1972 Buick Electra Custom Limited – The Fabled Deuce And A Quarter

In 1972, Buick Motor Division’s top of the line series, the Electra, entered its fourteenth year. The Deuce and a Quarter, so named by its many fans due its impressive length of two hundred and twenty five inches. The luxury Buick was always a fine choice in full size cars, and even in the early 1970s it still held its head high as the car of doctors, lawyers and other professionals who wanted comfort, quality and reliability, speaking quietly of their wealth instead of shouting it with a Cadillac.

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1970 Continental Mark III – Iacocca’s Crowning Triumph

Mr. Lido A. Iacocca is a polarizing figure. For some, he took all the glory, imposed his will at his own peril, and took credit for the work of others. Alternately, he was a super salesman, made his career from nothing, created some new market segments no one else had ever thought of, and saved a car company at the brink of being toast. Few are neutral about the man. But I fall a bit more into the latter camp, and the subject of today’s daily dose of Lincoln is why: The magnificent Continental Mark III.

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1970 Lincoln Continental Coupe’ – New Decade, New Car

1970 was a big year for Lincoln-Mercury. The Continental Mark III was a sales success, the recently refreshed Marquis/Monterey were strong sellers, the final performance Cougars, namely the 1970 Eliminator and XR7, went on sale, and there was a new Continental. Yes, the 1961 Continental had single-handedly saved the marque from oblivion, and its clean, classic lines and throwback center-opening doors made it an icon of the 1960s.

1963 Lincoln Continental

And the look was deftly maintained throughout the decade. These new Sixties Continentals looked nothing like prior Lincolns, and especially unlike the enormous 1958-60 models. Sounds a lot like 2017, when the new Continental appeared, doesn’t it? But I digress.

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1976 Mercedes-Benz 280C – Teutonic Hardtop

The final piece of the puzzle in Mercedes-Benz’s total revitalization of their lineup design-wise was the W114/W115 series of sedans and coupes. The ‘New Generation’ finalized the form of Mercedes’ new styling direction led by M-B designer Paul Bracq for the Sixties and well into the Seventies. This transformation of M-B’s look from slightly rounded Fifties full-fenderedness to sleek, smooth Sixties modernism began with the finless 220SEb coupe and cabriolet in The Year of Our Lord, 1961.

And it made sense to start with those models. The 220SE coupe and cabriolet were the top of the line. As many manufacturers have proved over the years, it is always better to introduce a new look on your top-of-the-line car. If you do it back-asswards, you will probably hear many a customer remarking loudly how the new Belchfire Eight Super looks suspiciously similar to the half-as-expensive Hiccup Custom Four.

1969 Mercedes-Benz 220

And so it was that the W114 and W115 were the final recipients of the look that started on the 220SEb, sporting 230SL and uber-fancy 600 earlier in the decade. However, despite the presence and popularity of the diesel 220D and 240D models (taxi luxury for Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight money!) you could get a very nice version of this car, if you ponied up for the 250 (later on, the 280), which featured real leather, real wood, and a straight six gasoline engine.

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1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo – The Chevelle Goes Brougham!

This is the car that brought personal luxury to the masses. The 1970-72 Monte Carlo. Sure, personal-lux coupes had been around for years, but generally they were flossier high-end cars. Cars like the first of its type, the Ford Thunderbird, which had more or less set the mold in 1958 with its low-slung lines, bucket seats and soon-to-be-ubiquitous center console.

1963 Pontiac Grand Prix

Other makes immediately set their sights on the T-Bird, with cars like the Pontiac Grand Prix, Buick Riviera, and Oldsmobile Toronado. A case can be made for the 1967 Mercury Cougar as well, with its luxury touches, but really, it was still Mustang-derived and thus a ponycar, not a personal luxury car. Yes indeed, luxury coupe mania spread like wildfire throughout the Sixties, but there really were no offerings for the “Low Priced Three”, Chevrolet, Ford and Plymouth. Until 1970.

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1977 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Landau – New And Improved!

1977 was a big year for GM. Their full-size cars, their moneymakers, their bread and butter, were completely revitalized. The short version is downsizing, but it really was more than that. It was very nearly a new kind of car. All the growth and weight in pursuit of longer, lower and wider, which had been progressing since the 1950s, came to a full stop. Yet the 1977 B- and C-body GM cars had a style of their own, but with a dash of practicality. They were smaller, lighter and more efficient, but actually had better interior room and trunk space. Not a bad deal. And of course the lion’s share of these new cars came from Chevrolet. And for those with Cadillac tastes but a more modest budget, you couldn’t go wrong with a Caprice Classic.

The 1977 B-body’s development and history are well-known and worth a post of its own (one of these days, perhaps), but for now, let’s just focus on the two-door version of the Chevrolet. The ’77 full-size Chevy coupe was initially available in Caprice Classic and Impala flavors, as had been the case for years, though the two cheaper big Chevrolets, the Biscayne and the Bel Air, had both disappeared by the mid-Seventies. The coupe and the sedan shared a 116″ wheelbase, a fact touted in ads like the one above. Yes, stretch-out room for rear seat passengers was not a problem. A far cry from personal-luxury coupes of just a couple years earlier; Mark IV and Thunderbird, I’m looking at you.

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1988 Peugeot 405 S – Au Revoir, Lion

The U.S. market can be a funny, unpredictable thing when talking about various imported motor cars. Take the Peugeot 405, for instance. This is a car that one would have seen all over the place in Europe, but rarely in North America, even when they were still new cars. Of course, all markets have its preferences. I’d wager that there were damn few Cadillac Broughams or Chrysler Fifth Avenues in Nice or Paris. The new 405 was Peugeot’s last try in cracking the U.S. car market’s potentially lucrative nut.

In July 1987, the 405 made its first appearance as an ’88 model. The mid-sized, front wheel drive 405 sedan and estate had been originally slated to replace the venerable RWD 505. Peugeot, however, demurred, and decided to sell the 505 alongside the 405 for a few more years, much as Volvo kept the 240 around after the 740/760 began production. The 405 sedan became available to Francophiles in October of 1987; the station wagon arrived several months later, in May of 1988.

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1963 Mercedes-Benz 230SL – Oh Lord, Won’t You Buy Me A Pagoda?

The Mercedes-Benz 230SL, internally designated the W113, was the company’s first sports car of the 1960s. Without doubt, M-B had designed some fine postwar cars, and the Fintail sedans were quite modern for their time (well, except for the…fins). In 1961, Mercedes sent the finned look packing, starting with the W111 coupes and cabriolets, which reflected a clean, linear, and very modern design language. Meanwhile, the 300SL and 190SL were getting somewhat long in the tooth, and Mercedes decided it was time to apply Paul Bracq’s classic lines to their roadster. And here it is. The Pagoda.

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1979 Cadillac Phaeton Sedan – Broughamtastic Perfection in Chicagoland

2015 was a big year for me. Not in home and hearth (I haven’t moved since 2002) nor at work (been at the same place, happily, since 2013), but in other matters. For starters, I left CC. Why? Easy. The guy who runs the site became insufferable. Let’s leave it at that. As a result of that voluntary departure, I decided that 2015 was going to be “the summer of George!” It was going to be my year. I was going to do what I wanted. So I did. I joined the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club, went on a club meet to the Pabst Mansion in Milwaukee (and had a blast!), bought a second Town Car, and met a lot of terrific people I had previously only known via Facebook. Case in point: The 2015 Shirey Cadillac show in Oak Lawn, Illinois (convenient to the City of Chicago).

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1968 Ford T5 – Ein Pony Mit Einem Anderen Namen

Wait a minute, you may be thinking to yourself, what’s up with the title? That’s a Ford Mustang, anyone can see that, for crying out loud! Well, you are half right. I almost walked right past this car at the AACA show back in June of 2013, but then I noticed something interesting, and stopped for a closer look.

Well, you could forgive me for walking on by. I mean it’s a Mustang. Hey, I like Mustangs. But you certainly see a lot at car shows and cruise nights, to the point where they start disappearing from your vision. Your brain, overloaded on red Mustangs, Corvettes and Camaros, tells you “Just another damn Mustang, move along pal!” But this one was different. And something I’d never known about.

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