safety systems, such as adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warning with lane keeping assist. Another advanced safety feature of today’s cars is that they feature brighter halogen and xenon headlights compared to the dimmer electric headlights of cars from 50 years ago.
In conclusion, due to many years of advanced engineering and technological improvements, today’s cars are vastly superior to models produced in the 50s and 60s. Specifically, better quality control, superior tires, more durable and efficient engines and transmissions, high fuel efficiency (high mpg), synthetic oils and state-of-the-art safety systems all contribute to make today’s cars far superior. And, they will continue to get better due to continued advances in technology.
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