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Discussion Starter #1
After replying to the thread "what do you think of GM", I started to think of the past cars that I've owned and which vehicle would score highest on design, use, and reliability.
After owning Pontiacs, Chevy's, Fords and Dodges, I'd have to give the nod to the Caravans that I've owned.
Good looking? No.
Reliable? Yes. In fact, I have an 89 with 170,000 miles that stands out in the weather and always starts. And the 89 is pretty easy to work on.
Utility? I have hauled everything from bricks to a pack of girl scouts with no problems. Hauling both kids to college with all their crap then going camping.

And many other people must feel that way since you will see them everywhere. go to a parking lot and count. If there is a vehicle that defines the 80's and 90's, it is Dodge's Caravan.

Yeah, I loved my Nova and do so like my Monte Carlo but, in the broad spectrum of what a vehicle does, the Caravan beats them all.
 

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If "design, use, and reliability" are the measure, I'd say the hands-down winner for me is my Winnebago...

...really, I mean it. It may be fine for camping, but I also frequently use it for more utilitarian purposes and for long family trips that have nothing to do with camping. It hauls tons of stuff, it's comfortable, and completely self-contained.

And, it's built on a Chevy truck platform, so it always starts the first time (of course ;)) and it's never left us stranded, (okay, we blew a tire once, but that doesn't count). :D

Since this is probably not the kind of answer you were looking for, I'll go ahead and cite the runner-up among cars I've owned that represent the best of "design, use, and reliability"...that would probably be my '96 Suburban 4x4, (I no longer have it).

It did develop a problem with the differential after only 40K miles, but Chevy fixed it for free even though it was out of warranty, and I never had any other problems. It was big, cleverly laid out so that I could configure it as needed, I towed all kinds of stuff with it, etc.

Once, I even used it to rescue another Suburban that was stuck in a pit. Pretty cool, huh. B)
 

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1991 Chevy Lumina APV minivan-- A little futuristic when introduced, but it aged well-- looked far newer than other brand vans after several years. Sipped gas but was fairly peppy for the time/segment. 230k trouble free miles. And the seats could reconfigure in ways that other vans hadn't even thought of.
 

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I have to say: the Corvette.


Its been the true American sports car since 1953 and has been able to stay around for 50 years and rouning. Remarkably staying with only 6 redesigns..
 

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The GMC Safari / Chevy Astro twins really have a lot going for them, historically. I bought a few vehicles for different needs over the years, but an Astro could have covered them all.

Take out the seats and its like a small pickup with a covered, air conditioned cargo area. Permanently attached camper tops on pickups can't also seat 8.

Wanna tow a lot? They can handle the job.

RWD :D with AWD optional for the snow country folks. They aren't FWD pullers.

Not a particularly thirsty V6 engine, but torquey

Not too big, like the Express, but not too small, like a minivan.

Put a bed in the back for a 'love machine'. :D

The cargo vans are infinitely configurable for what you want to do. You could even make a "show truck" out of one, as many have.

Problem with the Astro / Safari was that GM didn't invest enough in updating them as the years passed. Just let them go down the toilet, and although I know people with ancient Astros or Safaris they still maintain, the reliability record didn't improve like it should have over the years. :pain:

That's too bad, because aside from that, and small front passenger leg room, the Astro/Safari were great all around vehicles for any purpose, any time.
 

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Originally posted by Mr_Pringle@Jan 7 2004, 11:01 PM
I realize this is OT-- but what about a replacement for the Astro with a sliding roof (like the XUV) on the rear?
If they were going to stay areound for a while I would like to see the XUV's Sliding Roof, but they need to go.. And they needt to go because GM didn't pay enough attention to them... <_<
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Wouldn't you know it.
I just start this thread about best service out of a vehicle and boom, I'm changing the starter on the jalpopy today. January in Chicago is not the time to be lying on the cold concrete of the garage.
The van started but the solenoid failed twice on Monday (0 degrees) to engage the pinion into the flex plate (the big ring gear on the motor). I got it started on the second hit but felt that it needed changing to avoid chewing up the gear teeth.
The nice thing is that I removed the starter in 15 minutes and had the new one on in another 15 minutes. The Dodge engineers really did a nice job of placing the starter up front and the 3 mounting bolts are so easy to reach. I didn't even raise the car.
The car reminds me of the jeeps n the army (@60's). Open the hood and everything is accessible. Come Spring, one head gasket and the rocker arm cover gaskets need replacement.
 
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