(Found In) Longfellow (Oakland, California): 1976 Mercury Marquis Colony Park Station Wagon

img_3055 Once upon a time in a world 40 years ago, the way to haul the herds through freshly minted suburbia wasn’t via sport utility vehicles, nor minivans. The new fangled concept of all things in one crossovers would have bewildered the average buyer in 1976. Only one thing got-er-done in Bi-Centennial ’76, and that was the wooly mammoth clad in wood known as the full sized Station Wagon.

FordMoCo long dominated the niche in sales performance, and to varying degrees, prestige. The Di-Noc slathered Country Squire was one of the first Ford products that didn’t mind its position as a member of one of the low priced three brands, being acceptable in Fields and at Country Clubs. How did the further upmarket Marquis Colony Park fare among the fancy precious cargo carriers?
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(Found In) Golden Gate (Oakland, California): 1964 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Holiday Sports Sedan

img_2769By 1964, General Motors premium efforts offered up a magic brew of marketing and moxie. Where Ford and Chrysler could only work their mojo into offering perhaps only 2 or 3 premium sedans, General Motors had a slew of them. Most credit Ford with starting the brougham brigade, in actuality Pontiac brought the bourgeois to more of the masses with their Bonneville Brougham.

Before you cashed in with a Cadillac, there were two steps that you could sit on up the Sloan Ladder. We’ve covered the Electra 225 already, but one favorite on Dynamic Drives is one of our favored subjects from after dark. Today we present yet another Oldsmobile Ninety Eight.

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(Found In) Fairfax (Oakland, California): 1962 Rambler Classic Custom 4 Door Sedan

img_2375In the era of planned obsolescence, independent brands, out of necessity didn’t “keep up with the times.” Smaller brands like Studebaker, AMC and a number of independent brands before them didn’t have the market share or profits to field new styling and the required sheetmetal every 2 or 3 years, or, in the case of General Motors, the extreme of every model year for 1957, ’58 and ’59.

As a wave of consumer backlash against this process developed, American Motors in particular, was well situated to take advantage of the march of “progress” fielded by the big three. Their smaller, sensible, upright rolling orthopedic shoes of automobiles, assembled with care and craft not necessarily known in their price class lead them to rise in sales during the leaner, recession restricted years of 1958 through 1961.  How did that do for ’62?

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(Found In) Tresle Glen (Oakland, California): 1959 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Holiday Hardtop Sedan

img_2284 Although the tidal change that the 1959 General Motors Full Sized line was, perhaps no marque needed that change more than Oldsmobile. The brand had gone from offering the most conservative offerings in 1957 to the most derided offerings for 1958.

Mocking came in the form of musical notes written on the chrome trim in comics of the period, mocking the excessive levels of trim of the loving motorboats on offer from Lansing that year. Fortelling a renewed appreciation for simplicity and decorum, the 1959 Oldsmobile line pointed in the direction of a series of ever increasingly elegant offerings for middle class buyers for the next decade.
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(Found In) Bushrod Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Volvo P1800E Sports Coupe

image (30).jpegIt’s often that we discount Volvo as the sporting Swedish car, and give all of the glory of athletics to Saab. Where Saab tried again and again with variations of the Sonett from the 1950’s through the early 70’s, Volvo stayed pretty tried and true to their concept of a sports tourer. After the attempt with a Scandinavian Corvette, the P1900, the graceful P1800 debuted in 1961.

It would remain, with improvements, the alternate, sporting, personal Volvo many a dashing dandy and damsel came to love over 13 more model years. Providing a sophisticated style all its own, it stood out from many an Italianate coupe that came and went during those years on the market.

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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) Downtown Oakland (Oakland, California): 1964 Cadillac Sedan DeVille

13840661_10153649486877201_544268345_oFinned and Fancy, Cadillac seemingly could do little wrong in the early 1960’s. Recognizing continuity as a cash cow and cementing a legacy, Cadillac style and substance found itself setting in stone a luxury legacy that still stands 50 years later.

Improvements under the skin, the best that General Motors would offer buyers, gave many luxury buyers possibly the best bargain on the globe. Effortless, peerless performance, seductive silence and still swanky style kept these jewel boxes on 4 wheels interstate royalty envied globally.

 

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(Found In) Clawson (Oakland, California): 1971 Chevrolet Impala Convertible

image (28) The sporting pretense of the Full Sized Chevrolet had been on the wane for more than half a decade. Nevertheless, with market dominance unlike any other manufacturer, General Motors still saw it worthy to offer top down motoring to the masses in massive sizes when it re-designed its Full Sized Automobiles for the 1971 model year.

The most practical self-placement in a large fun in the sun machine was of course found in Chevrolet dealerships. in its 7th season in the Silver Spot among Chevrolet Full-sizers, the re-visioned ’71 Impala Convertible offered many tailoring options from later day Super Sport to Junior DeVille with the appropriate selection of option boxes.

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(Found In) Temescal (Oakland, California): 1957 Oldsmobile Golden Rocket 88 Holiday Hardtop Four Door Sedan

image (22)Rockets start to fall back to the earth after they pierce their way into outer space. That’s pretty much the legacy of Oldsmobile during the second half of the 50’s. As the Overhead Valve V8 performance revolution Oldsmobile inspired in 1949 spread to all popular priced cars in the middle of the decade, the laurel brand of Lansing found itself in a dilemma.

Where was the athlete to go when so many challengers to the crown were on the track and field? Was it mission impossible to attempt to maintain the performance crown? Was adding luxury and maintaining consistency the key to longevity, success and praise?

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(Found In) Clawson (Oakland, California): 1973 Lincoln Continental 4 Door Sedan

photo 2Much can be said for the foreboding presence that many a vintage domestic luxury sedan exudes. With forty-plus years of changing automotive trends, a premium offering like a 1973 Lincoln Continental perhaps tells even more of a story compared to when they were new.

As a cross between 1960’s restraint and 1970’s isolation, these Continentals struck a Goldilock’s “just right” once you got past the intimidating presentation.

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