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Question of the Week: What’s your favorite automotive myth?

The automotive world is full of facts and figures, and wherever there are hard facts there are myths. They spread mouth to mouth at car shows and in forum posts taken as fact on the internet. You checked your sources and know the truth, but you keep hearing that myth. Tell us about it.

One of the top myths that came to mind for us was regarding the IMS bearing in all Porsches of a certain era. Except it wasn’t all cars, it was a select number. At some point the message changed from “some Porsche cars had a bearing that would possibly fail” to “all Porsches built between 1997 and 2008 will have IMS bearing troubles.”

Help set the record straight on your favorite (or should we say least favorite) myth by posting it below. If you aren’t sure, post it anyway and maybe another poster has the answer. We’ll highlight our favorites next week with an Answer of the Week article.

My personal favorite is a popular one–the deadly Corvair. About once a week I come out to my garage in the morning and mine has rolled over! They roll over so often that it does it even while parked.

The Corvair is absolutely a safe (for the era) vehicle.

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Ford built Studebaker 289 engines, and Chevy built AMC 327s.

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As a former Fiero owner I always heard how they were known to catch fire. That problem was fixed quickly by GM. I will say that I put 205,000 miles on mine without a fire. It was an electrical issue again without a fire that killed mine. Something that was covered up around the same time was the way that Ford Escorts would randomly catch fire and Ford had no solution, this was such a problem that auto auction houses would require someone to have a fire extinguisher in hand by the front of the car when they came into the building for bidding. I personally knew three people that had Escorts burn down on them while I owned my Fiero.

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Owners of diesel-cars: - When the engine idles it only produces water vapor as exhaust-fumes…

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My favorite… “Those Chrysler pushbutton automatics have always been unreliable.” Tell that to my 57 year old Dodge Dart. It must have missed out on the conversation because it has never failed.

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No. The Volkswagen Beetle was absolutely not designed by Adolf Hitler. …and while I’m here, a couple more things that bug the crap out of me. It’s WimbleDon White…DON…with a “D” not WimbleTon. No such place exists. As for the ‘63 Vette. The next time it is referred to as a, “split window coupe” I’ll report you to the department of redundancy department. There are coupes and convertibles…period. ALL original coupes are split windows. And finally. Austin Coil, Alan Johnson and Jimmy Prock are not sorcerers. Warren Johnson…is.

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My uncle owned a Corvair back in the late sixties and after consuming copious amounts of spirits, had a bad encounter with a light post that refused to move out of his way. Dad and I had to rescue him from the tank at the police station and I remember that in one of dad’s Car & Driver mags there was an articles about a famous lawyer turned car expert condemning the Corvair as unsafe in frontal collisions because there was no engine to protect the driver. The joke was on him. My uncle nearly split the car in half, opened the door and laid down in the engine cover to wait for the cops with not a single scratch. That attorney (Ralph Nader) was the same one that in a car show in Europe, claim that Volvos had a flimsy steering column shifters because he did not know that that was the wiper control stalk. An expert, hah.

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Even in this age of fuel injection (which is pretty aged by now…), there are still many men my age who believe it’s a good idea to rev the engine before turning it off. That myth should have died about the time Reagan became president…

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The rumor that the Government was testing carburetors that got 50, 60 and even 70 MPG out of 60’s and early 70’s mid to large size cars. That some had slipped into private hands on cars by mistake and dealers were removing and replacing them without consent.

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Owning a 63 Studebaker Avanti I can’t count the times I’ve gotten the “those were made in Canada” comments. There have been times the person commenting was so absolutely sure of themselves that they wanted to debate it.

But then again maybe South Bend Indiana was a satellite province of Canada in 1963 and 1964 and my high school geography books failed to note that appropriately…

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Corvair engines will fall onto the ground if the motor mount breaks.
Yikes, it was true. The engine is suspended under the mount vs sitting on top. A friend called me and said her engine was on the pavement. I said no it wasn’t but will come and help her. Ooops, her new corvair engine was lying on the road. This also added additional issues doubting her call.

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I been fooling around with 50s GMC trucks since 1990. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen certain models or options listed as “one of 300 made.” Never seen any documentation the claim, but the number always seems to be 300.

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I have 2.

  1. That all Model T Fords were BLACK. In fact in 1908 red and yellow were available. However the bright colored paints of the era faded very rapidly into less the aesthetically pleasing tones. Thus Ford quickly changed to dark blue or gray depending on body style. The dark blue was replaced with dark green (I think I got the order correct). Both the blue and the green were so dark that they looked black in poor light. It would be circa 1916 that Ford changed to black and made it the color of choice for all body styles. Black chosen because it was durable and resisted fading. In 1925 - for the 1926 Model Year - colors would return to the Model T. The invention of the aerosol spray gun and peroxylin (sic) paints allowed Ford (and other manufacturers) to offer a variety of colors - including brown, tan, multiple shades of green, gray, orange and maroon.

  2. That the Model T was a low cost automobile. That may have been true after 1916 - but the earlier brass cars were a state of the art mid-price automobile, marketed for the upper middle class - not the laborer that assembled them. Ford in 1908 was still controlled by a investors who demanded relatively low volume automobiles sold at high profit. And it was in this environment the Model T was designed. During the brass T era other manufacturers, such as Metz in Waltham, Massachusetts, were selling better equipped cars for far lower prices than Ford. For example, in 1913 a Metz Model 22 sold for $395, compared to nearly $600 for a similarly sized and equipped Model T roadster. It was not until 1916, well after the original engineering costs had be recouped, that Ford redesigned the T to compete in the low unit profit, high volume sales market.

Oh yes. And the '63 Corvette Coupe is and will always be the “Split Window Coupe”. Differentiating it from the '64-'67 Stingray coupes with their larger one-piece rear window.

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That button one presses in their Buick to make it a Cadillac. You know, the ‘Cadillac Converter’.

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That Fords are faster than Chevys…:rofl:.

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My favorite misconception that I have heard many times is that Roll-Royce hoods are sealed by the factory. They are such precision machines and so reliable only the dealer has access to the engine.

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All Pinto’s will explode in a rear collison…
GM Pickups with “saddle” tanks will explode in a side collision…

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The myth that if a fuel injection engine ran out of fuel, the entire fuel system had to undergo a lengthy priming procedure before restarting. I believe that the electric fuel pump solves that issue. Popular myth in the 80s.

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