If you’re in the market for a midsize car today, you have plenty of choices. Well, for now, as the ever present crossover is rapidly compelling the manufacturers to kill off the traditional midsize sedan. Several nameplates from which to choose–Camry, Impala, Fusion and Optima and of course Accord, to name a few. And they all come in the same flavor of competent albeit repetitive design and styling. Where’s the flair, man? Once upon a time, before safety standards, emissions and plain old public demand trumped style, a buyer could get virtually whatever their heart desired, right down to colors, options–and yes, Virginia, even a body style other than the now-ubiquitous four-door sedan. Want an aqua Skylark convertible with a white interior, V8 and four-speed? Done! How about a red Lark Wagonaire with a red interior, 350 McKinnon (nee GM) V8, power retractable roof over the cargo area, and automatic transmission? No problem. You could have those cars and everything in between–in 1965. Everything from cheapskate beige two-door post with manual everything to fully loaded sports convertible with a fire-breathing powerplant. So let’s set the way-back machine to Autumn 1964 and see what we can get.
This past Friday, I attended the monthly Classy Chassy car club’s cruise night out at Coral Ridge Mall. I enjoy this show very much. It is held the last Friday of the month from May through September, and I’ve seen some pretty cool cars there.
The best part is the variety. Sure, some cars I see frequently, but there are cars I will see once, and never again. You really never know what will be on hand! I like that. Especially since many of our local shows are attended by the usual suspects. When you’ve seen the same red 2002 Mustang V6 with Cobra badges, belly-button me-too Resale Red hot rods and various and sundry brand-spanking-new muscle cars, variety is a most welcome antidote!
Valiant. Speak the name to anyone who grew up in the Sixties and it will almost certainly prompt a ton of memories, both good and bad: “Oh, my Aunt Becky and Uncle Sid had one, it was the toughest car they ever had!” Or, “I drove one in high school, got it for $100 off a shady used car lot and it was the dullest, slowest car I ever owned!” In approximately 95% of these circumstances, these memories will be prefaced by the words Plymouth Valiant–and indeed, Valiants were Plymouths from 1961 through 1976–but not in its inaugural year in 1960. Yes, 1960, a Buck Rogers year for sure! It was also The Year Of The Compacts: Corvair, Falcon, and of course, Valiant.
It’s funny, ever since I stopped regularly writing two years or so ago, I keep stumbling on old photo files and finding cars shot years ago that I totally forgot about. Whenever I see an interesting old car, I get all excited and think “I will write this up tonight! It’s so cool!” Then three or four years go by. Such is the case with this 1969 full-size Plymouth. Continue Reading →