Author Archive

May
22
1986 Chevette

1986 Chevrolet Chevette

By 1986, car shoppers were looking for a little more than basic transportation. And while cheap/affordable cars were still the best-selling models, they were generally equipped with such conveniences as automatic transmission and such niceties as FM radio and air conditioning.

May
15
1992 Chrysler LeBaron Coupe

1992 Chrysler LeBaron Coupe

When Chrysler introduced the first Cordoba back n 1975, the carmaker almost seemed to apologize for rolling out a “small” Chrysler. Indeed, the ‘Doba was small by Seventies-era Chrysler standards, but would seem positively burly only a decade and a half later.

May
12
1971 Dodge Demon Sizzler

1971 Dodge Demon Sizzler

 

By 1971 you could feel the storm coming. What would later be known as the The Malaise–the painful period of dull, under-performing automobiles–would kick in just months after the ads shared here first ran. Look through these ads for clues that the new-car world was about to become a duller place. The Dodge Demon, for example, promises more style than power, with focus on stripes and appliqués instead of horsepower.

May
11
Explorer GMC Savannah Coversion

This Explorer conversion of a Chevrolet Express Van is painted in the company’s “Southern Comfort” livery and includes the “Antelope” ground-effects package.

Blame the minivan. Prior to the 1984 arrival of the first minivans–the ground-breaking Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager–the vehicle options for a family of six were fairly limited.

May
09
1990 Infiniti Q45

1990 Infiniti Q45

Not since the attack on Pearl Harbor has another nation engaged in battle on U.S. soil, at least with the U.S.

Auto industry buffs may remember the “Asian Invasion” of the early Nineties, which was not a battle of military conquest, but one for the attention of upscale car shoppers. And the battle did not involve American interests, at least not directly.

May
08
1982 Bustlebacks

The bustleback trio: Imperial (left), Lincoln Continental (center), and Cadillac Seville.

When it comes to automotive styling trends, few movements match the thickly padded vinyl half-roof movement of the late Seventies and early-to-mid Eighties.

Confined to American-brand vehicles, the padded-roof fad become so popular that makers were selling vinyl-roof-specific models in many linups. Trim levels including Salon, Landau, and Brougham often included unique roof treatments along with a nice set of faux wire-wheel covers.

May
05
Lincoln MKT by Parks Superior

Lincoln MKT Hearse

For years, Cadillac had a death grip on the funeral-vehicle market. While statistics are elusive, it’s safe to say that through the most of the Nineties, Caddy was the dominant player in the last-ride game.

May
04
1984 Plymouth Horizon

Perhaps surprisingly, the Plymouth Horizon was the eighth-fastest accelerating car tested by Consumer Guide in 1984.

We’ve been using the word fastest to describe the best-performing rides tested by Consumer Guide in the past. The word we really should be using is quickest. Technically, a fast car has an impressive top speed, and without a test track, and situated in the Chicago suburbs, top speed was never a metric CG attempted to measure.

May
02
1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT

1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone GT

Ford is doing it wrong. The current Ford Mustang GT is the highest-performance regular-production version of the brand’s beloved pony car (outside of the track-ready Shelbys), but that’s not really what a GT is. Historically speaking, at least.

May
01
GM Key to the Future video

In the 1956 short film “Key to the Future,” General Motors predicted a hands-free driving system not unlike the Cadillac Super Cruise option due for 2018.

The 2018 Cadillac CT6 is slated to offer Super Cruise–General Motors’ first true hands-free driving technology–when the car goes on sale this fall. That’s great, but we think GM had autonomous driving nailed more than 60 years ago. Well, maybe not nailed, but the company certainly had a good handle on what hands-free driving might look like one day. In the promotional film “Key to the Future,” GM explores the possibility of hands-free driving from the perspective of a family of vacationers. The film was first seen in 1956 as part of GM’s annual touring Motorama exhibition.

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