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Old 11-05-2009, 08:21 PM   #71 (permalink)
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Carlos -

You're right, I shouldn't have coupled them in the same post, really. The point was that GM started out with a child corporation that could have really gone somewhere... and to make the point stand out, they did what religious fanatics do to their children - forced the belief that what was already being done was best, regardless of what is fact.

GM, in essence, is a cult, and Saturn was a cult-bred child that tried to leave the "family", only to be squashed, controlled, broken, and rebuilt in the Oldsmobile image, except with it's own exclusive dealers.

Saturn did have a slight aftermarket following, but not specifically for the type of person I call "EZ Tuners", or those that like to think they can pick up 20-30 HP with an exhaust, intake, and flooding the engine with 700CC RCE injectors. These are the same kids that spend thousands of dollars "upgrading" their cars, but never get a dyno sheet or a real tune.

The Saturn SC was a fairly potent machine, with decent upgrades and a fairly stout reputation, from what I see.

And by the way, Cavaliers after the V6 Z24 era just suck, until EcoTec came to be. And now, even the EcoTec Cobalts aren't noteworthy compared to the newest cars on the market in terms of overall performance, IMHO.

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Old 11-06-2009, 12:57 PM   #72 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfg83 View Post
NeilBlanchard -
I wish I had the article in front of me, maybe someone else posted it. Before the gas crunch, the GM divisions "competed" against each other as autonomous entities. When they tried to consolidate in the 1980s, they did it backwards. The different divisions offered very similar external designs with very different internal drivetrains. Instead they should have offered near-identical drivetrains with external style differentiation. This would have saved a lot of $ and allowed them to perfect the drivetrains for reliability. CarloSW2
Maybe I'm missing something? GM used the same powertrain in a lot of different vehicles, and parts interchangeability was incredible. Like they used the 3.1 MPFI in the Cavalier, Lumina, Beretta, Celebrity, etc. The 3800 got used in tons of vehicles, as well as the 2.5 Iron Duke. And they only really had 2 auto transaxles in the 80s, the 125C and the 440T4, only thing they would do is use a handful of different final drive gear or chain sets as needed. The bulk of the undercarriages were shared with very little difference too. They only had a handful of different wheel bearings and brake assemblies that they used throughout the 80s. Sister cars of different divisions were usually identical powertrains, wiring, and undercarriages and 90% identical sheetmetal and interior, they just changed a handful of cosmetic bolt-ons to cater to different types of buyers. Also, of course they had a few lemons like the quad 4 and 4.3 diesel, but I always thought most of the drivetrains of the era were pretty reliable.
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:52 PM   #73 (permalink)
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...a "body by Fisher" equivalent of Henry Fords' "...any color you want as long as it's black."

...ie: different floral prints on the seat covers and different badges on the hoods!
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Old 11-06-2009, 01:58 PM   #74 (permalink)
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wagonman76 -

Maybe I am missing something too. I am paraphrasing a an article that I thought was really intriguing. I will try to rediscover it and point to the URL. I think it was a treatise on the failures of GM CEO Roger Smith and the political context he was working in.

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Old 11-06-2009, 05:42 PM   #75 (permalink)
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Carlos -

I may be mistaken, but I took your "autonomous entities" comment to mean something closer to being back in the earlier days, like pre-70's.

There were engines in those days such as the 401 (Caddilac) and big blocks into the 500 and 600 CI range, as well as a few smaller engines, but mostly 8 cylinders. Buick at the time had the "Straight 8", a well renowned "beast" of the day, that made boat loads of torque and was most reliable run at nearly steady state.

One of the car guys I used to hang out with had a 1941 (I believe) Buick Straight 8 wagon in his carport for most of his life, and ended up selling it in unmolested condition with only maintenance performed, original tires, etc. for well over $100,000 to a collector who happened to be driving down the road.
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Old 11-07-2009, 01:01 AM   #76 (permalink)
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Christ -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ View Post
Carlos -

I may be mistaken, but I took your "autonomous entities" comment to mean something closer to being back in the earlier days, like pre-70's.

There were engines in those days such as the 401 (Caddilac) and big blocks into the 500 and 600 CI range, as well as a few smaller engines, but mostly 8 cylinders. Buick at the time had the "Straight 8", a well renowned "beast" of the day, that made boat loads of torque and was most reliable run at nearly steady state.

One of the car guys I used to hang out with had a 1941 (I believe) Buick Straight 8 wagon in his carport for most of his life, and ended up selling it in unmolested condition with only maintenance performed, original tires, etc. for well over $100,000 to a collector who happened to be driving down the road.
Ok. Not such a hard to find thing after all :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roger_Smith_(executive)
Quote:
1984 reorganization

Smith took on the massive GM bureaucracy with disastrous results. A sea change in how GM would market and build cars in the future, the 1984 reorganization was intended to streamline the process and create greater efficiencies; the reverse actually occurred. Combining the nameplate divisions, Fisher Body, and GM Assembly into two groups, C-P-C (Chevrolet, Pontiac, Canada) to build small cars and B-O-C (Buick, Oldsmobile, Cadillac) to build large cars, the effort was subsequently criticized for creating chaos within the company. Longstanding informal relationships that greased the wheels of GM were severed, seemingly overnight, leading to confusion and slipping new product programs. The reorganization virtually stopped GM in its tracks for 18 months, and never really worked as intended, with the CPC division building Cadillacs and BOC building Pontiacs. The reorganization added costs and created more layers of bureaucracy when the new Groups added management, marketing and engineering staff, duplicating existing staff at both the corporate and division levels. Almost ten years elapsed before the 1984 reorganization was unwound and all car groups were combined into one division.

By the 1990s, GM's program of sharing components across divisions that began in the 70s as a way to cut costs grew into a marketing problem. After the 1984 reorganization forced teamwork by the divisions, parts sharing evolved into wholesale sharing of entire designs and simply re-badging vehicles for each division. Observers suggested that differences between automobiles produced and marketed by the Chevy, Buick, and Oldsmobile divisions were less distinct as a consequence. Automotive commentators cited a lack of a distinct brand identity and demographic changes as crucial factors in the demise of the Oldsmobile division in 2004. Compounding GM's problems was the fact that while entire platforms shared designs, the engineered parts beneath the surface, where customers didn't care or didn't notice were often not shared, which is where money could be saved. Analyst David Cole summed it up: "The engineering was 180 degrees out of phase. GM cars looked alike outside but were all different inside."
I guess I'm just burping the opinion of a Mr. David Cole, .

CarloSW2

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