Car Prices Would Go Down… If The Free Market Were Allowed to Operate

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How much would the average new car cost if the least expensive new car you could buy cost around $5,000?New car savings

Probably, a lot less than the current average price paid of just over $30k.

Part of the reason for the ballooning cost of new cars is the balloons in new cars. Most 2015 model cars have at least six of them now and several have eight or more. At least one has 11. But it’s much more than just the air bags. The cumulative cost-per-car of all the government’s various mandates – including the conflicting mandates regarding crashworthiness and fuel economy (it’s hard to make a “safe” car that also gets good mileage) probably amounts to more than the cost of  cars themselves in the era before mandates (rather than consumer preferences) effectively dictated vehicle design.

But that’s not what this column will be about.

Today’s column is about what the effect on new car prices generally would be if all government mandates were to be un-mandated. If it were legal for a latter-day Henry Ford or Ferdinand Porsche to bring to market something basic and inexpensive, a latter day Model T or VW Beetle. The kind of car they don’t make any more. Because they can’t sell such cars anymore.

But let’s imagine they could – legally. That a man would not face  prison for building and selling a simple car shorn of 40 years’ worth of Uncle’s Edicts. No air bags, crumple zones, whiplash headrests, back-up cameras or tire pressure monitors. Not glamorous, not fast – and yes, perhaps not as “safe” (if you were to wreck it) as a government-mandated car. But simple and inexpensive – as cars once were – back when people could decide for themselves which mattered more: the built-in “safety” of a big, heavy car… or the low cost (and high mileage) of a basic, inexpensive, lightweight car. Options available, but nothing shoved down your throat. Pick and choose what you want.costs 3

What sort of pressure on the cost of cars generally would the availability of simple, inexpensive and very lightweight cars on the lower end of the market bring to bear on the cost/complexity (and fuel economy) of cars higher up the food chain?

Would shifting the lower end of the new car market toward the more affordable affect the affordability of all cars?

Probably, it’d be exactly like the pressure we see acting on the cost of electronics such as computers – which are among the very few consumer products whose design is not yet utterly dictated by the government rather than the market.

The existence of decent $300 machines exerts definite downward pressure on the price of machines higher up the food chain. Computers generally cost less today than they did in the past.

It is harder to charge higher prices – or rather, get people to pay them – given the existence of serviceable lower-priced alternatives.costs 3

Imagine how the same pressure could work to our benefit when it comes to cars.

If air bags (and so on) were optional – as they were once, a long time ago – many cars would still offer them, certainly. Some cars would still come with them as part of the standard equipment package. But positive (for consumers) pressure to keep costs down would exist simply by dint of the fact that consumers could say no. Could buy a car without such cost-adders. In the same way – and for the same reason – that car insurance used to cost less, before everyone was required to buy it. The insurance companies had to cater to customers; they could not dictate terms.

When there’s an alternative – when there is free choice – people get more choices. Better ones, cheaper ones.

It is almost a mathematical axiom.cost 5

But when every single driver is told he must buy insurance (or else) and that any new car he buys must have air bags (and all the rest of it) he will inevitably pay more – precisely because he has no alternative. And there’s no incentive for the car companies to lower costs less when they know they have a captive audience.

Take it – or leave it.

We can’t know exactly how much less the average new car would cost absent all the government-mandated folderol – and given the pro-consumer incentives that would exist in the absence of the folderol. But we can make an educated guess. Until 2002, you could buy an original model VW Beetle – the (mostly) government-free model first designed back in the 1930s and which put millions on wheels the world over – for about $7,000 U.S. in Mexico.

In India, you can buy a modern take on the VW concept – the Tata Nano – for  about $3,000 right now.clover lead

Let’s split the difference and say for the sake of discussion that a no-frills, A to B commuter car could be put on the market for $5,500 or so – an entirely reasonable estimate in the absence of government mandates. Now contemplate what the mere presence of such a car would do in terms of applying market pressure to today’s least-costly government-mandated new cars – the most inexpensive of which starts around $13k. This is considered “cheap” by today’s standards, but $13k is more than twice what our hypothetical government-free car would cost.

Now imagine not being forced to insure it.

And being able to fix it yourself.

We’d all have a lot more money in our pockets – no matter which car we ended up buying. And most valuable of all, we’d have freedom to choose.

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  1. Regarding the comparison with the computer/electronics industry – it is amazing how free market competition has forced down the price of everything from cell phones to televisions to laptops, while making them easier to use and more reliable. If only the auto industry were free to do so.

  2. The free market. Society. Civilization. What sums it up when it is natural, voluntary, ethical, human, and moral? Welcome seems a good word for it.

    When you are welcome. And among others who are likewise welcome. The civilized human being welcomes all peaceful and productive people; he or she welcomes their ideas, welcomes their feedback, welcomes their goods and services, welcomes them.

    The civilized human being, in so welcoming, need not – indeed, does not – embrace every particular idea, good, service, or individual.

    Being civilized does not mean being without conflicting and irreconcilable judgment, taste, preferences, and discernment.

    The civilized human being welcomes every peaceful person the opportunity to offer ideas, goods, services, and themselves to him and to others without regard to height, weight, skin color, religious belief, sex, sexual taste, age, nationality, or any other irrelevancy.

    The civilized human being understands that ‘localness’ in and of itself has no particular moral or economic merit. The same goes for the violent imposed constructs of ‘the nation,’ ‘the church’, and all other such creatures of state. The same goes for whatever is ‘the usual’ ‘the familiar’ and ‘the consensus.’

    To be civilized is to reject the boundaries that are so admired, even demanded, by the statist, the stupid, the ignorant, the narrow-minded, the bigoted, the power-mad, and the endlessly engorged and relentless buggerer of the unwilling stranger who wants to be left in peace.

  3. There is no free market anywhere. All minutiae of production everywhere is governed by one committee of Atlas Shrugged villains or another.

    Since 1998, the US manufacturers are forced to obey Global Technical Regulations (GTRs) under penalty of bureaucratic buggery of the worst sort.

    The statist religion of production under consensus approval is the strongest and most damaging gospel of all. It seems there are no atheists when it comes to this kind of holy writ. Everyone seems to believe in this to some degree or another.

    They’ll call it environmentalism, or safety design, or some other euphemism, but at root, its religious authority of reified experts that they happily sacrifice their first born to. This is why I loathe group morality and reject all of it.

    Because this is what universalism leads you to. Universal tyranny of all against all. Sacred scrolls for a bunch of simian schmucks. Damn you all to hell, you damn dirty apes. Damn you.

  4. Well, don’t have to start that libertarian car blog …. carmudgeon

    But the obvious answer is buried in the details. Never buy ‘new’.
    For shuttling round der kinder and guests, 10-20yo german metal and motors are fine.
    Still searching for that 02-03 BMW 5er wagon mitt stick.
    But any station wagon beats a minivan or miniute, duh

  5. Our little retirement business, rehabbing older vehicles for everyday use, is booming. Thanks mostly to gummint meddling in the automotive biz, we have more orders than we can fill. We now have the problem of locating and buying sound vehicles, since the pool of 60s, 70s, 80s and early 90s cars and trucks is dwindling.

    Demand is higher than supply now but I can still sell a nice clean 70s pickup for around 3-4 grand depending on rehab cost. I have many customers willing to wait for one of these. Who knows? Someday there won’t be any new cars under 50 grand. Then, downtown USA will start looking like Cuba.

    Our future is in free markets. Most of my customers agree. They all hate the gummint.

    • Hi Uncle,

      I’ve given thought to doing what you’re doing as a side gig. Finding basically sound ’70s and ’80s-era cars (and trucks) that maybe need an engine rebuild or new transmission – but which don’t have the wallet-draining electronics and “safety” equipment that new cars have. These vehicles can be brought back to reliable “everyday driver” status for not-absurd amounts of money, if one can turn wrenches and so the primary cost is parts.

      Glad to hear you’re doing well doing it!

    • Hi Bo,

      I’ve been keeping my eye on this (Elio) … hoping they can make it happen. By which I mean, getting the cars into production and actually selling them.

      If they succeed, it will show other potential car-builders that such a thing is possible.

      That said, I’d like to see the government get completely out of the business of dictating “safety” to any car manufacturer (and to any car buyer).

      Such aspects of design ought to be entirely between the buyer and the builder. Whether my car has air bags or ABS is no legitimate business of government because government is not the owner of my life. I have every right to assume “risks” – no matter what others may think of my decision. So long as my choices don’t cause harm to others, it’s my affair – or ought to be.

      • While I acknowledge that people should be able to jeopardize their own lives by driving and riding in cars that are less safe, it seems that a good argument can be made that people should not be allowed to jeopardize their minor children’s lives by putting them in risky, unsafe vehicles. We don’t think it should be lawful for parents to impose unreasonable risks on their children’s lives. The nub, of course, is what level of risk is unreasonable.

        • To stop people from doing possibly dangerous things amounts to pre-crime. Nothing bad has been done. It might be. To use violence to stop people from maybe possibly perhaps letting someone into danger would make parenthood, eating, et al entirely illegal. It’s absurd.

          If someone actually hurts someone, that’s a discussion. Using violence to stop things before they happen amounts to pre-crime and insanity.

          • Agreed, Lysergic… but it’s a concept foreign to the mind (such as it is) of the average American Clover. They cannot (or will not) grok that “pre crime” amounts to an endorsement of limitless in principle control – that is, an ever-expanding police state that restricts, monitors and controls everything – because almost anything could be said to present “risk of harm”… in terms of the possibility.

            America was once premised on the actuality of harm caused.

            If you actually did something tangible to injure someone or damage property. Then you were held responsible. Deservedly.

            But there’s something evil and twisted about punishing (and controlling, which amounts to the same thing) people not for what they’ve done but for what you worry they might do.

          • If YOU want to build your own death trap roadster and drive it on your land no one will stop you. No real person is ‘precrimed’ when a corporation is regulated as to the safety of the vehicles they manufacture or when the State bars your death trap roadster from its roads.Clover

            BTW as the article acknowledges folks like you can buy those refurbed ’70’s cars. You have no cause for compliant other than that whine the 99% of Americans just won’t do things your 1% way.

            • MfW, it may shock you how many things are not regulated by your dear government that are quite safe, still following the same methods that automobiles used to and in some areas still do? Did you know that government regulation with regards to the safety of automobiles was merely a political power grab? After Ralph Nader’s book the government started its regulation of automobiles. The safety it granted you was done by copying the SAE standards that were already being followed and making them federal regulations. From then on government decided how the standards should advance. SAE still controls a few things here and there.

              The fundamental problem in auto safety at the time of the take over was not evil corporations. These companies would gladly sell people safety and tried numerous times, but the problem was few people would buy. The fact that auto safety had advanced considerably by the time Nader had written his book and numerous attempts had been made to sell safety and research funded by the automakers undermine the evil corporation and government savior narrative.

              Instead of educating people, changing people’s attitudes (difficult) folks like you decided to use force, government. Never mind that people could have independently chosen safety. They could have bought Volvos. They could have ordered numerous safety options on Fords. They could have done a number of things voting with their dollars and educating their fellow man, instead they chose force. The easy way.

              You say 99% of americans want cars the way they are now. So why do you need force? You’ve admitted that the market would dictate the product.

              Today, now that people want safety, buy safety, spend a lot of money on safety you could eliminate all the federal regulation and there wouldn’t be an issue. What would happen is we would get a better spread of models offering different weightings of opposing aspects like fuel economy and safety. We would probably see sports and performance cars using racing safety technology. We would see these different approaches for different people’s tastes and preferences. No longer would there be one size fits all. You would pick the car that best suits your tastes like you do your toilet paper or your computer. Two places government has largely stayed out of.

              • BrentP – I guess MfW never heard of Underwriters Laboratories. When was the last time you saw an electrical appliance that did NOT sport the UL logo? Yet it’s completely voluntary.

        • The nub is you’re a disgusting statist creep. Don’t count me in on any of your we, you filthy maggoty pedophile. Why don’t you get your own family and stop stalking other people’s children.

          The nub is you have no idea what terms like reasonable even mean. You’re obviously a rabid sociopath with no capacity to comprehend such rudimentary abilities of non-pathological humanity.

        • Unreasonable risks on children’s lives. Hmm. Unreasonable of course being ordinary some time in the past. Today my childhood, which was overly safe for the time would be considered an unreasonable risk.

          Keep in mind of course that the safety mandates have been killers of children. First the airbags killing children in the front seat. Totally avoidable but bureaucrats wouldn’t listen when they made the standard. Or SUVs being backed over children. SUVs that would have never been purchased if it wasn’t CAFE killing off the traditional choices. Now that problem has been extended to passenger cars with all the crash safety needed. What’s the cure? A new safety mandate, backup cameras.

          The unintended consequences of it all. None of it ever admitted. Our deal leaders and experts can’t be blamed for their lack of thinking it through.

          Customer demand and product liability will keep the safety up, I have no doubt of that. So will profits. Car makers spent decades trying to sell safety before it finally took. Now they compete with each other on it. All that will happen is balance point shifts.

        • Hi Peter,

          The greatest threat to anyone’s safety – adult or child – is empowering other people to legally do them violence. Which is ultimately – and actually – what this all comes down to.

          Consider: When I was a kid, I used to routinely catch a ride with a friend’s mom who drove an old VW Beetle. The car did not have any “safety” features, yet neither I nor my friend nor his mom nor any other person (that I’m aware of) who rode in that car was ever injured in any way. Yet – today – it would be illegal for that scenario to play out. My friend’s mom would be subject to actual violence – forced at gunpoint to stop, threatened with violent repercussions for transporting two minor kids in a car without seat belts or “safety” seats.

          That’s a fucked up world.

          Unfortunately, it’s the world we live in.

          Because this neurotic fixation on “safety” now defines the culture.

          • CloverIt’s not surprising to see that ideologues wedded to their political theology, are immune to facts and all possible empirical counter-evidence. An ideology that is committed to parents’ “rights” to endanger their children’s lives, no matter what level of risk, is pathological. Is there NO limit to parents’ rights to risk their minor children’s lives? NO limit at all? Would a 99% risk of death be acceptable to you?! My point is that a line MUST be drawn as to what sorts of risks parents may impose upon children’s lives, and the only reasonable issue is WHAT is the reasonable level of risk. How about a car where the parents strap their kids to the rear bumper, is that OK with you political theocrats? By the way, the child fatality rate in motor vehicle accidents has dropped dramatically in the past few decades, but who cares about saving tens of thousands of children’s lives when we can blindly adhere to our ideology, and reality be damned.

            • Peter,

              You’ve become hysterical. Equating driving a non air-bagged car with strapping kids to a bumper. It’s interesting that authoritarians predictably resort to gross exaggerations and extreme “what if?” scenarios to justify over-the-top controlling of other people’s lives.

              We used to ride (gasp!) unbuckled in the back of pick-up trucks. Never wore seat belts. Weren’t strapped into rigs like mini-me Hannibal Lecters as little kids… and no one I grew up with or even heard about was ever hurt. Could they have been? Possibly. But none of these “risks” involved malice or even recklessness, which you appear to believe is the case.

              Look: Some people believe it’s crazy risky to let kids play contact sports of any kind. Where does it stop? Do you want to have everyone forcibly placed into a veal pen?

              Here’s the deal, Peter: My approach requires that a victim be produced before you stomp on someone. Yours, in contrast, turns everyone into a victim.

              A fair question: Was America a less fucked-up place in the pre-“safety” era – or now?

              You know the answer as well as I.

            • OK. Exactly how safe is safe enough? 5 point harness? No more than 10mph? 242 airbags? What is enough?

              Hey, let’s just say no children in personal autos. If you want to move them, you will need to set up an appointment to have the government rubber bus arrive, Hannibal Lector your kids to a cart, bolt them to the floor and pack them in with styrofoam peanuts. Maybe a police escort too.
              Why are others deemed better at assessing acceptable risk than parents? Have you met a government worker?

                  • Butter fingers and lack of coffee.

                    I screwed up the email both times.

                    Not signed in as something is not working correctly. My end I think. Just doing the Me2 and email thing every post.

                    • 🙂

                      Did you read my awaiting moderation post before using the ‘Hannibal Lecters’? (I really should check my spelling)

                      My examples were a bit OTT to, but that was the point.

                      BTW, not strapped or secured in any way, but often rode the rear bumper on the old farm truck between 6 and 10 years old. I was pretending I was a mobster or a fireman. Old man never threw me, though occasionally I swear he tried.

              • eric, you know how it was back in the day. Daddy would lay us kids under the tires of that old Chevy pickup and give it hell but he’d wait for us when he got to a dry spot he could get traction on again. And we never once cried when he had us sit on the rear bumper when the other pickup had to push start us. We were glad to get to ride back to the house. Too bad so many thought they could get us somewhere safer, just look what’s happened…..and the women have always said my crooked nose made me look handsome, but most didn’t know it was off to one side for years and then to the other. Well, my daddy wasn’t perfect, hell, everybody gets stuck now and then.

                • Hi Eight,


                  Anyone who was there knows it, too. Pre-1980s America wasn’t perfect, but compared with today’s suffocating and pervasive petty meanness – much of it backed up with official violence – it was Edenic. I remember kids riding their bikes (no helmet) to spend the day on their own, adventuring… sometimes carrying a pellet gun or even a .22 rifle. When it was time to go somewhere by car, just hop in and go. None of this being strapped in vileness that ruins the fun of it. No wonder kids today hate cars.

                  • eric, yep, when I was in high school every pickup in the parking lot had a triplet of guns in the window rack. I hated to leave my new .22 revolver(Herter’s)in the pickup so I’d take it in wrapped up in my fast draw holster and put it in my locker, the locker that didn’t lock, like all the rest. Since a buddy was going with me after school instead of his parents who taught school, he put his La Belle or Carcano 91/38 we used for Kennedy assassination recreations(we tried it from every angle and height to no avail, convinced it was bs) in his locker. The principal asked to see my quick draw rig one day coming in. He looked it over, dry-snapped it(I as dying) and said it felt good. It should, it was a Colt reproduction.

                    If a teacher needed a knife, 20 of them would appear instantly. We never considered hurting anyone. Everything we carried we considered tools. We’d build all sorts of things as a class and everybody would load up in pickups and disappear. If somebody had told my parents I was off in another county stuck in deep mud, my mother would have said she was going to catch me in the mud room and make sure I got no further, my dad would say better me than him. I don’t think kids now could even comprehend what life was like. Our parents would work cattle with us helping and finally take a break and go drink their old hot beer. We’d tear off and get our cooler out of the culvert down the road and drink our Cold beer. Nobody was fooling anybody but we maintained the separation, mainly for the women’s sake and our own. We all could claim innocence. Back then fights were few and shootings were virtually unknown even though everybody was armed. I’ve seen some tense situations and because everyone was armed, they maintained civility. Now we don’t know anybody and we’re ready to be a victim or the aggressor. Since Bushco came to town though(the junior), things have devolved to the point I don’t wanna play anymore. I could easily give it all to clover and flee somewhere else if I could get out with my money but the IRS just about keeps everyone captive in this country. You can leave broke if you want.

                    • Eight, I’ve read stories of that era that in NYC HS kids used to take their rifles on city buses to school for things like target practice and ROTC activities. Today if some 16 year old boarded a city bus with a rifle over his shoulder and then walked into the school with it there would such a spasm of paranoia it would be on the news across the nation. Back then it was apparently ‘oh, the kid must have rifle practice after school’ as if he was carrying a saxophone.

                    • Dear Brent,

                      “Eight, I’ve read stories of that era that in NYC HS kids used to take their rifles on city buses to school for things like target practice and ROTC activities. ”

                      I went to HS in the Washington, DC area, and did exactly that in the 60s!

          • Many of the early safety features were developed by certain automakers, mostly european, and offered as options to buyers, or simply used as valid means to drive buying traffic to those marques. In the late 1950’s, makers such as Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Peugeot, Rover, Jaguar, BMC (their Mini was one of the safest small cars available), Alfa Romeo, Citroen, …. sure, a bit more dear, but their handling (safety feature), crash-crumple zones designed in, lap and shoulder belts standard when no one else had them, incredible mileage (in many of them), high outward visibility, safer interior design…. I will never forget the photo on the back cover of Natioinal Geographic showing a stack of ELEVEN of the Volvo 140 series, first introduced in 1967, stacked one atop the next…. and all four doors of the lowest one able to open and close perfectly.. or the 1968 144 I saw in a wrcking yard in East County San Diego in 1969 that appeared to have been rolled about five times side-over, and at least three times end-over. I asked the wreckingyard man, accompanying me to find what I was after, how many had died in that wreck. He said he’d been the one with the tow truck to attend the scene… that four Navy guys from North Island San Diego Harbour had closed down a bar at 0200, gotten into the car, were driving back to base at high speed (around 85 mph, later determined by CHP), fell asleep, and went into the median… rolled five times sidee-over and three end-over, the car coming to rest on its wheels back on the macadam. ALL FOUR of the occupants unclipped their lap and shoulder belts, OPENED THEIR RESPECTIVE DOORS, and stepped out with no significant injuries. I was amazed… and sold on Volvo’s safety, built in, standard equipment. How many Kias, Hyundais, Fords, little Chevies, Hondas, etc, could return that sort of safety performance today? Not many. The carefullly scripted crash tests today simply have the engineers working on how to best perform in THOSE specific tests…. NOT overall safety, as Volvo and others were after when the 140 series was designed. Mercedes and BMW ran similar directions, and I’ve had quite a number of Benz products dating from the mid and early 1960’s through mid-’80’s. Safest, most economical, reliable, cheapest to own, easiest and most comfortable to drive of anything I’ve ever owned. And I’ve seen dozens, perhaps hyundreds, of them in the boneyards, many in SERIOUS crashed….. passenger compartment 90% or more retained volume.

            They made safe, reliable, economical cars, and market them as such to eager buyers. A bit more dear? Yes… but, as anyone knows who has owned and driven those cars, the slight additional cost initially paid off over years of ownership and excellent service. Proof is in the high prices (compared to other contemporary offerings) old Volvos and Mercedes fetch on the used car market. I’m glad I’ve held on to about a dozen Mercedes and a couple 140 series Volvos. Once set to good running order I’ve little doubt I am sitting on a significant pile of cash for minimal in hand cost. No, or very few, gummint mandated “features” on them. And, in my book,, far safer and more economical than almost anything else out there today. Six grand for an older Benz diesel sedan? Compare to a new Hyundai for, what, $15K for entry level? $40K for a Soobie? No, thanks.

            • Domestic makes tried to sell safety. Airbags, anti-skid (term of the time) brakes, side impact beams, collapsible steering columns etc and so forth. Regular people don’t read old repair manuals and such so they are easily misled by people with agendas.

              I wouldn’t be writing this if it wasn’t for the structural integrity of my ’75 Ford Maverick. (and it had structural rust at the time) One of the cheapest cars of the 1970s taking a massive side impact with perfect load transference through the structure.

              There really isn’t a make out there that wasn’t advancing safety through the years the narrative tells us automakers wanted to see us dead so they could save a nickle. It’s one of the big lies that people believe. Were there mistakes? Did people try to cover their asses? Always and everywhere, but simply put if we look at the plot of safety advancement over time government has probably hindered it, slowed it at worst and did nothing at best. There’s no indication that government mandates accelerated the process.

              • Hi Brent,

                My other Trans-Am (another ’76 I used to own) was T-boned (hard) by a guy who ran a red light. Totaled the car. I walked away uninjured. No air bags; just good, solid design.

      • Eric, they are already out of that business, legally. Its just that WE THE PEOPLE have allowed them to bamfoozle us and stick their tax0funded mitts into business never theirs.

        FASCISM, defined: government control of private means of production. It that does not describe their infernal meddling in the automotive industries, nothing does.

        ANY meddling in privately produced consumer goods is prohibited FedGov by the Constitution. The issue being now HOW to convince THEM they oughtn’t be doing this… and then enforce it.

  6. Govt skewing the auto industry is just one of many incursions in the economy. Let’s look a little deeper.

    We know that the federal government interferes in the economy causing untold havoc. But a very large segment (esp. the young) still believes this meddling has only occurred for a relatively short time, and they misunderstand and underestimate the severity of the problems these intrusions have caused.

    Up until the early 1900’s, economic problems were infrequent & modest mainly due to the success of an economy based on Laissez-Faire. But then Uncle Sam began his malfeasance. Every year govt stepped up its criminal activity by invading & coercing the free market with unlawful rules, regulations and mandates. It has left us with an impotent, hung-over and constipated economy.

    One of the most significant elements that many fail to realize is that the amount of real damage and contamination that happens to the economy is “cumulative”, and it’s been “compounding” each and every day for an entire century. Inevitably, the number of problems increase and grow larger. And today we’re stuck & mired in perpetual depression. Now, one would think this blight affecting all Americans would be an important concern for most people. However, you’d be in error, because the majority of those are oblivious and blind.

    The economy has lost 100 years of added growth & production that should have occurred but didn’t! Astonishingly, people just never contemplate the loss to their living standards. For whatever the reason, they’ve been unable to grasp — or simply chose to ignore — what has been happening to them. The rewards for hard work and diligence have been robbed. Those who built up savings, borrowed judiciously, and spent their money wisely should have enjoyed a huge windfall in economic production.

    It’s mind boggling to understand what the country could have looked like today. Just imagine how much better people’s living standards would have been had this enormous amount of economic progress not been suppressed. It’s the backdoor crime of the century. And what makes it even more frustrating is that our predicament is seldom understood by those who struggled and made the biggest investment of all with their time & effort.

    My best guess & response to that is this: it’s just not that easy to see “what should have happened but didn’t”.

    • If you haven’t already, and you enjoy science fiction, read L Neil Smith’s The Probability Broach. The story is set [partially] in another dimension without bigbro. The US (or, rather, a confederacy of states) is 100 years ahead technology-wise due to the lack of parasitic drain.

    • They don’t realize it. I see the same people cheer Obama for the stock market’s all time high then lash out at income inequity and the impoverishment of the middle class. They have no clue how things are related.

      • Reminds me of the 70s: all the fanfare when the stock market reached 1000 for the first time, while people were suffering sticker shock with every trip to the grocery store. Some people were in high cotton because of the increase in stock prices; the rest of us paid dearly as a result of the same inflation that caused the stocks to rise.

        A major cause of the analytical error involved is the Keynesian penchant for looking at aggregates, rather than the actual flesh and blood actors in the economy.

    • Hey Stephan F! You are absolutely spot on with your remarks. We have suffered from a century of compounded parasitism and theft. Just as in the “broken window parable” some people will point out one or two small benefits of centralized control and regulation while never seeing the enormous cost in lost opportunities. One of the small rants I give to younger people in my attempt to wake them up is this (and if you are old enough, you can verify the truth of it); “When I was younger, back in the 1960s, I used to read magazine articles about the future. Do you know what one of the most common themes was? Everyone though that by the year 2000, we would have a work week of maybe 20 or 30 hours a week. Machines would increase efficiency so much that 20 hours a week would be all that was needed. The big problem that people would face in the future would be that they had too much spare time on their hands! How’s that working out, huh? People — most people, if they still can find a job — are working longer hours than ever. Where’s my 20 hour work week? Where did that go?”

      There are reasons why things happen, and the sociopaths have stolen our hours away and stopped the development of a million advances.

      • Exactly Mike, the robots I read about in the 70’s are now in manufacturing plants, taking jobs, reducing plant inefficiencies and wage payouts, increasing profits for the company and, a large proportion of those profits are paid in royalties (tax) to grabbermints that will allow them to continue operating so long as those royalties are paid.

        Then consumers of those products pay tax on their wages and those products.

        Whether it be a $1 or $100 bill, it still costs only 2c to make. Then grabbermind demands a royalty to use it by taxing every hand it goes through. Not a bad scam eh? Take away the gold and use incredibly cheap “promissory notes” instead.

        Over its lifetime, that note will return many thousands of times its own worth before it costs another 2c to replace it. This is why grabbermints prefer large-denomination coins and notes, because they have a higher return for cost of manufacture.

  7. Most old trucks destroyed cars by bumper mismatch,rather then being more “rugged” because,the old frame on bodies were basically the same under the sheetmetal(attested too,by the fact that many a redneck ,made a truck out out of chopped up cars.Same result,when you hit something hard ,you died.
    Anyways enough of that ,engineering has evolved to the point that most new cars(even sans the airbags{hate those bombs and cash for clunkers} we could probaly make or produce urethane or inflatable facisias for cars that would do the work of airbags and be a heck of a lot cheaper,plus not consigning the car to the crusher because of age or a minor fender bender.This insanity must stop,when gas goes up again(which it will)I think some Folks will realize the inappropiatness of their actions-Kevin

  8. What I find rather Ironic is how the average clover agrees that institutions such as Unions and the Minimum wage drive labor costs upward (somehow a good thing) but they can’t or won’t accept the fact that government mandates on vehicles do the sam. Obviously the minimum wage and unions also drive up the cost of cars, so that should be factored in as well.

    Another point to make is that just as the minimum wage and forced unions cost jobs so do the government mandates on vehicles. I suppose Jobs and cheap cars have become Un-American these days.

    Apparently Clovers not only hate cheap cars but American Jobs as well!

    • Oh, but don’t you know that increased labor costs don’t have to result in higher prices? They can just come out of the pockets of the greedy capitalists!
      And if you believe that, I have some nice lake lots in Death Valley you may be interested in.

  9. I wish I could get a new car with power nothing…for now I am stuck with surplus army vehicles like my trusty M1009 Blazer. At least when you get one from the government, you know there was some sort of maintenance schedule.
    I saw a UAZ 469 for sale once (though it was a 1984)…..this is exactly what your were talking about as a new stripped down car, but again they are not sold here because of uncle. These make my army truck look complex in comparison

    • Anchar, stuck? You got one of the sweetest diesels ever made and a driveline that just won’t quit. I saw one during the holidays at a house in a city, not a place I expected. The wife saw me looking and gave me fair warning. Hey, it’s just like Red Dog, the pickup outside, but a Blazer….and OD green, just wanted to look it over. Of course it was beaten to nothing, like hell it was, what could dent that stuff? About the only dent on Red Dog is where the old lady tried to pull over the concreted pipes around a fuel island. It was still pushing itself over it when I stopped her. Damn, can’t you tell there’s something not right? And the bed on that truck will never go away….it’s galvanized. That’s too good though so they quit that fairly quickly.

      A good friend had a K-5, ’79 model I think. He sold it to another friend with the caveat “If you ever sell it, give me first shot” and he got the call this summer. He even went and looked and took some pics. Ol Buck was standing there proudly in the hot Tx. sun, not giving an inch. After all that, I don’t think the guy sold it.

    • My company bought an ’01 Chevy 3/4T 4WDXcab pickup at auction. Damn good pickup with leather seats, am-fm radio(good stereo), a/c and nuttin else(rubber floor mats). Like Jimmy Carter, I lust for it in my heart.

  10. If the government got out of the car business entirely, it is unlikely that we would have cars as cheaply built as the Nano, but they wouldn’t be as expensive as what is out there now. The redesign cycle is from 3 to 5 years, so the cheaper cars would appear on the scene. Carmakers could take away features from existing models that increase production costs such as extra emissions control. The first casualties would likely be DPF and selective catalytic reduction on diesel cars and trucks. The second casualties would be the 15 airbags on vehicles. Stability and tration controls would likely disappear over time as they are unnecessary to vehicle operation.

    As far as other safety features, such as structural reinforcements, it is unlilely that they will go until the next design cycle, if at all. Only if the company stylists win over the product planners and marketers for position.

    Depending on where the price of gas goes long term, automakers could build new models to get incredible mileage, stripped of the bullshit features that we all know and love such as side impact beams and roof protection. That would reduce costs and weight immensely.

    Even though people are used to their creature comforts, the cost of transportation would definitely go down as cars could be made more structurally rigid without the extra weight associated with emissions and crash protection.

    I wish it could happen. If enough people made noise, it would, but people are too busy watching football.

    • You forget about the little guys held down by our crony-capitalistic system. Big companies love regulations because they restrict competition from smaller (and more nimble) operations.

      If the government “got out of the car business”, then smaller entrepreneurial ventures would appear immediately with paradigm-shift offerings. An effort like would spring up with a no-frills 4-wheel vehicle at prices similar to the nano.

      … if that is truly what people would buy, of course.

  11. Ralph Nader (“Unsafe at Any Speed”) and his fellow Progressives really began the crippling of consumer automobile choices for half a century afterward. Before 1960 there was a lot of room/freedom in car design and retail offerings.

    For example, the 1953 Jeep CJ-3B qualifies as ” a no-frills, A to B commuter car”… and many other very practical uses. It sold new for $1377 in 1953. That would be about $11,800 in today’s U.S. funny-money — but could likely be mass-produced for $4K-$5K with modern manufacturing methods/materials.

  12. The Tato Nano isn’t a good example, Eric. Even first-time (ever!) car buyers in India have realized that they don’t want something that basic, and opt for something more up-market, like a Renault. The internet means the buyers were able to see that the Euro NCAP program assigned it 0 (zero) stars in their crash tests.

    They may be poor, but they aren’t stupid.

    • Hi Chip,

      Yes, but the take-home point is… let the market (buyers) sort it out. Not arrogant control freaks who believe they’re entitled to decide for others.

  13. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are lost on the idea that mandates always raise prices. Look at the minimum wage. I love it when people argue that prices don’t rise because of minimum wage. They just raised “prices” in labor as they’re telling you it won’t. It blows my damn mind, but when pointed out to them, they don’t understand what you just proved to them. They’re just to damn stupid.

    Many people will agree with you, say, 90% of the time. They always have a “but” the government must mandate car insurance. They must mandate fuel standards or the “greedy car companies” would give us gas hogs. They must mandate food safety, and on and on. But “most things should be left to the “free market”. Somehow, “free market” Clover doesn’t get that if the market works better for “most” things, how would it not work better for all things? Where is the disconnect? Government/union propaganda is the disconnect.

    We live in a world of cheap T.V.’s, shoes, shirts, pens and calculators, phones and computers. But when it comes to cars, insurance and safety, the government must step in and save us from greed……..never mind that greed always comes from politically connected unions and companies. Not from the market itself.

    I may not always be right and I’m no genius, but I’m no dumbfuck either. I will do all things in my power to make sure my children are not going to buy government bullshit. Clover will have a fight on his/her hands with Ancap’s kids.

    • I was having a conversation with a couple of my college auto students in McDonald’s the other day. The topic was minimum wages and they asked what my opinion was. I told them that it was a good thing as it would help people their age understand what the terms “unemployment” and “automation” mean. I can’t wait for the conversation about unions…

      As far as government mandates, we in California with $2.35/gallon gas are about to find out what Arnie had in mind when he signed AB32, which deals with carbon allowances and taxes for petro. January 1st, the price of gas will go up from 15 cents a gallon (low ball government estimate) to 75 cents a gallon (high end industry estimate).

      Finally, the ever intelligent voters of this socialistic state will get to see the effects of voting green…again

    • Much of the minimum wage and other labor cost adders shows up in all the labor that is shifted. There is the labor shifted to the customer. Things like the death of full serve gasoline stations (yes I know about the two states where it is illegal and the so called argument it doesn’t add to the cost, which is false, since lower fuel taxes in those states offset it) and now self ordering gizmos and self check outs. Then there are things in other areas of work. They keep the best skilled and educated people but they get to do duties all the way the down to the lowest levels because of the overhead just to hire someone exceeds what the higher paid person costs to add menial duties to his task list. So a lot of people have to do more work for the same pay.

      People just find themselves working longer for no additional pay so of course these things don’t raise prices everywhere… but we still paid.

      • Exactly, Brent!

        In my field, there were wholesale layoffs of production/graphics staff. Their positions were simply eliminated. But the work still needed to be done. So it became the responsibility of editors and writers – who of course received no additional pay for the additional work they were assigned.

        • When I started working as in engineer in the 1990s there were still some draftspeople, there were separate teams for manufacturing support, analysis, etc and so on. There were model shop people for prototyping, there were pilot production lines and much more. Today the same engineers do it all in too many companies. It’s ridiculous and mentally draining for what is, adjusted for inflation even by fictional CPI numbers, less money.

          • Sillier still, as a company, you end up with an extremely high paid professional wasting their time on low skill tasks that could be handled by a worker making 75% less..

            I lived exactly this scenario for two years at one company. I was the entire engineering department after layoffs. Despite pointing out that 1/2 my time was spent on non-engineering tasks and that I was banking amazing amounts of overtime just to keep up, the answer was still ‘we can’t afford another body’. Even little diagrams showing that a person taking the extra non-engineer workload would save money, management could not get their heads around how more people could cost less. Can’t say I minded the engineer pay for office filing and trips to Staples for supplies though.

            • Oh that’s another thing, not paid overtime any more. The big problem for me is the constant changing of task. It’s like having your brain slammed to stop by jamming it into reverse.

              • Well, I’m done so I don’t have that problem anymore but I can sympathize.

                The changing directions thing is crazy. Happened too often to count.
                The ultimate one was when the brain-trust at the top said ‘we had to let the receptionist go, can you grab the phone if it rings more that three times?’
                ‘Sure, not like I was involved in any important calculations or simulations to make sure our product does not collapse and kill a dozen people. I can dedicate a percentage of my brain to listening for and counting rings.’

                Overtime, I put it in all my employment contracts even if on salary. Over peoples delays and screw-ups happen way too often to allow them to push back my scheduling without compensation.

                • Whoops. Screwed up a post id email. It’s awaiting moderation. Sorry for the eventual double post.


                  Well, I’m done so I don’t have that problem anymore but I can sympathize.

                  The changing directions thing is crazy. Happened too often to count.
                  The ultimate one was when the brain-trust at the top said ‘we had to let the receptionist go, can you grab the phone if it rings more that three times?’
                  ‘Sure, not like I was involved in any important calculations or simulations to make sure our product does not collapse and kill a dozen people. I can dedicate a percentage of my brain to listening for and counting rings all day.’

                  Overtime, I put it in all my employment contracts even if on salary. Over peoples delays and screw-ups happen way too often to allow them to push back my scheduling without compensation.

          • Here, here. It is draining. Most time is spent not developing new products but sustaining old ones. Not much room for innovation.

          • My first full time real job was with a very small firm. We had a receptionist who sat on her ass all day and didn’t do a damn thing other than answer the phone. I got used to typing my own documents and memos. Later on I went to work for a much larger company. I started typing my own memos and such like before and got pulled aside and told that I should be sending all that work to the admin assistant, and handed a micro cassette recorder. I never really got used to dictation, but it was an interesting experience. A good assistant can really interpret your gibberish into a very well written memo.

            I often think of those days when reading someone’s unreadable reply with the “sent from my iPhone” signature line. We really lost something when the IT department took over. Instead of our “electronic assistants” doing what we want, the software guys make us adapt to their way of thinking.

      • I agree, Brent. McDonald’s and other fast food joints and some simple stores will become automated. There will be 2 employees to keep an eye on stuff, do some cleaning or help when there’s an issue, etc., replacing 5 or 6 employees that would have been around before.

        There are a lot of unseen things that happen–see Bastiat. But the most amazing thing to me about the argument of minimum wage is when people who promote it so that it can raise wages(nothing more than prices)tell you that it doesn’t really affect prices. It is mind boggling to think how stupid you have to be to believe such an idea. I can give people a pass on not realizing the unseen consequences, but when they talk as experts on something and deny the exact consequence of what they are promoting as even happening, it is mind boggling.

        • Americans always think something must be done. Always meddling, interfering, screwing around in other people’s business. I picked up or pasted together the phrase ‘have the courage to do nothing’.

          • Hi Brent,


            “Americans always think something must be done. Always meddling, interfering, screwing around in other people’s business.”

            Is an excellent summation of the “yankee” mentality that has become the American mentality.

            • But imagine if we did nothing! I remember clovers all over using that stupid ass line back in 08-09 during the bailouts and such.

              Dumb asses imagine how terrible everything would be if “we”(don’t know why I have to be included in their scam)did nothing. Inevitably they always imagine everything would be worse than what their colossal screw ups have done, so they are “always right” because doing something is always a better outcome than doing nothing, as far as they see it.

  14. When even the poorest Americans have central air, few will buy a new car without frills or gadgets. Or 0-60 times measured by calendars. Those times are gone and Geo Metro is proof.

    • Hi CC,

      That may be true – but wouldn’t it be nice to actually find out? By having the inexpensive/basic car available?

      Part of the problem (as I see it) is a cultural shift away from living within one’s means to embracing the debt lifestyle and living beyond one’s means.

      If it weren’t for 5-6 year financing, this issue would be academic as probably two-thirds of the people currently “buying” cars could no longer afford to do so!

      • We live in a society where 1 in 4 new cars are leased and 90% of the rest are financed. No one wants a Fiat when they can “afford” the Grand Cherokee. Instant gratification.

        No frills transportation is currently obsolete due to human nature and cheap money.

      • “That may be true – but wouldn’t it be nice to actually find out? By having the inexpensive/basic car available?”

        Absolutely! I for one would be very happy to have the opportunity to buy something akin to a new Rambler again, maybe updated with electric windshield wipers and fuel injection, but otherwise just good basic transportation. Something like that could probably be sold very cheaply.

        When I look at today’s new cars they look like something out of a Buck Rogers nightmare.

        • Basic? You want basic? When I was a freshman in college, I met a guy who had come up to the Hudson Valley from Florida. His Rambler didn’t even have a heater. But since he wasn’t a commuter, only needed to car to get off campus for ‘special events,’ he got by.

          • Actually the most basic car I can personally remember was the Studebaker Scotsman. A Scotsman makes a Rambler look like a Caddy in comparison!

            Heaters were optional on most cars back in the day. You probably could not get away with anything that stripped down any more.

            Vacuum wipers are a real pain. Fortunately my daily driver has the optional electrics. (AMC did not make electric wipers standard until 1972.)

            • That reminds me of a 65 Chevy truck we had. It had three options – heater, rear bumper and a 6 cylinder engine (4 was standard). Three identical and unlabeled knobs to the left of the steering column operated lights, single speed wiper and manual choke. Heat was controlled with another unlabeled four function knob that switched the blower on or off and the temperature to hot or cold while an unlabeled lever under the dash diverted air to windshield or floor. Only the driver had a sun visor and it smacked the rear view mirror. I ordered west-coast style outside mirrors from JC Whitney.

              Nobody ever asked to borrow it.

              • JC Whitney…. Archer and State back in the day. I still have the one part I found worth buying there on my visit to the original location, an exhaust hanger on my ’73.

      • eric, if I could go back to 1960 and tell everyone we’d be averaging a 7 year loan for a car these days they’d have a hard time believing it. If I could add the price of a new car or a new pickup to the mix, they’d likely have to sit down. Even granny would need a swig.

        My first ride, a ’55 Chevy pickup with a wrap-around back window, 3 lines of paint on the wheels, a 4 speed hydramatice tranny(not long for the world to be replaced by a 4 speed granny manual, a Blue Flame six, a heater, no lighter(you could see where one would go) and a good slick seat with a cover that just wouldn’t wear out. Hell, I was in heaven. Back then we rode in cars that had a/c’s we didn’t use(too much parasitic draw and didn’t let you wave out the window). I loved the shifter cause it went almost right down on the seat between Peggy Sue’s legs(some engineer was ROTFLHAO)in direct. My father even bought some “Safemark”5.15 X 15 mud grips for it and it would go down muddy roads 99% of the people who buy 4X4’s these days wouldn’t dare go. If a cow stepped out in front of you, you’d be eating beef and washing shit off the grill. The rear-end of it was a delight since it was boxed in by steel, even around the tail lights. A friend once ran into it from behind with his dad’s new ’64 Ford stationwagon. It just about destroyed the car and left a little dent in the endgate.

        • 8SM – 7 yr. MORTGAGE you mean. I paid as much for my ’09 TDI (and that was 6 years ago) as I did for my 1st house back in ’79 – 3BR, 1.5 bath + converted 1 car garage down in Useless, TX

          • PtB, insane ain’t it? Recently I went to the GMC build your own truck site. I wasn’t going crazy for sure but I hadn’t even entered the “interior” options list and already showed 3 times what I paid for a house in ’85. I have my eye on a couple mules and plenty pick-up’s and beds to use them on. By the time I have a day off I normally have had more than my fill of trucks.

          • Yup!

            And, unlike a house, which is a durable asset that (until recently at least) tended to at least maintain its value, a car is just an appliance that – unless it’s a specialty/collectible – will almost always be worth much less by the time it’s paid off. On average, a car loses about half its original value within the first five or so years. By ten years out, most cars have lost two-thirds of the their original value.

            Great “investment,” huh?

            • I think your fractions are a bit conservative (at least in some sectors), from what I see locally. May just be the class of vehicles too, but it is not too hard to find 10 year old trucks around here for ~$2500 (a tenth or less of new). The interesting thing is that often 15+ y.o. trucks seem to be going for more in many cases. Sometimes hard to judge as there are many factors but it seems that the ‘complication acceleration’ is starting to show. The time to diagnose and fix these modern spaceships is getting less and less cost effective.

              I have one in the yard. While roadworthy, the bongs, bings, flashing light, electrical issues mean it will never see the road again, but the greasy bits are still great. I paid less than half for the 2004 F350 as I did for the 1994 of the same model in roughly the same shape. The only issue with the 1994 is the ABS light. It’s always been on. Strange, as the truck left the factory without ABS. Ah, Ford.

              For my truck money, there is a sweet spot between around 1980-86 for Chev and 1986-1997 for Ford where the technology was advanced enough to be useful without over complicating the systems. Chev blew it with the floppy front axle and auto engage hubs, IMO. Nice as a car, crap as a truck.

              But hey, what do I know. I still do not TwitFace so I must be a dinosaur. Maybe rolling living rooms are somehow life enhancing in a way I can’t comprehend.

              • I have an ’82 3/4T 4WD ex-diesel Chevy pickup I put a one ton rear-end under. Never had a bit of front end problems. You can’t even find a Ford from that era now. I’ve been going to Ritchey Bros. auctions for a year. GM pickups go for 2-3 times what Ford’s and Dodge’s do so you can guess what the company fleet is et up with. I couldn’t believe it when we got two good GM’s recently, both 13-14 years old. The 3/4T4WD has some serious 4WD abilities, pulled the doors open on an overloaded belly dump recently.

              • Me2, All trucks built after 87 have rear wheel only ABS so it does have it. I’ve had a few 94 F150’s, best vehicles I’ve owned. You can keep driving them for pennies. It’s suprising how much they can haul. I’ve had 3 ton of scrap rotors on the back, hauled it great.

                • Grant,
                  Interesting. I may be wrong.

                  Canadian market truck, Kentucky build. Could that make a difference?

                  I know the original fleet owners (logging) and I can’t imagine the system had been removed. I have serviced both ends of the braking system and seen no indication of sensors or disconnected wires. Admittedly I assumed the factory part.

                  • Wait. It’s in the pumpkin not the hubs right?

                    Poor memory has foggy recollections of such. Only serviced drums and shoes.

                    Eh, it stops.

                    • There will be a sensor on the top of the differential. It reads of a tone ring mounted to the ring gear carrier. It may not have it being a Canadian vehicle. I know it’s was made the law here.

                    • Yup. I think you were correct.

                      Crawled under and had a look this morning. Definitely a sensor plug on top of the differential. Going to pull it tonight and get a replacement if it is cheap.

                      Damned assumptions. I had simply assumed that no ABS in the drums meant no ABS. forgot about really simple ABS.

                    • If the speedo is working them the sensor is good. They did have problems out of the RABS valve. Also rarely the cluster would goof up the signal. It is a AC voltage signalis is prone to interference. Alternators cancause it too.

        • I was driving a 53 Chevy pickup back in 1975 and got rear ended. I don’t remember the model of the guy who hit me, but it was a fairly new full sized sedan. He hit hard enough that his fenders crumpled back and his door would not even open so he could get out. The Chevy pick up? It put a dent in the rear fender and almost dented the tailgate…

      • I think the 1980s were the last time a basic car could really sell. I may be wrong, but I think the used cars are so good now that the new basic car only appeals to people who like new cars and like basic cars. That’s just too small of a segment. It’s well represented in autos forums and the like, but in the general population it’s a very small segment especially since those same people are prone to going out and buying something old and then not having money for a new basic car.

        But… I still want to see a simple RWD front engined car like my Maverick but with the benefits of modern suspension, steering, brakes, tires, engine, and transmission. Light weight and for the most part very simple.

        • Hi Brent,

          Maybe – but the popularity of used cars could also be taken to suggest that there are many people out there who would buy a new car if they could afford one. And probably there are many who can afford it – in the sense that they would qualify for a loan – but who buy used because they wish to avoid being in perpetual debt. (I include myself in the latter category; I’ve got “great credit” and could probably go out today and buy – that is, get a loan on – a new $40,000 whatever. But the idea makes my teeth hurt!)

          What I envision is a car that’s not unlike a current Honda Fit or Nissan Versa, but without the air bags, and lightened up by dint of design that does not have to meet current federal impact standards (which like everything else government does have gone from quasi-reasonable – if you don’t consider the violence – to the current over-the-top absurd). Interestingly, getting rid of crash-test requirements would take care of the fuel efficiency issue. Losing say 500 pounds (average) would result in a dramatic increase in MPGs without need to resort to DI and the other excessive technologies being resorted to now as a way to compensate for the fuel-efficiency penalty imposed by “safety” mandates.

          • eric, probably the most “fixable” pickup I ever had was a ’77 Silverado. A/c, am/fm radio and pistol pockets on the doors. Turn the air cleaner top over, put dual exhuast on it and it would howwwlllll!


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