Today I ran across this ad on a Facebook group I’m in, Finding Future Classic Cars. A ’79 LeBaron, from the early Iacocca period. Resplendant in green, I was immediately smitten. And then I realized this one was freaking loaded. With power moonroof! And soft Corinthian leather! Continue Reading →
Another Broughamish artifact from the late ’70s/early ’80s? You betcha!
In the late Forties and early Fifties, Chrysler was considered a luxurious, well-engineered, high powered (starting in ’51 with the FirePower V8) line of cars. But at the same time, boring and staid.
They weren’t nearly as smooth and sexy as, say, a ’50 Coupe de Ville. Not that they were ugly, but they were a little vanilla compared to some other makes. Continue Reading →
Here we go again! Another Brougham Era Brougham, with gargantuan size, room, gas-sucking 440 CID powerplant hitched to a creamy smooth TorqueFlite automatic, and exceedingly plush interior you can sleep eight people in! This week’s find is being sold by my friend Anthony Rose, who sells vintage Broughamage, and not so vintage Broughamage, like a pristine 1993 Sedan de Ville in Taupe with matching interior and factory alloys and whitewalls recently sold to a happy local motorist. Continue Reading →
So here it is, Christmas Eve Eve, as some may say. I spent the day picking up a pie for Christmas dinner (I don’t cook), hosing off the Lincoln (damn birds, damn berries!) and perusing FB for cars I don’t need or have room or patience for.
Chrysler Corporation in the ’70s was a lot of peaks and valleys. As the ’80s approached and downsizing took hold at GM, Chrysler seemed headed for the junkyard thanks to gross incompetence, lack of money and lack of consumer confidence. They needed new, downsized big cars, but lacked money to develop and build them. Taking a page from GM’s use of the Colonnade as the platform for the new ’77 Caprice, Chrysler used the midsize Fury/Monaco chassis for the 1979 full-sizers, with Broughamtastic new sheetmetal and interior aping the ’76 Seville/’77 B- and C-body ‘sheer’ look. Unfortunately for Chrysler, and unlike GM, it didn’t translate to runaway sales success.
Along with Lincoln, Chrysler was a stubborn holdout when it came to downsizing. Even so, they knew that the 1978 New Yorker Brougham and Newport, while big and plush, were dated. With baroque styling and pillarless roofs, they seemed well behind the times next to fresh models like Chevrolet’s Malibu and Caprice–not to mention Chrysler’s own Diplomat and LeBaron models. But with no money available, what could be done?
Enter the B-body. Introduced in 1971, the Fury and Monaco B-bodies predated even the C-body Mopars. Six years later, most of their sales were to police departments that liked their big-block 440 power. Although these favorites of the constabulary left the scene in 1978, they didn’t entirely depart.
This morning I was perusing the FB group, Finding Future Classic Cars, and my Brougham Radar immediately locked onto this fine 1966 New Yorker offered on Boise Craigslist, complete with the ‘earmuff’ style vinyl accents on the C-pillars. I’ve always liked the 1965-66 Chryslers. Styled by Elwood Engel, late of Ford Motor Company, his designs were strikingly rectangular, but elegant. And if you think 1961 Continental in profile, that’s not a coincidence, he was involved with that car as well.
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.
Note: Today’s post is by a friend of mine in Sweden, who goes by the nom de plume of Billie Biscayne. She’s always loved Fifties cars and wanted to submit a post right here on RG. Please welcome her. -TK
Have you seen Barrett-Jackson on tv and made a mental note of putting that on your bucket list? Barrett-Jackson puts on an amazing show, but there is more to Scottsdale Auction week if you are prepared to venture off the beaten track and visit some of the other auctions going on! If you are lucky, you will see some fantastic cars, meet some amazing people and hear some astonishing car stories, just like this one about the infamous Plainsman Concept Car where a chance encounter with the current owner, Mr. Pete Vicari, at Worldwide Auctioneers provided the material for this article!
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 →