On Tuesday, Peter Moylan yelped out that:
> On 10/07/18 22:50, Tony Cooper wrote:
>> On Sun, 08 Jul 2018 21:09:22 -0700, Richard Yates
>> <***@yatesguitar.com> wrote:
>>> On Mon, 9 Jul 2018 12:04:44 +1000, Peter Moylan
>>> <***@pmoylan.org.invalid> wrote:
>>>> On 09/07/18 09:12, John Varela wrote:
>>>>> 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
> 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