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Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

Posted March 12, 2014 8:30 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: automobile classic auto sales

A dollar, it seems, just doesn't buy what it used to, and nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to shopping for a new car. While many of us reminisce about the "good old days" of affordable performance cars and low-cost gasoline, were cars (and their care and feeding) really less expensive then, or has time merely clouded our judgement?

To answer that particular question, I put together numbers comparing the price of a base V-8 Ford Mustang coupe, a base Chevrolet Corvette coupe and a base Porsche 911 coupe, examining 1965, 1985, 2005 and 2013 model years to get a good spread without overwhelming us in data.

Find out the results on Hemmings Daily.

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#1

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/12/2014 9:27 PM

You're not comparing apples to apples here....If you could buy one of today's models in any of these brands, 40 years ago, they would have cost a fortune....Today's cars go faster, stop faster, handle better, are safer, get better gas mileage, last longer, are more reliable, have features not available back then, ,there's just no comparison.....

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#4
In reply to #1

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 6:17 AM

Let's also remember that serviceable items relating to the automobile have also improved enormously. Tires, once a 10,000 mile item, with bias ply nylon or polyester construction, now last 70,000 to 100,000 miles in radial design, and those tune ups, also about 10,000 mile intervals, now easily 100,000 miles. Old drum brakes, 10,000 to 15,000 mile replacement, now can go way over that, but still very driver dependent for the actual interval. Oil changes also much longer depending on what oil you use. And most of us remember when 100,000 miles was considered an old worn out car, now it's double or triple that depending on the model and driver habits. So actual cost to own and drive a vehicle may actually be lower now for some of us who take maximum advantage of these factors. My 1992 Nissan Sentra SE, which I purchased new in 1992, is still going strong with the exception of rusty lower panels. Actual full cost of ownership not including gas and insurance is under $500.00 per year. Factor in the inflation numbers and income differences, My 1962 Chevy Belair would be hard pressed to beat it. But you just can't put a price tag on the style and "romance" of the older cars.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 8:58 AM

I disagree! Even though the newer cars are more complex because they need to be (emissions & other laws), you still get less value for your inflated dollar today. We didn't have Japanese cars in the US then but Mercedes purchased for 2-3K would get at least that in mileage. Even Volkswagens would get 200K+ if properly serviced. The problem was US service stations did not service the cars properly. You would get more than 1,000 miles per dollar spent for a German car.

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#2

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 2:08 AM

My (soon to be) wife and I purchased a 1987 VW Jetta GL brand new for a little over $13,000. In 2005, my wife and I purchased a new 2005 VW Jetta 2.SLO for $15,500. Taking that $13,000 we spent in '87 roughly equates to $26,000 in today's dollars.

I would say we got a better deal in 2005. My 22 yr old son now owns the '87 using it as his daily driver.

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#3

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 4:48 AM

Well if FORD implemented the same approach, they use in dealing with manufacturers within their supply chain, then their cars should get cheaper year on year. As they expect their suppliers to look for cost savings with their processes and supply chain, to give FORD a saving on the products they purchase from them, year on year. Pity they don't follow their own rules hey! Hypocrites

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Anonymous Poster #1
#6

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 11:15 AM

'a dollar just doesn't'

'lets compare apples to apples'

Had your paper for junk silver coin back in the '60's ( a$500 bag at the local bank cost $500 paper) you could do what I did yesterday...I took $150 in junk silver coin to the local dealer and traded it for appx. $2500 FED printed paper. That means if I had taken $2000 of that same coin I would have enough of that FED printed paper to buy that $31500. I.e., that $2734 I would have spent in '65, and $1968 of that same coin would buy that 2013 Mustang for a savings of $766 of that junk coin. A better Mustang today and that $766 would trade for appx. $12000 of that same FED paper. A new Mustang and a pretty good party!

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#7

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 12:57 PM

First do not forget that there is one thing called Inflation, viz. what your Dollar used to buy yesterday today it buys less. Exactly same Mustang if it would be assembled today would cost more (Dollars, I mean) than is costed in the sixties. But if you put its price as a fraction of you income, it would probably cost less.

Second, although manufacturing processes are more robotized, lowering costs, present autos have much more techonology on-board. It costs Money.

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#8

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 4:39 PM

Those that have followed me on similar topics know my opinion....if you were to set up an antique plant and build a similar mustang now, I think you could build it for half the price of a modern mustang. The '65 did not have air bags, crumple zones, padded dashboards and drop down engines which slide UNDER the car in a head on collision instead of going through the fire wall. There was a LOT of safety features in a '65 mustang. Safety glass, new fangled lap and even shoulder belts, head rests to prevent whiplash, signal lights and push button radio (to reduce distraction). All in all, it was a good car, but MUCH more hazardous in an accident than a modern vehicle. If you tried to build a Mustang which would meet 2014 safety standards, it would cost about 25% more than inflation.

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#9

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 6:52 PM

" a dollar, it seems"

" don't forget inflation"

I think that's the point AP1 was making in #6 ie the 30 cent/gal gas I used to buy in 1965 is now $3.80 at the local quik stop. and that 3000$ mustang is now $30,000, that's a factor of 10, and many of us make 10 times what we did in 1965, right? But if you compare 'apples to apples' value of coin the factor is more like 16, which makes the better new mustang a Real Bargain. By the way, who gets paid 16 times what they got paid for doing in 1965?

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Have Cars Really Grown More Expensive Since 1965?

03/13/2014 7:20 PM

I agree. Good answer.

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