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Cars in the 1920s were made to last a lifetime. How long do you expect your car to last before you sell it?

Collectors pay top dollar for cars made in the 20s.

Back then automakers took pride in their product.

Now, anybody driving a car more than 10 years old doesn’t want to invest a dime in it because it’s virtually worthless on the used car market.

These days, filling the tank of a 10 year old car doubles its value!

And does it seem like we’re getting raped when we pay the money for what we believe is quality, but the car doesn’t end up lasting any longer than a Yugo?

Am I the only one that feels rage about the poor quality & workmanship and the high prices we’re forced to pay because of government mandated bumpers, lights, gismos, gatdgets, bells & whistles?

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4 Responses to “Cars in the 1920s were made to last a lifetime. How long do you expect your car to last before you sell it?”

  1. answer annie said:

    My cars usually last about 10 years. I think my DH and I keep cars MUCH longer than the average consumer. DH just traded in a 1979 Chevy van for a 2004 Ranger and I have a 1998 Ranger that I bought new and traded a 1989 Mustang for.

  2. fenderguy said:

    you have to take into account that in the 1920’s people weren’t putting 200,000 miles on a car in 10 years. let alone driving at 75 mph all the time, starting and stopping, idling in traffic for hours, etc. Plus a most cars today have automatic transmissions… which generally goes out before the engine (if everything is maintained properly.) Manual transmissions can last virtually forever.

    Today’s engines are FAR more reliable and long lasting than something built in the 1920’s.

    As for the suspension… have you ever ridden in a model t?? Leaf springs suspensions that were found on pretty much everything in the 20’s were indeed hearty… however they were also rough and not very agile. Today’s suspensions are far more complex, with coil overs, and McPherson strut suspensions being very common.

    As for all the gizmos….. if you don’t want em… don’t get em, or don’t use em. a windshield wiper would have been a big deal for the 1920’s…. a windshield itself was an option on many cars.

  3. Mad Scientist Matt said:

    I have to question your premise.

    Many of the 1920’s cars were built to far less precise standards than a car of today, and needed considerably more maintenance. Some of them even required the cylinder head to be pulled every 20,000 miles or so and the carbon deposits scraped off. And don’t even think about trying to leave the ignition system on a 1920’s car untouched for 60,000 miles like you can on a modern car.

    It’s just that since an old flathead motor spins at a much lower RPM, it’s able to survive with far lower quality workmanship than what gets put into an engine of today.

  4. Ken E said:

    Sorry, not true. Most 1920s cars were falling apart by the middle 1930s. In virtually all cases they had wood framed bodies and wooden floors. After ten years on some very poor roads the bodies were falling apart and were too expensive to fix.

    It’s true that with very careful maintenance some 1920s engines lasted well but as already said, they tended to be low-revving, low powered gas-guzzlers. Exactly the same is true today. Very careful maintenance will ensure a good quality recent car will last 30 years or more. Engines and transmissions are not the only important components, otherwise we’d all be riding round on go-karts.

    The ones that have lasted best tend to be the ones that were most expensive at the time (surprise, surprise!).

    If you want a cool old car the best bet from most points of view is a post 1935 model from a major manufacturer. All-steel body, four wheel brakes, more powerful engines and better electrics. In fact not too different from early 1950s cars.

    I have an ’83 model Mercedes Benz and I can tell you that a new set of tires AND a full tank comes nowhere near the market value.

    By the way don’t confuse a big options list with quality. Air-con, multi-speaker stereo etc etc have nothing to do with the actual quality of the vehicle. Any manufacturer can bolt these on to what is fundamentally a heap of s-it or onto a finely engineered vehicle.


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