(Found In) Uptown-Northgate (Oakland, California) 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible

14870503304_33bc4e5b89_h The call to let the sunshine in and dawn the Age of Aquarius was a decade turning herald call. However, the sun was about to set on the American Convertible as the 1970’s plowed on. In the personalization and self-actualization days of the early 1970s, the coddling comforts of Air Conditioning, tinted glass and vinyl roofs conferred more savvy than free in-the-breeze sporty, top down motoring. Sunroofs and too many sunburns lead people away from top down motoring in the way it had been embraced in the past.

As sporting life gave way to laps of luxuries, convertibles fell on their swords one by one. One of the last rousing relative successes of the genre was the burgeoning darling of the middle of the market, the much beloved Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.
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(Found In) Oak Center (Oakland, California): 1970 Oldsmobile Ninety – Eight Holiday 4 Door Hardtop Sedan

24201093003_f2e9738c84_kThe Oldsmobile Ninety Eight had made a career of stating “why buy a Cadillac?” The distance between what the Oldsmobile offered at a 25-30% discount over a comparable edition of The Standard Of The World often made the Ninety Eight seem like the most sensible sensation in the Near-Luxury field.

Quite often, the details of this most premium of Oldsmobiles actively upset product managers at Cadillac. The “Deep Discount DeVille” matched with the sterling reputation Oldsmobile cultivated for decades, but most importantly in the post-war market, set the groundwork for the brands stratospheric rise during the “me” decade of the 1970’s which found the brand even ahead of Ford at points for the #2 spot on the sales charts. Continue reading “(Found In) Oak Center (Oakland, California): 1970 Oldsmobile Ninety – Eight Holiday 4 Door Hardtop Sedan”

(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) McClymonds (Oakland, California): 1949 Plymouth Special Deluxe 4 Door Sedan

12713943_10153300656617201_1397644997_n Once upon a time, the low priced Three automobiles stood securely in their respective reputations. Each brought a unique motoring experience reflective of the corporate philosophy that spurred their development. At the end of the World War, Ford, Chevrolet and Plymouth still held steadfast to policies dictated to them ever since they carved out the bottom of the market for the Big 3 automakers.

Things started to change as each rolled out their all-new wares after the war. Where Ford and Chevrolet emphasized style and power, Plymouth advocated for sturdy solidarity and practicality. The spirit of Spinsters that would focus around Plymouth Valiants in the 60’s was an alive and well current at Plymouth seemingly forever.
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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) Santa Fe (Oakland, California): 1968 Chevrolet Caprice Custom Coupe

24154492823_93527b6c57_k The increased emphasis of accessible luxury made the Caprice the new King of the Chevrolet castle in a short number of buyer seasons. Although the Impala still held the sway over many new car buyers as the default choice for motoring finery, more and more people elevated their purchases to the most princely of Chevies as the 1960’s wound down.

American audiences love a little snob appeal. The American-as-Apple-Pie and Baseball Impala seemed too optimistic a choice, too unaware to cynical self preservation and exclusivity. Hoping to catch buyers before they elevated themselves further up the Sloan ladder, or into different products within Chevrolet’s showroom, the Caprice vowed to be the luxury car for the every-person.
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(Found In) Northgate (Oakland, California): 1965 Oldsmobile F-85 Cutlass Holiday Coupe

12387914_10153197929942201_1211070581_n At the center of the 1960’s, Oldsmobile was starting to find out Where The Action Is.  Swinging at the automotive discotheque with a full line of models of in sizes medium and large, Oldsmobile was poised to gain ground on the lessons they had learned during the first part of the 1960’s.

With two versions of their next generation Rocket V8’s soon capable of quite savage outputs, Oldsmobile, and their F-85/Cutlass line in particular, was ready to build a legacy that would storm the gates of the domestic family market. They were amply equipped to dominate it for the next 20 years. With a reputation for excellent quality, engineering and more than a minor bent towards total performance, the budding Cutlass line soon came to be synonymous with Middle Class Success.

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(Found In) Cleveland Cascade (Oakland, California): 1968 Lincoln Continental Hardtop Coupe

12357984_10153180981312201_1785917170_nAlthough a styling revolutionary, the 1961 Lincoln Continental wasn’t exactly a sales champion. The infinite varieties available for consumption in Cadillac showrooms allowed the Standard of The World to consistently outplace its Dearborn bred rival throughout the 1960’s.

By 1966, Lincoln was through with making due with a two model system of a basic 4 door Sedan and the ultra-rare and unique on the American market 4 door convertible. The standard bearer of post-war automotive affluence, the Two Door Hardtop Coupe, returned that year, and grew ever more distinctive each model year.
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(Found In) Adams Point (Oakland, California): 1962 Pontiac Tempest Convertible Coupe

12306004_10153168671557201_719705256_n General Motors’s efforts at providing reduced sized motoring during the early 60’s delivered an engineering 1-2-3 punch. For 1960, ’61 and ’62, three different compact models from America’s premiere manufacturer took home the coveted Motor Trend Car of The Year award.

1961 belonged to the Pontiac Tempest. Where would Pontiac go for the encore season of 1962? Perhaps a little bit more sport, as par for the course in recent tradition in the scope of offerings from the “Tin Indian.” Have a coupe, have a convertible! All stripes of fun were in as the littlest Pontiac tried to offer the virtues of GM’s “excitement” brand in a more tidy, better handling package.

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(Found In) Bushrod (Oakland, California): 1960 Plymouth Fury Four Door Hardtop Sedan

11868828_10152984250132201_2126147494_n
Sometimes you get so far ahead of the curve that you’re blind to your own turns. This is precisely the predicament that Highland Park found themselves in with their Forward Look cars at the turn of the decade.

Plymouth in particular had screamed from every stage that Suddenly, It’s 1960! in the fall of 1956. So what were they to do when it actually made it to 1960? Apparently the solution was to offer a brand new Uni-Body shell and soon to be legendary 6 cylinder powerplant in an updated wrapper of what warped the automotive Space-Time continuum 3 seasons earlier.

Bedazzled and befinned, we have the 1960 Plymouth looking to the recent past as it plugged from the Space Age to the Camelot years.

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