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Tag Archives: Plymouth
Tweet Photo by Randy Stern The 1990s proved to be an interesting time for me. I could bore with the details, but between the best car I ever owned and a cross-country bounce to find an identity – I am … Continue reading
Tweet Photo by Randy Stern Though I was born in the 1960s, I could recall some of the decade’s biggest flashpoints. How could a three-year-old understand such things as Civil Rights, Vietnam and the “Summer of Love?” That all came … Continue reading
Tweet You always remember your first convertible. All photos by Randy Stern There are days when it is a shame to call myself a native Californian. The most typical scene in classic California iconography has been the convertible. Always with … Continue reading
If you want to know where “carmmunity” is celebrated – go to a car show or meet somewhere.
There are plenty of them across the calendar year – everywhere you can imagine for any brand possible. In some places, you can throw a stone and a few cars would gather with their owners swapping ideas on how to improve their vehicle’s looks and/or performance.
Think of these shows as places of worship, combined with a picnic and an open-air market. The faithful come together with their vehicles for a celebration of their interest. The joyful noise you hear is a engine at full throttle.
This is my kind of place. Continue reading
Tweet Photo by Randy Stern Want another interesting year in automobiles? The turn of the 1970s was a time of transition. It was clear that Richard Nixon wasn’t going anywhere. His administration oversaw the first landing on the moon by … Continue reading
Tweet 1982 GMC S-15 Pickup. Photo (c)1981, 2012 General Motors To survive a recession, you have to weather the storm. The early 1980s were an economic mess, yet not as bad as it was during the 1970s. This past recession … Continue reading
What was the biggest automotive story during my senior year in high school?
There were plenty – ranging from the economy, immediate frustration with the Reagan Administration to Valley Girls. Los Angeles reveled in the aftermath of Fernando Valenzuela and the 1981 World Champion Dodgers. What made this story special was that it took a stocky left-handed pitcher from rural Mexico to captivate a city with all races coming together at Chavez Ravine.
Let us not forget, this was the Los Angeles that dazzled in the shine of Showtime – the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, one particular story captured the most headlines in the automotive world during the course of 1981-82 school year. When people talked about automobiles, many conversations came up – either positive or dismissive. Yet, you could not ignore it – the commercials were all over and the vehicles were selling. He appeared in a good chunk of his company’s spots – with a manifesto on his lips: “If you could find a better car, buy it!”
I am talking about Lee Iacocca and Chrysler’s K-Car comeback. Continue reading
Captive imports…and why did they exist anyway?
At a time when the call was to tune down the horsepower and prepare for an oil crisis, a recession and a never ending war overseas, domestic automakers figured it was high time to build another round of compact cars. By going smaller, there were two routes to take: Build them domestically or import them from a global partner somewhere. Three out of the four North American automakers chose the latter.
Chrysler had been selling Simcas and Sunbeams alongside Barracudas and Imperials through the 1960s. Simca and Sunbeam were a part of growing European operation for the Pentastar. In turn, Chrysler looked high and low to match the incoming compacts from General Motors, Ford and American Motors. They went across both the Atlantic and Pacific for their answers. Ford sold some European products at their dealerships in the past – the Cortina was the most popular and the Capri was a mainstay at Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. GM sold Opels at Buick dealers, but would soon play the captive import game as early as 1976.
You could also stretch the captive import involvement to AMC – that is if you include the subcompact Metropolitan that was jointly developed between Nash and Austin. They actually sold Metropolitans with the Hudson badge for a bit. At one time, Mitsubishi imported the Hyundai Excel for some of its dealers in the USA. Continue reading
Thirty years ago…a lot happened.
The list can go on forever, but I will concentrate on the most important thing overall: Graduating high school. As I realize today that I am indeed on the latter side of my forties, remembering every moment of that year seems a bit difficult these days.
Thankfully, there’s Google. Not for what I exactly did in 1982 – but, rather, the trivial parts of that year.
At the onset of graduation, I ended up the responsibility of car ownership. The 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan of my mother’s was in my care. I was free to do what I please with it – replace tires, fuel up daily, baby the car when it overheated…and so forth.
By that time, I truly grasped the idea of the automobile and its inner workings. At least it was getting there. Sports, cars and music filled my time in-between studies and various plots to go somewhere else. Girls? Well…you probably know where that went by now.
As a public service to the Reseda High School Class of 1982, I offer this little glimpse at our senior year through the windshield of the automobile industry.
Name the biggest display of automotive history to ever roll down a single street?
Normally, such an event is called a “cruise.” By calling it a “cruise,” it means a display of cars of yesteryear where you can expect brutal exhaust noise and the rumbling of very large engines. The vehicles on display are indeed impressive, from old-school hit rods to today’s tuner specials.
Not everywhere has such as “cruise.” During the “Back to the ’50′s” weekend here in the Twin Cities, there is normally a “cruise” of the vehicles displayed at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to Porky’s, an old drive-in on University Avenue in St. Paul. However, the construction of the Central Corridor and the closure of Porky’s have altered plans for the annual event.
Still, there is one cruise that refuses to yield to any road construction or transit development. The cruise takes place in the city where the automobile remains the economic engine for a city and its region. The street is a long one stretching from the banks of a river connecting two Great Lakes to somewhere towards the center of the lower half of the state. Continue reading