This Week’s Klockau Lust Object: 1978 Bonneville Brougham Coupe

So, this Wednesday afternoon, it’s a little gloomy and just a bit too cool for sitting out on the deck with a cocktail, but as usual I was perusing car classifieds online, and lo and behold, espied this gem. A 1978 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham coupe.

I’ve always loved the 1977-79 Bonnevilles. The first cars I remember riding in, ever, were my mom’s blue on blue ’77 Volvo 245DL wagon, and my dad’s metallic root beer brown ’79 Bonneville sedan. I have memories of walking around that Pontiac when Dad was washing it, and not being much taller than the bottom of the window sills.

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Introducing The Six Hundred Dollar Cadillac!

Most of you will remember my friend in Washington state, Jason Bagge. Several of his cars have graced these digital pages, including his 1976 Caprice Landau, 1972 Bonneville, 1978 Mercury Marquis and several others.

His current fleet includes a ruby red 1977 Dodge Royal Monaco Brougham, blue 454 V8 powered 1974 Monte Carlo and more recently, a triple black 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood. But his most recent acquisition is the focus of today’s article, this lovely 1978 Cadillac Sedan Deville in optional Autumn Haze Firemist.

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1978 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham: Curtain Call For The C-Body

Sometimes, a name can be more important to success than the actual thing itself-at least when it comes to cars. Chrysler’s premium Cadillac fighter, the Imperial, a separate marque from 1955-1975, is such an example. Intended to move Chrysler Corporation more into Cadillac and Lincoln territory, it never really took off despite attractive design and plenty of luxury features. But for many, it was always a “Chrysler Imperial,” and thus not as prestigious as a Continental or Fleetwood Brougham. That was what ultimately brought the Imperial as a marque to a grinding halt in 1975. Funny thing, though. The car itself continued. As the ‘new’ Chrysler New Yorker Brougham.

The chronic Mopar misfortune held steady through the ’70s. In 1974, all their new full-size C-bodies, from the Plymouth Fury to the Imperial LeBaron, were redone with more formal and Broughamier sheetmetal. Although not drastically different size-wise from their fuselage predecessors, they looked bigger. And when the gas crisis hit in late 1973, just as the ’74s were debuting, Chrysler got screwed–again. Despite the company’s continuing bad luck, all their new models were attractive despite styling cribbed directly from GM–something especially noticeable in the Plymouth Fury’s Oldsmobile 88 cues, and in the Dodge Monaco, which looked suspiciously like a 1973 Buick LeSabre.

At the top of the heap was the C-body full-size Imperial LeBaron, arguably the most attractive car of the bunch–as well it should have been, considering its premium $7,200-7,800 pricing. The Imperial’s 124″ wheelbase was the same as lesser New Yorkers and Newports, but the car itself was longer overall and featured exclusive hidden headlights; button-tufted upholstery, in velour or optional leather; and four-wheel disc brakes.

But it didn’t sell: After selling just 14,483 1974 models and a mere 8,830 ’75s, the Imperial finally left the building. Well, until 1981, but that’s a story for another time. Continue Reading →

1978 Chrysler Newport Custom: Red, White and Brougham!

During the late ’70s, Chrysler Corporation found itself in dire straits. They were losing money hand over fist, their newest models, the 1976 Plymouth Volaré and Dodge Aspen, had serious quality issues and rust problems, their midsize Coronet and Fury were popular only with little old men, taxi operators and law enforcement, and there would be no relief in the form of a new product—in the form of the FWD Omni and Horizon–until 1978. And then there were the full-size yachts.

The redesigned full-size Dodge, Plymouth and Chrysler never really got a chance. Production was still in its early stages when the “oil shortage” caused by events overseas caused the sale of Big Three biggies to plummet rapidly. GM and Ford did not get hurt as bad as Chrysler due to their overall better shape and subcompacts like the Vega and Pinto. Stop laughing, they sold! If not for the tried and true-and stone reliable-Darts and Valiants, Chrysler Corporation may not have lived to fight another day. But at any rate, the C-body Mopars never regained the popularity they had had in the 1965-73 period.

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1978 AMC Matador Sedan: Triple Black Project

Here it is, the last ‘big’ AMC car. The Matador. Technically a midsize when it first appeared in 1971, alongside its slightly flossier, slightly longer Ambassador sibling. Essentially, the ’71 Matador was a facelifted 1967-70 AMC Rebel with a new front clip and name.

It became American Motors’ largest passenger vehicle after the Ambassador (itself a Matador with more chrome, fancier interior, and longer hood and front clip, but with the same interior dimensions) was cancelled after the 1974 model year.

Many, many folks have questioned why the ’74 Matadors got such a Jimmy Durante style facelift to go with its new 5 mph front and rear bumpers, with the pronounced proboscis of the grille jutting away from the front fenders and headlights. I’ve heard they simply wanted the car to look bigger. But for whatever reason, I’ve always liked these. The sedans, the woody station wagons, even the big, blowsy 74-78 Matador coupes. What can I say, I like the offbeat stuff!

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1978 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Diesel: In Defense of the Olds 350 Diesel V8

My Grand Dad always had a beater, for everyday driving, and a good car, which he bought new and brought out only on special occasions. Once, he said he’d buy a new car when he retired and give his current garage queen, a 1966 Chrysler sedan, to my Dad. In 1977, Grand Dad did retire, and Dad held him to his word.  To replace the Chrysler, he headed down to Carter Chevrolet-Olds and placed an order for what is oft regarded today as one of General Motors’ biggest blunders: a 1978 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with the then-new 350 CID LF9 V8 diesel engine.

The Delta 88 4-door sedan was the most popular 1978 Olds to be ordered with the LF9 diesel. Much like the base-model 1966 Chrysler, the 1978 Oldsmobile Delta 88 was advertised as more car for not much more money than “lesser” automobiles. Undoubtedly this appealed to Grand Dad’s innate frugality, as it still allowed him to have an upscale, but not ostentatious, full-size automobile.

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1978 Lincoln Continental Town Car: Your Best Bet’s A…Well, You Know…

As a member in good standing of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club since 2015, I always have an eye out for interesting old Lincolns. That includes when I’m on the way to work, stuck at a red light, or perusing CL and ebay. Just last week I spotted this one on the electronic bay, and the condition was such that I was compelled to share it!

A triple Wedgewood Blue 1978 Lincoln Continental Town Car with the mighty 460 CID V8 and only 50,300 miles on the clock. Yowza.

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1978 Cadillac Sedan de Ville: Broughamy Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all at RG! Wait a minute Klockau, you may be thinking, why are you writing a post on a day of rest, relaxation, celebration? Easy, I am typing this at approximately 3:35 PM Saturday, December 22nd. This particular Sedan de Ville is about as holiday-hued as you can get, at least this side of a Continental Mark IV Lipstick Luxury Group or Jeep Grand Cherokee Orvis Edition, anyway. But I digress! So if you are avoiding relatives or hiding out with the last of the Christmas cookies, here’s something to read.

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1978 Pontiac Grand Safari: Maximum Massey

Note: Today’s post is by a friend of mine, Mike Massey. As a fellow member of The American Brougham Society on Facebook, he shares my love of full-sized, woodgrained station wagons, and owns a Roadmaster Estate Wagon, among other vintage GM rolling stock, today. I’ve always loved the 1977-79 B-body Pontiacs since my dad had a brown 1979 Bonneville sedan. That car was the subject of my first-ever car memory. Anyway, here’s the story of Mike’s dad’s special-ordered ’78 Grand Safari! -TK

OK I get lots of questions on comments about this car, so HERE is the long “novel” of our ’78 Pontiac Grand Safari, which we owned from 1978-1986, and how we came about owning it.

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