(Found In) Uptown (Oakland, California): 1988 Mercury Sable GS 4 Door Sedan

IMG_3844We’ve covered how much of a revelation the Ford Taurus was to new car buyers when it debuted 32 years ago in the Fall of 1985. But what is to be made of its sister ship, the too new for now Mercury Sable? With half skirted wheels, a full light bar substituting for grille work and a “floating” roof above “wrap around” glass, the Sable gave visual incentive to move into tomorrow today with many a styling feature that once was the reign of Science Fiction.

But was there much substance underneath the fantasy found in fancy Ford dealerships? What *more* did you get over the already trend setting Taurus?

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(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Cruiser Station Wagon

IMG_3341What if I proposed to you that the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera was the most polarizing car of the last 40 years? I’m sure you’d point out there’s plenty of other cars that deserve a bigger medal in terms of era defining cars but I have some key arguments.

Some will say that it was the car that planted the seeds of death for the Oldsmobile brand. Others will tout their ability to abuse the basic sound design of them (of course, once those pesky GM bugs got worked out of the earliest editions) for more than 2 decades and multiple hundreds of thousands of miles worth of trips that could loop the globe. The true meaning of it, as a symbol, lies somewhere down the middle of course, and I try to rectify that while looking at this indeterminable of model year well-equipped Cruiser Wagon version.

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(Found In) Fairview Park (Oakland, California): 1985 Ford Mustang LX Convertible

IMG_2633Don’t trust the adage that it’s not over until the Fat Lady sings. At least don’t trust her management. So goes the “disappearance” of the great American Convertible due to rollover safety regulations at the end of the 1970’s. Cadillac, and General Motors in particular, made a healthy profit touting their full sized convertibles as the final new versions of open-air motoring in 1975 and 1976. The government ended up having the last laugh.

Chrysler, looking for each niche to gussy up their new K-Car variants, returned to the convertible market first with their LeBaron. Ford, still offering carefree Pony motoring, in the form of their Mustang, felt a patriotic duty to chop of the top of their newest sports machine for the everyday American.

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Dynamic Divergence: Back To School Essentials – 6 Rides That Where The Lead Of The Carpool

ff865f9002544b89d4a03df523a03cd5-stationwagon-seat-beltsWe’ve seen our nation wide open on the highways this summer. Now it’s time for us to head back to the realities of gaining more knowledge. It’s back to school season, and every big box parking lot is filled with the spoils of breeding the next generation of thinkers and doers…and spoiled brats and bullies too.

We’ve typically gone back to school in the back seats of nearly 80 years of family haulers as schools became anchors of suburban development, long out of the walking distance of the industrial revolution, yet closer in than one room school houses of America’s rural frontier myths. In terms of utility, intelligence and style, what were some of the premiere pods of the Carpool over the years?

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(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1987 Ford Taurus GL Station Wagon

IMG_0412It was a revolution on wheels for the ordinary American Family Sedan. Even more so as a Station Wagon. Therein lies the miracle of the Original Ford Taurus. Long having played catch up to everyone else when it came to mainstream innovation, Ford fancied a future for mainstream buyers GM, Chrysler and a host of competitors couldn’t envision slipping into as tomorrow’s dream today.

The softening of the two and three traditional boxes that the average sedan and wagon came in softened a lot of buyer’s hearts. Far from the upright, puritan machines that had courted most American buyers since the Post-War. Stepping up to an international stage in design language, the Taurus showed that patrician pragmatic patriotic lines could only take the American car only so far into the future. Readying us for a slew of technology for the 21st Century, we have the re-imagined family truckster to look over 30 years after it flew into dealerships for its second season.

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Dynamic Divergence: Malaise Memories

IMG_9549There’s the very pertinent reality that, in terms of car enthusiasm there’s a huge bias towards cars of the immediate Post-War. In the glow of the found memories of mid-century economic prosperity, the reverence for cars with fins and full metal jackets lined inside and out still looms heavily over the shadow of car enthusiasm.

The cars that command average American Salaries if not more at auctions have years of birth of at least 45 years old, are considered at their finest bloom once they’ve hit the silver fox age of 50, and become really intensive things to insure and keep in good health once they hit 60 and beyond. Hiding in the shadows are the cars under 45 years old to those that are being ditched as students graduate college, leaving behind family hand-me-downs and first rides from the era of The X-Files and Moesha. Malaise Machines,” they’re called.

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(Found In) Hoover-Foster (Oakland,California): 1982 Imperial FS (Frank Sinatra) Edition

image.jpegCelebrity endorsements of products weren’t anything new when morning re-dawn’d in ‘Murica in 1981. However, there was heightened trust put in old white dude celebrities where, perhaps, there shouldn’t have been. We had former actor Ronald Reagan as President that year. Reagan beguiled us with tales (perhaps too familiar 35 years into the future) about using traditional, conservative family values to return America. It was bought by the majority of voters still slumbering in a long term malaise that had dominated most of the 1970’s.

We also had Frank Sinatra providing a little blue light special to a gussied up Cordoba. Using the cachet that a regal name had, Lee Iacocca hoped for a lil’ Black Magic and inspiration to distract potential customers from Mopar’s Bankruptcy woes.

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(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1985 Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale 4 Door Sedan

imageIn so many ways for the last rear-wheel drive Oldsmobile 88, it was the same at the ending as it was at the beginning. Once the star of the horsepower race, over time the Oldsmobile 88 became your average middle class car for Ordinary People. It wasn’t so much a fall from grace one might expect. Moreso the manifestation was consistent conservatism for Lansing’s biggest bread and butter loaf.

For 35+ years, the 88 gave reliable doses of 6 passenger comfort, smooth rides, quiet operation and a decent surge of V8 power. Soon enough though, the double-eight badging would have little significance as the march of badge engineering acted as a stick of dynamite against the GM Sloan ladder from the 1920s. It continued to splinter and crack under the weight of more profits and more competition for a shrinking class of buyer.

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