What might the value be of a 30-year-old Econoline whose roof has peeled off in dramatic shards of red-brown? It’s that 250ci knocker set beneath that vinyl console cover within. In 1979, the final generation of Ford straight sixes was ending its penultimate decade; compact V8s would replace inlines in the Ford stable by the 1990s. Actually, the van has almost no value whatsoever, unless you’ve got a Rolodex bearing a few addresses in Australia. Aussie company Classic Inlines developed an aluminum head based on the Australian 250-2v head, but with raised intake ports, high swirl combustion chambers, and larger valves. The heads can also be machined to fit electronic fuel injectors. With more power and decent fuel economy, owners of Falcons and Mustangs are now keeping their inlines instead of going V8. So the next time you see an ancient rustbox wearing the Econoline badge, think of the Australians and go have a kangroo sausage omelet.
Long before Ford outfitted 100 web-savvy travelers with 2010 Fiesta hatchbacks, video cameras and internet access — and cast them to the four winds in search of adventure and viral-video gold — there was this. Many derided the original Ford Fiesta as a hapless, rustful econobox during its three year US run, from 1978 to 1980. But owners shined to the Fiesta’s revvy 1.6-liter Kent four and tight handling. That’s why most surviving models spend more time autocrossing than they do parked at Walgreens. This well-used model saw much pavement action at Susquehanna, PA-region SCCA events by a serious competitor who installed a Haltech fuel-injection setup and awesomeness-boosting box flares. For $7000, you also get four engines, one of which you could use in your TVR 1600M project car.
[Bring a Trailer]
If you’ve ever seen a Juicy Fruit gum (or Mountain Dew) commercial from the 1970s, you know the kind of youth-cultural vibe Ford was going for with its Free-wheelin’ appearance package. You’ll know it by the black bumpers, sunburst decals and other such “custom” accouterments. You could order the Free-wheelin’ kit on the Bronco, Ranger pickup and even the Pinto, which also shipped with a glass porthole that afforded extra privacy for when that half a jay and bottle of Mateus kicked in. Now you can recapture those days with a full-size Bronco that knows by instinct which side of the Cars’ Candy-O was the makeout side, and which one just plain sucked.
After three decades’ worth of oppressive headlight standards (round only, please), the DOT — obviously under the influence of the newly hybridized Blueberry Super Skunk strains of the mid-1970s — started allowing square headlamps on new cars in 1975. By ‘79, the majority of new cars like Chrysler’s personal-luxury hit, the Cordoba, wore four-cornered lanterns up front.
Now in its mid-period, the Cordoba was holding its popularity among silk-wearing, newly divorced men in their mid-40s arriving at the local Holiday Inn lounge doused in Hai Karate. The whole Ricardo Montalban schtick was wearing a bit thin, but Chrysler-signed checks continued to arrive at the typecast Latin Lover’s Malibu estate. By 1980, Chrysler would redesign the Cordo, cutting its size, slapping it haphazardly onto the miserable Plymouth Volaré J-platform, and drawing down the power curtain to meet early-80s gas-crunch market demands. Sales tanked, but good-soldier Montalban nonetheless returned for yet another model year of cartoonish posturing and melodramatic, Madison Ave-hack prose. This car was the first augur of the ’70s end. Actually, it was the second if you include Uriah Heep’s 1978 album Fallen Angel.
Ok, so Fort Wayne, Indiana isn’t technically Detroit, but the Scout — in all of its two incarnations — is one of the four most significant proto-SUVs ever to travel American pavement (Wagoneer, Blazer, Scout, Travelall), the latter pair of which were born of International Harvester. This ‘79 Scout II sports the important Rallye package, whose middle-English spelling refers to a 12th century practice of foisting mediocre horses on the dim-witted public, noted in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Sellers would go about “paynting strypes” to make the horses look “rallye, rallye gud.” Chaucer later admitted he’d made the whole thing up in his posthumously released sequel, Canterbury Fail. This specimen, originally owned by the guy who played the bongos on Lalo Schifrin’s “Theme From Mission Impossible” (not really), has the 1970s version of exclusive alcantara seating (i.e., plaid), and a recent paint job that probably exceeds factory spec by a factor of 10.