1969 was the final year for the classic ’60s Continental. Only gradual changes had been made to the car since its 1961 debut, and the center-opening doors lasted nine model years, before giving way to a larger, all-new Continental for 1970. So many cars changed drastically between 1961 and 1969, style-wise, but not the Continental. Even in its last year, it was smooth, elegant and impressive.
It’s the most expensive city in the world, and it can feel a little straitlaced to an American, but if I had the means to live anywhere Singapore would be at, or near, the top of my list. Danger Girl and I spent the last two weeks in Asia taking part in the EVO Enduro from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Phuket Island, Thailand and we took a couple of decompression days at the Marina Bay Sands to wind the whole thing up. It wasn’t super-cheap, and we didn’t have any friendly automakers to foot the bill for it, but I have no regrets.
Singapore is squeaky-clean and completely safe. It’s one of the least corrupt countries in the world, which feels like a breath of fresh air after watching Jeffrey Epstein “commit suicide” in a closely-observed prison cell. Incidentally, the Epstein murder is probably an all-time low point in the history of American governance, regardless of whether you think he was killed by Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, or Ehud Barak. It is also a damning indictment of the media which tells us that everything is a “conspiracy theory”. This guy had a private pedophile island and somehow he was able to get Bill Clinton to dismiss his Secret Service protection so the two of them could… play Magic:The Gathering? How far-fetched does “PizzaGate” seem right now? What about the Vince Foster and Seth Rich stuff? Is there any “conspiracy theory” out there that is more outrageous than what actually happened in and around Epstein’s circle of friends?
For Chrysler, just getting up off the canvas after the “plucked chicken” fiasco of 1962 was hard enough without Ford doing something crazy by dropping its Mustang bombshell on the market. What’s more, the personal-luxury coupe market was heating up by the day. So what was a beleaguered Chrysler to do? Fake it, that’s what. And do so with a memorable and venerable name.
The earliest Charger I remember (at least referring to something other than a hay-consuming equine) is this car, which a sporting band of Chrysler engineers campaigned on the drag strip. This car was the “High and Mighty” (actually a ’49 Plymouth). According to Alpar, it existed as seen above into late 1958. The original 354 truck engine, fitted with 392 heads, eventually gave way to an all-392 Hemi. Obviously, the car sacrificed aerodynamics on the altar of weight transfer and traction.
Here it is, the last ‘big’ AMC car. The Matador. Technically a midsize when it first appeared in 1971, alongside its slightly flossier, slightly longer Ambassador sibling. Essentially, the ’71 Matador was a facelifted 1967-70 AMC Rebel with a new front clip and name.
It became American Motors’ largest passenger vehicle after the Ambassador (itself a Matador with more chrome, fancier interior, and longer hood and front clip, but with the same interior dimensions) was cancelled after the 1974 model year.
Many, many folks have questioned why the ’74 Matadors got such a Jimmy Durante style facelift to go with its new 5 mph front and rear bumpers, with the pronounced proboscis of the grille jutting away from the front fenders and headlights. I’ve heard they simply wanted the car to look bigger. But for whatever reason, I’ve always liked these. The sedans, the woody station wagons, even the big, blowsy 74-78 Matador coupes. What can I say, I like the offbeat stuff!
Even today, in 2019, there are still local retailers. But as of late last month there is one less. Paul’s Discount, a small two-store chain in Iowa, finally closed the end of July. It wasn’t a fancy place, but it was an honest place. And their customers tended to be remarkably loyal. But times change, people change, profits dwindle despite busy stores. And progress, for better or worse, slows for no one.
I remember, years ago, my dad taking me to the Iowa City store after my annual check up at University Hospital. Years later, circa 1997-98 when I started driving myself around, I’d go up to Clinton in my ’91 Volvo 940SE, just to go for a ride, and check out the store there. Only those who remember being recently licensed to drive may understand why it was a thrill to drive thirty miles to a small city north of home base, with nothing much more than a few stores, a small downtown, a marina and GM and Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. It was a nice drive, along the river road from Davenport, via LeClaire and Princeton.
Let’s all laugh at the Chrome Camry, this jumped-up Kentucky prole-mobile with toothy delusions of grandeur. Let’s all take a moment to chuckle at the idea that this could be an upscale car in other markets. The idea that one would pay extra to ride in it, as was probably the case with this particular Camry spotted by me on the way back from yet another McDonald’s lunch in yet another foreign country. Isn’t that hilarious?
It’s definitely hilarious, as long as you don’t think too much or too hard.
Last Sunday I drove over to Dahl Ford in Davenport. One of the owner’s collector cars, a 1959 Fairlane 500 Galaxie Town Sedan, was being sold off to make room for-you guessed it-more vintage cars.
I found the unmistakable pink and black ’59 immediately! More on that car later, by the way, don’t worry.
But as is my wont, I wandered around the dealership for a while after, to see if there was anything else interesting. And in so doing, saw my first 2020 Explorer.
Note: Another post from my friend, Mike Batch Kirouac! -TK
On the Saturday before Christmas of 2012, my son and I went into town to pick up some last minute items for supper at the grocery store. As we walked through the parking lot, a beautiful, shiny white ’65 Plymouth Satellite rolled in, drove past us, and parked at the back of the lot. The burble of the engine told me it had a hopped-up big block.
NOTE: A friend of mine, Mike Batch Kirouac, who penned the Olds Diesel article earlier this year, has given me the green light on running some of his other posts from the other site. His favorite car is the 1966 Chrysler, and he owns several-which you’ll see more of in the near future. Enjoy. -TK
Elwood Engel left Ford Motor Company in 1961 to succeed Virgil Exner as head of styling at Chrysler. The 1965 Chrysler–which essentially evolved the Engel design language created for the 1961 Lincoln Continental–was his first “clean sheet” production car design for Chrysler. The 1966 refresh was, in my opinion, an improvement on the ’65s that provided greater differentiation between the base Newport (Windsor, in Canada), sporty 300 and high-end New Yorker models, all of which shared most of their sheet metal.
Rewind with me back to the very first “Bark’s Bites” column ever, a recap of the day after my Boss Track Attack experience in 2013. There are some points to add here—the “bar” was actually a strip club where barely concealed prostitution was widely occurring. Also, the paragraph about the “crazy drunk bitches” actually happened, but we decided to not include it in the original post, because it was actually US chasing THEM at 110 MPH because they pretended to stop with the intent of helping us, but then drove away laughing at pointing.
Salt Lake City is the most unique major metropolis in America. As somebody who travels for a living, who has visited nearly every state in the union, and who has just spent 72 hours in the capital of Utah this week, I feel qualified to make this statement.
It’s home to the spectacular Miller Motorsports Park, which is easily the most versatile motorsports facility in America. Every single person in the city is friendly-even the homeless man who helped me parallel park my 15-mile-on-the-odometer rental Chevy Captiva downtown. It’s virtually impossible to get drunk here-due to the seemingly 100% Mormon population, it’s illegal to sell a double, and the beer can’t be any more than 4% alcohol by volume. Upon my ascent to the highest lookout in the city, Ensign Trail, I was greeted by dozens of happy young college students who were debating the specific intent of biblical passages.
Clearly, I needed to get the f*** out of there.
Solution: head to the Bonneville Salt Flats Speedway, a hundred miles away and very close to the Nevada border.