7 of the worst automotive myths, according to you

The automotive world is full of information, but not all of it is fact. From urban legends to outright lies, myths of the car world have long lives. We asked Hagerty Forums readers to tell us about the myths they wish would just go away, and we pulled the top seven responses. Then we put them under a microscope to potentially dispel them. Next time you hear one of these popular anecdotes while walking your local car show, be sure to spread the truth.

The high-MPG carburetor

carburetor patent
United States patent office

This supposed efficiency miracle can be traced to Canada in the late 1920s. An inventor named Charles Nelson Pogue submitted patents regarding a carburetor that vaporized fuel before introducing it to the engine’s intake. Critics and contemporary engineers evaluated the design, which in the end constituted of no new technology beyond standard carburetor science of the time.

Somehow, the hype around the miracle invention eventually dried up. But the story lingers in the air. The names sometimes change, the twists of the story sometimes sound exaggerated, but we can assure you if a 200-mpg carburetor were possible, it would already be out there. It’s literally vapor-ware, people!

All Model Ts were black

driving a 1908 Model T
1908 Model T Ford

When people talk about the Ford Model T, one of the most popular cars of all time, a favorite anecdote to add to the story is Henry Ford declaring that all Model T’s would be black in an effort to speed production. There is some truth to this tale; According to the Model T Ford Club of America, from late 1914 to mid-1925, black was the only available color. In 1912, all Ford Model T’s were painted midnight blue, with the fenders painted black. That leaves 1908–1911 and mid-1925–27 as years where buyers could purchase their T in a choice of roughly six colors.

The explosive Pinto

The 1977 court case of Robert Grimshaw v. Ford Motor Co. put the design of the economical Pinto on trial. The case centered on whether the design of the Pinto allowed the gas tank to be pushed forward, which would cause the gas tank to rupture, potentially causing the car to catch fire. The design was, in fact, found to be faulty during testing. A rear end collision at moderate speed would force the tank forward into the rear axle, which could mean, but not necessarily guarantee, a puncture in the gas tank. The court awarded Grimshaw $127.8 million in damages, and the Pinto got its reputation scorched as a result.

Soon, the urban legend that the cars just straight-up exploded was born, though no Pintos have been documented as blowing up in this way. The risk of fire in a collision is present when considering many vehicle designs (including the Beetle, where the fuel tank is up front), yet the Pinto is the butt of this explosive myth.

1980s GM diesels were converted gas engines

Oldsmobile diesel engine

The 1980s were a time of rapid experimentation for many branches within General Motors. Mercedes had a diesel engine in its luxury line, and in an attempt to compete and keep the attention of U.S. buyers, Oldsmobile decided to enter the oil-burner arena. Sadly, the 350-cubic-inch diesel that was born in 1978 was far from what Oldsmobile needed.

The myth of this engine centers on the fact that the bore and stroke of the diesel version are the same as the gas design. While some of the architecture is similar, the diesel engine was not exactly a gas engine with the compression turned up to 22:1. Virtually all of the parts from the block on up were new. Unfortunately, some aspects of the design were rushed, including short main bolts and unbalanced crankshafts.

Lucas electrics being unreliable

Ground point
Rob Siegel

The “prince of darkness” jokes never end, but the simple fact is, Lucas electrics were not all bad. Sure, the jokes are funny, and your friend who had an Austin once could never get the headlight to work in the rain. But the truth is that the Lucas electrics work great when everything is set up correctly—which can be easier said than done.

Lucas had a knack for designing circuits that were easily interrupted by corrosion or wear, and repair efforts often focused on the wrong places, butchering up the wire harness in the process. Ensure clean grounds and good connections throughout, and your Lucas system will work for a long time.

Tin foil in the hubcaps

There’s nothing to distinguish Fairchild’s Grenadier Red ’64 GTO from any other on the road. That’s just how Jim Wangers wanted it.
Evan Klein

Apparently the tin foil hat club thinks tin foil in hub caps can effectively trip up law enforcement speed sensors. I actually hadn’t heard this one prior to reading these responses, but the fact that anyone believed this myth enough to spread is enough to make me laugh. It must have stemmed from the early days of radar speed detection and enforcement, because even a basic understanding of how radar speed detectors work says that a mass of foil stashed in your car’s wheels is going to do nothing in regard to blocking or jamming the radar signal telling the officer how fast your car is traveling.

Corvairs are prone to rolling over

The Corvair was a product of Chevrolet fighting to keep buyers from migrating towards the light and fun imports flooding U.S. shores in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The only true rear-engine design to come from GM, the 1960-64 Corvair featured a swing-axle rear suspension that caused the wheel camber to change as the suspension loaded and unloaded.

Ralph Nader grabbed hold of this Corvair rumor (though multiple other makes utilized the design to much success—Porsche and Volkswagen, to name two) and rigged a test to show the Corvair rolling over due to the wheel camber change during hard cornering. Our own Larry Webster took this myth to test, and didn’t have to call a tow truck (or an ambulance). Myth busted.




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    When I say misleading, it omits the egregious behavior of Ford with respect to the Pinto. I have a “pending” comment setting forth these omissions.

    Yellow journalism of the worst kind.

    Read for yourselves.

    The “Pinto Memo” was NOT referring to the Pinto but the cost of safety legislation across 11 million cars and light trucks. Requested by NHTSA.

    The Pinto was not even mentioned in the “Pinto Memo”:


    Read it for yourselves.

    Hit piece on the Motor Industry by sensationalist press, every bit as bad as 60 Minutes or the Weekly World News.

    Also see “Reckless Homicide” Lee Patrick Sobel.

    Bostwick9 – You are correct and statistically the Ford Pinto was one of the safer cars on the road. It had fewer deaths per mile driven than the Toyota Corolla, the Honda CVCC and far fewer than the VW Beatle. Ford was wrongly convicted. It was only after Ford was criminally charged in the late 1970s that the facts were revealed, but when Ford was found not guilty (much greater burden of proof than a civil suit) due to the facts it wasn’t news.

    The Pinto was retrofitted with a panel that deflected the gas tank down in a collision. But by fall of 72 the govt mandated rear bumper further corrected the problem.

    Unfortunately there was no fix for the Vega’s number 3 cylinder . . . or the CK Pickups with Saddle Tanks that caught fire 1000s of times.

    Several small cars at the time had similar issues, like the Mazda 303 . . . had one burst into flames beside me in a rear end collision in the Deas Tunnel back in the day,

    There was no “fix” needed to Pintos… nothing was broken. The Toyotas and Datsuns of the era had notably more collision fires per 100,000 miles driven than the Pinto. The Pinto fire-rate per 100,000 miles was virtually IDENTICAL to the fire-rate per 100,000 miles driven as the Vega. But the hysteria of the day DEMANDED a FIX for a non-existent problem… same thing was faced by Audi over unintended acceleration (100% a driver error, not a vehicle design issue). Toyota faced the same hysteria over unintended acceleration. Even it if wasn’t the fault of the vehicle, it’s really really hard to blame a mother for causing the death of her own 5 year old by having her foot on the wrong pedal and driving the car through the wall of the family room instead of sitting-still in the garage. Even if you were Audi or Toyota and were correct that there was no vehicle defect, how hard would it be to tell that mother ‘not our problem.’ It’s a horrific scenario. Ford faced the same issues with the Pinto. The video that PROVED the Pinto caught fire when hit in the rear end, especially by a larger car (a full-size Chevy was in the video hitting the back of the Pinto, IIRC) was shown on every TV news program in the country. When the video was viewed 1 frame at a time, an incindiary device mounted to the back-side of the Chevy bumper was triggered several frames before the Chevy ever touched the Pinto. The video/film was 100% faked with that incindiary device that, surprise, is not standard equipment on any car or truck.

    Heck, the Pinto collision-fire-rate per 100,000 miles driven in was BARELY higher than full-size cars of that era. It’s all public record. Available from trusted sources.

    The radical left wing Mother Jones in the main source for the myths surrounding the Pinto. Just about every sentence in that article has been debunked.

    Paul is dead on correct. Bobcat/Pinto lawsuits abounded. I was a PI attorney at the time.

    Not a myth. You couldn’t pay me enough to get into one to be driven on the road.

    “It wasn’t a myth” There’s a lie right there, whether you know it or not. If you simply “view the evidence”, it is MASSIVELY clear that Pintos had no more problems with collision fires than any US made vehicle. In fact, Toyotas and Datsuns of the Pinto-fire hysteria-over-nothing era have 30% more fires in collisions than Pintos. And Pintos had the same number of collision fires per 100,000 miles as the Vega. And both the Pinto and Vega collision-fires per 100,000 miles were VERY close to the collision fires per 100,000 miles rate for full size cars made by every manufacturer. People filing lawsuits means nothing more than people and lawyers colluding to get money fraudently and “riding the wave” without regard for the facts. The film that PROVED that Pintos caught fire when struck in the back by a larger vehicle was FAKED. There was an incindiary device mounted behind the big car’s bumper and it was triggered several frames (24 frames per second) before the larger car ever touched the Pinto. It was all fake, all an attempt to get big money for nothing done “wrong”. Yes, you could make a Pinto less fire-prone with a plate and some bolts. But then, the Pinto would have had the lowest fire-rate per 100,000 miles driven of any domestic car. EVERY CAR MADE before the 1990s could have had fewer collision fires regardless of who made it. Even a LAWYER can understand that Volkswagen Beetles, with their gas tank in the ’empty’ front of the car had more collision fires per 100,000 miles than Pintos. And there was never a peep out of anybody about how poorly designed the Beetle was. What about those Toyotas and Datsuns of the era having 30% more collision fires per 100,000 miles driven? How could the Pinto have a “problem” that made it SAFER than Toyotas and Datsuns? Because when crying parents and grandparents are on the stand in a liability case because the 5-year old and 8 year old in the back seat were burned to death in an accident where another vehicle hit the back of the Pinto at such high speed, the Pinto was 4 feet shorter than when it was when manufactured. How do you NOT get torn-up over what they went through? How do you NOT give them some compensation for their loss? The facts LOSE cases sometimes because the circumstances were horrific even if there was NOTHING about the design of the vehicle compared to everything else being manufactured at the same time. The gas tank in the Mustangs, up to 1970 were mounted EXACTLY the same way and were just as easily pushed forward in rear-end collisions and just as often as Pintos (which were no worse than Vegas and just fractionally worse than full-size cars) the tank would be damaged by suspension or exhaust system parts. But nobody put the Mustang into the witch trials… there was never any momentum. But the Pinto did have the groundswell of opinion–wrong opinion.

    My late mother owned 5(!) Pintos in a row, was in three accidents not her fault, including being rear-ended by a late ’60s Electra 225. Two of hers were wagons, one a coupe, two hatchbacks. She managed to live to be 86yoa and died of lung cancer due to the endless Kools she smoked. Buy the hype, Ed, that’s what sells lawsuits, yes? Tool.

    I bought a new 71 Pinto and had it for seven years. Mechanically, it was the best car I’ve ever owned. What I remember reading was that in rear end collisions, the rear shocks could be pushed forward into the tank, and the fix was a small plate that would force the shock bolts down. Too many years ago. I’ve also read that the Pinto was about average for small cars to catch on fire and there were other cars that were worse.

    The rear wheel tucked under on the early Corvars . Later models had a. Sway bar to prevent it from tucking under beyond the point of return.

    Your statement is not true. No Corvairs had a rear sway bar from the factory.The 1964 models received a camber compensating transverse leaf spring in the rear, and the 1965-69 models were independent rear suspension to fix the geometry.

    Early Pontiac Tempests (through ’63) had a similar rear suspension to the early Corvairs. Only the ’63 offered the 326 V8 with a manual transmission (3-sp). I gave mine too much throttle on a curve, and spun it out. I spun off the road and back on when I overcorrected. The rear wheel caught the edge of the asphalt when it spun back onto the road. Still it didn’t roll over. Replaced the bent wheel and the bent half-shaft (28 1963 dollars for the half-shaft). Then I added an after market Camber Compensator (brand name), and I was good to go.

    Had a ’63 LeMans Sport 326 automatic for a while, drove fine for a nose heavy swing axle car- some skill was required in the wet/snow and when, ah, hustling. How did you keep that caternary drive rope intact? Put on dual exhaust, broke driveshaft. Fixed, put on 4bbl/Edelbrock manifold, broke driveshaft. Fixed. Put on Pontiac 15″ Rally rims/60 series tires, broke driveshaft. Sold car to a friend that “back halfed” it, put in a 4spd Muncie & BOP posi axle. Had fun. Curses. I did like that car, but…

    “Fixing the geometry of a swing axle” is ridiculous. Half the Mercedes on the road in some production years had swing axles. Legendary BMW 3.0 CS cars contemporary with early Pintos also had swing axles. Spitfires had swing-axles. NONE of them had to be ‘fixed’ because swing axles absolutely would not cause a roll-over unless the driver was an idiot or intentionally trying to MAKE the car roll over with violently swinging the steering wheel in opposite directions. Something NEVER done in the course of driving. Swing axles did the same thing no matter where the engine was located in relation to the swing axles. When I autocrossed during the 1970s, one of the “quick fixes” people running swing axle cars did was to wrap a chain down below the axles and back up to anchor-points on the bottom of the car. The chains limited how far the axles could “jack up” when changing course repeatedly in the autocross course. Some of the autocross courses even had cone-weave sections where you had to weave the car as quickly as possible through 6 to 10 cones. The chains prevented the swing axles’ jacking action and never affected the axles during less violent “swinging” back and forth. Not one of those swing axle cars ever flipped over during an autocross. Not even the Gen 1 Corvairs that were there every time I participated. One of the venues used for autocross meets was a 1/8 mile paved oval with banked 180 degree turns. The Corvairs had just as much fun running “clear” (no cones) laps on that track as everybody else did and they didn’t flip over doing THAT either even though the inside rear wheel wanted to jack up, it was inconsequential to vehicle stability because there wasn’t much weight on it.

    The “Camber compensator” was a spring mounted under the transaxle to keep the wheels from tucking under. It was in all 1964 cars and was very effective in improving the Corvair handling. The main problem was that the rear tires were supposed to be inflated more than the front tires.
    Nader’s book had little about the Corvair and was more of an attack on the American car industry in general. It amazed me that a person with no engineering degree, who had never had a driver’s license was listened to by the press and the public. The Triumph Spitfire was photographed with the same tucked under tires from its swing axel rear suspension, and even Mercedes had swing axels. I raced my 1964 Corvair Spyder and no falcon or mustang of that era could keep up with me.

    Yes the camber could change but not to the extent of actually tucking under.
    The suspension travel was limited by the shock length. Sketches in articles on the subject exaggerated the tuck under and it is possible that some to the competitive test were rigged with no shocks or shocks that had a lot more travel. The early Tempest had the identical rear suspension, but its engine was in the front.

    Paul; Over the years I’ve owned 3 Corvairs. My first was a 1964 Corvair 500, 2 door coupe with a base engine and Powerglide. #2 was a 1966 Monza with the 110 HP and Powerglide. ( ex-wife couldn’t or wouldn’t drive a manual ) #3 was a 1965 used Monza with a 110 HP engine and 4 speed manual. Prior to owning Corvairs I owned and drove hard, a 750cc Moretti, a 356 Porsche Speedster, a 1300cc Alpha Romeo, and several American “Muscle Cars”. If one knew how to drive an early Porsche and not get into trouble, then the Corvair was not much else than the “Poor Man’s Porsche”. I loved them.

    There was indeed a recall involving the fuel filler neck on certain model Pintos. I worked at a Ford dealer at the time and the recall involved replacing the filler neck and seal. On cars that had rust around the filler neck, Ford gave us a metal patch to pop rivet around the new filler neck.

    Both are wrong – as evidenced by the required repair/upgrade. The bolts that held the bumper to the re-enforcement bar protruded and if the bumper was pushed in the bolts punctured the tank. The “recall fix” was a heavy plastic shield between the bumper and the gas tank

    i remember reading about the fuel filler neck recall in the mid to late 70s as mentioned above. and a friend told me back then he installed the plastic shield on so many ponies he can’t remember the amount. i have a ’73 runabout and have yet to check for any performed recall work. maybe putting on a bumper sticker that says ‘only nerf cars allowed to tailgate & hit rear end’ is good enough?

    Sorry Clare, you are wrong too. We had a ’71 Pinto and had the recall done. The sheild on the Fuel tank on the Pinto was on the front side of the tank to protect it from the rear axle. There was no shield between the bumper and the tank. At least that is the way it was installed by Long Lewis Ford. The worst part was that, when the fuel filler neck was replaced, it also included the fuel cap. Sadly the cap was not grabber blue like the car. It was chrome with a black handle. When the cap was locked in place, the handle would not sit horizontal like the original, it was at a 45 degree angle. Just ugly and poor engineering on the recall.

    Yeah, that’s what I thought too. The Crown Vic Police Interceptor was recalled for installation of a shield between the tank and the rear suspension; maybe that’s where the confusion comes from.

    No “fix” was needed. Pintos NEVER had a higher rate of fires in collisions than any US-made compact car. And the Pinto was 30% LESS likely to have a collision fire than Toyotas and Datsuns of the same era. Pinto’s fire-rate in collisions per 100,000 miles driven was BARELY higher than full-size American cars of the same era. EVERY gas tank on EVERY car manufactured from 1886 until the 1990s could have been made saver with a plastic or metal panel, here or there. Mustangs up until 1970 had their gas tanks mounted EXACTLY the same way as the Pinto… bolt heads sticking out towards the tank… shock mounts close to the tank. Bumper close to the tank. (Mustangs had small trunks with a floor not much larger than a Pinto floor in the cargo area) But nobody got hot and bothered about the Mustang.

    I worked in a texaco gas station in 1968 through High School and waited on many pintos (full service gas station, very rare today! The pinto was a not a bad small car and got decent milage. It’s interesting that the 2023 Toyota Corolla hatch back model looked a lot like what the pinot looked like back then. However many jokes came out on the pinot as driving a bic lighter!!

    I was a Ford Dealer Parts Manager during this recall. The issue was if the car was rear ended hard enough the fuel tank would separate from the trunk floor, then the quarter panel would buckle out and pull the filler neck from the tank. The replacement filler tube extended further into the tank. The recall kit included a plastic shield to prevent the rear axle from puncturing the tank in a collision.
    Ford built many cars back in the day where the fuel tank was a major section of the trunk floor. I had a 1966 Mustang that was rear ended badly enough that the fuel tank was punctured by the rear axle.

    Thanks for this authoritative inside info! When values were down, I bought and recommended Pinto wagons, which had an extra 18″ of crush distance behind the axle.

    I recall my days in the early 80s working for a Ford dealer. The recall kit mentioned was still required to be on the shelf in our parts department. I drove a Pinto at the time (Great little car. Fun to drive) and thought I should get this installed to which the Parts Manager told me that my car was a 1980 so it already had been fitted at the factory with the shield and as it did not have the small bumpers of the very early cars, there was no risk. Sure enough, when I crawled under my car the plastic was in place.

    Dude… ‘the issue was…’ There WAS NO ISSUE. If you hit the back of ANY car made in that era or earlier hard enough there were ALWAYS things that could and did puncture the gas tank… didn’t matter if it was full size or compact. Facts are facts… and Pintos NEVER had collision fires any more often than any US-made compact car (Vega, Gremlin, Chevette,) or pony car. The facts are also that Toyotas and Datsuns of the 1970s had 30% MORE collision fires than Pintos. AND Pintos collision-fires per 100,000 miles was BARELY higher than full-size American cars. So you can never say that the Pinto had any sort of fuel tank problem compared to any vehicle made in the US. You CAN say that a metal or plastic shield here or there would make the gas tank more difficult to damage in a collision. But that would have made the Pinto gas tank safer than the gas tank of any vehicle on the market… measurably a lot safer in the collision-fires per 100,000 miles driven than ANY car being sold at the time. It wasn’t Ford or GM or Chryslers “job” in that era to make cars as safe as they possibly could. ALL of them could have been WILDLY safer in every type of collision. But those cars would be a LOT more expensive to build and safety was not a big concern in the car-buying-public’s head in that era. Unless somebody said something like Corvairs all roll over at unpredictable times, and Pintos catch fire as easily as a match. NO car manufacturer ever made much money selling cars on their safety in the US… not even Volvo. Volvos had a small and adoring fan-base. So did Saabs. People who bought them, loved them and loved the peace of mind knowing they owned safe cars. But that segment of the car market was filled by Volvo and Saab and there weren’t enough more buyers in that segment for safety features to make ANY impression on the US car market. Safety did not sell cars in that era and customers were not demanding of safety features in that market either.

    I remember the found some protruding bolts on pinto rear ends after investigating the very similar Capri that did not have the fire problems.

    Pintos “did not have the fire problem” — it was 100% FAKE. All of it. Public record vehicle safety reports by model showed that the fire rate per 100,000 miles driven was virtually identical to the fire rates in Vegas and Gremlins of the same years. And those car’s fire rates per 100,000 miles were just a TINY FRACTION higher than the collision-fires per 100,000 miles driven for full size US cars. Further… the Pinto’s collision fires per 100,000 miles driven was 30% lower than the scads of Toyotas and Datsuns sold in the 1970s. The fact that “Pinto fires” became a “thing” was just stupid. The film shown on every newscast in the country showed a big car (a big Chevy IIRC) hitting the back of a stationary Pinto, followed by a fire that engulfed the back of the Pinto and the front of the big car. It was so convincing that the world now thought Ford was intentionally building the Pinto cheaper and more unsafe than any car on the market. Except for 1 thing. That collision film was faked. The big car had an incendiary device behind the front bumper. If you view the film 1-frame at a time, you can see CLEARLY that the incendiary device ignites. Each frame is 1/24th of a second. So 3 frames is 1/8 of second or 3/24ths of a second. You see the device lighting up before the big car even TOUCHES the back of the Pinto. This collision was filmed with at least 3 cameras. So you have to find the film where the camera was placed on the pavement, looking “up” slightly with the back of the Pinto almost out of the frame on the left and the big car approaching from the right. The angle of that camera is fortuitous because it is the ONLY angle where you can see the incendiary device ignite. The other camera angles don’t show it because the flame and smoke from the incendiary device doesn’t get very far in that first 1/8 of a second before the collision.

    You need to edit your Pinto story as it is misleading.
    Ford was facing strong competition from VW and rushed the Pinto into production, much faster than their normal time. Ford engineers discovered in pre-production crash testing that rear end collisions would rupture the Pinto fuel system extremely easily. Because the assembly line machinery was already tooled when engineers found this defect, top Ford officials decided to manufacture the car anyway, even though Ford held the patent on a much safer gas tank.
    For more than eight years afterwards, Ford successfully lobbied, with extraordinary vigor and misrepresentations of truth, against a key government safety standard that would have forced the company to change the Pinto’s fire-prone gas tank.By conservative estimates Pinto crashes have caused 500 burn deaths to people who would not have been seriously injured if the car had not burst into flames. The figure could be as high as 900.
    With a half million cars rolling off the assembly lines each year, Pinto was the biggest-selling subcompact in America, and the company’s operating profit on the car is fantastic. Finally, in 1977, new Pinto models incorporated a few minor alterations necessary to meet that federal standard Ford managed to hold off for eight years. Why did the company delay so long in making these minimal, inexpensive improvements?

    Ford waited eight years because its internal “cost-benefit analysis,” which places a dollar value on human life, said it wasn’t profitable to make the changes sooner.

    Internal company documents showed that Ford has crash-tested the Pinto at a top-secret site more than 40 times and that every test made at over 25 mph without special structural alteration of the car has resulted in a ruptured fuel tank. Despite this, Ford officials denied under oath having crash-tested the Pinto.

    for more detailed information about this debacle, go to https://www.motherjones.com/politics/1977/09/pinto-madness/

    Paul, looks like you and Clare are among the few posters with a grasp of the facts. The others just want to whine, as if FoMoCo and GM need their gratis PR shilling from the peanut gallery.

    “…as if FoMoCo and GM need their gratis PR shilling from the peanut gallery…”
    Another way to put it, “As if the internet needs another false PR bashing from the peanut gallery.
    Believe what you want, but try to start with real facts.

    I owned a 1971 Pinto Runabout and it was a great little car. I was also rear ended at a traffic light by a 1968 Chrysler Imperial and he was doing about 40 mph. Not only did I survive fine and the rear end of my little Pinto was badly crushed – I actually drove it home after the accident and it was thereafter totaled by his insurance company. There was no fuel leak and the fuel tank was intact. This was during all of the “Pintos explode” nonsense. I wrote Ford a letter about my accident and they asked to inspect it. They came and spent two hours going over it and i was there witnessing this. The two techs and myself made an interesting discovery about my car. The Pinto stored its spare tire in a well in the trunk area and it was very obvious that the spare tire acted as a shock absorber and thereby protected the fuel tank. I asked the question, what would have happened without the spare tire and were the other newsworthy Pinto crash vehicles without the spare tire. I love that car and I hated to see it finally hauled to the scrap yard.

    That is pure propaganda man . . . Mother Jones is a joke !
    the Govt mandated 5 mile rear bumper on the 73 model changed the issue. And they had already modified previous models with a fix that prevented the tank from hitting the rear.
    Only a handful of Pintos ever caught fire . . . but 1000s of CK pickups with saddle tanks did . . .
    Where I live you still see the occasional Pinto or Bobcat going down the road . . . they also made great economy race cars as well.

    Sorry… but your assessment of the situation is inaccurate. Pinto collision-fires per 100,000 miles driven were essentially identical to collision-fire rate for Vegas and Gremlins made at the same time. Ford used virtually identical gas tank mounting and clearances they used in Mustangs (small trunk) from 1964-1969. There wasn’t a PEEP about safety of Mustang gas tanks even though it had the SAME, virtually identical bare bolts and shock and spring mounts interfering with the gas tank in rear-end collisions. Datsuns and Toyotas of the 1970s had 30% more collision-fires per 100,000 miles driven than Pintos. Why was there no groundswell to “fix” the Vega, Gremlin, all Datsuns and all Toyotas made in that era when they all had the same or worse collision-fire per 100,000 miles driven results as the Pinto. Every one of those cars would have been safer with a plastic panel here, and a metal panel there to protect the gas tank. But it was ONLY a problem for Pintos? Without collision data to support Pintos having more fires? It was all 100% bullshit. Vega/Pinto/Gremlin collision fire rate was BARELY higher than the rate of collision fires for full-size American cars of the era. Beetles had their gas tank in the middle of the front of the car… even Beetles had more collision fires per 100,000 miles driven than Pintos. I owned a 1971 Toyota Corolla. If you removed the upper back seat cushion, that just popped-out when you pulled it in the right places, you would see a sheet-metal “X” brace to stiffen the car body, and mounted to that X brace was the galvanized gas tank… right there, you could touch it and see it through the big holes around the X brace. In the trunk, I forget exactly, but I think there was a piece of trim covering the gas tank… a thin pressed panel with trunk-lining fabric over it. Pull that out and the gas tank was right there looking at you. So there was some crush room for rear end collisions, but SIDE collisions on compacts with their gas tanks like that were VERY likely to “pop” the gas tank. So maybe a rear-end collision in that Corolla might have been a little less fire-y than a rear ender on a Pinto. But a side collision in the Corolla would be far more likely to damage the tank than a side collision with the Pinto. And that’s exactly what happened… according to crash data. Actual real crashes and their actual real causes. Rather than witch trial hysteria beliefs.

    GM should sue Ralph Nader for defamation. Unless of course we have already normalized defamation nationally which appears to be the case.

    Nonsense. Nader never said a single thing against the first-generation Corvair that Sports Car Illustrated, the precursor to Car and Driver, and other road test monthlies, hadn’t already pointed out. GM ended the Corvair because it couldn’t outsell Mustang and focused on the new Camaro and other products instead. So, 77GL, GM should’ve also sued Sports Car Illustrated and all the other car magazines?

    Meanwhile, Kyle tenders some good inclusions. While it’s fun to call them Lucas, Prince of Darkness, the reality is that, like Jaguar XKs and other Sceptered Isle offerings, they were owned by ‘Muricans used to Chevies that got by with occasional oil changes, suffered no or much deferred maintenance, and/or worked on by ham-handed mechanics who didn’t understand them. Scotland Yard wasn’t chasing bank robbers and murderers in cars that would conk out at any moment, and you don’t win Le Mans five times by prayer.

    As an owner of English cars from the ’60’s and ’70’s for nearly 40 years, when I first saw this headline, I thought of the Lucas myth. I have posited exactly what Four-Wheel drifter says in many forums and other places and been loudly shouted down by people who said they once had this or that car and the electircals were always bad, etc. I suspect they were exactly the folks you describe. Worst car I have ever owned for electrical? My 1975 Datsun bought new. Wipers known to stop all the time, alternator and regulator failed more than once in my 6 years of ownership, etc. etc.

    Mechanically, British cars were (and still are) superb; however, there is some merit to the Lucas jokes, As an example, 60s and 70s Jaguars were notoriously infamous for catching on fire. This may have had something to do with the rubber/fabric, high pressure fuel lines on the fuel injected cars. Many a used small-block Chevrolet V-8 made its way under the bonnet of a burned-out XJ6 and XJ12, XKS, Usually the Chevy small-block swap was a less expensive repair.

    I have Triumph motorcycles, none newer than 1966. Lucas electrics work fine if intensely maintained. Mostly I use Sebring battery eliminators and Joe Hunt magnetos. Wires I do myself. No problem for years, a couple of bikes, decades. Just takes being a little bit skilled, a bit of patience.

    There was a saying back in the day that you had to keep a bicycle in the trunk of your Jaguar, so you would have transportation to get home.

    The car mags never said that your Corvair would flip over and kill you because they were unsafe. They said that Corvair swing axles limit the fun you can have with the car. And they also said that the swing axles do that on every car that uses that tech and that car enthusiasts have already worked out how to eliminate the negative traits of swing-axle rear suspensions AND that everything enthusiasts have learned about making swing-axle cars handle well as sports cars or sporty cars applies to the Corvair and that there will undoubtedly be parts offered to enthusiasts to eliminate the swing axle issue the Gen 1 Corvair had. It should be noted that Unsafe At Any Speed was published in November 1965. That is 1 year and a couple of months AFTER the introduction of the 1965 Corvair with a second joint in each axle to keep the tire flat on the ground during suspension travel. The general public made no distinction… Corvairs were terrible (they were not) and Nader said so. The book was also released after Chevrolet made a change to the 1964 models with an addition that prevented swing axle jacking. In fact, Corvairs NEVER ONCE rolled over on the street without hitting something first. Their center of gravity was so low, that even with a jacked swing axle, the low center of gravity prevented a roll-over. You had to saw the steering wheel back and forth A LOT without stopping to induce a roll-over. Something even the WORST drivers never did on the road. Hell, we had 2 kids in High School who drove Gen 1 Corvairs to school. They would put 4 kids in the car after everybody went home for the day and use the school parking lot to try to FORCE the Corvair to roll over and they never did it. People actually WANTED to ride in the Corvairs when they got into the ‘try to roll it’ mode. Just for the experience of seeing what it felt like. I wasn’t that curious, but I did watch them several times. They would weave through the parking lot going faster and faster. It was a BIG parking lot. Upper middle class. 2500 students. About half were old enough to have an unrestricted driver’s license in Texas at that time. And there would be around 700 cars in the student parking lot every day ranging from a 1967 Excalibur 4-speed with a 360 HP Corvette engine to a 1930 Model A pickup with black fender and a yellow body and Chiquita Banana graphics on each door. He used to drive it into a ditch 2 or 3 times a year because the steering would momentarily lock without warning… but never while traveling in a straight line… always while turning. Anyway, the word would travel through school person to person “Corvair rolling after school today”. Those were the day of ZERO security at schools once the admin office emptied-out for the day. So kids who were hanging out would shoot baskets or play catch while waiting for the staff to leave. It looked like innocent hanging out… always outside the building. Some were just sitting and studying or talking on the outside picnic tables. But when 2 Corvairs were doing their thing with 4 people in each of the cars, it was all-hands-on-deck. They tried EVERYTHING to roll one of those Corvairs. In fact, the 2 Corvair guys were buddies who had both saved enough money mowing lawns to pay for their own Corvairs (circa 1966 and 1967 this was going on, Nader’s book had already been out for over a year and prices of used Corvairs were quite low. $500 would get a 1960 or 61 with 50,000 miles on it. AND both of them had saved another $500 for another Corvair in case they ended up rolling one of theirs. It was a ‘sideshow’ before sideshows ever existed. And in 2 years, I watched them maybe 6 times try to roll a Corvair without success. Some kid got access to the mimeograph machine the teachers used for tests… it had some weird text color as I recall… sort of pinkish purple. He ran off at least 100 pages with a picture of Nader on then a ‘LIAR’ across the bottom. They would appear in random places all over school for most of my senior year. It was funny as hell. Because he found the most unexpected places to put them, but they were always places where 100s of kids would see them. The teachers and admin people never figured out who was doing it… or maybe they just didn’t care much. My physics teacher (male) thought it was hilarious, and he knew they were trying to roll Corvairs in the parking lot but was keeping quiet about it. I think the poster-guy eventually had a son named Banksy.

    I think Nader was the beginning of not only normalizing, but profiting greatly with no real repercussions for defamation. Nader built his reputation on a long disproven lie, but continues to be considered an authority. But much of what comes from current media is a lie and when confronted the truth is labeled disinformation.

    Swing-axle rear suspensions do tend to make the car tail-happy, and it can surprise a novice driver. I know. But if you have a modicum of experience behind the wheel, it’s easily avoidable or controllable if the car drifts a bit.

    “Unsafe at Any Speed” was my first exposure to Ralph Nader. I’ve never trusted him since.

    right – they’re not made-up but persuasive stories, like the ones Myth Busters toodk on. Most are substantially true stories to which valid exceptions can be cited. For instance, just based on the model years, it seems like well over 90% of the Model T’s production was, in fact, only available in blak.

    ALL of them are 100% false characterizations of fully OK vehicles. Pintos had 30% fewer fires in collisions than Toyotas and Datsuns of that era that were everywhere. NO DRIVER ever rolled a Corvair on pavement without hitting something else first. You can go on and on and on. Saying that “none of these were myths” would be like saying that the Salem witch trials were completely legitimate. What is SAD is that people you might expect (and hope) to be smart enough to understand this crap actually believe it. All the information is public record. I found traffic accident statistics ONLINE for FREE… Vegas, Gremlins, and Pintos all experienced very similar rates of fires follow collisions. And their rate was BARELY higher than the rate for full-size car fires after collisions. Beetles had more fires after collisions than Pintos. It is ALL PUBLIC RECORD. But if you were in a courtroom listening to parents and grandparents grieving about their 5 and 8 year old children who died in the back seat of a burning Pinto after a collision (never-mind that the car was entirely crushed all the way to the backs of the front seats), how would/could ANYBODY want to help them with a nice settlement? It was a tragedy, how can you say it was just something that happened and dismiss the case? Audi got tangled in unintended acceleration woes. One of the major cases involved a woman in her Audi in the garage. She was in the car, waiting for her 5 year old to walk around and get in the other side of the car when she started the engine with her foot on the brake pedal, and with the 5 year old in front of the car, the car drove forward in the garage breaking-down the wall to the family room and killing the 5 year old. The problem was, her foot was not on the brake pedal, it was on the GAS pedal and she had not noticed that. So she thought she was pressing a hard as possible on the gas pedal but the engine was revving higher and higher anyway. Forensics confirmed that with the accelerator pedal on the floor, depressing the brake pedal fully keeps the car at rest even with the engine revving and TRYING to move the car. Then 60 Minutes, the popular investigative news show hired a guy who claimed to be able to demo how the Audi would overcome the brakes and accelerate in spite of the brakes being fully applied. What CBS then showed and insinuated proved the problem was real was an Audi with so many underhood changes, that the demo had to be done with the hood open or they could not operate the engine. This dork had repiped so much stuff under the hood it was hard to know what was original and what was changed and exactly WHAT the changes were. It was a giant hatchet job with 100% FAKE “proof” but today, people STILL think Audi’s killed children with unintended acceleration problems.

    Yes, one theory is that people used to domestic cars and their pedal placement started buying Audi and BMW models with a different layout and were pressing the gas instead of the brake, also no 90-150hp car of that era could overcome the brakes fully applied from start.

    Less Fiero’s caught fire than the Pinto but with composite bodies they were more dramatic.

    The fire trap was the Crown Vic. Many police officers were burned after being rear ended.

    The carb story always gave a laugh. So many old timers had a number of conspiracy claims.

    On guy I knew he dad swore up and down his Old got 80 miles per gallon because his car got a secret GM carb. He even swore that they tried to steal it back. He was normal in every other way but he swore by that carb.

    I loved how big oil bought it., imagine if Ford or Chevy has such a carb. They could have saved hundreds billions of dollars.

    Now I did have an auto shop teacher with a Pinto that got 50 mpg going to Florida. He was Friends with Smokey Yunick. He stopped at his shop and put on a new gasket as the carb was sucking tons of air. He got 20 mpg coming home.

    I had a 80 something Fiero and while I was looking over the engine the exhaust manifolds started to glow. I concluded that the electronic timing module had failed and changed it. No more problems.

    My father was one of those who believed (and repeated) the miracle carb story. In his version, a dealer salesman took the car from San Francisco to Las Vegas and back on less than a gallon of gas and the manufacturer came and took the car back the following week.

    The crown Vic statement is a lie.

    The issue was improper installation of radio equipment in the truck which left fasteners dangerously close to the fuel tank.

    Phoenix, Chandler, and Mesa (AZ) police department maintenance crews can attest to this. I was involved in one of the city’s bladder retrofit and can fully attest that it had nothing to do with the car’s design, it was sound. It was the radio installation in the trunk.

    Love the 80mpg story. It reminds me of an episode of ‘The Gomer Pyle Show’ when he bought a car from Sgt. Carter. Some of the Mariens were adding gas to the tank without him knowing. Then, Sgt. Carter wanted it back. He sold it back and they started siphoning gas out. In the end the car wound up exploding because they dribbled gas and someone threw down a cigarette.

    Well he made it back. Note it was a free car to start with. From the looks of it I would not have driven it 50 miles from home.

    He also had a Champion Spark plug series IMSA car. It did 156 mph on the back straight at Daytona.

    He was a very interesting guy.

    The Crown Vic story is true/not true. In normal passenger car use (and crash testing), the depressed well in the center of the trunk was empty and serve as “crush space”. In police use, the well was typically full of cop stuff. Many aftermarket equippers offered trunk organizers to make efficient use of the space. Most of them were oriented longitudinally, meaning the road flare compartment was pointed at the fuel tank. Even without the flares, filling the well with gear effectively eliminated the crush space. Even still, most of the Crown Vic fires were limited to highway roadside rear-enders, not normal speed traffic crashes.

    If he got 50mpg driving a Pinto with an air leak… he got much more than 50mpg. He also got 4 burned pistons, 8 burned valves, very likely a damaged head gasket, very likely a warped cylinder head, and possibly a warped deck on the block. Smokey never would have let a friend drive that engine home after that abuse without fixing all the damage or putting in a replacement engine. You don’t just get 50mpg for any length of time on a car that would normally get 20-22 mpg if it was running right without consequences… very very bad consequences.

    Don’t remember the car but a guy I knew was getting unbelievable gas mileage with his new car as opposed to other people with the same model, later on during a state inspection the dealer found the fuel line to the carburetor had been hit and was almost closed off

    The Corvairs may not roll over, but the outside rear wheel tucking under during high cornering speeds sure can cause that heavy rear end to swing out very quickly. How do I know this? I had a 1964 Monza. A nice car to drive, sporty enough with a four-speed transmission and decent acceleration and, up to a point, good cornering ability as compared to other cars of the era. Except for the few times I was completely surprised as I “swapped ends” during “spirited” driving, especially cornering hard over a small rise in the pavement. The speed at which the loss of traction occurred was sobering – just a blink of the eye, and the car was pointed the other way.

    My father also had a Corvan that he used for his carpet cleaning business. Believe me, my father never participated in “spirited” driving, but he still called that truck’s handling “evil.”

    My dad had a ’64 as well. He would laugh as he told a story of he and his friends out one summer night having fun in their cars showing out. Some doing doughnuts and slalom racing in a empty parking lot. The next morning his dad called him out and wanted to know what he had been doing. Seems the whitewalls on both back tires were completely black and you could tell the car had been spinning on the sidewalls.

    Right you are Dan. I was driving my beautiful 68 Corvair with a friend following me in his 63 Corvair. It was a spirited drive. We went down a hill and the road at the bottom of the hill turned slightly to the left when it started uphill. There was also a sewer drain for water right at the bottom of the hill and the pavement went down several inches right in front of the sewer drain. I navigated through it with no problem with my independent rear suspension. I looked in rear view mirror and watched my friends right rear tire hit that dip in the pavement and the car swapped ends very quickly and it jumped the curb and ended up in the grass. No one hurt luckily. I have owned many dozen vehicles and my 68 Corvair was one of my favorites.

    Cool on the ground comparison of the 63 and 68 suspensions – I’m glad no one was hurt! A woman I knew from my family’s church wasn’t so fortunate – she died in a rollover in her early Corvair.

    My Son and I spent 9 years autocross racing Corvairs. Mine a ’64, his a ’65. Stock suspension. (We didn’t want to race in a modified class). Never “swapped ends”, nor did either of us flip over. And I’m pretty sure flogging them on a twisty race track running them as fast as we could and still stay on the track would be at least equal to your “spirited” driving. Never noticed any significant loss of traction even at track speeds. Clearly your issues were caused by something other than the design of the Corvair.

    For the 1964 model, Chevrolet revised the Corvair’s rear suspension, adding a transverse leaf spring and recalibrating the spring rates to eliminate the possibility of “tuck under”. As far as “swapping ends” I would wager that the driver either backed off the throttle or tapped the brakes at an inappropriate moment, transferring weight from the rear wheels to the fronts. Another common scenario would be that the tire pressures were not correctly maintained. A car with a rear engine (and therefore rear weight bias) must have more pressure in the rear tires than the fronts. In the case of the Corvair this differential needed to be 10 psi (which was clearly stated in the owner’s manual) and this was vastly different from other American cars of the time.

    You are right on. By 1968 the VW bug had a Z Bar in the rear suspension that acted as a transverse spring, limiting excessive swing axle movement. When I tweak the suspension on mine, I added spacers below the Z Bar mounts this limited swing axle movement when driving off road, which I did frequently. Proper shock absorbers and correct tire Inflation pressures are critical on these types of vehicles.(VW through 1968, early model, Corvair, and any Porsche with swing axles).

    Right on ! We had a girl killed in an early one without leaf spring sway bar. Turned over on the Long Beach freeway.

    Yeah, Dan, I read what seemed to be an unbiased article in an auto publication a while back (wish I could remember the publication) that conducted tests of a period Corvair and confirmed exactly what you have said. The gist of it was that the Corvair’s design was flawed, but in ‘normal’ driving did not pose a danger. Neither GM nor Ralph Nader were exactly vindicated based on my reading of the story.

    Sorry, but having owned an Austin America and several Brit Bikes, you are not going to convince me that Lucas electrics were actually reliable. Having to constantly check for bad grounds, and more, is not what I call “reliable.” The alternators and magnetos sucked. Nonetheless, I loved my Brit Bikes once I upgraded the electrical systems to something that were actually reliable.

    Agreed. I restored and sold vintage British motorcycles for many years and can attest to the abysmal quality and reliability of Lucas electrical components. Many a happy weekend ride would end with a perilous journey home either on a trailer or limping along in total darkness, waiting for either a ticket or rear end collision.

    I found in my time (Bikes and Cars; from BSA to Bentley to MG) that Lucas electrics were absolutely fine.

    They didn’t have redundancy for grounds (their biggest fault), and the other issue was they were sized for exactly what came from the factory, nothing more. Sealed beams to Halogen headlights? You better upsize the wire. Replacement radio? Same.

    The domestics always built in “wiggle” room; the Brits it was exact. Other tip? When you pull a LuCar connector, anywhere, inspect for corrosion and tightness, and replace with a tiny dab of dielectric grease. Keeps the moisture out.

    Overall, they worked fine. So did SEIMA in my French stuff. I actually had more issues with Bosch stuff in various German cars (looking at you soy-based insulation in my ’92 Jetta GLI….) Wiring, overall, tends to be pretty durable from any source, as long as it’s not butchered.

    I have owned a 1955 MG TF 1500 for over 35 years. I have had the genarator & starter re-built once & the guy that did it said neither really need done. Not buying your version of them being “crap”. The engine has been rebuilt 5 times due to noramal wear & tear & high mileage. Piston rings & valve seats wear & need replaced. The electric’s have been rock solid.

    As someone who has been involved professionally with British cars since 1963 I was glad to see the Lucas myth dispelled. I have been trying to tell people exactly what the author said for decades, usually getting a blank stare in return.
    Thank you!

    common practice if you owned an older MG you always carried a spare set of ignition points in glove box. They had a way of falling apart at the worst possible time. And old Dodges, I always carried a spare ballist resistor in gove box.

    I used to have a 72 Dodge Pickup. Sold it in 1999. Your statement about the ballist resistor reminded me of that truck. I always carried a spare ballist resistor and the tools to replace it in my glove box! And I did replace it many times over the 20 years i owned that truck.

    Along with a spare set of points, I kept a book of matches in the glovebox. The matchbook cover was 0.012″ thick and the matches were 0.024″ thick. perfect match for roadside points and spark plug gap setting.

    Still have one in my 1977 Royal Monaco. That part has failed only twice in 46 years, but is an easy fix if one has a spare part along.

    I seem to remember a Pinto story, that stated there were a couple bolts that stuck out toward the gas tank, above the rear end. In a rear end impact, that was bad enough, the tank would come up against the bolts and they would rupture the tank, thus having a fuel leak. I owned a ’73 Pinto and by that time Ford had put a piece of material between the tank and the bolts to protect the tank. My Pinto was equipped with that protection.
    Great Video Larry!

    I always got a kick out of the high mileage stories, if an automaker could get 100 MPG out of a car they would do it and sell it. Now I do recall a comedian telling a story about playing a trick on a friend who bought a new car. Every night he snuck to the friends house and added a gallon of gas to the tank, he did that until the car went in for it’s first service and after that he would sneak to his friend’s house and remove a gallon of gas every night. Apparently it was pretty funny for those in on the joke.

    Back in the late 70″s we sold new Datsuns. The B210 with 5 speeds routinely got well over 40 MPG with a carb, where are they now?

    Mustang II being a rebodied Pinto is another one.

    GMC pickups are built with heavier gauge metal and wiring than their Chevy cousins.

    Tuckers being super cars done in by politics.

    Morgans having wooden chassis (they have wooden BODY frames).

    I’m sure if you went to any bar in the ’60s you’d hear many more.

    I think you are confusing Morgan with Marcos. Marcos cars were made in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, U.K. and did indeed have a composite wooden chassis.

    No, not long ago someone here mentioned Morgans, and failing to properly translate UK English and American English (Jensen the frame/chassis mixup) was confused.

    I lived in the UK and know the difference between a Morgan and Marcos.

    Mustang II IS on the Pinto platform, sorry. Just like the Fox-body Mustangs (and a dozen other FLM cars) are on the Fairmont (Fox) platform. Just like the original Mustang is on the Falcon platform. Virtually every mainstream manufacturer uses the same platform under a variety of models. Why does acknowledging the Mustang II roots bother everyone so much?

    As an AMC fan, the myth that annoys me the most is that American Motors just bought all of their parts from other manufacturers. While it’s true that AMC did buy components from other manufacturers (just like every other car maker did), AMC produced all of its own engines, with VERY rare exception. They bought a V8 from Packard for a couple years in the 50’s. They licensed a four cylinder from Audi/Volkswagen in the 70’s for a few years. Also the 2.5 “Iron Duke” for a few years until they had their own 4 cylinder ready. But 99% of all American Motors engines were their own.

    AMC didn’t buy all their parts from other car maker. But there was a push to get AMC into city fleets to keep AMC running as a viable company. So San Jose bought AMC squad cars and station wagons equipped with Chrysler engines nd I believe front suspensions.

    Nope-the Matadors were AMC 401s backed by the Mopar A727 automatic transmission (possibly the source of the confusion). Suspension was a HD version of the regular Matador suspension. We didn’t have any of those cars in the Chicago area but on-line info seems favorable to the Matador.

    Always been an AMC fan since my first new car, a ‘73 Hornet Hatchback. Most bulletproof drivetrains I’ve encountered. Got to 174,000 miles when it became too rusty to fix the front end. Still had original clutch & starter and ran great.

    Part of the Oldsmobile diesel myth is that you could pretty easily convert it to gas. Or maybe it’s better to just say some of the needed parts fit the block.
    The DX block was an interesting starting point for building a big inch small block, although you could easily drain a bank account doing it.

    I was there. Working at a “Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Cadillac, Buick” stealership, 1982-1985. GM at some time, got sued, so they put out an extended warranty 5 years/under 50,000 miles, if engine failed they would replace it for $100 deductible. My service manager was a drunk/drinking on the job crook. He put the word out—“bring your GM shitbox here, and I will warranty everyone of them for $200”. (he kept $100 for himself) The year/mileage didn’t matter, he warrantied them all saying every one of them was under 50K miles. 3 solid years I would R&R at least 2 a week, sometimes more, along with 3 other techs in shop. Came as a long block, oil pan, crank, pistons, heads, valve covers. We would swap over flywheel, intake, rebuild diesel pump, injectors, glow plugs, water pump. (The pump/injectors/glowplugs were rebuilt by a different tech while I was R&R engine. The very 1st thing thing to be done was pull those 3 off the engine, get them to that tech, while I did the R&R part. By the time I was ready for install, other tech was done rebuilding those 3.) Book time was 15 hours. I got it down to 10 hours myself, 1 mechanic got it down to 8 hours, I actually witnessed him do it, started 1st thing in the morning, car rolled out at end of shift.

    NOW at the time, we all agreed GM just slapped diesel heads on a gas block. I can’t prove that, but I do half way believe it. You would believe it too if you lived through that crap like I did.

    The high-milage miracle carb I heard about was called the Fish Carburetor, and the rumor is that the big three US auto manufacturers bought and buried it, in cahoots with Big Oil. Like most conspiracy theories, it made no sense. Corvairs rarely rolled, but they certainly spun out with rear camber change, until GM fixed it with double-jointed rear axle shafts. Having worked for decades on British cars and motorcycles I can confirm that shoddy Lucas electrics were no myth. They were an excellent example of what happens when one manufacturer gains a monopoly and quality-control goes out the window. Yes, they can be made to work, but American and German auto electrical systems of the time were clearly better made and more reliable.

    I was on the freeway in Seattle 5 cars behind a pinto that got rear-ended. instant fireball inside the car, doors blew open crispy people fell out on to the pavement. as real as it gets. around 78 or 79. I was working at frank hawkens buick downtown Seattle. on my way home from work, middle of ship canal bridge in the middle express lane. never forget that! yes they had good motors ,used in ranger pickups and still used in industrial manlifts ect. super dependable.

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