(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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(Found In) Bushrod Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Ford LTD Hardtop Coupe

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In the vehicles that are the zeitgeist of the time, the various Ford LTDs are vastly underrated as symbols for the time. Starting as yet another push by Ford upmarket, it calling into question the reason behind the Mercury brand yet again in 1965.

By the early 70’s it was a reputable status symbol for those that wanted style, comfort, and isolation along with size without the expense of traditional posh offerings. As luxury efforts moved down market, there was little reason to upgrade beyond the whisper silent LTD.

1972 proved to be a bridge year. The traits and ethos of what had been traditional spectrum offerings of Full Sized cars was rapidly coming to a close. In a number of ways, this was the swan song season to the variety once well known, and offered most resplendently at the top of the Ford line.

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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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(Found In) Northwest Berkeley (Berkeley, California) : 1970 Ford Thunderbird Landau Sports-Back Coupe

img_6719The 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.

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(Found In) Golden Gate (Oakland, California): 1965 Ford Custom 4 Door Sedan

img_4128In the rigorous world of competitive automotive sales, the full-sized Ford Automobile was oft the 2nd most beloved (and in a few cases in the post-war, the most loved) conveyance for Middle America. Ford, however, took to the diversification of size and style classes of Automobiles with zeal at the beginning of the 1960’s more than any other brand from the Big Three.

The Falcon took the lead in compact sales. The re-sized Fairlane usurped the market lock Rambler had on intermediates. The Thunderbird shattered the luxury field wide open with its personalized persona. And then there was of course, The Mustang, scrambling the compass of what Americans thought they wanted in a car in a profound way.Where did that leave the basic big Ford so beloved and nearly solitary in mission a decade before in 1965?

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Dynamic Divergence: Falcons On Film And A Requiem For Dystopian Hipster America

20121757552_79aa4759d4_z Once upon a time, on a website far far away but not really, when I was 30-ish years old, I declared the Ford Falcon the vintage chariot fancied the most by a certain demographic. Interestingly, at the same time I made such a grandiose generalization about my own respective urban peer group, I took up another anachronistic way of expression; Film Photography.

As we slide to a close of 2016, I reckon with the term hipster, and all things twee, including resurrecting the most basic of FordMoCo products from more than a half century ago. Trends come, trends go, however does the Falcon still have a fighting chance to continue to fly as it approaches 60 years old?

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(Found In) Northwest Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

image (21).jpegIt’s not easy peaking the first time on stage. It happens with music acts, television shows, and quite often, cars. The combination of right place, right time and blessings from the stars (and economic conditions) bodes well for certain product successes. Here lies the story of the re-branded, midsized Ford Fairlane. For one shining moment, without market factors against it, it claimed a genre all unto it’s own.

By 1964, it found itself, like many a pioneering girl group in the shadows of something Supreme rising from Detroit. Once the starlet, now a reliable box office draw, it tried a hand at presenting something special, smart and sporty. Yet somehow time passed it by.

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(Found In) Fairview Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Ford Pinto Squire Station Wagon

24694209420_56de8de8fb_hGiven the lawsuits and safety concerns about their fuel tanks; its often forgotten these days that the Ford Pinto was a rousing success for Ford in the Early 70’s. Upon introduction the frolicsome combination of sprite, plucky nature and a reasonable entry price made the Ford Pinto seemingly like the answer to the onslaught of Subcompact imports flooding the American Automotive Market.

Ford upped the versatility quotient to match Chevrolet’s Vega with first a Hatchback, then the Station wagon model for 1972. The Squire option brought enough charm for housewives and handymen a plenty to consider the smallest by a large margin of Ford Haulers. In a way, its the ultimate expression of the virtues early Pintos contained.

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(Found In) Claremont (Oakland, California): 1966 Ford Thunderbird Convertible

24160339594_3a70c0783d_kThe Thunderbird legacy started as a top down thrill. However, the thrill was a bit muted in some ways. To give the original Thunderbird a leg up over a host of sports cars, the Thunderbird was marketed as a “personal” car. As such, comfort and convenience was built in from the beginning.

Featuring an optional Hardtop, and a slew of convienience options, the open air quotient always seemed to be an optional one. Ford flirted and fielded the idea of closing off the full free-breeze feeling as early as 1960 with an option of a sliding metal sunroof for Hardtop Coupes. But by 1966, the writing was on the wall within the confines of the Private World of Thunderbird.
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(Found In) Westlake (Daly City, California): 1961 Ford Falcon Deluxe Tudor Sedan

12348518_10153171487722201_1228274483_nThe Ford Falcon walked away with the sales crown in the compact car race in 1960. Proving to be a splendid combination of thrift and simplicity, the Falcon set all rivals scrambling for a more simplified piece of the pie.

Where was the Falcon to go for its sophomore year? A little more glitz, a little more muscle of course. It was a Motor City Machine after all. Once the basic needs of American consumers are met, they always want more. It was a lesson Ford learned early on, and quite painfully with the Model T, and there was no time to waste when it came to keeping the Falcon up with the times.
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