Southwest Chrome, Part II

As I mentioned in the original post (check it out here, if you missed it), a friend of mine, and fellow car nut, attended the auctions in the Scottsdale area a while back.

1957 Cadillac Coupe de Ville, Barrett-Jackson

She took tons of pictures of actual cool cars, rather than the usual cable-TV assortment of muscle cars, restomods, hot rods and late-model Corvettes. As before, this is pretty much a photo tour. The cars speak for themselves. Enjoy.

1959 Chevrolet Impala, Barrett-Jackson

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1978 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham: Curtain Call For The C-Body

Sometimes, a name can be more important to success than the actual thing itself-at least when it comes to cars. Chrysler’s premium Cadillac fighter, the Imperial, a separate marque from 1955-1975, is such an example. Intended to move Chrysler Corporation more into Cadillac and Lincoln territory, it never really took off despite attractive design and plenty of luxury features. But for many, it was always a “Chrysler Imperial,” and thus not as prestigious as a Continental or Fleetwood Brougham. That was what ultimately brought the Imperial as a marque to a grinding halt in 1975. Funny thing, though. The car itself continued. As the ‘new’ Chrysler New Yorker Brougham.

The chronic Mopar misfortune held steady through the ’70s. In 1974, all their new full-size C-bodies, from the Plymouth Fury to the Imperial LeBaron, were redone with more formal and Broughamier sheetmetal. Although not drastically different size-wise from their fuselage predecessors, they looked bigger. And when the gas crisis hit in late 1973, just as the ’74s were debuting, Chrysler got screwed–again. Despite the company’s continuing bad luck, all their new models were attractive despite styling cribbed directly from GM–something especially noticeable in the Plymouth Fury’s Oldsmobile 88 cues, and in the Dodge Monaco, which looked suspiciously like a 1973 Buick LeSabre.

At the top of the heap was the C-body full-size Imperial LeBaron, arguably the most attractive car of the bunch–as well it should have been, considering its premium $7,200-7,800 pricing. The Imperial’s 124″ wheelbase was the same as lesser New Yorkers and Newports, but the car itself was longer overall and featured exclusive hidden headlights; button-tufted upholstery, in velour or optional leather; and four-wheel disc brakes.

But it didn’t sell: After selling just 14,483 1974 models and a mere 8,830 ’75s, the Imperial finally left the building. Well, until 1981, but that’s a story for another time. Continue Reading →

Jason’s New Ride: 1977 Royal Monaco Brougham

My buddy in Spokane, Jason Bagge, AKA That ’70s Car Guy, AKA The Brougham Whisperer, has found yet another remarkably well-preserved land yacht. This time, it’s the C-body Dodge Monaco, made famous on The Blues Brothers.

“They broke my watch!” “You want out of this parking lot? OK!” “You traded the Cadillac for this?” “Hi! you want to hand me the mike? Thanks a lot. Uh, this is car number…what number are we?” “Five five.” “Car fifty five. Uh, we’re in a truck!”

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Southwest Chrome: A Virtual Auction Tour

A friend of mine from Sweden recently decided to take off and go to the recent auctions in Scottsdale. She had an absolutely fantastic time, and took many photos. You see, these days, to get the full effect, you actually need to attend these soirees, because on TV, all you see are 1969 Camaros, 1969 Camaros, Mustangs, hot rods, 1969 Camaros, Corvettes, 1969 Camaros and more hot rods. And 1969 Camaros. In between ten minute commercial breaks, that is.

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

If one only watched the increasingly deteriorating coverage of Barrett-Jackson and their brethren auctions, one could conclude that 98% of the content are resto-modded, Resale Red claptrap.

1959 Thunderbird

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Quick Look: Argentine Falcons

My buddy, K V Dahl, whose 1960 Chrysler New Yorker convertible was featured right here on RG a couple years ago, loves to travel. I’ll see him at the dealership on a Tuesday (as I did recently, while test driving a final-run 2019 Flex SEL), then Friday, he’s in Miami, then the following Wednesday, he’s in Rio.

He gets around, for sure. But the best part is he sees cars not often seen in the contiguous United States. Such was the case earlier this evening, when he texted me this picture of a burgundy ’80s/early ’90s Ford Falcon.

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Mini Longroof: 1976 Grand LeMans Safari by Greenlight

One of the things that has gotten me excited the past few years is how many of the current diecast model companies have been releasing makes and models I never, ever expected to be produced in scale. Cars from the ’70s and ’80s that weren’t Camaros, Mustangs and Corvettes. Cars I remember from my childhood and various and sundry ’80s TV shows watched in my formative years.

Case in point. Greenlight has recently released the Colonnade Pontiac LeMans wagon in several different versions. They’ve even released a wagon version of Buford T. Justice’s Montague County, TX LeMans. Yes, really, I saw one at Hobby Lobby last week.

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Quick Look: 1973 Imperial LeBaron Coupe

I’ve always loved Imperials. That finest Mopar of them all, they lived as a separate marque a la Cadillac and Lincoln from 1955 to 1975. Though starting in the early ’70s, Chrysler Corporation started sneaking ‘Chrysler’ onto the cars and into advertising, perhaps to brace loyal customers for the inevitable.

Imperials were always rare, plush, giant cars, but by the early 1970s, they were especially scarce, at least when compared to contemporary Cadillacs and Lincolns. After 1975, the Imperial marque was a done deal (unless you count the bustle-back, rebodied Cordoba or EEK restyled, Fifth Avenue-based 1990-93 model). Perhaps the rarest of the rare was the Fuselage body 1969-73 two-door hardtop. With most likely the biggest quarter panels, ever. They’re just about my favorite Imperial. But I’ve only ever seen one in the metal. This one.

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1965 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight: Maximum Mitchell

When Bill Mitchell took over GM Design in the late ’50s, his presence was felt almost immediately in the new GM cars, particularly in the 1961 models. Simple, clean elegant lines were his forte, when compared to the brash, wild and bechromed chariots favored by his predecessor, the unforgettable Harley Earl.

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1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham d’Elegance: Be Still, My Heart!

Well, you know the drill. I love these 1971-1976 Cadillacs, particularly Fleetwood Broughams, Fleeetwood d’Elegances, and Fleetwood Talismans. Sure you do. I’ve written up no less than three of them, here, here and here. So I’ll dispense with the background information and history on these.

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The New Chevrolets, 42 Years Later

This past summer, I had a need, as I often do, for frozen Jewel-brand Supreme pizzas, Gordon’s gin, Canada Dry tonic water, and other miscellaneous must-have household items. As is my wont, I headed over to the nearby Jewel-Osco to restock, and as I parked, what did I spy, but this rough but still running silver-over-gray 1977 Caprice Classic sedan. Rough. But still with us!

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