Here’s another round of the vintage insured photos I rescued from the recycle bin at the insurance company twenty-odd years ago. I saved them purely for the cars in the pictures, but nowadays I can appreciate the buildings too. Continue Reading →
Note: This originally ran on a site run by some dude who bought a Scion xB and painted the wheels red. I drove the car in late autumn 2013, when these were still fairly common as late-model used cars at Caddy dealerships. I’d just bought my 2000 Cartier (which is now living happily in Syracuse, NY with its new enthusiast owner). It was also the first car I drove with a heated steering wheel. 🙂 -TK
Once upon a time, Cadillac sold sedans and coupes, with French names and chrome and bench seats and stand-up hood ornaments. Today, they primarily sell glitzed up combovers and the Escalade-though they do still sell two sedan models. But you’d have been hard pressed to find them on Cadillac dealer lots even before the Chicom Chip Chaos Conundrum-but never mind that.
Yesterday was our first real dose of winter weather. Fortunately I didn’t have to go anywhere, so I rode it out online, over first a pot of coffee, and later, several screwdrivers.
As I was perusing I came across this most excellent ’78 Fleetwood Brougham. It’s in Buffalo, NY. I’ve always loved the 1977-79 downsized Cadillacs. Continue Reading →
So here it is, Christmas Eve Eve, as some may say. I spent the day picking up a pie for Christmas dinner (I don’t cook), hosing off the Lincoln (damn birds, damn berries!) and perusing FB for cars I don’t need or have room or patience for.
Many times in the past I’d think, “why didn’t someone take pictures of common things 30-40 years ago?” I would have loved to see pictures of my town in the 1960s and 1970s, especially the new and used car dealerships! (NOTE: This was before Facebook and all manner of ‘retro’ photo groups popped up.) Things can change so gradually that we don’t notice it until we’re confronted with scenes of normal life from 1991, 1982 or 1965.
Kewanee IL, 2/19/86
But wait! My first job in high school was microfilming closed files at my dad’s office. Today you can simply put a pile of paper into a scanner and it will be imaged into your computer in seconds, but back in the 1990s you used a microfilm camera. I would put a stack of paper on the tray, push the button, remove the sheet just photographed, then repeat. Over, and over.
Chrysler Corporation in the ’70s was a lot of peaks and valleys. As the ’80s approached and downsizing took hold at GM, Chrysler seemed headed for the junkyard thanks to gross incompetence, lack of money and lack of consumer confidence. They needed new, downsized big cars, but lacked money to develop and build them. Taking a page from GM’s use of the Colonnade as the platform for the new ’77 Caprice, Chrysler used the midsize Fury/Monaco chassis for the 1979 full-sizers, with Broughamtastic new sheetmetal and interior aping the ’76 Seville/’77 B- and C-body ‘sheer’ look. Unfortunately for Chrysler, and unlike GM, it didn’t translate to runaway sales success.
Along with Lincoln, Chrysler was a stubborn holdout when it came to downsizing. Even so, they knew that the 1978 New Yorker Brougham and Newport, while big and plush, were dated. With baroque styling and pillarless roofs, they seemed well behind the times next to fresh models like Chevrolet’s Malibu and Caprice–not to mention Chrysler’s own Diplomat and LeBaron models. But with no money available, what could be done?
Enter the B-body. Introduced in 1971, the Fury and Monaco B-bodies predated even the C-body Mopars. Six years later, most of their sales were to police departments that liked their big-block 440 power. Although these favorites of the constabulary left the scene in 1978, they didn’t entirely depart.
American Motors Corporation, like Studebaker, like Packard, like so many other long-gone automobile companies, breaks your heart. Sometimes I drive myself crazy with what-ifs: What if Roy Abernethy never became president of AMC? What if Packard never got tangled up with Studebaker? What if Studebaker hadn’t rolled over for the union and stockholders EVERY SINGLE TIME? But for this, but for that, could any of these marques have survived? By the same token, if different decisions had been made, would they have disappeared even earlier? If AMC hadn’t purchased Kaiser Jeep in 1970, would they have gone out of business in 1971-72? If Studebaker hadn’t suckered Packard into bailing them out and hidden their book cooking, would they have been toast by 1955? Who knows? But one thing is clear in AMC history: The 1974 Matador coupe was a costly mistake.
I’m sure a few remember this car. No, not the Cimarron in general. This exact car. I wrote it up earlier this year. At the time it was offered on Craigslist and in Middletown, CT. For a mere three grand. Well it’s back, now in New York, and the current bid is $7300.
Yes, so many expend so much vitriol on these. But I always liked them. Chalk it up to seeing one up close in 1988 at the Chicago Auto Show. In particular, the later ones like this ’86, with the composite headlamps, cladding, nice alloys and 2.8L V6. Was it still clearly a J-body GM product? Sure. But all the little refinements, especially to the nose and tail, made for a much more cohesive and upscale look, at least in your author’s opinion. Continue Reading →
My friend and fellow Cadillac nut Jayson Coombes sent me this link to another Fleetwood Brougham on ebay earlier this week.
Of course, I had to immediately investigate. It appears to be a nice, if not showroom new, with some rust creeping in on the door bottoms, but pretty solid for a forty two year old East Coast car. Claimed one owner car, which I’ve always thought a little disingenuous, since the classic car dealer wasn’t the one who bought it new. But I digress. Continue Reading →
My friend and fellow Cadillac fanatic Jayson Coombes urgently texted me a link to this triple orange (technically Andes Copper) 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Talisman the other day, the Broughamiest Brougham that ever Broughamed. Though no Brougham nomenclature was found on this Fleetwood special edition, available only in 1974, 1975 and 1976.
This one is currently being auctioned off on Hemmings, and has met its reserve of $20,000 already. A really remarkably nice example, judging from the photos. Continue Reading →