2000 Lincoln Town Car Cartier: Of McCarthy, Broughams And Other Things

Note: Four years ago, on October 14, 2013, I bought my first domestic car, after nearly twenty years of driving Volvos. This was originally published on the other site, but I thought it was time to move it over here, in a revised and expanded version! Four years, 40,000 miles added to the clock, and I’m still pretty happy with this car. I liked it enough that I now have two of them, so I guess it made an impression.

As purchased, Autumn 2013.

One of the things that slowly but surely happened when I started writing about old cars in late 2011 was that, despite being a car nut since I was approximately two years old, I finally started thinking about getting an old or at least older car of my own. Despite my love of 1977-79 Pontiac Bonnevilles (Dad had one) and 1990-92 Cadillac Broughams (no one had one, I just love them), the right car was apparently looking for me, and found me. One nice thing about acquiring an extra car I don’t need is that I have no wife or girlfriend to say, “oh no you don’t!” Hey, wait a minute. I don’t need spousal/significant other approval! I have the money. I can do whatever the hell I want! So I bought a 2000 Lincoln Town Car. Continue Reading →

1965 Rambler Ambassador 990 Convertible – You Had Me At Green!

I have a real love for the 1965-66 Rambler Ambassadors. Part of that may be due to my chance encounter with a metallic lilac ’65 sedan back in the ’90s (a story told once before; I’ll share it here on RG eventually) but the plain truth is I find them very clean and elegant. It was 1965, the Big Three were at the top of their game, BUT even little Wisconsin-based AMC fielded an attractive line. The arguably frumpy cars of the late Fifties were banished, and clean, smooth lines were in evidence throughout the line. The luxury Ambassador convertible was the top of the heap. And if you happened to have one in Woodside Light Green with a white top and green interior? Holy cow! I’m in.

Many years went by before I discovered the 1965 Ambassador and Classic were not all-new, as I had previously assumed, (blame over-the-top Sixties braggadocio and advertising) but were in fact heavily facelifted 1963-64 models. While it can be seen in the rooflines–particularly on the two-door hardtops (damn, how did I not notice that?!), the middle-tier Classic and upper-crust Ambassador both looked new, modern and attractive. I especially like the Ambassador’s stacked headlights and peaked fenders. Did the top-tier wonks in Kenosha know Cadillac was going for quad stacked headlamps in ’65, or was it just a happy coincidence? At any rate, they looked great.

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1977 Mercury Marquis and Marquis Brougham – Ride-Engineered by Lincoln-Mercury!

The last few years of Mercury’s existence, say 2005-2010, were painful to watch. Though the marque had a pretty consistently bumpy road through the years (cheap Lincoln or fancy Ford?), there were still some interesting cars. Who could forget the loaded, tri-tone 1957-58 “senior” Park Lanes, 1967-68 Cougars and the fastback Cyclones of the late Sixties? Or the full-on Broughamtastic Marquis, which first appeared in 1967 as the top-drawer big Mercury? Heck, the Marquis pretty much WAS Mercury the last decade of its existence. So let’s take a look of some of its Seventies forebears, shall we?

The 1977 Marquis was essentially the same as the 1975 Marquis. The main difference was that in 1977 most of its competition had gone on a crash diet and turned out leaner, meaner, and yet more space efficient as well.

And “The New Chevrolet” and its siblings sold like dollar beer at the ball game. What to do? Simple: Improvise.

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1986 Lotus Turbo Esprit – If It Has A Burglar Alarm, Just Leave It Alone

Here is a highly uncommon sight here in the Midwest, at least outside of big cities like Chicago, Des Moines or St. Louis. Spotting a Lotus Turbo Esprit in the small town of Geneseo, IL (pop. 6,586), a mere twenty minute drive from the Quad Cities, is a rather rare experience.

If, like me, you grew up in the totally awesome 1980s, your most vivid memory of the Esprit could be of the white S1 from the film The Spy Who Loved Me. Kind of funny, thinking a British car could be watertight, eh? Ha! I guess Q Branch had really stepped up their game. “Now 007, we’ve installed rather numerous gaskets and grommets to ensure your car will stay leak-free. Do try not to destroy it this time!”

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What Was Your First Automotive Mishap?

My first mishap with a car was with my first car, a 1991 Volvo 940 SE, black over tan, with sunroof. I was eighteen, had only been driving a few months due to health issues, but LOVED driving. So much so, on occasion I would get up really early, like before sunrise, to take the car for a ride before school. I remember several instances where I’d sneak the car out about 5:30 (so as not to wake anyone up and ask me why I was doing a damfool thing like going for a drive at 5 AM), go for a ride around town listening to the oldies station, and then head back, get my school crap and head off to Alleman High School.

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1960 Chrysler New Yorker Convertible – Simply Sensational

For some reason, I’ve always skewed toward American luxury cars. With the exception of Porsches and Volvos, that is-blame my parents and their cars for that one. But as a kid, watching 1980s TV, I always wanted the black Cadillacs, Town Cars and Fifth Avenues the bad guys drove, not Magnum’s 308GTB or Michael Knight’s talking Trans Am. You can probably blame that one on my grandparents, my Grandma Ruby’s 1977 Thunderbird and Grandpa Bob’s navy blue 1977 Continental Mark V saw to it.

One of the earliest memories I have of car shows was when my mom and dad took me to the June Jamboree, a car show and festival in town back in about 1986 or 1987. I would have been about seven. The only car I remember, and have strong memories of, was a gigantic black 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special. Even more imposing when you’re four feet tall.

Fast forward thirty years and I still love vintage domestic lux rolling stock. And with all my car buddies near and far, I never know what I’ll get to check out next. Case in point: K V Dahl, a friend of mine who just happens to also be the local Ford dealer, got a blue 1962 Continental convertible about a year ago. I’ve been wanting to write it up for a while, and though I had some pictures of it, I wanted to get some beauty shots of the car sitting outside. K V said we could definitely do that. So back in May I called him up and said, “Hey, I’d like to get some shots of the Connie sometime this week if you’re around.” To which he responded, “Well sure, but you should see what I got this week in Indianapolis!” “What?” “A 1960 New Yorker convertible. It’s sitting out front of the dealership right now. Wanna stop by?” *long pause* “I’m on the way!”

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1969 Porsche 912 Targa – Porsches Run In The Family!

Note: This was the very first article I wrote about old cars that was published online, back in August 2011. Not unsurprisingly, it is about a Porsche. Now that I have a couple of hundred articles under my belt, it has been redone and prettied up from its original iteration. -TK

My father is a Porsche guy, more specifically a 356 Porsche guy. He had them before he was married and before us kids came along, including several 356s-a 1951 Cabriolet, two 1960 Roadsters, and a 356C coupe, along with many parts cars. He’s been a member of the 356 Registry since the mid-’70s, and still has most of the magazines. In the early years of the new Millennium, he had settled down with one 356B Roadster and his daily driver, a midnight blue 2001 Carrera.

My mother was used to cars coming and going over the past thirty-five years. Heck, back when they were dating in the early 1970s he regularly stashed a parts car behind her parents’ house. Above picture is from about 1973. Even that toasty light gray Roadster would be worth big bucks now! But back then it was just a rusty, crusty $100 parts car.

But no new (or rather, additional) Porsches had entered the family for quite some time. The 356B Roadster had been in the family since 1988. Bought as an engine-less basket case, a friend restored it in his spare time when he wasn’t at his day job at the body shop of the local Buick-Dodge-Mazda dealer. But then one evening in the spring of 2003 she mentioned that there was an old Targa parked with a For Sale sign on 30th Street in Rock Island. Dad drove over, checked it out, then called the number in the window. In short order, he found out it was being sold by an old friend from high school.

He and Dan had gone on a road trip to Denver right after high school graduation in his new 1970 Boss 302, where they had the chrome Magnum 500 wheels stolen in a parking garage and left on jack stands. Fun! He had to call my grandfather and have money wired to get new wheels and tires from the Ford dealer in town. So yes, they go back quite a few years. So he bought the 912. Mom was less than thrilled.

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1971 Ford Thunderbird Landau Sedan – Thunderbrougham

The Ford Thunderbird underwent multiple personality changes throughout its life. What started out as a two-seat convertible had, by the time the fifth-generation Thunderbird debuted in the autumn of 1966, become a much different automobile. Sure, it was still flashy and typically loaded with power gadgets, but one thing was missing for the first time since the first T-Birds appeared: A convertible top.

Well, the writing had been on the wall for some time, with topless T-Bird sales dropping across several previous years. Indeed, by the early ’70s nearly all the topless cars built in the Land of the Free were gone, or on borrowed time. But what to replace it with? The answer was — believe it or not — a four-door sedan.

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2018 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription – Swedish Brougham

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve always had a thing for Volvos. My parents always had them when I was a kid. The earliest cars I remember riding in were Mom’s ’73 1800ES and ’77 245DL wagon, and Dad’s ’81 DL two-door sedan. All through the ’80s, Mom had a Volvo wagon and Dad had a Volvo sedan.

Dad’s new 740 Turbo, circa summer 1988.

Probably my favorite was my father’s 1988 740 Turbo Sedan. Fire engine red, tan leather, blackout trim, five-spoke alloys and sunroof. Now that was excellent!

The 940SE at Lake Carroll, late ’90s.

So it may come as no surprise that my first car was a Volvo, and my second, and my third. The first one was my dad’s former company car, a 1991 940SE Turbo.

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1979 Cadillac Seville – A Sheer Vision In Colonial Yellow

Note: This was originally going to be the last article I wrote for CC at the end of 2014. I had had enough issues with certain persons and certain personalities that I’d decided to move on. But I left this in the queue as an appropriate swan song for my scribblings there, since I am such a fan of classic domestic luxury cars. Well, lo and behold, a day or so before it was to run, it was de-scheduled. Then deleted. Classy. Fortunately, I’d saved a copy to my own computer. It ran on another site several months later, but as a low traffic site, most likely few people saw it. And now that I’ve thoroughly bored you, here it is, with a couple of tweaks. Enjoy! And Brougham on. -TK

I am a big fan of the Cadillac Seville. Why? It was gorgeous, it was a way to get new customers for Cadillac dealers, while retaining those owners getting a bit tired of their Nimitz-class offerings, and it not only inaugurated the successful Sheer Look, it also did so with that elusive Jaguar way, with grace and pace.

The Seville’s genesis goes back to the early ’70s, when demand for a “smaller Cadillac” caused the GM prestige division to think about a new model. In fact, the earliest styling bucks for the Seville circa 1973 looked remarkably like that of the Hooper-inspired 1980-85 Cadillac Seville.

But fortunately, a leaner, smoother design and, in your author’s opinion, rather timeless design was selected, and was a breath of fresh air in Cadillac dealerships. Here was a cleanly styled flagship (only the Fleetwood limousines cost more) that had fuel injection and manageable size, yet retained all the luxury features that Cadillac owners, a loyal bunch, expected.

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