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How Cars Have Changed Over My Lifetime

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by wdolson, Jul 26, 2015.

  1. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    I was born in the mid-60s and my father bought a new car when I was a baby. I ended up with that car as my first teenager beater. I had a few other used cars and then bought a new 1992 Buick which I'm still driving. My SO and I were talking the other night about how much things have changed in the time I have had my Buick compared to the change from my 1960s Chevy to my Buick.

    There are definite differences between the 60s Chevy and the 92 Buick, but they essentially are the same core technology. The stock radio was nicer, fuel economy was better because of onboard computers, and the Buick had an early version of the remote common for most cars today. However, the engine was the same small block V-8, even the keys were the same shape (rounded one for the doors and trunk and square one for the ignition).

    If I had been a 60s driver and came across a 1992 car that fell through a crack in time, I could have figured out the car pretty easily. However, if I had been presented with a Tesla Model S in 1992, I would have sat there a while trying to figure the thing out. My SO thought she would have figured it out (she's a car lover and good at figuring out new technology), but I pointed out knowing what she knew in 1992, how would she start the Tesla?

    I had used some early touch screens on some HP lab equipment by 1992, so I would have eventually figured out the console, but it would take me a while. The console is far beyond what was available then. I would then probably be tearing the car apart trying to find the 10 cu ft of RAM needed to run that console! My home computer then had a whopping 640 KB of RAM and a 20 MB hard drive. An average memory stick has 1000X that drive capacity today.

    So over the life of the car I'm driving now, car technology has advanced much, much further than it did between the time I was born and 1992 which was about the same time frame.

    Just and observation on how far the Model S has pushed automotive technology.
     
  2. gg_got_a_tesla

    gg_got_a_tesla Model S: VIN P65513, Model 3 Res Holder

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    Welcome to the forums!

    A fine observation. I cannot imagine what cars may be capable of 23 years from now! Fully autonomous, possibly flying?!
     
  3. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    I am older, my first car was a 1955 Ford V-8. To be fair I think technology has changed many cars almost beyond comparison since the time I began driving officially in 1961.

    I recall the early BMW 7 series with the single rotary knob came with a little placard because nobody, even techies could figure out how to start the car. I spent 5 minutes reading before i succeeded in starting it and driving. The S is in many respects simpler to operate than many ICE cars sold today, benefitting from devotion to simplicity of operation as it is. We sometimes complain about it being too much so, but once we learn we begin to have far greater flexibility. I approve of taht approach, for many drivers will never need to learn all the fine functions.
     
  4. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    The DS-21 had many hidden and some not-so hidden features.

    1. To start the car, you first turned the key and then moved the shift lever to the start position. This insured you never started "in gear".

    2. The big knob in the centre cut off the air flow from the heater so that you could drive up mountains with heat running full blast in the summer and keep the coolant cool while not heating the cabin.

    3. The chain on the lower left allowed you to open or close the radiator flap so the engine could keep warm in winter.

    4. The knob on the lower left allowed you to remove the ratcheting feature of the parking brake so that it could be used as a true emergency brake (It also had a separate set of pads on the brake rotors similar to the Model S).

    5. A tire could be changed by raising and lowering the suspension without using a jack (there was a stand used).

    6. A tire that became flat was pulled off the road by the suspension to avoid tire damage. Driving was possible on any three wheels.

    7. When parallel parking it was possible to fit the car into a space that was only a few cm longer than the car.

    8. Centre-point steering, made possible by the inboard brakes, allowed the suspension geometry to always centre the forces in the exact centre of the tires.

    9. Moving driving lights allowed gave the ability to see the road even on the sharpest of turns.

    10. The single spoke steering wheel gave a bit more protection in a frontal crash because it allowed the body to fold over the top of the steering column rather than having the steering column point directly in the middle of the chest. (Note, this was long before collapsable steering columns.)

    11. The bottom of the car was smooth, like the Model S, except for the exhaust.

    12. No clutch pedal was required due to the semi-automatic transmission.

    13. No brake pedal either. Instead there was a "black mushroom" that went directly into the hydraulic system.

    14. The speedometer readout also had the stopping distance.

    15. You need need to study the manual because none of the buttons or knobs were labeled.
     
  5. Skotty

    Skotty 2014 Model S P85

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    I'm going to say a big "No" to the flying cars. It's not about what one wants to have. It's about what one DOESN'T want everyone else on the block to have (same goes for bazookas, rockets, tanks, huge spot lights, and small nuclear reactors). Plus, if you have an unexpected breakdown, your risk goes from minimal pull over safely to fire ball death.

    New car tech is great, but the further it goes, the fewer that can fix it when something goes wrong. Autonomous operation is great, but then you lose control and it sometimes does things you don't want it to, or won't do things you do want it to. It's often a double edged sword.
     
  6. ra-san

    ra-san Member

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    I wasn't familiar with what ds 21 meant, so did a bit of searching because it sounded cool. Here's a page with some pics, including the interior which shows the steering column, mushroom, etc. Great post Jerry33.
    BaT Exclusive: Black Plate 1968 Citroen DS-21 Pallas | Bring a Trailer
     
  7. Grendal

    Grendal Active Member

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    2013 Tesla Model S vs 1956 Citroën DS-19! Head 2 Head Episode 29 - YouTube

    Motor Trend did a whole episode of Head 2 Head on the Citroen versus the Model S comparing innovation. An interesting watch. This is his 3rd or 4th H2H using the Model S.
     
  8. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Thanks! This post brings back so many memories, not least of which was driving the DS across farm fields, which it did with aplomb. Then was watching the car gradually sink when it was parked for some time as the hydraulic suspension gradually lost pressure. Not quite so nice was having to periodically change the suspension bellows, which would wear and sometimes, but not to me, fail catastrophically. That was by far the smoothest car of it's day. The Traction Avant was the first real mass-market FWD car too although many others preceded it. Then there was the 2CV...and the SM...

    Ah how I miss those cars...I had several, including even one CX, the last 'real' Citroën although it too was really PSA. :crying:
     
  9. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    My only first hand experience with French cars was a Peugeot automatic diesel a girlfriend had. To get it moving, you would floor the accelerator and wait a few seconds. It would actually take more than a second to start moving. Many things were broken on it and she had a myriad of work-arounds. It was kind of comical. She finally decided it was time to part with it when the master cylinder went out on Orcas Island (up near the Canadian border) and she had to drive it back to my house south of Seattle with only the hand brake. She was pretty gutsy by nature, but she said even she was scared driving mountains roads in the dark with only the hand brake.
     
  10. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    Peugeot never had the quality that Citroen had. However, Andre Citroen went bankrupt and Michelin took over as the main creditor. However, Michelin was reluctant to do anything to annoy it's other automotive customers and tried several times to find someone to purchase it from them. After a couple of abortive deals, it finally went to Peugeot and Peugeot removed most of the things that Citroen purchasers wanted. It's still around as a brand, but it is in no way the innovative car company that Andre Citroen envisioned.
     
  11. Burt Court

    Burt Court Member

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    I know many will top this: my first car was a '39 Ford couple that I drove to HS in the '50's. When I got back from Korea I got a '53 Chevy with Powerglide, a terrible 2 speed auto. Its a long way up to my P-85D.
    old geezer
     
  12. wws

    wws Member

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    Funny thing is that by 1992, Buick and Oldsmobile had already had a CRT-based touch screen display in the E-body cars that were introduced in 1986. (Riviera and Toronado. Also the 88-89 Reatta.) It was used for radio, climate control, servicing, etc. Buick abandoned it in 1990. Olds hung in until the end of the Toronado in 1992. One of the reasons Buick ditched it was that their computer illiterate client base could not figure out how to use it.

    If you really want to see a car almost no one in the modern day could drive, check out Jay Lenos videos on driving antique steamers.
     
  13. FlasherZ

    FlasherZ Sig Model S + Sig Model X + Model 3 Resv

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    I do like to note that I own 2 cars from the Fremont factory, manufactured 47 years apart (soon to be 3). My 1965 Pontiac Tempest/LeMans GTO was built there in early 1965, and the Model S was made there in 2012. The two are quite a bit different. Entertainment in the GTO is provided by an AM/FM radio with a 45 RPM record changer (holds 14 songs!) Sounds a bit warbly, but it provides music on demand!
     

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