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1982 Red Ford Escort five-door station wagon; 4-speed manual 1.6L four-banger, 68 Hp.

I had brought this car brand new in 1982. Although I liked the handling and pep and how much interior space there was for a small car, I had some reservation as Ford had a serious problem with cars pre-maturely rusting in the 70’s. The salesman convinced me that Ford had solved this problem, “Quality is Job 1”, and even told me that rust proofing was not required. At that point of time, I was living in the Maritimes where a lot of road salt was used during the winter months (and back then, road salt was particularly hard on cars).

Well, the first two years, the car ran well and I was generally pleased with my purchase. It wasn’t until the third winter that rust started to appear with the process accelerating, with a vengeance, each following winter. By the end of the fifth winter, my car had numerous rust holes and I swear I would leave rust dust on my snowy driveway when I left for work.

One winter, when I was away for an extended period of time, my wife noticed that the front passenger floor carpet seem to depress somewhat whenever the children stepped on it. Taking the car for a normal servicing, it was discovered that approximately 6” x 6” piece of the flooring was missing – fixed quite nicely by a steel plate. Of course it was my fault – in that “it happen while you were gone” type of fault (lol).

By 1987, notwithstanding the dubious state of the body, I was determine to get one more winter out of this car as we had built a house and money was tight. I figured, notwithstanding the number of holes in the right front fender, as long as the radio antenna was still standing, the car was good to go. However, one day I hit the brakes hard. While stop, the radio antenna slowly started to lean forward stopping at a 45 degree angle (interesting enough, radio reception improved).

Admitting defeat, I traded my Escort in for a ……… 1987 Dodge Aries (sigh).

Joe75
My pop had a 72 Dodge pick-up. Talk about rust...... Were Dodge autos back then as bad about rust?

Granted back in those days snow was a common occurrence, even in SE TN.
 

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“My pop had a 72 Dodge pick-up. Talk about rust...... Were Dodge autos back then as bad about rust?”

Hi Chuck71

Before I response, I just want to say I am not an engineer - just a layman who has followed/enjoyed cars for years.

All American built cars in the 70’s had a tendency to rust more when compared to cars built in the sixties. Late sixties/early seventies, auto manufacturers started to use less steel in cars in order to save weight as a move to increase performance. Then after the 1973 Oil Crisis/Embargo, this process greatly accelerated as the price of oil rose from $3 per barrel to $12 per barrel with corresponding jumps in the price of gasoline. Also, it was at this time the US started setting fuel economy requirements for the auto manufacturers and foreign cars sold in the US.

The problem simplify stated was that the thinner body panels and floors were less resistant to rust perforation. The result, at least in Canada, was that the aftermarket rustproofing of vehicles was a major business in the seventies and eighties. Of note, any car I had rustproofed, the body/floor stood up quite well to winter/road salt including my 1987 Dodge Aries.

So in answer to your question, living in the Maritimes, it was my observation that untreated GM and Chrysler/Dodge cars would rust, but, not at the same ‘speedy’ rate as Fords and not to the same extent of damage over a same period of time. Fords really stood out in this regard.

In fairness, most foreign cars had a tough go when initially introduced to the North American market. I recall the early Honda Civics becoming ‘rust buckets’ after a couple of Maritime winters. As for Fiats, I remember watching a friend’s mid-seventy car ‘turn to rust’ over two winters.

Regards

Joe75
 

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a shoe leather express!!!!!

I don't care what I drive as long as its safe and has no payment!
 

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Joe75.... My pop was known to tell me some "wild tales" when I was growing up. You may be able to verify this or refute it.

When pop's pop had a car lot back in the 1950s / 60s he bought a lot of cars that were from the Miami area. He lived in north GA. None of these cars had heaters and when the first freeze came, they all brought the cars back to him.

Just wondered if you may have heard of this by chance.
 

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Years ago I had the privilege of driving a friend's AMC Pacer. It was already old at the time but I hated everything about it. The worse was the handling. I felt like I was floating with no connection to the road.
 

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Joe75.... My pop was known to tell me some "wild tales" when I was growing up. You may be able to verify this or refute it.

When pop's pop had a car lot back in the 1950s / 60s he bought a lot of cars that were from the Miami area. He lived in north GA. None of these cars had heaters and when the first freeze came, they all brought the cars back to him.

Just wondered if you may have heard of this by chance.
Hi Chuck71

Yes, I have heard of this (why is it I can remember things from 50 years ago; but, today I am challenged to find my car keys (lol)).

Some type of car heaters were equipped in most American cars prior to WWII. The 50’s and early sixties saw the standardization of car heaters particularly across brand names within the same company. For example, Chevs having the same basic heater design as Buicks.

So if you bought a new 50/60 American car off the lot, it had a heater. However, back then a popular option was to order a new car directly from a factory where everything was optional. Consequently, it was possible to buy a car without a heater if specified at the time of ordering. The heater option was cancelled in 1968 with the establishment of the US Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards that required that all passenger cars, trucks and buses sold in the United States be equipped with windshield defrosting system, which is an integral part of the heating system.

Therefore, it is quite possible that Miami car owners ordered new 50/60 cars without a heater. It is also possible, Miami dealerships may have ordered cars from the factory without heaters to satisfy a local customer demand; but, this is speculation on my part. I do remember when on vacation in the Southern US, during the sixties, of “tales around the camp fire” about American cars without heaters (which was quite a foreign concept to us from the True North).

Regards

Joe75
 

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Discussion Starter #107
Years ago I had the privilege of driving a friend's AMC Pacer. It was already old at the time but I hated everything about it. The worse was the handling. I felt like I was floating with no connection to the road.
Talk about disconnect...I bought a 78 Lincoln used...Big overblown car with a 460 engine....I backed it out of the driveway the first morning, and when I hit the brake it felt like I was falling backwards into a huge bin of marshmallows...Weeee...
 

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Years ago I had the privilege of driving a friend's AMC Pacer. It was already old at the time but I hated everything about it. The worse was the handling. I felt like I was floating with no connection to the road.
Talk about disconnect...I bought a 78 Lincoln used...Big overblown car with a 460 engine....I backed it out of the driveway the first morning, and when I hit the brake it felt like I was falling backwards into a huge bin of marshmallows...Weeee...
The AMC Pacer and Lnincoln don't belong in the same paragraph. The Lincoln was like some other big floaty cars (Cadillac, Oles 98, etc). A lot of people liked the smooth ride of the lincoln. The Pacer on the other hand was in it's own class of suckage. There was nothing smooth or gliding about a pacer's ride. It was floating with no connection while simultaneously rattling you like the little car it was and being the ugliest little car imaginable. At least the Lincoln has a smooth power to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #109
The AMC Pacer and Lnincoln don't belong in the same paragraph. The Lincoln was like some other big floaty cars (Cadillac, Oles 98, etc). A lot of people liked the smooth ride of the lincoln. The Pacer on the other hand was in it's own class of suckage. There was nothing smooth or gliding about a pacer's ride. It was floating with no connection while simultaneously rattling you like the little car it was and being the ugliest little car imaginable. At least the Lincoln has a smooth power to it.
Yes, the old Lincoln was SMOOOOTH...I bought it on impulse, and since I lived 6 miles from work, gas mileage wasn't a problem...I actually put a trailer hitch on it and pulled my boat....

I woke up to a call from a work buddy, he and his GF were broke down in Memphis, about 90 miles away. It was Sunday...

I threw a bunch of tools in the car and headed south...I finally found him just off the interstate in a BAD part of town...

To a constant whine of "what took you so long" from his GF, we soon determined tools would not fix this, I took off looking for a tow dolly, on Sunday, in f*****g Memphis....

The wife and I were back in about an hour, having driven all the **** over south Memphis (murder capital) looking for an OPEN rental place.....

We drove back and loaded his 1983 AMC Jeep Eagle POS on the tow dolly, to the GF's constant whining of "what took you so long" with an occasional "how much did the dolly cost" thrown in for dramatic effect....

We hit the on ramp, and were soon on I 55 headed north...

Every time I heard "what took you so long" I nudged the gas pedal...

I am proud to say, a 1978 Lincoln with a 460 cid engine will pull a 1983 Jeep Eagle ensconced on a tow dolly at a ripping 90 MPH....

Back in Blytheville Ar. we pulled up in front of their house, un strapped the car from the dolly, and rolled the eagle down the ramps....

Horror of horrors, the GF, a singularly nosy harpy, had to get into the act, and was standing behind the dolly when the ramp tilted down, right on her foot, just as the eagle landed....Oh well...The screams were easier to take than "what took you so long" ...
 

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Could be that guy.... he has to hear "did you see that hit my foot" for the next two months.

Yes there is a part of Memphis you don't really want to go in to.... during the DAY

A friend taught school in that area.... one year and gone.
 

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An old neighbor transferred from Memphis - he said alarm companies and window bar installers were growth industries there...
 

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TN is somewhat divided in the four metro areas (not counting Tri Cities)

Nashville and Knoxville are not that bad...

but Chattanooga and Memphis...... whole different story.

I went to UTC... had night classes. I carried a pistol in my lap until I reached I-24.

There were places... if a red light caught you.... people would start walking out in the streets....

If they were getting close... I would run the red light. At least I would be alive / not get car jacked and

be able to drive to the courthouse and plead my case to the judge.

I lived at home while in college..... Pop had no problem with me carrying

"I'd rather see you pay a ticket and have higher auto insurance (he swore if I was put in that situation, he

would have helped financially being I was in school) than me having to f'ing bury you at 21.
 

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Discussion Starter #113
TN is somewhat divided in the four metro areas (not counting Tri Cities)

Nashville and Knoxville are not that bad...

but Chattanooga and Memphis...... whole different story.

I went to UTC... had night classes. I carried a pistol in my lap until I reached I-24.

There were places... if a red light caught you.... people would start walking out in the streets....

If they were getting close... I would run the red light. At least I would be alive / not get car jacked and

be able to drive to the courthouse and plead my case to the judge.

I lived at home while in college..... Pop had no problem with me carrying

"I'd rather see you pay a ticket and have higher auto insurance (he swore if I was put in that situation, he

would have helped financially being I was in school) than me having to f'ing bury you at 21.
A guy I worked with stopped at a red light in Memphis one night. He said a couple of guys were in the crosswalk when one started punching the other in the chest and stomach....The guy getting hit fell down, and that's when my friend realized the guy wasn't hitting he was STABBING...

My wife and I refer to the Memphis evening news as the Bloodbath Channel...
 

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Talk about Pacers. This fellow had one at a cruise night earlier this year. It was considered so ridiculously ugly, girls would never get in it and with all that glass in the back they'd never get in the back seat with you either.

20150221_165230.jpg
 

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My first car was a mid 70s Chevy Vega 2 door wagon with a 4 speed. Bought it in 1987 and paid $450 for it from my neighbor. Had for two years in high school.

Definitely was NOT a chick magnet car but actually I had very few issues with it and did most of the work on it myself. It was slow as molasses and rattled like crazy above 70 MPH. Never could fix the issue.
 

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Woodchuck............. I forgot to mention the deal on the Corvette. Pop let me drive his Lincoln Town Car and a Firebird (he had a small car lot). Mostly the newer cars.... not high end, just newer.

The first time I drove the Corvette... I'm topping a hill. Pop always said top a big hill at 45-50mph because by the time you reach the bottom you have added 5-10mph to your speed and "cops will sit there waiting to write you a ticket."

Topped the hill at 50..... and by the time I was at the bottom.... I was going 20. Pop laughed his arse off.... he didn't tell me. He had a weird sense of humor.... plus his dad ran a car lot for a living when he was a kid.

Today... I drive it maybe once a week. I get out late at night, after the drunks are home, passed out or in jail and before the older people get out on the weekends early to beat the younger crowd.

I have two one mile strips I hit. One has a red light so that's even better for me. There is a drive in restaurant within the one mile stretch. Cops sit there late at night just to "kill time." I pull up... most are younger than me and beg to look under the hood. I tell them I just want to blow the pipes out 2-3 times. Yes I will be speeding. As long as no other cars are around, they're okay with it.

Nice to have it at 130 and not worry about a ticket. Also if something goes wrong with it... they're the first over, offering to call a rollback.
 

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Discussion Starter #117
Woodchuck............. I forgot to mention the deal on the Corvette. Pop let me drive his Lincoln Town Car and a Firebird (he had a small car lot). Mostly the newer cars.... not high end, just newer.

The first time I drove the Corvette... I'm topping a hill. Pop always said top a big hill at 45-50mph because by the time you reach the bottom you have added 5-10mph to your speed and "cops will sit there waiting to write you a ticket."

Topped the hill at 50..... and by the time I was at the bottom.... I was going 20. Pop laughed his arse off.... he didn't tell me. He had a weird sense of humor.... plus his dad ran a car lot for a living when he was a kid.

Today... I drive it maybe once a week. I get out late at night, after the drunks are home, passed out or in jail and before the older people get out on the weekends early to beat the younger crowd.

I have two one mile strips I hit. One has a red light so that's even better for me. There is a drive in restaurant within the one mile stretch. Cops sit there late at night just to "kill time." I pull up... most are younger than me and beg to look under the hood. I tell them I just want to blow the pipes out 2-3 times. Yes I will be speeding. As long as no other cars are around, they're okay with it.

Nice to have it at 130 and not worry about a ticket. Also if something goes wrong with it... they're the first over, offering to call a rollback.
The rear axles had a bad habit of twisting in two in those vettes....I read an article that the station wagon axles were the best , strongest axles. The trick was to paint a white line down the axle, and when it had a half twist on it, it was time to replace...
 

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The rear axles had a bad habit of twisting in two in those vettes....I read an article that the station wagon axles were the best , strongest axles. The trick was to paint a white line down the axle, and when it had a half twist on it, it was time to replace...
As someone who has had a lifetime of experience maintaining and owning many of these cars you speak of.....I can honestly say that most of which has been said here is a bunch of rambling bunk. I have had everything from a Vega to an Aston Martin and I suspect if the problems in this thread are genuine it lies with the fault of the owner due to lack of maintenance as opposed to the actual design of the car. Some of these complaints are incomprehensible....
 

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Pacers are very collectable and desireable today......
I don't doubt that they are, just for the oddity it was. Yet it was so god ugly, I can't imagine there are many left that shredder didn't get.
 
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