The biggest single reason I’ve been so infatuated with cars from my earliest memories is due to the fact that I was born into a family of major gearheads. My ancestors were from Germany, and were coachbuilders. I mean actual coach builders, because their work pre-dated the automobile. They emigrated to the U.S. around the turn of the century, and initially settled in Chicago. A short time later they learned there were a lot of Germans in Rock Island, Illinois, and they moved there. And we’re still here!
I have been collecting model cars since I was a little kid. I just never outgrew it. It doesn’t hurt that there are lots and lots of cool models out there, both vintage and new. And so it was a couple weeks ago I drove up to Countryside, Illinois for a particularly good show, held twice a year. My primary goal was finding some Thunderbird dealership promotionals from the ’60s, but with shows like these, you never know what you will find. Or never knew existed and will immediately have to purchase.
Until 2014, I had nothing to do with Facebook. I just didn’t see the need for it, and I thought I had enough going on in my life already without having another way to kill multiple hours online. But then my friend Richard Bennett started The Brougham Society, a group dedicated to the landau-roofed, velour-lined, fender-skirted domestic yachts from the ’50s through the early ’90s. Due to that group, and my drifting away from writing for another non-FB old car site, I got involved with a number of other FB car-related groups, such as The American Brougham Society.and The Classic Lincoln & Continental Appreciation Society. And met a lot of great people. One of those people, Josh Noiles, is the proud owner of this 1960 Cadillac Series 62 six-window sedan in Inverness Green.
Once upon a time, back in the ’70s, there were full-sized cars. And unlike today, lots of people bought them. Single people, families, professionals, you name it. It was the Time Before SUVs And Combovers..Oops, I Mean Crossovers. People bought actual cars. True, there were SUVs and Jeeps and pickup trucks, but people who bought them back then were more likely to use them for something besides schlepping to work and dropping the kids off at school. There were, of course, any number of compact, subcompact and mid-sized cars, but back in 1976, there were still plenty of people who stepped up to a big Chevrolet. And the Caprice Classic was the Broughamiest of them all.
Remember when Volvos were boxy? It wasn’t so long ago, though if you were born after, say, 1995, you might not remember. The Volvo 140, introduced in 1966 as a ’67 model, was the first boxy Volvo, a square-rigged lineage that lasted all the way through the 2000-model Volvo S70 and V70.
Anyone who’s read my old car posts over the years will know that I’m not shy about talking Cadillacs and Lincolns. While some prefer to vent their spleen complaining about past foibles, be they foreign or domestic rolling stock, I prefer to accentuate the positive. And in 1981 there was still a lot going for Cadillac. Though the high rolling years of the ’50s through the ’70s were about to change, and it was a sharp learning curve. Continue Reading →
Remember Oldsmobile? Sure you do. Well, most people born before 1990 do at any rate. As a kid in 1980s Illinois, my neighborhood was full of them. There was the next door neighbor’s daughter’s beige Cutlass Cruiser station wagon, with wire wheel covers. Her husband had a metallic root-beer brown Custom Cruiser. Across the street and two doors down lived a cedar metallic 1982 Cutlass Ciera Brougham. About a block away, a friend’s mom had a white FWD Firenza hatchback. Expanding further outward, one of my classmate’s parents had a triple burgundy Cutlass Supreme coupe, and both my aunt and a cousin had a 1976 Cutlass Supreme Brougham and ’77 Cutlass Supreme coupe, respectively. So yes, I am familiar with the make, even now, over a dozen years after the marque’s demise. But what I remember best are not the Aleros, Auroras and Bravadas seen in the make’s final years, but the plush, velour- and leather-lined gunboats of the ’70s. Like the Ninety-Eight Regency. Continue Reading →
It’s funny, ever since I stopped regularly writing two years or so ago, I keep stumbling on old photo files and finding cars shot years ago that I totally forgot about. Whenever I see an interesting old car, I get all excited and think “I will write this up tonight! It’s so cool!” Then three or four years go by. Such is the case with this 1969 full-size Plymouth. Continue Reading →
Was 1976 Peak Brougham? Perhaps it was. Sure, the phenomenon of V8, RWD luxocruisers with crushed velour and landau tops went on for decades after, but in ’76, it was everywhere, and in screw the fuel economy, fully full-sized form. Also, it was the last year for the gigantic Eldorado convertible.
Anyone out there remember when there were luxury versions of pony cars? Yes, pony cars. Please don’t call them muscle cars. The term, ‘muscle car’ has been overused to the point of irrelevancy. No, a 460-powered ’72 Thunderbird is NOT a muscle car, and neither is a 1975 Country Squire. Neither is a Maverick or V8-powered Chevy Monza. Yes, I have heard a Maverick-A MAVERICK, for Pete’s sake!-been referred to as a muscle car. Nope. No. Wrong wrong wrong! Now where was I?