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Not All American Classics Are Gas Guzzlers

Classic American Motors are famous for many things – but fuel economy is certainly not one of them. They were all about style, presence and making people take notice. They were built when the World thought that it had an endless supply of cheap gas and the well would never run dry.
Unfortunately car makers these days have to take a whole new set of considerations into . . . consideration. Anyway, the thing is that not all classic cars are 8 mpg guzzlers. There are just a few which are capable of 20 mpg at the very least so if you yearn for the good old days when cars had character and individuality but need to take fuel economy into account – read on.
Here are a few examples.
Plymouth Duster – 1976 – aka The Feather Duster – this was a pretty interesting yet largely ignored response to the fuel crisis of the 1970’s. It cost only slightly more than the normal Duster unlike the premiums placed on many hybrid or diesel options available in today’s market. The main saving was in substituting some of the steel for lighter aluminum which meant a considerable weight loss. The fuel economy is good, up to 36 mpg. Incidentally, in 1976 you’d pay around $0.57 per gallon for gas.


Crosley Hotshot – 1950 – this was the first sports car to hit the roads after the war and was definitely built more in the mold of an MG Midget than it was a Corvette. This tiny motor had a tiny four cylinder engine and although it wouldn’t break any speed limits was capable of 48 mpg. Gas in 1950 was around $0.27 per gallon.


Corvair Monza 1961 – this air cooled classic may not have been that “cool” back in its day but it was still fun to drive and could achieve around 24 mpg. The price of gas in 1961 was around $0.31 for a gallon.
International Harvester Scout 1961 – this is one of the original SUV’s and even many of the modern varieties (check them out at san juan capistrano jeep) do not list fuel economy as a strong point. The trailblazer however was extremely lightweight (2,800 pounds) and remarkably simple with a rugged, 4 cylinder engine. This little power house could achieve around 22 mpg if you drove it carefully, and let’s face it, there wasn’t really any other way you could drive it.
Oldsmobile Cutlass Cruiser F-85 – 1967 – there are not many full sized Oldsmobiles around which can get anywhere close to 20 mpg, particularly one which has a gigantic 400 cubic inch V8 motor but this was something special. It was carefully engineered with a GM Turbo / Hydramatic transmission system with tall ratio on the rear axle giving it the appearance of a fully grown American classic. It was actually capable of 20 mpg – unbelievable but true.


So, who said all American classic cars are gas guzzlers? Well, they’re wrong aren’t they?
If you want to experience great fuel economy without going to all the trouble of finding one of these American classic motors they’ve got some fabulous ones at OC Auto. These days we’re talking of much better fuel consumption numbers than 20 mpg with the latest range of hybrid and diesel motors.
We now understand that we have to take good care of gas supplies which are running out at a rate of knots and find alternative ways of powering our vehicles. We’ve also woken up to the fact that good fuel economy is great for the bank balance too.

If You Need To Know If You’re An Amber-Gambler’

Yellow Light

So there I had been, in the back of a taxi, running a few minutes late for work and willing the driver, who’d been a little slow with picking up speed at traffic lights, to undergo on amber.

I knew that if he didn’t we’d be stuck at the busy cross junction for many minutes more while we waited for that traffic light sequence to start out all over again.

Fortunately for me, the motorist propelled his car onwards, driving through on amber and getting me to work two minutes late instead of five.

But wait – which had been wrong of me. To wish the operator to go through on amber, I am talking about. As we all know – or should we, because it’s illegal to pass through an amber traffic light?

Being an amber-gambler

Gemma Stanbury, head of car insurance at, thinks that numerous drivers don’t care that it’s illegal to drive through an amber traffic light.

And she puts the number of amber-gamblers down to city drivers’ impatience.

I have lived in Cardiff for 13 years now and that i honestly believed amber meant stop.

If I’m wrong because in Cardiff everyone goes through an amber light – actually, they barely stop for any red, But I’ve been wondering.

City drivers more likely to be amber-gamblers?

But in south Devon, where I’m originally from, it’s a different story. Drivers not merely stop at amber lights, they’re polite as well – another thing I feel is lacking among city drivers.

I do believe it’s a major city thing: there’s so much congestion but everyone’s getting and rushing nowhere fast so it seems to be generally accepted to race through on amber.

I now find myself racing through amber lights too. That is But what’s worse.

I think people need to remember that if you’re running late, you should have left your house earlier.

Gemma carries a point, I should have left for work earlier – not willed my taxi driver to undergo on amber.

Traffic light law

But motoring lawyer Jeanette Miller, of Geoffrey Miller Solicitors, reckons it’s not just drivers’ impatience that’s to blame – many simply don’t know the law.

At traffic lights red means amber, stop and red together mean stop, and amber alone means stop, as explained on page 119 of this Department for Transport Know your Traffic Signs booklet.

Traffic lights

Miller adds: The position in law is that dealing with on amber is failing to comply with the traffic signal so it is no defence to state it wasn’t yet red.

This really is outlined within the Road Traffic Act, section 36, and also the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, regulations 10 and 36.

Also, it is covered in rule 175 of the Highway Code which states:

‘You MUST stop behind the white ‘Stop’ line across your side of the road unless the light is green. If you have already crossed the stop line or are so close to it that to stop may cause a collision.?, if the amber light appears you may continue only?

90% unaware amber means stop

However, I would claim that around 90% of drivers aren’t aware that amber means stop as we often get people calling us and saying I didn’t go through on red, I underwent on amber.

I don’t think we’ve ever defended such a case as there’s just no defence.

Miller has a point about drivers simply not being aware that amber means stop – as failing to adhere to a traffic signal is definitely the third most common motoring conviction.

Ignoring traffic light third most common motoring conviction

We looked at customers who obtained a car insurance quote from between December and October 2012, with motoring convictions during the last five years before the date of your quote.

Along with a TS10 conviction – neglecting to comply with a traffic signal – was the third most frequent motoring offence, after speeding and using a mobile phone on the wheel.

What’s more, it could lead to a 24% increase in your vehicle insurance premium.

So, so you know – amber means stop. Spread the word.