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AMC Pacer vs Chevy Vega.

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by BobbyZ, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    Hyundai is right up there with Toyota on the reliability charts these days, have been for years. The Accents from the period around 2008 or so had the lowest cost of ownership that year. Good cars, really.
    william tele likes this.

  2. Mr. Lumbergh

    Mr. Lumbergh Poster Extraordinaire

    Jun 13, 2013
    Initech, Inc.
    Yes. The American car makers were really resting on their laurels, and let things slip to maximize profit. Toyota and others played an excellent long game as you said, build a reputation on affordable dependability and just nurture the market. When Lexus did come out, it was a bit of an outsider. Despite being Toyota, it was unknown at the time, but there were some folks in the know that bought them. The first-year models wound up requiring a recall, but Toyota was so excellent at handling it that it became known as "the perfect recall." The contrast was apparent, and they made a lot of lifetime customers.
    As for Detroit though... My Tacoma was designed and built in Torrance, CA. A lot of the latest Dodge and GM trucks are built right over the border. I have to buy a Japanese-branded truck to get something made here? o_O
    I'll stop there...
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  3. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    I had a 1973 Vega GT Hatchback in 1985. It looked like a mini second generation Camaro, with that big grill. Mine was a little bit of a rust bucket when I got it so I got a parts car and swapped the doors, front fenders, hood, cracked windshield and other areas that needed attention.

    Oh, I also installed a 350 small block V8, Weiand manifold, Holley 650 (vacuum secondaries), turbo 350 3-speed and a variety of goodies to make it all work. It wasn’t a particularly well handling car but in a straight line it was very fast. It was also super dependable and not too bad on gas. I had it for 3 or 4 years as my daily driver.
    Mr. Lumbergh and william tele like this.

  4. DonM

    DonM Tele-Afflicted Ad Free Member

    Apr 21, 2016
    Yeah, I had never seen a wagon either. A friend of mine had a Pacer sedan. Those back windows must have made up half the weight of the car.

  5. jaybones

    jaybones Friend of Leo's

    Story I heard about the Pacer's unique design was they intended to make an electric car. The batteries would have ridden in the floor under that hatch, and the electric motor would have been up front. Makes sense then when you look at the oddly shaped silhouette- big rear end with short hood.

    I've seen real Cosworth Vegas- at least they had the proper engine and badging. Had an argument with a high school friend who was absolutely convinced Cosworth Vegas had a V8. Infuriating when you know you're absolutely right but can't prove it.

    Same guy said in WWII American soldiers won the way with Tommy guns. I'd quoted Patton as saying the M1 Garand was what won the war. He'd never heard of it. :rolleyes:

    As far as cars, that AMC 258 I6 was a pretty decent engine. So much so that SCCA racing mandated restrictor plates after the Gremlin completely dominated the first season.

    I had the latest derivative of it, a Jeep Cherokee 4.0 225 horsepower, smooth delivery, low end torque and revved pretty high.

    In the town I went to high school in there was a kid from another school who drove a customized Vega. Shiny black paint, tubbed rear fenders, small block Chevy and automatic (might be where my high school friend got the idea it was a Cosworth). It was pretty close to a drag car that was still street legal. Also the top dog when it came to stoplight grand prix.

    Different friend of mine had a lime green Gremlin X 5 litre, with a factory 4 speed. Had a Levi's jean interior- complete with the orange stitching, a back pocket with the tab and softened V stitching.

    Exhaust went out to the sides behind the rear wheels and the mufflers were pretty good. Pulling up to a light he could rev the engine and crowd the line (universal "Wanna go?" sign). Took a couple weekends before the word was out not to take the little green Gremlin lightly.
    awasson and BobbyZ like this.

  6. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    I drove one of those Ponys, down in Costa Rica. It was truly rough.

    As for those who want to believe that Hyundais and Kias are as reliable as some other brands, I suppose you were also convinced that VW diesels got the emissions results that VW claimed for them. Please be patient, and eventually you'll see that, just like on their EPA economy claims, that by some means Hyundai and Kia have pine tar in their glove. Remember, some consumers of some brands are quick to complain, while others would rather die than admit their car, the car they were bragging about, was stumbling along on a wing and a prayer. Anyone who would suggest that the sort of individual who would buy a Lexus is precisely the same as someone who would choose a Jaguar instead, that someone who would lease is the same personality type as one who would buy with cash; that someone who buys a pickup is perfectly aligned with the fellow who would get a car instead. If you use superficial means to try to decide what brand is more reliable, you're doing junk science.

    Hyundais and Kias are towed straight to the crushers, at this point. The yards are chocked full of "finished" H + Ks that are loaded with parts and they largely don't even bother to part them out. An H or K gets to a certain point and then it is a millstone around your neck. Finance companies are getting stuck because the ACV is almost never enough to cover the balance on the note. The unlucky owner would like to set fire to it or push it over an embankment, but he'd only be stuck with a substantial deficiency judgment and next, he'd be hoofing it.

    We've seen this story before, only with Suzukis, Daihatsus and Mistubishis. And we saw it with Renaults and Yugos. You've got to hold you head high when you drive these brands. You've got to do whatever you can to convince yourself you chose well. Yes, my Renault LeCar with the huge sunroof was a bachelor party machine par excellence, and it could be parked at the Parade Route when no normal car would fit, and for some unknown reason it was a major chick magnet, but that car was garbage - even though I got more miles out of mine that anyone I have ever met. It took me a long time to admit is was junk. The truth will set us free.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018
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  7. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    I never believe anything a car company claims about their own cars.
    boris bubbanov likes this.

  8. Rich_S

    Rich_S Friend of Leo's

    Dec 29, 2006
    Potsdam, NY
    I was listening to the Insect Surfers’ latest album today. They have one song called “Pinto, Pacer, Duster, Gremlin”, in which they chant the names of those cars.

    When I heard it today, I thought, “They left out the Vega.”
    BobbyZ likes this.

  9. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 14, 2008
    Manheim Pa.
    I am not a GM guy , but you hit the nail on the head concerning the Vega powerplant . In their infinite wisdom , the radiator was downsized for unexplained reasons and this single factor was the death knell of the all aluminum engine . With the correct radiator that engine was fine , even in the long haul . I will now return to my Fords .

  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    The radiator should have been fine.

    The material they tried to infuse into the areas along the cylinder walls failed to make the bores hard enough or reduce the porosity of the aluminum they used. Even a huge cooling system couldn't contend with that. Among other things, the exhaust gases and the heat contained in those gases, instead of being expelled fully, soaked the block. They needed a full on sleeve, but were too cheap to employ one.

    They were just experimenting on the customer, and some of the engineers tried to warn them but GM brass didn't listen. Some people heard, I mean, people I knew understood there was a problem because they knew someone at GM who warned their friends, neighbors and family no.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2018

  11. william tele

    william tele Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Nov 7, 2009
    Kansas City, MO
    I don't claim that everyone who buys a Hyundai will have the good a luck our family has but the picture you paint negates my original thoughts about considering your opinion as valuable. I'm sure the average lies somewhere between my experience and your exaggerations. And that's sad. I don't know why you present your opinions like you do but that's your deal.

    "And I saw a pretty decent number of stranded Kias and Hyundais along the side of the road"

    Really BB? I will just refer you to your final statement above...:lol:
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  12. David Barnett

    David Barnett Poster Extraordinaire

    The Vega engine had a cast iron head.
    boris bubbanov likes this.

  13. otterhound

    otterhound Poster Extraordinaire

    Dec 14, 2008
    Manheim Pa.
    I would love to see the documentation of this .
    The radiator should have been fine , but it wasn't . During testing , a better/larger cooling system was used and was successful from what I have read . The marginal cooling system of the production models allowed just enough extra heat to degrade the aluminum cylinder walls . Of course , aluminum is very sensitive to heat , and some alloys are simply intolerant of it . The Vega had other problems as well as did many other automobiles of that era . No kidding , I would love to have a Pinto Hatchback .

  14. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Doctor of Teleocity

    Jan 12, 2011
    Snellman MN
    That's one thing I'd forgotten about them, so I Googled and sure enough the heads were cast iron.
    Don't recall any overheating issues with the 74 we had and it had AC. However summers aren't real long here and at the time there was only the one traffic light in the county.

    As far as aluminum cylinder heads go. I think we can lay the whole "they're junk" thing perpetrated by people that lack the intelligence to see reality to rest. There's just too many of them running way too long to use blanket statements like that.
    OBVIOUSLY an aluminum cylinder head will be junk if you loose coolant and keep driving!
    My second wife did exactly that with my 84 VW Rabbit convertible. I still remember the smoke rolling out of the hood over the windscreen and open top when she came home that beautiful day.
    Heater hose blew, temp gauge pegged but "I was only a couple miles from home and didn't think you'd want to tow it".
    Yeah dear, I'd much rather order a head and gaskets and spend a weekend learning the intricatcyis of installing a cylinder head on a freaking Rabbit and the nearly 700 dollars Than spend 20 minutes towing it a couple miles.
    And you know what?
    I still had to replace the blown heater hose and coolant. By far the easiest and cheapest part of the whole experience. But I didn't have to tow the dammed thing. :)
    boris bubbanov and william tele like this.

  15. peteb

    peteb Friend of Leo's

    Apr 25, 2003
    Great thread - great discussion

    The pinto was reliable transportation for me. It made it past 100k with no significant problems.

    I've been thinking about that car, and I just remembered its greatest quality, it never failed to get me to where I was going.

    I don't go thru many cars, but the pinto is the only personal car of mine that I have ever sold.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018

  16. awasson

    awasson Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

    Nov 18, 2010
    My grandparents had a Gremlin X with the V8. I was just a kid and never had a chance to drive it. Probably a good thing.

    Another weird 70’s car was the mid-70’s Mazda RX4. It was before the RX7 but had all the running gear in what looked like a tiny Japanese rollerskate car, like a Mazda 808. I bought mine for $50 with a rusted out exhaust and it needed the carb and distributor rebuilt. It came with a factory 4 barrel carb and 5-speed transmission. I took it to a Japanese speed shop, had a stainless header and exhaust built for it and had the distributor and carb rebuilt. It was reasonably quiet and was the ultimate sleeper; tones of power and super light. I used to leave big block pony cars in the dust. The apex seals eventually went on the engine and of course the car eventually rusted out.
    BobbyZ and william tele like this.

  17. peteb

    peteb Friend of Leo's

    Apr 25, 2003
    Pinto tails

    the first summer I had it I had a blow out on the freeway. that evening I hear my Dad from the driveway, "You dumb f**K!", there was 100 PSI in the tires. But they looked nice and round to me.

    there was peeing in the radiator in a cross state trip.

    loading 8 people in the car to go to the movies.

    I did a carburetor rebuild that fixed a problem, but I cant remember what the problem was.

    the catalytic converter fell off and was not replaced

    the clutch cable broke but I was able to drive it home 30 miles thru countless stop lights on highway 99 with out a clutch.

    the was the mini smashup derby with my friends 63 ford fairlane. The fairlane suffered the most damage.

    there was the stop at the Washtucna burger place on another cross state trip. I told my passenger, we can stop, but we will have to 'Keep the motor running'.

    there was the single mattress and box springs on the roof attached to the ski rack. the whole thing, rack and all blew off into a wheat field. I never slowed down.
    BobbyZ, Stubee and william tele like this.

  18. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 12, 2003
    Glamorous NoHo
    I had two Datsun B210s in high school and college, and they weren't bad cars at all. They weren't that good, either, but they got you were you were going and I realized how much relative pep they had when I got an early Hyundai near the end of my college career.

    My grandparents had a Chevette with an auto tranny, and that thing was sad, gutless and jerky. The build quality didn't seem great, but I can't recall it falling apart, but, then again, it was a California car, lightly driven.
    Chiogtr4x likes this.

  19. schmee

    schmee Friend of Leo's

    Jun 2, 2003
    I liked my Vega, solid, drove good. But they really f'd up with that engine for sure. If Chevy had made a normal engine they would have had a huge success.
    I thought the Pacer was pretty unique. When you look at it, it appears Subaru stole some of the styling!

  20. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    My law office fielded thousands of Lemon Law complaints involving Hyundais and Kias. I got to see first hand how these people's lives were basically ruined for 3-5 years, as they had to pay for a car that long that quit running in some instances, within weeks. My partner was the author of the law in the Legislature, and it worked fine on Ford and GM but for many years, H + K could not be sued and recovered from using LA law because their contacts in the USA were painstakingly limited for decades.

    I find this so weird, that the American public will not forgive a USA company for mistakes they made in 1975, but they cover their ears and their eyes when it comes to another company who did the same thing and worse, 20 years and more, more recent in time.

    And, unless one of you is a long haul trucker, I think it would be highly unlikely you are getting the opportunities I constantly get, driving really insane numbers of miles over the lower 60% of the USA. I'm out there, and I'm one of those guys who sees everything, and I know what you would see if you cared to look. The next "used up" car I see along the verge may be a Pontiac, a Saturn and it may even be a BMW, but so much of the time, it is a Kia or Hyundai. It can even be a Saab, but I don't play favorites - I see every one of them. Remember, I'm the guy who can ID a Warmoth body at a glance - I'm also the guy who knows the model and year of the car that's demolished and upside down, upon one second's observation. I'm the guy who knew the car that landed into the second story of the building was a Nissan. With kindest regards, deal with it.

    So, enough of your disrespecting me. Until you start doing your legwork. Criticize me for using up too much gasoline, but doubt what I am saying is out there at your own peril.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2018
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