Until the modern improvements were made
ie, the bigger sights, the ducktail grip safety, the speed lever on the thumb safety, roughened forestrap, enlarged ejection port, altered feed ramp, and so on, the thing was a clunk.
In your opinion...maybe...but the 1911 pistol wasn't designed for quick-draw and playing games of "Let's pretend that we're in a gunfight" on Sunday afternoons. It's been pressed into that role, and it's done well...but the modifications and improvements that you've set such great store in came about as a result of competition.
With every gain from an improvement brings a loss of something else.
The upswept ducktail grip safety...for instance...makes te pistol more user-friendly for those who burn up 500 rounds in a single range session, but you lose the spot-weld that the standard tang provides. This means that you have to get just the right grip...and a very firm grip...on the pistol to maintain stability and keep it from shifting in your hand under recoil.
Try firing rapidly and transitioning targets with one hand with both designs, and you'll better understand the function of that spot weld.
Then, remember what, and for whom the 1911 pistol was designed. i.e primarily the horse-mounted trooper who would be firing at an enemy that was doing his level best to kill him...with the pistol in one hand.
In WW2 and subsequent actions, the role of the pistol changed greatly. It was no longer taking an active role on the battlefield, but would still very likely be fired with one hand. There was no reason to change it until it became the darling of the IDPA/USPSA set.