Sometimes I look at old structures, bridges to machinery, and I see parts of them that are critically too small, just by looking. Spending three years doing FEA I've come to view joints, transitions and structures differently than I used too.
By going bigger, in diameter for example, one can use a thinner wall for the same amount of strength. The end result is generally a lighter structure because the materials optimize the second moment of inertia with material where it is needed and less where it isn't. This a large part of why cars have grown. Old cars could not handle the crash safety standards that new cars can, and by the same token you could probably punch a hole in a new car's sheet metal far easier than a 40 year old car, providing it didn't rust away. Corrosion resistance is a whole other issue, that has improved in the recent past. To be honest, as an engineer, I see a good case to be made for buying new vehicles, the technology used to develop them is able to find more problems than earlier vehicles. Making things simply bigger is a most basic aspect of newer, more tested, structures, and it is a microcosm of the volume of engineering that is often thrown at the problems of the day.