In our previous article we discussed some of the cars that have been made and sold in the United States over the years that might have trouble going through you typical full-service car wash. After all, there are quite a few lemons that Americans have driven over the years, and some just might not hold up to the pressures of a car wash (or maybe it’s the dirt that’s keeping them held together!).
The fact is, we get lots of people stopping by for a car detail because they trust only us to take care of their classic Corvette or mid-50’s Chevys. But we don’t get many of the following cars because most of them have long since disintegrated or been regulated to the junk heap. Let’s take a look at a few more cars you just don’t see on the road very often anymore.
The Chevrolet Corvair
How many cars can you name that were directly responsible for the creation of a government agency? The Corvair has that distinction.
The Corvair, launched in 1960, was a rear-engine car available in 2-door, 4-door, and station wagon versions. Because the engine was in the rear and also had a swing-axle suspension, it performed much differently on the highway that other cars and led to a very high number of highway accidents. Much like what happened with the Ford Pinto, GM failed to upgrade the car in order to make it safer, instead deciding to save a few dollars by not improving the suspension upgrades. The car played a big part in Ralph Nader’s very famous book Unsafe At Any Speed. That book, coupled with the Corvairs continuing problems, led to the establishment of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This ultimately led to mandatory vehicle safety tests for every car sold in America. So, while the Corvair itself might have been a dud, we can thank it for making subsequent cars safer.
If you remember the first time that you ever laid eyes on a Mini Cooper or a Smart Car, you have a pretty good idea of what people thought when they first saw a Gremlin back in 1970: “where’s the rest of the car?” In order to enter the sub-compact car market, AMC basically chopped off the back of their Hornet and gave the car a hatchback. With the back of the driver’s seat being so close to the back glass, it’s easy to see why people derided its ability to do much.
It wasn’t just the design that made the Gremlin the but of so many jokes. AMC (American Motor Corporation) always worked with razor-thin budgets for their cars, and the Gremlin was no different. It didn’t use technology that was standard on most cars of the time, such as disc brakes. You simply weren’t getting your money’s worth when you bought this car.
The Rust Buckets
Sure, there’s still a lot of steel in cars of today. But while cars were once mostly steel, that percentage has dropped as aluminum, fiberglass, and plastics have taken over. That’s not only a good thing for fuel economy; less steel meal less rust as well.
Some cars are infamous for being rusty. Take, for instance, a 1972 Nova we once owned where you could see the road going by underneath you thanks to its rusted-through floor pans. Other cars that are notorious for rust are the mid-70s Datsuns, 1960s Dodge Darts, Hyundai Stellars, and Mazda Montroses.
Washing one of these rust buckets can be an iffy endeavor, even for the best car wash around. We’ll always be as careful as we can, but you might want to wait for a warm day to wash them so that they can dry off very quickly!