You searched for: 1977

Sep
07
1977 Dodge Charger

1977 Dodge Charger

In general terms, the late-Seventies/early-Eighties “downsizing” era is generally regarded as a bleak period for the American auto industry, and for good reason. As they raced to slash production costs and reduce fuel consumption, carmakers often shrank their products to a draconian degree–much to the dismay of the buying public.

Jul
10
1977 Chrysler 318

The Chrysler corporate 318-cubic-inch engine was the smallest V8 available in the 1977 Plymouth Fury.

Car-guy discussions regarding automotive downsizing usually center on styling. I have done my share of kvetching about how a few model lines that were “resized” in the late Seventies and early Eighties came off looking like caricatures of the cars they replaced.

Mar
15
1977 Mercury Cougar

1977 Mercury Cougar

By the mid-Seventies, Mercury wasn’t selling much beyond gussied up Fords. Wedged between Ford and Lincoln in FoMoCo’s family album, Mercurys were charged with drawing a customer type that was somewhat more affluent than Ford intenders, yet nowhere conservative enough to commit to a Lincoln.

Sep
08
1977 Mercury Cougar XR-7

1977 Mercury Cougar XR-7

For Mercury, 1977 was eventful year. The brand’s staple Comet compact cars were making one last appearance, while the midsize Montego lineup was redesigned and renamed.

Sep
28
1977 Chevrolet Impala Coupe

1977 Chevrolet Impala Coupe

I’ve spent a fair amount of time bemoaning the results of the Detroit downsizing movement that began in the mid-Seventies. Responding to rising fuel prices and an unusually high rate of inflation, manufacturers were desperately looking for ways to reduce materials costs and to improve fuel economy. The simplest way to achieve both goals was, apparently, to produce smaller vehicles.

Jun
08
1977 Oldsmobile Toronado XSR

The Oldsmobile Toronado was the third most powerful American car of 1977. Note that the T-Top roof depicted in this brochure image never reached production.

Perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate the extent to which emissions equipment and low-octane unleaded fuel had impacted the power output of new-vehicle engines is to note the following:

Jun
04
Designer Series Lincoln Mark VI

Lincoln offered four designer editions of the 1977 Mark V.

I would argue that the low-point in automotive designer licensing/co-branding came in 1993, when Mercury rolled out its Nissan-built Villager minivan complete with a line-topping Nautica Special Edition.

Apr
27
1977 Lincoln Continental

Stretching 233.0 inches, the Lincoln Continental was one of the longest passenger vehicles of 1977.

A funny thing happened on the way to Eighties: Cars got shorter. The “shortening” of the American automobile didn’t happen all at once—it came in staggered bursts, as individual manufacturers downsized the platforms that underpinned their largest cars.

Jul
31
1977 Lincoln Continental Mark V

With a base price of $11,396, the Lincoln Continental Mark V was only the 4th most-expensive American-brand car available in 1977.

 It was the Brits who first used the term “Yank Tank” to describe the cars produced by American auto builders. And, compared to the cars sold in Britain after WWII–around the time the term Yank Tank came into use–the cars of the UK were certainly smaller, better handling, and more efficient than those sold Stateside. It is perhaps ironic then that the most-expensive American-built car in 1977 was, in fact, by definition a compact car.

Aug
13

 

It’s tough to write about the Pacer. Like Edsels, Yugos, and Pontiac Azteks, the AMC Pacer is used too often, and too freely as a punch line, which is kind of a shame. To put things into perspective, Consumer Guide used the term “Futuristic” to describe the car back in 1977.

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