Reader Question: 1965 vs. Now?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Dave asks: I’ve been looking online at new Explorers. Engines range from 2.3 liters – the same one in my Topaz – to the “big” one, the 3.5 liter V6. Of 15 trims, the 3.5 was the biggest engine. These will all be turbo’d so they are not turtles. Turbos will blow – and cost I suppose $2,000 installed. Lowest price for the new Explorer: $56k. The Platinum model runs to $70,000. In 1965, I could buy a new Ford 150 deluxe for about I believe about $3,500. Wages labor in Pentagon was about $2.25 per hour. Today, it’s about $17.00 per hour. So. Do the math. Price of a new vehicle – increased by 20 times. Wages increased by about 8 times. Our world, 2019, is f—ed up. Total. No one tell me different.

My reply: In its defense, the new Explorer is loaded with luxury amenities that were the stuff of science fiction back in ’65. It is also much more powerful. But it is also loaded with government-mandated “features” (including its basic design) that have greatly added to the cost. These costs may – or may not  be – worth it to the buyer. Who has no say over whether he wishes to bear the costs.

That’s my main beef with many of the “features” all new vehicles now come standard with. It’s not the “features,” per se. It is that they have been forced into our lives by a Nanny State ruled by people who believe they have the right to parent us – at bayonet point.

If government bayonets were taken out of the picture, it would be possible – it would be legal – to build a simpler, less costly modern vehicle analogous to the ’65 Ford you mention. It might not have six air bags and driver “assistance” technology. But my bet is it’d have AC and a good stereo as well as a powerful, reliable and much-more-owner-serviceable engine… as well as a price tag around $15,000. Which would make it cheaper to buy than its ’65 analog.

Ah, progress. Too bad we aren’t allowed to have it.

. . .

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  1. My mom bought a brand new 1966 Chevy C-10. I think the price was about $2400 and they allowed $600 for her 1959 Belair so the net cost was $1800. New Impala sitting there beside it was around $3500 if I remember correctly.

    I’m not sure that I remember last week, though LOL

    • Just sittin here trying to remember what I had for supper but I could give you a blow by blow of nearly everything I experienced… 66.

      • I don’t remember everything fortunately but I’m pretty clear that we headed from AZ to OK that summer in a 59 Belair with 2 dogs and a pregnant cat and she had her kittens in Lubbock.

        From there we continued to OK and my mom traded the 59 for the 66 C-10 at the little dealer in her hometown. She used to work there for a while right after HS. It was a long wide bed, white with chrome strip, 250-6 and three speed stick. We ALL crammed into that cab for the drive back to AZ! Only later did we get a camper shell for it.

        12-7-1968 some drunk rear ended a Chevy parts store van that had its wheels turned waiting to turn left and head-on’d us in the pickup 🙁

        • I remembered, we had some bratwurst that was spicy and grilled jalos and onions. We often have some sort of home made Mexican food concoction. Whatever I’m eating, you can almost guarantee there are hot peppers, an herb or two and some hot spices involved. It often stimulates my memory when I’m reading in the library early morning. It’s a play on the old garbage in, garbage out except it’s more like hot in, hot out(oh yeah, now I remember). That reminds me I need to send Nunz my green sauce recipe. I get frustrated on the road going into a Mexican food place and they have NO green sauce and their red sauce wouldn’t even bring a tear to my eye if I rubbed it in.

      • Same here 8. I’d have trouble describing what I had for dinner last night but remember 1965 quite clearly, even still have records, tapes, and some audio equipment I purchased back then. If there were such a thing as a time machine I’d go back in a heartbeat despite bullshit of the day such as the draft and the cold war – and a little nearly unknown place in Southeast Asia known as Vietnam that Americans would come to know a lot better in short order.

        Actually though my preference would be to set down a little earlier, before the shadow government coup d’état known as the Kennedy Assassination. The future has turned out to be a real bust.

        • Jason, we were like everyone else, pore, in the 50’s but it was fine and we ate well, most everything homegrown. The 60’s brought about better pay and a lot of new homes and jobs. Nobody was getting rich except the local state representative. I can’t complain except for Vietnam.

          I don’t think anyone understood back then the old 8 track had a better sound than cassettes.

          I had a good time living in the country. Most of the boys had pickups to drive long before we had licenses(14) and we went just about everywhere we could get away with.

          I recall fishing every tank we could find whether we were allowed or not. My best friend and I were already dyed in the wool large bass, catch and release fishermen by 62 when nobody had heard of it.

          If we went fishing and the parents knew, we had to bring back a lot of fish and clean them. My best friend and I had gone fishing and his parents were in when we got back at dark. He told me to take the fish and he’d tell them we didn’t do any good.

          I took a lot of fish home and the extended family(6 brothers and sisters including my mom)were at our house……and it was suppertime. I cleaned fish till I was exhausted(got a lot of advice)and then started cooking them. I think I made a lot of points just being a young whippersnapper who could catch, clean, cook fish and frogs while my unlucky mother got to fix everything else. I was worn out but at least there was plenty beer to drink. My parents were smarter than most. It was fine for me to drink if I stayed at the house. In fact, my dad took me to the local wholesaler and set me up with the owner. It was cheaper than going to the bootlegger and safer too.

        • I wouldn’t want to go back in time if I had to be the age I was then and with the “family” that I grew up in. Maybe if I could take the wisdom I have now so I wouldn’t put up with the same stuff and could make different decisions.

          It would be nice to be younger but not stupider, in an earlier time.


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