2010 Site Updates
December 30, 2010
New Year's Greeting 2011 from Automotive Mileposts takes you back to a simpler time, a new year's celebration ringing in 1955.
The classic luxury cars we work to restore and preserve today were new then, waiting to take their owners from where they were to where they were going.
Thanks to all our readers for supporting the site during 2010. Please play it safe this new year's eve and live to enjoy and drive your classic car in 2011.
Don't drink and drive.
Don't let your friends drink and drive.
It's always better to play it safe than to worry about making a scene. Take the keys away from anyone who shouldn't be driving. You might save their life.
Happy New Year!
December 25, 2010
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from Everyone at Automotive Mileposts!
2010 Holiday Greeting (December 1, 2010); updates below
Automotive Mileposts presents our 2010 Holiday Greeting! It's hard to believe another year has almost come and gone. 2010 has been a record breaking year for us, and we know we owe it all to you. On November 4th, we exceeded our annual traffic count for 2009, and in August we set a new monthly record for the most traffic in a one month period. Also in August, we closed out Phase Two and began development of Phase Three of our site.
34 classic cars joined the site to date in 2010, and additional pages on special models, show cars, unique features, etc., were published for many of them.
Behind the scenes, we've updated hundreds of existing pages with new information and made changes to our coding to improve site performance, efforts that will continue in the future. We're never really finished with a car once it's published, since new and expanded information is added frequently as it becomes available and we've had the chance to verify it.
With all the concerns in the world today, we know our achievements are small ones, but very much appreciated just the same. That said, we present our 2010 Holiday Greeting to you, and thank you for your support this year. Everyone at Automotive Mileposts wishes you the very best for the holidays.
Holidays of the Decade 2000-2010
And just as we've documented some very special classic cars, we felt we should also document where we've been. So, we offer you our Holidays of the Decade 2000-2010 page. A look back at the holiday graphics and greeting cards created by AutomotiveMileposts.com over the last ten years. Here's looking at the second decade, which begins in just about a week...HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
December 23, 2010
HERE'S THE SURPRISE PAGE WE PROMISED!
These custom conversions were so well built, and so thoroughly tested by Ford, that Ford Motor Company extended its full factory warranty on the motorcar.
We provide details on exterior color availability, list the most popular interior trim choices, and tell you which special options were available on custom order. Additionally, we provide some information on the competition from Cadillac and Imperial, as well as provide interior and exterior dimensions.
December 22, 2010
OPEN BEFORE CHRISTMAS!
The body was stretched for 1964 to provide more interior space, and styling refinements to the front and rear of the car make the 1965 models stand out from the others. Sales were good, as was quality control. The biggest news for the year, however, was perhaps the newly standard front disc brakes, a distinct improvement in braking ability. Tests revealed the new brakes were more resistant to fade, and didn't pull or grab the way drum brakes could under some conditions.
A factory vinyl roof was offered for the first time, and it came in five colors. The 1965 Continental was indeed the luxury motorcar that stood apart from all others. (We are still updating some of the information on these pages, so expect changes over the next day or two. Also, an additional page will be added as a surprise, so check back for that later in the week.)
December 14, 2010
Automotive Mileposts remembers Charles "Chuck" Jordan (1927-2010), one of GM's Design Chiefs responsible for many of GM's most beautiful designs from the classic era. A native of California, Jordan entered and won the Fisher Body Craftsman's Guild model car competition, receiving an award for a four year scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Jordan went to work at GM in 1949, as a junior engineer in the styling department and spent his first years designing Motorama show cars, a job that was a dream job to most designers. At the age of 30, Jordan was made head of Cadillac styling, and oversaw the iconic 1959 Cadillac design (left), as well as many others in the early sixties.
Jordan was the fourth man to head GM styling as Vice President of Design, a position he held from 1986-1992. Jordan retired in 1992 at the age of 65. After retiring, Jordan became a teacher at Valhalla High School in El Cajon, California instructing art students in automotive design.
Jordan's impact on automotive design at GM was immense. Chuck Jordan passed away on Thursday, December 9th at the age of 83.
December 10, 2010
Announcing the return of our once popular Keyword Search page! Years ago, this page provided links to specific searches on eBay for classic car parts. It was one of our most visited pages on the site, as readers told us they found things through those links that they couldn't otherwise find on eBay.
We don't know why that would be true, but we heard it often enough that we believe there must be something to it. We dig deep to locate the parts that don't always come up in typical auctions, then we filter those results to remove a lot of the listings that make it difficult to find the good stuff.
It has taken us some time to refine our searches, as eBay has completely changed the manner in which we receive the feeds and display results on our site. Due to these changes, the old links weren't reliable, so we removed them. Now, we're in the process of rebuilding what we once had and making it even more extensive.
For instance, Thunderbird enthusiasts can now search for parts by part number, and search multiple years all on the same page. That means 1964-1966 Thunderbird parts are listed together, separated by year, because there is quite a bit of interchangeability between the parts used during those years.
We hope you find this page useful, we published it yesterday and the response has already been quite good. Keyword searches are limited right now, but we'll be adding new searches daily, so check back often if searches relevant to your classic car aren't available—they will be!
December 7, 2010
LOOK Senior Editor Al Rothenberg decided to do something special for this preview, since it represented the final new car announcement of the decade. In addition to the typical conversation about new models, new styling, models that were discontinued, new safety equipment, new options and the like, Rothenberg included a retrospective of the decade that was the sixties, a decade that was very good to the auto industry. Additionally, Rothenberg included some predictions about the decade to come.
So that the photographs of the new models accompanying the article didn't take on the appearance of images shot for a brochure or advertisement, special photographic effects were used that gave the feature a distinctive look. However, the photographers were presented with some unusual challenges in achieving the look they wanted. You'll be surprised to learn what the fix was!
December 5, 2010
Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury Part Numbers, Casting Numbers, and Date Codes Automotive Mileposts explains what the series of digits on Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury parts and their packaging signify.
Once you are able to identify the basics of these numbers, you will be able to identify the decade it was designed in, the year of the design, the car line it was originally designed for, and whether or not the part is an original engineering part or a service part. Information on casting date codes is also provided.
Once you understand Ford's part number system, you will appreciate the effort that was exerted in designing this system, as well as your new ability to understand the details of a particular part.
November 19, 2010
Lincoln Continental Executive Limousine by Lehmann-Peterson From 1963 through 1970, the Lincoln Division of Ford Motor Company had a relationship with Chicago coach builder Lehmann-Peterson, Inc. to build Executive Limousines from converted Lincoln Continental Sedans. Ford was cautious about endorsing this relationship through marketing the cars, but after extensively testing them, Ford discovered the conversions were actually stronger and more rigid than the stock Lincoln Continental Sedan it was based on, and even extended the full factory warranty to the converted cars.
The Lincoln Continental was the star of the automotive world at this time, so naturally a Lincoln limousine really stood out. Almost immediately, celebrities and other notable people bought them, and they were accepted without question as one of the finest motorcars on the road. Quality was first rate, and due to this, production was limited.
We've provided the story of the relationship between Lehmann-Peterson and Ford Motor Company, as well as details and statistics on the limousine conversions. It's an interesting story and the beautiful motorcars that came from it still command attention and respect wherever they go.
November 15, 2010
The Thanksgiving Thunderbird is back with a new update for 2010: 1969 Music Videos. We began this feature years ago with the story of a Los Angeles area radio station that ran a Thanksgiving contest in 1969 with a grand prize of a 1970 Ford Thunderbird. Each year, we've added something new to the page that would have been relevant to Thanksgiving 1969.
This year, we've added music videos of some of the top hits from 1969. There are six to begin with (click the arrow in the video at left to hear The Flirtations' Nothing But a Heartache), and we'll be adding more through the remainder of the month. So, when you have a few minutes to spare, take a trip back to Thanksgiving 1969 and enjoy some great music and trivia from that point in time. (Remember to check back later in the month, as new videos are added.)
November 6, 2010
AutomotiveMileposts.com set a new all-time annual traffic record on Thursday, November 4, 2010!
We realize that everyone has a tight schedule these days, and we're grateful that you've decided to spend some of your day at Automotive Mileposts. Thank you, we do it all for you, and will work hard to earn your continued support.
November 3, 2010
1967 Lincoln Continental Coronation Coupe II Show Car Lincoln worked with Lehmann-Peterson of Chicago to create the Coronation Coupe II show car for the 1967 auto show circuit.
Similar in appearance to the 1966 Coronation Coupe show car, the interior and exterior trim was updated to reflect new '67 production Lincoln styling.
The Coronation Coupe II was fitted with a power sunroof and was finished in a metallic gold color scheme. The Walnut veneer that was on the lower bodysides of the '66 car was replaced with gold padded vinyl inserts. In addition to the power sunroof, the most notable feature of the car was its front bucket seats and console, which included a reclining passenger seat with power-adjustable headrest, that was actually a production option introduced on the 1967 Lincoln Continentals.
The Coronation Coupe II was fully road worthy, and made its debut at the Chicago Auto Show in February of 1967.
October 26, 2010
1964 Lincoln Continental
The one concern customers noted was a lack of interior space, particularly in the rear seat area. This was something that Lincoln felt it needed to address, and the first opportunity to do so was with the 1964 models. Lincoln carefully stretched the wheelbase three inches, which allowed additional room in the rear seat area. The use of curved side glass was discontinued, and flat glass was installed, allowing the roof of the car to be widened for additional head room. The external styling changes were made to allow increased interior spaciousness, and they were done very carefully to preserve the classic look.
Lincoln Continentals of this era are icons of the 1960s, and even today are still one of the most readily identifiable motorcars on the road.
October 25, 2010
October 8, 2010
Ten Rules for Buying A Classic Car So you've decided to take the big step and buy a classic car. Before you begin looking, there are things you need to do first that could save you a lot of money in the long run. You need to decide if you're capable of doing a restoration, and whether "capable" means mechanically inclined or financially willing to undertake a labor of love.
If that sounds like you, our ten rules don't apply in your case. However, if you aren't in a position to spend hours bringing a classic car back from the brink of extinction, and would rather drive it and enjoy it instead of working on it, our ten rules will be of assistance to you.
It always costs more to restore a car than it does to buy a nice one to start with. The only exception is if you're mechanically able to do much of the work yourself, and even so you must consider how much your time is worth. Our ten rules tell you what you need to do before you begin looking, and will ultimately save you money and increase your level of enjoyment of your new classic car.
October 1, 2010
How To Take Great Car Photos Disturbed by some of the images of classic cars for sale that we've seen online over the years, Automotive Mileposts went to the professionals to get some tips on how to make an automobile look its best in a photo. This brief guideline is the culmination of the experts best suggestions. Whether you're taking pictures for personal use to share with friends and family, or to sell your car, you're sure to get better results by checking here first.
September 30, 2010
Rubber boots surrounded the CV joints, protecting them from outside contaminants, but once these boots deteriorate, foreign objects can damage the joints, making replacement necessary. While replacements are readily available, few (if any) include the torque dampener like the originals. Under some circumstances, lack of this "shock absorber" may not make any difference, but under conditions where the front tires may suddenly grip after slipping on the road surface, the jolt can damage the joints. It's something you need to know about if you have a classic front wheel drive car.
September 26, 2010
How the 1975 Chevrolet Nova Became A 1976 Cadillac Seville The Cadillac Motor Car Division had many challenges before it once it decided to undertake the development of a new, smaller Cadillac. Designed to compete with the luxury foreign imports that were gaining ground with North American luxury car buyers, the new smaller Cadillac had a very short development time frame: just 16 months from beginning to introduction. This was the shortest development period in General Motors' history at the time.
Because of this self-imposed time frame, Cadillac had to work with components already readily available, and that meant starting with the compact Chevrolet Nova platform. While the Seville shared no sheet metal with the Nova, its modest underpinnings would need to be heavily modified to meet Cadillac's high standards. This resulted in changes to the suspension, locating an appropriate engine (Cadillac's production 472 and 500 cubic inch engines wouldn't fit in the engine bay), and the introduction of the first standard equipment Electronic Fuel Injection system on an American car.
September 16, 2010
The story of Lincoln's first compact car entered its final chapter with this model. The 1980 Lincoln Versailles was never a huge seller, and certainly failed to even come close to the sales figures of its main competitor, the Cadillac Seville.
However, the Versailles accomplished what it needed to do, and led the way on new technology and innovations, and for that credit must be given.
The Versailles opened the door to the smaller Lincolns that were introduced in 1980, giving traditional full-sized customers a glimpse of the future. The Versailles introduced the Clearcoat/basecoat painting process to the domestic market, along with Halogen headlamps.
A Twin Comfort Lounge Seat with 6-way power driver's adjustment and dual recliners was introduced as a standard item in 1980, and one wonders why it took Lincoln so long to do this, since this seating configuration finally surpassed that of the Seville. A new AM/FM stereo search radio was electronically tuned and was also standard. New colors and a new Luxury Cloth upholstery were introduced, but sales dropped to their lowest level ever for the line, as the Versailles was overwhelmed by a bad year for automobile sales and all of the new, smaller Lincolns that were introduced in 1980.
September 13, 2010
The 1979 Lincoln Versailles represents the sales peak for the Versailles model. Dismal sales the previous year necessitated a restyle, and Ford's top executives became involved. They turned to American Sunroof Corporation (ASC) to come up with suggestions, and a more formal roof line with Frenched rear window was the answer.
The rear door was changed to widen the entry area, and the fixed rear door vent window was extended and given a more upright appearance. ASC added a rear vinyl half roof, available in two styles, Valino grain vinyl or Cavalry Twill vinyl with a convertible top theme. Both had new integrated Coach Lamps at the center pillar, and brushed stainless steel wrapover roof moldings to separate the forward painted area from the rear vinyl covered area.
The new styling was a hit, as sales soared 235 percent for 1979. This would be the Versailles' final moment in the sun, however, as all new smaller Lincolns were introduced in 1980, and they overshadowed the older Versailles, causing sales to drop to their lowest level ever.
September 9, 2010
Sales of the 1978 Lincoln Versailles dropped sharply in its second year, which was also its first full season on the market. Despite a promising start, marketing indicated that customers were objecting to the price difference and the appearance similarity between the Versailles and the Mercury Monarch. Even though the Versailles had a much higher level of standard equipment, more luxurious interiors, and was readily identified as a Lincoln by most people, compact luxury car buyers resisted the Versailles, resulting in a rush program to restyle the car for 1979.
The 1978 cars were nearly identical to the first year models, although the standard 351 engine was dropped and replaced by the 302, which had been installed only on California and high altitude models. A new Electronic Engine Control System was standard, and improved overall performance and economy. A beautiful new Dark Red color was added and was available for the paint finish, vinyl roof, and interior.
The compact Lincoln Versailles was a new kind of Lincoln. Its size made it easy to park and maneuver, its elegant interior appointments were second to none, and we think it was a very beautiful car that clearly identified its owner as someone with good taste who appreciated the comforts Lincoln ownership provided. It's unfortunate that the Versailles wasn't able to overcome its connection to the Monarch, as it was worthy of consideration among compact luxury car buyers.
September 6, 2010
1977 Lincoln Versailles Lincoln's first compact luxury car was introduced in the spring of 1977. Sales for its short first season were good, and particular attention was paid to quality control and fit and finish. A long list of equipment and features made it the best equipped Lincoln to date.
A new Clearcoat/basecoat paint process was introduced on the Versailles, making it the first American production car to use and improve on the European multi-step painting procedure. A new Vehicle Electronic Testing System (VETS) checked electrical components to ensure all were operating properly before final approval for shipping was granted.
The Versailles didn't hide its lineage very well, and styling comparisons to the much less expensive Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch with which it shared its body were difficult to overcome. This was not unusual, as the Cadillac Seville, which was the Versailles main competitor, also had modest beginnings with its Chevrolet Nova platform. Cadillac just did a better job of concealing that fact.
September 5, 2010
History of Ford's Swing-Away, Tilt-Away, and Tilt Steering Wheels Ever wonder what the difference between a Swing-Away and a Tilt-Away Steering Wheel is? Confused about which years they were available? Did you know they were offered on other Ford and Mercury models as well? Get all the details here, including the differences in operation between the various designs, when they were standard versus optional, and what they cost as options.
One of the Ford Thunderbird's most unique features during the 1960s can be a source of confusion for owners today, and this article takes away the confusion and also addresses other unique movable steering wheel designs Ford offered at the time. They say they don't build cars like they used to, and when they say that, this is one of the things that made cars cool that they're talking about!
September 3, 2010
Ford thought the left side of the steering column was a good location in the fifties and early sixties, while GM cars generally placed the ignition on the right side of the steering column. Sometimes the location wasn't easy to find, and at other times the dangling keys hanging from the switch were in the way.
When the ignition switch became a safety item in the late sixties, American
car makers decided on a standardized location, and the switch was moved
to the right side of the steering column, where removal of the key not
only locked the ignition, it also locked the steering wheel and transmission
shifter to help prevent auto thefts.
September 1, 2010
August 2010: AutomotiveMileposts.com sets new traffic record. Our traffic was up 8.8% over July 2010, and exceeded our best month on record, which was May 2010, by 6.9%. Thank you to our readers, as you make this possible. We appreciate the time you spend at Automotive Mileposts!
August 27, 2010
1974-1976 Cadillac, Buick, and Oldsmobile Air Cushion Restraint System (ACRS) Under development and testing for over a decade, the GM air bags installed in select full-sized cars in the mid-seventies were held to standards rivaled only by the space program.
So well designed were these safety items, that cars equipped with them
in the 90s still had the air cushions deploy as designed! And one of the
cars didn't even run when tested! We break down the events of a serious
frontal collision, millisecond by millisecond, and tell you exactly what
happens in the air bag deployment process. An incredible, must read article!
August 25, 2010
1976 Cadillac This was the end of the road for America's most popular full-sized luxury car. An American icon that had been the subject of song, theatre, and motion pictures over the years was about to undergo one of its biggest changes ever. Luxury on a grand scale wouldn't be quite as grand in the future, as compared to the 1976 models, the 1977 Cadillacs would be eight to 12 inches shorter overall, 3.5 inches narrower, with average weight reduction per car at more than 950 pounds. Efficiency was the way forward.
1976 would be the final year for the entry level Calais series, which was introduced in 1965 as Cadillac's most affordable line, a task it performed well for 12 years. In fact, a 1976 Calais Coupe could be ordered with a padded vinyl roof, Wire Wheel Covers, Opera Lamps, and accent striping to dress it up quite sharply. The Calais certainly went out in style! The huge 500 cubic inch engine would be discontinued as well, with a new 425 V-8 taking its place.
Cadillac set a new sales and production record in 1976, but that record would fall the very next year as customers bought new Cadillacs like never before. For sheer size, elegance, and impressive dimensions, the 1976 Cadillac was at the peak of its game. We'll likely never see motorcars this generous again. Thankfully there are many clean examples still around to preserve and enjoy.
August 23, 2010
As the end approached for the traditional, full-sized Cadillac as we'd come to know them, the 1975 Cadillac received what would be its final major styling update to the body introduced in 1971. New rectangular headlamps were the biggest change to automotive lighting since the dual headlamp arrangement was approved for the 1958 model year. The new rectangular units would allow designers more freedom and would give cars a slimmer, sleeker appearance.
The Calais Sedan and Sedan deVille got new stationary quarter windows in the rear sail panels, which eliminated the blind spot in that area and gave the exterior styling a new look. Quite a few items were moved to the standard features list in 1975, which resulted in a big price increase at introduction, followed by two more increases during the model year. These increases and an economic recession kept sales down, although they were better than 1974.
Cadillac emphasized bright new color combinations, technological and engineering advances that improved fuel efficiency, its thorough testing procedures, and the overall value of owning America's most popular luxury car. For those wanting traditional luxury, time was running out, and 1975 was a great year to buy a new Cadillac.
August 18, 2010
The 1974 Cadillac received its first major restyle of the body introduced three years earlier. A bold new front grille resembled the one used on the 1973 Eldorado, and new wrap around front parking, signal and cornering lamps were very nicely incorporated into the new design.
The rear quarter panels were updated and the sculptured lines that terminated in a point in front of the rear bumper on earlier models were eliminated. A new rear bumper included new bumper ends and the taillights were relocated to the filler between the body and bumper. The rectangular taillights were unusual for Cadillac, which had emphasized vertical taillights that dated back to the first fish tail design in the late forties.
The Calais Coupe and Coupe deVille received a new roofline with large fixed quarter windows, a design the public liked very much. Brilliant new colors and interior trims to match were spectacular. This should have been another record setting year for Cadillac, but gas shortages forced a concerned public into smaller cars, and by the time the crisis was over, there wasn't enough time to recover.
August 12, 2010
1973 Cadillac Another great year for Cadillac, the second in a row to shatter sales and production records, with over 300,000 Cadillacs built for the first time ever in a single model year. The Coupe deVille and Sedan deVille both had assemblies of over 100,000 units each, and the Coupe deVille surpassed the Sedan deVille as Cadillac's most popular model, which made it the single most popular luxury car in the world. Cadillac also built its five millionth car since the company was founded in 1902.
The Fleetwood Brougham received a lot of attention this year, with new styling to eliminate the double door seam at the B pillar, a new front passenger reading light, and a new Brougham d'Elegance trim option.
August 9, 2010
1972 Cadillac There were very few styling changes between the 1971 and 1972 Cadillac models. The front end was updated with a new grille, and the parking and front turn signals were relocated to the area between the widely-spaced headlamps. The front bumper was also reinforced to make it stronger to better absorb minor impacts without damage. New paint colors and new interior upholsteries kept the cars current in terms of what was popular at the time.
Cadillac Motor Car Division celebrated its 70th Anniversary in 1972, becoming the oldest auto manufacturer still building cars in the City of Detroit, Michigan. The division set new sales and production records for the year. Cadillac also built over 250,000 cars for the first time ever in a single model year. 1972 was a good year for Cadillac.
August 6, 2010
In 1971, General Motors introduced a new convertible top design for its full-sized Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, and Cadillac convertibles. The new Hideaway Top had inward-folding structural members, which meant it took up less room when lowered. This meant a larger trunk area, and the rear seat could be full width, something most convertibles never had.
Often called the "scissor top" in recognition of its scissor-like action as the side sections move inward, these mechanisms are unique and cannot be serviced the same as other convertible models. This design was used until GM stopped making convertibles, which was 1975 for all divisions except Cadillac, which continued the Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible for one more year.
We've included a description of correct top operation, the location of the various components involved, and a troubleshooting guide to help you determine where the problem might be. Also, we have links to parts for sale on eBay, to make it easy to get what you need quickly.
August 5, 2010
1971 Cadillac Perhaps one of the most beautiful Cadillac designs ever, the elegant new 1971 models featured smooth contours, dramatic windsplits down the hood and deck lid, luxurious new interior fabrics, and elegant touches never before seen. This was the last new full-sized body style introduced by Cadillac, and the last one to have true hardtop styling.
The sophisticated new Fleetwood Brougham introduced an attractive new roof treatment and offered Opera Lamps as an option for the first time. Even the most affordable Calais models seemed more elegant and luxurious than they had in the past. For big car lovers, it's hard to beat the 1971 Cadillac.
August 1, 2010
PHASE TWO COMPLETED; PHASE THREE BEGINS! With the publication of the 1978 Cadillac Eldorado section, Phase Two of our site build out was completed. We begin Phase Three now with an update to the 1948-1976 Cadillac Contents page. Our Cadillac enthusiasts have been very patient with us for a very long time, as we had to delay new content over and over again in order to do behind the scenes updates to the HTML, server, and other things like that.
As a result, we had a lot more Lincoln content on the site than we did Cadillac content, and that wasn't intentional, but the scope of the site has changed somewhat since we first began. We started with the Ford Thunderbird, as it was in our opinion the first personal luxury car. Since the Continental Mark III was built on the four door Thunderbird platform, that opened the door to that model, which opened the door to others.
At any rate, we apologize for allowing Cadillac to languish for so long, and have taken steps to remedy that with the recent publication of the 1971-1978 Eldorados. We will follow those now with the 1971-1976 "standard" Cadillac models. And we begin the process by updating our 1948-1976 Cadillac Contents page with an article on the history of Cadillac Motor Cars. We hope you enjoy the article, and thanks again to all the Cadillac enthusiasts for your patience.
July 31, 2010
1976-1979 Cadillac Seville Conversions Cadillac's smaller 1976-1979 Seville, introduced in the spring of 1975, was an immediate sales success, and it didn't take long for the after market conversion shops to take notice and come up with custom designs to sell to the public. The stock Seville four door sedan was converted into a two door coupe and a two door convertible, it was stretched in the middle, stretched in the front, it had chrome added to it...you probably get the idea. Some of these designs were in better taste than others, and we've put them all on one page for you to inspect.
We published a Gucci Seville page earlier, as this conversion seems to have the widest following among Seville devotees of this era, and a link is included to that page as well. This page will be updated in the future as well, as there are a few other conversions that we're still doing research on.
July 30, 2010
1978 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Cadillac's top of the line personal luxury car had reached the end of the road in 1978. The only choice was to exit right, down an exit ramp that took it to Down Sizing Avenue. The Eldorado was the sole hold out from Cadillac's 1977 down sizing program, a risky proposition for the standard of the world. Would American luxury car buyers respond to the new, smaller Cadillacs? The answer was yes.
And that meant a smaller, completely redesigned Fleetwood Eldorado would appear for 1979. But Cadillac didn't ignore the 1978 Eldorado. It received Cadillac's new Electronic Level Control, and a new AM/FM stereo radio with integrated tape player and CB radio was offered as a new option. The hand held microphone unit contained a digital channel read out and other controls.
Realizing late in the model year that the last full sized Cadillac was about to go out of production without the appropriate fanfare, Cadillac worked with American Sunroof Corporation to develop a limited edition run of 2,000 Eldorado Custom Biarritz Classics to mark the end of an era. The car featured a two tone exterior paint treatment and a matching two tone pillowed leather interior. The Eldorado that would appear in the showrooms for the last year of the 1970s would be very different than the one that graced showroom floors at the beginning of the decade. Like it or not, change was coming.
July 28, 2010
1977 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado In the final restyling of this body, the 1977 Eldorado look would last for just two years. The front end was more detailed than it had been in the past, but the most significant change was to the rear end. Taillights were moved back into the bumper ends, which were shaped to match the contours of the rear quarter panels. The tops of the taillights had a cathedral shape to them. This gave the rear of the car a very clean appearance.
The Custom Biarritz trim option that was introduced late in '76 was very popular among Eldorado customers. Custom exterior touches and pillowed leather seating inside made it a very luxurious and very attractive to buyers looking for added distinction.
Even though this body was now in its seventh year, sales remained strong, especially when one considers that Edlorado's main competitor, the Continental Mark V, came out with a completely new design for 1977.
July 24, 2010
1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Bicentennial Edition Convertible As a way to both celebrate America's 200th birthday and commemorate the end of an era—America's last production convertible—Cadillac built 200 identical "last" convertibles. Of those, 199 were sold to the public, and the actual last car was retained by Cadillac for its historical archives. The Cotillion White cars had matching white convertible tops and white leather interiors, but several unique touches made them special.
We identify the unique features of these final convertibles, and tell you how to make sure the car you may be considering buying is really one of the last replica convertibles.
1976 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado 1976 is perhaps best remembered for America's 200th birthday, with many bicentennial celebrations planned from coast to coast. In the automotive world, 1976 is likely best remembered as the year of the last American production convertible. In April of that year, the last of the breed rolled off the assembly line. The Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Convertible had been the last production model with that body style for just a year, after Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick all dropped their last convertible models at the end of the 1975 model year.
It was a somber moment for many, as one of the great American icons passed forever into history. Or, rather that is until 1982 when convertibles started being built again. But there was more to the 1976 Eldorado than just the last convertible. Four-wheel disc brakes became standard, and a 24-hour Weather Band radio was offered as a factory option. New styling was on its way for 1977, a new Custom Biarritz option was offered late in the year, and you could get a Merlin Plaid interior! Life was good.
July 23, 2010
MILEPOSTS Garage: 1973 Oil Embargo and Gas Crisis We've been adding a lot of early to mid-seventies classic cars to the site recently, and while researching them a common event kept turning up. The 1973 oil embargo and the gas crisis that resulted from it shattered America's ignorance about our gasoline and who was in control of it.
Faced with the fear of gasoline rationing, and soaring prices that seem downright cheap by today's standards, the public began turning to smaller, more fuel efficient cars. The crisis ended by early spring 1974, and was soon forgotten by many, as people moved back to the big cars they'd always loved. But another crisis was waiting just a few years down the road.
July 22, 2010
1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Technically in its fifth year of the body styling introduced in 1971, the substantially restyled 1975 models had as much in common with the first generation 1970 models as it did with the second generation 1971 models, as far as styling was concerned.
After concerns had been expressed in the automotive press as well as from customers that the second generation Eldorados looked "heavy," and after seeing the Continental Mark IV outsell the Eldorado on occasion, Cadillac stylists took the Eldorado back to its styling roots for 1975. Gone were the rear fender skirts that contributed to the bulk previously, and new front and carry over rear styling which was all new for '74 gave the car a leaner, trimmer look.
Sales were up only slightly, as the U.S. economy was mired in the worst recession since 1958 during the 1975 model year. A long list of new standard features and the first appearance of the catalytic converter bumped the base prices up considerably.
July 20, 2010
1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado This was the fourth year for the second generation Fleetwood Eldorado, with revisions to the original 1971 styling. Cadillac had a more substantial restyle waiting for 1975, which would give the car styling more reminiscent of the first generation 1967-1970 cars.
The big news for 1974 was the gas crisis which hit in the fall of 1973, just as the new 1974 models were introduced. Soon, gas prices began creeping up and long lines of people waiting to buy gas were showing up on the evening news. Concerns of ongoing shortages and possible rationing caused consumers to move to smaller, more fuel efficient cars. The gas crisis ending in the spring of 1974, and the new car buying public immediately shifted back to the full sized cars they'd always bought.
Eldorado's sales for 1974 were down over 21 percent, due in part to the
gas crisis and the fact that the body style was now in its fourth year,
which almost always results in slower sales due to newer competing designs.
The front end had an attractive new grille design, and the rear end styling
was completely new, bearing a resemblance to the rest of the Cadillac line
for the first time. Spectacular new paint finishes and interior trim fabrics
and colors brightened up the somewhat gloomy sales year.
July 19, 2010
1973 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado For the second time in as many years, Cadillac Division set new records. A new production and sales record for the division, and the Eldorado passed the 50,000 mark for the first time ever.
An Eldorado Convertible was selected to pace the 1973 Indianapolis 500 Race, and we've prepared a special page to discuss those cars, including the differences between the two actual cars built as Official Pace Cars and the Festival cars, as well as the replicas built and sold to the public.
A few new options were introduced in 1973, including a Lighted Vanity Mirror and an Automatic Power Antenna, which was a very welcome feature. People who lived in the western United States had complained about the windshield antennas since they were introduced on the 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. Cadillac switched to them in 1970, and from that point on no provision for a mast-type antenna was provided. The ability of the windshield antenna to pull in and lock on stations was poor, especially when the radio station broadcast tower was not nearby. The return of the power antenna was very much appreciated by many, and was so popular that it became standard with all radio installations in 1974.
The 1973 Eldorado received significant styling updates, due to concern that the public wasn't completely accepting the styling introduced for 1971. The changes had an immediate effect, as sales improved considerably for the year.
July 16, 2010
1972 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado This was a memorable year for Cadillac, no matter what measure you use to make that determination. 1972 was a record sales year. Cadillac built more than a quarter million cars for the first time ever in a single model year. Cadillac was the oldest auto manufacturer still left in the City of Detroit. Cadillac Motor Car Division celebrated its 70th Anniversary. And President Nixon ordered an Eldorado Coupe on three days notice to be given as a gift from the American people to Soviet Communist Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev.
In year two of this styling cycle, changes were minimal to the 1972 Eldorado. A new script appeared, which replaced the block Eldorado lettering used previously, and attractive new wheel discs were introduced, replacing the design that had been introduced back in 1969. So, hop into your virtual 1972 Eldorado, snap Carly Simon's Anticipation 8-track into the tape player, point the wreath and crest hood ornament in the direction of home, and step on the gas, putting that 500 cubic inch V-8 engine to work!
July 13, 2010
1966 Lincoln Continental Stainless Steel Convertibles To celebrate the production of 50,000 Lincolns in a single model year, Lincoln decided to build a convertible using stainless steel body panels, which had done before with the 1936 Ford, and in 1960, with two Thunderbird Hardtops.
Allegheny-Ludlum Steel was to provide the metal, and also placed an order for two additional convertibles to be built using the durable metal for their own promotional events. The actual 50,000th car remained in Lincoln's possession, and the other two were updated to a 1967 appearance. Each car had a different colored interior, and all three are now owned by Allegheny-Ludlum, and appear from time to time at events where they always attract a lot of attention.
July 12, 2010
1971 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Cadillac's personal luxury car displayed all-new styling for 1971, and introduced the Convertible model, the first time since 1966 that a Cadillac model could be identified as an Eldorado Convertible. A new Hideaway Top design was introduced by General Motors in 1971, and featured an inward-folding "scissor" design that allowed a full-width rear seat, and no loss of storage space in the trunk.
The Coupe had new Coach Windows, which were stationary upright rectangular windows in the roof side panels. Located just behind the front door glass, they gave the car a very formal, town car appearance. New options for the year included Lamp Monitors, Track Master, and an integrated AM/FM stereo radio with 8-track tape player that used the radio dial to conceal the opening for the tape player.
Production was down due to a 3-month UAW strike at GM, which began about the time the 1971 models were introduced. The first new Eldorado of the decade would be very different from the last new Eldorado of the decade, and it's a fascinating story!
July 5, 2010
1978-1979 Cadillac Gucci Seville Cadillac didn't seem to mind that Lincoln had Designer Series cars at the time the Gucci Seville was marketed by a company in Miami, Florida, perhaps because Cadillac felt its Elegante trim package option was enough distinction without going too over the top.
But that didn't stop Aldo Gucci from designing a motorcar that would bear the Gucci name, and carry a designer price tag as well! To start with, 24K gold plated GG emblems for the hood ornament, as well as other badges on the front fenders, rear deck lid, instrument panel, steering wheel hub, and interior B pillars.
Then there was special Gucci material for the vinyl roof outside, and the headrests and armrests inside. Think that's enough? Oh, but there's more. Inside the trunk, each Gucci Seville came with a five piece set of matching Gucci luggage!
Just three exterior colors were offered, all with Saddle leather interiors. A few options were offered to allow customers to customize their Seville to meet their needs. A Gucci Seville was offered through 1985, and the after market trim package was never endorsed by Cadillac.
July 3, 2010
1979 Cadillac Seville This was it for the first generation Seville, which had been so popular and paved the way for the many smaller luxury cars that were to come. Yearly changes were almost non-existent, yet sales remained strong, just slightly down from 1978. Seville buyers could choose a bare painted metal roof or a padded vinyl roof at no charge, gasoline or optional Diesel engine, and choose luxurious cloth or extra cost leather upholstery for their interior.
The critically acclaimed Seville was the favorite of the after market customizers, who were making the stock four door sedan into stretch mini-limousines, two door opera coupes, two door convertibles, even a Gucci edition with a matching set of Gucci luggage was available for those with the wherewithal to purchase one.
Seville's new styling for 1980 was more daring, and the public would not be as accepting of the second generation cars as they had the earlier ones. No matter how you look at it, Cadillac's first smaller luxury car was a success.
June 26, 2010
1978 Cadillac Seville This was the third and most popular year for the first generation 1976-1979 Cadillac Seville. Appearance changes from 1977 were few and minor, and would remain so for 1979 as well.
A couple of changes that couldn't be seen were a new Electronic Level Control which kept the car level regardless of load, and Electronic Spark Selection, which altered spark advance to meet varying conditions. A new engine option was offered mid-year, the 350 cubic inch Diesel Engine, which was built by Oldsmobile and almost immediately was given a bad reputation. Initially offered in just seven metropolitan areas, it was available everywhere by model year's end.
Also offered mid-year was the Elegante trim option, which featured duo-tone exterior paint and an interior with 40/40 front seats and functional center console. We have a special page in the 1978 Cadillac Seville section on just the Elegante package.
June 25, 2010
1979 Continental Mark V Collector's Series in Diamond Blue Introduced late in the model year, only 197 were built in this color. The Collector's Series Lincolns of 1979 commemorated Lincoln's final full-sized, traditional luxury car. Cadillac had downsized most of its line in 1977, leaving just the Fleetwood Eldorado as Cadillac's "traditional-sized" offering. But even the Eldorado had been shrunk by 1979, leaving just the Lincolns. They, too, would be smaller for 1980.
June 21, 2010
1977 Cadillac Seville Cadillac celebrated its 75th Anniversary in 1977, and set new sales and production records as well. The Seville entered its second model year with minor changes, including a new front grille design and four-wheel disc brakes.
We've included some interesting demographics on Seville drivers in this section, as well as a comparison report between the Seville and the new Lincoln Versailles from one of the automotive magazines of the time. (The results might surprise a few of you.)
1977 is also remembered as the year of the big downsizing for all Cadillac models except the Eldorado, which had to be worrisome for the top brass at Cadillac. They needn't have worried, though, as sales of the new smaller Cadillacs set new records, and the Seville helped to pave the way.
June 19, 2010
1976 Cadillac Seville This was a signal that change was coming to the American luxury car market. Big change. Cadillac introduced its new "international size luxury" sedan on May 1, 1975. Designed to compete with the luxury import sedans from Mercedes, Jaguar, and BMW, the Seville was smaller than the other Cadillacs in the showroom. Yet it carried a big price tag, higher even than that of the revered Fleetwood Brougham. To justify its high price, most Cadillac features were standard.
Many did not realize it at the time, but 1976 would be the year of "lasts" at Cadillac. The last convertible. And the last traditionally-sized luxury car. By 1979, every car in Cadillac's catalog would be smaller and more efficient. The Seville served as Cadillac's test vehicle to determine public response to a new, smaller, more efficient Cadillac.
The public loved them, and a new breed of Cadillacs was about to be born.
June 16, 2010
1970 Ford Thunderbird Tridon Shown Car was the third Thunderbird-based show car in as many years. This one featured a tinted roof panel that ran across the rear section of the roof, stretching from sail panel to sail panel. If you notice a resemblance to the Brushed Aluminum Wrapover Tiara and Opera Window introduced on the 1977 Ford Thunderbird Town Landau, that could be because this reportedly was the inspiration for that design. Fully enclosed rear wheels was another unusual styling touch.
Inside, high back front bucket seats with a full-length center console were provided. Synthetic lambs wool covered the seats. This is a very racy looking car, made even more so with aggressive front end styling that featured concealed headlamps and a nose that jutted out in front past the fenders.
June 14, 2010
1975 Chrysler Imperial Finally, Imperial had reached the end of the road. After suffering with slow sales for years, Chrysler made the tough decision to put it to rest. This was done quietly and respectfully, at the end of the 1975 model year, as one would expect for a marque of Imperial's high credentials.
As the 1976 models were announced, one can imagine the confusion upon seeing an Imperial on the cover of sales brochures and in dealer showrooms. But wait...on closer inspection, the nameplates on the car indicate it as a New Yorker Brougham!
Chrysler didn't intend to fool anyone with this move. Realizing that the Imperial just couldn't compete with Cadillac and Lincoln without a unique body, it finally did what it had planned to do back in 1973 and retired the name (temporarily). Putting a New Yorker nameplate on it and lowering the standard equipment and base price delighted Chrysler customers, because they were smart enough to see that they were actually buying an Imperial for a New Yorker price. What a deal! The cars sold very well in this configuration, and continued through the 1978 model year, after which major changes came for Chrysler.
June 13, 2010
June 10, 2010
1974 Imperial It was big, it was stylish, it was powerful, and it had one of the most luxurious interiors ever installed in a motorcar. From its waterfall grille to the pillowed velour or leather upholstery inside, to its teardrop taillights in back, the '74 Imperial was a looker.
Unknown to many, Chrysler had planned on discontinuing the Imperial after the 1973 model year, due to slow sales. But a chance visit by a Chrysler executive to a stylists' desk changed everything. And while the 1974 Imperials may have been the best ones ever built, they couldn't have been introduced at a worse time. Gas prices were increasing and stations were running out of gas due to the oil embargo that began just weeks after 1974 model introductions.
The story of the Imperial is a fascinating one. Sales always trailed Cadillac and Lincoln, but this particular car should have sold! It had it all: the looks, the performance, the best interior in any car, anywhere, four wheel disc brakes, a great ride, a silent interior...and yet it was not a hit. We wonder if people even looked at the Imperial before buying, because surely if they had, they'd have bought one! It's an automotive mystery why the 1974 Imperials weren't popular, especially with its attractive new styling and stunning interior. Did we mention how spectacular the interior was?
May 27, 2010
1960-1980 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury VIN Explanation Ford included an 11-digit code on all vehicles it built that identify the year, assembly plant, body serial code, engine, and consecutive unit number of the vehicle. Here we break it down so you can identify what each digit means. This information is important to collectors and helps to authenticate the vehicle. Similar identification was provided prior to 1960, as well as after 1980, but the format changed in both circumstances, and we will provide pages that explain each in the future.
May 25, 2010
Ford Styling came up with the 1964 Ford Thunderbird Golden Palomino Show Car to appear at shows and in dealer showrooms in 1964. Unlike the Lincoln show cars of the era, the Golden Palomino was fully functional and safe to drive on the road.
The main feature was the "flipper" roof panels over the front bucket seats. These panels were hinged toward the middle of the car, and opened to provide additional space when entering or exiting the car. Never seriously considered for production due to cost, the flipper panels were a running joke in Ford Styling, appearing on many drawings, proposals, and prototypes in the late fifties and early sixties.
Being able to see a car like the Golden Palomino in person was one of the best reasons to attend an auto show at the time. You never knew if what you were looking at would wind up in showrooms in a year or two, or not. The flipper roof panels never made it to production, but in less than a decade removable glass panels over the front seat would be offered on some cars. They were called T-Tops, and even the Ford Thunderbird offered a T-Roof Convertible in 1978 and 1979.
May 24, 2010
1965 Lincoln Continental Town Brougham Show Car Lincoln updated the 1964 show car externally to match the appearance of the production 1965 Lincolns. This included new front fenders, front bumper, and grille. A double rocker panel molding was added as well.
The car was cobbled, and designed to be used as a display vehicle only,
which meant it wasn't certified as safe to be driven on roads. Therefore,
special Town Brougham Handling and Care Instructions were provided to anyone who might be moving, cleaning, or making repairs
to the car. It did have a production engine and transmission, and could
move under its own power, however the instruments weren't connected and
other items required to be road worthy were missing. An interesting story!
May 23, 2010
1964 Lincoln Continental Town Brougham Show Car Lincoln followed the 1963 Lido Show Car with a spectacular new vehicle updated to reflect changes made between 1963 and 1964. But this time, the revisions would be more than cosmetic. The wheelbase and overall length were both extended beyond that of the production models, and the roof section over the front seat was removed, creating a formal town car look with an open chauffeur compartment in front. A center division with power window separated the open front compartment from the closed rear compartment. This was a beautiful styling exercise, but there were some special handling and care considerations that required special attention.
May 22, 2010
1963 Lincoln Continental Lido Show Car For the first time in years, Lincoln created a special car for the auto shows. Designed to gauge public response to new features being considered for Lincolns in the near future, the Lido was more of a trim package than anything else, as it didn't have any unique body panels or mechanical components.
The Lido was featured in a metallic lilac shade called Persian Sand. The interior was upholstered in matching metallic leather, and held a couple of surprises to show attendees. To top if off, a black vinyl roof was also fitted. The Lido was a popular stop at the auto shows, and many of its test features were seen on production Lincolns the following year.
The 1969 Lincoln Continental would represent the end of the line in many ways. Certainly not the end of the Lincoln line, but '69 would be the final opportunity to purchase a new Lincoln Continental with unit body construction, originally introduced back in 1958.
Center-opening rear doors became a Lincoln styling staple in 1961, and would make their final appearance in 1969. Lincoln was focusing on "conquest sales" which were former Cadillac customers purchasing a Lincoln for the first time, and some of them complained that entering and exiting from front and rear seats at the same time was not convenient. Since this was an objection that could be addressed easily enough, and since it was time for a major change for the line, 1969 would be the last time for the distinctive "suicide doors."
The new 1970 Lincolns would be larger, with increased dimensions in just about every area. (The 1969 Mercury Marquis was a bit longer than the 1969 Lincoln, and since they often shared the same showroom, it was time for Lincoln to grow again.)
We hope you enjoy this step back in time to a magical year when we put a man on the Moon, went to a free concert at Woodstock, and when Paul Newman and Robert Redford first teamed up in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid at the movies.
May 14, 2010
May 9, 2010
Classic Car Clubs and Events We're a bit behind schedule this year, but we've finally updated our events page which includes national classic car meets and conventions of interest to our viewers. We will be adding to this page over the next week or so as well. Our apologies for the late publication.
May 2, 2010
May 1, 2010
The Cadillac Seville is 35 years old today! Announced in April 1975, the new "international sized" 1976 Cadillac Seville appeared in dealer showrooms on May 1st. The smallest Cadillac at the time, the Seville had the highest price tag, some $2,000 more than a Fleetwood Brougham! Designed to compete with luxury imports such as Mercedes, BMW, and Jaguar, the Seville was a big hit with 16,355 built before the end of the 1975 model year.
The Seville had modest beginnings as it was based on the Chevrolet Nova platform. But the relationship with that vehicle ended there. Unique body panels outside, and an especially elegant interior inside prevented any further comparison. Powered by a 350 CID V-8 sourced from Oldsmobile Division, Cadillac modified each with electronic fuel injection.
Almost everything one could imagine was standard, but a few options were available to tailor the car to an individual customer's preferences. Automotive Mileposts has the 1976-1979 Cadillac Seville scheduled for publication as part of Phase Three, but we are publishing this place holder page today, in recognition of Seville's 35th Birthday. Happy Birthday, Seville!
Lincoln stylists took a couple of steps back when it came to styling refinements for the 1968 Lincoln Continental. Front parking and turn signal assemblies were moved to the leading edges of the front fenders, just above the bumper, and wrapped around so they could be seen from the side. In the rear, the taillamps moved from the rear bumper into the trailing edges of the rear fenders, also above the bumper, wrapping around so they too could be seen from the side. Having these light fixtures visible from the sides met new safety standards for side markers that went into effect for 1968, but the overall look was very much reminiscent of the 1965 Lincolns.
Production and sales dropped for the second year in a row, and more safety features were made standard. Several interesting new options were introduced as well, including the Rear Defogger with Environmental Control and the FM stereo multiplex adapter for the AM/FM radio.
Lincoln built its one millionth car in March 1968, and was looking forward to the April 1968 introduction of its new personal luxury car, the Continental Mark III.
April 25, 2010
Perhaps the most recognized and sought after trim option offered, the 1976 Ford Thunderbird Creme and Gold Luxury Group was a distinctive combination of soft Creme-colored paint on the hood, roof, and deck lid combined with Gold Starfire on the bodysides. A Creme-colored Wide Vinyl Bodyside Molding provided an additional color accent on the sides, as did unique tape stripes at the belt line that separated the two colors. The exterior was finished off with Gold Opera Window Insignias and Deep-Dish Aluminum Wheels.
Inside, luxurious Gold Media Velour or optional Creme Leather Seating Surfaces with Gold seat borders and components. A unique Gold Instrument Panel Applique was unique to the Creme and Gold Luxury Group cars. Any of the Luxury Groups offered in 1976 was a fitting send off to the beloved full sized Thunderbird, loved by the automotive press and the public alike. A quieter, smoother, more luxurious ride just isn't possible.
Vibrant. Daring. Flashy. Is there really one word that adequately describes the 1976 Ford Thunderbird Lipstick Luxury Group? We don't think so. 1976 was the T-bird's final year as a full sized luxury car, and it was about to set new sales records as a popular mid-size. But before that would happen, Ford designers came up with three new Luxury Group options to cap off the 1972-1976 full size era. Finished in Lipstick Red paint with a matching Bright Red vinyl roof, this trim package was especially attention grabbing.
Who could resist a bright red T-bird, after all? The White interior in Super-Soft Vinyl or optional Leather Seating Surfaces with Bright Red components was the perfect compliment to the exterior color. It was the perfect way to celebrate America's bicentennial!
April 24, 2010
1976 Ford Thunderbird Bordeaux Luxury Group One of three extra cost Luxury Group options for 1976, the Bordeaux Luxury Group is based on a rich, deep red shade Ford called Bordeaux Starfire. It was paired with a matching half-vinyl roof and interior upholstered in either leather or Media Velour. Body side and hood paint stripes were Silver.
If more contrast was desired, a Silver vinyl roof and wide vinyl body side
moldings could be specified instead of the dark red shade. This trim package
included Wire Wheel Covers, and was a distinctive way to make sure your
1976 Thunderbird was unique in all the world.
1966 Lincoln Continental Coronation Coupe Show Car To emphasize Lincoln's all-new styling for 1966, which was the first completely new look for the line since 1961, Lincoln Division stylists worked with Chicago-based Lehmann-Peterson to create the Coronation Coupe, based on a production Coupé pulled off the assembly line in Wixom, Michigan.
Lehmann-Peterson was converting standard production Lincolns into Executive Limousines at the time, so they were perhaps the obvious choice to do this conversion as well. The rear quarter windows were removed and the roof line was moved forward to meet the front door glass, giving the Coronation Coupe an elegant town car look. Walnut veneer panels were added to the lower body sides, and a custom interior was created with white silk brocade, white pearl leather, and white mouton fur carpeting.
The Coronation Coupe was elegant and understated, but caught attention like nothing else at the show, which was exactly what Lincoln wanted.
April 23, 2010
1967 Lincoln Continental invites you to come live the Continental life '67 style. You have your choice of Coupé, Sedan, or the world's only four door Convertible—available for the last time in 1967. The Continental life is one of country homes and country clubs, sailing down the highway in total Lincoln luxury and sailing your yacht on the open sea.
1967 was a wonderful year to live the Continental life, although fewer chose to do so as 1967 was the first year since 1961 that Continental production failed to show an increase over the previous year. Safety was key for the year, and many new safety items were provided on every Continental.
A new reclining passenger seat option with power headrest was optional for bench or individual front seats, and the Stereo-Sonic Tape System could now be ordered either as part of the radio, located in the instrument panel, or separately mounted on the transmission tunnel. This flexibility allowed the fitting of either an AM or AM-FM radio in the car, along with the tape system.
Wouldn't you like to live the Continental life '67 style?
April 8, 2010
Did you know that as far back as the fifties Fully Automatic Convertible Tops existed? It's true! One was a hardtop that lowered into the luggage compartment with the driver doing nothing more than pulling out a control switch under the instrument panel! There was even one model that was able to sense moisture, and automatically raise the top and side windows without anyone even being around! It just doesn't get more automatic than that. We identify which classic models are the best when it comes to automated tops.
April 7, 2010
GM's Saginaw Steering Gear Division developed a Tilt Wheel for 1963, which led to the Tilt and Telescope steering wheel introduced exclusively on the 1965 Cadillac. By 1966, Tilt and Telescope was offered on many GM models.
Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards were updated for 1968 models, which
limited the amount of rearward movement a steering column could have in
a collision, which resulted in the addition of collapsible steering columns,
necessitating the redesign of earlier movable steering columns.
April 6, 2010
The 1966 Lincoln Continental was the first complete restyle of the the new Lincoln look established in 1961. And while everything was new, the design retained all of the traditional styling traits people identified with Lincoln at the time. The square, crisp lines. The center-opening rear doors on 4-door models. Everything was there.
But the look was totally new, and completely contemporary. The 1966 cars had evolved from the earlier design, maintaining their styling integrity while doing so.
A new Continental Coupé model was introduced that broadened Lincoln's invitation to ownership. A 2-door model had not been a part of the Lincoln line since 1960, and most of the sales increase for 1966 can be attributed to this new model. Continental's new styling looked especially good on the Coupé, which featured a slender rear roof design with a decidedly sporty flair.
The largest motorcar engine installed in a production vehicle to date rested under the hood of the 1966 Lincolns. With a displacement of 462 cubic inches, the advertised horsepower was 340, and its performance was inspiring. Lots of new options were added for 1966 as well. Could the 1966 Continental life be for you?
March 29, 2010
Classic Car Parts Auctions We have updated our live auction pages to improve functionality and make it easier for you to find the classic car parts you need. You can search by make, model, and year, often utilizing several search terms all on on page. We have grouped like years together so you can pinpoint specific vehicles where parts are interchangeable. We have eliminated the need to scroll sideways to view all of the listings, too.
In future weeks and months, we will be adding more pages for even more specific search terms, as well as updating our Classic Car Keyword Search page and bringing it back online.
By request, we've also added new pages for the 1975 Cadillac Seville, 1976 Cadillac Seville, 1977 Cadillac Seville, 1978 Cadillac Seville, and 1979 Cadillac Seville. This model is among one of the most requested for addition to the site, and they are scheduled to be included as part of Phase Three.
March 15, 2010
1959 Ford Design Award | AUTO BREVITY Here's the deal: that award that Ford received for exceptional design for its 1959 cars was...well, it was more of an advertising campaign than anything else. Of course, most press releases and film strips of the time were done with promotion in mind, so there's nothing unusual there. The award was basically a staged promotional event at the 1959 Brussels World's Fair.
So, we decided to issue our own award for exceptional styling. We did this because we feel the 1959 Fords were rather restrained that year when compared to other makes with rocket ship tail fins, gobs of chrome slathered everywhere, and strange appendages erupting out of sheet metal that didn't really seem to have any purpose. Yes, in a world of stylists gone mad, the group at Ford let sanity prevail. So, we're a bit late (just five decades), but as they say, better late than never!
March 13, 2010
Do you subscribe to magazines? If you do, you may be interested to know that Automotive Mileposts has just completed a major update of our magazine section. Now expanded from one page to four, it allows you to search for exactly what you want. We've partnered with Amazon for fulfillment, and we're compensated by Amazon for your subscriptions and renewals. Your support is very much appreciated, and allows us to continue developing the site.
March 5, 2010
The Oldsmobile Starfire was General Motors first response to the Ford Thunderbird. As GM and Oldsmobile's first personal luxury model, the Starfire was loaded with extras in its standard form, and was the most expensive Oldsmobile offered at the time.
A high performance Rocket V-8 engine offered slightly more horsepower and torque than other Rocket V-8s, and the list of standard equipment included front bucket seats upholstered in top grain leather, a center console with stick shift, power windows, power seat, white sidewall tires, a tachometer, power steering, power brakes, and more.
A two door Holiday Hardtop joined the line for 1962. The Starfire always featured unique interior and exterior trim to set it apart from the other Oldsmobile models, even though it followed the rest of the line with current styling.
The Starfire was discontinued after 1966, as the Toronado had taken over the top spot in the Olds line as the new personal luxury star. A later hatchback bore the name from 1975-1980, but it was an economy model and only had the name in common with the originals. Interesting car, interesting story, and a popular collectible among Oldsmobile fans.
The 1961-1966 Oldsmobile Starfire is scheduled to be published as part of Phase Four of site development.
March 4, 2010
Many believe that the 1977-1980 Lincoln Versailles was not Lincoln's finest hour. That may be true. However, we don't believe the car deserves the bad reputation so many have given it. The Versailles introduced a great many new innovations and processes during its short life span, and credit must be given for that.
The Versailles was never a bad car. It just looked a little bit too much like the cars from which its platform was sourced. And when the car in question is the most expensive model offered by a top luxury make, and the car it came from isn't...well, that invites some rather obvious comparisons. Was the Versailles worth what it cost? Perhaps.
The car the Versailles was built to compete with—the Cadillac Seville—also had rather modest beginnings as a Chevrolet Nova. Cadillac just did a better job of hiding its origins. In any case, it's an interesting story from the era many point to as the time the American car makers lost their way, and allowed the imports to gain access to the North American automobile market.
The Lincoln Versailles is scheduled to be published in Phase Three of Automotive Mileposts, and this contents page will serve as a place holder until the individual Versailles pages are published.
March 3, 2010
1974 Lincoln Continental This was the year of the (in)famous Seat Belt/Starter Interlock System, the gas crisis and resultant gas shortage, mandatory energy-absorbing rear bumpers, and a very quiet Lincoln Continental. Lincoln had been conducting tests for several years, and discovered that Cadillac (they didn't actually mention the make of the car at this point...that would come later) owners actually found the Lincolns to be more comfortable and easier to drive.
1974 saw a considerable styling shift toward the popular Continental Mark IV, especially up front. In short order, all Lincolns would bear the honor of displaying the classic Mark IV grille, and this was the first step toward prepping the public for that reality. Rear styling was updated as well, which gave the rear of the car a trimmer appearance despite the new rear bumper protruding from the end of the car.
The gas crisis had a severe impact on sales of the Lincolns in 1974, but they would recover quickly the following year. A major upper body restyle would give the Continentals a much changed look for 1975, and we actually find the 1970-1974 cars to be a bit more contemporary, due to the more traditional roofline. In 1974, Lincoln challenged luxury car buyers to judge your car by our car. Many did, and many were switching to Lincoln.
February 27, 2010
Our new 1973 Lincoln Continental section, a part of our Phase Two roll out, is now online. 1973 was a significant year for Lincoln in a couple of ways. A new Town Coupé was introduced as a companion to the formal Town Car, giving Lincoln a new model to compete with.
1973 was a record sales and production year for Lincoln, as well as for the U.S. automobile industry as a whole. No one could know what would lie ahead—a gas crisis—just as the 1974 model introductions had been made. The 1973 model year would be the year everyone in the auto industry would remember and long for again.
In 1973, America was watching All In the Family, Sanford and Son, Hawaii Five-O, Maude, and Bridget Loves Bernie on television. We were being terrified at the movies by The Exorcist, falling in love with Paul Newman and Robert Redford as con men in The Sting, and remembering the carefree summer of 1962 in American Graffiti. A simpler, slower time when large American luxury cars were the envy of all, and there was nothing more impressive than the 1973 Lincoln Continental.
February 23, 2010
AutomotiveMileposts.com is now faster! Last night, our technicians made changes to our server that allows compressed data to be sent to site visitor's computers. This means the size of files on our site has in some cases been cut by more than 75 percent! For you, pages will load much faster and should result in a better experience while viewing our site.
Most newer browsers are set up to automatically request compressed data from Web sites, and most of the popular sites send compressed data, and have for some time. If you're using an older browser, it will most likely not request compressed data, and our server will not attempt to send compressed data unless it is requested.
Those of you on cable or broadband connections will likely not notice much difference unless you really pay attention, but for folks on dial up connections, the difference should be very apparent to you.
We appreciate the time you spend at AM, and hope this change will make the site more enjoyable for everyone.
February 22, 2010
1972 Lincoln Continental On the radio, you were listening to Brandy by The Looking Glass, Garden Party by Rick Nelson, or perhaps Helen Reddy's latest hit, I Am Woman. The year was 1972. President Richard Nixon was running for re-election against George McGovern, and that campaign would dominate much of the news in 1972—as well as for years to come with the discovery of a break in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building.
As hectic as things in the nation may have been that year, inside the 1972 Lincoln it was quiet. This was the smoothest, steadiest, quietest Lincoln built to date. The Town Car became a full production model, and exterior styling was nicely updated. Sales increased significantly for the year, due in part to the new styling, but a drop in the base price might have had an impact as well. Ah...1972...the beginning of disco music, and memories of fashion trends like bell bottom pants and platform shoes...and Three Dog Night performing Black and White on the radio in a 1972 Lincoln Continental. We'll take a Town Car in Red Moondust Metallic, please.
February 21, 2010
1974 Ford Thunderbird White and Gold Luxury Group The second of two new Special Editions announced at mid-year for the 1974 T-bird, the White and Gold Luxury Group is a spectacular two tone trim package combining Polar White paint for the body with Gold Fire on the lower bodysides below the wide vinyl bodyside moldings. Topped with a Gold Levant grain vinyl roof, which matches the bodyside moldings, Gold accent stripes and color-keyed Deluxe Wheel Covers also accent the exterior.
But the real appeal is in the dazzling interior of two tone White leather seating surfaces and Gold Flare vinyl seat sides, instrument panel, carpeting, and side trim panels. A White padded vinyl insert appears on the side panels as well. Dramatic, and not for the faint of heart!
1974 Ford Thunderbird Burgundy Luxury Group One of two Special Edition models offered for the Thunderbird line in 1974 after an absence of a special model for 9 years. Ford had built special edition T-birds in 1963 and 1965, both of which were successful, but from 1966-1973 hadn't released any special models, except for the 1967 Thunderbird Apollo, which wasn't offered to the public.
These special models usually had a specific color combination not offered on other cars, and sometimes came with unique ornamentation to indicate their prestige status. The 1974 Burgundy Luxury Group followed in the steps of the 1973 Continental Mark III Silver Luxury Group in offering a color combination that was distinctive and not available otherwise. The Burgundy shade also seems to have been one of Ford's favorites for special editions in the Thunderbird line as well.
February 16, 2010
1972 Lincoln Continental Town Car Introduced in 1969 as a luxurious interior trim option for the Lincoln Sedan, the Town Car model honored Lincoln's 50th Year in 1971 as a limited edition Golden Anniversary Town Car. By 1972, the Town Car was a full production model added to the Lincoln line, which would expand in 1973 to include a Lincoln Town Coupé as well.
For 1972, the Town Car was only available on the Sedan, and could be ordered with any exterior finish, vinyl roof color, or interior trim color. Choices would be more limited the following year, so 1972 was an excellent year to enjoy Lincoln's finest, smoothest, quietest vehicle ever.
February 15, 2010
1961 Lincoln Continental Paint Colors and Interior Trim Codes Due to special requests from several loyal Automotive Mileposts site visitors, we have decided to try something a bit new for a change. These visitors are considering purchasing one of the first Lincolns of the 1960s, and wanted information about what paint finish colors were originally offered, as well as interior trim availability and trim codes to verify authenticity.
Since we are so far behind our original publication schedule, we decided to publish the information they asked for on one page for now, so they will have it available to them, and we will expand that information when we do get around to publishing the full 1961 Lincoln Continental section, which is part of Phase Three, scheduled to be published later this year.
So, here's a quick peek at the 1961 Lincolns, we hope you enjoy it, and we might do this again from time to time if people find it helpful.
February 13, 2010
Elegance in action for 1968: Cadillac! The 1968 Cadillac joins the Automotive Mileposts' family of luxury classics. Sporting a powerful new 472 V-8 engine, it was the largest engine ever installed in a production motorcar at the time. Designed to provide more reserve power to operate accessories while providing adequate performance at highway speeds, the engine would be modified for even larger displacement in future years.
1968 represents the first year power windows were standard on all Cadillac
models, and important safety features such as side marker lights and parking
lights that remained illuminated with the headlamps were provided for the
first time. Cadillac of 1968 was elegance in action, and the division was
shattering sales records at the time, too. Travel back with us to the tumultuous
and historic year of 1968, where the world inside a Cadillac was more peaceful
than the world outside.
February 6, 2010
Rear Window Defogger Installation Part of our Technical Articles series, this article walks you through the steps to install a factory Rear Window Defogger in your 1968-1971 Thunderbird or 1969-1971 Continental Mark III. Complete instructions, including a list of parts needed as well as part numbers. We've even included links to our Classic Car Parts Auctions pages to help you find everything!
This option not only clears the rear window of fog, it also helps to defrost or deice your rear window, as well as provide improved air circulation in the rear seat area during warmer months. It helps your air conditioner by circulating the hot air in the rear part of the car, which improves overall interior cooling.
If you didn't know you needed this option on your car, you do now. It only
takes a couple of hours to install...and it's plug and play! The wiring is already in your car!
February 5, 2010
1967 Cadillac Cadillac set new sales records again for 1967, maintaining its lead as
the Standard of the World. All-new styling attracted customers like never
before, and they chose from the biggest selection of models in the luxury
field, 16 standard and five Firemist exterior colors, new interior colors
and fabrics, and more luxuries than ever before. It was an exciting time
for those with the means to purchase a new Cadillac. Take a journey back
to the Surprisingly New, Superbly Cadillac for 1967!
January 12, 2010
1966 Ford Thunderbird Highway Pilot Speed Control Option For 1966, Ford placed automatic speed control at the fingertips of Thunderbird drivers. A first for the option, moving the controls to the spokes of the steering wheel made piloting a T-bird at flight speeds easier than ever. But as simple as the device may have been to use, the under the hood mechanics of the system could be confounding if something wasn't working properly.
Priced at $128.72, Highway Pilot was one of the more expensive options offered for 1966, and while not exactly rare, it is more usual to find Birds of this vintage without the option. The system worked very well, and contributed to the T-bird's image of trendy gadgets that in some cases, added a lot of value for customers.
January 11, 2010
1966-1967 Ford Thunderbird Contoured Headliner Repair AM takes you step by step through the process of removing the headliner panels, repairing the boards, applying new vinyl material to them, and installing them back into the car.
This design called attention to the ceiling of the car like never before,
but became a maintenance challenge over the years as the original vinyl
came unglued and began to sag. Various steps have been taken over the years
to repair this, some more effective than others. This article will help you restore the
original appearance as closely as possible if you follow it, although it will lack the thin layer of foam padding the original assembly had, as it contributed to the problem somewhat.
January 2, 2010
1966 Ford Thunderbird Body Styles Confused about the various body styles for 1966? Don't worry, there's
a great deal of misinformation about them. For instance, Ford introduced
two new models in 1966 that were one year only models. Another model was
technically retired for just one year, but returned for 1967. One of the
new models introduced would never return again, and the other one would
reappear mid-year 1977. We'll sort it out for you, just click the link.
January 1, 2010
Thank you and Happy New Year from Automotive Mileposts! Due to your support, unique visitors to the site was up 146% in 2009 over 2008. This is the 3rd year in a row that AM has experienced strong traffic growth in this important measurement of site popularity and reach. We know that we owe it all to you. So many of you have been so loyal for so long during periods of time when we were working on things in the background that you couldn't see.
This year, we completed the initial publication of Phase One, and Phase Two is now being published, with the 1977-1979 Thunderbirds, 1969-1970 Cadillacs, and 1970-1971 Lincoln Continentals already online. Work continues on all of the cars already published as well, as we expand and update information all the time. In fact, Phase One, despite having the basic information completed, is still only about 75% of where it will be when we've added everything we intend to add to those pages. (Just yesterday, an update to the 1970 Continental Mark III Production page was published, a page that has been online since 2000.)
We have lots of exciting classic cars coming for 2010. Thank you so much for your support. When you buy something using one of the links on our site, we are paid a commission for your purchase, and that helps to pay the bills and keep the site online. Have a safe, happy, and prosperous 2010, and know that we very much appreciate the time you spend at Automotive Mileposts.
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