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Many members of the Consumer Guide Automotive staff also work on Collectible Automobile magazine. A few days ago, a small collection of vintage automobile advertisements and dealer brochures landed on CA Editor-in-Chief John Biel’s desk, courtesy of a reader in Wisconsin. Most of the ads were from non-automotive magazines, so they weren’t the typical pieces for muscle cars and such that were placed in the “buff books.”
In 1991, Oldsmobile sold a lot of Cutlasses. That simple fact probably doesn’t surprise anyone, at least not until you realize that of the seven car models Olds offered in ’91, three were dubbed Cutlass.
It’s a popularly held position that General Motors doesn’t take enough styling chances—or at least it historically hasn’t. I would argue that there are plenty of Eighties and Nineties examples of rather sterile looking GM vehicles that support this point, but a slate of inoffensive Cieras, Malibus, and Skyhawks hardly tells the whole story. General Motors has, in fact, taken many styling chances over the years–though the results weren’t always positive.
For the past nine years, the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals has taken over the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois, on the weekend before Thanksgiving. For American performance-car fanatics, this unparalleled show has become an unmissable season tradition every bit as important as grandma’s turkey and stuffing.
As far as recessions go, the economic dip of the early Eighties wasn’t much of a downturn. Apparently the Fed overdid it a bit, and tightened the money supply a bit more than banks and lenders liked.
By 1986, most parts of the country were enjoying a reprieve from rising gas prices. For the first time in a number of years, petrol was again retailing for less than $1.00 per gallon, with $.99 becoming a popular price point for regular unleaded.
If you’re looking for a common thread to sew this collection of ads together, it may be luxury–or, more correctly, the perception of luxury.
For a number of reasons, automakers have been pulling ahead model year introductions lately. It is now not uncommon for a largely unchanged car to be rolled over to the next model year in February or March, for example.
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.