Post by Peter Moylan Post by Tony Cooper
On Sun, 08 Jul 2018 21:09:22 -0700, Richard Yates
Post by Richard Yates
On Mon, 9 Jul 2018 12:04:44 +1000, Peter Moylan
Post by Peter Moylan Post by John Varela
I've never heard it, and I've never owned a Buick, but if I
wanted to name a large car that's incompetent on slippery roads
I'd say "Volvo", a front-wheel-drive version of which I have
"Volvo driver" used to be a term of derision here. It meant the
sort of person who had poor driving skills and little
consideration for other road users.
Here it meant stodgy, conservative, practical, and maybe
Over here, the perception of a Volvo owner has changed over the
years. I bought a Volvo 245 (a "station wagon" or "estate") during
the 1979 gas crisis in the US. The Volvo was more fuel-efficient
than any American car at the time. It was also considered to be the
safest car on the road at the time, and I was doing a lot road
Volvo drivers were considered to be of the practical sort not
concerned with luxury, style, or comfort. I don't think Volvo
drivers were thought of any differently than drivers of any other
make as far as driving skills or road manners.
As it happens, I was buying a car in the US in 1979. I test-drove a
Volvo, but considered it far too big for my needs. (In addition, I was
warned that that particular car was too close to the mileage that would
suggest an engine replacement.) I had no interest in buying what we
Australians called a "Yank tank" (an excessively big car), so in the end
I bought a Japanese station wagon, a lot smaller than the Volvo.
I considered it seriously, but in the end I was not interested in buying
a giant car. Too many of the cars available in those days, including the
Volvo, were inappropriate for a family of only three people.
I never saw a Volvo I would consider a giant car. Most would be in the
class I would call compact (a decade earlier, that would include the
Ford Falcon). My Beetle was considered a sub-compact, as was a Morris
Minor (and the few Mini's brought in one-at-a-time) or the early Honda
(And I'm talking the classic "square" Volvo that replaced the
whaleback, which was also a compact.) The Mercedes of the 70s were
about the same size, and that's still true, although Volvo currently
has a hatchback that's more Civic-sized ... the C30, I think.
And while the numbers were limited, there was a small Volvo sportscar a
few years before you looked.
Full-size family cars did eventually shrink down to the
Post by Peter Moylan
After I bought my car (a Toyota wagon, IIRC), I was amused to see the
result of my parking in a supermarket car lot. The car beside me was a
typical car bought by black Americans. (A Cadillac, I think.) It was
twice the length of my car, but had only half the passenger space. An
excellent example of why US cars could not compete on the international
market, even if they could jump up and down as they proceeded down the
Jumping up and down was later than 1979, IIRC, although often applied
to cars of the '60s that were being customized. Around 1970, many
Cadillacs were easily able to hold a family of four, or even four
adults (I'm thinking Seville), and were often used by successful real
estate agents because most of their customers could ride along.
Meeting the agent at the house-to-be-viewed was less common in those
days than now, as I remember it. There were, however, Cadillacs that
were more ostentatious.
And remember, the Ford Pinto was still in production in 1979, and had
been a very popular car until the gas tank issue caught people's
What were Holdens like in those days?
"I'm glad unicorns don't ever need upgrades."
"We are as up as it is possible to get graded!"
_Phoebe and Her Unicorn_, 2016.05.15