1909 cost of a Model T Touring edition = $850, inflation adjusted 2012 dollars, $23,394.41.
The problem with this comparison is there is rough equivalence in value between a 1908 car and a modern car. There was no such thing as commuting. There was were no highways. There were no paved roads. No auto shops, nothing. It was the wild west. There is no equivalence of value. People in the early days of television used TV much as it is today. There is arguably more value now because of many choices, but the uses and how it fits into a value tree decision are essentially the same. There are also a few new users (i.e. as a general purpose digital display) which add value that was not useful in 1950 since there we not other sources other than broadcast for content. But I think either way, the comparison is useful.
VW is notorious for selling its old models in foreign countries.
The original VW Beetle was manufactured in Mexico until 2003.
The VW Bus is finally getting canceled in Brazil (and that's being fought).
The 2nd gen VW Passat was sold in China for almost 30 years until it was updated.
Yes, this is exactly right. It cannot be done in the US because of increasing regulatory burden, and the availability of cheap credit (which I will get to in a minute). The examples you give support my position. In Mexico, increasing standards are what also finally killed it, and led to major revisions in three different model years. The Beetle in Mexico, despite rising standards and material costs, was reduced in price several times over it's production run, and it is likely that if new standards had not have been added, it would have continued to drop in price. See http://www.csmonitor.com/1990/... for example.
a. it's never cheaper to buy a new car.
This is absurdly wrong. You can argue that it's not a better value, but it can be frequently less money, especially short-term, to buy a new car. And it's often easier. If you are facing a large repair bill and have even mediocre credit, you can almost always buy an entirely new car for less money out of pocket than fixing your old car. And with special terms and whatnot, you can appear to save monthly as well (except that the term and therefore costs long-term are very expensive). Cheap credit, predicated on financing, makes it attractive to buy cars over unreasonably long terms, continuing the ability of car makers to hide the costs behind a seemingly low monthly payment.
b. One of those regulatory agencies crash tested a 1959 Chevy Bel Air with a 2009 Malibu
This video speaks for itself.
You are arguing that increased costs somehow are good for people because it puts them in safer cars. There is no argument that a 1959 Bel Air is not as safe as a 2009 Malibu, however, that is not the only piece of the equation. Why shouldn't the government (not insurance companies by the way) force every company to make a car as safe as a top of the line German built car?
Now you're just arguing with a straw man.
We're talking about the cheapest car of 1970 and the two cheapest cars of 2014
Yes, but the 2014 cars have many, many, many upgrades that are just plain flashy. People lived before air conditioning. People lived before automatic transmissions, CD players, airbags, LATCH, TPMS, etc.