Posts from ‘Classic Cars’
I was pumping gas for a living in 1986, a job that enabled me to do more than my fair share of car watching. Thus, it saddens me a little to compile this list of forgotten rides.
by Don Sikora II
Note: The following story was excerpted from the December 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
The Tempo was an overlooked Ford sales success of the Eighties. Introduced as a 1984 model in two- and four-door varieties, Tempo wore the Blue Oval’s then-trendsetting aerodynamic “jellybean” styling pioneered on the 1983 Thunderbird. The front-wheel-drive chassis shared some elements with the U.S.-market Escort, but rode a longer 99.9-inch wheelbase. Tempos ran a “new” 2.3-liter four-cylinder engine that was a descendant of the Sixties-era Falcon inline six.
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.
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.
Presented here is an unedited press release received by Consumer Guide today.
Porsche milestone: One-millionth 911 rolls off the production line
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Frank Peiler
Anybody who knows a little something about automotive history knows that Hudson merged with Nash in 1954 to form American Motors. As a result, AMC had to come up with a new Hudson in record time to make the 1955 model year. The design department at Nash did a very good job transforming the Ambassador/Statesman into a new Hudson. The new car didn’t look much like a Hudson, and it certainly didn’t handle at all like previous “step-down” Hudsons, but the design was a refreshing change from the old and tired car. However, what would the 1955 Hudson look like had the merger been between General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, or the newly merged Studebaker/Packard?