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(Jalopnik)   What's it like to drive a land yacht - especially anything from 1961-1967?   (jalopnik.com) divider line 81
    More: Interesting, Jet Star Inc., two-lane road  
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4428 clicks; posted to Geek » on 04 Apr 2013 at 7:22 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-04 11:56:23 AM
The kids today are missing an important part of what it is to drive a great car.  There's nothing better than a massive land yacht you can actually fit in and enjoy the cruise.  This was my high school car.

1977 Cadillac Sedan DeVille Brougham.  425 four-barrel, 9mpg.

farm6.static.flickr.com


This was my childhood car--1972 Buick Electra 225
images.classiccars.com

I loved that Buick.  I'm going to get one and restore it in a few years.
 
2013-04-04 12:01:19 PM
This was my baby in High School. No, I'm not THAT old. The car was. I loved that car more than any car I will ever love. If I had the choice of my old car back or a Bugatti Veyron, I'd take my old Chrysler in a heartbeat and wouldn't even think twice about it.

farm9.static.flickr.com

Anyway...tips for driving these old beasts? Other than "enjoy the hell out of it?" Let's see...

Really think ahead about the braking stuff.

And when the ramp speed limit is 35 mph, you might want to take it at 30. Not great cornering vehicles.
 
2013-04-04 12:19:01 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Yes, please demonstrate how somebody can just go find a 1967 computer, the multi-kilowatt three phase power supply, the room and know how to operate it.


Sorry, what? I thought we were talking 1967, not 1947.

Nice to see I was able to poke you into a three paragraph rant exposing not only your own ignorance of computer technology, but actively admitting that powerful technology is created from humble beginnings (see also: 3D printing, space travel).

Also interesting that you are basically admitting that transportation technology has been strangely stagnant for nearly a century. Keep this in mind the next time to complain about new transportation tech.
=Smidge=
 
2013-04-04 12:22:07 PM

fickenchucker: This was my childhood car--1972 Buick Electra 225


"a deuce and a quarter ain't no cadillac."
 
2013-04-04 12:43:10 PM
I'm reading a lot of opinions that are clouded by time and nostalgia.

The single most applicable benefit of these cars were space - both in terms of passenger room and cargo room. But when you claim "Oh, my old land yacht could do 120 mph all day long, in complete comfort." No, no it couldn't. It's far more likely your speedometer was so inaccurate that you thought you were going that fast.

Here's the thing. These cars were aerodynamic bricks. I still drive V8 pony cars of the era up & beyond 100 mph (I own a high geared, cherry 65 Mustang fastback, w/ 53,000 original miles). Anywhere above 100mph, it feels like the car is going to lift off the ground - the corners of the hood slightly ripple, the engine roars and the wind sounds like a hurricane outside. And with a GPS, the speedometer is about 20% off at speeds above 100mph.

The thing is, in a car like that, you feel like you're flying down the road. However, you can take almost any modern V6 grocery getter (think Camry or Accord) and blow the doors off of almost any stock muscle car from the 1960's - let alone any land yacht. Modern cars have fuel injection, more horsepower and vastly superior aerodynamics. Doing 100mph in a 1960's car feels like 150mph. Doing 100 mph in a modern V6 feels like you're doing about 50mph - it's quiet, smooth, and well controlled. There's no slop in the steering, the 4-wheel disk brakes work perfectly, and the aerodynamics of the car keep it firmly planted against the road.

If you really want to feel like you're going warp speed - drive a stock 1948 Overland Willys with military tires, a 'go-devil' flathead inline-4 and a Warn overdrive to split gears. The wind, noise and roar of the engine at the redline at 55 mph makes you feel like everything is going to rattle off the rig and you're going to go flipping off into a ditch and catch flame at any moment.

/currently works on and owns two '48 Willys trucks, '52 Dodge B-3-B truck, '64 BSA Victor, '65 Mustang Fastback, '69 Triumph T100C scrambler, '05 Toyota Tacoma, '07 Honda 919 motorcycle, '12 Nissan Leaf
//has a lot (and recent) experience with both classic and modern cars, motorcycles.
 
2013-04-04 12:48:52 PM
www.uniquecarsandparts.com.au

My first car was a '78 Chevy Suburban like this one. It was RWD and only got about 12 MPG, but I was a menace on the highways. Back then it was the biggest thing on the road except for tractor trailers, so I could just hand in the high speed lane and everyone would shift right for me. Make way for the king, baby.

It also fit all the people you'd want in it at one go, so I was always playing chauffeur for my friends. And since it was so huge, it made adjusting to other cars that much easier. I always know how much room I've got around me, and it's easy as pie to maneuver in anything.
 
2013-04-04 01:03:32 PM
The family car I drove when I first got my license: 1967 Cadillac Sedan deVille. 472 cu inch.

www.americandreamcars.com
 
2013-04-04 01:06:43 PM
I own a 1976 Caprice Classic that looks like the one in this pic. Runs great, of course I put $1500 in the engine in order to make it do so. It was my dad's. It is a HUGE car, real easy to drive though.
upload.wikimedia.org
 
2013-04-04 01:49:28 PM
Had the green 2-door Merc. It was a tank.

farm4.staticflickr.com
 
2013-04-04 02:06:25 PM

MrSteve007: I'm reading a lot of opinions that are clouded by time and nostalgia.

The single most applicable benefit of these cars were space - both in terms of passenger room and cargo room. But when you claim "Oh, my old land yacht could do 120 mph all day long, in complete comfort." No, no it couldn't. It's far more likely your speedometer was so inaccurate that you thought you were going that fast.

Here's the thing. These cars were aerodynamic bricks. I still drive V8 pony cars of the era up & beyond 100 mph (I own a high geared, cherry 65 Mustang fastback, w/ 53,000 original miles). Anywhere above 100mph, it feels like the car is going to lift off the ground - the corners of the hood slightly ripple, the engine roars and the wind sounds like a hurricane outside. And with a GPS, the speedometer is about 20% off at speeds above 100mph.

The thing is, in a car like that, you feel like you're flying down the road. However, you can take almost any modern V6 grocery getter (think Camry or Accord) and blow the doors off of almost any stock muscle car from the 1960's - let alone any land yacht. Modern cars have fuel injection, more horsepower and vastly superior aerodynamics. Doing 100mph in a 1960's car feels like 150mph. Doing 100 mph in a modern V6 feels like you're doing about 50mph - it's quiet, smooth, and well controlled. There's no slop in the steering, the 4-wheel disk brakes work perfectly, and the aerodynamics of the car keep it firmly planted against the road.

If you really want to feel like you're going warp speed - drive a stock 1948 Overland Willys with military tires, a 'go-devil' flathead inline-4 and a Warn overdrive to split gears. The wind, noise and roar of the engine at the redline at 55 mph makes you feel like everything is going to rattle off the rig and you're going to go flipping off into a ditch and catch flame at any moment.

/currently works on and owns two '48 Willys trucks, '52 Dodge B-3-B truck, '64 BSA Victor, '65 Mustang Fastback, '69 Triumph T ...


this, especially RE: 60s-early 70s mustangs. those things were lifting bodies at speed. i had a front-wheel blowout on my 73 at 70-ish. didn't know till i slowed down to take the exit and nearly ate it. they're astonishingly light in the front at speed.

which is why the various mach 1s all had chin spoilers.

you could vastly improve the at-speed performance on the mustang by putting that wing of a hood into a negative angle of attack by lowering the front suspension(most 60s-70s muscle cars, in fact). combine that with a chin spoiler and a rear deck spoiler that wasn't decorative(think the ski-ramps that many old camaros and cobras had) and you start sticking to the ground like you wrapped your tires with duct tape.

not to mention the chin  spoiler does a dandy job of bumping the cooling efficiency of even a stock radiator. go to a 2-3 core and engine runs almost cold, which is REALLY good for keeping the air charge consistent as you stretch the legs out. if you can't mod it for ram air, it's the next-best thing.

if you take the time to tighten up all the bushings, bearings and everything else in the suspension when you do the lowering, the shaking and nightmare at high speed all but vanishes.

those cars are a lot of fun, and if you're the tinker sort there is SO MUCH POTENTIAL.

/always felt the camaro had much more spacious engine compartments but i lurve me a good pony car. 351c block fo lyfe, yo.
 
2013-04-04 02:18:17 PM
My first car was a '67 Ford LTD with a freshly rebuilt 390 in it. When I moved to Seattle, I put my twin bed in the trunk... and closed it. It was a badass car, but parking in Seattle was unbelievable sh*tty with a car that size.

I miss driving it, but I can't imagine what filling that beast up would cost these days.
 
2013-04-04 03:04:12 PM
While in grad school, I had occasion to drive a 1967 Pontiac Bonneville. It belonged to a friend of my mother. The owner claimed that if it was 1/2 inch wider, she'd have to register it as a truck. It was a lot like driving your average dorm room around, but with less beer.

/500 lbs heavier: as a tank.
 
2013-04-04 03:09:43 PM

FlashHarry: fickenchucker: This was my childhood car--1972 Buick Electra 225

"a deuce and a quarter ain't no cadillac."


"I put you behind the wheel of a deuce and a quarter, yes I did."
 
2013-04-04 03:15:34 PM

midigod: I'm not sure my '75 Malibu Classic qualified as a land yacht under these rules, but it was by far my favorite car ever.  It was like driving a living room.  Fantastic in the snow - like a tank.  And it was just as happy cruising at 125 as it was at 55.  Great times.


Yeah, that's a midsize car. Sorry.
 
2013-04-04 03:30:53 PM
Learned to drive in a '66 Belair station wagon. There was room for as many friends as you cared to stuff into it.

When I was little, my parents owned one of these. Sadly, it was long gone by the time I started driving.
 
2013-04-04 03:31:15 PM

Generation_D: loki see loki do: A malibu, cougar, or thundergodamnedbird or a farking 500 are not Land Yachts, you dumb farking kids.
[www.gatewayclassiccars.com image 640x480]

I agree in context, but today, all of these things is bigger than whats new and on the market.

So the criteria I was using was

1) wheelbase in excess of
2) Interior room enough to live in
3) bench front seat action
4) Would drain a wallet in no time at modern gas prices


Not a bad set of criteria, but you forgot to add:

strayhorn.net

/by the dashboard light
 
2013-04-04 04:09:26 PM
Heh... I still prefer a large vehicle though I tend towards station wagons these days. I've had an LTD, Bonneville, and a Cutlass. Damned if I can remember the years though. I blame drugs and alcohol.
 
2013-04-04 04:13:31 PM

Trade Secret: "Old Lady Tan" 82 Buick Electra 2 door with a landau top. Bought it from the old guy next door. Damn thing was a tank. Slept in the trunk a couple times, stretched right out...


Got busted by my dad when I brought home his '81 Electra from a date with shoe marks on the inside door of the back seat.

Another time I got to drive a different date's father's Pontiac Fiero GT. When I rolled up in the Electra the first thing he said was "The hell you're not."
 
2013-04-04 04:47:19 PM

Surool: My first car was a '67 Ford LTD with a freshly rebuilt 390 in it. When I moved to Seattle, I put my twin bed in the trunk... and closed it. It was a badass car, but parking in Seattle was unbelievable sh*tty with a car that size.

I miss driving it, but I can't imagine what filling that beast up would cost these days.


Instead of Land Yacht, we called an LTDs from the 60s a Jew Canoe, cause we had a big Jewish population in town and they all drove em.
 
2013-04-04 05:14:58 PM
I learned to drive in a 1970 Plymouth Fury 9 passenger wagon. Backing into parking was easier once you learned how. I was punching it driving up a hill one day and tried to pop the automatic into second, overshot into reverse. The car chirped, locked, engine died. I hit the ignition and it started right up again. Yehaw.
 
2013-04-04 05:18:06 PM
My last car before I gave them up completely (living in a large city can do that to ya) was a '67 Plymouth Belvedere 4-dr sedan with a 225 Slant 6 and three-on-the-tree. No power -anything-, was even a radio-delete model. Only accessory was the heater. Gave me Popeye forearms after a few years of parallel parking. Cruised effortlessly at 65-70. Second gear was good for anywhere from 5 mph to 50. And coming down from speed meant downshifting to second while pumping the brakes. My g-friend at the time couldn't even push in the clutch! Really miss that car but WAAY too much work (and $$) for too little return in the city. Such is....
 
das
2013-04-04 06:20:15 PM
First car was a '68 duese and a quarter ragtop.

All those things said up there.^^^^^^^^
 
2013-04-04 07:28:07 PM

Hack Patooey: Surool: My first car was a '67 Ford LTD with a freshly rebuilt 390 in it. When I moved to Seattle, I put my twin bed in the trunk... and closed it. It was a badass car, but parking in Seattle was unbelievable sh*tty with a car that size.

I miss driving it, but I can't imagine what filling that beast up would cost these days.

Instead of Land Yacht, we called an LTDs from the 60s a Jew Canoe, cause we had a big Jewish population in town and they all drove em.


Um... neat. Canoes aren't big enough to compare those cars to though.
 
2013-04-04 07:51:29 PM
i98.photobucket.com
1964 Ford Galaxie 500, 352 cu. in. V8, four barrel carburetor.

AWESOME car (though I agree that much, much advanced planning is required for braking).  It's no longer in my family, but the guy who bought it keeps it in a climate-controlled garage with a small but impressive antique car collection.
 
2013-04-04 08:27:39 PM

MrSteve007: I'm reading a lot of opinions that are clouded by time and nostalgia.

The single most applicable benefit of these cars were space - both in terms of passenger room and cargo room. But when you claim "Oh, my old land yacht could do 120 mph all day long, in complete comfort." No, no it couldn't. It's far more likely your speedometer was so inaccurate that you thought you were going that fast.

Here's the thing. These cars were aerodynamic bricks. I still drive V8 pony cars of the era up & beyond 100 mph (I own a high geared, cherry 65 Mustang fastback, w/ 53,000 original miles). Anywhere above 100mph, it feels like the car is going to lift off the ground - the corners of the hood slightly ripple, the engine roars and the wind sounds like a hurricane outside. And with a GPS, the speedometer is about 20% off at speeds above 100mph.

The thing is, in a car like that, you feel like you're flying down the road. However, you can take almost any modern V6 grocery getter (think Camry or Accord) and blow the doors off of almost any stock muscle car from the 1960's - let alone any land yacht. Modern cars have fuel injection, more horsepower and vastly superior aerodynamics. Doing 100mph in a 1960's car feels like 150mph. Doing 100 mph in a modern V6 feels like you're doing about 50mph - it's quiet, smooth, and well controlled. There's no slop in the steering, the 4-wheel disk brakes work perfectly, and the aerodynamics of the car keep it firmly planted against the road.

If you really want to feel like you're going warp speed - drive a stock 1948 Overland Willys with military tires, a 'go-devil' flathead inline-4 and a Warn overdrive to split gears. The wind, noise and roar of the engine at the redline at 55 mph makes you feel like everything is going to rattle off the rig and you're going to go flipping off into a ditch and catch flame at any moment.

/currently works on and owns two '48 Willys trucks, '52 Dodge B-3-B truck, '64 BSA Victor, '65 Mustang Fastback, '69 Triumph T ...


Why would people remembering their dash speedometers be wrong? They typically went up to 120 mph or 140 mph. At some point in our lives, we did "floor it" on highways to see how it went. Smooth for the day, or smooth over all? Hard to say.

I just think its funny you put that much work into naysaying peoples nostalgia. Like you have a vested interest in destroying it and replacing it with something new. Like you think because you're an expert in one field, you therefore are an expert in all fields. Engineering professions tend to have these blind spots.

Weren't you posting recently about how great your development company was doing filling up downtown Seattle or near by with new buildings? Please consider for a moment maybe you're biased against peoples nostalgia because your career has an active interest in obliterating the old and replacing it with the new -- the new you designed.

That might lead to some biases, I don't know for sure.
 
2013-04-04 09:29:57 PM

Generation_D: Why would people remembering their dash speedometers be wrong? They typically went up to 120 mph or 140 mph. At some point in our lives, we did "floor it" on highways to see how it went. Smooth for the day, or smooth over all? Hard to say.


What I was saying is that you shouldn't trust that old speedo one bit. Put a GPS on the dash. I've found that at higher speeds, they're wildly off - both on my old cars and even on my newer motorcycle:

Example - Mustang speedo is maxed out - saying I'm going above 120. In reality, the GPS is registering just above 105 mph, and it feels like the car is about to fall apart. On my newer Honda motorbike, it'll say I'm doing 160 mph, but in reality, I'm traveling at 145.  
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net
Unlike most folks, remembering their fast cars from 20-30-or 40 years ago (with heaps of nostalgia), I've recently been taking both old and new cars up into triple digits. I do almost all of my hyper-legal speeds out at the track - so I have plenty of time to test things out.

Generation_D: I just think its funny you put that much work into naysaying peoples nostalgia. Like you have a vested interest in destroying it and replacing it with something new. Like you think because you're an expert in one field, you therefore are an expert in all fields. Engineering professions tend to have these blind spots.

Weren't you posting recently about how great your development company was doing filling up downtown Seattle or near by with new buildings? Please consider for a moment maybe you're biased against peoples nostalgia because your career has an active interest in obliterating the old and replacing it with the new -- the new you designed.

That might lead to some biases, I don't know for sure.


One of our largest new projects is the restoration of the largest shingled and historic home in the US, one of the Vanderbilt mansions:
1.bp.blogspot.com

Also, if you think I'm biased for new things, by destroying the old, then explain why I restored these vehicles:
My first project, in high school - it was a complete basket case, found in an estate sale near my parents' place, it was turned into a "chopper" and last registered in 1978. I restored it to nearly stock (although my mirror positioning isn't stock). Rebuilt her with all the era-proper factory go-fast parts: twin carbs, velocity stacks, even a rare, original aluminum flywheel, even bumped compression up to 12-to-1. The one original thing I decided to stay away from though was the original electronics. They were replaced (and hidden under the gas tank) by mostly mid-80's Honda dirt bike electronics. Much more reliable than the mid 60's Lucas British stuff.
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

My Mustang - which has been in the family since I was born. It was left in the garage for 20+ years, so the body was in good shape, the drivetrain and running gear was a mess though. During community college (taking night classes in auto mechanics) Tore out the engine, rebuilt it, along with the rest of the drivetrain. Restored it to stock. Also became an ASE certified auto electrician.
sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net

sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

Here's my mom hanging out in the Dodge truck (I didn't do any of the body work on this one, just mechanical systems):
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

And my current (long term) restoration project - the '48 Willys. I've rebuilt the engine and trans - but the body is shot to hell. Being essentially post-war heavy steel, it's beyond my skills to work on the bodywork. I'm still trying to source replacement parts (bed fenders, oil bath air intake, PTO), but early Overland Willys trucks aren't that easy to find.
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net

So yeah, I don't think I could be easily called biased towards new stuff - I have a couple garages full of the classics. And since I'm getting crazy with the photos, just for kicks, on my 25th birthday, I rented a Shelby GT-H and drove up the California coast on the 101. Now that's a fun car!
sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net
 
2013-04-05 04:40:38 AM

MrSteve007: And my current (long term) restoration project - the '48 Willys. I've rebuilt the engine and trans - but the body is shot to hell. Being essentially post-war heavy steel, it's beyond my skills to work on the bodywork. I'm still trying to source replacement parts (bed fenders, oil bath air intake, PTO), but early Overland Willys trucks aren't that easy to find.


You don't want to go through all of that and you may find it easier to get someone to simply reconstruct the parts, go out of town and look for the body shop with lots of business. So, yeah, you don't want to redo that or anything. It's too much of a hassle and not worth your time or money. Wanna sell it? ;)
 
2013-04-05 10:58:11 AM

MrSteve007: Generation_D: Why would people remembering their dash speedometers be wrong? They typically went up to 120 mph or 140 mph. At some point in our lives, we did "floor it" on highways to see how it went. Smooth for the day, or smooth over all? Hard to say.

What I was saying is that you shouldn't trust that old speedo one bit. Put a GPS on the dash. I've found that at higher speeds, they're wildly off - both on my old cars and even on my newer motorcycle:

Example - Mustang speedo is maxed out - saying I'm going above 120. In reality, the GPS is registering just above 105 mph, and it feels like the car is about to fall apart. On my newer Honda motorbike, it'll say I'm doing 160 mph, but in reality, I'm traveling at 145.  
[sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net image 720x507]
Unlike most folks, remembering their fast cars from 20-30-or 40 years ago (with heaps of nostalgia), I've recently been taking both old and new cars up into triple digits. I do almost all of my hyper-legal speeds out at the track - so I have plenty of time to test things out.

Generation_D: I just think its funny you put that much work into naysaying peoples nostalgia. Like you have a vested interest in destroying it and replacing it with something new. Like you think because you're an expert in one field, you therefore are an expert in all fields. Engineering professions tend to have these blind spots.

Weren't you posting recently about how great your development company was doing filling up downtown Seattle or near by with new buildings? Please consider for a moment maybe you're biased against peoples nostalgia because your career has an active interest in obliterating the old and replacing it with the new -- the new you designed.

That might lead to some biases, I don't know for sure.

One of our largest new projects is the restoration of the largest shingled and historic home in the US, one of the Vanderbilt mansions:
[1.bp.blogspot.com image 500x325]

Also, if you think I'm biased for new things, by destroy ...


Nice Triumph. Daytona or 100C with the Daytona head then?

'64 Bonneville myself. Bitsa bike with a 69 front end. Better brake!
 
2013-04-05 12:53:24 PM

loki see loki do: Nice Triumph. Daytona or 100C with the Daytona head then?

'64 Bonneville myself. Bitsa bike with a 69 front end. Better brake!


Yep, It's a T100C with some Daytona parts. Interestingly I found the original tank, new, unused in a warehouse in California. I forget all the specific details, but I recall it manufactured for a year of bike that never actually came off the assembly line (1973 I think), and has a paint scheme to match.
 
2013-04-05 11:40:35 PM

MrSteve007: And my current (long term) restoration project - the '48 Willys. I've rebuilt the engine and trans - but the body is shot to hell. Being essentially post-war heavy steel, it's beyond my skills to work on the bodywork. I'm still trying to source replacement parts (bed fenders, oil bath air intake, PTO), but early Overland Willys trucks aren't that easy to find.


Then take it to competent body shop. I used to be a body and fender man/painter and we did wonders with them. I have cut more than one car in two and spliced them back together.
 
2013-04-07 10:15:33 AM
Actually, Scarebird makes brake adapter kits for many old cars. They use a modern rotor and caliper to update the brakes to something less terrifying.
/first car was a 68 mustsng, but 2nd was a 64 Mercury Marauder.
// neither stopped or handled very well compared to modern cars, but were a blast to drive.
 
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