(Found In) Uptown (Oakland, California): 1969 Dodge Dart Custom 4 Door Sedan

img_5655Before the automotive market fully fragmented due to offerings to fit every type of vehicle lifestyle, the vast majority of automotive sales went to the 4 door sedan. Each American brand offered many flavors of door opening convenience through their line ups. Most often, each one was offered in bargain basement, deluxe and sometimes luxury trim by the mid 1960’s.

Dodge was no different in offering different flavors of its three different sedan sizes. The smallest you could get was the ever popular Valiant based A-body Dart before you stepped up to larger Coronet, Polara & Monaco offerings. The Dart’s aim scored success as a reasonable pair of sensible shoes, but how exactly?

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(Found In) McClymonds (Oakland, California): 1970 Buick Skylark Custom Two Door Hardtop Coupe

img_4712Buick has counted on you really rather having its wares throughout its history. The turn of the decade from 1969 to 1970 was no different, as more commonality crept in between all of General Motors intermediate cars.

Gone from A-bodies were different base line Six Cylinder engines, oddball 2 speed automatic transmissions, and distinguishing curves and creases that gave more than brand loyalty to hang sales upon. Where did that leave Buick’s pride bird at the top of their fleet as buyers slid into the me decade?

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(Found In) Golden Gate (Oakland, California): 1965 Ford Custom 4 Door Sedan

img_4128In the rigorous world of competitive automotive sales, the full-sized Ford Automobile was oft the 2nd most beloved (and in a few cases in the post-war, the most loved) conveyance for Middle America. Ford, however, took to the diversification of size and style classes of Automobiles with zeal at the beginning of the 1960’s more than any other brand from the Big Three.

The Falcon took the lead in compact sales. The re-sized Fairlane usurped the market lock Rambler had on intermediates. The Thunderbird shattered the luxury field wide open with its personalized persona. And then there was of course, The Mustang, scrambling the compass of what Americans thought they wanted in a car in a profound way.Where did that leave the basic big Ford so beloved and nearly solitary in mission a decade before in 1965?

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(Found In) Fairfax (Oakland, California): 1962 Rambler Classic Custom 4 Door Sedan

img_2375In the era of planned obsolescence, independent brands, out of necessity didn’t “keep up with the times.” Smaller brands like Studebaker, AMC and a number of independent brands before them didn’t have the market share or profits to field new styling and the required sheetmetal every 2 or 3 years, or, in the case of General Motors, the extreme of every model year for 1957, ’58 and ’59.

As a wave of consumer backlash against this process developed, American Motors in particular, was well situated to take advantage of the march of “progress” fielded by the big three. Their smaller, sensible, upright rolling orthopedic shoes of automobiles, assembled with care and craft not necessarily known in their price class lead them to rise in sales during the leaner, recession restricted years of 1958 through 1961.  How did that do for ’62?

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(Found In) South Of Market (San Francisco, California): 1963 Mercury Meteor Custom Station Wagon

13895026_1232262606784763_38402590838525256_n We’ve covered the fall to earth of the 1962-63 Mercury Meteor before. What we didn’t cover were the distinct efforts of metal these Mercurial beasts were offered in. From bargain to slightly brash, it’s kind of a sad story that the 1-2-3 diversity left Mercury dealers with a plethora of plodding ambiguity.

Today we swap out the dashing, dapper coupe version for something far more practical. Spacious, savvy and spoiled with options, the upmarket Meteor Wagons should have been bigger hits.

 
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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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