As originally introduced in 1956, the Cessna 182 Skylane had an empty weight of 1540 pounds and a gross of 2,550 for a useful of 1010 pounds. By the time equipment was added, the useful generally lost 50-75 pounds and you couldn't fill the 55 gallon tanks with four passengers. That changed a year later when the gross went up 100 pounds and the useful got an extra 80 pounds.
Now you could fill everything and still have 60 pounds of baggage. The good news was, however, that even at gross, performance was, and is, still good. The early airplanes have the same horsepower as the new ones and are 400-500 pounds lighters so climb better.