As has frequently been the case this spring and summer, I found myself out on the deck after work, with a gin and tonic, looking at old, gas-guzzling Broughamage online. Today’s subject is a top of the line Fury Gran Coupe. Continue Reading →
Another Mark? Well, yes. In my defense, I really liked this particular example, especially the metallic blue paint with matching top and interior. So many of these were in the typical early ’70s colors like that light metallic yellow-green, tobacco brown and gold, that one in a non-sepia tone caught my attention, when I was perusing the Finding Future Classic Cars group on fb a couple of weeks ago.
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.
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.
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.
Finding a cool old car you love is great, but do you ever wonder about who first owned it? What they were like? Why they bought that car? Most of us will never know. But for Jason Bagge, AKA, “The Brougham Whisperer”, it’s just another day at the office. For today, he met the original owner of his recently acquired 1973 Buick Regal. And isn’t that cool?
Well well ladies and germs, guess what Jason got now! Yep, a mighty 1973 Imperial LeBaron with only 43,000 miles on the clock!
And yes, that’s Imperial, bub! Imperial was a separate make from 1955-1975, But before ’55 and going back to the Thirties, it was the top rung Chrysler. Many, many people never figured out that it was a separate marque for twenty years, even when they were new and sitting in showrooms.
My parents have always liked Volvo cars. They had several of them through the years, and I always associate my childhood with Volvo station wagons. Their very first one was bought in 1976. At the time Mom was driving a ’74 Mercury Capri V6, Dad’s former company car. My parents had been friends with Mike and Cathy Lundahl since high school, and his dad owned the Volvo dealership in Moline at the time. As a result, many Volvos lived in their driveway over the past forty years or so. But the ’73 ES was the first.
Say, remember the Mustang? Of course you do. Well…you remember the obvious ones, anyway. Shelby GT350. 1965 2+2 GT. Boss 302. Boss 429. All the usual suspects. But there are a lot of Mustangs out there that have been nearly elbowed off the stage, thanks to Resale Red, American Racing wheel-shod, phony-GT car show and cruise night impostors! In fact, should you mention certain Mustangs to those Foose-footed red Mustang owners, you may cause them to grow pale and run away: Mustang II! Mustang Grandé Mustang Ghia and Mustang L! Mustangs with six-cylinder engines and wheel covers! Augh! To those guys, it’s like throwing cloves of garlic at a vampire! No! No no no! All Mustangs were muscle cars dagnabit! And never mind that his ’67 Hardtop was originally Wimbledon White with dog-dish caps, green interior and six cylinder power! But let me tell you, I love the offbeat Mustangs, which were the majority of Mustangs back in the Sixties and Seventies. And the Broughamiest pony of them all is the subject of today’s post: the Grandé, available from 1969 to 1973.
The Mustang: the Falcon that went to finishing school and came back better than ever, and nearly unrecognizable. Designed from the start to be eminently configurable, it could be equipped as anything from a basic inline-six, zero-option runabout to a thoroughbred V8 sprinter, and the available extras, colors and trim levels only expanded as the decade wore on. The 1967-68s got a bigger engine bay to accommodate big-block power, thanks to Bunkie Knudsen.
“Beautiful Volvo? What are you going on about this time Klockau?” you may be thinking. Nope, I haven’t gone off the deep end. Volvo more or less built their reputation on safety and durability, not beauty. But there are some models out there that look excellent.
I like Volvos, and have a serious soft spot for 240s and 740s thanks to spending my formative years in the back seat of several. And while those sedans and wagons look nice enough (they’re boxy but they’re good, as Dudley Moore once said), I admit it’s a stretch to call them beautiful. I mean, beautiful is a 1936 Cord 810 Westchester. Beautiful is an Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. But a Volvo? Well, yes!