(Found In) Uptown (Oakland, California): 1988 Mercury Sable GS 4 Door Sedan

IMG_3844We’ve covered how much of a revelation the Ford Taurus was to new car buyers when it debuted 32 years ago in the Fall of 1985. But what is to be made of its sister ship, the too new for now Mercury Sable? With half skirted wheels, a full light bar substituting for grille work and a “floating” roof above “wrap around” glass, the Sable gave visual incentive to move into tomorrow today with many a styling feature that once was the reign of Science Fiction.

But was there much substance underneath the fantasy found in fancy Ford dealerships? What *more* did you get over the already trend setting Taurus?

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(Found In) Fairview Park (Oakland, California): 1985 Ford Mustang LX Convertible

IMG_2633Don’t trust the adage that it’s not over until the Fat Lady sings. At least don’t trust her management. So goes the “disappearance” of the great American Convertible due to rollover safety regulations at the end of the 1970’s. Cadillac, and General Motors in particular, made a healthy profit touting their full sized convertibles as the final new versions of open-air motoring in 1975 and 1976. The government ended up having the last laugh.

Chrysler, looking for each niche to gussy up their new K-Car variants, returned to the convertible market first with their LeBaron. Ford, still offering carefree Pony motoring, in the form of their Mustang, felt a patriotic duty to chop of the top of their newest sports machine for the everyday American.

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(Found In) Temescal (Oakland, California): 1962 Chevrolet Corvair 700 Sedan

IMG_2311It’s forgotten quite often that the original plan for the Chevrolet Corvair was to be an economical rival to the proliferation of modest European Sedans that found support on the shores of the United States throughout the 2nd half of the 1950’s. Not only was the Volkswagen Beetle a target. Sedans from Renault, Fiat and Volvo alongside more mundane rivals from the domestic market were part of The Corvair’s world domination plans.

Of course, the vast majority of Americans wanted their basic transportation, well, basic. Where did that leave the Corvair Sedans in the wake of the runaway niche success of the Corvair Coupes and new for ’62 Convertibles?

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(Found In) Rockridge (Oakland, California): 1968 Saab 95 Station Wagon

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In port cities there tends to be a wee bit more diversity in the classic cars one finds on the streets. Not everything slides into Camaro, Mustang and Cadillac territory. Liberal cities tend to have a bit of diversity in citizenry, and the heritage of such cultures might mean that there’ll be an eccentric offering showing a glimpse of history.

There’s this surprise of this Swedish Station Wagon that did more with far less than your average Country Squire that I found in the lush bushes of Rockridge recently. Stuffing plenty of capacity for buyers that might have a penchant for such a tiny meatball of a car was the calling card of this model for more than a decade.

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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): 1964 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight Holiday Sports Sedan

img_2769By 1964, General Motors premium efforts offered up a magic brew of marketing and moxie. Where Ford and Chrysler could only work their mojo into offering perhaps only 2 or 3 premium sedans, General Motors had a slew of them. Most credit Ford with starting the brougham brigade, in actuality Pontiac brought the bourgeois to more of the masses with their Bonneville Brougham.

Before you cashed in with a Cadillac, there were two steps that you could sit on up the Sloan Ladder. We’ve covered the Electra 225 already, but one favorite on Dynamic Drives is one of our favored subjects from after dark. Today we present yet another Oldsmobile Ninety Eight.

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(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.

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(Found In) Downtown/City Center Plaza (Oakland, CA): 1968 Plymouth Valiant Signet 2 Door Sedan

12167370_10153094429002201_114606198_n (1)American buyers have always appreciated a reliable “appliance” car. More often than not, Plymouth provided safe and sane reliable transportation as their bread and butter. Perhaps the most refined expression of the wholesome “Peanut Butter and Wheat Germ Sandwich” expression of Plymouth values was the 3rd Generation Plymouth Valiant sold from 1967 through 1976.

For such a humble car, few automobiles have been admired for their all around staid status the way Plymouth Valiants (and to a lesser degree their sister car the Dodge Dart) are. The official ride of High School Chemistry Teachers and Lesbian Librarians of the 1960’s can still be seen in locales that don’t encourage rust to rise on their quarter panels nearly 50 years later.

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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

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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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