Posts from ‘Volvo’
This is an installment in a series of posts looking back on show cars that we feel deserved a little more attention than they got. If you have a suggestion for a Forgotten Concept topic, please shoot us a line or leave a comment below.
By most accounts, the automotive period known as the Malaise Era lasted from 1973 until 1983. During that time, the performance of most new vehicles paled in comparison to the less-regulated cars of just a few years earlier. Blame the government if you will, as low-lead gas, fuel-economy standards, and emissions regulations all took a serious toll on the horsepower output of most engines. I say most, because some cars suffered less than others. And there was one main reason for that relative immunity to the Malaise Era woes: fuel injection.
Much was made of the fact that, as of 2019, battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) outsold cars equipped with manual transmissions. And, if you’re of the save-the-manuals movement, this was distressing news, no doubt.
It saddens us to say it, but the luxury coupe is all but dead. While BMW and Mercedes-Benz still sell a few midsize and large 2-door cars, Cadillac and Lincoln do not. Lexus does sell the impressive LC, but that car is expensive, and it’s really more of a sports car than a luxury coupe in the sense we’re discussing here.
I joined the Consumer Guide team the summer of 2002. That means that, in just a few months, I will have been writing about cars full-time for 20 years. I mention this because I have only recently begun to consider just how much the automotive landscape has changed in the past two decades.
I recall a time, oh, 38 years ago, when my folks forbade me from driving to a friend’s house because it was raining. At the time, even if I believed that rain in any way made driving more dangerous, I wasn’t prepared to admit it. Besides, real car guys were unafraid of driving in snow, at night, and through downpours. Honestly, I still enjoy driving around through fresh snow.
Let’s get one thing straight right away: The Chevrolet Monte Carlo WAS a personal-luxury car. I have received at least a dozen emails and instant messages on this issue, mostly from car guys who insist that a personal-luxury car must come from a luxury brand. Not the case. For anyone who would like to spend time learning about the origins of the term, Wikipedia has a nice entry on the topic.
By 1988, light-duty trucks—a category which includes pickups, minivans, and SUVs—accounted for roughly one third of new-vehicle sales. At the time, the popularity of trucks seemed scandalous to many in the automotive media, most whom wagged a stern figure at automakers, warning that a sudden surge in the price of gas would leave dealers with lots full of unsellable product.