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I spotted an (insert obscure car name here) classic car today!

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  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,143
    edited July 2013
    I could actually be biased myself, because as a kid my grandparents had a '72 Impala 4-door hardtop, that I really liked. But, I was a young enough kid that I wouldn't have appreciated things like the ride, comfort, handling, and so on.

    And Chrysler products back in the day usually tended to seem roomier inside than their Ford or GM counterparts...at least to me. That's something I'd appreciate more as an adult. So, while the little kid in my loved that '72 Impala, if I was a car buyer, or even a teen who got some time behind the wheel, I might have a different opinion.

    Personally, I'm not a huge fan of the '69, or '74 Impala, either. Don't actually hate them, but there are just other years I like better. It seems like with GM cars of that era, there are some that I find myself really attracted to, some that are only so-so, and some that are downright vulgar. But, at least there was enough variety to give me that range of emotion. With the '69-73 Mopars, while I have my most and least favorites, I just don't find the same range.
  • jljacjljac Posts: 649
    By contrast, I liked the fuselage cars from the first time I saw them.

    I remember the first time I saw a 1968 Dodge Charger. I was waiting for the bus at at high school (sophmore year) when a girl named Collette got picked up by her dad in a red one. Awesome. My favorite Mopar. The original design was the best. Rent the Steve McQueen movie Bullitt where he is chased by a black Charger driven by Bill Hickman, the same driver who was James Dean's racing coach the day Dean crashed and died.

    Here is somewhat related trivia. When James Dean lived in New York City with his roommate Martin Landau, James Dean's motorcycle mechanic was Steve McQueen. Martin Landau reports this in his on-line biography.
    You could look it up.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,356
    Our '71 looked a lot like this one, minus the wheels obviously. The color on this is a lighter shade than ours was but otherwise it is very similar. I love the look.

    image

    image

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,751
    All sorts of interesting cars show up in my town (Loudon NH) when the Vintage Racing Assn has a race weekend. Friday I saw a small parade of MGs heading away from the track, two MGAs and a half dozen MGBs, all roadsters in street trim and nice shape. Unfortunately for them it was pouring rain.

    There's a particular misery to driving an old Brit roadster in the rain, the tops invariably leak, the wipers offer only marginal visibility and the ignition system can fail at any time. You'd think that it hardly ever rained in the British isles. :confuse:

    I also saw what looked and sounded like an original 1964 Pontiac GTO but as it was going away from me I spotted small vertical taillights on the rear fenders that gave away it as a Tempest or LeMans that had been converted to a "Goat" replica.

    Nothing wrong with that IMO, the GTO was just an up-spec LeMans but if you're gonna make a replica you might as well finish the job.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,143
    I still think the '69 is the best of the breed, but that '71 is pretty sharp looking. Sleek, muscular, and clean. In many ways, it's almost like a big, 4-door musclecar. A stark contrast to a '71 Impala or Galaxie, which were going for a more upscale, pretentious, poor-man's luxury look.

    I always equated a Dodge as a step up, and more equivalent to a Pontiac or Mercury, but in retrospect, it looks like Dodges by that time were getting pretty low-priced Here's some MSRP pricing for 1971 4-door hardtops:

    Polara: $3497
    Galaxie 500: $3604
    Fury iii : $3612
    Impala: $3813

    Catalina: $3939
    Monterrey: $3968
    Monaco: $4362

    So, it looks like the Polara was actually the cheapest full-sized 4-door hardtop around at the time! I wonder why they weren't more popular? That actually sounds like a screaming deal to me. Unless, perhaps, it was simply the styling. Looking at it today, I appreciate the clean style, but at the time, maybe people wanted that upscale pretentiousness?

    And in all fairness, I guess a Monaco would be more equivalent to a Bonneville or Marquis than a Catalina or Monterrey, so that would explain its relative priceyness?
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,356
    Dodge was always tinkering with their model lineup and in '71 they had 5 levels: Polara, Polara Custom, Polara Brougham, Monaco, and Monaco Brougham. They probably covered most of the full size mainstream and mid-priced range with that lineup. A Polara Custom was roughly equivalent to an Impala or Galaxie or Fury III.

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    That pix reminded me how "green" was a fairly popular color in the early 70's and it came in many shades. I agree with whoever previously noted that the fuselage 2 dr ht looked a bit awkward, but otherwise I thought they were pretty contemporary for their time. They also tended to have nice interiors.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    I always liked the mid 60's GTO chrome pillared coupes even more than the hardtop ones. The 65 Lemans always struck me as a nice car as well. Personally, I was always a bit more partial to the Triumphs over the MG's though.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,319
    edited May 2013
    My grandpa had a green on green fuselage Chrysler.

    I just remembered, here's one of the few shots I can find of it:

    image

    Thick doors! I think it was a 71 - he bought this before I was born. I've been looking for more pics with it but can't find any yet.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,319
    Out on the road for a couple hundred miles over the past day. Must have been a rod show, I saw many - 70s and 80s style stuff especially (purple ~39 Dodge coupe, 57 Chevy with a jacked up rear end and Cragar style wheels, lowrider 65 Impala, etc). Also a nice VW Thing on the highway, a cigar 'Bird, a 90s Roadmaster wagon pulling a trailer made of the rear of another wagon, a Prowler with a Prowler trailer, Porsche 356.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    Who could anyone like any '74 domestic car? Somehow the drivability issues, horrendous gas mileage and low power resulting from those primitive mechanical emission controls not only conspired to make for a miserable driving experience, but even influenced my view of the styling. That year was the nadir for the ownership experience, in my opinion, even though '73, '75 and '76 generally weren't much better than '74.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,319
    edited July 2013
    When I was a little kid, my mother had a T-Bird of that era. She loved it - thought it was comfortable, luxurious, even good looking (!). My dad liked it too, and many of my first car memories contain that beast, especially when it comes to road trips. The flip side is that I know it was off the road by around 1985 - not the most durable thing.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,332
    I agree that the '68 Charger was the nicest of that generation. It's a beautiful, timeless design, in my opinion. Don't know why it didn't sell in larger numbers.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,356
    The styling of the Charger was great, but it was fairly pricey for the times and was a big car compared to a lot of the competition. All of the Chrysler intermediates in the '68-'70 era seemed big and bulky compared to the Ford and GM offerings.

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,751
    Personally, I was always a bit more partial to the Triumphs over the MG's though.

    So was I until I owned a '66 TR-4A, pretty car and fun to drive (in good weather) but shoddily made.

    Looking back I think the MGB-GT was the one to get- weather proof, good look">ing and actually practical with the big hatchback.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,206
    I'd say the 1968-72 GM intermediates were the most attractive of the bunch.

    The 1968-70 Mopar intermediates had a tough, businesslike appearance.

    The 1968-69 Fairlanes and Montegos look kind of anonymous. The 1970-71s looked like they were trying to ape GM.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    I think Dodge was kind of a confused brand to consumers back then. I don't ever recall actually seeing many Monaco's. Pontiac could pull off that wide price range because they had a well defined sporty image and offered their own 389 engine.

    While I thought that by and large the fuselage look came off well (except for some of the coupes), I also think it was the precursor to Roger Smith a decade later. Often, the cars seemed to look too much alike and shared the same drive trains. Yeah, Chrysler's may have come with a 383, but you could option that same engine on just about any Plymouth. I think in the late 60's the Plymouth and Dodge intermediates kind of had the same issue. Mopar changed that on the coupes with the 71 restyle of the Satellite Sebring and Charger.

    I don't remember if it was in the late 60's or early 70's, but I recall some school of thought in the media that Chrysler should essentially either make Dodge a strictly truck brand, or eliminate Plymouth.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    GM did do a nice job on those intermediates. I was a fan of the 71/72 Plymouth Sebring coupe and owned one. I didn't care for the squaring off of the 73. However, the market seemed to say the opposite! You don't see many 71/72 Sebrings at the old car shows, just an occasional Road Runner or GTX. I do know that my 71 had pretty lousy build quality, so that might explain it all. The only Ford intermediate I cared for during that era was the fastback 72 Torino and that style didn't last long (hmmm, what am I saying here about my styling preferences!). Did you ever notice that looking at the side profile of a say 71 GM intermediate coupe, that it resembles a Boeing 707/727, while the Sebring coupe is a bit like a DC-8? I don't think it was just Harley Earl whose designs were sometimes influenced by aircraft.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    One of my friend's dad bought a fuselage Newport with a 413 wedge. He wasn't a muscle car nut or anything, but he liked Chrysler's and followed the automotive industry. Back then, Chrysler was notorious for getting it's inventory out of whack. He said he got a great deal on it, and it was a seemingly unusual combination, because Chrysler had jumped the gun on a large police car contract it thought it was going to get and started building 413's ahead of it. Now Fury's with that engine weren't likely going to fly off the lot, but they could pull it off by putting the excess engines in a Chrysler. It was a great car - smooth, roomy, handled well and could blow the socks off a lot of Pony vars on the road since most of them had small block V8's.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    Man, I think you're right on the mark about those mid 70's cars. A few were decent, but by and large - bad news!
  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    When I was a kid, you actually seemed to see more TR-3's than MG's on the road in the Chicago area. They were actually kind of popular there for awhile.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,319
    I am pretty sure my grandpa's car was just a 383. It replaced a 65 with a 383 that he loved - and instantly regretted selling, as the newer car was trouble-prone. He bought the new car on impulse, my grandmother still laughs at some of the issues it had (lots of stalling and hard to start).

    For obscure cars, I stopped to visit the fintail, and parked at the garage was a blue on blue Ferrari 328 GTS - has to be a rare combo.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,975
    The TRs were faster!

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  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,356
    Something's not right about that story, Berri. The 413 went out of production in 1965, while the fuselage cars didn't come along until 1969.

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,143
    Maybe he meant the 440? Most of those fuselage Newports used a 383-2bbl, but at some point the 400 replaced the 383.

    I briefly owned a 1967 Newport hardtop with a 383-2bbl. For whatever reason, they screwed with the tuning that year, and it only had something like 270 hp. I think it had 290 the year before, and for '68 it jumped back up, but for whatever reason, the '67 was a bit weak.

    While not very fast, it was adequate, at least.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    edited July 2013
    Yeah, Andre is right. It was a police interceptor 440. That sucker took up a lot of real estate under the Newport's hood. Sorry about my mess up there ab, and thanks Andre! The rest of that story is as his father told us and if you drove by any Mopar plants in the late 60's and 70's you'd often see car production parked all over the place including vacant fields. Another Chrysler story; when I was in business school, one of the professors consulted with them on management efficiencies and NC equipment. They were having a problem where sometimes the NC messed up and a car came off the line with mixed Plymouth and Dodge pieces. Evidently, sometimes it was actually cheaper (or at least easier) to crush it for scrap than mess with all the union rules reworking it. One of the students in that class with me had worked summers in that plant and verified what the professor said. Kind of astounding really.
  • ab348ab348 Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, CanadaPosts: 2,356
    I don't know about the crush-vs-repair story, though it wouldn't surprise me. I know that such "Frankenstein" cars were sometimes donated to vocational schools to let auto mechanics students work on them. But the sales bank story is true. It was devised by Chrysler's Lynn Townsend, an accountant who ran the company through the 1960s into the mid '70s. Under accounting rules, they made the cars, somehow recognized them as sold to artificially fluff up revenues on the books, and then stored them all over Greater Detroit. Naturally, the longer they sat, the more they deteriorated, not a wise move. Allpar has the following story:

    "Possibly the biggest mistake Mr. Townsend made in his career at Chrysler was the “sales bank.” It was created by him, and carried on by his protégé and successor, John J. Ricardo. Both men were accountants and had come to the auto industry convinced that business methods were more important to success in the auto industry than product knowledge.

    The general practice in the auto industry had been to produce cars based on dealer orders. That meant that production would follow demand. However, at Chrysler, “automobiles poured out of the Highland Park and Hamtramck plants like homeless waifs,” according to Brock Yates in his book The Decline and Fall of the Auto Industry.

    During the spring and summer of each model year, vehicles would be overproduced, and then stored for later sales. All over Detroit, at giant parking lots that included the Michigan State Fairgrounds on Woodward Avenue, those cars were stored. By the time later summer arrived, the sales and accounting staffs would be trying to unload surplus automobiles in any way possible. That included fire sales to leasing agencies and rental car fleets, registration transfers to Corporate Zone offices, sales contests and giveaways. But the primary method was to lean on dealers.

    Zone managers would call dealers and demand that they take more cars. They exercised their leverage, according to an interview that Yates had with an anonymous Chrysler-Plymouth dealer, based on fear, coercion, and pressure. Without the zone managers being in the car dealer’s corner, specially ordered cars might get “lost,” warranty claims wouldn’t get processed, parts inventories might slip and truckloads of unwanted and hard-to-sell color combinations and body styles might show up at the store.

    The dealers didn’t want the sales bank cars since many were poor quality or made with poor options choices. But they took them and sold them, as they could."

    2014 Cadillac ATS4 2.0T, 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass S Holiday Coupe

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,972
    this morning on the way to work I got passed by a black aero Fox body Mustang LX 5.0 and black GN. The GN had some nice paint on it.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,206
    edited July 2013
    Sad that Lynn Townsend will be remembered for that blunder. His biography reads like a Horatio Alger novel:

    Lynn Townsend

    Can't find much information about his successor John J. Riccardo.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,270
    On the surface this produce all out and sell later concept seems really dumb. I don't really know, but I wonder if Chrysler did this to try and gain manufacturing efficiencies to better compete on cost and price with GM and Ford? They were a considerably smaller company in comparison during the time frame and it was obvious by then what volume disadvantage did to many of the Independents?
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