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.