Posts from ‘Classic Car Ads’
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.
We don’t normally ask readers to work too hard when they’re checking out classic car ads, but we do have an observation to share: The sporty Fords of the late Eighties were available with a fascinating array of engines.
In terms of general statistical sexiness, brake performance has long taken a backseat to acceleration. Horsepower numbers are fun, 0-60-mph and quarter-mile times are fun. But braking? Most car guys know that reaching 60 mph from a stop in less than 6 seconds is an impressive feat. How many folks, I wonder, know what a decent time would be for coming to a complete stop from 60 mph?
In his 2012 book Fractured Times: Culture and Society in the Twentieth Century, historian Eric Hobsbawm noted, “In terms of literary pedigree, the invented cowboy was a late romantic creation. But in terms of social content, he had a double function: he represented the ideal of individualist freedom pushed into a sort of inescapable jail by the closing of the frontier and the coming of the big corporations.”
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.
There was whimsy in those little trucks. Back, say, 30-40 years, small pickups were not only cost-effective light-duty commercial vehicles, they were also compelling commuter alternatives to traditional coupes and sedans.
The bad news is that fewer than one of every hundred cars sold in the United States is a convertible. (I will spare you the fractional math required to pass along the number of manual-transmission-equipped convertibles sold on our shores last year, but it’s fewer still.)
Fact: Every running seventh-generation (1989-1997) Mercury Cougar is equipped with the Bostonian Edition vinyl-roof package. Every one.