Here’s an oldie but a goodie. I probably took these pictures about ten years ago (Update: it was almost nine-April 15, 2012). I was just driving through Moline, spotted this sitting in front of a repair shop, and mentally noted its location, as it was a cold, clammy rainy day. This one was among the last of the Nova line: A 1979, last call for Novas. Unless you count the Mini-Me Corolla clone version from the mid to late ’80s.
Another day, another Mark. This is likely the 6th or 7th Mark related post I’ve done here at RG, and definitely the 2nd Mark V post this year; the earlier was an impressive triple turquoise ’79, with the optional turbine alloys. In fact, I spotted this one soon after the first V was published, but held back awhile.
The Mark V ran from 1977 to 1979. Unlike the T-Bird, which was newly downsized on the Gran Torino/Elite midsize chassis, the V was essentially a rebodied Mark IV with more razor-edged lines and a somewhat reduced curb weight. It was primarily styled by Don DeLaRossa.
I’ve always had a thing for 1950s to 1970s domestic land yachts finished in aqua. Whether the bright turquoise of a 1955 Thunderbird or the light-metallic aqua of a 1966 Olds Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan or ’61 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country, I will go out of my way to check it out once spotted at various and sundry cruise nights, car shows, craigslist ads and ebay auctions. And if the car has a white or aqua interior, well fuggetaboutit. So when I saw this lovely boat of a Lincoln on eBay about eight years ago, I was immediately hooked.
According to the long-gone auction listing, this car is all original and only had 67,000 miles on the clock. Being a ’79, it does have the 400CID V8 and not the more desirable 460, but still–what a car.
So, when’s the last time you saw one of these? Here in the salty Midwest even the once-numerous ’80s Diplomats, Gran Furys and flossy Fifth Avenues are pretty much extinct, so I was happy to see this ’79 LeBaron coupe at the Trains, Planes and Automobiles show in historic Geneseo, IL, back in September of 2012. It looked very nice in black with red interior-a classic combo in your author’s opinion.
Given the number of times I have referenced the 1979 Bonneville sedan my dad had when I was about three years old, it probably won’t come as a surprise that I am a big fan of the full-size 1977-79 Pontiacs. While they were not nearly as popular as their Caprice, Delta 88 and LeSabre brethren, when fitted with Brougham trim and ordered with an indulgent eye on the option list, these cars could do almost everything a Coupe de Ville or Sedan de Ville could, save snob appeal.
Pontiac’s full-size cars sort of floundered during the ’70s. They were perfectly serviceable as daily drivers, but had lost the ’60s style, flash and appeal for which they’d been renowned. Exactly what was a big Pontiac supposed to be now? A cut-rate Electra 225? A slightly more deluxe Caprice? A plus-sized Grand Prix? Even Pontiac didn’t seem sure, and suffered for it. But things started to pick up with the downsized full-size ’77 cars.
It is now Tuesday afternoon (just flashed back to the Moody Blues song, typing this), sitting on the deck with a cocktail and looking at cars I have no room for.
Such is life. But anyway, here’s today’s Klockau Lust Object, a 30,000-mile ’79 Mark V in Dark Turquoise Metallic with matching top and leather interior.
Today, your author will be yakking about the 1979 Collector’s Series. This car, and its Continental Mark V Collector’s Series companion model, marked the final versions of the lovely, large and in charge Lincoln Continentals of yore. These special editions celebrated the Great American Land Yacht, whose time was rapidly drawing to a close. Starting in 1980, both the Continental and the Mark would go on a crash diet, never again returning to such grand dimensions.
It was the end of an era, with the big, blowsy Chrysler New Yorker bowing out after 1978 and the muy grande Caddys in ’76 (although the big Eldorado and Toronado carried on through ’78 with their full dimensions, same as the New Yorker Brougham). Ford Motor Company held out the longest, perhaps due to Henry Ford II’s long-held disdain for little cars. Though he did have a customized Pinto at one point.
The Chrysler New Yorker was finally redesigned in Autumn ’78. While it may not have been quite as massive and ornate as its 1974-78 predecessors, the new R-body (and its siblings, the Newport and St. Regis) was still luxurious, albeit in a smaller size.
I had big plans this weekend. Then the weather merrily threw a wrench into them. Such is the capricious nature of the weather in the Midwest in early autumn. On September 20th, it was 94 degrees. This past Thursday afternoon, it was sunny, gorgeous and 71. I had high hopes for the final cruise night of the year for Friday, at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, IA, an hour west on Interstate 80 from home base. But the weather got cold, crappy and drizzly that morning, and didn’t have the decency to go away. But I salvaged things by going to one of my favorite Italian restaurants that evening, and today went to a small car show in downtown Rock Island. Whereupon I spotted this most excellent artifact of late ’70s plushness and luxury: The 1979 Lincoln Continental Town Car.
From 1971 to 1976, General Motors had the market covered when it came to the finest in upper-crust land yachts: Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, Buick Electra, and the Cadillac Sedan de Ville and Fleetwood. It was the last stand for true full-size luxury. No diets, no exercising, full steam ahead with room, space and wheelbase! And velour. Lots of velour. But times were changing. Fuel economy was slowly but surely becoming more important to buyers, especially after the 1973-74 gas crisis. Could one still get all the Broughamage they wanted, yet with better economy? Have plenty of stretch-out room despite dimensions being trimmed? Indeed, they could!
GM proved it with the downsized 1977 B- and C-body full-sizers. Easier to drive, easier to park, yet with power everything, room, space and the ever so important gadgets, gizmos and nameplate prestige! And if you didn’t want to spring for the high-priced Cadillac version, you could still get nine-tenths of its luxury in an Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency. Continue Reading →