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1983 Buick Century T Type, Midsize Sedans of 1983

1983 Buick Century T-Type

Just as consumers are now beginning to grapple with the notion of owning an electric vehicle, car buyers once debated whether or not go with front-wheel drive. Really. Front-drive cars were still a fairly new, unfamiliar idea to the average American car shopper in 1983, though the pioneering front-drive Volkswagen Rabbit had been selling in volume on our shores since 1975.


1980 Chevrolet Citation Review

I have never read Frank Herbert’s science fiction epic Dune, but by the time I became aware that the 800-page novel was being adapted for the silver screen, I was pretty well versed on the story.

1980 AMC Eagle Sedan

1980 AMC Eagle Sedan

I’ve long believed that if American Motors had been able to muster the capital to fully redesign its cars sometime around 1980, the company might have lasted well into the Nineties, maybe longer. Instead, AMC management—at the time already working with the company’s soon-to-be partner, the French automaker Renault—played a hunch, and built a line of full-time AWD passenger cars off of a long-serving existing platform. The result helped buy AMC a few more years, but in the end wasn’t enough to save the company.

Hemi 2.6 Badge, Mitsubishi 2.6-liter Hemi

Fender badge of a 1981 Dodge Aries

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.

1981 Chrevrolet Citation

1981 Chrevrolet Citation

It was a bold move by General Motors. In one fell swoop, GM discontinued four vehicles that had grown mostly irrelevant, and replaced them with modern, cutting-edge machines perfectly tailored to meet the expectations of a changing marketplace.

1982 Pontiac J2000, 1982 General Motors J-Cars

1982 Pontiac J2000 ad

Sometime in the 1930s, then General Motors’ president Alfred P. Sloan introduced what came to be known as the “ladder of success.” This metaphorical ladder would dominate GM marketing policy for decades to come.

1976 AMC Pacer, Cars We Make Fun Of

1976 AMC Pacer

History’s greatest disaster metaphor is inarguably the Titanic, the giant, “unsinkable” ship that would go ahead and promptly sink on its maiden voyage. I would argue that NBC’s prime-time drama “Super Train” was actually a more impressive disaster, but since no one remembers the show, it’s unlikely to catch on as a cultural reference point.

1980 Plymouth Volare

1980 was the last year for Plymouth’s “compact” Volaré.

I think it’s fairly typical of people to group memories into convenient categories. Most people probably look back at their lives thus far and see periods of time easily identified by markers such as childhood, high school, post-acne, and marriage—or something akin to that. But, our memories can play tricks on us.

Jap Crap

Tom: “Were you paying attention when the ‘Jap crap’ LS 400 combined an opulent cabin with rear drive and a silky, potent V8 for 35,000?”

You sound like an idiot.

I don’t know if your ignorance is willful, or if it’s driven by some sort of latent racism or misplaced sense of nationalism, but you sound like an idiot.


A pair of Consumer Guide online articles garnered medallions, and CG’s companion automotive-history magazine Collectible Automobile picked up two awards of its own, when the 21st International Automotive Media Awards (IAMA) were announced on July 17.