Posts Tagged Ford

What makes a car a “classic?”

1975 Mercury MonarchI picked up the latest issue of Hemmings Classic Car today, and found an unusual mix of vehicles on the cover.

A gorgeous 1962 Chrysler New Yorker wagon was the main attraction, but it shared space with a 1991 GMC Syclone and a 1977 Mercury Monarch.

Any vehicle over 25 years old is considered “vintage” (which makes me feel rather dated), but you don’t need to attend the Pebble Beach Concours to know that “vintage” and “classic” are not the same.

Cars from the 1960s or earlier have the strongest hold on the “classic” title, but lately I’ve noticed many cars from the 1970s and ’80s making their way into classic-car discussions.

This is partially because of economics: as cars get older, they become rarer and more expensive. Many of the most desirable classics have been priced out of the average enthusiast’s range, leaving him or her to get creative.

It’s more than that, though.

No one is going to deal with the trials and tribulations of an old car, unless they really want to.

People often collect cars (and other things) to recapture their youth, and not everyone grew up during the age of tail fins.

The nostalgia factor is often masked by a car’s other positive qualities; you don’t need to be a child of the ’60s to appreciate a first-generation Camaro.

However, as newer cars transition from cheap transportation to potential collectibles, people’s personal attachment to them becomes more apparent. Why else would you buy a Mercury Monarch?

The Monarch, and its Ford Granada sibling, have been the butt of many jokes, but perhaps that will change as people become nostalgic for the days of the Carter Administration.

If that happens, old car mavens will still be able lament about how “they don’t make ’em like they used to,” but people might answer “good.”

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Other People’s Cars: Ford Fairlane Squire

Ford Fairlane SquireI found this gem a few weeks ago while I was in Manhattan for the New York Auto Show and took a photo because its an awesome old station wagon parked on West Side Drive.

I’ve been trying to think of something else to say about it, something more significant, but that’s pretty much it.

The wagon in question is a Ford Fairlane Squire, the wagon version of Ford’s mid-sixties midsize sedan. It was built in either 1966 or 1967, the only two years this body style was made.

I’m not sure which engines were available on the Squire, but I bet this one is having a bit more trouble keeping up with New York traffic than it did when it was new.

Yet it looks just fine parked where it is; like the cool kid leaning against a building with one heel on the bricks.

This is why I like walking around cities. You never know what you’ll find.

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Other People’s Cars: Ford Mustang

1971 Ford MustangIt’s not easy to follow a legend, as this Ford Mustang I found at a local grocery store demonstrates (obviously not this exact Mustang; I didn’t have a camera on me). It’s the 1971-1973 fastback that succeeded the legendary 1960s ‘Stangs.

The Mustang launched midway through 1964 and a spectacular hit parade followed. There were Shelby GT350s and GT500s, Boss 302s and 429s, and the Mach 1. All were clothed in sheetmetal that has become so iconic that Ford revived it in 2005.

The 1971 Mustang wasn’t that successful. It was considered too ungainly, and perhaps its styling was a little too forward-thinking. Still, as the ‘60s wound down, the first few iterations of Mustang style were popular, but not the hallowed legends they are today. It’s hard to blame Ford for trying something new.

This less-loved Mustang had its good points, too. Like its predecessors, there were performance versions (Mach 1, Boss 351), and it starred in the original Gone in 60 Seconds. Also, it was infinitely better than the Pinto-based Mustang II that succeeded it.

Ford is getting ready to roll out a new Mustang for the 2015 model year and, as in 1971, there’s talk of radically new styling. Will it become a new Mustang icon or fade away like this grocery getter? That all depends on what it looks like.

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Highway robbery

CTS-V WagonSometimes, the best ideas come from history. Thankfully, the 2008 recession is starting to fade, but many people are still out of work and there is no legislation in place to stop the banks from going back to their old ways. What to do?

Analysts compared the recession to the Great Depression, and that is where the answer lies. Depression-era Americans hated banks as much as their descendants, so they weren’t too upset when outlaws like John Dillinger started robbing them. Why couldn’t that work today?

Several individuals sued banks for illegally foreclosing on the plaintiffs’ homes. Some even walked into local branches and took furniture as their payment after the banks were defeated in court and refused to pay damages. This seems like the next logical step.

Many people have criticized President Obama for bailing out failing companies instead of letting them fail, which would be appropriate punishment for their financial irresponsibility. But Obama’s bailout of General Motors and Chrysler actually gave us the tools to get our money back.

Dillinger may have been a Ford man, but GM and Chrysler make some pretty good getaway cars. The Cadillac CTS-V wagon has 556 horsepower, and plenty of room for loot. A Chevy Volt will get you across the state line while the cops are still filling up their cruisers. The Chrysler 300 looks like it was designed by Al Capone.

Obama hasn’t made much progress in prosecuting the financial concerns that caused the recession, or in passing legislation to prevent the same thing from happening again. He is obviously waiting for real Americans to take matters into their own hands, instead of getting the government involved. I don’t think he’ll be sending the FBI after the modern-day Bonnie and Clyde.

So go rob a bank; it’s your patriotic duty. Just remember: when choosing a getaway car, buy American.

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