Last night I was perusing Marketplace for my own amusement when I came across this magnificently red 1970 Fleetwood Brougham. It appears to be San Mateo Red, but what really got me was the red leather interior! Whoa mama! Continue Reading →
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.
Today’s classic Cadillac is owned by Bryan Wood of Chicagoland, and a fellow member of The American Brougham Society. No, not the group with the guy with the VW with the standup hood ornament, the one run by “That Hartford Guy” who owns a 1961 Cadillac Sedan de Ville and 1977 Lincoln Continental Town Coupe. Which reminds me, I should write his cars up too. Well! Some other time. Today, let’s keep the digressions to a minimum, haha.
On June 22nd, I once more pointed the Cartier towards Chicagoland and yet another Cadillac show. This time, it was Ettleson Cadillac in Hodgkins, within sight of the Holiday Inn in Countryside we stayed at in the ’90s when my parents used to take us to the Chicago Auto Show.
Yes, I’d just been there a month prior, at the Shirey Cadillac show in Oak Lawn (covered here). But there are only two really good ’70s luxocruiser shows in the greater Chicago area, and these two are it. And unlike last month, my cochlear implant behaved itself and made no untoward noises that I mistook for weird car sounds. So much the better.
I arrived around 11:15, and quickly spotted Ron Schweitzer and Mike Risatti. Mike brought his 1960 Sedan de Ville, affectionately named Estelle, to the show. I had heard of the car, and seen pictures online, but this day was the first time I’d seen her in person. And she was sharp!
Mike added the Fleetwood wheel covers, technically incorrect, but they are correct for the model year. And they look great! The Aleutian Gray metallic paint paired with the dove gray interior was especially classy.
The Parisienne. The final big Pontiac. Though essentially a stopgap, they kept interest-and sales-up for those wanting something a little fancier than a Caprice Classic in the mid 1980s. So, how did the big Pontiac become a Parisienne and not a Bonneville? I’m glad you asked.
See, back in the early ’80s, the brain trust over at Pontiac Motor Division decided that full-size cars were on the way out. Historically, Pontiac had sold the least B-body cars of all the other divisions since about 1971-72, though they got a healthy bump when the fresh, downsized 1977 Bonneville, Catalina and Grand Safari appeared. But the ’74 and ’79 gas crises increased interest in smaller cars (for a while), and with sportier models like the Trans Am (aided and abetted by that ’70s classic, Smokey and the Bandit) selling at a rapid clip, it was decided that Pontiac would have a leaner, lighter model line.
And so, the midsize LeMans received a Mini-Me version of the 1980-81 Bonneville nose, got a much plusher interior, and was introduced in 1982 as the “Bonneville Model G.”
As I type this, I am sitting on my couch due to extreme cold weather here in the Midwest. It was minus 23 degrees this morning and is now about -9. So I got a ‘snow day’ of sorts, though it isn’t snowing, and actually has been sunny all day. But when it’s cold enough outside to freeze a bottle of vodka, it’s prudent to stay inside.
So after making a pot of coffee, working on a C. J. Box novel and watching TV most of the day, I decided to start looking at old cars online. As is my wont.
I ran across a good number of potential writing subjects but this was the one that really pushed my buttons.
Hershey is always a big deal to car nuts. Friends of mine have been, but not me. Well, my comfort zone, living in the Quad Cities, is a circle roughly between Des Moines, St. Louis, Chicago and Milwaukee. Within that circle, I can drive to a car show, concours, model show or whatever and still have time enough to attend, enjoy myself, have lunch or dinner, and get back home, all in the same day.
Fortunately, I have friends all over, and Dave Smith, a good friend of mine who lives in Connecticut, made the drive to Pennsylvania. As a result, he took many excellent photos. As a result, I was able to do a virtual tour from the comfort of my own home. As will you. This is, quite simply, a photo tour, short on text and long on great pictures! So sit back, scroll, and enjoy. And many thanks, Dave, you’re a gentleman and a scholar.
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.
The Bonneville Brougham. Most primo Pontiac of them all. And my buddy, The Brougham Whisperer, Jason Bagge, found one out in Spokane. He posted pics. He bought it. I got excited. So excited I did a preview post last month. Why? Simple. I love these. Absolutely. Love. Them. Let me tell you why.