1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme: King of the Coupes

Today, the most popular new cars tend towards silver silvermist combover anonymity. Because, as you know, it is much better to have a car that does 17 things crappily rather than one that does one thing very well. But I digress. Things change. It’s a given, especially in the fickle car market. But approximately 45 years ago, the top selling cars in the land of the free were actually attractive. Due to having several in my family when I was a kid, I especially long for the 1976-77 Cutlass Supreme; in all likelihood, so do a number of people, as they set sales records in the ’70s and early ’80s. Luckily, I spotted a primo example at the Oldsmobile Nationals in Brookfield, Wisconsin back in 2015.

1976 Oldsmobile Mid-size and Compact-02-03

We’ve all heard the Colonnade story: In 1973, GM unveiled the new A-bodies. They were new and modern, but were festooned with the first 5-mph safety bumpers. And in certain quarters, draw a serious amount of ire from Monday morning quarterbacks. But at any rate, sporty muscle coupes were on the way out, with the world of Brougham taking over. The Cutlass coupes, in various S, Salon and Supreme forms, did quite well.

But in my opinion, they hit their stride in 1976, when an attractive new face and sheetmetal greeted visitors to Olds showrooms. The smooth sides (sedans and wagons retained the 73-75 fender blisters), quad rectangular lights and waterfall grille all looked great. It was a clean, attractive restyle, what one would call a near-luxury car today. For the up-and-coming young professional to announce his moving up in the world.

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Quick Look: 1973 Buick Riviera

Although it hasn’t actually arrived yet, last week my buddy Jason Bagge, AKA The Brougham Whisperer, agreed to acquire the grand set of wheels you see before you: A 1973 Buick Riviera.

The classic boat-tail Rivieras were built from 1971 to 1973, and there’s no mistaking them for anything else. Though they do have a slight resemblance to a middle-aged 1963-67 Corvette coupe. One who has invested well, married well, and drinks Scotch, plays golf and lives in the right neighborhood.

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1990 Cadillac Brougham: Classy in Cotillion White

Today’s classic Cadillac is owned by Bryan Wood of Chicagoland, and a fellow member of The American Brougham Society. No, not the group with the guy with the VW with the standup hood ornament, the one run by “That Hartford Guy” who owns a 1961 Cadillac Sedan de Ville and 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Coupe. Which reminds me, I should write his cars up too. Well! Some other time. Today, let’s keep the digressions to a minimum, haha.

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1978 Chrysler Newport Custom: Red, White and Brougham!

During the late ’70s, Chrysler Corporation found itself in dire straits. They were losing money hand over fist, their newest models, the 1976 Plymouth Volaré and Dodge Aspen, had serious quality issues and rust problems, their midsize Coronet and Fury were popular only with little old men, taxi operators and law enforcement, and there would be no relief in the form of a new product—in the form of the FWD Omni and Horizon–until 1978. And then there were the full-size yachts.

The redesigned full-size Dodge, Plymouth and Chrysler never really got a chance. Production was still in its early stages when the “oil shortage” caused by events overseas caused the sale of Big Three biggies to plummet rapidly. GM and Ford did not get hurt as bad as Chrysler due to their overall better shape and subcompacts like the Vega and Pinto. Stop laughing, they sold! If not for the tried and true-and stone reliable-Darts and Valiants, Chrysler Corporation may not have lived to fight another day. But at any rate, the C-body Mopars never regained the popularity they had had in the 1965-73 period.

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1965 Rambler Ambassador 880: How To Go Brougham in Kenosha

Found on eBay: Triple Yellow ’80 Fleetwood Brougham!

I’ve always loved triple yellow Cadillacs. And in its various guises from approximately the late ’60s to the early ’90s, it was always a classy color, in your author’s opinion. The matching pastel yellow leather interior was not always available each year, but it usually was. You’ve got to have the matching yellow leather and top for the full effect, you see. As a friend of mine once told me, you can’t drive a triple yellow Cadillac and not feel good. They’re so bright and cheerful!

So I was instantly infatuated this past Thursday morning when another Cadillac-obsessed friend, Ron Schweitzer, sent me a link to this fine Colonial Yellow 1980 Fleetwood Brougham. As Frank Costanza once said, hoochie mama!

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1979 Lincoln Continental Collector’s Series: Last Call

Today, your author will be yakking about the 1979 Collector’s Series. This car, and its Continental Mark V Collector’s Series companion model, marked the final versions of the lovely, large and in charge Lincoln Continentals of yore. These special editions celebrated the Great American Land Yacht, whose time was rapidly drawing to a close. Starting in 1980, both the Continental and the Mark would go on a crash diet, never again returning to such grand dimensions.

It was the end of an era, with the big, blowsy Chrysler New Yorker bowing out after 1978 and the muy grande Caddys in ’76 (although the big Eldorado and Toronado carried on through ’78 with their full dimensions, same as the New Yorker Brougham). Ford Motor Company held out the longest, perhaps due to Henry Ford II’s long-held disdain for little cars. Though he did have a customized Pinto at one point.

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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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