1970 Lincoln Continental Coupé – 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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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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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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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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