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.
Suckers to the side. On their near-to-brilliant Def Jam debut Yo, Bum Rush the Show, Public Enemy dropped an ear beating called “You’re Gonna Get Yours.” Equal parts tribute to the Oldsmobile 98 and comment on racial profiling, YGGY was a four-minute sonic head kick rivaling Guns and Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle” for most intensely vivid album (and career) opener in the history of popular music. Two decades later, it’s a little ragged around the edges, but has still aged a bit better than this decade-older Oldsmobile 98, which could use a shot of whatever Chuck D put in his iced tea back in 1987. Not running, but plush enough to be quite the project car.
A seven-liter V8 with under 200 horsepower? You are correct, sir. Cadillac’s 425ci, V8 was well into its swan song by 1979, soon to be replaced with the next decade’s more economical Caddy 368. Still, both carburated (L33) and injected (L35) versions of the ‘79 engine rendered 320 lbs-ft of torque, more than enough to launch this well-preserved Fleetwood limousine headlong into a Palm Springs micro-burst, unbeknownst to the aging Los Angeles cabaret singer tucking into a fully loaded hero sandwich inside the rear compartment. Numbers match, not that they wouldn’t.
[via Auto Trader Classics]