Posts from ‘Classic Cars’

Jan
08
1988 Eagle Premier, 1988 Eagle Lineup

1988 Eagle Premier

Well into the early 2000s, Lexus vehicles still came standard with cassette players. I mention this because it’s an example of a classic paradigm clash. Almost 30 years after the first CDs were making their way into the hands of audiophiles, Lexus was still catering to conservative car shoppers who were in no hurry to replace their Robert Ludlum cassette audio books.

Jan
05
1959 Henney Kilowatt

1959 Henney Kilowatt

If you’re into music, you probably remember the swing revival that took place in the late Nineties. That particular retro trend probably peaked in 1998, when Gap commercials populated by dancing khaki-clad youth famously featured a Louie Prima cut of “Jump, Jive an’ Wail.”

Dec
29
2001 Mercury Grand Marquis LSE

2001 Mercury Grand Marquis LSE

Cheap Wheels

by Don Sikora

Note: The following story was excerpted from the August 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

Mercury, and the Grand Marquis, left the automotive scene in January 2011. That final Grand Marquis was a direct evolution of the 1979 Marquis built on the “Panther” platform that was Ford Motor Company’s response to General Motors’s downsized 1977 large cars. Consider for a moment that Panther’s run of 33 model years remarkably covered nearly half the history of Mercury itself. Over time exterior styling evolved but this body-on-frame Merc’s basic specifications remained amazingly consistent.

Dec
28
2017 Dodge Viper

2017 Dodge Viper

by Don Sikora II

Note: The following story was excerpted from the June 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

When the production version of the original Dodge Viper RT/10 was introduced for the 1992 model year, it really was like nothing else. Sure, Carroll Shelby’s legendary Sixties-era Ford-powered Cobras provided inspiration, but Viper’s in-your-face, all-American design and 400-hp V-10 engine captured the public’s imagination.

Dec
26

Renault LeCar

Cheap Wheels

by Don Sikora II

Note: The following story was excerpted from the June 2017 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.

The Renault 5 went on sale in France in 1972, but the car wasn’t available in America until 1976. The front-drive subcompact was 141.5 inches long and rode an average wheelbase of 95.2 inches. Yes, average wheelbase. The independent rear suspension used transversely mounted torsion bars, and for simplicity they were mounted one in front of the other. This resulted in the wheelbase on the left side of the car being 1.2 inches longer than on the right. Curb weight was 1819 pounds no matter what side the scale was on.

Dec
21
1977 Ford Falcon

1976 Ford Falcon

An important automotive anniversary passed with little fanfare recently. At least, it passed with little fanfare here in the United States.

Dec
18
Golf Harlequin

1996 Volkswagen Golf Harlequin

Special-edition, limited-run vehicles have long been a part of most automakers’ bag of sales-boosting tricks. Producing a limited number of specially trimmed examples of a given vehicle—unique paint, wheels, interior and exterior trim, and maybe some stripes or special emblems—is a relatively easy, cost-effective way to drum up a little excitement over a given model line without incurring the significant expenses of a serious styling update or mechanical refresh. The special-edition model is a time-honored practice that has been going on in one form or another since the Fifties.

Dec
15
1960 Edsel, Classic Edsel Ads

1960 Edsel

By now we all know the Edsel story. It’s a brutal tale having to do with market timing, a recession, and a bunch of bad luck. If you’d like to read more about the Edsel end days, click here.

Dec
11
1986 Oldsmobile Toronado

1986 Oldsmobile Toronado

General Motors can lay claim to two of the most noteworthy examples of automotive downsizing. On the success side is the Impala/Caprice redesign for 1977. Leaner and more fuel efficient, the downsized big Chevys found the proverbial market sweet spot, and sold like crazy to full-size-car shoppers looking for something trimmer than they had been driving (but not too trim).

Dec
08
1959 Shamrock

1959 Shamrock

People can be dismissive of market research, but there are plenty of times when a company needs to take the pulse of potential customers, making certain that they have a handle on that group’s wants and needs.

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