(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) Poet’s Corner (Berkeley, California): 1973 Mercury Monterey Custom 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

12575907_10153265422877201_1392809317_nThe epitome of leviathan bulk during the excessive “Me” decade of the 1970’s can be exemplified by the bulk of full-sized offerings from all Detroit Brands. You can’t point a finger at any American Manufacturer without blaming the other for producing some of the most blatantly wasteful automobiles of all time, decidedly at the wrong time when it comes to market conditions.

No example shows a lack of ideas better than a 1973 Mercury Monterey 2 door hardtop coupe, however. Basically a super tanker on wheels, it spoke of everything possibly gone wrong with the traditional American Car. In the huge shadow that this porcine parkway pounder cast, many a sea change in the American Automotive landscape started to take root.

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(Found In) Gold Coast (Alameda, California): 1963 Mercury Meteor Custom 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

22287512303_553ac0e23c_z The Mercury Meteor didn’t have to be a quick flash in the sky that fell to the earth without much success as it did between 1962 and 1963. In a market newly hungry for downsized premium and luxury items, it seems Mercury, the middle movers of Dearborn Dreams, would be perfectly poised to seize upon upwardly mobile Mid-Sized opportunities in the early 1960’s.

Unfortunately, a lack of faith on the part of Ford to set the Meteor apart from its sister ship the Fairlane lead to certain fatality on the American market.

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(Found In) Outer Sunset (San Francisco, California): 1965 Ford Fairlane 500 Sport Coupe

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Success for various Detroit-bred cars wasn’t unlike the track record of another factory in the Detroit Metro area in the 1960’s. Yesterday’s star, in a quick flash of 3 years could become the season bench warmer. Like The Contours of Motown, by the end of 1965, the mid-sized Ford Fairlane was singing “Do You Love Me?” to American Audiences for all the wrong reasons.

In 1962, The Fairlane was the smash hit nobody expected, just like The Contours. Priced cheaper than General Motors’s not as roomy and sometimes trouble prone “B-O-P Luxury Compacts,” the most upsized of Falcons in Junior Galaxie 500 finery walked away with sales victories.  Nearly 300,000 went out the door for the introductory year. With a new, revvy and willing small block V8, it seemed like nothing but hits would follow for the Fairlane.

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(Found In) Golden Gate (Oakland, California): 1962 Chrysler 300 Sport 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

12087436_10153074251357201_328820744_nChrysler, in actuality, was quite early to the “Super Coupe” game that really took off at the turn of the 1960’s. As a harbinger of obsession that would become the Personal Coupe market as the 1960’s became the 1970’s, Chrysler launched a very, very special “300” series in 1955 in anticipation of hyper personalized transportation for discriminating buyers.

By 1962, however, Chrysler was ready to cash in on the most exclusive in-house name they possessed by bringing it closer to popular price points for shoppers. Here lies the tale of the 300 Sport, inspired internally and externally to follow market trends by making something special out of extra trim. While this had a potency wilting influence over the true letter series cars, it proved an easily exploitative avenue to bring extra revenue to the premium brand.

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(Found In) Boise (Portland, Oregon) – 1972 Oldsmobile Toronado

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Although a technological tour de force showcase for General Motors, The 1966 Toronado wasn’t the sales success Oldsmobile was hoping for in the burgeoning “Personal Luxury” market.
In a market segment flowing with features to coddle buyers, few seemed concerned with the fact that it was the only mass market front wheel drive American Car for sale at the time. Part of the blame did go to Oldsmobile’s marketing for not knowing how to hype such a special product. Another piece would be its otherworldly suave, sophisticated quality in a growing sea of brocade interiors capped with vinyl tops in the burgeoning brougham era.

We know how this story goes.
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