Oh, the other thing was they had not yet designed out the overbuilding required by inferior processes and materials. 30 some years ago my buddy showed me and article about how ball bearings at that point were an order of magnitude better than the bearings 20 years before due to improvements in vacuum furnaces among other things. In the mid 90's they were still designing things with a factor for bearings that would wear out x percent faster[or more accurately, x percent would fail much sooner]Which exactly coincides with the mid 90s to mid 2000s where vehicles had evolved enough technologically to be comfortable and reliable without all the excessive failure prone gadgets.
By the early mid 2000s, they realized you don't have to build that factor in because[for instance] bearings are going to fall into a much tighter quality distribution
And THEN they started buying bearings in China, which brought a whole new meaning to the concept of quality curve.
Lots of old dudes will be 'Stuff in the 60's was made so much better'
No, it was total crap, but the stuff that is still working now from the 60's was the total right of that quality bell curve, Lots of stuff failed just like it does now, but it was so expensive we had appliance repair men and tv repair men.
Scott is dead on, the 90s was the peak, where design was good and they had not yet worked out how to design out every bit of overbuilding, and sourcing routines from the toy industry had not yet pervaded real manufacturing