(Found In) Berkeley Flats (Berkeley, California): 1963 Plymouth Fury Convertible

20464969_10154770123392201_1109620352_oIt’s a miracle Chrysler Corporation survived to see 1965. From the quality disasters of The Forward Look the corporation plunged headfirst into a series of questionable styling ideas that left even loyalists debating whether they were driving the next greatest style sensation or a joke.

By 1963, the Mopar Madness of the last 2 seasons started to fade like a fever dream. Although none of the cars were all-new, they sure looked the part. It was most important at the bottom of the totem pole at Plymouth. The mighty rock had fallen far from its traditional 3rd place in sales last held in 1960. That total only held weight once you factored in Valiant sales. To the bread and butter basic big Plymouth, it found itself emerging from the Chevrolet market missile crisis of ’62 in a brand new suit.

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(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.

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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) Golden Gate Park (San Francisco, California): 1962 Plymouth Fury Four Door Sedan

image (13) You shouldn’t believe everything you hear over dinner party chatter. Especially when you’re already on the ropes with your business. Chrysler Corporation seemed perpetually going just askew of where buyers wanted for a good portion of the Post-war era.

First the boxy post-war efforts, then the lack of an Automatic transmission, then the quality debacles of The Forward Look to some rather interstellar looking land based transit as the decade clock ticked over into the 60’s, it was a surprise that Highland Park found buyers for their wares. Yet another goof greeted them for 1962.
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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) 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) 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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(Found in) Islais Creek (San Francisco) – 1968 Dodge Coronet 440 4 Door Sedan

11160290_10152735412347201_1140823247_nOne would look at this swanky “all new” for 1968 mid-sized Dodge and not see an older “full sized” Dodge underneath.

However, Mopar middle children for nearly 2 decades before they were re-visioned 20 years later back to full sized sedan status can all trace their roots back to the infamous shrunken sales failures of 1962.

Each year more and more sheetmetal distance was put between that failed start and a semblance of success. Underneath however, were the main basic goodies that had long proved these to be rather wonderful choices in the intermediate field.

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