Here’s another spectacular survivor from the ’70s luxury car wars! I was minding my own business earlier this afternoon when my friend Jayson Coombes texted me the link to this ’75 SDV on ebay.
Jason Bagge, my compadre in Spokane, and refurbisher of all things Brougham, has once again found the opera-windowed needle in the haystack. This past weekend, he saw a medium metallic blue 1977 Chrysler Newport two door hardtop for sale. It looked good, so he went over to check it out. In addition to the Chrysler (which was pretty nice and priced right) he spotted a gold 1973 Fleetwood Brougham…and this green 1975 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight LS four door hardtop.
These cars don’t exactly grow on trees, outside of marque-specific national meets anyway, but this triple green luxocruiser was extra special, as it was equipped with the ACRS airbags.
Though I’ve been somewhat avoiding FB these past few weeks, I have successfully tailored the site to mostly car-related stuff and car-related people. I still like checking out Marketplace, even if just for my own amusement. But it has paid off. Back in February, a local lady was selling four 98-02 Lincoln TC Cartier chrome center caps. They were so cheap I couldn’t resist. And recently, when I lost one in traffic, I wasn’t worried about having to go to the dealer and paying $90 for a new one. Yes, they still make them.
Anyway, recently on Marketplace I spied this 1975 Volvo 164E in relatively nearby Macomb, IL. I hadn’t seen one in years, and this one appeared remarkably decent.
This morning I was perusing the FB group Finding Future Classic Cars and ran across this survivor, a ’75 230 sedan. This was the car all the Ford Granada ads alluded to, when they claimed (likely after several gin and tonics or martinis at the Grosse Pointe Inn) that the new formal-lined Ford compact looked just like a Mercedes.
It didn’t really, no more than a 230 like this looked just like a Volvo 244DL. Sure there were some similarities, but nothing to really fool people who were interested in cars. But I digress. I always had a soft spot for these, because as a kid one of my favorite Corgi Toys was a 240D of this same generation, silver with tan interior and opening doors and trunk.
A Valiant Brougham? Like jumbo shrimp and military intelligence, it may seem like something of a contradiction in terms. The Valiant, a standalone marque in its first year of existence, a Plymouth ever after, always stood for simple operation, low cost and staid reliability. And Brougham has always stood for, well, Brougham. Excess. Plush, over the top luxury, usually involving velour.
But Peak Brougham was in the mid-’70s, so why not offer a dolled-up version? Heck, FoMoCo was cranking out luxury décor option Pintos and Mavericks. So why not?
The Valiant Brougham came out in 1974, as a mid-year addition I believe. It included a plush velour interior with upgraded carpet, additional sound proofing and other details. Brougham identification graced the C-pillars, of course. They also received the deluxe woodgrained and chrome-festooned instrument panel, and an attractive steering wheel with what has to be one of the last horn rings ever installed on a car.
While many people who are into classic cars know the Oldsmobile Starfire, odds are they are remembering the full-figured yet sporty early ’60s hardtop coupe and convertible. Honestly, the name had to have come from the early ’60s. Could there have been a more Jet Age name for a car than Starfire?
Introduced January 1, 1961, the new Starfire was a flossier version of the Super 88. Following the introduction of the 1958 Thunderbird, Detroit quickly caught ‘buckets and console’ fever, and as a result many special models were added by all the manufacturers.
In addition to Super 88 equipment, the Starfire received, naturally, buckets seats and a center console, but also a tachometer, brushed aluminum side moldings on the ‘cove’ stamped into the bodyside, power seats and dual exhaust. It was available solely as a convertible, with a base price of $4,647. Only 7,800 were built.
Once upon a time in the 1970s, most moms hauled their kids around, not in silver silvermist combover pseudo-lux conveyances, but in large, ornate and oftentimes wood-sided station wagons. V8, rear wheel driven, glorious station wagons.
The 1971-76 GM ‘clamshell’ station wagons were the biggest around when they debuted in Autumn 1970.
So called due to their ‘disappearing’ tailgate and rear window glass, they were available in the expected Chevy, Pontiac, Olds and Buick versions. And as usual, were available in higher-trimmed versions with Di-Noc woodgrain appliques along the sides, further accentuating their road-going Chris-Craft image.
In the 1970s, the watchword for mid-size Ford Motor Company rolling stock was Torino. Gran Torino. Of course, most of us remember a certain Gran Torino made famous on Starsky & Hutch, and who knows how many 1974-1976 Torinos have been saved and restored thanks to that classic detective show? A lot, I’d guess.
That said, I will assure those whose Torino knowledge is limited to late-’60s fastback Cobra Jets and Detective David Starsky’s tomato-red 460 V8-powered hot rod that most Torinos were not at all like those. Back in the ’70s, your typical Torino shopper wanted comfort and luxury–a smaller LTD Brougham, if you will, and certainly not a muscle car. Today, we’re going to learn about non-TV prepped Gran Torinos that likely made up 90% of Torino production. Sedans and coupes, with 302 V8s and full wheels covers!
I have always loved the Ford LTD. The top trim full-size Ford. Top of the heap. The most Broughamtastic. But what does LTD stand for? There are many opinions. One favorite is “Luxury Trim Decor.” But no one is certain. Ford never truly defined it. But no matter what one’s opinion is on the lux-Ford acronym, one thing it most certainly meant was luxury.
If I start talking about the LTD’s history, we’ll be here all night. And I want to focus on my favorite, the 1975-78 models, so let’s try to be concise, shall we? The Ford LTD first came on the scene in 1965, as a deluxe trim Galaxie 500, available initially in two- and four-door hardtop versions.
In that same record-sales year for Detroit of 1965, its arch-rival, the Chevrolet Caprice, also appeared, initially as only a four-door hardtop.