1968-69 Skylark Custom: Wouldn’t You Really Rather Have A Buick?

Remember the Skylark? It kind of got lost over the last thirty-odd years of collector- and muscle-car mania, with Chevelle SSs and Pontiac GTOs hogging all the glory. Heck, even Oldsmobile has gotten more press with the 442, and the Vista Cruiser is even today relatively fresh in people’s minds, thanks to That ’70s Show. But what about Buick? I’m glad you asked…

Naturally, Buick was the flashiest and finest of the midsizers, with its premium reputation. And while the GS and later wild GSX are better known, the rest of the Buick bunch seem to be notably absent at shows and cruise nights these days.

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1969 Lincoln Continental: Pure Class

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.

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1978 AMC Matador Sedan: Triple Black Project

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!

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Road Test: 2019 Cadillac XTS Luxury

Here it is, the last Sedan de Ville. Well, for all intents and purposes. As I’m sure you’ve heard, production of the Cadillac XTS, which replaced the Northstar V8 powered 2007-2011 DTS, is ending sometime in October of this year.

And it will end close to thirty-five years of production of full-sized, front wheel drive Cadillacs. Most people won’t notice, most people would prefer an XT5 or XT4, if they’re shopping Cadillacs at all. But I’ll notice. I liked these cars. And I’ll miss them when they’re gone.

When the XTS first appeared as a 2013 model, I thought it was a nice car. From its swept-back, almost fastback-like rear end, it reminded me a bit of the neoclassical 1980-85 Cadillac Seville, Bill Mitchell’s swan song at General Motors. I even tested a 2014 for the old website, and enjoyed it very much. Over the intervening five years, I half kept an eye on XTS certified pre-owned trade-ins at McLaughlin Cadillac, in case they get one in in pearl white or ruby red with the creme leather interior. So far, the right one hasn’t appeared. But I remain vigilant.

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1969 Cadillac Eldorado Dealer Promotional: I Love Gooooold!

So, if you read Parts I and II of my Ettleson Cadillac car show posts, you’ll know I was in Chicagoland about a month ago. I always take Interstate 80, and if they are still open when I pass by on the way home, I always stop by the Peru Antique Mall, clearly visible from 80 itself, in Peru, IL. When I attended the Shirey Cadillac show on Memorial Day weekend, I discovered and bought a 1971 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado dealer promo there.

At that time, there was also a gold 1969 Fleetwood Eldorado promo sitting right next to it in the showcase.

Sharp, but no taillights. Dagnabit!

But I picked the ’71 as it was missing only its stand-up hood ornament, while the ’69 had both taillights absent.

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1966 Chevrolet Caprice: Top Of The Heap

Since 1958, the Impala had been Chevrolet’s top of the line model. When Ford added the luxurious LTD package to the Galaxie 500 for the 1965 model year, Chevy quickly responded with the Caprice. Both nameplates started out as a luxury trim level but would become full-fledged models in short order.

In 1965, the Caprice nameplate made its first appearance. Limited only to the Sport Sedan four-door hardtop body style.

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Ettleson Cadillac Part II: Second Helping of Broughams

You knew it was going to happen. I took approximately 335 pictures at this show, so I was pretty sure one round wasn’t going to do it!

And although the earlier post on this event was all Cadillac, all the time, Buick owners were also invited to bring their cars, so we’ll see a few of Flint’s finest for this round. Enjoy the ride!

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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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