1975 Plymouth Valiant Brougham: Groovy Little A-Body

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.

Continue Reading →

1975 Oldsmobile Starfire: Lansing’s Monza, Plus Bonus ’60s Starfire History!

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.

Continue Reading →

1975 Pontiac Catalina Safari: When Wagons Ruled

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.

Continue Reading →

1974 Jaguar XJ12 L: A White Whale, In Mustard Yellow

Continue Reading →

1975 Ford Gran Torino And Gran Torino Sport: Gran Coupe

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.

76 Gran Torino

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!

Continue Reading →

1977 Ford LTD Landau: Love To Drive

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.

LTD 02

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.

LTD 03

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.

Continue Reading →

1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham: Best Of All, It Has Mmmmmonticello Velour!

Ladies and gentlemen, we have here one of my favorites, the 1971-76 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. The top-of-the-line owner-driven Cadillac. Luxurious in space, in gadgets, and in power. The best “owner-driven” Cadillac money could buy. Despite the upper-crust European makes seeing increased sales, here in the heartland Cadillac and Lincoln were still the go-to marques for full-sized, uncompromising American luxury.

Continue Reading →