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BIGGEST AMERICAN CARS - SIZE DID MATTER


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Wow, what a feast for the eyes and blast from the past.  Thanks for posting!

First off, the first 2 visuals are views of my hometown's freeways.  You can't miss the art deco city hall tower. The air there is rarely yellow any more, like it was some days and your eyes would water, so we can thank all the emissions improvements for that.

Ford - not that many, unless you include Lincoln.  Got a kick out of Mark IVs decked out by Bill Blass, Gucci, etc. and with a personal plated name tag you could order for them.  A friend's dad had one of these, but, then, he had a corner office some 20 stories above DTLA.  Now, it's Eddie Bauer and LL Bean that will be decking out your SUV.  Also, I laughed when they said "a big 302 V8" for the LTD.  Big didn't start until you got to 350 cubes, and that was still a small block engine.  

General Motors - is it any wonder they took the lead in sales?  Most of their offerings were either tasteful or just plain attractive compared to what FoMoCo and Chrysler were putting out.  Ok, so the '71 Riviera was polarizing, but they were fun to look at back then and even today when you see one.  I would have thought it to be risky to sign on the dotted line, wondering who'd buy one second hand from you.  Now, if you kept it until today, you'd get your money back and way more.

Kudos to the Olds 98, just prior to rectangular headlamps.  I had no clue the Brougham interior we'd see for years to come was already there in 1974.  Also, pre catalytic converter, the 455 V8 still put out some healthy horsepower.  I liked the '75 Buick Electra 225 shown.  They mention that the 455 V8 (Buick's version, which was not branded "Rocket") was now strangled by emissions and put out 205 hp.  That's meager, since my V6, of that same brand and with about half the cubic inches, puts out 200 hp and gets 30 mpg on the highway.  I also didn't know they had put such an uptown interior into that car.  There was a base and a Limited model and I believe that a few select Park Avenues trim packages were already seen on these cars, though rare.

Chrysler - is it any wonder they were such a mess back in the day?  Everything they put together was bloated, heavy handed, and/or just plain ugly.  Those '77 Dodge Royal Monacos, '70 Imperial Crowns, and '78 Chrysler New Yorkers were ghastly and, at every turn, the comparable sedan or big coupe put out by GM was far better.  The last car in the video, which is the longest, is also the one hit by the ugly stick the hardest - the '73 Chrysler Imperial Le Baron, and it's ugliness is apparent "in all its glory" at 12 minutes into the video.  Epic fail.

Sidebar - the only decent car by Chrysler that is shown was the '75 Dodge Charger, but we know that's just a Cordoba.  It didn't look bad and was nicely appointed inside.  However, if someone was going to go into that segment, they would get a Cordoba, which was aggressively marketed.  While I can't be sure, the woman in the Charger ad looks just like Jennifer O'Neill.  If she had already become a big star though the landmark film "Summer of '42," and was getting more roles, would she need to do car commercials?  Maybe it was just a lookalike. 

I hated most of the cars shown.  By the mid-70s, it was only GM who handled the full-sizes really well, and mostly in the BOP divisions right above Chevrolet (Electra/LeSabre, 98/88, and Grand Ville/Bonneville/Catalina).

Sensory overload ... a lot to process there.

 

 

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I did some "research."

The above made for unforgettable marketing, with people imitating Ricardo Montalban's enunciation of "fine Corinthian leather."  It was definitely Chrysler's way to tap into the colonnade market that GM ruled, and some people did opt for Cordobas.  Sadly, they'd put buckets in some and have a column shifter.  The buckets needed to have a console with the shifter there, and some did.  They started out this car with 360 cubic inches worth of V8.

It was indeed Jennifer O'Neill! What the hell?  Dodge needed a spokesperson who would fetch attention.  But did she need the extra cash?  The Charger was too twinned with the Cordoba.  In some ways, it almost looked better:  rectangular patterns in the grille as opposed to the vertical bars and nicer rear taillamps that wrapped around the rear "fins."  They even had a more sober interior and dash.  What had to go was the vaned opera window treatment.  That even showed up on some Cordobas.  

I wonder if these could have been had with the 318 c.i. V8, which Chrysler used on smaller and medium-sized cars for a long time.

This is the movie - "Summer of '42" - with which Jennifer O'Neill made it big.  This movie transcends time and remains a classic.  It has also has some sad parts and some comedic parts.  I recommend it if you've haven't yet seen it.

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