1967 Plymouth VIP: Plymouth Goes Brougham

The VIP displaced the Sport Fury as the top big Plymouth in 1966, one year after the LTD and Caprice. And just like its competition, the VIP had the soon-to-be-typical chrome additions, plusher interior, vinyl roof and wood-grained dash and door panels. Although clearly a member of the Fury line, the VIP received its own special brochure apart from the Sport Fury and Furys III, II and I. Initially available only as a four-door hardtop (a hardtop coupe came later), it was marketed as a Plymouth for folks who wanted the finer things in life. Despite gilding the lily of the already well-equipped Sport Fury, the VIP looked as good as any of the other 1966 Mopar full-sizers, thanks to design chief Elwood Engel’s attractive square-rigged styling.

But only about 12,000 were built, compared to over 100,000 LTDs and 181,000 Caprices. And while it was, in your author’s opinion, as attractive and well-appointed as its cross-town rivals, it never broke 20,000 units during its existence from 1966 to 1969. A shame.

But new plans were afoot for the ’67 model year. While the ’66 Plymouths were most attractive in your author’s opinion, their squared-off styling was a little out of style with the advent of GM’s swoopy 1965 Chevrolets.

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1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham: Ahoy Polloi!

I’ve always loved Cadillacs. It goes way back. As a kid, watching Magnum, P.I. and various and sundry 1970s movies like The Enforcer and Magnum Force, I was more interested in the bad guys’ Cadillacs chasing Magnum or being followed by Harry Callahan in his Custom 500. Starting with its inception in 1902 and continuing more or less through the Sixties, Cadillac produced well-built, well-finished, impressive–and expensive–cars.

Inside and out, wherever you looked you saw chromed, die-cast metal, leather, fine fabrics and extensive gadgetry. Smooth, quiet, powerful. That was Cadillac. Increasing safety regulations, increasing sales of Cadillacs (and the need to speed up production accordingly) meant that some of that very visible quality and integrity went down, just a little bit. But in 1970, Cadillacs still looked good, and provided proper motivation if one felt the need to mat the accelerator pedal.

The 1970 Cadillacs were mildly restyled versions of the 1969 models. In my opinion, the 1970 Cadillac is that uncommon event when a facelift actually winds up looking better than the original version.

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Car Show Tour: The 2019 Ettleson Cadillac Show

On June 22nd, I once more pointed the Cartier towards Chicagoland and yet another Cadillac show. This time, it was Ettleson Cadillac in Hodgkins, within sight of the Holiday Inn in Countryside we stayed at in the ’90s when my parents used to take us to the Chicago Auto Show.

Yes, I’d just been there a month prior, at the Shirey Cadillac show in Oak Lawn (covered here). But there are only two really good ’70s luxocruiser shows in the greater Chicago area, and these two are it. And unlike last month, my cochlear implant behaved itself and made no untoward noises that I mistook for weird car sounds. So much the better.

I arrived around 11:15, and quickly spotted Ron Schweitzer and Mike Risatti. Mike brought his 1960 Sedan de Ville, affectionately named Estelle, to the show. I had heard of the car, and seen pictures online, but this day was the first time I’d seen her in person. And she was sharp!

Mike added the Fleetwood wheel covers, technically incorrect, but they are correct for the model year. And they look great! The Aleutian Gray metallic paint paired with the dove gray interior was especially classy.

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1986 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera: Ya, But That TruCoat…

I grew up in Northwestern Illinois. Due to this, I am very familiar with the GM A-bodies, and Cutlass Cieras in particular. They were everywhere at the time. So were their brethren, the Chevy Celebrity, Pontiac 6000 (a friend of my dad’s bought a white 6000 STE brand new) and Buick Century. There were at least two Cutlass Cieras on my block circa 1985. They were as common on the streets as CR-Vs and Tahoes are today. Arguably, the most famous Cutlass Ciera was the tan 1988 Cutlass Ciera that Jerry Lundegaard gave the hit men as partial payment in the classic 1996 film, Fargo. Of course, that Oldsmobile was what ultimately led to everything going pear-shaped in spectacular fashion. An aside, if you haven’t seen this movie, go watch it right now. I’ll wait. OK, ready? Then let’s continue!

In Autumn ’81 the Cutlass Ciera first appeared, as a 1982 model. It had some very big shoes to fill, though the larger rear wheel drive Cutlass Supreme remained in the lineup. The Cutlass nameplate was Oldsmobile’s most successful in the 1970s, and the Cutlass Supreme coupe in particular was the undisputed best selling model in the lineup. The Cutlass was downsized in ’78, followed by a more aerodynamic restyling in 1981. It remained in the line with the addition of the Cutlass Ciera, however. It was the first time the Cutlass nameplate was applied to more than one car line. As the ’80s progressed, Cutlassization would run rampant over at Oldmsobile Division. Likely at its peril, but never mind that today.

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Road Test: Cadillac CT6 3.6L Luxury AWD

I’ve been wanting to try out a Cadillac CT6 ever since it was first announced and large, plush sedans started rolling into the inventory at McLaughlin Cadillac. They looked good, and combined with the also reintroduced Lincoln Continental, it seemed both remaining U.S. luxury makes once again had a proper flagship.

Oh sure, for many, the current flagships are the Escalade and the Navigator, but as a big fan of 1950s-1970s Cadillacs, Lincolns and Imperials, I have always, and will always, associate the top models with the vintage Fleetwood Broughams, Continentals and Town Cars, rather than anything truck-based.

Since both cars came onto the market, I’ve thought a modern ‘King of the Hill’ article would be pretty cool. For those too young to remember or not as into Brougham-era luxury as your author, back in the ’70s Motor Trend did several articles comparing the Cadillac Eldorado to the Continental Mark III, and later Mark IV.

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Mini Family Trucksters: Greenlight LTDs

The last several years, a lot of great new diecast has come along to warm my 1970s/1980s, Broughamified heart. Such as these most excellent Ford LTD Country Squire and LTD Crown Victoria station wagons, made in 1/64 scale by Greenlight Collectibles.

A few years back, Greenlight made a 1/64 scale version of the famous Wagon Queen Family Truckster from the unforgettable movie, Vacation. They even made it in other scales, 1/43, and a truly impressive 1/18 scale version, complete with pale blue luggage on the roof rack. But at the time I thought, and shared with friends who were similarly inclined, that it would be great if they were to do a bone stock LTD Country Squire as well.

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1973 Capri: Imported For Lincoln-Mercury

While Ford of England first marketed a Capri model in the early ’60s, the Consul Classic Capri, the first one offered in the United States appeared in 1970 and was sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealers. Often called a ‘Mercury Capri’, it really wasn’t. It was just the Capri, as borne out in all advertising and brochures. Sporty, affordable little imported coupes were hitting their stride in the early ’70s, and Ford wanted in on it.

By the time the Capri came to the US market, insurance premiums were beginning to have an effect on sales of cars like the Mustang, Javelin, Barracuda and others. In short order, your choices for coupes were down to two basic types: a big, landau roofed cruiser like the Monte Carlo or Grand Prix, or a small, sporty coupe such as the Capri, Opel Manta or Toyota Celica.

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1960 DeSoto Adventurer: The Forward Look was DeLovely

As recently as 1957, DeSoto had a great year, with over 117,000 finny Forward Look motor vehicles produced. Things came to a sudden stop in 1958. Thanks to the aforementioned ’58 recession, all car sales took a hit. But DeSoto still fared worse than the average bear, with sales dipping down to under 50,000 units.

1959 DeSoto-06-07 (800x513)

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Summer Approaches: The 2019 Shirey Cadillac Show

Yesterday marked the fifth year I have attended the Shirey Cadillac show in Oak Lawn, Illinois. It is unique in that most of the cars there are interesting and not common show fare. Sure, on occasion there is a hot rod, Mustang or 1957 Chevrolet, but they are a small fringe element to the Broughamage that is usually on display.

1977 Cutlass Supreme Brougham. All original with 24,000 miles.

And it’s always nice to see my fellow Chicagoland Cadillac club friends. I interact with them all the time online, but only see them 2-3 times in person per year.

Oh, and the dealership grills lunch for everyone, gratis. So. I get to eat, yak with my fellow Brougham aficionados, gawk at the cars, and take approximately 250-300 photos each year. What’s not to like?

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Summer In Racine: The LCOC Visits S.C. Johnson & Co.

During the Spring of 2018, I received my monthly newsletter from the Lake Shore Region of the LCOC-the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club. I’ve been a member since 2015. From April through October, there are many club events for the region, which consists of greater Chicagoland, and adjacent parts of Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin. What caught my eye was a planned June 16th trip to the S.C. Johnson Company’s headquarters, famously designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and constructed between 1936 and 1939, and its adjacent Tower, completed in 1950.

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