Posts from ‘Dodge’
Class: Sporty/Performance Car
Miles driven: 415
Fuel used: 16.0 gallons
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.
If I may be allowed to overgeneralize, allow me to suggest that American car buyers appreciate utility, but would rather a given vehicle not look too utilitarian.
By the time the 1976 model year rolled around, the trusty round headlamp had been an auto-industry norm for more than 70 years. Much of what drove this stylistic consistency was the easily replaced one-piece sealed-beam lamp, the use of which became U.S. law in 1940.
By the end of the Seventies, it seemed as if the marketing types at Chrysler had given up worrying about protecting legacy brands. In 1978, for example, the company rolled out a small, Mitsubishi-built 4-cylinder Dodge coupe, which the company rather thoughtlessly dubbed Challenger.
I came of age as a car guy under the tutelage of Car and Driver magazine during the Eighties. As such, I was very much an automotive minimalist. Groomed by auto editors with a love of spartan German performance cars, there was little room in my heart for the likes of whitewall tires, fake aero tack-on bits, or trucks of any stripe.
While many advertisers latched onto the Bicentennial hype surrounding our nation’s 200th birthday, automakers largely did not. Sure, there were several red, white, and blue-themed special-edition trim packages available (mostly as 1975 models), but otherwise the automakers were largely mum on the subject.
Though it’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that pickup trucks started becoming luxury cars with cargo beds, 1991 is pretty close to that point. Around that time, rear doors started appearing on extended-cab trucks, and leather upholstery began showing up on options lists.