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

IMG_1956
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.

Continue reading “(Found In) Bushrod Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Ford LTD Hardtop Coupe”

(Found In) Outer Richmond (San Francisco, California): 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Station Wagon

IMG_1435The Vista Cruiser is an interesting detour in the concept of the family hauler. General Motors always struggled a wee bit with the concept of the station wagon (and the minivan and SUV crazes that followed) compared to Ford and Chrysler.

While Ford had no problem not only selling plenty of Country Sedans and Country Squires, even their Ford wagons had a snob appeal that belied them sharing floor space with the most basic of Henry’s vehicular grandchildren.

GM tried low priced to luxury, 4 door hardtop and sporty station wagons with names like Fiesta and Nomad. Although those wagons have become collectors items in the current, they weren’t exactly prized in the past. Buick and Oldsmobile, in particular, passed the baton from their Full Sized wagons for a good half decade, relying on scenic-cruising bus inspired family haulers based on their intermediate platforms for that certain level of panache for suburban driveways. We celebrate an icon in the sunset of its years as the dog days of summer settle in.

Continue reading “(Found In) Outer Richmond (San Francisco, California): 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser Station Wagon”

(Found In) Northgate (Oakland, California): 1972 Buick LeSabre Hardtop Coupe

IMG_1155When did Buick become a car for the elderly? It’s really hard to say. For most of the early post-war era, Buick more or less espoused the belief in more subtle, less ostentatious luxury, in comparison to GM cousin brand Cadillac. During that same period, there were extensions downward to price categories just above Chevrolet, and attempts at re-cementing their reputation as Banker’s Hot Rods as well.

Another belief was offering a whole lotta car for a minimum of a premium. As the Special nameplate drifted out of sight to re-appear as a luxury compact in the fall of 1960, the least dear Buick for your pocketbook became the LeSabre. Perhaps being a perennial customer favorite with people starting in 1959 lead to something of a reputation.

Continue reading “(Found In) Northgate (Oakland, California): 1972 Buick LeSabre Hardtop Coupe”

(Found In) Park Merced (San Francisco, California): 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Coupe

IMG_9002The Oldsmobile Ninety Eight once sat in a rarefied holy trinity at the temple of General Motors opulence. The eldest and the most modest of the trio between the most Senior Buick, the now Electra 225, and the myriad of Cadillac DeVilles and Fleetwoods, the Ninety Eight negotiated for the least of your finances for the most security and the most sensible set of luxury trappings for your dollar.

Often great enough for many a generation of buyers who felt like they had “made it” the Ninety Eight was ready, willing and able to celebrate Oldsmobile’s 75th year of manufacturing automobiles with a even more goodies for customers on deck after a full redesign for 1971.

Continue reading “(Found In) Park Merced (San Francisco, California): 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Coupe”

(Found In) Mission District (San Francisco, California): 1972 Toyota Crown Mark II Station Wagon

IMG_8659Out of the Japanese brands that landed in the American Market during the 1950’s and 1960’s, Toyota learned the quickest how to adapt to the foreign to them trends that set the Jones’s hearts alight. One trend realized was the splintering of the American Market, as the generation of Boomers headed to dealerships, they weren’t happy with one-size fits all motoring in escalating finery that had dominated the automotive landscape from The Great Depression through the Fabulous Fifties.

Indeed, after landing a hit with the Corona during the 2nd half of the 1960’s, Toyota went above and below, bringing the baby bear Corolla and the Papa Bear Crown stateside. For those moving immediately out of their Coronas could find themselves in the Mama Bear Corona Mark II.

Continue reading “(Found In) Mission District (San Francisco, California): 1972 Toyota Crown Mark II Station Wagon”

(Found In) McClymonds (Oakland, California): 1972 Plymouth Satellite Sebring 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

IMG_8449Chrysler Corporation products of the early 1970’s embraced more fully than any other brand of car the intergalactic possibilities and fantasies of Science Fiction in the earthbound chariots they offered to consumers. Going from rectilinear boxes of the 1960’s, Chrysler flooded every sight line with bulbous curves with their new Fuselage look for everything above the Valiant and Dart.

First filling the largest shadows with the C-Body full sized line, the 1971 re-skin of the intermediate B-bodies took on a futuristic shape that in all irony, would soon lose market share to a heap of neo-classical tastes.

Continue reading “(Found In) McClymonds (Oakland, California): 1972 Plymouth Satellite Sebring 2 Door Hardtop Coupe”

(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.

Continue reading “(Found In) Bushrod Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Volvo P1800E Sports Coupe”

(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.
Continue reading “(Found In) Uptown-Northgate (Oakland, California) 1972 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible”

(Found In) Anchor Cove (Mendocino County, California): 1972 Buick Riviera Coupe

14600620135_c3e1480c4f_hThe Buick Riviera, once a stand-alone model, traded more often than not on visual drama to draw in customers. The most unique, exquisite of Buicks offerings for the better part of the 1960’s offered opulence and decadence in a nearly bespoke as possible package for a mass production car.

Although this worked brilliantly for the first generation cars, it made life incrementally tougher on the 2nd generation cars as the market moved away from the most premium personal coupes towards everyday luxury offerings like the Pontiac Grand Prix and Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Change was afoot for all three of General Motor’s most princely private spaces, but the Riviera would continue to make the most splendid splash at trying things sporting and different.
Continue reading “(Found In) Anchor Cove (Mendocino County, California): 1972 Buick Riviera Coupe”

(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.

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