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This is a five-part series on the designing, testing and manufacturing of American cars in 1978. Ford, GM and Chrysler are featured. The series was produced by a Miami TV station as the 1979 models were coming out. The reporter, Bob Mayer, is a legit car guy.

Among the things you'll see is a look inside the factory where the newly redesigned 1979 Mustang was being cranked out.

After the series, there are several car reviews done by the same reporter. The following cars are reviewed:

1979 AMC Spirit Liftback
1979 Mustang II Ghia
1979 Cadillac Eldorado
1979 Ford LTD
1979 Chrysler New Yorker

Some of the problems he finds on the brand new cars, especially paint and electrical, are unbelievable!

Anyhow, I really enjoyed watching the video...

 

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This was awesome! And vehicle quality certainly has improved since the bad old days. Map pockets coming apart on a $17k Cadillac? Awful.

And better quality in a subcompact AMC at half the price? AMC's cars weren't nearly as bad as everyone remembers. However, his city a/c mileage with the Spirit 6cyl was awful. Way worse than I ever got in my similar Gremlin with the same engine (18mpg).
 

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Ahh, Bob Mayer. He used to anchor the weekend telecasts at WTVJ in addition to reporting. He retired in 2010 from WTVJ and is also a classic car collector. Good teenage memories from living across the peninsula from Miami and having relatively new cable TV.

A great snapshop in time, as he captures a Ford executive's arrogance regarding being two years behind the B Body intro (I seriously doubt Bob or the executive would have expected that Panther platform to have lasted 33 years!)

I also doubt a plant manager, in today's talking point/managed "narrative" world, would admit the absentee, skill deficiencies, and finally, a more defective product produced on Friday/Monday. While it is refreshing to see, it is sad also; at one time, this was a more honest country, Honesty (and freedom) we have lost thanks to Political Correctness, a pervasive "white lie" culture and biased news reporting. No wonder we are repeatedly suprised by events in a 24/7/365 news cycle: The truth is hidden and most of our news media is complicit in the cover-up. These days, the plant manager, ala Mary Barra, would say they were "investigating" the Monday/Friday "allegation."

Sad indeed...
 

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I would kill a man to acquire one of those plastic engineer's model cars in the Chrysler segment.
111

And the Milford GM test driver is my hero.


Who knew they engineered the B body to run up a freeway wall without damage?

Bob Mayer is obsessed with paint jobs.

Cadillac Eldorado A+

Chrysler New Yorker F-
Pretty sure the '79 Mustang was just as bad. It's really shocking what passed for saleable quality back then. I know AMC had the incredibly progressive "Buyer Protection Plan" at the time, so their owners had some recourse with quality problems. But I honestly wonder what a Big 3 dealer would do in 1979 if you brought the car in for the issues he highlights.
 

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I'd love to see more of these videos. It shows the quality issues that were present on cars back then. And really how far we have come. Though I still love the 1977-90 GM B-bodies and still have 2 of them.
 

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This was awesome! And vehicle quality certainly has improved since the bad old days. Map pockets coming apart on a $17k Cadillac? Awful.

And better quality in a subcompact AMC at half the price? AMC's cars weren't nearly as bad as everyone remembers. However, his city a/c mileage with the Spirit 6cyl was awful. Way worse than I ever got in my similar Gremlin with the same engine (18mpg).
AMC's cars were as bad as people remember. Hence the "Buyer Protection Plan" introduced in 1972. Even Motor Trend commented on the poor workmanship of their Javelin and SC 360. My parents owned two: a 71 AMC Gremlin and a 72 Ambassador Brougham. The Gremlin had paint drips, rust begining to form around the corners of the "hatch" [glass framed window with one strut as opposed to two the year before], seat frame hardware chewing a hole through the upholstery and floorboards that filled with water during a rainy trip to PA. The folding rear seat back squeaked from the first day. The door fit was atrocious.

The first Gremlin we test drove in 1970 was leaking water around the rear windows.

Motor Trend's answer to the question AMC ads posed at the time "If You Had To Compete With GM Ford and Chrysler, What Would You Do? " was: "Kick some ass on the assembly line and get them to finish their jobs."

Car and Driver made similar comments on the then new 78 Concord.

The Ambassador had wind-lacing you could poke a finger through at the corners of the doors, misaligned [and Gremlin quality] plastic on the dashboard, rust bubbling under the vinyl top after two years, suspension bushing out before 50,000 miles and a transmission that wouldn't shift out of second driving home from the dealer. It also used the same cheap braided chain the Gremlin used to secure the glove box door. My Dad said: "If this is the best car AMC builds, I'll never buy another one."

In addition I would haunt the two AMC dealer lots just to look at the cars and the sloppy work was evident there as well: poor door fit paint drips, rust and detached dash trim laying on the front floors.

AMC's well known reputation for quality started disappearing around 1967 when they started trying to chase GM Ford and Chrysler into every market without enough money to really compete in those markets. Non-synchro first gears and vacuum wipers into the 70S? Cost cutting measures that were comical even then ? This was supposed to provide an alternative to the then Big Three? Motor trend [again] called the 68 Rebel "Amc's bread and butter car, though thinly sliced and lightly spread".

But to this day, I'd still like to have one or both in my driveway.I loved them. On paper they were pretty good cars. In reality they were way back of the pack.
 

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AMC's cars were as bad as people remember. Hence the "Buyer Protection Plan" introduced in 1972. Even Motor Trend commented on the poor workmanship of their Javelin and SC 360. My parents owned two: a 71 AMC Gremlin and a 72 Ambassador Brougham. The Gremlin had paint drips, rust begining to form around the corners of the "hatch" [glass framed window with one strut as opposed to two the year before], seat frame hardware chewing a hole through the upholstery and floorboards that filled with water during a rainy trip to PA. The folding rear seat back squeaked from the first day. The door fit was atrocious.

The first Gremlin we test drove in 1970 was leaking water around the rear windows.

Motor Trend's answer to the question AMC ads posed at the time "If You Had To Compete With GM Ford and Chrysler, What Would You Do? " was: "Kick some ass on the assembly line and get them to finish their jobs."

Car and Driver made similar comments on the then new 78 Concord.

The Ambassador had wind-lacing you could poke a finger through at the corners of the doors, misaligned [and Gremlin quality] plastic on the dashboard, rust bubbling under the vinyl top after two years, suspension bushing out before 50,000 miles and a transmission that wouldn't shift out of second driving home from the dealer. It also used the same cheap braided chain the Gremlin used to secure the glove box door. My Dad said: "If this is the best car AMC builds, I'll never buy another one."

In addition I would haunt the two AMC dealer lots just to look at the cars and the sloppy work was evident there as well: poor door fit paint drips, rust and detached dash trim laying on the front floors.

AMC's well known reputation for quality started disappearing around 1967 when they started trying to chase GM Ford and Chrysler into every market without enough money to really compete in those markets. Non-synchro first gears and vacuum wipers into the 70S? Cost cutting measures that were comical even then ? This was supposed to provide an alternative to the then Big Three? Motor trend [again] called the 68 Rebel "Amc's bread and butter car, though thinly sliced and lightly spread".

But to this day, I'd still like to have one or both in my driveway.I loved them. On paper they were pretty good cars. In reality they were way back of the pack.


I had a 1976 Gremlin with twin hatch struts. The build and paint quality was great. I had no problems with it at all. Instrument panel fit and finish was pretty poor. But other than that, it was a really good car, I thought.
 

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Dad bought a '75 Hornet Sportabout new. The car ran great and handled surprisingly well, but the quality was very poor. The valve cover on the 258 engine leaked oil from day one and the dealer ended up replacing it with a totally different design, so I guess it was a common problem. The interior was atrocious. Cheap, hard plastic everywhere, and just poorly designed moldings and components everywhere.
 

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Very cool video; what I found funny:

Showing a WHITE 1979 GM Truck during the accelerated rust test, those things would rust if you looked at them too hard.

Mustang with 5.0L, 130 mile range on a tank of gas, talk about range anxiety (no wonder every street corner had 4 gas stations on them in the 70’s)

Is it just me or did that guy look like a younger Mark Fields?
 
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