Here’s a rare birdie. Spotted today on Seattle Craigslist, this ’76 Sunbird was corporate sibling to the Chevy Monza Towne Coupe, most of which dissolved by around 1990. I’d much prefer a Bonneville Brougham or Grand Prix LJ if we’re talking ’76 Pontiacs, but my radar locked on to this one due to its scarcity.
On Tuesday, I spied this early Seville online. I zeroed right in, as my Cadillac radar began going awooga, awooga! This one looked amazing, in Claret Metallic with an Antique Light Buckskin interior. I always liked these, they give off an American Judge Smails-era Silver Shadow vibe, to me at least. The K-body Seville was the first Cadillac in years that wasn’t parade-float sized, and it looked good.
Anyway, this one is on offer on Marketplace for five dollars shy of eleven grand. As the seller related, “I am RELUCTANTLY offering my 1976 Cadillac Seville for sale. I am a long-time member of the Cadillac-LaSalle Club and an avid Cadillac collector. I have owned this car since 2011. Prior to my ownership, my former employer owned the car since 1985.”
I’ve always had a thing for the midsize ’70s Ford wagons: Gran Torino, Montego, LTD II and Cougar. The most likely reason is one of the first Matchbox cars I ever got was a metallic lime green ’77 Mercury Cougar Villager wagon, with opening tailgate.
It, along with my Pocket Cars Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham and Lincoln Mark IV, were almost always with me – in the car, outside, at the dinner table, etc. They are rough now, but all of them did survive my childhood.
This morning this ’76 Gran Torino Squire popped up on Marketplace, via the Finding Future Classic Cars fb group, and I had to check it out. You just don’t see these. Production was nothing compared to the LTD and LTD Country Squire wagons in the mid-’70s, likely due to the Torinos simply not having the interior room you’d expect for their size.
My pal up in Spokane, Jason Bagge, he of the ’76 Caprice Landaus, caramel colored ’76 Bonneville Brougham and 454-powered ’74 Monte Carlo, is letting one of his cars go-to make more room for more, of course.
Here I am once again, late afternoon giving way to early evening, sitting out on the deck, a couple of cocktails in. And gawking at giant, thirsty, impractical yet satisfying ’70s cabin cruisers.
Despite the flak they’ve gotten from some quarters, the 1970-81 Camaros are getting some respect lately. For years they were sneered at by some bloggers, mostly by insufferable types who drool over a 1975 Honda Civic CVCC-one of the three that hasn’t dissolved into rusty Doritos, anyway.
I have written up several Lincoln Continental Mark IVs here over the years. So another one won’t hurt. Ha ha! I’ve always loved the Mark series, due in no small part to my grandfather owning a Mark III, Mark IV and Mark V over the years. But I have an extra fondness for the Designer Series Marks of 1976. It was a brilliant marketing idea by Ford Motor Company, and various designer Lincolns appeared way, way, wayyyy to the final one, the 2003 Town Car Cartier. In 2004, Ford decided they didn’t want to pay to use the upper-crust name on their top of the line Town Car, and the ’04 model was unceremoniously dubbed the Ultimate instead.
Every decade seemingly has its own personal fad. Most recently (and seemingly entering its second decade in the ’20s) it was the combover. Oops, I mean crossover, heh. Before that it was the SUV and before that it was the minivan. But the gotta have it vehicle type in the 1970s was most definitely the personal luxury car.
To wit: A two door coupe or two door hardtop with a long hood, short deck, gigantic doors, and likely sporting a stand-up hood ornament, opera windows, opera lamps, a landau top and wire wheel covers.
This type of very American Motor Vehicle got started in the late 50s with the four-seat 1958 to 1960 Ford Thunderbird. It was followed in roughly chronological order by the 1961 Oldsmobile Starfire, 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix, pricier and more exclusive 1963 Buick Riviera, 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado (with front-wheel drive, wowie zowie!), the 1967 Cadillac Eldorado and the 1969 Lincoln Continental Mark III.
You all well know my fondness for those velour-clad, opera-lamped, gas-guzzling and totally impractical, totally awesome ’70s Detroit cruisers. So it will surprise exactly no one that I went gaga upon seeing this light metallic blue Olds coupe this beautiful, sunny Thursday afternoon, whilst sitting on my deck and working on gin and tonic #2.
Yes, ’76 was last call for the unapologetically huge big GM C-bodies: Cadillac de Ville, Buick Electra and the majestic Olds Ninety-Eight.
One of the things that has gotten me excited the past few years is how many of the current diecast model companies have been releasing makes and models I never, ever expected to be produced in scale. Cars from the ’70s and ’80s that weren’t Camaros, Mustangs and Corvettes. Cars I remember from my childhood and various and sundry ’80s TV shows watched in my formative years.
Case in point. Greenlight has recently released the Colonnade Pontiac LeMans wagon in several different versions. They’ve even released a wagon version of Buford T. Justice’s Montague County, TX LeMans. Yes, really, I saw one at Hobby Lobby last week.