1967 Dodge Charger: Chrysler’s Marlin!

For Chrysler, just getting up off the canvas after the “plucked chicken” fiasco of 1962 was hard enough without Ford doing something crazy by dropping its Mustang bombshell on the market. What’s more, the personal-luxury coupe market was heating up by the day. So what was a beleaguered Chrysler to do? Fake it, that’s what. And do so with a memorable and venerable name.

The earliest Charger I remember (at least referring to something other than a hay-consuming equine) is this car, which a sporting band of Chrysler engineers campaigned on the drag strip. This car was the “High and Mighty” (actually a ’49 Plymouth). According to Alpar, it existed as seen above into late 1958. The original 354 truck engine, fitted with 392 heads, eventually gave way to an all-392 Hemi. Obviously, the car sacrificed aerodynamics on the altar of weight transfer and traction.

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The 1966 Chryslers: Sheer Perfection

NOTE: A friend of mine, Mike Batch Kirouac, who penned the Olds Diesel article earlier this year, has given me the green light on running some of his other posts from the other site. His favorite car is the 1966 Chrysler, and he owns several-which you’ll see more of in the near future. Enjoy. -TK

Elwood Engel left Ford Motor Company in 1961 to succeed Virgil Exner as head of styling at Chrysler.  The 1965 Chrysler–which essentially evolved the Engel design language created for the 1961 Lincoln Continental–was his first “clean sheet” production car design for Chrysler.  The 1966 refresh was, in my opinion, an improvement on the ’65s that provided greater differentiation between the base Newport (Windsor, in Canada), sporty 300 and high-end New Yorker models, all of which shared most of their sheet metal.

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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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1966 Ford Galaxie 500: Yep, It’s Got A Four-Speed!

The 1965 Ford was a big change from the 1960-64s, with pretty much everything new except for engines and transmissions. And this same basic chassis, despite major stylistic changes in 1969, 1971 and 1975, essentially carried on until the fall of 1978 when the Panther-chassis LTD and Marquis appeared.

Quite a run! And while Ford couldn’t quite beat GM in the sales race when it came to full-size, bread and butter cars, they still put out some attractive machines.

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Cadillac Candy: 1966 Fleetwood Series 75 Sedan

Fellow Cadillac fancier and photographic contributor to this fine website, Jayson Coombes, alerted me this weekend to a most excellent example of 1966 Cadillac he spotted online. This gorgeous Fleetwood Series 75 Formal Sedan, painted in Nocturne Blue, if my estimations are correct.

1966 Fleetwood

It was originally listed on this website. A true time capsule, with a mere 15,000 miles on the clock. From the pictures, I believe it. Sadly, she’s since been sold, hopefully to a happy new owner. Anyway, I eagerly scrolled through the pictures. Said photos are very well done. I love it when a photographer knows what he’s doing. So many times, too many times, that is not the case.

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1966 Lincoln Continental Coupé – Classy Chassis

With the exception of the original 1939-48 Lincoln Continental, the 1960s Lincolns are quite likely the most recognized products of Ford Motor Company’s premium division. Naturally, the four-door convertibles are the most famous models of that decade, and the most valuable, but the four-door sedans and two-door coupes were attractive luxury transportation as well. Today, we’re talking about the coupe, or Coupé, as Lincoln called it.

1960 Lincoln

1960 Continental Mark V. Photo courtesy Dave Smith.

Thanks to the failure of the 1958-60 Lincolns in the marketplace, Lincoln itself was close to getting chopped in 1960. It’s a story oft-told, but the short version is Robert McNamara, who thought everyone should drive a Falcon, had set his cap to kill off Edsel, even before the cars first appeared in showrooms.

1961 Continental convertible

1961 Continental at the 2014 LCOC meet in Rockford, IL.

Lincoln was going to be next, and only an 11th-hour viewing of a proposed future Thunderbird saved the marque. It was stretched just enough to add a second pair of doors, and the result was the 1961 Continental.

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1966 Porsche 911: Clean, Smooth, Timeless

The last several posts of mine, to no one’s surprise, have been various and sundry large American luxocruisers. Well, what can I say? I love them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like other stuff. It doesn’t have to have opera lamps and a Cayman-grain padded vinyl roof to catch my attention. And who could disagree that the early Porsche 911s weren’t beautiful?

911 01

What can one say about the Porsche 911 that hasn’t been said already? For many, it’s been THE Porsche. For generations. Well, there is one thing. Sometimes, I get tired of the pervasiveness of 911s in Porsche books and literature.

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1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible – Pure Class

Folks, let me tell you a story–a nightcap, if you will. Perhaps you may enjoy a gin and tonic while you read. Go ahead, I’ll wait. OK, ready? Once upon a time, there was a classy luxury car called the Lincoln. About ninety years ago, she came into the world. Well made, aspirational, comfortable and imposing. The Lincoln was worthy of any man of taste’s attention, and if you treated her right, she would be a friend for life.

Things actually got off to a bumpy start. Her benefactor, Mr. Leland, did not skimp on her finery, but in so doing, ran into the rocks financially. So the Lincoln was sold off to a rich industrialist. He wasn’t actually all that interested in the Lincoln, but his son, Edsel, took a shine to her, and the resulting Lincolns of the ’30s were remarkably beautiful, luxurious and worthy of your attention. While the Depression era was not particularly kind to them, Lincoln hung in there and the 1936-up Zephyrs and Lincoln-Continentals of 1940-48 were, again, remarkable cars.

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1966 Studebaker Cruiser – The Last Gasp, With A Dash Of Broughamage

I have been a Studebaker fan for some time. I blame my parents. Back in 1996, during a particularly difficult year health-wise, my mom and dad took me to an SDC meet at the Moline Holiday Inn. I was smitten. There were so many cool models! 1950-51 “bullet nose” Champions and Commanders, Golden Hawks, Larks, all kinds of great stuff. But perhaps my favorite model at the show was the Gran Turismo Hawk.

1964 Gran Turismo Hawk at the 2017 Des Moines Concours d’Elegance

Cleverly restyled by Milwaukee-based industrial designer, Brooks Stevens, this was essentially a 1953 “Loewy coupe” with some cosmetic surgery and a Thunderbird-inspired roofline. Introduced for the 1962 model year, it was a surprisingly modern update for such an old design. Keep in mind, most American cars in the ’50s and ’60s got 2-3 year redesigns, even if it was sitting atop the same old chassis. Studebaker, with the lack of the Big Three’s deep pockets, had to improvise.

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