Happy Spring! Here we find ourselves at Spring Equinox of 2017. What better way to celebrate the brightening longer days at this seasonal balance point than a shiny red super stock Dodge? Today’s example is a little bit flashier than the one that The Little Old Lady From Pasadena bought however.
This Dart Convertible brought a sparkle to the compact field for its sophomore season with a bit more muscle under the metal to keep up with more potent players from different brands. What other refinements were added more to the smallest Dodge for ’64?
A wing, a prayer, and perhaps some emergency road flares. That encapsulated where Studebaker was by 1962 with their standard passenger car line. Where the innovation of cropping the circa ’53 standard Studebaker down to the Lark in 1959 was a stroke of genius, by 1962 many manufacturers crowded around the special bird to make a feast. No longer was it the only downsized dowager with the pride of a potent V8 engine.
A nip and a tuck of plastic surgery, some new features and a fretting over where to go next signified where the Lark was in 1962. Emphasis on the blossoming of the specialized small American car seen elsewhere creeped in too. How much of the old bird was new in ’62.
Cadillac seemed more than likely a place for a closed coupled, personalized touring coupe to flourish. It may seem a bit surprising that Cadillac, given its success in the post war era and bountiful resources sitting on top of the General Motors throne, waited until 1967 to field one. Granted the financial losses on the Eldorado Brougham of the late 1950’s informed the decision to make the risk a cautiously executed once there had been a market determined.
Cadillac got a season and a half jump on Lincoln making a similar decision to re-enter this segment of the market with the personalized Mark Series Continental. The front wheel drive Eldorado ditched the premise of being the most deluxe of Cadillac convertibles in 1967. For the second full year jostling for King of The Road status, how did the ’68 Eldorado shape up against the pending Continental Mark III, and its lesser siblings the Riviera and Toronado for that matter?
The Ford Thunderbird saw many persona changes to cope with the changing times throughout its life as a personalized chariot for a select few. From luxurious sports personal convertible to overwrought George Barris Custom to fascinatingly land bound ode to space and air travel, to suburban bordello on wheels, where was the Thunderbird by the time it turned sweet 16?
In reality, it faced its first true identity crisis. Due to some new beauty standards in the field, the Thunderbird underwent a major dose of rhinoplasty to keep up with newer, fresher faces influenced by a new boss from a new studio. As the Thunderbird transitioned to adulthood, we look at what the awkward adolescence looked like.
Out of the blue, my longest term old friend asked for advice in regards to buying a “new” car. She’s moving on from her 2003 Honda Accord. An urban dwelling badass that has worked on both sides of the tech and non-profit divide, she’s looking to reward herself with a new ride, to spoil herself with the latest and greatest of luxuries. She’s also expecting her first child.
Both of us, in our Mid 30’s, were born into California car culture. We were blessed with rolling not-so-relics from the 1950’s and 60’s splicing through our upbringings as malaise machines were in retreat, giving way to modern masterpieces of the 1990s and Y2K years.
Buick was never really known as the flamboyant choice of cars in the General Motors stable. However, starting in the Mid 1950’s, Buick found its way to being one of the most fashionable plates car buyers dined off of. For the 1954-57 models it seemed more keeping up with the Jonesin’ for wild color and fabric combinations. However, by 1958, the glittery flamboyance jumped the shark, followed by the Batman inspired ’59, and the relatively less marvel superhero themed 1960 version.
By 1962, under the influence of ever calming industrial design, Buick found itself refining into the solid state of automotive conservatism it has been long term known for. Gone were the protrusions of previous years for a statelier ride. How did that graft onto the Banker’s Hot Rod Du Jour, The 1962 Invicta?
Caste systems find their function in strict boundaries. If there wasn’t exclusive traits to one station in life, the combination of fear and desire wouldn’t keep products in their proper places. As something that humans have created for each other, we oft find these systems in play in the products humans create as well.
This of course means that there’s rebellions and compromises throughout caste systems to gain more for the privileged. What does this have to do with an ordinary Oldsmobile sedan from 1964 you may ask. Plenty, when you’re one step up in the prestige sweepstakes, yet see a family rival walking away with spoils of riches.