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What would be the the automotive equivalent of a leg man? I’m guessing it’s a wheel-and-tire guy. But whether or not your type is brunettes or redheads, you have to admit it’s always fun to admire the things we love from a new perspective.
One of the biggest recurring disappointments of my elementary-school days was thinking that I was going to class to see a movie, and finding out I was really going to be sitting through a crappy filmstrip presentation.
Most automotive styling affectations were born of functional vehicle features. Real wire wheels, for example, lead to the faux-wire hubcaps that were so common in the Eighties, especially on Buicks and Oldsmobiles. Likewise, the vinyl and landau roof craze of the Seventies and Eighties was born of the landaulet and carriage-roof vehicles from decades earlier.
It’s a fairly simple concept: You force more air into an engine to improve volumetric efficiency and thus increase horsepower. Turbocharging is so common these days that cars are very rarely named or badged as turbos. Every single 2020 Ford Escape, for example, is turbocharged.
Which of the following events was more jarring? The addition of Elmo to the cast of Sesame Street, or the introduction of a front-wheel-drive Buick Electra? Both events, coincidentally, took place in 1985, and both events were met with a certain amount of grumbling.
I graduated from high school in 1983. The third year of President Ronald Reagan’s first term was pretty good to me—I spent the summer working full time at a service station, I starting taking classes at a local junior college, and I spent a considerable amount of time looking at, reading about, and talking about cars.
There is an air of parsimony to the automotive print ads of 1982. Take in all of the examples and take note of the following:
If you’re looking for proof that 1982 was a transitional year for the domestic auto industry, check out the dealer sales-training video for the then-new Chevrolet Cavalier below. It’s worth noting that Chevy’s cutting-edge front-drive subcompact car is being promoted with two-tone paint and white sidewall tires.
As far as recessions go, the economic dip of the early Eighties wasn’t much of a downturn. Apparently the Fed overdid it a bit, and tightened the money supply a bit more than banks and lenders liked.
The rollout of General Motors’ broad lineup of “X-Car” compact cars for 1980–which consisted of four separate vehicle lines spread across four brands–was a big event in the American automotive industry. Not surprisingly, GM backed up its ambitious new product initiative with a massive presence in TV and magazine advertising.