(Found In) Maxwell Park (Oakland, California): 1966 Chrysler 300 Convertible Coupe

IMG_8596By 1966, the performance brigade of big bruisers were rapidly losing ground to intermediate muscle machines and pony cars. Oldsmobile would send the Starfire into orbit one last time. The Impala SS started its rapid descent from its peak.

The Galaxie XL gained 7 Litres of might to fight for space as it was crowded out by the LTD, Thunderbird and Mustang over in Dearborn.
How was it for the grandfather of them all, the 300 Letter Cars?

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(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1966 Cadillac DeVille Convertible Coupe

image (5)As the 2nd half of the 1960’s got underway, Cadillac found itself not doing much wrong. The most premium General Motors offering had long banished American luxury rivals to the lower rungs of the sales charts, if not into the grave. However, this swagger combined with swelling size would eventually be the sword The Standard of The World would nearly mortally wound itself on.

The 1966 Model year represented perhaps the pinnacle of substance, style and snob appeal that would be eventually whittled away from copious Caddies for more than 2 decades. This knight in shining white armor droptop tells a rather peculiar tale of being laurel crowded, yet resting on said laurels at the same time.
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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) Potrero Hill (San Francisco, California): 1966 Chrysler 300 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

12305959_10153168570327201_567136321_nThe Chrysler 300 found itself no longer suffering from a split identity by 1966. Gone for good was the ultra sport-lux Letter series version.

Around since 1962, the Non-Letter 300 went toe to toe with mainstream Bankers hot-rods from perpetual cross town rival Buick. With a smidgen more cachet than the Flint offering, the 300 proved a brisk bet in the equally stuffy Chrysler showroom. With far less outre styling compared to the beginning of the 1960’s, these big block brutes gave Chrysler a sophisticated foothold in the upper crust performance market.

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(Found at) Fort Mason (San Francisco, California): 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 Convertible

12233406_10153136886362201_131286300_nImitation is considered the finest form of flattery. The stylists at Pontiac had the biggest confidence booster in the form of imitations from multiple brands for Model Year 1965. From cars as diverse as the Mercury Comet to Fraternal Luxury brand Cadillac, brands adopted Pontiac’s signature stacked headlamps. Some also adopted the fullness at the ‘hips.’

No brand got flack for it more than Ford. Their mostly revamped under the skin Full Sized Models were derisively called “The Box the 1963 Pontiac came in.” Burned by that assertion, Ford massaged the look to mesmerize buyers and critics the following seasons on sale. From hips sprouting pubescent curves and a bit more rake to the headlamps, The 1966 full sized Ford strived for a unique identity all it’s own.

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(Found In) Bayview (San Francisco): 1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible

11853886_10152968638602201_1167306201_nDuring these dog days of Summer before life files into the rigor of Fall activities and education, one might daydream about one final cruise under the warm Summer sun.

The more elegant the beast we bask in the better, right? Nothing says luxuriant sunbathing like a Camelot Continental. Ironically we meet up with the penultimate version of this breed of fun machine under foggy San Francisco Summer skies.

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(Found In) The Excelsior (San Francisco) – 1966 Buick Skylark 4 Door Hardtop Sedan

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From the era of General Motors sitting at the top of the world we have what is one of their most solid citizen efforts from 1966. Perhaps this ordinary Buick is the zenith of the American Sedan. Undeniably charming, exquisitely detailed and pretty well assembled are qualities that were part and parcel of any 1966 Buick Skylark.

Credible cushiness and competence helped make the most luxurious of junior Buicks something to pay attention to as the Senior Buicks continued to pack on pounds and even more padding as the 1960’s drew to a close.

Although the least popular of its corporate relatives, the attention these Buicks generated compared to rivals outside of the GM family was genuinely envy endorsing.

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(Found In) The Bayview (San Francisco) – 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado

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Forward thinking while referencing the past, that’s what the Oldsmobile Toronado wished to do as a new concept in motoring for 1966.

Whether it was fully successful is a question left up to interpretation. As it stands it was a technological tour-de-force, and tempting dead end. Stylish, Suave and Sexy, it was a surprise image leader for Oldsmobile’s Where The Action Is years of the mid 1960’s.
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