Posts from ‘Plymouth’
by Jack Stewart
Note: The following story was excerpted from the April 2016 issue of Collectible Automobile magazine.
Nineteen sixty didn’t turn out the way that Virgil Exner envisioned.
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.
Wikipedia describes a soccer mom as “a married middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs and has school-age children. She is sometimes portrayed in the media as busy or overburdened and driving a minivan or SUV. She is also portrayed as putting the interests of her family, and most importantly her children, ahead of her own.” Per Wikipedia, the term started showing up in the national media in 1982.
Last year Ford sold around 20,000 vehicles to law-enforcement agencies. While the number may seem huge, it’s dwarfed by many of Ford’s retail models. The Ford Escape small crossover, for example, accounts for nearly 30,000 sales every month.
There are few topics more divisive these days than politics. The national argument is famously two sided, with seemingly fewer and fewer folks located near the center of the discussion.
By 1979, there was light visible at the end of the tunnel for performance-car enthusiasts. Though horsepower was still wanting in most cases, cars were growing leaner, and arguably better built.
Confession: I have a very hard time separating what I think is good looking from what I thought was cool—at least when it comes to cars from the late Seventies and early Eighties.
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.