Scottsdale Pavilions Weekly Meet – 5th December 2021

On my last visit to the Phoenix area, in November 2019, I discovered that there are a number of regular car meets in the area. Many are early morning “Cars and Coffee” style gatherings but there is at least one which takes place during the afternoon and into the evening. This is the Scottsdale Pavilions event, held every Saturday, in a cordoned off area of a large parking lot on Indian Bend Road and only a few hundred yards from the 101 Freeway. I went to investigate on that last trip and found that this was a sizeable gathering the nature of which changed as the hours passed by, starting with older Classics and as the light faded more recent sports and performance cars arrived in their place. There was plenty to see, so it was definitely something I was keen to repeat on my December 2021 visit. What I found was something quite similar and indeed a few of the cars were ones I remembered for two years previously. I get the impression that, as with many such events, there are a core of regulars and then others come on a more ad hoc basis. I arrived late afternoon, whilst there was still plenty of daylight, and some rather challenging long shadows and stayed until early evening by which time the natural light had largely gone. Here is what the camera was able to capture:

AC

Genuine AC Cobra are rare beasts, as not that many were produced, but for the last as long as anyone can remember, there have all manner of replica and officially sanctioned continuation type cars produced, so there are pretty decent numbers of cars around that bear the legendary shape of this raw sports car and that’s just as true in the US as it is in the UK.

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ACURA

In December 2007, Acura announced plans to launch a NSX successor by 2010, based on the styling of the front V10-engined Acura ASCC (Advanced Sports Car Concept). Despite prototypes being tested for production, just a year later, Honda announced that plans had been cancelled due to poor economic conditions. Instead, in March 2010, Honda unveiled the HSV-010 GT for participation in the Japanese SuperGT Championship. This car never reached production as a street-legal car. Reports that Honda was again developing a successor to the NSX remerged in April 2011. By December 2011, Honda officially announced a second generation NSX concept, which was unveiled the following month at the 2012 North American International Auto Show as the Acura NSX Concept. The production model was displayed three years later at the 2015 North American International Auto Show, for sale in 2016. Although the original name was retained, this time it was defined as “New Sports eXperience”. Unlike the first generation NSX which was manufactured in Japan, the new NSX was designed and engineered in Marysville, Ohio, at Honda’s plant, led by chief engineer Ted Klaus. The new NSX has a hybrid electric powertrain, with a 3.5 L twin-turbocharged V6 engine and three electric motors, two of which form part of the “SH-AWD” all wheel drive drivetrain, altogether capable of close to 600 hp. The transmission is a 9-speed dual-clutch automatic. Its body utilizes a space frame design—which is made from aluminium, ultra-high-strength steel, and other rigid and lightweight materials, some of which are the world’s first applications. The first production vehicle with VIN #001 was auctioned off by Barrett Jackson on 29 January 2016. NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick won the auction with a bid for US$1,200,000. The entire bid was donated to the charities Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Camp Southern Ground. The first NSX rolled off the line in Ohio on 27 May 2016. Hendrick was there to drive it off. The first sales of the new NSX were registered in the second half of 2016

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BUICK

In the late 1950s, GM lacked a personal luxury car to compete with the highly successful Ford Thunderbird—a uniquely styled, two-door that had dramatically increased in popularity when expanded from a two-seater to a four-passenger car and the Chrysler 300C. To fill this gap, an experimental Cadillac design, the XP-715, was created, dubbed the “LaSalle” after a former GM luxury marque. Its angular look was reportedly inspired by GM styling chief Bill Mitchell’s visit to London during the period, when he was struck by the sight of a custom-bodied Rolls Royce. He later said that “knife-edged” styling was what he wanted for the new model, but with a lower profile. The design itself was penned by stylist Ned Nickles. When Cadillac passed on the venture in 1960 the project was thrown open for competition by the other GM Divisions. Buick, desperate to revive its flagging sales, won the competition by enlisting the aid of the McCann-Erickson advertising agency to create its presentation. Initially referred to as the “Buick LaSalle” and later “Buick Riviera” concept cars, the finished design was adapted to a shortened version of Buick’s existing cruciform frame. It was again introduced as a concept car in 1963 called the Buick Riviera Silver Arrow. The production Riviera was introduced on October 4, 1962, as a 1963 model, its distinctive bodyshell was unique to the marque, unusual for a GM product. The design was substantially the same as the original, less expensively hidden headlights concealed in the fender grilles.[5] The elegant ground-up styling sported the new “Coke bottle look” introduced the year before on the arresting Studebaker Avanti, with a tapered midsection surrounded by flaring fenders. There was no trace of the “Sweepspear” used on beltlines of earlier Buicks with the Riviera package, It rode a cruciform frame similar to the standard Buick frame, but shorter and narrower, with a 2.0 in (51 mm) narrower track. Its wheelbase of 117 in (3,000 mm) and overall length of 208 in (5,300 mm) were 6.0 inches (150 mm) and 7.7 in (200 mm) shorter, respectively, than a Buick LeSabre, but slightly longer than a contemporary Thunderbird. At 3,998 lb (1,813 kg), it was about 390 pounds (180 kg) lighter than either. It shared the standard Buick V8 engines, with a displacement of either 401 cu in (6.57 L) or 425 cu in (6.96 l), and the unique continuously variable design twin turbine automatic transmission. Power brakes were standard, using Buick’s massive “Al-Fin” (aluminum finned) drums of 12 in (300 mm) diameter. Power steering was standard equipment, with an overall steering ratio of 20.5:1, giving 3.5 turns lock-to-lock. The Riviera’s suspension used Buick’s standard design, with double wishbones in the front and a live axle located by trailing arms and a lateral track bar in the rear, but the roll centers were lowered to reduce body lean. Although its coil springs were actually slightly softer than other Buicks, the Riviera’s lighter weight made its ride somewhat firmer. While still biased towards understeer, contemporary testers considered it one of the most driveable American cars, with an excellent balance of comfort and agility. Buick’s 325 hp 401 cu in (6.6 l) “Nailhead” V-8 was initially the only available engine, fitted with dual exhaust as standard equipment, and the turbine drive the only transmission. Base price was $4,333,  running upwards of $5,000 delivered with typical options. Buick announced an optional 340 hp 425 cu in (7.0 l) version of the Nailhead in December 1962. Total production was deliberately limited to 40,000 vehicles (in a year that Buick sold 440,000 units overall) to emphasize the Riviera’s exclusivity and to increase demand; only 2,601 were delivered with the delayed availability larger engine in the 1963 model year. With the same power as the bigger Buicks and less weight, the Riviera had improved all-around performance: Motor Trend recorded 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 8 seconds or less, the standing quarter mile in about 16 seconds, and an observed top speed of 115 miles per hour (185 km/h). Fuel economy was a 13.2 miles per US gallon (17.8 L/100 km; 15.9 mpg‑imp). Front leg room was 40.1 inches. Inside, the Riviera featured a luxurious four-place cabin with front bucket seats and bucket-style seats in the rear. A center console with floor shifter and storage compartment built into the instrument panel divided the front. Upholstery choices included all-vinyl, cloth and vinyl, or optional leather. A deluxe interior option included real walnut inserts on the doors and below the rear side windows. Extra-cost options included a tilt steering wheel, power windows, power driver’s seat, air conditioning, a remote-controlled side-view mirror, and white sidewall tyres. Minimal trim and mechanical changes were made for 1964, with the most identifiable distinguishing features being a raised stylized “R” hood emblem and “R” emblems replacing the Buick crests in the taillight lenses. The interior is distinguished by moving the heater controls from controls under the dashboard eyebrow to slide controls in the forward fairing of the center console. Leather was dropped as an option, and the Dynaflow-based twin-turbine transmission was replaced by a new three-speed Super Turbine 400. This was a GM Turbo Hydra-Matic with a variable pitch torque converter like the Dynaflow’s. It used a two-speed “D” and ‘L” selector, but could automatically downshift from third to second until the car reached a suitable speed to downshift to first. This was the first year of the stylized “R” emblem, a trademark that would continue throughout the remainder of Riviera’s 36-year production run. The engine was upgraded to the previously optional 340 hp 425 cu in (7.0 l) V8. A 360 hp ‘Super Wildcat’ version was available, with dual Carter AFB four-barrel carburettors. In 1965 the 401 cu in (6.6 l) V8 returned as the standard engine, and the “Gran Sport” version made its debut, powered by the Super Wildcat V8 and outfitted with a more aggressive 3.42 axle ratio and stiffer, heavy-duty suspension. The Super Turbine 400 transmission retained its variable pitch torque converter, but was fitted with a three-speed gear selector. The stock dual exhaust pipes were increased from 2.0 inches (51 mm) to 2.25 inches (57 mm) inside diameter and had fewer turns to reduce backpressure. Externally, the headlamps, now vertically arranged, were hidden behind clamshell doors in the leading edges of each fender, as had been in the original design. The non-functional side scoops between the doors and rear wheel arches were removed, and the taillights moved from the body into the rear bumper. A vinyl roof became available as an option, initially offered only in black, and the tilt steering wheel optional in previous years was now standard equipment. Total sales for the 1963–1965 model years was a respectable 112,244. The Riviera was extremely well received from all quarters and considered a great success, giving the Thunderbird its first real competition as America’s preeminent personal luxury car. It has since earned Milestone status from the Milestone Car Society. Jaguar founder and designer Sir William Lyons remarked that Mitchell had done “a very wonderful job,” and Sergio Pininfarina declared it “one of the most beautiful American cars ever built; it has marked a very impressive return to simplicity of American car design.” At its debut at the Paris Auto Show, Raymond Loewy said the Riviera was the most handsome American production car—apart from his own Studebaker Avanti, in his view the Riviera’s only real competition for 1963. The first-generation Riviera is considered a styling landmark and has become a collectible car.

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The 1968 model year was one of significant change for the Buick Skylark. Although still using the same basic chassis, all of GM’s mid-sized cars adopted a policy of using two different length wheelbases. Two-door models used a shorter wheelbase of 112 in, while four-door models used a longer wheelbase of 116 in (the Buick Sport Wagon and Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser used an even longer wheelbase of 121 in). All of GM’s mid-sized cars received all-new sheet metal. More Federally mandated safety features improved occupant protection and accident avoidance, including side marker lights, shoulder belts (on all models built after January 1, 1968), and parking lights that illuminated with headlights. The Buick Gran Sport, previously an option package available on the Skylark, became a separate series, starting with the 340 hp/440 lbs torque 400 c.i.d. V8 1968 GS 400, using the 2 door Skylark body and chassis. In a reshuffling of models in the lineup, the Special Deluxe replaced the previous Special. The Skylark nameplate was shuffled down a notch to replace the previous Special Deluxe. The previous Skylark was replaced by a new Skylark Custom. The basic Skylark was available as a two-door hardtop coupe or a four-door sedan. The Skylark Custom came as a two-door convertible coupe, two-door hardtop coupe, four-door hardtop sedan, or four-door sedan. The previous V6 was discontinued and the associated tooling was sold to Kaiser Industries, which used the V6 in its Jeep trucks and sport utility vehicles. The base engine in Buick Skylarks (and Buick Special sedans) became a 250-cubic-inch 250 cu in (4.1 L) Chevrolet I6, that produced 155 hp at 4200 rpm using a single-barrel Rochester carburettor. Optional on the Skylark and standard on the Skylark Custom was a new 350-cubic-inch V8 derived from the 340, using a two-barrel Rochester carburetor that produced 230 hp at 4400 rpm. The Buick Special name was dropped after the 1969 model year. A locking steering column with a new, rectangular ignition key became standard on all 1969 GM cars (except Corvair), one year ahead of the Federal requirement. For 1970, the mid-sized Buicks once again received new sheet metal and the Buick Skylark name was moved down another notch, replacing the previous entry-level Buick Special. It was available in two- and four-door sedans with the 250-cubic-inch inline-six as standard and the optional 350-cubic-inch V8 (260 horsepower at 4600 rpm). Two-door models shared their roofline with the 1970 Chevelle, distinct from that of the shared Pontiac LeMans and Oldsmobile Cutlass. The two-door sedan was unique to Buick, sharing its roofline as the hardtop but having a thick “B” pillar, with Buick’s traditional “Sweepspear” feature appearing as a crease running the length of the vehicle. Chevrolet did not offer a pillared coupe for the Chevelle from 1970 to 1972; all two-doors were hardtops. Replacing the previous Buick Skylark was the Buick Skylark 350, available as a two-door hardtop coupe or four-door sedan with the 350-cubic-inch V8 as standard equipment. This 350-cubic-inch engine was a different design than the Chevy’s 350 CID engine the Buick design had a longer stroke and smaller bore (3.80 X 3.85 in) allowing for lower-end torque, deep-skirt block construction, higher nickel-content cast iron, 3.0 in (76 mm) crank main journals, and 6.5 in (165 mm) connecting rods, the distributor was located in front of the engine (typical of Buick), the oil pump was external and mounted in the front of the engine, the rocker arm assembly had all rocker arms mounted on a single rod and were not adjustable. The Skylark Custom continued to be available, also using the 350-cubic-inch V8 as standard equipment and still available as a two-door convertible coupe, two-door hardtop coupe, four-door hardtop sedan, and four-door sedan. Buick Gran Sport models continued to be available as a separate series. The Buick Sport Wagon name was now used on a conventional four-door station wagon that no longer featured a raised roof with glass panels over the cargo area, or a longer wheelbase, as in the past. It now used the same 116 in (2,946 mm) wheelbase as the Buick Skylark four-door sedan and the now-discontinued Buick Special four-door Station Wagon. It became, in effect, a Buick Skylark four-door station wagon in all respects but the name. For the 1971 model year, the base Skylark was available only with the inline-6, now only putting out 145 hp due to emission control devices, but in a two-door hardtop coupe body-style (in addition to the previous two- and four-door sedans). The Skylark 350 had a V8 engine that put out only 230 hp. It was now available as a two-door sedan in addition to the previous two-door hardtop coupe and four-door sedan. 1972 was the last model year for the mid-sized Buick Skylark. During this model year many pollution controls were added to the engines, Compression was lowered, engines had to accept leaded and unleaded gas, and spark timing was retarded (no vacuum advance in lower gears) while driving in lower gears to reduce emissions. For 1972, the base Buick Skylark used the 350-cubic-inch V8 with the 2-barrel Rochester carburettor (now putting out 145 hp) as standard equipment. A new federally mandated system to calculate power was put into effect that year, and the actual engine performance was probably comparable but slightly lower because of pollution controls in the 1972 model year to the 230 hp that was listed for the previous year. The Skylark 350 now used a version of the same V8 engine as the base Skylark, but with a 4-barrel Rochester carburetor that generated 180 hp. Skylark Customs were available with the same 350-cubic-inch V8 engines available in the basic Skylark and the Skylark 350. The Custom had an upgraded interior and dash with some extra chrome. Convertibles only came in the Skylark Customs and the Skylark 350s. For the 1973 model year, the Buick Gran Sports, Skylarks, and Sport Wagons would all be replaced by the new mid-sized Buick Century. Since Centurys were available with Gran Sport trim, the Gran Sport name was once again reduced to being an option package.

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In February 1982, the Regal Grand National debuted, which was named for the NASCAR Winston Cup Grand National Series (the “Grand National” term was part of the Cup series nomenclature until 1986). Buick had won the Manufacturers Cup in 1981 and 1982, and wanted to capitalize on its success: “What wins on Sunday, sells on Monday”. These 1982 cars were not painted black, which may confuse those not familiar with them. All started out as charcoal gray Regals that were shipped off to a subcontractor for finishing. Originally intended for a run of 100 units, Cars and Concepts of Brighton, Michigan, retrofitted 215 Regals with the GN package. Most obvious was the light silver gray firemist paint added to each side. Red pinstripes and billboard shadow lettering proclaiming “Buick” were applied. The wheel opening mouldings and rocker panel mouldings were blacked out using black vinyl tape. Finally, a front air dam and rear spoiler were installed. On the inside, special “Lear-Siegler” seats were installed. These seats are fully adjustable and were covered with silver brandon cloth with black vinyl inserts. The front seat had Buick’s “6” emblem embroidered onto them. Also, a special clock delete plate was added to the instrument panel which contained the yellow and orange “6” logo and the words “Grand National Buick Motor Division”. The 1982 GN came with a naturally aspirated 252 cu in (4.1 L) V6 engine with 125 hp at 4000 rpm and 205 lb/ft (278 Nm) of torque at 2000 rpm. Of the 215 Regal Grand Nationals produced in 1982, at least 35 were based on the Buick Regal Sport coupe package with the turbocharged 3,791 cc V6 engine with 175 hp at 4000 rpm and 275 lb/ft (373 Nm) of torque at 2600 rpm. There were only 2022 Sport coupes produced in 1982, and the number of cars with both the GN and Sport coupe packages is estimated to be fewer than 50. For 1983, there was no Grand National. The Sport coupe model was renamed the T-Type; 3,732 were produced (190 hp at 1600 rpm and 280 lb/ft (380 Nm) of torque at 2400 rpm). The T-Type had been used on other Buicks, starting with the Riviera in 1981 (in 1979 and 1980, it was the S Type). The 1983 Regal T-Type featured tube headers, Hydro-Boost II brakes, 200-4R 4-speed overdrive trans and 3.42 rear axle (7.5″). For 1984, the Grand National returned, now in all black paint. The turbocharged 3,791 cc (3.8 L; 231.3 cu in) became standard and was refined with sequential fuel injection, distributor-less computer controlled ignition, and boasted 200 hp at 4400 rpm and 300 lb/ft (407 Nm) of torque at 2400 rpm. Only 5,204 turbo Regals were produced that year, only 2,000 of which were Grand Nationals. Because this was the first year production of the computer controlled sequential fuel injection and distributor-less ignition, this is often considered the year and model that started the development of the legendary intercooled Grand Nationals. The performance of this package was well ahead of its time and the “little V6” easily kept up with the bigger V8s. 1⁄4 mile performance was listed at 15.9 seconds at stock boost levels of 10 psi (0.69 bar), while for the same year, the Chevrolet Camaro V6 was listed at 17.0 and the Chevrolet Corvette at 15.2 seconds.Soon, performance enthusiasts determined the modifications that worked and the Grand Nationals easily broke into the 13-second territory. All Grand Nationals had the Lear Siegler-made cloth/leather interior which was only available for this year. An estimated 200 of the 1984 Grand Nationals were produced with the T-Top option which makes these the rarest of the Grand Nationals. For 1986, a modified engine design with air-air intercooling boosted the performance even further to a specified 235 hp at 4000 rpm and 330 lb/ft (447 Nm) of torque at 2400 rpm. The Grand Nationals (quantity 5,512) and T-Types (quantity 2,384) were both produced in 1986. For 1987, performance reached 245 hp and 355 lb/ft (481 Nm) of torque. Buick dropped the T-Type package for Regal for 1987 models and opted for a “T” sport package instead. There were only 7,896 turbo Regals produced in 1986. In 1987, when turbo Regals reached their peak in popularity, a total of 27,590 turbo Regals were produced through December, with those models produced between September and December of that year window stickered as “1987½ Buick Grand National” vehicles. For 1987, a lightweight WE4 (turbo T) option was offered. Only 1,547 of this variant were produced. The differences between a WE4 and the Grand National were the interior trim package, wheels, exterior badging, aluminium bumper supports, and aluminium rear drum brakes as opposed to the Grand National’s cast iron, making the WE4 a lighter and faster car. The rear spoiler was only available as a dealer installed option. Nineteen eighty-seven was the only year that the LC2 turbo option was available on any Regal, making it possible to even see a Limited with a vinyl landau roof and a power bulge turbo hood. Turbo Regal Limiteds were one of the rarest models of turbo Regals produced second only to the GNX at 1,035 turbo Limiteds. Turbo Regal Limiteds could be ordered with many options with most having chrome external trim but for $35 could have been built with the full black-out trim option making them extremely rare. Limiteds were treated to a very luxurious interior with plush carpeting and optional bench pillow seats and a column shift. The 1987 model would be the end of the manufacture of the RWD “G-Body” Regal, but GM had to extend the build of the Grand National to meet customer demand into December. For the final year, 1987, Buick introduced the limited production GNX, for “Grand National Experimental”, at $29,900. Made in partnership with McLaren Performance Technologies/ASC, Buick produced only 547 GNs with the interior trim package, that were then sent off to McLaren and upgraded into the Buick GNX. Buick underrated the GNX at 276 hp at 4400 rpm and a very substantial 360 lb⋅ft (488 Nm) at 3000 rpm of torque, although actual output is 300 bhp and 420 lb/ft (569 Nm). This was created to be the “Grand National to end all Grand Nationals.” Changes made included a special Garrett AiResearch T-3 turbocharger with a ceramic-impeller blowing through a more efficient and significantly larger capacity intercooler with a “Cermatel (ceramic-aluminum) coated” pipe connecting the intercooler to the engine. A GNX specific E-EPROM, low-restriction exhaust with dual mufflers, reprogrammed turbo Hydramatic 200-4R transmission with a custom torque converter and transmission cooler, and unique differential cover/Panhard bar included more of the performance modifications. Exterior styling changes include vents located on each front fender, 16 inch black mesh style wheels with VR-speed rated tires, and deletion of the hood and fender emblems. The interior changes of the GNX included a serial number on the dash plaque and a revised instrument cluster providing Stewart-Warner analog gauges, including an analog turbo boost gauge. Performance was measured faster than the Ferrari F40 and the Porsche 930 with a 1⁄4 mile time of 12.7 seconds at 113.1 mph (0.3 and 0.8 seconds quicker, 2.9 and 13.3 mph faster) and a 0-60 mph time of 4.6 seconds (0.4 and 0.3 seconds quicker, respectively). GNX #001 is the 1986 prototype currently owned by Buick and sometimes makes appearances at car shows around the US. The GNX used a unique torque arm that was mounted to a special, GNX only, rear differential cover, for increased traction. The torque arm rear suspension alters the suspension geometry, making the body lift while planting the rear tires down, resulting in increased traction. The stealthy appearance of the all-black GNX and Grand National (and the resemblance of its grill to his helmet’s mouthpiece), coupled with the fact that the Grand National was initially released during the popularity of Star Wars movies, earned it the title “Darth Vader’s Car”. Car and Driver covered the GNX model’s introduction with the headline “Lord Vader, your car is ready.” Due to the turbocharged six cylinder engine, the Buick make, and the black paint Grand Nationals were sometimes referred to as the “Dark Side”. The “Dark Side” contrasted with the more common V8 Mustangs and Camaros that were popular at the time. The cars are highly collectible now.

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CADILLAC

The first all-new postwar Cadillacs arrived in 1948, sporting an aircraft-inspired look and the first tail fins on a Cadillac. Series 62 Cadillacs had a slightly shortened wheelbase, but the track width was widened by two inches, increasing interior room. However, updated drivetrains would have to wait another year and for the time being, the new Cadillacs were still powered by the same 346 CID flathead V8 used across the board since 1941, which delivered only fair performance (0-60 in 16 seconds with a top speed of 93 mph). Fuel mileage was an estimated 14 mpg highway, 10 mpg city with the Hydramatic transmission, which was rapidly becoming the norm on Cadillacs–by 1949, only 10% of Cadillacs were ordered with the 3-speed manual gearbox. Series 62 production totalled 34,213 vehicles for the 1948 model year, accounting for 68% of Cadillac’s volume. The 1948 models had been slow to get into production and did not arrive in showrooms until February 1948, consequently Cadillac produced on 50,599 total vehicles for the abbreviated model year. The new Cadillac OHV V8 was the big news for 1949, with minor trim differences otherwise. This 331 cu in (5.4 L) engine produced 160 hp and weighed 200 pounds less than the old flathead V8 in addition to being shorter and lower. The 331 V8 could also handle higher compression levels to take advantage of improved, higher octane postwar gasoline formulations. The major difference between Series 61 and Series 62 models of similar body style was minor trim variations. The higher-priced series again had grooved, front fender stone shields and bright rocker panel moldings. Chevrons below the taillights were no longer seen. The convertible was an exclusive offering. A heater was optional. Sales reached a record 55,643. The Cadillac Series 62 Coupe de Ville was introduced late in the 1949 model year. Along with the Buick Roadmaster Riviera, and the Oldsmobile 98 Holiday, it was among the first pillarless hardtop coupes ever produced.[3][6] At $3,496 it was only a dollar less than the Series 62 convertible, and like the convertible, it came with power windows standard. It was luxuriously trimmed, with leather upholstery and chrome ‘bows’ in the headliner to simulate the ribs of a convertible top. 55,643 Series 62 Cadillacs were produced in 1949 out of a total volume of 92,554 vehicles. For 1950, major styling changes were performed. The cars were lower and sleeker, with longer hoods, and one-piece windshields were fitted. Hydra Matic transmission was now standard. The Series 61 was again a short wheelbase model, having been reduced to 122 in (3099 mm). Sales set yet another record at 59,818. Full-length chrome rocker panels set off the 1951 model, and the Coupe de Ville was now marked with noticeably-improved trim, including Coupe de Ville script on the rear roof pillar. Sales were 81,844, or a record of over 74% of all Cadillacs sold. Popular Mechanics reported about 12-MPG at 45 mph. In 1952, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Cadillac, the V-shaped hood and deck emblems were done as gold castings. The Series 62 sedan was also characterized by a higher rear deck lid contour. This provided additional luggage space. Back up lights were now standard equipment and were incorporated in the taillights. The grille wraparound panels were redesigned once again having broad chrome trim below each headlight with side scoop styling and gold-colored winged emblem mounted in the center. At the rear all Cadillacs adopted a through the bumper dual exhaust system. Deck ornamentation took the form of a Cadillac crest over abroad golden “V”. New standard features included self-winding clocks, improved direction signal indicators, glare proof mirrors, stannate treated pistons, and four barrel carburetion. Engine output for the 331 was up to 190 hp. Sales fell to 70,255, but with the Series 61 out of the way, Series 62 sales accounted for a record 78% of all Cadillacs. The 1953 Series 62 saw a redesigned grille with heavier integral bumper and bumper guards, the repositioning of parking lamps directly under the headlights, chrome “eyebrow” type headlamp doors, and one piece rear windows without division bars. Wheel discs were fashioned in an attractive new disced design. Series 62 bodystyles were identified by non louvered rear fenders, the use of thin bright metal underscores on the bottom rear of the cars only and the decoration of both hood and deck lid with Cadillac crests and V- shaped ornaments. The Club Coupe model disappeared. Two door Series 62 were now all hardtops (including the better equipped Coupe de Ville) or convertibles. Another familiar name appeared on 1953’s Series 62. The top of the line sub-series Eldorado was one of three specialty convertibles produced in 1953 by General Motors, the other two being the Oldsmobile 98 Fiesta and the Buick Roadmaster Skylark. The Eldorado was a limited-edition luxury convertible, and would eventually become its own series. It featured a full assortment of deluxe accessories, including wire wheels, and introduced the wraparound windshield to Cadillac standard production. Sales set a new record at 85,446.

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The 1959 Cadillac is remembered for its huge sharp tailfins with dual bullet tail lights, two distinctive rooflines and roof pillar configurations, new jewel-like grille patterns and matching deck lid beauty panels. In 1959 the Series 62 had become the Series 6200. De Villes and 2-door Eldorados were moved from the Series 62 to their own series, the Series 6300 and Series 6400 respectively, though they all, including the 4-door Eldorado Brougham (which was moved from the Series 70 to Series 6900), shared the same 130 in wheelbase. New mechanical items were a “scientifically engineered” drainage system and new shock absorbers. All Eldorados were characterised by a three-deck, jewelled, rear grille insert, but other trim and equipment features varied. The Seville and Biarritz models had the Eldorado name spelled out behind the front wheel opening and featured broad, full-length body sill highlights that curved over the rear fender profile and back along the upper beltline region. Engine output was an even 345 hp from the 390 cu in (6.4 litre) engine. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, back-up lamps, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six way power seats, heater, fog lamps, remote control deck lid, radio and antenna with rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks and license frames. The Eldorado Brougham also came with air conditioning, automatic headlight dimmer, and a cruise control standard on the Seville and Biarritz trim lines. For 1960, the year that this Fleetwood Eldorado was made, the styling was toned down a little. General changes included a full-width grille, the elimination of pointed front bumper guards, increased restraint in the application of chrome trim, lower tailfins with oval shaped nacelles and front fender mounted directional indicator lamps. External variations on the Seville two-door hardtop and Biarritz convertible took the form of bright body sill highlights that extended across the lower edge of fender skirts and Eldorado lettering on the sides of the front fenders, just behind the headlamps. Standard equipment included power brakes, power steering, automatic transmission, dual back-up lamps, windshield wipers, two-speed wipers, wheel discs, outside rearview mirror, vanity mirror, oil filter, power windows, six-way power seats, heater, fog lamps, Eldorado engine, remote control trunk lock, radio with antenna and rear speaker, power vent windows, air suspension, electric door locks, license frames, and five whitewall tyres. Technical highlights were finned rear drums and an X-frame construction. Interiors were done in Chadwick cloth or optional Cambray cloth and leather combinations. The last Eldorado Seville was built in 1960. The idea of a large car finished in pink now is simply unthinkable, but the colour goes quite well with the style here. These 59 and 60 Cadillacs attract lots of interest from collectors and the public and this one was no exception.

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The Cadillac XLR is a front-engine, rear-drive, two passenger roadster manufactured and marketed by Cadillac from 2003 to 2009 across a single generation — and noted for its power retractable hardtop, Bulgari designed interior instruments, head-up display, adaptive suspension marketed as Magnetic Ride Control, rear-mounted transmission and near 50/50 front-to-rear weight distribution. As Cadillac’s flagship model, the XLR was introduced at the 2003 North American International Auto Show and began production with model year 2004 — foreshadowed by the 1999 Evoq concept. Sharing the GM Y platform and manufactured alongside the Chevrolet Corvette in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the two cars also share hydroformed perimeter frame and composite bodywork construction — though each have unique exterior and interior styling, suspension settings and engine. The XLR was the first production Cadillac with radar-based adaptive cruise control (ACC) and the first to offer both heated and cooled seats. The XLR was nominated for the North American Car of the Year award for 2004. The Cadillac XLR was marketed as a luxury roadster and offered numerous features either as standard equipment or as options, including a touchscreen GPS navigation radio with an AM/FM radio, CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, full voice control, and a full Bose premium amplified audio system, adaptive cruise control, Bulgari-branded instrument panel cluster, OnStar, High Intensity Discharge (HID) front headlamps, perforated luxury leather-trimmed seating surfaces with power-adjustable, heated and cooled bucket seats with a driver’s memory system, luxury carpeted floor mats with embroidered ‘XLR’ logos, premium aluminum-alloy wheels, and wood interior trim. The XLR’s featured adaptive suspension with magneto-rheological shock absorber fluid for enhanced ride control. The system uses four wheel-to-body displacement sensors to measure wheel motion over the road surface and responds by adjusting the shock damping almost instantly. The shock absorbers are filled with a fluid that contains suspended iron particles that respond to magnetic signals. The system responds by constantly monitoring motion and changing the damping forces at all four corners of the vehicle — to modulate body motion during aggressive maneuvers or on uneven road surfaces. Where the Chevrolet Corvette (C6) was powered by a 6.0L LS2 V8 engine and offered a six-speed manual transmission, the XLR featured Cadillac’s 4.6L Northstar V8 (supercharged in the XLR-V) and either a five-speed 5L50 automatic transmission, or a six-speed 6L80 automatic transmission. Optional XLR equipment included polished aluminum-alloy wheels, exterior and interior colour options, and different interior trim options. The XLR featured the traditional Cadillac, silver-painted upper “Egg Crate” (XLR) or chrome wire mesh (XLR-V) front grille, which had a similar appearance to gravel shields commonly installed on cars during the 1930s. Other standard items included angular front High Intensity Discharge (HID) front head lamps, vertical rear tail lamps, and chrome exterior details. Inside, the XLR featured wood interior trim in addition to the C6 Corvette’s aluminum trim, and different seats. For model year 2009, the XLR added a new front fascia, new rear fascia, and chrome side fender vents. Inside, Alcantara – a suede-like microfiber material – was added for the headliner. The interior added new instrument cluster trim rings with revised graphics, (removal of the Bulgari logo) and new wood dashboard trims. XLR production ended on March 31, 2009. The base price of the XLR in the United States went from $75,385 ($108,100 in 2021 dollars at launch to $86,215 ($108,508 in 2021 dollars by the end of its run in 2009. Cadillac projected sales of 5 – 7,000 cars a year but the reality is that they only sold 15460 cars in total between 2003 and 2011.

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Final Cadillac of note was an example of the recently superceded CTS-V Coupe.

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CHEVROLET

The Chevrolet Master and Master Deluxe are American passenger vehicles manufactured by Chevrolet between 1933 and 1942 to replace the 1933 Master Eagle. It was the more expensive model in the Chevrolet range at this time, with the Standard Mercury providing an affordable product between 1933 and 1937. Starting with this generation, all GM cars shared a corporate appearance as a result of the Art and Color Section headed by Harley Earl. From 1940 a more expensive version based on the Master Deluxe was launched called the Special Deluxe. The updated corporate appearance introduced a concealed radiator behind a façade with a grille. This was the last Chevrolet that was exported to Japan in knock down kits and assembled at the company’s factory in Osaka, Japan before the factory was appropriated by the Imperial Japanese Government. When Toyota decided to develop their own sedan called the Toyota AA, a locally manufactured Master was disassembled and examined to determine how Toyota should engineer their own cars. In May of 1925 the Chevrolet Export Boxing plant at Bloomfield, New Jersey was repurposed from a previous owner where Knock-down kits for Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac passenger cars, and both Chevrolet and G. M. C. truck parts are crated and shipped by railroad to the docks at Weehawken, New Jersey for overseas GM assembly factories. The Master name was used on a number of different versions, and the Series name changed each year. A four door open top convertible was no longer offered starting in 1933. The 1933 Series CA began production as the “Eagle”, but was renamed “Master” midway through the model year when the 1933 Standard model (Series CC) was introduced. Several changes were made to the Eagle when the name was changed to Master. The easiest to distinguishing feature is the post between the front door wing windows and the roll down windows: on the Eagle the chrome divider between these two windows goes down as the window goes down, whereas on the Master this divider remains fixed and does not go down with the window. In 1934 the Series DA Master offered an increased wheelbase of 112 in (2,844.8 mm). This increased the difference with the cheaper Standard wheelbase to 5 in (127.0 mm). Powered by an upgraded version of the 206 cu in (3,380 cc) “Stovebolt” six-cylinder engine, now producing 80 hp. The independent front suspension was something GM called “Knee-Action” using trailing arms and coil springs. In 1935, the Master underwent a redesign, utilising a new “Turret Top” construction method. This consisted of steel used entirely in the body construction to include the roof and wood was no longer used in bodywork or chassis construction. For 1936, with the Series FA and FD, all Chevrolet took on an upgraded streamlined appearance as Chevrolet sought to take on a new and modern appearance called Art Deco, and the bodies were shared with the Pontiac Deluxe.. In 1937. with the Series GA and GB, the Master now replaced the lower priced Standard Six, while the higher equipment Master Deluxe edged the range upwards. While external differentiation was limited to trim and equipment, the Master Deluxe introduced independent front suspension while the Master retained a beam front axle on leaf springs. The 1938 The Master (HB) and Master Deluxe (HA) sold well, with 162,430 and 302,728 respectively. The Master returned for 1939. The Master Deluxe was now the JA, while the base model was renamed the Master 85 (JB). A station wagon was first offered, though its construction had been contracted to Mid States Body Corp. For 1940, the Master continued to be available in Master 85 (KB) as well as the more upscale “Master Deluxe” model (KA). The even better equipped “Special Deluxe” also appeared for the 1940 model year.

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It was no surprise to come across lots of Corvette models here, with examples of all 7 generations on display. There was one of the first generation C1 cars, dating from towards the end of the model’s life The first generation of Corvette was introduced late in the 1953 model year. Originally designed as a show car for the 1953 Motorama display at the New York Auto Show, it generated enough interest to induce GM to make a production version to sell to the public. First production was on June 30, 1953. This generation was often referred to as the “solid-axle” models (the independent rear suspension was not introduced until the second generation).Three hundred hand-built polo white Corvette convertibles were produced for the 1953 model year. The 1954 model year vehicles could be ordered in Pennant Blue, Sportsman Red, Black, or Polo White. 3,640 were built, and sold slowly. The 1955 model offered a 265 cu in (4.34 litre) V8 engine as an option. With a large inventory of unsold 1954 models, GM limited production to 700 for 1955. With the new V8, the 0-60 mph time improved by 1.5 seconds. A new body was introduced for the 1956 model featuring a new “face” and side coves; the taillamp fins were also gone. An optional fuel injection system was made available in the middle of the 1957 model year. It was one of the first mass-produced engines in history to reach 1 bhp per cubic inch (16.4 cc) and Chevrolet’s advertising agency used a “one hp per cubic inch” slogan for advertising the 283 bhp 283 cu in (4.64 litre) Small-Block engine. Other options included power windows (1956), hydraulically operated power convertible top (1956), heavy duty brakes and suspension (1957), and four speed manual transmission (late 1957). Delco Radio transistorised signal-seeking “hybrid” car radio, which used both vacuum tubes and transistors in its radio’s circuitry (1956 option). The 1958 Corvette received a body and interior freshening which included a longer front end with quad headlamps, bumper exiting exhaust tips, a new steering wheel, and a dashboard with all gauges mounted directly in front of the driver. Exclusive to the 1958 model were bonnet louvres and twin trunk spears. The 1959–60 model years had few changes except a decreased amount of body chrome and more powerful engine offerings. In 1961, the rear of the car was completely redesigned with the addition of a “duck tail” with four round lights. The light treatment would continue for all following model year Corvettes until 2014. In 1962, the Chevrolet 283 cu in (4.64 litre) Small-Block was enlarged to 327 cu in (5.36 litre). In standard form it produced 250 bhp. For an extra 12% over list price, the fuel-injected version produced 360 bhp, making it the fastest of the C1 generation. 1962 was also the last year for the wrap around windshield, solid rear axle, and convertible-only body style. The boot lid and exposed headlamps did not reappear for many decades. An all-new C2 generation model was launched for 1963.

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Chevrolet replaced the entire range of cars for 1955, producing what are sometimes referred to as the “Tri-Five” range, which would live for three years. Revolutionary in their day, they spawned a cult following that exists in clubs, website and even entire businesses that exclusively cater to the enthusiasts of the Tri Five automobiles. All featured a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout. They remain some of the most popular years for collectors and hot rodders. 1955-1957 were watershed years for Chevrolet, who spent a million dollars in 1956 alone for retooling, in order to make their less expensive Bel Air models look more like a Cadillac, culminating in 1957 with their most extravagant tailfins and Cadillac inspired bumper guards. In 1955, Americans purchased 7.1 million new automobiles, including 1.7 million Chevrolets, giving the company fully 44% of the low-price market and surpassing Ford in total unit sales by 250,000. The Bel Air was an instant hit with consumers, with Base One-Fifty models starting under $1600 and featuring a six cylinder engine. The introduction of the new optional 170 hpr 265ci V8, coupled with the Powerglide automatic transmission quickly earned the model the nickname “The Hot One”. In the first year of production, the oil filter was considered an option, although not having it led to significantly shorter engine life. With three basic model lines of 150, 210 and Bel Air and a range of body styles from 2 and 4 door Sedans to Coupes, Convertibles and Wagons, there were as many as 19 different Tri-five models available. The 1956 cars saw minor changes to the grille, trim and other accessories. It meant huge gains in sales for Chevrolet, who sold 104,849 Bel Air models, due in part to the new V8 engine introduced a year before. By this time, their 265cid V8 had gained popularity with hot rodders who found the engine easy to modify for horsepower gains. This wasn’t lost on Chevrolet’s engineers, who managed to up the horsepower in 1956 from 170 hp to 225 hp with optional add-ons. The average two door Bel Air in 1956 sold for $2100, which was considered a good value at the time. Prices ranging from $1665 for the 150 sedan with six cylinder engine to $2443 for the V8 equipped convertible, with Nomad models running slightly higher. Bigger changes came for 1957, including the large tailfins, “twin rocket” bonnet design, even more chrome, tri-colour paint and a choice from no less than seven different V8 engines. While in 1957, Ford outsold Chevrolet for the first time in a great while, years later the used 1957 Chevrolets would sell for hundreds more than their Ford counterparts. As the horsepower race continued, Chevrolet introduced a new version of their small block, with 283 cubic inches of displacement and 245 hp. They also introduced a limited number of Rochester fuel injected 283 engines that produced 283 hp, the first production engine to achieve 1 hp per cubic inch. For all intent and purposes, this made the 1957 Bel Air a “hot rod”, right off the production line. It was available with manual transmission only. The base 265cid engine saw an increase from 170 to 185 hp as well. While not as popular as the previous year’s offering, Chevrolet still managed to sell 1.5 million cars in 1957. Today, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air like this one is one of the most sought after collector cars ever produced.

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Showing the evolution of the Corvette was this second generation C2 model. First seen in 1963, this model introduced us to the name Sting Ray. It continued with fibreglass body panels, and overall, was smaller than the first generation. The car was designed by Larry Shinoda with major inspiration from a previous concept design called the “Q Corvette,” which was created by Peter Brock and Chuck Pohlmann under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell. Earlier, Mitchell had sponsored a car known as the “Mitchell Sting Ray” in 1959 because Chevrolet no longer participated in factory racing. This vehicle had the largest impact on the styling of this generation, although it had no top and did not give away what the final version of the C2 would look like. The third inspiration was a Mako Shark Mitchell had caught while deep-sea fishing. Production started for the 1963 model year and ended in 1967. The 1963 model was the first year for a Corvette coupé and it featured a distinctive tapering rear deck (a feature that later reappeared on the 1971 “Boattail” Buick Riviera) with, for 1963 only, a split rear window. The Sting Ray featured hidden headlamps, non-functional bonnet vents, and an independent rear suspension. Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov never liked the split rear window because it blocked rear vision, but Mitchell thought it to be a key part of the entire design. Maximum power for 1963 was 360 bhp, raised to 375 bhp in 1964. Options included electronic ignition, the breakerless magnetic pulse-triggered Delcotronic first offered on some 1963 Pontiac models. On 1964 models the decorative bonnet vents were eliminated and Duntov, the Corvette’s chief engineer, got his way with the split rear window changed to a full width window. Four-wheel disc brakes were introduced in 1965, as was a “big block” engine option: the 396 cu in (6.49 litre) V8. Side exhaust pipes were also optionally available in 1965, and continued to be offered through 1967. The introduction of the 425 bhp 396 cu in big block in 1965 spelled the beginning of the end for the Rochester fuel injection system. The 396 cu in option cost $292.70 while the fuel injected 327 cu in (5.36 litre) engine cost $538.00. Few people could justify spending $245.00 more for 50 bhp less, even though FI could deliver over 20 mpg on the highway and would keep delivering fuel despite high G-loading in corners taken at racing speeds. Another rare ’63 and ’64 option was the Z06 competition package, which offered stiffer suspension, bigger, multi-segment lined brakes with finned drums and more, only a couple hundred coupes and ONE convertible were factory-equipped this way in 1963. With only 771 fuel-injected cars built in 1965, Chevrolet discontinued the option at the end of the ’65 production, having introduced a less-expensive big block 396 engine rated at 425 hp in the middle of the production year and selling over 2,000 in just a few months. For 1966, Chevrolet introduced an even larger 427 cu in 7 litre Big Block version. Other options available on the C2 included the Wonderbar auto-tuning AM radio, AM-FM radio (mid-1963), air conditioning (late-1963), a telescopic steering wheel (1965), and headrests (1966). The Sting Ray’s independent rear suspension was successfully adapted for the new-for-1965 Chevrolet Corvair, which solved the quirky handling problems of that unique rear-engine compact. 1967 was the final year for the C2 generation. The 1967 model featured restyled bumper vents, less ornamentation, and back-up lamps which were on the inboard in 1966 were now rectangular and centrally located. The first use of all four taillights in red started in 1961 and was continued thru the C-2 line-up except for the 1966. The 1967 and subsequent models continuing on all Corvettes since. 1967 had the first L88 engine option which was rated at 430 bhp, but unofficial estimates place the actual output at 560 bhp or more. Only twenty such engines were installed at the factory. From 1967 (to 1969), the Holley triple two-barrel carburettor, or Tri-Power, was available on the 427 L89 (a $368 option, on top of the cost for the high-performance 427). Despite these changes, sales slipped over 15%, to 22,940 – 8,504 coupes and 14,436 convertibles.

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The Impala was restyled on the GM B platform for the first time for 1961. The new body styling was more trim and boxy than the 1958–1960 models. Sport Coupe models featured a “bubbleback” roof line style for 1961, and a unique model, the 2-door pillared sedan, was available for 1961 only. It was rarely ordered. A “Super Sport” (SS) option debuted for 1961. This was also the last year the top station wagon model would have the Nomad name. Power brakes were $43. The 1962 model featured new “C” pillar styling for all models except the 4-door hardtop. Sport Coupe models now featured the “convertible roof” styling, shared with other GM “B” full-size hardtop coupes, although the less expensive Bel Air hardtop was still available with the 1961-style roofline. This style proved popular. The “overhang” roof style of the sedans was replaced with a wider “C” pillar with wraparound rear window. Engine choices for 1962 included the 348-cubic-inch (5.7 L) V8 discontinued and replaced by the 380 bhp 409-cubic-inch (6.7 L) or 409 bhp 409-cubic-inch (6.7 L) engine.[citation needed] These engines could only be ordered with a manual shift transmission. The small-block 283 was offered with a two barrel carburettor. The 283 was also enlarged to 327-cubic-inch (5.4 L), offered in two versions, one with 250 bhp and one with 300 bhp which added more engine choices for small-block fans. The Beach Boys produced a hit single, “409”, referring to the Chevrolet, which became an iconic song for these cars. Impalas again featured premium interior appointments, plusher seats could be done by the dealerships on customer request. And more chrome trim outside, including a full-width aluminium-and-chrome panel to house the triple-unit taillight assembly. Super Sport (SS) models featured that panel in a special engine-turned aluminium, which was also used to fill the side mouldings, making the SS more distinctive in appearance. The Impala also gained the top trim station wagon body design, in place of the Chevrolet Nomad model. However, unlike the passenger cars, Impala wagons had dual-unit taillights. Due to reliability problems, the optional Turboglide automatic transmission was discontinued, leaving Powerglide the only automatic transmission available until 1965. A new radio was optional. The 1963 Impala featured rectilinear styling with an engine-turned aluminum rear taillight panel surrounded by a chrome border on SS models. Engine choice was similar to 1962, with the small-block 283-and-327-cubic-inch (4.6 and 5.4 L) V8s most popular. The Sport Sedan featured a new, creased roof line. A new “coved” instrument panel with simple indicator lights for hot and cold engine conditions. An optional factory tachometer was built into the dashboard, just above the steering wheel; it was rarely ordered. Impala wagons got triple-unit taillights for the first time. A special 427-cubic-inch (7.0 L) version of the 409 engine was used in the 1963 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe, ordered under Chevrolet Regular Production Option (RPO) Z11. This was a special package created for drag racers, as well as NASCAR, and it consisted of a 427 cubic inch engine with aluminium body parts, and a cowl-induction air intake system. The aluminium body parts were fabricated in Flint, Michigan at the facility now known as GM Flint Metal Center. Unlike the later, second-generation 427, it was based on the W-series 409 engine, but with a longer 3.65 in (93 mm) stroke. A high-rise, two-piece aluminium intake manifold and dual Carter AFB carburettors fed a 13.5:1 compression ratio to produce an under-rated 430 hp and 575 lb·ft (780 N·m) of torque. 50 RPO Z11 cars were produced at the Flint GM plant.

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For 1964, the Impala was restyled to a more rounded, softer look. The signature taillight assembly had an “upside-down U” shaped aluminium trim strip above the taillights, but the individual lights were surrounded by a body-coloured panel. The 409 cu in (6.7 L) V8 engine returned as the big-block option, as well as the Rochester 2X4-barrel carburettors setup for the 425 bhp at 6,000 rpm and 425 lb/ft (576 Nm) at 4,200 rpm of torque engines. SS models continued to feature the engine-turned aluminium trim. Rooflines were carried over from 1963 unchanged. Back-up lights were standard.  All full size 1964 Chevrolet station wagons got small rectangular taillight lenses mounted vertically, one for each side of the car.

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The third generation Corvette, patterned after the Mako Shark II concept car, was introduced for the 1968 model year and was in production until 1982. C3 coupes featured the first use of T-top removable roof panels. The C3 introduced monikers that were later revived, such as LT-1, ZR-1, Z07 and Collector Edition. In 1978, the Corvette’s 25th anniversary was celebrated with a two-tone Silver Anniversary Edition and an Indy Pace Car replica edition of the C3. This was also the first time that a Corvette was used as a Pace Car for the Indianapolis 500. Engines and chassis components were mostly carried over from the C2, but the body and interior were new. The 350 cu in (5.7 litre) engine replaced the old 327 cu in (5.36 litre) as the base engine in 1969, but power remained at 300 bhp. 1969 was the only year for a C3 to optionally offer either a factory installed side exhaust or normal rear exit with chrome tips. The all-aluminium ZL1 engine was also new for 1969; the special big-block engine was listed at 430-hp , but was reported to produce 560 hp and propelled a ZL1 through the 1/4 mile in 10.89 seconds. There was an extended production run for the 1969 model year due a lengthy labour strike, which meant sales were down on the 1970 models, to 17,316. 1970 small-block power peaked with the optional high compression, high-revving LT-1 that produced 370 bhp. The 427 big-block was enlarged to 454 cu in (7.44 litre) with a 390 bhp rating. The ZR-1 special package was an option available on the 1970 through 1972 model years, and included the LT-1 engine combined with special racing equipment. Only 53 ZR-1’s were built. In 1971, to accommodate regular low-lead fuel with lower anti-knock properties, the engine compression ratios were lowered which resulted in reduced power ratings. The power rating for the 350 cu in (5.7 litre) L48 base engine decreased from 300 to 270 hp and the optional special high performance LT1 engine decreased from 370 to 330 hp. The big-block LS6 454 was reduced from 450 to 425 bhp, though it was not used in Corvettes for 1970; it was used in the Chevelle SS. For the 1972 model year, GM moved to the SAE Net measurement which resulted in further reduced, but more realistic, power ratings than the previous SAE Gross standard. Although the 1972 model’s 350 cu in horsepower was actually the same as that for the 1971 model year, the lower net horsepower numbers were used instead of gross horsepower. The L48 base engine was now rated at 200 bhp and the optional LT1 engine was now rated at 270 bhp. 1974 models had the last true dual exhaust system that was dropped on the 1975 models with the introduction of catalytic converters requiring the use of no-lead fuel. Engine power decreased with the base ZQ3 engine producing 165 bhp), the optional L82’s output 250 bhp, while the 454 big-block engine was discontinued. Gradual power increases after 1975 peaked with the 1980 model’s optional L82 producing 230 bhp. Styling changed subtly throughout the generation until 1978 for the car’s 25th anniversary. The Sting Ray nameplate was not used on the 1968 model, but Chevrolet still referred to the Corvette as a Sting Ray; however, the 1969 (through 1976) models used the “Stingray” name as one word, without the space. In 1970, the body design was updated including fender flares, and interiors were refined, which included redesigned seats, and indication lights near the gear shift that were an early use of fibre optics . Due to government regulation, the 1973 Corvette’s chrome front bumper was changed to a 5-mile-per-hour (8 km/h)system with a urethane bumper cover. 1973 Corvettes are unique in that sense, as they are the only year where the front bumper was polyurethane and the rear retained the chrome two-piece bumper set. 1973 was also the last year chrome bumpers were used. The optional wire-spoked wheel covers (left) were offered for the last time in 1973. Only 45 Z07 were built in 1973. From 1974 onwards both the front and rear bumpers were polyurethane. In 1974, a 5-mph rear bumper system with a two-piece, tapering urethane bumper cover replaced the Kamm-tail and chrome bumper blades, and matched the new front design from the previous year. 1975 was the last year for the convertible, (which did not return for 11 years). For the 1976 models the fibreglass floor was replaced with steel panels to provide protection from the catalytic converter’s high operating temperature. 1977 was last year the tunnelled roof treatment with vertical back window was used, in addition leather seats were available at no additional cost for the first time. The 1978 25th Anniversary model introduced the fastback glass rear window and featured a new interior and dashboard. Corvette’s 25th anniversary was celebrated with the Indy 500 Pace Car limited edition and a Silver Anniversary model featuring silver over gray lower body paint. All 1979 models featured the previous year’s pace car seats and offered the front and rear spoilers as optional equipment. 53,807 were produced for the model year, making 1979 the peak production year for all versions of the Corvette. Sales have trended downward since then. In 1980, the Corvette received an integrated aerodynamic redesign that resulted in a significant reduction in drag. After several years of weight increases, 1980 Corvettes were lighter as engineers trimmed both body and chassis weight. In mid-1981, production shifted from St. Louis, Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky, and several two-tone paint options were offered. The 1981 models were the last available with a manual transmission until well into the 1984 production run. In 1982, a fuel-injected engine returned, and a final C3 tribute Collectors Edition featured an exclusive, opening rear window hatch.

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Redesigned in 1965, the Impala set an all-time industry annual sales record of more than 1 million units in the United States. All new full-size Chevrolets eschewed the “X” frame for a full-width perimeter frame, a new body that featured curved, frameless side glass (for pillarless models), sharper angled windshield with newly reshaped vent windows, and redesigned full-coil suspension. In 1965, Chevrolet introduced a new luxury package for the Impala four-door hardtop, called “Caprice” and coded as RPO Z18. Caprices received tufted upholstery, wood grained accents on the dashboard and specialty pulls on the insides of the doors. This “halo” model also featured the “spinner” wheel covers from the Impala SS, with the “SS” logo centers replaced by a Chevrolet “bowtie” emblem. The Super Sport’s blackout rear trim strip below the triple taillights was also used, with the “Impala SS” emblem replaced by a large “Caprice by Chevrolet” badge. The Impala block lettering on each front fender was replaced with “Caprice” script. The Caprice package was reintroduced as the Chevrolet Caprice Custom in 1966, taking the top position in the full-size Chevrolet lineup. Engine choices included the inline six-cylinder as well as the small-block and big-block V8s. A new three-range Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic transmission was optional for 396 cu in (6.5 L) V8. The old 409 cu in (6.7 L) “W” engine was discontinued early in the 1965 model year, so early-production 1965s got the 409, as well as 1/10 of 1% had the 396 CID big-block. Other later-built cars had the 396 cu in (6.5 L) as the big-block option. Two-speed Powerglide, as well as 3- and 4-speed manual transmissions were available. As with previous years, Impalas featured more chrome trim inside and out, with pleated tufted upholstery and door panels. The Impala would be the #2-selling convertible in the US in 1966, with 38,000 sold; it was beaten by the Mustang by almost 2:1. 1966 saw a pair of enlarged big-block V8s featuring 427 cu in (7.0 L). The RPO L36 was rated at 385 hp, the L72 at 425 hp. The L72 was only available with a manual transmission. The 1967 model was redesigned with enhanced Coke bottle styling that featured Corvette-inspired front and rear fender bulges. The curves were the most pronounced with the 1967–1968 models. In keeping with federal regulations, safety features were built into Impalas during the 1967 and 1968 model years, including a fully collapsible energy-absorbing steering column, side marker lights, and shoulder belts for closed models. The L72 engine was not available in 1967, but a L36 Turbo-Jet V8 was optional. The 1968 model was facelifted with a new front end. The new rear bumper housed triple “horseshoe” shaped taillights. 1968 also saw a new Impala model, the Custom Coupe. This two-door hardtop featured the same formal roofline as the Caprice Coupe. It was successful and would be continued through 1976. The L72 “427 Turbo-Jet” engine was once again returned to the option list, a solid-lifter V8 rated at 425 hp. It would continue to be available for both 1968 and 1969, replaced by the Turbo-Jet 454 for 1970. The 1969 Impala and other full-sized Chevrolets got new slab-sided bodies with a small “upsweep” at the rear quarter window, giving them a more formal appearance. It retained the 119-inch wheelbase from previous models. New front bumpers that wrapped around the grille and horizontal taillights were in the rear bumper. The hardtop Sport Coupe got a new notchback roofline, replacing the “fastback” C-pillar from 1967 to 1968. Ventless front windows were used on all models. Chevrolet had a rudimentary “power vent” system featuring vents in the instrument panel. The ignition switch was moved from the instrument panel to the steering column, and when the key was removed, the steering wheel and shift lever were locked. The 1969 model year Impala production topped Caprice production by 611,000 units. Impala station wagons were renamed Kingswood, a name which would continue through 1972. The similar 1970 Impala got a minor facelift featuring a more conventional under the grille bumper replacing the wrap-around unit used in 1969 along with new triple vertical taillights in the rear bumper. Canadian buyers got the choice of a lower priced companion to the Impala Sport Coupe, the Bel Air Sport Coupe, which used the same body but featured Bel Air trim.

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The Chevrolet Caprice is a full-sized automobile produced by Chevrolet in North America for the 1965 to 1996 model years. Full-size Chevrolet sales peaked in 1965 with over a million sold. It was the most popular American car in the sixties and early seventies, which, during its lifetime, included the Biscayne, Bel Air, and Impala. Introduced in mid-1965 as a luxury trim package for the Impala four-door hardtop, Chevrolet offered a full line of Caprice models for the 1966 and subsequent model years, including a “formal hardtop” coupe and an Estate station wagon. The 1971 to 1976 models are the largest Chevrolets ever built. The downsized 1977 and restyled 1991 models were awarded Motor Trend Car of the Year. Production ended in 1996. Caprice gained series status for the 1966 model year and was positioned as the top-line full-size Chevrolet. It included a four-door hardtop, six- or nine-passenger station wagon, and a two-door hardtop with a squared-off formal roofline in contrast to the Impala/SS Sport Coupe’s fastback roof styling. All four Caprice models were marketed as “Caprice Custom.” The Caprice Custom Estate, a new station wagon model with simulated woodgrain exterior trim was the first Chevrolet with such a design since its real woodie wagon was offered in 1954. All wagons included an all-vinyl upholstered two-row bench seat interior with an optional third rear-facing seat for two. The 283 cu in (4.6 L) V8 engine was standard for Caprice models with the 325 hp 396 cu in (6.5 L) “Turbo Jet” V8 optional. It was possible to have Regular Production Option (RPO) L72, a 425-hp big block V8 with solid lifters, special camshaft and carburettor, and 11 to 1 compression. An automatic transmission, power steering, white sidewall tires, and a vinyl top (on the hardtops) were extra-cost options, but most were built with them. Additionally, air conditioning, power windows, Cruise-Master speed control, power seats, an automatic headlight dimmer (1965 only) and stereo radios were available. The standard transmission was a Synchro-Mesh three-speed manual, mounted on the steering column. It remained standard throughout this generation. The 1966 Caprice featured a revised grille and front bumper, and new rectangular taillights which replaced the Chevrolet-traditional triple round taillights used on Impalas since 1958, with the exception of the 1959 model. Lenses and silver trim on Caprices differed slightly from the other full-sized models. Sedans and coupe models included luxurious cloth and vinyl bench seats with a folding center armrest in the rear seat. Optional on both was a “Strato bench” seat which combined bucket-style seat backs and a centre armrest with a bench cushion for six-passenger seating. Caprices had unique standard wheel covers, although some of the optional wheels and wheel covers on full-sized models were optional. New options included the “Comfortron” air conditioning system where the driver could set a constant year-round temperature. A “Tilt/Telescopic” steering wheel option could be adjusted vertically in six positions, as well as be telescoped further out from the steering column. Coupes could also be ordered with an all-vinyl interior featuring Strato bucket seats and center console with floor shifter, storage compartment, courtesy lighting, and full instrumentation at the front end of the console that was integrated with the lower instrument panel. The 1967 Caprice received a restyling with more rounded body lines and revised grilles and taillights, optional front fender corner lamps which illuminated with the headlamps, as well as a revised instrument panel with round instruments and a new steering wheel. Taillamp lenses were all red as the backup lamps were relocated into the rear bumper, unlike in the lesser full-size models that had their backup lamps in the center of the taillamps. A dual-master brake cylinder was now included, while front disc brakes were optional. Other new options included a stereo 8-track tape player, power door locks, and a fiber optic exterior light monitoring system. The same seating selections continued as before with revisions to trim patterns plus the new addition of all-vinyl upholstery as a no-cost option for conventional and Strato bench seats in sedans and coupes. Engines and transmission offerings were carried over from the previous year. The exception was the optional 425 hp 427 cu in (7.0 L) Turbo Jet V8 was no longer listed, leaving the 385 hp 427 as the top engine. The three-speed Turbo Hydramatic transmission that previously only available with the 396 cu in (6.5 L) and 427 cu in (7.0 L) V8s was now optional with the 275 hp 327 cu in (5.4 L) Turbo Fire V8. As with all 1967 cars sold in the U.S., Caprices featured occupant protection safety features that included an energy-absorbing steering column, soft or recessed interior control knobs, and front outboard shoulder belt anchors. The “100 millionth GM car” was a light blue metallic 1967 Caprice coupe. It was assembled on April 21, 1967 at the Janesville, Wisconsin plant. It was actually the 100 millionth GM car built in the United States; production including Canadian plants had actually passed the 100 million mark in March 1966, with an Oldsmobile Toronado being the car in question. The 1968 Caprice received a minor facelift that included a new grille with taillights set into the bumper and optional hidden headlamps. Caprice coupes now came standard with the new Astro Ventilation system, which included extra vents in the dash, and the removal of vent (wing) windows. Side marker lamps became standard on all U.S. cars and the Caprice carried over the optional white corner marker lamps at the forward edge of the fenders in addition to the amber parking lamps which were illuminated with the headlights. All 1968 Chevrolets got front side marker lamps on the fender; cars with an optional engine were identified with its cubic inch displacement listed on half the bezel; the lamp itself occupied the other half. The fiber optics monitoring system was offered again as an option. The Caprice Coupe got serious competition when Chevrolet offered the car’s formal roofline in the Impala series as well. The Impala Custom Coupe became the best-selling model in the line. The L72 427 cu in (7.0 L) 425 hp Turbo-Jet V8 returned to the option list after a one-year hiatus. A new 307 cu in (5.0 L) Turbo Fire V8 rated at 200 hp replaced the 195 hp 283 cu in (4.6 L) small block as the standard engine. Inside, the instrument panel was revised with a return to the horizontal sweep speedometer and a revised three-spoke steering wheel. An optional instrument cluster had a narrow speedometer within its opening and flanking it with engine-turned instruments in the place of warning lamps. The fuel gauge, placed next to the speedometer within its own pod in the base models, was moved to its new place next to the speedometer. A tachometer took the place of the fuel gauge in the large opening left by the fuel gauge. An all-new design arrived for 1969.

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The 1968 Chevelle received an all-new distinctly sculpted body with tapered front fenders and a rounded beltline. The car adopted a long-hood/short-deck profile with a high rear-quarter “kick-up”. While all 1967 Chevelle models rode a 115-inch (2,900 mm) wheelbase, the 1968 coupes and convertibles now rode a 112-inch (2,800 mm) wheelbase. The 4 door sedans and wagons turned to a 116-inch (2,900 mm) span. Tread width grew an inch front and rear. Hardtop coupes featured a semi-fastback, flowing roofline with a long hood and short deck, influenced by the all-new Camaro. The fastback appearance was a revival of a streamlining bodystyle on all GM products from 1942 until 1950, as demonstrated on the Chevrolet Fleetline. Top-trim models (including the SS 396 and new luxury Concours) featured GM’s new Hide-A-Way wiper system. Lesser Chevelles would get that change later. The entry-level Chevelle 300 (131 – 132 VIN prefix) was available as a pillared coupe and/or station wagon (Nomad) while the 300 Deluxe and Nomad Custom (133 or 134 VIN prefix) had a 2-door hardtop added to the lineup (fourth and fifth VIN characters will be 37; with the previous 300 Deluxe the hardtop was available with the Malibu and SS396 but not the base 300/Deluxe in the USA not counting those produced for the Canadian market). The Super Sport (SS396 sport coupe, convertible, and El Camino pickup) became series on its own. Chevrolet produced 60,499 SS 396 sport coupes, 2,286 convertibles, and 5,190 El Caminos; 1968 was the only year the El Camino body style would get its own SS396 series designation (13880). Government-mandated side marker lighting was incorporated, with early 1968 SS 396 light bezels seen with the SS 396 nomenclature – at some point in the later production cycle the engine callout had a 396 also shared with the Chevy II Nova SS (the side marker bezels, also sourced from the Chevy II Nova in 307, 327, and 396 displacements) had the engine displacement except for the six-cylinder models). Black-accented Super Sports had F70x14 red-stripe tires and a standard 325-horsepower 396-cubic-inch Turbo-Jet V8 engine with the special twin-domed hood; 350 and 375-horsepower 396 engines were optional. The SS 396 sport coupe started at $2,899 – or $236 more than a comparable Malibu with its 307-cubic-inch V8. All-vinyl bucket seats and a console were optional. Three luxury Concours options became available in March 1968 for the 4-door sedan, the 4-door sport sedan (and the hardtop coupe) and consisted of special sound insulation, and a deep-padded instrument panel with simulated woodgrain accents and all-vinyl color-keyed interiors. Interiors were sourced and shared with select Buick, Oldsmobile, or Pontiac A body patterns – during the middle of the 1968 model year, some Chevrolet A-bodies (including the El Camino) ended up with interior door panels shared with the Buick or Oldsmobile A bodies (Special, Skylark) where supply and demand issues forced a substitution, and during the April 1968 production month in the wake of the assassination of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. there were some work stoppages e.g. strikes. A ribbed stainless steel panel was bolted to the rear taillight panel and a ‘Concours By Chevrolet’ emblem on the rear decklid. Other options included power windows and door locks. With the hardtop, a rare option is a horseshoe floor shifter with an integrated console (with bucket seats – sourced from the SS). These Concours options (ZK5, ZK6, and ZK7) should not be confused with the two Concours station wagons. At the time the ZK5, ZK6, and ZK7 Concours package was the equivalent of the Caprice. Also new for 1968 was the elimination of the term “sedan” for the 2-door pillar body style. This was now called a coupe (or pillar coupe) while the 2-door hardtop remained a sport coupe. These coupe/sport coupe designations would continue into 1969 as well. The Concours Estate Wagon was one of four distinct Chevelle wagon models. A one-year Nomad, Nomad Custom was offered. Regular Chevelle engines started with a 140 hp Turbo-Thrift six or the new 200 hp Turbo-Fire 307 V8, and a 325 hp version of the 327-cubic-inch V8. Manual transmission cars got GM’s “Air Injection Reactor (A.I.R)” smog pump. New Federal safety-mandated equipment included side marker lights, as well as shoulder belts for outboard front seat occupants on cars built after December 1, 1967. 1969 Chevelles were billed as “America’s most popular mid-size car.” They showed only minor changes for 1969, led by revised front-end styling. A single chrome bar connected quad headlights (which became a familiar Chevrolet trademark) with a revised front grille, now cast in ABS plastic, and a slotted bumper held the parking lights. Taillight lenses were larger and more vertical, flowing into the quarter panels. Smaller side marker lighting bezels were phased in (shared with the Camaro and using the lens assembly as the previous year). Front vent windows (hardtop and convertibles only) began to fade away now that Astro Ventilation (first introduced on the 1966 Buick Riviera which was used a year earlier on the Camaro and Caprice) was sending outside air into several Chevelle models. The Chevelle lineup slimmed down to Nomad, 300 Deluxe/Greenbrier, Malibu/Concours, and Concours Estate series, and the base 300 series was history. No longer a series of its own, the SS 396 turned into a $347.60 option package for any two-door model. That meant not just a convertible, sport coupe, or pickup, but even the pillared coupe and sport coupe in the 300 Deluxe series (except the base 300 Deluxe El Camino pickup). Fewer SS396-optioned 300 Deluxe coupes and sport coupes were built than their Malibu counterparts and they are solid gold for collectors. The Super Sport option included a 325-horsepower 396-cubic-inch V8 beneath a double-domed hood, along with a black-out grille displaying an SS emblem and a black rear panel. More potent editions of the 396 engine also made the options list, developing 350 or 375 hp. SS396s produced from this point on shared the same VIN prefix with the Malibu sport coupe (136), with the exception of the 300 Deluxe based SS396s using (134), where the original buildsheet and/or Protect-O-Plate (which is an aluminium tag included with the original sales invoice from Chevrolet dealers) can ID a genuine SS (especially for a numbers matching original which is unaltered); however, the VIN number alone cannot ID a genuine SS as in previous years. Around an estimated 323 Chevelle 2-door hardtops were fitted with an L72 427 cu in (7.0 L) rated at 425 bhp at 5,800 rpm and 460 lb⋅ft (624 N⋅m) at 4,000 rpm of torque, where some Chevrolet dealers used the Central Office Production Order (this also included some Camaros and Novas of the same model year) – some COPOs were sold through select Chevrolet dealerships and out of the 323 COPO orders, a confirmed 99 were sold through the Yenko Chevrolet dealership in Canonsburg, PA. During the 1969 model year, a police package (RPO B07) was available on the Chevelle 300 Deluxe 4-door sedan where some were optioned with the RPO L35 (396) motor along with a boxed frame (also shared with fleet orders e.g. taxicabs and rental cars); at the time the police option was reintroduced since the 1964/65 model years (at the time midsize squads came with economy powertrain usually in the case of the Chevelle a third-generation Chevrolet inline-six. The 300 Deluxe squads was not a sales success since the market was dominated by rival manufacturer Chrysler Corporation where its B platform (and its full-sized sedans) outsold its competitors. Chevelle station wagons came in three levels: Concours, Nomad, and Greenbrier—the last a badge formerly used on the Corvair van. A new dual-action tailgate operated either in the traditional manner or as a panel-type door. Wagons stretched 208 inches (5,300 mm) overall versus 197 inches (5,000 mm) for coupes. Also the Concours option package (ZK5, ZK6, and ZK7) from the previous year was continued. New round instrument pods replaced the former linear layout. Chevelle options included headlight washers, power windows and locks, and a rear defroster. Chevy’s midsize production rose this year. About seven percent of all Malibus had a six-cylinder engine, while about 86,000 came with the SS 396 option. All 1969 Chevelles had a new locking steering column one year ahead of the Federal requirement, and headrests required for all cars sold in the U.S. after January 1, 1969. In 1969 Chevrolet developed a steam powered concept vehicle, designated the SE 124 based on a Chevelle fitted it with a 50 hp Bresler steam engine in place of its gasoline engine. The Bresler was based on the Doble steam engine.

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In 1970, sheet metal revisions gave the bodies a more coke bottle styling, and interiors were also redesigned. The 1970 Chevelle and the 1970 Buick Skylark share the same roofline. The 1970 Chevelle came in Sport Coupe, Sport Sedan, convertible, four-door sedan, a couple of wagons, and coupé utility (the El Camino) body styles. Only three of these (Malibu sport coupe, Malibu convertible, and El Camino pickup) were available with a choice of one of two SS options; RPO Z25 with the SS 396 (402 cid) engine and RPO Z15 with the new 454 cid engine. The base model was now simply called Chevelle in lieu of the former base 300 Deluxe, and was only available as a Sport Coupe or four-door sedan. In Canada, the base series retained its 300 Deluxe name, with appropriate badging on each front fender just behind the front wheel well. The 300 Deluxe 2-door sedan was canceled and replaced by the base Chevelle Sport Coupe, a 2 door pillarless hardtop. The hardtop, convertible, and sedan received the upgraded sheet metal but the station wagons and El Camino retained the previous year’s sheet metal panels (which went on for the next 2 model years). Station wagons were the entry-level Nomad, the Chevelle level Greenbrier, the Malibu level Concours, and an upscale Concours Estate. New options included power door locks and a stalk-mounted wiper control. Production was expanded to the GM Arlington Assembly plant in Arlington, Texas (where the Chevelle was assembled with its corporate siblings in this case the Oldsmobile Cutlass). Engine choices ranged from the standard 155 hp six-cylinder and 200 hp 307-cubic-inch V8, to a pair of 350 V8s and a pair of 402 engines. RPO Z25 SS equipment option included one of these 402 cid engines but was still marketed as a 396. The second 402 cid engine was available under RPO, rated at 330 hp with single exhaust, and was available in any V8 series except an SS optioned Malibu or El Camino. 1970 also saw the introduction of the 454 cid engine and was only available with the RPO Z15 SS Equipment option. The base 454 cu in (7.4 L) engine was rated at 360 bhp which was also available with cowl induction; and the optional LS6 version equipped with a single 4-barrel 800 CFM Holley carburettor produced 450 bhp at 5600 rpm and 500 lb/ft (678 Nm) at 3600 rpm of torque. There were 4,475 LS6 Chevelles produced. The SS 396 Chevelle included a 350 hp Turbo-Jet 396 V8, special suspension, “power dome” hood, black-accented grille, resilient rear-bumper insert, and wide-oval tires on sport wheels. Though a 375 hp cowl induction version was available, few were sold in favor of the newly introduced 454 engine during late-1969 timeframe. The LS5 454-cubic-inch V8 produced 360 hp in standard form and a cowl induction version was also available. The LS6 produced a claimed 450 gross HP in solid-lifter, high-compression guise. “You can make our tough one even tougher,” the brochure explained, by adding Cowl Induction to either the SS 396 or the SS 454. Step on the gas, and a scoop opened “to shoot an extra breath of cool air into the engine air intake….like second wind to a distance runner.” Neither functional hood lock pins nor hood and deck stripes were standard with either SS option, but were part of the optional ZL2 cowl induction hood option. The 454 cu in (7.4 L) LS5 V8 was rated at 360 hp. Although the 1971 Chevelle retained the 1970 body, it was treated to new front-end and rear-end styling that included large Power-Beam single-unit headlights, a reworked grille and bumper, and integral park/signal/marker lights. The grille was widened and featured a bright horizontal bar that divided it into two sections. At the center of this bar was a large Chevy bowtie for Malibus, or a large “SS” emblem for the SS models. The grille on the Super Sport was painted flat black, other models got a silver finished grille. Base Chevelles got a thinner, plain bar with no ornamentation. A small “Chevelle” nameplate was located in the lower-left corner of the grille. New dual round taillights were integral with the back bumper. Because SS models suffered heavy insurance surcharges, Chevrolet introduced the “Heavy Chevy” at midyear, which was based on the base Chevelle, and was available with any V8 engine except the 454, which was exclusive to SS models. The Heavy Chevy (RPO YF3) was only available with the base Chevelle sport coupe (13437) and was primarily a dress-up option and even it was limited to options available on the standard Chevelle sport coupe; vinyl carpeting, front bench seat, no center console shift, etc. Chevrolet specifications for 1971 included both “gross” and “net” horsepower figures for all engines. The standard Chevelle SS engine was a two-barrel 350-cubic-inch V8 rated at 245 gross (165 net) horsepower. Optional was a four-barrel carbureted version of the 350 V8 rated at 275 gross (200 net with dual exhaust and 175 net with single exhaust) horsepower. The 402 cid big-block engine continued to be optional as the SS 396 but was only available in one horsepower rating, 300 gross (260 net) horsepower, and was not available with cowl induction. The base LS5 454 V8 produced 365 gross and 285 net horsepower, but cowl induction was available that produced more power because of the air induction and louder exhaust system. The LS6 454 option, which was originally announced as a regular production option on the Chevelle SS for 1971, was dropped early in the model year and no official records indicate that any 1971 Chevelles were assembled with the LS6 engine. For 1971, the SS option could be ordered with any optional V8 and became more of a dress-up option than a performance option. The SS option was reduced to one RPO code, RPO Z15, and was only available for the Chevelle Malibu. This RPO code required any optional engine and transmission available in the Chevelle lineup. Since the 307 V8 was the standard base V8 in 1971, it could not be ordered with the SS option; one had to order the LS3 402 or the LS5 454, or one of the two 350 V8 engines (L65 or L48 – which reintroduced the small block to the SS option for the first time since the 1965 model year for USA market Chevelles). GM mandated all divisions design their engines to run on lower-octane regular, low-lead or unleaded gasoline. To permit usage of the lower-octane fuels, all engines featured low compression ratios (9:1 and lower; well below the 10.25-11.25:1 range on high-performance engines of 1970 and earlier). This move reduced horsepower ratings on the big-block engines to 300 for the 402 cubic-inch V8 but the LS5 454 option got an “advertised” five-horsepower increase to 365. Both 350 V8 engines, as well as the dual exhaust 402 cid V8 engine, were available without the SS option; only the LS5 454 V8 required the SS option. A single exhaust version of the 402 cid engine existed in 1970 with 330 gross hp and in 1972 with 210 net hp. In 1971 the single exhaust version of the 402 cid engine produced 206 net hp, but only appeared in the full-size Chevrolet brochure. 1972 Chevelles featured single-unit parking/side marker lights on their front fenders, outside of a revised twin-bar grille. All Malibus had concealed wipers. The SS equipment option requirements remained the same as those in 1971, any optional V8. The 1972 Chevelle series had wide enough appeal to qualify as America’s second-best-selling car. Base versions again included a four-model wagon series. Upscale versions were Malibus including the convertible models. More than 24,000 Malibu Sport Sedans were built, with a standard 307-cubic-inch V8 rated at 130 (net) horsepower. This 4-door hardtop used the same body as the 1968-71 models, and although it was attractive, it was the least popular body style in the lineup. It was not available with the overhead-valve “Turbo-Thrift” six-cylinder engine. With that V8, the Malibu Sport Coupe was the top seller by far starting at $2,923. The six-cylinder version ran $90 less. Powertrain options included the 175-hp 350-cubic-inch V8 and 240-hp 402-cubic-inch (still known as a 396), as well as a 454 that produced 270 hp under the net rating system. Chevelles sold in California were not available with the 307 V8, but had a 350-cubic-inch engine. Through the 1970s, California cars often had different powertrains than those marketed in states with less-stringent emissions regulations. The 1972 Chevelle SS had a top engine rated at 270 net hp conforming with GM’s decree that all engines were to be rated at their net engine ratings. All other engines on the SS roster were unchanged from 1971. 1972 was the last year for the cowl induction option for the 454 cid engine and was not even mentioned in the 1972 Chevelle brochure. Chevelle wagons measured 10 inches (250 mm) shorter than full-size wagons and weighed about half a ton less, but sold much slower. Model-year output totaled 49,352 Chevelles and 290,008 Malibus—plus 54,335 station wagons.

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Chevrolet introduced a longer El Camino in 1968, based on the Chevelle station wagon/four-door sedan wheelbase (116 in (2,946 mm), overall length: 208 in (5,283 mm)); it also shared Chevelle Malibu exterior and interior trims. The interior was revamped including cloth and vinyl or all-vinyl bench seats and deep twist carpeting. All-vinyl Strato bucket seats and center console were an $111 option. Power front disc brakes and Positraction were optional. A new, high-performance Super Sport SS396 version was launched. The Turbo-Jet 396 was offered in 325 bhp or 350 bhp versions. Returning to the official options list for the first time since late 1966 was the 375 bhp L78. It had solid lifters, big-port heads, and an 800 cfm Holley four-barrel on a low-rise aluminium manifold. A three-speed manual was standard with all engines, and a four-speed or automatic was optional. In 1968, the SS was a separate model (the “SS-396”). The 1969 models showed only minor changes, led by more-rounded front-end styling. A single chrome bar connected quad headlights, and a slotted bumper held the parking lights. New round instrument pods replaced the former linear layout. For the first time, the Chevrolet 350 V8 was used in an El Camino. The Super Sport group included a 265 or 325 hp 396-cubic-inch V8 beneath a double-domed hood, along with a black-out grille displaying an SS emblem. More potent editions of the 396 engine, developing 350 or 375 hp also made the options list. Options included power windows and locks. Curiously, back-up lights moved from the rear bumper to the tailgate, where they were ineffective when the gate was down. The 1970 models received sheet metal revisions that gave the bodies a more squared-up stance, and interiors were also redesigned. The new SS396, which actually displaced 402 cu in (6.6 L) (although all emblems read 396) was available. Chevrolet’s largest and most-powerful engine of the time was also put into a select few El Caminos. The LS6 454 CID engine, rated at 450 hp and 500 lb⋅ft (678 N⋅m) of torque, gave the El Camino 1/4-mile times in the upper 13-second range at around 106 mph (171 km/h). The 1971 El Camino got fresh front-end styling (again shared with the Chevelle) that included large Power-Beam single-unit headlights, a reworked grille and bumper, and integral park/signal/marker lights. For 1971, mandated lower-octane unleaded fuel necessitated a reduction in engine compression, and GM’s A.I.R. system, a “smog pump”, was added to control tailpipe emissions. Power and performance were reduced. Engine offerings for 1971 included the 250-6, small-block V8s of 307 and 350 cubic inches; and big block V8s of 402 and 454-cubic-inch displacements. Horsepower ratings of those engines for 1971 ranged from 145 for the six to 365 for the RPO LS5 454 – all in gross figures. The LS6 454 V8 was gone forever. A rebadged El Camino, the GMC Sprint debuted in 1971. It shared the same engine and transmission offerings as its Chevrolet counterpart. The 1972 El Caminos wore single-unit parking and side marker lights on their front fenders, outside of a revised twin-bar grille, but little changed. For 1972, horsepower measurements were switched to the “net” figures as installed in a vehicle with all accessories and emission controls hooked up. Engine offerings included the 110 hp 250-6, a 307 V8, a 175 hp 350-cubic-inch V8, and big block V8s of 402 and 454 cubic-inch displacements. The 402-cubic-inch (still known as a 396) produced 240 hp; the 454 managed to put out 270 hp under the net rating system. Super Sport equipment could now be ordered with any V8 engine, including the base 307-cubic-inch version. All 1972 El Caminos with the 454 ci engine have a “W” as the fifth digit in the VIN, and the 454 was only available with Super Sport trim.

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There was a nice example of the first generation Camaro here. The Camaro was GM’s very definite response to the huge success of Ford’s Mustang, which had been codenamed Panther. Although there had been rumours that GM was doing something, this was an era when even the journalists were surprised. and on June 21, 1966, around 200 automotive journalists of them were when they received a telegram from General Motors stating, “…please save noon of June 28 for important SEPAW meeting. Hope you can be on hand to help scratch a cat. Details will follow…(signed) John L. Cutter – Chevrolet public relations – SEPAW secretary.” The following day, the same journalists received another General Motors telegram stating, “Society for the Eradication of Panthers from the Automotive World will hold first and last meeting on June 28…(signed) John L. Cutter – Chevrolet public relations SEPAW secretary.” These telegrams were something of a puzzle at the time. On June 28, 1966, General Motors held a live press conference in Detroit’s Statler-Hilton Hotel. It was to be the first time in history that 14 cities were connected in real time for a press conference via telephone lines. Chevrolet general manager Pete Estes started the news conference stating that all attendees of the conference were charter members of the Society for the Elimination of Panthers from the Automotive World and that this would be the first and last meeting of SEPAW. Estes then announced a new car line, project designation XP-836, with a name that Chevrolet chose in keeping with other car names beginning with the letter C such as the Corvair, Chevelle, Chevy II, and Corvette. He claimed the name, suggests the comradeship of good friends as a personal car should be to its owner and that to us, the name means just what we think the car will do… go. The Camaro name was then unveiled. Automotive press asked Chevrolet product managers, what is a Camaro? and were told it was a small, vicious animal that eats Mustangs. According to the book “The Complete Book of Camaro: Every Model Since 1967”, the name Camaro was conceived by Chevrolet merchandising manager Bob Lund and General Motors vice president Ed Rollett, while they were reading the book Heath’s French and English Dictionary by James Boïelle and by de V. Payen-Payne printed in 1936. Lund and Rollett found the word “camaro” in the French-English dictionary to mean friend, pal, or comrade. The article further repeated Estes’s statement of what the word camaro was meant to imply, that the car’s name “suggests the comradeship of good friends, as a personal car should be to its owner”. In fact, the actual French word that has that meaning is “camarade”, from which the English word “comrade” is derived, and not “camaro”. “Camaro” is not a recognised word in the French language. Be that as it may, the Camaro was first shown at a press preview in Detroit, Michigan, on September 12, 1966, and then later in Los Angeles, California, on September 19, 1966. Public introduction of the new model was on September 26, 1966. The Camaro officially went on sale in dealerships on September 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year It was an instant success. The first generation model ran for three years before an all new second generation car premiered (late) for the 1970 model year.

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The 1975 Chevrolet Nova was the most-changed Chevy car for that model year. “Now it’s beautiful,” said the brochure of Nova’s all-new sheet metal, “refined along the lines of elegant European sedans.” Chevrolet wisely maintained a visual kinship with the 1968–1974 design, and also retained Nova’s efficiently sized 111-inch wheelbase. Front tread grew by an inch and a half, and the front stabilizer bar had a larger diameter. Novas now had standard front disc brakes and steel-belted radial tires. The front suspension and subframe assembly was similar to the one used in the second generation GM F-body cars (the Camaro and Pontiac Firebird), whereas the rear axle and suspension were carried over from the previous generation. Coupes, including the hatchback, had fixed side windows (or optional flip-out windows – the first for a GM vehicle later optioned throughout the 1980s with its light duty trucks (S10, Astro/Safari, and GMT400 trucks to the K2XX series) and vertical vents on the B-pillar. All Novas now had cut-pile carpeting, formerly installed only in the Custom series. Speedometers had larger, easier-to-read graphics. Windshields offered greater glass area. Front-door armrests were redesigned with integral pull bars. The base model carried the inline six-cylinder 250 cu in (4.1 L), 105 hp, three V8 engines (262 cu in (4.29 L), a 1975-only option, a 305 cu in (5.00 L) and a 350 cu in (5.7 L)) for 1976 only, were offered. Mated to a three-speed automatic, 3-speed manual or 4-speed – V8s only – Which remained the norm through the end of the decade (and the end of the rear-wheel drive X platform). By then, Cadillac had developed its own version of the X-body, named the Seville, whose styling was distinct from those of its corporate cousins, and Buick replaced the Apollo with the Skylark name that had been inactive since the previous incarnation ended production in 1973. The LN (Luxury Nova) package (which was the top luxury trim similar to the Caprice and Malibu Classic) sent Nova into the luxury portion of the compact market; some actually thought of it as competing against a few high-end European imports. The Nova LN was called “the most luxurious compact in Chevrolet’s history,” with wide-back reclining front seats that “look and feel like big, soft lounge chairs.” LN equipment included ad­ditional sound insulation, map pockets, an electric clock, a smoked instrument lens, floor shifter and center console, and a day/night mirror. Taillight lenses have additional white accents unavailable with the base model and a chrome plated grille. Above the front marker lenses, the LN had 4.3 LITER (or 5.7 LITER) decals – making it the first Chevrolet product with metric displacement badges sold in the Americas. Swing-out quarter windows could be ordered for the coupe. “Thanks to LN,” the sales brochure announced, “Nova’s image will never be the same again.” The LN was more Eurocentric as opposed to the Custom which became the mid-level trim option. For 1976 the Nova LN was rebranded Concours to rival the Ford Granada and the Mercury Monarch, as well as upscale versions of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant. Like regular versions of the 1976 Nova, the Concours came in three body styles: coupe, hatchback coupe, and four-door sedan. Concours was the most luxurious Chevrolet compact to date. Rosewood vinyl decorated the upper door panels, instrument panel, and steering wheel. Concours models had an upright hood ornament, bumper guards, bright trim moldings, black bumper impact strips, and full wheel covers; more-basic Novas came with hubcaps. The Concours coupe also was the first Chevrolet coupe with a fold-down front center armrest. A V-8 Concours coupe sold for $547 more than the comparable base Nova. Engines for the 1976 Chevrolet Nova were a 105-horsepower inline-six, a 165-horsepower 350-cubic-inch V-8, or a 140-horse 305-cubic-inch V-8. 1976 GM vehicles first saw use of the THM200 — from the GM T platform to GM X-Bodies (Chevrolet Nova et al.). A lighter duty 10 bolt rear differential with a 7.5″ ring gear (also used with the Vega/Monza) was phased into production (last produced in 2005) – which was standard equipment with the base inline six. A Cabriolet padded vinyl top was available for Nova coupes. Modest revisions were made to the brakes, and also to fuel and exhaust system mountings. Dashboards contained new knobs. After testing the 1976 Chevrolet Nova, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department placed the largest order for compact police cars ever seen in the U.S. The $187 Nova SS option group included a black grille with unique diamond-mesh pattern, Rally wheels, four-spoke steering wheel, and heavy-duty suspension. Minor changes for the 1977 model year included a more modern round gauge cluster to replace the long sweeping speedometer, and a revised dash panel which changed to a flatter design. Some new colors were offered (as with the rest of the divisions) and some small trim added. A separate brochure was printed for the Concours while the “1977 Nova” brochure detailed only base and Custom versions. The Nova SS previously offered for 1975 and 1976 was discontinued, the option code for the SS — RPO Z26 — continued as the Nova Rally from 1977 through 1979. A badged-engineered Nova Malibu Rallye (1977 and 1978 model years – not related to the USA market Chevelle-based model and based on the Nova hatchback coupe) was sold in Mexico using the RPO Z26 package but fitted with ‘Malibu Rallye’ graphics and a front grille emblem. Three engines and four transmissions were available for every 1977 Chevrolet Nova, including Concours. Buyers could choose from a 110-horsepower 250-cubic-inch inline six, a 145-horsepower 305 cubic-inch two-barrel V-8, or 170-horsepower 350 cubic-inch four-barrel V-8. Shifting was accomplished by three-speed (column or floor shift) and four-speed manuals or Turbo Hydra-Matic. Novas might also be equipped with a heavy-duty suspension or the F41 sport suspension. A surprising number of police departments ordered Novas with either a 305- or 350-cubic-inch V-8 engine, following the lead of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, which had given the compacts an exhaustive evaluation. Promoted as “Concours by Chevrolet”, the 1977 Concours featured a new vertical bar grille and a revised stand-up hood ornament. The rear of the Concours also got new triple unit taillamps reminiscent of the Caprice. It also boasted newly designed wheel covers and wider bright wheel-opening moldings. “International in style, it is American in function,” the sales brochure insisted of the Concours. The brochure went on to note that Concours offered a “very special blending of classic style and good sense.” That last comment referenced Nova’s sensible size. Novas themselves, the marketing materials said, were “not too small, not too big, not too expensive.” For 1978 the Concours was discontinued to clear the way for the newly downsized Malibu, and the Nova Custom inherited much of the Concours’ exterior finery but lacked the stand-up hood ornament displayed by the Concours. Upholstery choices included all-vinyl or Edinburgh woven sport cloth/vinyl. More basic versions of the 1978 Chevrolet Nova had the same grille used in ’76-77 and added a gold-tinted Chevy bowtie emblem at the leading edge of the hood. For ’78 Nova was also available with Rally equipment, which included yet another front-end layout: a diamond-pattern grille with horizontal parking lights and black headlight bezels (basically the ’76-77 SS grille), plus triple band striping and color-keyed Rally wheels. All Nova drivers faced a new dual-spoke, soft vinyl-covered steering wheel; the same one found in the Caprice and Malibu. Any 1978 Chevrolet Nova could be ordered with a 250-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine, a 145-horsepower 305-cubic-inch V-8, or a 170-horsepower 350-cubic-inch V-8. Law enforcement agencies in 48 states were driving Novas by now, as the sales brochure boasted. Production dropped almost 100,000 for the model, to 288,000, making Nova the only Chevrolet series to show a sales decline for 1978. Sales of the Nova hatchback body style lagged well behind regular coupes and sedans, and base models handily outsold Customs. Upon introduction of the downsized GM A-body (later G-body) mid-size cars in 1978, the X-body and downsized A-platform had similar exterior dimensions. The roomier and more modern downsized A-bodies outsold their X-body counterparts. The 1979 Chevrolet Nova marked the end of the line for the rear-wheel-drive Nova. The front end was revised with square headlights and a new grille for the short run (matching that of its Pontiac Phoenix cousin, which replaced the Ventura for 1977); a modified horizontal-bar grille contained vertical parking lights. New chromed hood and fender moldings were installed, and new front-bumper filler panels gave the front end a more finished look. The Custom went back to the base 4 taillight panel since the 3 light panel was discontinued. The lineup was the same as in 1978; the base-level hatchback, coupe, and sedan, plus the Custom coupe and sedan. As usual, base coupe and sedan proved to be the best sellers. Nova Customs had a special acoustical package including improved headlining and full hood insulation, along with other luxury extras, while the Rally Package returned, this time using the same grille as other ’79 Novas. These final Novas were promoted for their “solid value” and “reputation for dependability,” capitalizing upon a 17-year heritage that had begun with the Chevy II. Fewer than 98,000 examples were produced. Regular production ended on December 22, 1978 but some cars badged “Nova Custom” were built on special order with luxury amenities in early 1979. The final Chevrolet Nova (Custom) built on special order would roll off the line on March 15, 1979 and this would be the end of the rear-drive Nova for good. Chevrolet’s compact models were headed into the front-wheel-drive age and for 1980, Nova’s place in the lineup would be taken over by the new and very different Chevrolet Citation (the Phoenix, Omega and Skylark carried over to this platform as well, and the Seville was reassigned to another front-drive platform).

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Next up chronologically was this C4 Corvette, the fourth generation to near the name. It was was the first complete redesign of the Corvette since 1963. Production was to begin for the 1983 model year but quality issues and part delays resulted in only 43 prototypes for the 1983 model year being produced that were never sold. All of the 1983 prototypes were destroyed or serialised to 1984 except one with a white exterior, medium blue interior, L83 350 ci, 205 bhp V8, and 4-speed automatic transmission. After extensive testing and modifications were completed, it was initially retired as a display sitting in an external wall over the Bowling Green Assembly Plant’s employee entrance. Later this only surviving 1983 prototype was removed, restored and is now on public display at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It is still owned by GM. On February 12, 2014, it was nearly lost to a sinkhole which opened up under the museum. Regular fourth generation production began on January 3, 1983; the 1984 model year and delivery to customers began in March 1983. The 1984 model carried over the 350 cu in (5.7 litre) L83 slightly more powerful (5 bhp) “Crossfire” V8 engine from the final 1982 third generation model. New chassis features were aluminium brake calipers and an all-aluminium suspension for weight savings and rigidity. The new one piece targa top had no centre reinforcement. A new electronic dashboard with digital liquid crystal displays for the speedometer and tachometer was standard. Beginning in 1985, the 230 bhp L98 engine with tuned port fuel injection became the standard engine. September 1984 through 1988 Corvettes offered a Doug Nash designed “4+3” transmission – a 4-speed manual coupled to an automatic overdrive on the top three gears. It was designed to help the Corvette meet U.S. fuel economy standards. Since 1981, when it was last offered, a manual transmission returned to the Corvette starting with production in late-1984. The transmission proved to be problematic and was replaced by a modern ZF 6-speed manual transmission in 1989. In 1986, the second Corvette Indy Pace Car was released. It was the first convertible Corvette since 1975. A Centre High Mounted Signal Light – a third centre brake light – was added in 1986 to comply with safety regulations. While the colour of the pace car used in the race was yellow, all 1986 convertibles also had an Indy 500 emblem mounted on the console, making any colour a “pace car edition”. In 1987, the B2K twin-turbo option became available from the factory. The Callaway Corvette was a Regular Production Option (RPO B2K). The B2K option coexisted from 1990 to 1991 with the ZR-1 option, which then replaced it. Early B2Ks produced 345 bhp and 450 lb·ft later versions boasted 450 bhp and 613 lb·ft .1988 saw the 35th Anniversary Edition of the Corvette. Each of these featured a special badge with an identification number mounted next to the gear selector, and were finished with a white exterior, wheels, and interior. In 1991, all Corvettes received updates to the body, interior, and wheels. The convex rear fascia that set the 1990 ZR-1 apart from the base model was now included on L98 Corvettes, making the styling of the expensive ZR-1 even closer to that of the base cars. The most obvious difference remaining between the base and ZR-1 models besides the wider rear wheels was the location of the CHMSL, which was integrated into the new rear fascia used on the base model, but remained at the top of the rear-hatch on the ZR-1’s. For the 1992 model year, the 300 bhp LT1 engine was introduced, an increase of 50 bhp over 1991’s L98 engine. This engine featured reverse-flow cooling (the heads were cooled before the block), which allowed for a higher compression ratio of 10.5:1. A new distributor was also debuted. Called “Optispark”, the distributor was driven directly off the front of the camshaft and mounted in front of the timing cover, just above the crankshaft and harmonic balancer. Also new for 1992 was Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR), a form of traction control which utilised the Corvette’s brakes, spark retard, and throttle close-down to prevent excessive rear wheel spin and possible loss of control. The traction control device could be switched off if desired. A special 40th Anniversary Edition was released in 1993, which featured a commemorative Ruby Red colour, 40th anniversary badges, and embroidered seat backs. The 1993 Corvette also marked the introduction of the Passive Keyless Entry System, making it the first GM car to feature it. Production of the ZR-1 ended in 1995, after 6,939 cars had been built. 1996 was the final year of C4 production, and featured special models and options, including the Grand Sport and Collector Edition, OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics), run flat tyres, and the LT4 engine. The 330 bhp LT4 V8 was available only with a manual transmission, while all 300 bhp LT1 Corvettes used automatic transmissions. Chevrolet released the Grand Sport (GS) version in 1996 to mark the end of production of the C4 Corvette. The Grand Sport moniker was a nod to the original Grand Sport model produced in 1963. A total of 1,000 GS Corvettes were produced, 810 as coupes and 190 as convertibles. The 1996 GS came with the high-performance LT4 V8 engine, producing 330 bhp and 340 lb·ft . The Grand Sport came only in Admiral Blue with a white stripe down the middle, and black wheels and two red stripes on the front left wheel arch Seen here was an early C4 coupe and one of the 40th anniversary convertible cars.

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The C5 Corvette was redesigned from the ground up after sales from the previous generation began to decline. Production of the C5 Corvette actually began in 1996 but quality/manufacturing issues saw its release to the public in mass delayed until 1997, and continuing through the 2004 model year. The C5 was a completely new design that featured many new concepts and manufacturing breakthroughs that would be carried forward to the C6 & C7. It had a top speed of 176 mph (283 km/h) and was judged by the automotive press as a breakthrough with vastly improved dynamics in nearly every area over the previous C4 design. Innovations included a 0.29 drag coefficient, near 50/50 weight distribution, active handling (the first stability control for a Corvette). It also weighed less than the C4. It was the first time the platform was badge engineered as the Cadillac XLR with limited sales. An all new LS1 aluminium engine (Gen III small block) featured individual ignition coils for each cylinder, and aluminium block and pistons. It was initially rated at 345 bhp and 350 lb/ft (470 Nm), but was increased to 350 bhp in the 2001 edition. The new engine, combined with the new body, was able to achieve up to 28 mpg on the highway. For its first year, the C5 was available only as a coupe, although the new platform was designed from the ground up to be a convertible, which returned in 1998, followed by the fixed-roof coupe (FRC) in 1999. One concept for the FRC was for it to be a stripped-down model with a possible V6 engine (nicknamed in-house as the “Billy Bob”). By 2000, FRC plans laid the groundwork for the return in 2001 of the Z06, an RPO option not seen since Zora’s 1963 race-ready Corvette. The Z06 model replaced the FRC model as the highest performance C5 Corvette. Instead of a heavier double-overhead cam engine like the ZR-1 of the C4 generation, the Z06 used an LS6, a 385 bhp derivative of the standard LS1 engine. Using the much more rigid fixed roof design allowed the Z06 unprecedented handling thanks to upgraded brakes and less body flex. Those characteristics, along with the use of materials such as a titanium exhaust system and a carbon fiber hood in the 2004 model year, led to further weight savings and performance gains for the C5 Z06. The LS6 was later upgraded to 405 bhp for 2002–2004. Although the Z06’s rated power output equal to that of the C4 ZR-1, the improved rigidity, suspension, brakes, and reduced weight of the C5 produced a car quicker than C4 ZR-1. A sixth generation model arrived for the 2005 model year.

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The C6 Corvette retained the front engine and rear transmission design of the C5, but was otherwise all-new, including new bodywork with exposed headlamps (for the first time since 1962), a larger passenger compartment, a new 6.0 litre engine and a reworked suspension geometry. It had a longer wheelbase than the C5, but its overall vehicle length and width were less than the C5, allegedly to widen appeal to the European market.The 6.0 litre LS2 V8 produced 400 bhp at 6000 rpm and 400 lb·ft at 4400 rpm, giving the vehicle a 0–60 time of under 4.2 seconds.Its top speed was 190 mph. The C6 generation did not match the previous generation’s relatively good fuel economy, despite its relatively low 0.28 drag coefficient and low curb weight, achieving 16/26 mpg (city/highway) equipped with automatic or manual transmissions; like all manual transmission Corvettes since 1989, it is fitted with Computer Aided Gear Selection (CAGS) to improve fuel economy by requiring drivers to shift from 1st gear directly to 4th in low-speed/low-throttle conditions. This feature helps the C6 avoid the Gas Guzzler Tax by achieving better fuel economy. The new Z06 arrived as a 2006 model in the third quarter of 2005. It has a 7.0 litre version of the small block engine codenamed LS7. At 427.6 cubic inches, the Z06 was the largest small block ever offered from General Motors. Because of the Corvette’s former use of 427 cubic-inch big blocks in the late-1960s and early 1970s, the LS7’s size was rounded down to 427 cubic inches. Official output was 505 bhp and has a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds. Top speed is 198 mph. For 2008, the Corvette received a mild freshening: a new LS3 engine with displacement increased to 6.2 litres resulting in 430 bhp and 424 lb·ft. The 6-speed manual transmission also has improved shift linkage and a 0–60 time of 4.0 seconds, while the automatic is set up for quicker shifts giving the C6 automatic a 0–60 time of 4.0 seconds, faster than any other production automatic Corvette. The interior was slightly updated and a new 4LT leather-wrap interior package was added. The wheels were also updated to a new five-spoke design. ZR1 was formally announced in a December 2007 press statement by General Motors, where it was revealed that their target of 100 bhp per litre had been reached by a new “LS9″ engine with an Eaton-supercharged 6.2-litre engine producing 638 bhp and 604 lb·ft. The LS9 engine was the most powerful to be put into a GM production sports car. Its top speed was 205 mph. The historical name Grand Sport returned to the Corvette lineup in 2010 as an entirely new model series that replaced the Z51 option. The new model was basically an LS3 equipped Z06 with a steel frame instead of aluminium. It retained many of the features of the Z06 including a wide body with 18×9.5 and 19×12 inch wheels, dry sump oiling (manual transmission coupes only), 6-piston 14” front brakes and 4-piston rear, improved suspension, and front carbon fibre fenders. Manual power train equipped G/S coupe models receive a tweaked LS3 with a forged crank, are built in Z06 fashion by hand, and utilise a dry-sump oil system. The first three gears were also made shorter for better throttle response and faster acceleration. A new launch control system was introduced for all models that allows for sub 4 second 0-60. Beginning with the 2011 model year, buyers of the Corvette Z06 and ZR1 were offered the opportunity to assist in the build of their engine. Titled the “Corvette Engine Build Experience,” buyers paid extra to be flown to the Wixom, Michigan Performance Build Center.Participants helped the assembly line workers build the V8 engine, then took delivery of the car at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY, near the Corvette final assembly point. The last C6 Corvette was manufactured in February 2013.

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The next-generation (C7) Corvette had been in development since 2007. Originally set to be introduced for the 2011 model year, its introduction was delayed for 3 years. It was finally released for the 2014 model year. Mid-engine and rear-engine layouts had been considered, but the front-engine, rear-wheel drive platform was chosen to keep production costs lower. To GM’s product planners and marketers, the fact that the Corvette had become known as an “old man’s toy” became a prime factor in developing the next generation. Studies showed that about 46 percent of Corvette buyers in 2012, through October, were 55 or older, compared with 22 percent of Audi R8 and 30 percent of Porsche 911 customers. The head of Chevy marketing, Chris Perry, acknowledges that too many people saw it as the car of “the successful plumber.” John Fitzpatrick, Corvette’s marketing manager said “It’s the old saying, ‘Nobody wants to be seen driving an old man’s car, but everybody wants to be seen driving a young man’s car. ” To counter that perception GM planned to make the new generation C7 more aspirational to younger people. Towards that end, a camouflaged version of the car was made available in the popular video game Gran Turismo 5 in November 2012. As part of the marketing effort associated with the introduction of the new generation, the 2013 Indianapolis 500 utilised a Corvette for the 12th time as its pace car. Pace car editions are planned. Sales success of the new Corvette is important to GM. The Motley Fool reports that the Corvette could be earning GM $10,000 or more in gross profit for every Corvette it sells.The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette uses an LT1 6.2 litre V8 making 455 bhp. The LT1 engine is in the Gen 5 family of small block engines, which will be used in GM vehicles as the new small V8 option. It features three technologies new to the GM V8, though widely available on other engines in the marketplace: direct injection, variable valve timing, and an active fuel management system. Fuel injectors are located under the intake manifold. The Corvette remains rear-wheel drive with the transaxle located in the rear. Transmission choices include a 7-speed manual or a 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The new interior includes wide-bottom seats as standard, with sportier versions with high side bolsters optional. The Corvette’s flag logo has been revised for the new car and a small casting of a stingray has been added to the car’s ornamentation. Features of the new generation’s structure include a carbon fibre bonnet and removable roof panel. The fenders, doors and rear quarter panels remain composite. At the rear of the car, the trademark round taillights have changed to a more squarish form. The underbody panels are made of “carbon-nano” composite and it makes use of a new aluminium frame which locates the four wheels an inch farther apart, front to rear and side to side. Luggage space decreased by 33% from the previous generation’s. The overall weight of the car was not announced by General Motors for many months after its first showing in January 2013. Despite the increased use of aluminium and other light weight materials, numerous publications reported that the weight would remain essentially unchanged from that of the previous generation’s. In August, 2013, the weight of the new Corvette was reported to be 3,444 lb meaning it would weigh more than the previous generation’s C6 ZR1 model (3,324 lb (1,508 kg)). The ZR1 C6 weight included a supercharger and intercooler on its 6.2 litre engine. Chevrolet announced the C7 Z06 at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show. The 2015 Z06 Corvette has 650 bhp from the supercharged LT4 aluminium 6.2L V-8 engine. The final C7 generation cars were produced in 2019.

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Completing the array of Corvette models were a number of examples of the latest C8 mid-engined car.

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The third-generation Camaro was produced from 1981 (for the 1982 model year) to 1992. These were the first Camaros to offer modern fuel injection, Turbo-Hydramatic 700R4 four-speed automatic transmissions, five-speed manual transmissions, 14,15- or 16-inch wheels, a standard OHV 4-cylinder engine,] and hatchback bodies. The cars were nearly 500 pounds (227 kg) lighter than the second generation model. The IROC-Z was introduced in 1985 and continued through 1990. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Regulations required a CHMSL (Center High Mounted Stop Lamp) starting with the 1986 model year. For 1986, the new brake light was located on the exterior of the upper center area of the back hatch glass. Additionally, the 2.5 L Iron Duke pushrod 4-cylinder engine was dropped, and all base models now came with the 2.8 L V6 (OHV). For 1987 and later, the CHMSL was either mounted inside the upper hatch glass or integrated into a rear spoiler (if equipped). In 1985, the 305 cu in (5.0 L) small block V8 was available with indirect injection called “tuned port injection” (TPI). In 1987 the L98 350 cu in (5.7 L) V8 engine became a regular option on the IROC-Z, paired with an automatic transmission only. The convertible body style returned in 1987 (absent since 1969) and all came with a special “20th Anniversary Commemorative Edition” leather map pocket. 1992 offered a “25th Anniversary Heritage Package” that included stripes and a unique spoiler plaque. Beginning in 1988, the 1LE performance package was introduced, optional on street models, and for showroom stock racing in the U.S. and Canada. The B4C or “police” package was made available beginning in 1991. This created a Z28 in more subtle RS styling.

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The fourth-generation Camaro debuted in 1993 on an updated F-body platform. It retained the same characteristics since its introduction in 1967: a coupé body style with 2+2 seating (with an optional T-top roof) or convertible (reintroduced in 1994), rear-wheel drive, pushrod 6-cylinder and V8 engines. The standard powerplant from 1993 to 1995 was a 3.4 L V6, then a 3.8 L V6 was introduced in 1995. A 350 MPFI (LT1) Small Block V-8 engine, which was introduced in the Corvette in 1992, was standard in the Z28. Optional equipment included all-speed traction control and a new six-speed T-56 manual transmission; the 4L60E 4-speed automatic transmission was standard on the Z28, yet optional on the V6 models which came with a 5-speed manual as standard. Anti-lock brakes were standard equipment on all Camaros. A limited quantity of the SS version (1996-1997) came with the 330 HP LT4 small block engine from the Corvette, although most were equipped with the 275 hp LT1. The 1997 model year included a revised interior, and the 1998 models included exterior styling changes and a switch to GM’s aluminum block LS1 used in the Corvette C5. In 1998, the 5.7 L LS1 was the first all-aluminum engine offered in a Camaro since the 1969 ZL-1 and carried a 305-horsepower rating. The SS versions (1998-2002) received slightly improved exhaust and intake systems, bigger wheels and tires, a slightly revised suspension for improved handling and grip while retaining ride comfort, an arc-shaped rear wing for downforce, and different gearing ratios for faster acceleration, over the Z28 models. Chevrolet offered a 35th-anniversary edition for the 2002 model year. Production of the F-Body platform was discontinued due to slowing sales, a deteriorating market for sports coupés, and plant over-capacity, but an entirely new platform went on sale in 2009. The B4C Special Service Package for police agencies was carried over from the 3rd generation & sold between 1993 and 2002.

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Needless to say, there were plenty of the modern Camaro here. After various teaser concept models were presented at Auto Shows from 2007, a production car finally became a reality in 2009, with a convertible joining the range a short while after.

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This classic pickup is from as the “Advance- Design”. Chevrolet’s first major redesign post-World War II, the Advance-Design series was billed as a bigger, stronger, and sleeker design in comparison to the earlier AK Series. First available on Saturday June 28, 1947, these trucks were sold with various minor changes over the years until March 25, 1955, when the Task Force Series trucks replaced the aging Advance-Design model. The same basic design family was used for all of its trucks including the Suburban, panel trucks, canopy express and cab overs. The Cab Overs used the same basic cab configuration and similar grille but used a shorter and taller bonnet and different bumpers. The unique Cab Over bumpers and bonnet required a custom cowl area which makes the Cab Over Engine cabs and normal truck cabs incompatible with one another while all truck cabs of all weights interchange. While General Motors used this front end sheet metal, and to a slightly lesser extent the cab, on all of its trucks except for the Cab Overs, there are three main sizes of this truck: the half-, three-quarter-, and full ton capacities in short and long wheelbase. From 1947 until 1955, Chevrolet trucks were number one in sales in the United States, with rebranded versions sold at GMC locations.

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CORD

The Cord 810, and later Cord 812, was a luxury automobile produced by the Cord Automobile division of the Auburn Automobile Company in 1936 and 1937. It was the first American-designed and built front wheel drive car with independent front suspension. It was preceded by Cord’s own 1929 Cord L-29, and the French 1934 Citroën Traction Avant front wheel drive cars, but the 810 / 812 was commercially less successful than these. The Cord 810 and 812 were also the first production cars to feature hidden / pop-up headlights. Additionally, the radical new styling of its nose completely replaced the traditional radiator grille, in favor of horizontal louvers, that curved all around the sides of the nose, earning the car’s styling the nickname of ‘coffin nose’. The styling of the Cord 810 was the work of designer Gordon M. Buehrig and his team of stylists, which included young Vince Gardner and Alex Tremulis. While the first American front-wheel-drive car with independent front suspension, it had an archaic tube rear axle with semi-elliptic rear springs. Power came from a 4,739 cc (289 cu in) Lycoming V8 of the same 125 hp as the L-29. The semi-automatic four-speed transmission (three plus overdrive) extended in front of the engine, like on a Traction Avant. This allowed Buehrig to dispense with the driveshaft and transmission tunnel; as a result, the new car was so low it required no running boards. It had a 125 in (3,175 mm) wheelbase (shared with several 812 body styles), and in 1936 came in four models: the entry-level sedan at US$1995, the Beverly sedan ($2095), Sportsman ($2145), and Phaeton ($2195). The 1937 812s had the same models, priced $2445, $2545, $2585, and $2645, plus two more, on a 132 in (3,400 mm) wheelbase, the $2960 Custom Beverly and $3060 Custom Berline[6] called the Westchester. Reportedly, conceived as a Duesenberg and nearly devoid of chrome, the 810 had hidden door hinges and rear-hinged hood, rather than the side-opening type more usual at the time, both new items. It featured pontoon fenders with hidden headlamps (modified Stinson landing lights) (E. L. Cord owned a majority of Stinson stock) that disappeared into the fenders via dashboard hand cranks. This car was first and one of the few ever to include this feature. It also featured a concealed lockable fuel filler door and variable-speed windshield wipers (at a time when wipers were often operated by intake vacuum, and so tended to stop when the driver stepped on the gas pedal). Its engine-turned dashboard included complete instrumentation, a tachometer, and standard radio (which did not become an industry standard offering until well into the 1950s). The most famous feature was the “coffin nose”, a louvered wraparound grille, from which its nickname derived, a product of Buehrig’s desire not to have a conventional grille. The car caused a sensation at its debut at the New York Auto Show in November 1935. The crowds were so dense, attendees stood on the bumpers of nearby cars to get a look. Cord had rushed to build the 100 cars needed to qualify for the show, and the transmission was not ready. Even so, Cord took many orders at the show, promising Christmas delivery, expecting production of 1,000 per month, but the semi-automatic transmission was more troublesome than expected, and 25 December came and went with no cars built. The first production cars were not ready to deliver until February, and did not reach New York City until April 1936. In all, Cord managed to sell only 1,174 of the new 810 in its first model year, as the result of mechanical troubles. Supercharging was made available with a mechanically driven Schwitzer-Cummins unit. Supercharged 1936 models were called 810S and 1937 models were called 812S. Supercharged models were distinguished from the normally aspirated models by the brilliant chrome-plated external exhaust pipes mounted on each side of the hood and grill. With supercharging, horsepower was raised to 170. Early reliability problems, including slipping out of gear and vapor lock, cooled initial enthusiasm. Although most new owners loved their sleek fast cars, the dealer base shrank rapidly. Unsold left-over and in-process 1936 810 models were re-numbered and sold as 1937 812 models. In 1937, after producing about 3000 of these cars, Auburn ceased production of the Cord. A single 1938 Cord prototype, with detail changes to the grille and transmission cover, was built, and it survived as of 2009. Coincidentally, the next two American cars to use a front-wheel drive layout, the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado and 1967 Cadillac Eldorado (both built on GM’s E-Body platform), also had hidden headlamps. British author James Leasor owned two Cords, an 810 and an 812. He has his most famous character, Jason Love own one too, and Cords feature in all of the 10 novels that feature Love. The 810/812 design was re-marketed almost immediately, in 1940, as ailing automakers Hupmobile and Graham-Paige tried to save money, and revive the companies, by using the same body dies. Except for their similarity to the 810, their 4-door sedans, the Hupp Skylark and the Graham Hollywood, were unremarkable. Retractable headlights gave way to plain headlight pods, and power came from a standard front-engine/rear-wheel drive design. Only about 1900 were built before production ceased in the fall of 1940. Between 1964 and 1970, two further attempts were made to replicate the original Buehrig design for limited production. Both Tulsa, Oklahoma-based companies soon halted production amid financial difficulties. The 1966 replica Cord 8/10 was powered by a Corvair drivetrain (the “8/10” designation represented the actual scale of the car), while the 1968 through 1970 models were Ford and Chrysler powered. The design of the Cord 810/812 remains one of the most distinctive of the 20th Century. In 1996, American Heritage magazine proclaimed the Cord 810 sedan ‘The Single Most Beautiful American Car’. The ‘Classic Cord’ Hot Wheels toy car of the 1960s, a convertible coupé, is one of the most valuable, and commands up to US$800 (2006) if still in an unopened package.

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DODGE

For 1963, Dodge made a last-minute decision to drop the Lancer name in favor of Dart for Dodge’s newly designed “senior compact”, a marketing term referring to the wheelbase having grown to 111 in (2,819 mm) from the Lancer’s 106.5 in (2,705 mm). This longer wheelbase used the same A-body suspension of the Valiant and defunct Lancer, and would underpin all Darts from 1963 to 1976 except the 1963–1966 station wagons which used the Valiant’s (106 in (2,692 mm) wheelbase) and the 1971–1976 Demon/Sport which used the Plymouth Duster’s 108 in (2,743 mm) wheelbase. The longer wheelbase gave more rear seat legroom than the previous Lancer or the contemporaneous Valiant. The Dart was available as a 2- or 4-door sedan, a 2-door hardtop coupe, a station wagon, and a convertible. Three trim levels were offered: the low-spec 170, the high-spec 270, and the premium GT, which was available only as a 2-door hardtop or convertible. The 1963 Dart has a turning diameter of 38.9 ft (11.9 m). The Dart was an instant market success, with 1963 sales up sharply compared to those of the 1962 Lancer. The Dart remained extremely popular through the end of the Dart’s production run in 1976 in comparison to the Ford Falcon and the Chevrolet Nova. Initial engine offerings were two sizes of the slant-six: a 170 cu in (2.8 L), 101 hp version was fitted as standard equipment, and a 225 cu in (3.7 L), 145 hp version was available for less than $50 extra. The aluminum engine block for the 225 was discontinued early in the 1963 model year. After the start of the 1964 model year, an all-new, compact, lightweight 273 cu in (4.5 L) LA V8 producing 180 bhp with a 2-barrel carburettor was introduced as the top engine option. 1964 was the last year for pushbutton control of the optional Torqueflite automatic transmission, so 1963 and 1964 models were the only compact Darts so equipped. Standard axle ratios in 1964 were 2.93:1 with automatic transmission and 225 engine, or 3.23:1 with manual transmission and 225 engine, or with 170 engine and either transmission. A 3.55:1 ratio was optional. New features included stronger door locks and a refined automatic choke. In 1965, the 2-barrel 273 remained available, but a new performance version of the 273 engine was released with a 4-barrel carburettor, 10.5:1 compression, a more aggressive camshaft with solid tappets, and other upgrades which increased output to 235 bhp. At the same time, the Dodge Dart Charger was offered. The Dart Chargers were yellow Dart GT hardtops with black interiors, Commando 273 engines, premium mechanical and trim specifications, and special “Charger” badging. They were the first Dodge models to bear the “Charger” name. The following year the larger B-body Dodge Charger was introduced, and the “Charger” name was thenceforth associated with Dart models only in the “Charger 225” marketing name for the optional larger 6-cylinder engine. Other new options for 1965 included upgraded suspension components and larger 14 in (356 mm) wheels and tires. Factory-installed air conditioning became available after the start of the 1965 model year, as well as disc brakes, which required the 14 in (356 mm) wheels to clear the calipers. Front seat belts became standard

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Almost certainly a belated response by Dodge to the Mustang and Camaro, the Challenger was introduced in the autumn of 1969 for the 1970 model year, one of two Chrysler E-body cars, the other being the slightly smaller Plymouth Barracuda. Both the Challenger and Barracuda were available in a staggering number of trim and option levels, offering virtually every engine in Chrysler’s inventory. The first Barracuda had actually beaten the Mustang to market by a few weeks, but it was the Ford which really captured the public’s imagination and which came to define the sector known as the “Pony Car”. There was room for more models, as GM discovered when they produced the Camaro and Firebird in 1967. The Challenger’s longer wheelbase, larger dimensions and more luxurious interior were prompted by the launch of the 1967 Mercury Cougar, likewise a bigger, more luxurious and more expensive pony car aimed at affluent young American buyers. The wheelbase, at 110 inches was two inches longer than the Barracuda, and the Dodge differed substantially from the Plymouth in its outer sheetmetal, much as the Cougar differed from the shorter-wheelbase Ford Mustang. Air conditioning and a heated rear window were optional. Exterior design was done by Carl Cameron, who also did the exterior for the 1966 Dodge Charger. Cameron based the 1970 Challenger grille off an older sketch of his 1966 Charger prototype that was to have a turbine engine. The Charger never got the turbine, but the Challenger featured that car’s grille. Although the Challenger was well received by the public (with 76,935 produced for the 1970 model year), it was criticised by the press, and the pony car segment was already declining by the time the Challenger arrived. Sales fell dramatically after 1970, and though sales rose for the 1973 model year with over 27,800 cars being sold, Challenger production ceased midway through the 1974 model year. A total of 165,437 Challengers were sold over this generation’s lifespan.

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The were numerous examples of the current Challenger, a model which arrived on the market well over 10 years ago as the third of a series of retro-inspired designs following the lead set by the Mustang and the Camaro. It has been deservedly very popular.

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FERRARI

The Ferrari F12berlinetta (Type F152) is a front mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive grand tourer which debuted at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, and replaces the 599 grand tourer. The naturally aspirated 6.3 litre Ferrari V12 engine used in the F12berlinetta has won the 2013 International Engine of the Year Award in the Best Performance category and Best Engine above 4.0 litres. The F12berlinetta was named “The Supercar of the Year 2012” by car magazine Top Gear. The F12berlinetta was replaced by the 812 Superfast in 2017.

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FORD

The Ford Model A was the Ford Motor Company’s second market success after its predecessor, the Model T. First produced on October 20, 1927, but not introduced until December 2, it replaced the venerable Model T, which had been produced for 18 years. This new Model A (a previous model had used the name in 1903–04) was designated a 1928 model and was available in four standard colours. By February 4, 1929, one million Model As had been sold, and by July 24, two million. The range of body styles ran from the Tudor at US$500 (in grey, green, or black) to the Town Car with a dual cowl at US$1200. In March 1930, Model A sales hit three million, and there were nine body styles available. Prices for the Model A ranged from US$385 for a roadster to US$1400 for the top-of-the-line Town Car. The engine was a water-cooled L-head inline four with a displacement of 3.3 litre. This engine provided 40 bhp. Top speed was around 65 mph (105 km/h). The Model A had a 103.5 in (2,630 mm) wheelbase with a final drive ratio of 3.77:1. The transmission was a conventional unsynchronized three-speed sliding gear manual with a single speed reverse. The Model A had four-wheel mechanical drum brakes. The 1930 and 1931 models were available with stainless steel radiator cowling and headlamp housings. The Model A came in a wide variety of styles including a Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe (Standard and Deluxe), Convertible Cabriolet, Convertible Sedan, Phaeton (Standard and Deluxe), Tudor Sedan (Standard and Deluxe), Town Car, Fordor (five-window standard, three-window deluxe), Victoria, Town Sedan, Station Wagon, Taxicab, Truck, and Commercial. The very rare Special Coupe started production around March 1928 and ended mid-1929. The Model A was the first Ford to use the standard set of driver controls with conventional clutch and brake pedals, throttle, and gearshift. Previous Fords used controls that had become uncommon to drivers of other makes. The Model A’s fuel tank was situated in the cowl, between the engine compartment’s fire wall and the dash panel. It had a visual fuel gauge, and the fuel flowed to the carburettor by gravity. A rear-view mirror was optional. In cooler climates, owners could purchase an aftermarket cast iron unit to place over the exhaust manifold to provide heat to the cab. A small door provided adjustment of the amount of hot air entering the cab. The Model A was the first car to have safety glass in the windshield. Model A production ended in March 1932, after 4,858,644 had been made in all body styles. Its successor was the Model B, which featured an updated inline four-cylinder engine, as well as the Model 18, which introduced Ford’s new flathead (sidevalve) V8 engine.

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1930s Fords are very popular starting points for the creation of Hot Rods, and there were a number of examples of these here.

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The Ford car was thoroughly updated in 1941, in preparation for a time of unpredictability surrounding World War II. The 1941 design would continue in an aborted 1942 model year and would be restarted in 1946 and produced until 1948 when the more modern 1949 Fords were ready. During the initial year of this car, it evolved considerably. The front fenders came in three pieces, the theory being that small damages could be replaced easily. During the year, it evolved into two pieces with the lower front and back sections being joined. The hood risers changed, the early ones being the same as 1940 Fords, changing during the year to the better later version. The 1941 Convertible had no rear side windows, the only side windows being in the doors; in 1942, quarter windows were added so the rear occupants could see out. Five different coil/distributor arrangements were used during 1941, causing confusion for mechanics. Other variations were: two different positions for the generator, and three for the cooling fan — front of the crankshaft, front of the generator (rare) and on a bracket. This is thought to be the first Ford to offer a replaceable cartridge oil filter as an option. The two interior heaters were a “Southwind” gasoline burner, which had the advantage of keeping one warm in winter at drive-in movies (provided a small electric fuel pump was used), and a more ordinary hot-water type. Both had window defrosters. It had an excellent radio, which could consume the battery in about two hours. Electric windshield wipers were available in addition to the vacuum-powered wipers. Three different convertible power top mechanisms (vacuum, electric screw, and hydraulic) and two different header bar latching systems were used. Rear suspensions sometimes had a sway bar, most did not. It had excellent brakes and among the best handling of ordinary cars of the time. It served a transitional role in Ford’s lineup. The two previous Ford car lines, Standard and De Luxe, had blossomed into three, Special, De Luxe, and Super De Luxe. Ford vehicles had been V8-only since 1935, but dealer requests for an “economy” engine option prompted the introduction of a six cylinder unit. The entry-level 136 CID (2.2 L) V8 was switched in favor of a new 226 CID (3.7 L) L-head straight-6, the first Ford six since the 1906 Model K. The popular 221 CID (3.6 L) V8 remained as the top-line engine and was standard in De Luxe models. Both engines were rated at 90 hp. The 239 CID engine, introduced in 1939 for Mercury and trucks, was continued in the Mercury models. The chassis was longer, with a 114-in (2.9-m) wheelbase. The “ignition key” for these cars was actually used to operate a bolt lock which, on one end, unlocked the steering column (a feature destined to return, mandated, decades later), and on the other end unblocked the ignition switch, allowing it to be operated. Starting the car was then accomplished by pressing a pushbutton on the dashboard, another feature destined to return with the advent of “smart keys”. Although starting cranks had been replaced by electric starters for decades, Ford cars included a manual starting feature until 1948 as an antidote to dead-battery syndrome. The wheel-lug wrench served as a handle (also for the jack) and the jack shaft with bayonet-coupling pins could be inserted through a small hole in the grille to engage a bayonet socket on the forward end of the engine crankshaft. A quick-and-easy twist of the handle was sufficient to start the flat head V8, and the bayonet coupling was self-disengaging for safety. The final year for the old-style Ford was 1948, with an all-new model launched partway through the year. The wood-sided Sportsman convertible, supplied by the Ford Iron Mountain Plant, ended the year with just 28 built, and the all-wood bodies on the woody station wagons were replaced with steel for the 1949 season. The old car-based trucks were replaced by the F-Series this year. With Ford in financial chaos during this period, sales fell well behind Chevrolet—Ford output for 1948 was 430,198 vehicles, only about 62% of Chevrolet’s output, and Plymouth came close to knocking Ford from second place with an output of 412,540 vehicles.

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Popularly called the “Shoebox Ford” for its slab-sided, “ponton” design, the 1949 Ford is credited both with saving Ford and ushering in modern streamlined car design with changes such as integrated fenders and more. This design would continue through the 1951 model year, with an updated design offered in 1952. The crest was designed by Frank L. Engle. After sticking with its well-received previous model through model year 1948, Ford completely redesigned its namesake car for the year 1949. Save for its drive-train, this was an all-new car in every way, with a modern ladder frame now supporting a coil spring independent suspension in front and longitudinal semi-elliptical springs in back. The engine was moved forward to make more room in the passenger compartment and the antiquated “torque tube” was replaced by a modern drive shaft. Ford’s popular 226 CID (3.7 L) L-head straight-6 and 239 CID (3.9 L) Flathead V8 remained, now rated at 90 bhp and 100 bhp, respectively. The 1949 models debuted at a gala at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City in June 1948, with a carousel of the new Fords complemented by a revolving demonstration of the new chassis. The new integrated steel structure was advertised as a “lifeguard body”, and even the woody wagon was steel at heart. The convertible frame had an “X member” for structural rigidity. From a customer’s perspective, the old Custom, De Luxe, and Super De Luxe lines were replaced by new Standard and Custom trims and the cars gained a modern look with completely integrated rear fenders and just a hint of a fender in front. The new styling approach was also evident in the 1949 Mercury Eight and the all-new Lincoln Cosmopolitan. The styling was influential on many European manufacturers, such as Mercedes Benz, Borgward, Austin, Volvo and many others. The all new 1949 Ford was said at the time to be the car that saved the Ford Corporation. Competition from GMH was surpassing the Old Ford designs. In some ways the vehicle was rushed into production, particularly the door mechanism design. It was said that the doors could fling open on corners. In the 1950 model there were some 10 changes in the door latching mechanism alone. 1950 saw a new Crestliner “sports sedan”—a 2-door sedan with 2-tone paint intended to battle Chevrolet’s popular hardtop coupe of 1950. Another new name was Country Squire, which referred to the 2-door wood-sided station wagon. All wagons received flat-folding middle seats at mid-year, an innovation that would reappear in the minivans of the 1990s. The 1949 and 1950 styling was similar, with a single central “bullet” in the frowning chrome grille. In the centre there was a red space that had either a 6 or 8 depending if the car had the six-cylinder engine or the V8. The trim lines were renamed as well, with “Standard” becoming “Deluxe” and “Custom” renamed “Custom Deluxe”. The new Fords got the now-famous “Ford Crest” which appeared on the division’s vehicles for many decades in one form or another. A Deluxe Business Coupe was also marketed. The 1951 Fords featured an optional Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission for the first time. Ford finally answered the Chevrolet Bel Air and Plymouth Belvedere charge with the Victoria hardtop in 1951, borrowing the term from the victoria carriage. The car was an instant hit, outselling the Chevrolet by nearly 10%. The Crestliner continued for one more year, however. All 1951 Fords sported a new “dual-bullet” grille and heavy chrome bumpers. This year Ford also added a new “turn-key” ignition. Front suspension is independent coil springs. Head room was 36.1 inches.

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The Ford Customline was introduced in 1952 as the mid-range model in that year’s US Ford range, positioned below the Ford Crestline and above the Ford Mainline. It was offered in 2-door sedan, 4-door sedan, 2-door coupé & 4-door station wagon body styles.The coupe was marketed as the Club Coupe and the station wagon as the Customline Country Sedan. 1952 Customlines were available with 215 cubic inches (3,520 cc) inline six-cylinder or 239 cubic inches (3,920 cc) V8 engines. Production totalled 402,542 units. The 1953 Customlines continued the 1952 bodies with only minor changes. Production totaled 761,662 units. The 1954 Customlines used the 1952-53 bodies with only minor changes. The Customline range now included a new 2-door Ranch Wagon. Engines were now 223 cubic inches (3,650 cc) inline six-cylinder or 239 cubic inches (3,920 cc) overhead valve V8. 1954 Customline production totaled 674,295 units

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The Ford Thunderbird began life in February 1953 in direct response to Chevrolet’s new sports car, the Corvette, which was publicly unveiled in prototype form just a month before. Under rapid development, the Thunderbird went from idea to prototype in about a year, being unveiled to the public at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954. It was a two-seat design available with a detachable glass-fibre hard top and a folding fabric top. Production of the Thunderbird began later on in 1954 on September 9 with the car beginning sales as a 1955 model on October 22, 1954. Though sharing some design characteristics with other Fords of the time, such as single, circular headlamps and tail lamps and modest tailfins, the Thunderbird was sleeker and more athletic in shape, and had features like a bonnet scoop and a 150 mph (240 km/h) speedometer hinting a higher performance nature that other Fords didn’t possess. Mechanically though, the Thunderbird could trace its roots to other mainstream Fords. The Thunderbird’s 102.0 inches wheelbase frame was mostly a shortened version of that used in other Fords while the car’s standard 4.8 litre Y-block V8 came from Ford’s Mercury division. Though inspired by, and positioned directly against, the Corvette, Ford billed the Thunderbird as a personal car, putting a greater emphasis on the car’s comfort and convenience features rather than its inherent sportiness. The Thunderbird sold exceptionally well in its first year. In fact, the Thunderbird outsold the Corvette by more than 23-to-one for 1955 with 16,155 Thunderbirds sold against 700 Corvettes. With the Thunderbird considered a success, few changes were made to the car for 1956. The most notable change was moving the spare tyre to a continental-style rear bumper in order to make more storage room in the boot and a new 12 volt electrical system. The addition of the weight at the rear caused steering issues. Among the few other changes were new paint colours, the addition of circular porthole windows as standard in the fibreglass roof to improve rearward visibility, and a 5.1 litre V8 making 215 hp when mated to a 3-speed manual transmission or 225 hp when mated to a Ford-O-Matic 2-speed automatic transmission; this transmission featured a “low gear”, which was accessible only via the gear selector. When in “Drive”, it was a 2-speed automatic transmission (similar to Chevrolet’s Powerglide). The Thunderbird was revised for 1957 with a reshaped front bumper, a larger grille and tailfins, and larger tail lamps. The instrument panel was heavily re-styled with round gauges in a single pod, and the rear of the car was lengthened, allowing the spare to be positioned back in the boot. The 5.1 litre V8 became the Thunderbird’s standard engine, and now produced 245 hp. Other, even more powerful versions of the V8 were available including one with two four-barrel Holley carburettors and another with a Paxton supercharger delivering 300 hp. Though Ford was pleased to see sales of the Thunderbird rise to a record-breaking 21,380 units for 1957, company executives felt the car could do even better, leading to a substantial redesign of the car for 1958.

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For the 1955 model year the Fairlane name replaced the Crestline as Ford’s premier full-sized offering. Six different body styles were offered, including the Crown Victoria Skyliner with a tinted, transparent plastic roof, the regular Crown Victoria coupe with much stainless steel trim, a convertible Sunliner, the Victoria hardtop coupe, and traditional sedans. All featured the trademark stainless-steel “Fairlane stripe” on the side. Power options were a 223 cu in (3.7 L) straight-6 engine and a 272 cu in (4.5 L) V8. The 292 cu in (4.8 L) Y-block was offered as an option and was called the Thunderbird V-8. The Fairlane 4-door Town Sedan was the most popular sedan Ford sold that year, having manufactured 254,437 with a listed retail price of US$1,960 ($19,826 in 2021 dollars Few changes were made for 1956; a four-door Victoria hardtop and two new, more powerful V8 options, of 292 cu in (4.8 L) and 312 cu in (5.1 L), the latter available up to 225 bhp were introduced. The Lifeguard safety package was introduced. The two-door Victoria hardtop featured a new and slimmer roofline. A one-year only two-door station wagon, the 1956 Ford Parklane, featured Fairlane-level trim. It was marketed to compete against the Chevrolet Nomad.

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For 1957, a new style gave a longer, wider, lower, and sleeker look with low tailfins. The new proportions and modern styling were a hit with customers to the extent that the Ford outsold Chevrolet in 1957 for the first time since 1935.[5] A new top trim level, the Fairlane 500 was added to the Fairlane model line and the Country Squire continued to be the luxury station wagon while the Country Sedan was now added to the Fairlane model line, while engine choices were largely the same as the year before. The big news for 1957 was the introduction of the Fairlane 500 Skyliner power retractable hardtop, whose solid top hinged and folded down into the trunk space at the touch of a button,[4] while the Ford Ranchero 2-door coupe utility was also introduced. Another facelift for 1958 had fashionable quad headlights, a grille that matched the 1958 Thunderbird, and other styling changes. New big-block FE V8s of 332 and 352 CID (5.4 L and 5.8 L) replaced the previous largest V8s, and a better three-speed automatic transmission was also available with a steering column transmission gear selector lever. A new top-level full-sized model was introduced at mid-year 1959, the Ford Galaxie. The 1959 Galaxie displayed both “Fairlane 500” and “Galaxie” badging. An all new design came in for 1960.

The Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner is a two-door full-size car with a retractable hardtop that was produced by Ford Motor Company for the model years 1957 to 1959. In 1959 the model name changed to Ford Galaxie Skyliner very shortly after production of the 1959 models had started. The Ford Skyliner Retractable was only the second car in history to be mass-produced produced with a retractable hardtop; the first to reach four and five digit mass-production numbers, and the first series produced coupé convertible to feature a roof composed of more than one segment. Additionally, the trunk-lid also consisted of two pieces — one segment took the place where other convertibles typically had a separate lid to cover the soft-top stowage compartment. Both the folding roof and trunk-lid are power operated through an exceptionally complex system. At the time of its introduction, the Skyliner was the only true hardtop convertible in the world. Part of the Ford Fairlane 500 range, the Skyliner had a complex mechanism which folded the front of the roof and retracted it under the rear decklid. No hydraulic mechanisms were used as in regular convertibles of the era. The Skyliner top has seven reversible electric motors (only six for 1959 models), four lift jacks, a series of relays, ten limit switches, ten solenoids, four locking mechanisms for the roof and two locking mechanisms for the trunk lid, and a total of 610 ft (185.9 m) of wiring. The large top took up vast amounts of trunk space, limiting the car’s sales (however, unlike what most people believe, the mechanism had decent reliability).Production totalled 20,766 units in 1957, declining to 14,713 in 1958 and to 12,915 in 1959. An electric clock was standard.[9] Fuel consumption was around 14 mpg‑US overall. The fuel tank was placed vertically in back of the rear seat, which inadvertently added safety in rear collisions. The wheelbase of the Skyliner was 118 in (3,000 mm) and the overall length was 210.8 in (5,350 mm). During the 1959 model year the Galaxie series was added to Ford’s full-size range and the Skyliner model was absorbed into that series.Although the 1959 Galaxie was designated as a separate series, Galaxies carried both “Fairlane 500” and “Galaxie” badging, on the rear and sides respectively.It came with the standard 292 cu in (4.8 L) 2-barrel 200 hp V8 engine. The design attracted more attention than sales; the option was expensive, suspected to be unreliable, and took up almost all the trunk space when retracted. It required the roof to be made shorter than the other Fords, and the trunk to be larger. This was because the design was originally to be a Continental coupe. Projected losses of the retractable roof Continental resulted in a decision to restyle the vehicle, from the bottom of the windows down, as a member of the Fairlane 500 family because it could attract more buyers as a Ford with more reasonable retail price compared to adding extra costs to the already expensive retail price of a Lincoln Continental. The solid roof pillar of the Skyliner is similar to the appearance of 2nd generation Ford Thunderbirds of 1958-1960. Although the actual mechanical differed, the Skyliner’s retractable roof design was adopted for the Lincoln Continental convertibles of 1961-67. A total of 48,394 units were built.

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For 1964 the Thunderbird was restyled in favour of a more squared-off appearance, which was mostly evident when viewing the car from the side or rear. Hinting at its roots in the previous generation Thunderbird that it evolved from, the new model retained a similar grille design with quad headlights and a 113.2 inches wheelbase. As before, the new Thunderbird continued to be offered in hardtop, convertible, and Landau versions. The 300 horsepower 6.4 litre V8 continued as the standard engine for the Thunderbird. It was paired with a 3-speed automatic transmission. For 1965, sequential turn signals were added, flashing the individual segments of the broad, horizontal tail lights in sequences from inside to outside to indicate a turn. Also new for 1965 were standard front disc brakes, and doubled sided keys. Even though it was the last year of the generation, 1966 saw a stylistic revision for the Thunderbird highlighted by a new egg-crate style grille with a large Thunderbird emblem at its centre and a single-blade front bumper. The rear bumper was restyled to include new full-width taillamps. Engine choices were also revised for 1966. The standard 390 cu in (6.4 litre) V8 equipped with a single four-barrel carburettor produced 315 horsepower. Newly optional and taking the top position for performance was a 345 horsepower 428 cu in (7.0 litre) FE V8. The 428 cost only $86 over the base engine, and was a popular option. This would be the last year for the convertible until the “retro” models of 2002-05.

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The second generation 1964 Falcon, launched in 1963, featured revised, more squared-off styling. Later in the 1964 model year, Ford’s new offering for that market was launched: the Ford Mustang, based heavily on the Falcon’s unified frame design. TV commercials now used the character Hazel as well as the Peanuts cartoon characters. The Ford Motor Company was a sponsor of the show, and also sponsored The Ford Show during the late 1950s. For the 1964 year, Ford added a Sprint Package, which gave the Falcon the Fairlane’s 260 V8, a stiffer suspension, and a louder exhaust. Because the Mustang had the same options that the Sprint had for only a small amount more, the Sprint never caught on. Even with the addition of the 289 V8 in late 1964, the Sprint was overshadowed by the Mustang, and was discontinued after 1965. The Mustang dealt Falcon sales in North America a blow from which they would never recover. Front suspension was coil springs pivot-mounted on upper arms plus double-acting absorbers. Six-cylinder cars had four-lug hubs with 13-in steel wheels. V-8 cars got five-lug wheels. For 1965, changes were minimal, including a simpler grille and revised side trim on deluxe models. Production ended on June 26, 1965, for convertible Falcons. A padded instrument panel, power steering, power brakes, a radio, a remote-control trunk release, and a parking brake warning light were optional. From 1965, the three-speed Cruise-O-Matic automatic transmission was available. Front seat belts were standard.

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It was not really a surprise to find that the Mustang was the most numerous of all American cars at this event. Drawing on inspiration from the mid-engined Ford Mustang I concept vehicle, Lee Iacocca ordered development of a new “small car” to vice-president of design at Ford, Eugene Bordinat. Bordinat tasked Ford’s three design studios (Ford, Lincoln-Mercury, and Advanced Design) to create proposals for the new vehicle. The design teams had been given five goals for the design of the Mustang: It would seat four, have bucket seats and a floor mounted shifter, weigh no more than 2,500 pounds (1,100 kg) and be no more than 180 inches (4,572 mm) in length, sell for less than $2,500, and have multiple power, comfort, and luxury options. The Lincoln–Mercury design studio ultimately produced the winning design in the intramural contest, under Project Design Chief Joe Oros and his team of L. David Ash, Gale Halderman, and John Foster. Development of the Mustang was completed in a record 18 months from September 1962 to March 1964. and Iacocca himself championed the project as Ford Division general manager. The styling is often credited to one person, and that is not accurate, as this was very much a team effort, it has been reported by those involved. To decrease developmental costs, the Mustang used chassis, suspension, and drivetrain components derived from the Ford Falcon and Fairlane. It used a unitised platform-type frame from the 1964 Falcon, and welded box-section side rails, including welded crossmembers. Although hardtop Mustangs accounted for the highest sales, durability problems with the new frame led to the engineering of a convertible first, which ensured adequate stiffness. Overall length of the Mustang and Falcon was identical, although the Mustang’s wheelbase was slightly shorter. With an overall width of 68.2 in (1,732 mm), it was 2.4 in (61 mm) narrower, yet the wheel track was nearly identical. Shipping weight, approximately 2,570 lb (1,166 kg) with the straight six-cylinder engine, was also similar to the Falcon. A fully equipped V8 model weighed approximately 3,000 lb (1,361 kg). Although most of the mechanical parts were from the Falcon, the Mustang’s body was completely different; sporting a shorter wheelbase, wider track, lower seating position and lower overall height. An industry first, the “torque box” was an innovative structural system that greatly stiffened the Mustang’s construction and helped contribute to better handling. The car was launched in 17th April 1964, as a hardtop and a convertible, with the fastback version following in August. It was an instant sensation, with demand massively exceeding supply.

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Since it was introduced four months before the normal start of the 1965 production year and manufactured alongside 1964 Ford Falcons and 1964 Mercury Comets, the earliest Mustangs are widely referred to as the 1964½ model. Nevertheless, all “1964½” cars were given 1965 U.S. standard VINs at the time of production, and – with limited exception to the earliest of promotional materials – were marketed by Ford as 1965 models. The low-end model hardtop used a “U-code” 170 cu in (2.8 litre) straight-6 engine borrowed from the Falcon, as well as a three-speed manual transmission and retailed for US$2,368. Standard equipment for the early 1965 Mustangs included black front seat belts, a glove box light, and a padded dash board. Production began in March 1964 and official introduction following on April 17 at the 1964 World’s Fair. V8 models got a badge on the front fender that spelled out the engine’s cubic inch displacement (“260” or “289”) over a wide “V.” This emblem was identical to the one on the 1964 Fairlane. Several changes to the Mustang occurred at the start of the “normal” 1965 model year in August 1964, about four months after its introduction. These cars are known as “late 65’s”. The engine lineup was changed, with a 200 cu in (3.3 litre) “T-code” engine that produced 120 hp. Production of the Fairlane’s “F-code” 260 cu in (4.3 litre) engine ceased when the 1964 model year ended. It was replaced with a new 200 hp “C-code” 289 cu in (4.7 litre) engine with a two-barrel carburettor as the base V8. An “A-code” 225 hp four-barrel carburettor version was next in line, followed by the unchanged “Hi-Po” “K-code” 271 hp 289. The DC electrical generator was replaced by a new AC alternator on all Fords (a way to distinguish a 1964 from a 1965 is to see if the alternator light on the dash says “GEN” or “ALT”). The Mustang GT version was introduced as the “GT Equipment Package” and included a V8 engine (most often the 225 hp 289), grille-mounted fog lamps, rocker panel stripes, and disc brakes. In the interior the GT option added a different instrument panel that included a speedometer, fuel gauge, temp. gauge, oil pressure gauge and ammeter in five round dials (the gauges were not marked with numbers, however.) A four-barrel carburettor engine was now available with any body style. Additionally, reverse lights were an option added to the car from August 1964 production. In 1965, the Shelby Mustang was born, it was available only in newly introduced fastback body version with its swept-back rear glass and distinctive ventilation louvres. The standard interior features of the 1965 Mustang included adjustable driver and passenger bucket seats, an AM radio, and a floor mounted shifter in a variety of colour options. Ford added additional interior options during the 1965 model year. The Interior Decor Group was popularly known as “Pony Interior” due to the addition of embossed running ponies on the seat fronts, and also included integral armrests, woodgrain appliqué accents, and a round gauge cluster that would replace the standard Falcon instrumentation. Also available were sun visors, a (mechanical) remote-operated mirror, a floor console, and a bench seat. Ford later offered an under-dash air-conditioning unit, and discontinued the vinyl with cloth insert seat option, offered only in early 1965 models. One option designed strictly for fun was the Rally-Pac. Introduced in 1963 after Ford’s success at that year’s Monte Carlo Rally and available on other Ford and Mercury compacts and intermediates, the Rally-Pac was a combination clock and tachometer mounted to the steering column. It was available as a factory ordered item for US$69.30. Installed by a dealer, the Rally-Pac cost US$75.95.A 14″ rim option was available for Rally-pac and GT350R vehicles widening front and rear track to 57.5″. Reproductions are presently available from any number of Mustang restoration parts sources. A compass, rear seat belts, A/C, and back-up lights were also optional. The 1966 Mustang debuted with moderate trim changes including a new grille, side ornamentation, wheel covers and filler cap. Ford’s new C-4 “cruise-o-matic” three-speed auto transmission became available for the 225 hp V8. The 289 “HiPo” K-code engine was also offered with a c4 transmission, but it had stronger internals and can be identified by the outer casing of the servo which is marked with a ‘C’. The long duration solid-lifter camshaft that allowed the high revving 289 to make the horsepower it was known for, was not friendly for a low stall speed automatic torque converter. The “HiPo” could be spotted very easily by the 1-inch-thick vibration damper, (as compared to 1/2 inch on the 225-hp version) and the absence of a vacuum advance unit on the dual point distributor. With the valve covers off, there is a large letter “K” stamped between the valve springs, along with screw in studs (vs. a pressed in stud for other 289s) for the adjustable rocker arms. A large number of new paint and interior color options, an AM/eight-track sound system, and one of the first AM/FM mono automobile radios were also offered. It also removed the Falcon instrument cluster; the previously optional features, including the round gauges and padded sun visors, became standard equipment. The Mustang would be the best-selling convertible in 1966, with 72,119 sold, beating the number two Impala by almost 2:1. The 1965 and 1966 Mustangs are differentiated by variations in the exterior, despite similar design. These variations include the emblem on the quarter-panels behind the doors. From August 1964 production, the emblem was a single vertical piece of chrome, while for 1966 models the emblem was smaller in height and had three horizontal bars extending from the design, resembling an “E”. The front intake grilles and ornaments were also different. The 1965 front grille used a “honeycomb” pattern, while the 1966 version was a “slotted” style. While both model years used the “Horse and Corral” emblem on the grille, the 1965 had four bars extending from each side of the corral, while on the 1966, these bars were removed. The 1966 model year saw introduction of ‘High Country Special’ limited edition, 333 of them were sold in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. When Ford wanted to introduce the Mustang in Germany, they discovered that Krupp company had already registered the name for a truck. The German company offered to sell the rights for US$10,000. Ford refused and removed Mustang badges from exported units, instead naming the cars as T-5 (a pre-production Mustang project name) for the German market until 1979 when Krupp copyrights expired. In 1965, Harry Ferguson Research purchased 3 Mustang notchbacks and converted them to 4×4 in an attempt to sell potential clients on their FF AWD system. A similar system was used in the Ferguson P99 Formula One car, and would go on to be featured in the Jensen FF, widely considered the first AWD passenger car. As in the Jensen FF, the AWD Mustangs also featured an ABS braking system, long before such a feature was commonplace. Ford Australia organised the importation and conversion of 1966 Mustang to right-hand-drive for the Australian market. This coincided with the launch of new XR Falcon for 1966, which was marketed as “Mustang-bred Falcon”. To set the official conversion apart from the cottage industry, the RHD Mustangs were called “Ford Australia Delivered Mustang” and had compliance plates similar to XR Falcon. About 209 were imported to Australia with 48 units were converted in 1965 while the further 161 were done in 1966. The 1967 model year Mustang was the first redesign of the original model. Ford’s designers began drawing up a larger version even as the original was achieving sales success, and while “Iacocca later complained about the Mustang’s growth, he did oversee the redesign for 1967 .” The major mechanical feature was to allow the installation of a big-block V8 engine. The overall size, interior and cargo space were increased. Exterior trim changes included concave taillights, side scoop (1967 model) and chrome (1968 model) side ornamentation, square rear-view mirrors, and usual yearly wheel and gas cap changes. The high-performance 289 option was placed behind the newer 335 hp 6.4 litre FE engine from the Ford Thunderbird, which was equipped with a four-barrel carburettor. During the mid-1968 model year, a drag racer for the street could be ordered with the optional 428 cu in (7.0 litre) Cobra Jet engine which was officially rated at 335 hp. All of these Mustangs were issued R codes on their VIN’s. The 1967 Deluxe Interior was revised, discontinuing the embossed running horse motif on the seat backs (the source for the “pony interior” nickname) in favor of a new deluxe interior package, which included special colour options, brushed aluminium (from August 1966 production) or woodgrain dash trim, seat buttons, and special door panels. The hardtop also included upholstered quarter trim panels, a carryover from the 1965-66 deluxe interior. The 1967 hardtop also had the chrome quarter trim caps, carried over from 1965-66, but these were painted to match the interior in 1968 models. The 1967 deluxe interior included stainless steel-trimmed seat back shells, similar to those in the Thunderbird. These were dropped at the end of the 1967 model year, and were not included in the woodgrain-trimmed 1968 interior. The deluxe steering wheel, which had been included in the deluxe interior for the 1965-66, became optional, and could also be ordered with the standard interior. The 1968 models that were produced from January 1968 were also the first model year to incorporate three-point lap and shoulder belts (which had previously been optional, in 1967-68 models) as opposed to the standard lap belts. The air-conditioning option was fully integrated into the dash, the speakers and stereo were upgraded, and unique center and overhead consoles were options. The fastback model offered the option of a rear fold-down seat, and the convertible was available with folding glass windows. Gone was the Rally-Pac, since the new instrument cluster had provisions for an optional tachometer and clock. Its size and shape also precluded the installation of the accessory atop the steering column. The convenience group with four warning lights for low fuel, seat belt reminder, parking brake not released, and door ajar were added to the instrument panel, or, if one ordered the optional console and A/C, the lights were mounted on the console. Changes for the 1968 model increased safety with a two-spoke energy-absorbing steering wheel, along with newly introduced shoulder belts. Other changes included front and rear side markers, “FORD” lettering removed from hood, rearview mirror moved from frame to windscreen, a 302 cu in (4.9 litre) V8 engine was now available, and C-Stripe graphics were added. The California Special Mustang, or GT/CS, was visually based on the Shelby model and was only sold in Western states. Its sister, the ‘High Country Special’, was sold in Denver, Colorado. While the GT/CS was only available as a coupe, the ‘High Country Special’ model was available in fastback and convertible configurations during the 1966 and 1967 model years, and as a coupe for 1968. The 1968 Ford Mustang GT Fastback reached iconic status after it was featured in the 1968 film Bullitt, starring Steve McQueen. In the film, McQueen drove a modified 1968 Mustang GT 2+2 Fastback chasing a Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco. There were further annual updates until the model’s replacement in 1973, but with each the car got steadily bigger and less overtly sporty. Sales reduced, too, suggesting that Ford were losing their way. Mustang II did not fix that, of course, but gradually, the legendary nameplate has returned to delivering the same sort of promise as those early and much loved cars were able to do.

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There was also an example of the “rent-a-racer”, the 1966 Mustang Shelby GT350H. These were produced for Hertz in 1966 and were based on the Shelby GT350 model The deal with the Hertz Corporation to offer ~1,000 GT350s for rental that, after their rental-car lives were finished, were returned to Ford, refurbished, and sold to the public as “GT350H” models. Most Hertz cars were black with gold LeMans stripes and rocker panel stripes, although a few were white with blue stripes. The first 85 Hertz cars were available with four-speed manual transmissions and Hertz advertised them as “Rent-a-Racer” cars. During rental, these cars were sometimes used as production class cars at SCCA events, and were rumoured to have been returned to Hertz with evidence of roll bars being welded in. Ford pushed another 800 models on Hertz with black paint, gold stripes and black interior, as well as automatic transmissions. When the Hertz cars were returned to Ford to be prepared for sale to the public, the high-performance parts were often “lost” (presumably at the manufacturer) before final sale. The program was extremely popular at the time. and provided the inspiration for a series of more recent recreations of the concept of special version of the Mustang, with Shelby parts and approval.

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Developed under the watch of S. “Bunkie” Knudsen, Mustang evolved “from speed and power” to the growing consumer demand for bigger and heavier “luxury” type designs. “The result was the styling misadventures of 1971–73 …the Mustang grew fat and lazy,” “Ford was out of the go-fast business almost entirely by 1971.” “This was the last major restyling of the first-generation Mustang.” “The cars grew in every dimension except height, and they gained about 800 pounds (363 kg).” “The restyling also sought to create the illusion that the cars were even larger.” The 1971 Mustang was nearly 3 inches (76 mm) wider than the 1970, its front and rear track was also widened by 3 inches (76 mm), and its size was most evident in the SportsRoof models with its nearly flat rear roofline and cramped interior with poor visibility for the driver. Performance decreased with sales continuing to decrease as consumers switched to the smaller Pintos and Mavericks. A displeased Iacocca summed up later: “The Mustang market never left us, we left it.” Of course the second generation Mustang of 1974 went even further down the path and perhaps the less said about that one, the better!

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The sixth generation of the Thunderbird debuted in the fall of 1971 as a 1972 model. With a 120.4-inch (3,058 mm) wheelbase, an overall length of 214 inches (5,436 mm) (growing to 225 inches (5,715 mm) by 1974), and a curb weight of 4,420 pounds (2,005 kg) (over 4,800 pounds (2,177 kg) when equipped with a 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8), it was the largest Thunderbird ever produced by Ford, sharing the assembly line with the Lincoln Continental Mark IV. Matching the large size of the car were large engines, including a standard 429 cu in (7.0 L) V8 and an optional 460 cu in (7.5 L) V8 (standard after 1973). Though offering two of the largest displacement V8 engines ever installed in a production vehicle by Ford, the car’s considerable weight combined with low power output caused by restrictive emissions technology resulted in modest performance. As might also be expected from installing a large-displacement V8 in a heavy car, fuel efficiency was poor. The big Thunderbirds were popular, with sales peaking at over 87,000 units in 1973 in spite of the 1973 oil crisis, but sales had slumped to less than 43,000 by 1975. Finishing off the generation, sales had an uptick to almost 53,000 units for 1976. Acknowledging increasing fuel prices and more stringent federal emissions standards, a new, downsized Thunderbird was to appear for 1977

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Needless to say there were plenty of examples of the latest and recent Mustangs here.

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JAGUAR

Few would have guessed that the XJS would run for over 20 years, but eventually it came time for its replacement, and the car charged with so doing was the XK8. Development began in 1992, with design work having starting earlier, in late 1991. By October 1992 a design was chosen and later frozen for production in 1993. Prototypes were built from December 1993 after the X100 was given formal approval and design patents were filed in June 1994. Development concluded in 1996, at which point the car was launched. The first-generation XK series shares its platform with the Aston Martin DB7, and both cars are derived from the Jaguar XJS, though the platform has been extensively changed. One of the revisions is the use of the second generation of Jaguar’s independent rear suspension unit, taken from the XJ40. The XK8 was available in coupé or convertible body styles and with the then new 4.0-litre Jaguar AJ-V8 engine. In 1998 the XKR was introduced with a supercharged version of the engine. 2003 the engines were replaced by the 4.2-litre AJ34 engines in both the normally aspirated and supercharged versions. Equipment levels were generous and there was a high standard of fit and finish. Both models came with all-leather interior, burl walnut trim, and side airbags. Jeremy Clarkson, during a Top Gear test-drive, likened the interior of the original XK8 to sitting inside Blenheim Palace. The model ran for 10 years before being replaced by the X150 model XK.

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JEEP

The Jeepster is an automobile originally produced by Willys-Overland Motors from 1948 to 1950. It was developed in hopes of filling a gap in the company’s product line, crossing over from their “utilitarian” proto SUVs and trucks to the passenger automobile market. The basic model included numerous deluxe features and interior fittings in addition to a high level of standard equipment that cost extra on other automobiles. A total of almost 20,000 were manufactured. After World War II, Jeep trademark owner, Willys (originally pronounced “WILL-is”), began producing and marketing the “CJ” (for Civilian Jeep) to farmers, foresters, and others with similar utilitarian needs. It also began producing the Jeep Wagon/Panel Utility/Pick-up in 1946, and the Jeep Truck in 1947. Seeing a gap in their product lineup, Willys developed the Jeepster to crossover from their “utilitarian” trucks to the passenger automobile market. Willys-Overland lacked the machinery to form deep-drawn fenders or complicated shapes, so the vehicle had to use a simple and slab-sided design. Industrial designer Brooks Stevens styled a line of postwar vehicles for Willys using a common platform that included the Jeep pickup and station wagon, as well as a sporty two-door open car that he envisioned as a sports car for veterans of World War II. The Willys-Overland Jeepster (“VJ” internally) was introduced in April 1948, and produced through 1950. Some leftover models were sold under the 1951 model year. The basic 1948 Jeepster included numerous deluxe features and interior fittings in addition to a high level of standard equipment that cost extra on other automobiles. These included, among many others, whitewall tires, hubcaps with bright trim rings, sun visors, deluxe steering wheel, wind wings, locking glovebox, cigar lighter, and continental tire with fabric cover. The Jeepster had Willys’ World War II-proven 134.2 cu in (2.2 L) straight-4 “Go Devil” engine, and plastic side curtains, but its $1,765 price was about the same as a Ford Super DeLuxe Club convertible with roll-down windows, fancier styling, and a V8 engine. The car was only offered with rear-wheel drive, thus limiting its appeal with other Jeep customers. Its distinctive boxy styling and performance were praised by automotive journalists.However, the Jeepster did not catch on with the intended market segment. Sales were also limited by sparse advertising and an insufficient dealer network. The Jeepster’s engine gave 63 hp which was coupled to a 3-speed manual transmission with standard overdrive. The Planadyne single transverse leaf spring independent front suspension, entire drivetrain, front end, rear suspension, steering, and four-wheel drum brakes were from the Willys Station Wagon. The flat-topped rear fenders were taken from the Jeep truck line. The 1949 Jeepster began production with a one-model/one-engine offering. The price was lowered to $1,495, with some previously standard features returning as extra-cost options. Toward the middle of the year, an additional model was introduced, the VJ3-6, powered by Willys’ new L148 Lightning six-cylinder engine. The 1950 model year saw the VJ-3 Jeepster’s first styling revisions, which included a new instrument panel and redesigned front end featuring a V-shaped grille with horizontal chrome trim. The car had very little standard equipment.Willys’ L161 Lightning six-cylinder was offered in addition to the standard Go Devil four-cylinder. Model designations were dependent on production timeframe, with early 1950s four-cylinder Jeepsters given VJ-3 463 and six-cylinders VJ-3 663, changed to VJ-473 and VJ-673, respectively, for later year vehicles. The Jeepster name was revived in 1966 on a new model, the C-101 Jeepster Commando. American Motors Corporation (AMC), Willys-Overland’s successor, removed Jeepster from the name for 1972, with production ending after 1973.

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LAMBORGHINI

Replacing Lamborghini’s sales leader and most produced car, the Gallardo, the Huracán made its auto show debut at the March 2014 Geneva Auto Show, and was released in the second quarter of 2014. The name of the Huracan LP 610-4 comes from the fact that this car has 610 metric horsepower and 4 wheel drive. Huracán (huracán being the Spanish word for hurricane) is inspired by a Spanish fighting bull. Continuing the tradition of using names from historical Spanish fighting bulls, Huracán was a bull known for its courage that fought in 1879. Also Huracan is the Mayan god of wind, storm and fire. Changes from the Gallardo included full LED illumination, a 12.3 inch full-colour TFT instrument panel, Fine Nappa leather and Alcantara interior upholstery, redesigned dashboard and central tunnel, Iniezione Diretta Stratificata (IDS, essentially an adapted version of parent Audi’s Fuel Stratified Injection) direct and indirect gasoline injections, engine Stop & Start technology, EU6 emissions regulation compliance, Lamborghini Doppia Frizione (LDF) 7-speed dual-clutch transmission with 3 modes (STRADA, SPORT and CORSA), 20 inch wheels, carbon-ceramic brake system, optional Lamborghini Dynamic Steering variable steering system and MagneRide electromagnetic damper control. In early 2015, the Huracán appeared on Top Gear. It got a neutral review from Richard Hammond who said that it was too tame to be a “proper Lamborghini.” However, it got around the Top Gear test track in 1:15.8 which is faster than any other Lamborghini to go around the track to date, including the Aventador. Now it has been available for several years, there are now quite a lot of them in affluent roads in places like this part of Arizona.

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LEXUS

Another current model, the RC-F was launched with lots of expectation by Lexus that they had a serious challenger for the BMW M4 and Mercedes C63 AMG Coupe. In reality, the car has barely troubled either, with an initial interest in Europe petering out very quickly after only a few had been sold and even in America, where Lexus sells strongly, it has disappointed in the sales charts.

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McLAREN

The MP4 12C was the first ever production car wholly designed and built by McLaren, and their first production road car produced since the McLaren F1, which ended production in 1998. McLaren started developing the car in 2007 and secretly purchased a Ferrari 360 to use as a test mule. The mule called MV1 was used to test the 3.8-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine. The car also featured side vents for additional cooling which were later incorporated in the final production model. Later in the year, the company purchased an Ultima GTR to test the braking system and suspension components, that mule was called the MV2. The space frame and body of that car were modified in order to accommodate the new components. Later another prototype was purchased which was another Ferrari 360 dubbed the MV3 which was used to test the exhaust system. McLaren then built two prototypes themselves called CP1 and CP2 incorporating the Carbon Monocell monocoque which were used for testing the heat management system and performance. The MP4-12C features a carbon fibre composite chassis, and is powered by a longitudinally-mounted Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout McLaren M838T 3.8 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine, developing approximately 600 PS (592 bhp) at 7500 rpm and around 600 N⋅m (443 lbf⋅ft) of torque at 5600 rpm. The car makes use of Formula 1-sourced technologies such as “brake steer”, where the inside rear wheel is braked during fast cornering to reduce understeer. Power is transmitted to the wheels through a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. The entire drivetrain is the first to be entirely designed and produced in house by McLaren. The chassis is based around a F1 style one-piece carbon fibre tub, called the Carbon MonoCell, weighing only 80 kg (176 lb). The MonoCell is made in a single pressing by using a set of patented processes, using Bi-Axial and Tri-Axial carbon fibre multi-axial fabrics produced by Formax UK Ltd. with the MonoCell manufactured by Carbo Tech in Salzburg, Austria. This has reduced the time required to produce a MonoCell from 3,000 hours for the F1 and 500 hours for the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, to 4 hours for the MP4-12C. The McLaren MP4-12C utilizes a unique hydraulic configuration to suspend the vehicle as opposed to more traditional coil springs, dampers and anti-roll bars. What McLaren has called “ProActive Chassis Control,” the system consists of an array of high and low pressure valves interconnected from both left to right and front to back, and the typical anti-roll bars were omitted entirely. When high pressure meets high pressure under roll conditions, stiffness results; and subsequently when high pressure meets low under heave and warp, more give is allowed, ultimately providing a firmer, competent suspension setup in spirited driving, and a very plush, compliant and comfortable ride when moving at slower, constant speeds. The car has a conventional two side-by-side seating arrangement, unlike its predecessor the McLaren F1 which featured an irregular three seat formation (front centre, two behind either side). To make up for this however, the car’s central console is narrower than in other cars, seating the driver closer to the centre. Interior trim and materials can be specified in asymmetric configuration – known as “Driver Zone”. The final car was unveiled to the public on 9 September 2009 before the company’s launch in 2010. A convertible version of the car called the MP4-12C Spider, as added to the range in 2012. The name’s former prefix ‘MP4’ has been the chassis designation for all McLaren Formula 1 cars since 1981. ‘MP4′ stands for McLaren Project 4 as a result of the merger between Ron Dennis’ Project 4 organisation with McLaren. The ’12’ refers to McLaren’s internal Vehicle Performance Index through which it rates key performance criteria both for competitors and for its own cars. The criteria combine power, weight, emissions, and aerodynamic efficiency. The coalition of all these values delivers an overall performance index that has been used as a benchmark throughout the car’s development. The ‘C’ refers to Carbon, highlighting the application of carbon fibre technology to the future range of McLaren sports cars. At the end of 2012, the name of the MP4-12C was reduced to 12C – that name is usually used when referring to the coupe. The open-top version now being called the 12C Spider.

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Unveiled on 3 March 2020, the 765LT is a track-focused version of the 720S and the successor to the 675LT as a Super Series Longtail car. The M840T engine is now rated at 765 PS (755 bhp) at 7,500 rpm and 590 lb/ft (800 Nm) of torque at 5,500 rpm achieved with a higher-capacity fuel pump, forged aluminium pistons and a three-layer head gasket from the Senna. The top speed is lowered from the 720S’s 341 km/h (212 mph) to 330 km/h (205 mph) due to added drag created by the added high downforce parts, although the 765LT weighs 80 kg (176 lb) less than the 720S at 1,339 kg (2,952 lb) in its lightest configuration and has a quicker 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) time of 2.8 seconds. It also can hit 0-200 km/h (0-124 mph) in 7.0 seconds and complete a quarter-mile dash in 9.9 seconds according to McLaren. The Senna’s brake callipers are also available as an extra-cost option; McLaren claims these have four times the thermal conductivity as conventional carbon ceramics, while Pirelli Trofeo R tyres are standard. Suspension changes involve a 5 mm (0.2 in) reduction in ride height and the use of lightweight main springs with secondary “helper” units as well as an upgraded Proactive Chassis Control system. The aerodynamics are redesigned to produce 25% more downforce than the 720S, featuring front fender vents, a larger front splitter and a longer active wing element at the rear at the cost of less noise insulation, thinner-gauge glass and stiffened engine mounts. The rear of the car also features a quad-exit full titanium exhaust to distinguish it from the 720S. Production was limited to 765 cars globally with customer deliveries in October 2020

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MERCEDES-BENZ

Sole Mercedes of note in the event during the time I was there was this AMG GT which arrived as the light was fading.

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MITSUBISHI

The Mitsubishi FTO is a front engined, front-wheel drive coupe produced by Mitsubishi Motors between 1994 and 2000. It was originally planned to be exclusively for the Japanese domestic market, although its popularity as a grey market import to the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand led to eventual limited distribution through Mitsubishi’s official dealers in those regions at the tail-end of production.[2] Upon its debut it won the Car of the Year Japan award for 1994–95, commemorated by a Limited Edition of the FTO GPX model. In Japan it was sold at two retail chains called Car Plaza and Galant Shop. FTO stands for “Fresh Touring Origination”. The name recalls the Galant FTO coupé of 1971, one of the company’s first sports cars. In 1994 a whole new FTO coupé concept was created. The only body style was a 2-door coupé, and all FTOs were front wheel drive. Either an inline-four or a transversely mounted V6 engine was available, mated to either a 5-speed manual or the INVECS-II automatic transmission. Earlier (pre-facelift) auto models had a four-speed version, whilst most facelift [1997-2000] auto versions had a five-speed. The most recognizable exterior styling change during 1997 was, in simple terms, to the front bumper – which went from two air intakes to a single deeper intake, restyled front lip and indicator/fog lighting arrangement. On the pre-facelift models there exists a minor difference in the lower intake – on some earlier models there are two blanking plates on either side, thus reducing the size of the aperture. By 2000, in the MMC Company Report, the now phased out FTO was simply described as “the little brother of the GTO, this sports coupe gives full expression to MMC’s fun-to-drive philosophy with well-balanced proportions wrapped in dynamic and aggressive styling …” Regarding the FTO acronym, the “Series Name Derivations” section of the Report describes the model as “FTO – Fresh Touring Origination: a touring model overflowing with freshness, youthfulness and originality”. The inline-engined GS was the base model in the FTO range, with 14″ wheels and automatic climate control. The rear spoiler was only an Option to the Original Equipment on both the GS and the GR. The larger-engined V6 GR also had auto-aircon and 15″ wheels. Completing the range was the V6 MIVEC-engined GPX with 16″ alloy wheels, sporting a rear spoiler and side air dams as standard. All three of these models gained various refinements prior to the introduction of the facelift versions and many models were purchased fitted with a number of original options that were available, such as ABS, traction control and a passenger air bag. Prior to the introduction of the facelift models a Mivec GP model was introduced in 1996, together with a later “semi-race spec” Nakaya-Tune dealer package. The “GP Special” (Denoted by the suffix ‘2’ to the initial GP Model Code), with 5-sp manual or 4-sp auto, was also promoted by dealership as a GP version R introduction, although yet to gain the later GPvR body styling details, such as Facelift front and Aero Spoiler. The first appearance of the Mitsubishi-designed INVECS-II automatic “tiptronic-style” transmission, based upon similar Porsche technology, was at the launch of this FTO model range. The auto models are, therefore, sometimes referred to as “Tip” or “Tiptronic” FTOs. Driven manually, the box “learns” the driver’s style for when motoring in auto mode. The four-speed and five-speed automatic gearboxes use different gear ratios and top speeds differ accordingly. In commemoration of its win at the Car of the Year Japan awards in 1994, Mitsubishi produced a Limited Edition of their GPX model. This model was finished in a unique dandelion yellow paint scheme with “’94–95 Japan Car of the Year” emblems on the car’s C-pillar. It was also installed with a rear screen wash/wiper and limited slip differential as standard. The LSD units are manual, code: F5M42-2-V7A2 & auto, code: F4A42-1-W7A5. Only 207 GPX Limited Edition models were produced during April 1995, 20 manuals and 187 autos. It is usually referred to, via Car Of The Year acronym, as the FTO “COTY”. Between April and September 1995 a GR Limited Edition was also produced, following up on the kudos of the COTY award win and to satisfy this lower tier sector of the FTO v6 market. The GR LE was only available in Pyrenees Black, Passion Red or Steel Silver. In February 1997 the FTO model range was given a facelift with a new front bumper arrangement, usually referred to by FTO enthusiasts as “facelift” models. The original two air intakes became one large single intake, blended into a full width forward-facing front splitter. The two supplementary fog and indicator paired units became four separate circular lights, each recessed into the new bumper. The headlamp internals were also changed to incorporate the vehicle’s sidelights, but their external design remained. An HID Option was also made available. The rear spoiler also underwent a redesign to an aero wing, which was phased in during 1997 as standard equipment on some models, such as the GP Version R. After its late introduction in the pre-facelift era, the now facelifted GP was given a full styling make-over with a “Version R” tag – heralding a further external styling feature with this new large spoiler (also fitted as standard on both Aero Series later GPvR and GX models, or as an OE option for other extant models). The GP Version R model was produced in Scotia White, Passion Red or Pyrenées Black only. It featured HID headlamps; Black rear seats, with color-coded “FTO” monogrammed front seats – Blue/with Scotia White body color, Black/with Passion Red body color or Red/with Pyrenées Black body color; uprated suspension – 20 mm front anti roll bar instead of 17 mm and a 20 mm rear anti roll bar rather than 18 mm; limited slip differential and the redesigned rear aero spoiler. A “Version R” decal also features on the two spoiler side wings and on the nearside of the front lip. As this model was lightweight, items such as side skirts, front fog lights, climate control, electric folding mirrors and sound insulation were left out. The later Version R Aero and GX Sports Package Aero models feature an “Aero Series” decal on the offside rear of the boot lid. A further refinement to the facelift range was via the two GX models, with a 3 mm wider bore in the throttle body (increased from 60 mm to 63 mm and mated to the plenum bore), helping to provide the additional 10 PS over the earlier GR model engine. Whilst the GR model continued to offer only 4-speed auto and 5-speed manual into the “facelift” era, the GX Sport and GX Sport Aero upgrade came either as 5-speed manual or 5-speed auto. On the GS and GR models aircon operation became manual from Feb 1997. The LSD option, found standard on the pre-facelift GPX Limited Edition, was of a viscous type. However, by 1997 this option for the facelift models, found standard on the GP Version R, was similar to that of a Torsen type. In July 2000 new side impact safety standards were to take effect in Japan. With the FTO sales moving at an ever slower pace, it was deemed not cost effective to update the car and it was thus discontinued, along with its bigger stablemate the GTO.

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In 2001, Mitsubishi was forced by the FIA to race in the WRC using WRC rules for building a car instead of the Group A class rules, and thus did not need to follow homologation rules. The Evolution VII was based on the larger Lancer Cedia platform and as a result gained more weight over the Evolution VI, but Mitsubishi made up for this with multiple important chassis tweaks. The biggest change was the addition of an active center differential and a more effective limited-slip differential, while a front helical limited-slip differential was added. Torque was increased again to 385 Nm (284 lb/ft) with engine tweaks that allowed greater airflow, and horsepower officially remained at 280 PS (276 bhp). The introduction of the Evolution VII also marked the first time an automatic drivetrain was included within the model lineup—the GT-A. Seen as the ‘gentleman’s express’ version of the visually similar VII GSR and the RS2, the GT-A model was only produced in 2002 and had the following distinguishing interior and exterior specification: GT-A-only diamond cut finish 17-inch alloy wheels, clear rear light lenses and all-in-one style front headlights (later used on the Evolution VIII). The GT-A had the option of either no spoiler, the short spoiler (as per the Lancer Cedia; and later used on the Evolution VIII 260) or the thunderspoiler as used on the standard Evolution VII models. The most distinguishing feature was a smooth bonnet with no air-grills on it at all and the revised front bumper. Although offering inferior cooling capabilities, the bonnet was designed to give a cleaner line through the air with less air resistance at motorway speeds. Interior could be specified with factory options of a deluxe velour interior, full leather or the Recaro sports seats. The GT-A interior was different in that it had chromed door handles, a different instrument panel (to show the gear selection) and chrome edged bezels around the speedo and tach. The GT-A also had additional sound deadening installed from the factory and the engine manifold and downpipe had been engineered to be quieter. The 5-speed automatic gearbox had what Mitsubishi called “fuzzy logic”, which meant that the car would learn what the driver’s driving characteristics were like and would adapt the gear change timings and kick down reactions accordingly. The gears could be manually selected as with most Tiptronics via steering wheel + and – buttons (a pair both sides) or via selecting the tiptronic gate with the gear lever. Power was down a little from the standard manual cars with 272 PS. The GT-A gearbox did not appear again in the Evolution VIII but has been installed in the estate version of the Evolution IX Wagon. It was replaced by the Twin Clutch SST gearbox since the introduction of Evolution X. There were three versions: RS – “rally sport”, close-ratio 5-speed, minimal interior, rally suspension, LSD, (Enkei Wheels, Recaro bucket seat, AYC (Active Yaw Control), Sports ABS (Anti-Lock braking system), Brembo brakes, double-din audio, power window are available as option); GSR – 5-speed, gauge pack, AYC (Active Yaw Control), Sports ABS, Recaro front bucket and rear seat, double-din audio, power window, Brembo brakes, Momo sports steering wheel; GT-A – Same option with GSR with 5-speed automatic transmission, gauge pack, deluxe velour interior, full leather or the Recaro sports seats, GT-A-only diamond cut finish 17-inch (430 mm) alloy wheels, clear rear light lenses and all-in-one style front headlights, and short spoiler option. The Evo VIII took is place in August 2003.

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MORRIS

It was quite a surprise to see the evergreen Morris Minor here. The Minor was conceived in 1941. Although the Nuffield Organization was heavily involved in war work and there was a governmental ban on civilian car production, Morris Motors’ vice chairman, Miles Thomas, wanted to prepare the ground for new products to be launched as soon as the war was over. Vic Oak, the company’s chief engineer, had already brought to Thomas’ attention a promising junior engineer, Alec Issigonis, who had been employed at Morris since 1935 and specialised in suspension design but he had frequently impressed Oak with his advanced ideas about car design in general. Issigonis had come to Oak’s particular attention with his work on the new Morris Ten, which was in development during 1936/7. This was the first Morris to use unitary construction and was conceived with independent front suspension. Issigonis designed a coil-sprung wishbone system which was later dropped on cost grounds. Although the design would later be used on the MG Y-type and many other post-war MGs the Morris Ten entered production with a front beam axle. Despite his brief being to focus on the Ten’s suspension Issigonis had also drawn up a rack and pinion steering system for the car. Like his suspension design this was not adopted but would resurface in the post-war years on the MG Y-type, but these ideas proved that he was the perfect candidate to lead the design work on a new advanced small car. With virtually all resources required for the war effort, Thomas nonetheless approved the development of a new small family car that would replace the Morris Eight. Although Oak (and Morris’ technical director, Sidney Smith) were in overall charge of the project it was Issigonis who was ultimately responsible for the design, working with only two other draughtsmen. Thomas named the project ‘Mosquito’ and ensured that it remained as secret as possible, both from the Ministry of Supply and from company founder William Morris (now Lord Nuffield), who was still chairman of Morris Motors and, it was widely expected, would not look favourably on Issigonis’ radical ideas. Issigonis’ overall concept was to produce a practical, economical and affordable car for the general public that would equal, if not surpass, the convenience and design quality of a more expensive car. In later years he summed up his approach to the Minor; that he wanted to design an economy car that “the average man would take pleasure in owning, rather than feeling of it as something he’d been sentenced to” and “people who drive small cars are the same size as those who drive large cars and they should not be expected to put up with claustrophobic interiors.” Issigonis wanted the car to be as spacious as possible for its size and comfortable to drive for inexperienced motorists. Just as he would with the Mini ten years later, he designed the Mosquito with excellent roadholding and accurate, quick steering not with any pretence of making a sports car, but to make it safe and easy to drive by all. As work proceeded, there were plenty of battle to overcome, to get Issigonis’ ideas approved, and not all of them were. The production car, called the Minor was launched at the British Motor Show at Earls Court in London on October 27, 1948. At the same show Morris also launched the new Morris Oxford and Morris Six models, plus Wolseley variants of both cars, which were scaled-up versions of the new Minor, incorporating all the same features and designed with Issigonis’ input under Vic Oak’s supervision. Thus Issigonis’ ideas and design principles underpinned the complete post-war Morris and Wolseley car ranges. The original Minor MM series was produced from 1948 until 1953. It included a pair of four-seat saloons, two-door and (from 1950) a four-door, and a convertible four-seat Tourer. The front torsion bar suspension was shared with the larger Morris Oxford MO, as was the almost-unibody construction. Although the Minor was originally designed to accept a flat-4 engine, late in the development stage it was replaced by a 918 cc side-valve inline-four engine, little changed from that fitted in the 1935 Morris 8, and producing 27.5 hp and 39 lbf·ft of torque. This little engine pushed the Minor to just 64 mph but delivered 40 mpg. Brakes were four-wheel drums. Early cars had a painted section in the centre of the bumpers to cover the widening of the production car from the prototypes. This widening of 4 inches is also visible in the creases in the bonnet. Exports to the United States began in 1949 with the headlamps removed from within the grille surround to be mounted higher on the wings to meet local safety requirements. In 1950 a four-door version was released, initially available only for export, and featuring from the start the headlamps faired into the wings rather than set lower down on either side of the grille. The raised headlight position became standard on all Minors in time for 1951. From the start, the Minor had semaphore-type turn indicators, and subsequent Minor versions persisted with these until 1961 An Autocar magazine road test in 1950 reported that these were “not of the usual self-cancelling type, but incorporate[d] a time-basis return mechanism in a switch below the facia, in front of the driver”. It was all too easy for a passenger hurriedly emerging from the front passenger seat to collide with and snap off a tardy indicator “flipper” that was still sticking out of the B-pillar, having not yet been safely returned by the time-basis return mechanism to its folded position. Another innovation towards the end of 1950 was a water pump (replacing a gravity dependent system), which permitted the manufacturer to offer an interior heater “as optional equipment”. When production of the first series ended, just over a quarter of a million had been sold, 30 per cent of them the convertible Tourer model. In 1952, the Minor line was updated with an Austin-designed 803 cc overhead valve A-series engine, replacing the original side-valve unit. The engine had been designed for the Minor’s main competition, the Austin A30, but became available as Austin and Morris were merged into the British Motor Corporation. The new engine felt stronger, though all measurements were smaller than the old. The 52 second drive to 60 mph was still calm, with 63 mph as the top speed. Fuel consumption also rose to 36 mpg. An estate version was introduced in 1952, known as the Traveller (a Morris naming tradition for estates, also seen on the Mini). The Traveller featured an external structural ash (wood) frame for the rear bodywork, with two side-hinged rear doors. The frame was varnished rather than painted and a highly visible feature of the body style. Commercial models, marketed as the Morris Quarter Ton Van and Pick-up were added in May 1953. Rear bodies of the van versions were all steel. The 4-seat convertible and saloon variants continued as well. The car was again updated in 1956 when the engine was increased in capacity to 948 cc. The two-piece split windscreen was replaced with a curved one-piece one and the rear window was enlarged. In 1961 the semaphore-style trafficators were replaced by the flashing direction indicators, these were US-style red at the rear (using the same bulb filament as the brake lamp) and white at the front (using a second brighter filament in the parking lamp bulb) which was legal in the UK and many export markets at the time (such as New Zealand). An upmarket car based on the Minor floorpan using the larger BMC B-Series engine was sold as the Riley One-Point-Five/Wolseley 1500 beginning in 1957: versions of this Wolseley/Riley variant were also produced by BMC Australia as the Morris Major and the Austin Lancer. In December 1960 the Morris Minor became the first British car to sell more than 1,000,000 units. To commemorate the achievement, a limited edition of 350 two-door Minor saloons (one for each UK Morris dealership) was produced with distinctive lilac paintwork and a white interior. Also the badge name on the side of the bonnet was modified to read “Minor 1,000,000” instead of the standard “Minor 1000”. The millionth Minor was donated to the National Union of Journalists, who planned to use it as a prize in a competition in aid of the union’s Widow and Orphan Fund. The company, at the same time, presented a celebratory Minor to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, but this car was constructed of cake. The final major upgrades to the Minor were made in 1962. Although the name Minor 1000 was retained, the changes were sufficient for the new model to be given its own ADO development number. A larger version of the existing A-Series engine had been developed in conjunction with cylinder head specialist Harry Weslake for the then new ADO16 Austin/Morris 1100 range. This new engine used a taller block than did the 948 cc unit, with increased bore and stroke bringing total capacity up to 1,098 cc. Although fuel consumption suffered moderately at 38 mpg, the Minor’s top speed increased to 77 mph with noticeable improvements in low-end torque, giving an altogether more responsive drive. Other changes included a modified dashboard layout with toggle switches, textured steel instrument binnacle, and larger convex glove box covers. A different heater completed the interior upgrade, whilst the larger combined front side/indicator light units, common to many BMC vehicles of the time, were fitted to the front wings. These now included a separate bulb and amber lens for indicators while larger tail lamp units also included amber rear flashers. During the life of the Minor 1000 model, production declined. The last Convertible/Tourer was manufactured on 18 August 1969, and the saloon models were discontinued the following year. Production of the more practical Traveller and commercial versions ceased in 1972, although examples of all models were still theoretically available from dealers with a surplus of unsold cars for a short time afterwards. 1,619,857 Minors of all variants were ultimately sold.

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NISSAN

This is an S15-generation Silvia, a car not sold new in the UK, though its predecessors had been, under the name 240SX. New in 1999, the engine of the S15 now boasting 250 PS (247 bhp) at 6,400 rpm and 275 Nm; 203 lb/ft at 4,800 rpm of torque from its SR20DET Inline-four engine, thanks to a ball bearing turbocharger upgrade, as well as improved engine management system. The non-turbo SR20DE produced 165 PS. The S15 Silvia included aggressive styling inside and out, updating the previous Silvia styling in-line with modern car design trends. The body dimensions were reduced from the previous generation so that it would comply with Japanese Government compact class, which had an effect on sales of the previous model. The S15 Silvia model lineup was initially simplified to just the Spec-S and Spec-R, both models offering an “Aero” variant with a large rear wing and side skirts/valances. This generation of the Silvia was only sold in Japan, Australia and New Zealand but was available as a grey import in most other countries. In Australia and New Zealand the car was sold as the Nissan 200SX. Within the Australian domestic market (AUDM), the S15 sold in 2 trim levels as noted above; Spec-S and Spec-R – however both models featured the SR20DET motor, albeit slightly detuned from the JDM spec cars. Nissan S15s were never officially sold with the naturally aspirated SR20DE engine in Australia or New Zealand. These two models were available at Nissan showrooms until the Nissan 200SX GT was introduced in 2002, the last year of production for the S15. Main differences here were namely the wheels being finished in a silver shadow chrome, chrome interior door handles, chrome gear selector surround, “sports” metal pedal set and an updated larger rear wing. As of August 2002, Nissan stopped producing the S platform with the S15-series Nissan Silvia being the final variant. Production of the Silvia ended amidst Nissan’s efforts to reduce its myriad of platforms. The S15 Silvia was therefore the last car to hold the Silvia badge. Nissan’s worldwide sports car platform is now the FM platform, which underpins the current Fairlady Z (the 350/370Z outside Japan), as well as the 2001–present Nissan Skyline (the Infiniti G35/37 in North America).

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OLDSMOBILE

Introduced the 88 badge in 1949. It was named to complement the already-existing 76 and 98, and took the place of the straight-8 engined 78 in the model lineup. The new car used the same new A-body platform as the straight-6 engined 76 but paired it with the new 303 cu in (5.0 L) Rocket V8 engine producing 135 hp. This combination of a relatively small light body and large, powerful engine made it widely considered to be the first muscle car. The Rocket 88 vaulted Oldsmobile from a somewhat staid, conservative car to a performer that became the one to beat on the NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) circuits. It won six of the nine NASCAR late-model division races in 1949, 10 of 19 in 1950, 20 of 41 in 1952, and was eventually eclipsed by the low-slung, powerful Hudson Hornet, but it was still the first real “King of NASCAR.” This led to increased sales to the public. There was a pent up demand for new cars in the fast-expanding post-World War II economy, and the 88 appealed to many ex-military personnel who were young and had operated powerful military equipment. The 88 enjoyed great success, inspiring a popular 1950s slogan, “Make a Date with a Rocket 88”, and also a song, “Rocket 88”, often considered the first rock and roll record. Starting with the trunk-lid emblem of the 1950 model, Oldsmobile would adopt the rocket as its logo, and the 88 name would remain in the Olds lineup until the late 1990s, almost until the end of Oldsmobile itself. The 1949 model was equipped with an ignition key and a starter push-button to engage the starter. Pushing the starter button would engage the starter, but if the ignition key was not inserted, unlocking the ignition, the car would not start. The car was equipped with an oil bath air cleaner. At the bottom edge of the front fender directly behind the front wheel was a badge that said “Futuramic” which identified an Oldsmobile approach to simplified driving, and the presence of an automatic transmission. V8 Oldsmobiles were automatic-only in 1949 as Oldsmobile lacked a manual gearbox that could handle the torque of the new engine.1948 Oldsmobile Futuramic introduction In 1950, Oldsmobile offered a modified Cadillac manual gearbox for V8 models. The 88 now outsold the six-cylinder 76 lineup, which was dropped entirely after the 1950 model year. It had a 40 ft. turning circle. Hershel McGriff and Ray Elliot won with the 1950 model won the 1950 Carrera Panamericana. For 1951, the 88 was now the entry-level Olds with the discontinuation of the six-cylinder 76 line, which meant that all Oldsmobiles were powered by Rocket V8s. An in-house manual transmission replaced the modified Cadillac gearbox, but as the 1950s progressed, manual shift became increasingly rare in Oldsmobiles and normally could only be obtained by special order. New this year was the more upscale Super 88 line on the new GM B-body which included restyled rear body panels, a more luxurious interior, and a slightly longer 120 in (3,048 mm) wheelbase as opposed to the 119.5 in (3,035 mm) wheelbase which had been standard since the 88’s introduction. The station wagon was discontinued and would not reappear until the 1957 model year. New was an I-beam frame. Hydraulic power windows and seats were optional. In 1952, the base 88 shared the Super 88’s rear body panels and wheelbase, and came with a Rocket V8 and two-barrel carburetor while Super 88s came with a new four-barrel carburettor upping the output to 160 hp. Other mechanical features were unchanged with styling changes amounting to new grilles, taillights, and interior revisions. New was the optional automatic headlight control. For 1953, the base 88 was renamed the DeLuxe 88 for only this one year while the Super 88 continued as a more upscale version. Engines and transmission offerings were the same as 1952. Late in the 1953 model year, a fire destroyed GM’s Hydra-Matic plant in Livonia, Michigan, which was then the only source for Hydra-Matic transmissions. The temporary loss of Hydra-Matic production led Oldsmobile to build thousands of its 1953 models with Buick’s two-speed Dynaflow automatic transmissions until GM pressed its Willow Run Transmission plant into service to resume Hydra-Matic production. New options this year included Frigidaire air conditioning, power steering, and power brakes.

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The Oldsmobile 4-4-2 (also known as the 442) is a muscle car produced between the 1964 and 1987 model years. Introduced as an option package for US-sold F-85 and Cutlass models, it became a model in its own right from 1968 to 1971, spawned the Hurst/Olds in 1968, then reverted to an option through the mid-1970s. The name was revived in the 1980s on the rear-wheel drive Cutlass Supreme and early 1990s as an option package for the new front-wheel drive Cutlass Calais. The “4-4-2” name (pronounced “Four-four-two”) derives from the original car’s four-barrel carburettor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts (Some maintain that the ‘2’ indicated positive traction rear differential). It was originally written “4-4-2” (with badging showing hyphens between the numerals) and remained hyphenated throughout Oldsmobile’s use of the designation. This is a second generation car, which ran from 1968 to 1973, with the 4-4-2 a separate model from 1968 through 1971. The wheelbase was 112 in and over 33,000 were sold for 1968. Despite the engine displacement staying at 400 CID, the engine was based on the new 455 cranktrain (4.25 stroke) and the bore decreased (to 3.87). Torque now came at 3000–3200 rpm as opposed to the early 400’s 3600 rpm peak, mostly due to a milder base cam grind. Car Life tested a 1968 4-4-2 with a 3.42:1 rear axle ratio and Hydramatic and attained 0–60 times of 7.0 seconds, and a quarter-mile time of 15.13 seconds at 92 mph. Top speed was reported as 115 mph. The base motor was still rated at 350 hp, but only with the standard three-speed and optional four-speed; automatics were rated at 325 hp. W-30s were rated again at 360 hp. Car Life also tested a four-speed W-30 with 4.33 rearend gears and recorded a 13.3 at 103.30 mph, which shows the long stroke did not affect actual performance although long term durability at high (6000 plus) engine speeds might be affected. All standard 1968 4-4-2 engines are painted a bronze–copper color, as with the 1967s, topped with a fire-red air cleaner. W-30 option cars were equipped with Ram Air intake hoses leading from a chrome-topped dual snorkel black air cleaner to special under-bumper air scoops and set off by bright red plastic fender wells. In addition, a Turnpike Cruiser option was made available with a two-barrel carburettor; this was previously available on the Cutlass Supreme for 1967. 1968 was the first year for side marker lights and front outboard shoulder belts, and the last year for vent windows on hardtops and convertibles. 4-4-2s for ’68 had unique rear bumpers, with exhaust cutouts and special exhaust tips.1969 4-4-2s were very similar to the 1968 except the division tooth between the grilles, the trunk lid inlets for the tail lights, wing windows deleted on Holiday Coupes and convertibles, steering lock ignition switch on the steering column, standard headrests were added to the front seats, and the paint scheme. Twin hood stripes were now available to highlight the new dual-bulged hood. The 4-4-2 numerals grew to nearly double their previous size. Optional disc brakes now had updated single-piston calipers. The exhaust manifolds featured a new centre divider for better performance. Other changes to the engine were minimal, but the Turnpike Cruiser option was deleted. However, another high-performance engine was offered. Called the W-32, it came with the Forced Air Induction plumbing found on the W-30s, but it had a milder cam like the base engine. It was only available with an automatic, and 297 were built, including 25 sport coupes and convertibles each. 1970 was the pinnacle of performance from Oldsmobile. In order to keep up in the horsepower arms-race, General Motors dropped the cap on engine size in 1970, and Oldsmobile responded by making the Olds 455 V8 the standard 4-4-2 engine. Output was 365 hp and 500 lb/ft (680 Nm), with a 370 hp variant available with the W30 option. The revised body style and increased performance resulted in the 4-4-2 being awarded pace car duties at the Indianapolis 500 race in 1970. Those seeking to experience the ultimate in performance from Lansing could order a “W-Machine” version of the 4-4-2, dubbed the W-30 package. The 4-4-2 W-30 added a fibreglass hood (option W25) with functional air scoops and low-restriction air cleaner, aluminium intake manifold, special camshaft, cylinder heads, distributor, and carburettor. Two W-30 equipped 4-4-2 Vista Cruisers were produced by special order. Rear shoulder seat belts were optional at $23. 1970 model year spotting tips: vertical bars in silver grille, rectangular parking lights in front bumper, vertical tail lights. Despite storm clouds on the muscle car horizon, the 4-4-2 returned in 1971 with only minor modifications from the previous year. Engine output was down for 1971 due to a lower compression ratio (8.5:1), which affected all of GM’s engines as the result of a corporate policy requiring engines to run on lower-octane regular leaded, low lead, or unleaded gasoline, in preparation for the introduction of the catalytic converter on 1975-model cars. The base 455 was rated at 340 hp, with the W-30 achieving a rating of 350 hp. The W-27 option was downgraded to an aluminium cover for the cast iron differential housing. The 1971 4-4-2 was available in a hardtop coupe and convertible body type. The sport coupe disappeared for the first time since 1964, only to return in 1972. 1971 Model Year Spotting Tips: Black grille with silver surround, silver headlight bezels, round parking lights in front bumper, horizontal tail lights. Quarter mile performance as reported by Road Test magazine was 15.2 seconds at 99 mph, and 0–60 in 8.9 seconds, using the TH400 automatic transmission. By 1972, the muscle car era was unmistakably in decline due to the twin blows of rising insurance rates and soaring gas prices. The 4-4-2 name reverted to an appearance and handling option package (option code W-29) in 1972 on the Cutlass Holiday coupe, Cutlass S sport coupe and Holiday coupe, and Cutlass Supreme convertible. The W-29 option was not available on Cutlass Supreme notchback hardtops. The 4-4-2 option package, which carried a modest sticker price of $29, consisted of the “FE2” suspension upgrades (heavy duty springs & shocks, front and rear sway bars, boxed lower rear control arms, and 14- by 7-in wheels), side striping, fender and decklid badging, faux hood louvers, and a unique grille. The rear bumper sported cutouts for exhaust tips, but only when paired with the optional L75 455 CID V8 in place of the standard Oldsmobile 350 V8. Interior trims differed on each bodystyle for which the 4-4-2 option was offered, much like the early 1964–66 models. For the base Cutlass hardtop coupe, a baseline two-spoke steering wheel, and vinyl or cloth/vinyl bench seat was standard along with rubber floor mats (carpeting was optional); Cutlass S sport coupe and Holiday hardtop coupe featured full carpeting, deluxe steering wheel, courtesy lighting, and bench seats with cloth-and-vinyl or all-vinyl upholstery or optional Strato bucket seats; and the Cutlass Supreme convertible came with more woodgrain interior accents than the “S” along with an all-vinyl notchback bench seat with armrest or no-cost Strato bucket seats, between which a centre console was an extra-cost option. An AM/FM stereo radio with a tape player was $363. An all new model arrived for 1973.

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A 1970-only offering was the Oldsmobile Rallye 350, a value-priced high-performance model using the 350 engine. It was intended for younger buyers that wanted the performance and looks of a supercar, but might have trouble with the rising insurance premiums associated with 455-engined cars like the 4-4-2. In essence the Rallye 350 was an appearance package (coded W45) tied to mandatory options, and could be ordered on the Cutlass S Holiday or Sports Coupe as well as on the F-85 Sports Coupe. All Rallye 350s were painted in Sebring Yellow with matching urethane-coated bumpers front and rear. The package also included special black and orange decals, blacked out grille and yellow-painted 7″ wide Super Stock II rally wheels without trim rings, wearing G70×14″ bias-belted Wide Oval blackwall tires. The engine was the L74 air-inducted high-compression 350 cu.in. Rocket V8 engine, fitted with a Quadrajet carburettor and producing 310 hp. Required options were the associated “Force-Air” fiberglass vented hood, dual exhaust with 4-4-2-style megaphone outlets, 3.23:1 axle ratio, heavy-duty “Rallye-Sport Suspension.

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PLYMOUTH

This is a 1963 Sport Fury. The 1962 Fury emerged as a downsized model riding on the new Chrysler B-body unibody platform, the product of a Chrysler Corporation embroiled in multiple corporate controversies at the time. Sales of the new model were slow, prompting the reintroduction of the Sport Fury trim package, offered as a hardtop coupe or a convertible. The 1962 range included a Fury 4-door Station Wagon, the wagon equivalent of the Fury having previously been marketed as the Plymouth Sport Suburban. Chrysler Corporation began to restyle and enlarge the Plymouths and Dodges, which improved sales in 1963 and 1964. The 1964 models saw an improvement in sales, especially the two-door hardtop, which featured a new slanted roofline. Engine choices remained the same throughout this three-year cycle.

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The second-generation Barracuda was redesigned with model-specific sheet metal, yet still shared many components with the Valiant. It rode on a 108 in (2,743 mm) wheelbase A-body and available as a convertible and a notchback hardtop coupe versions in addition to the fastback design. The new Barracuda was chiefly the work of John E. Herlitz and John Samsen, with Coke-bottle side contours and heavily revised front and rear ends. Design changes included wider wheel openings, curved side glass, and S-curved roof pillars on the hardtop. The roofline on the fastback coupe was more streamlined, more steeply raked, and with a much smaller flush rear window in place of the distinctive massive wraparound in the original model. Also, the overall use of chrome trim was more restrained. During this time the first U.S. Federal auto safety standards were phased in, and Chrysler’s response a requirement for side-marker lights distinguishes each model year of the second-generation Barracuda: 1967: no sidemarker lamps or reflectors, and backup lights on the rear valance by the license plate; 1968: round side marker lamps without reflectors, mostly white tail lamps with backup lights in the tail lamp housing; 1969: little tweak on the front grille, rectangular side marker reflectors without lamps, and the backup lamps were moved back to the rear valance by the license plate. As the pony-car class became established and competition increased, Plymouth began to revise the Barracuda’s engine options. In 1967, while the 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant-6 was still the base engine, the V8 options ranged from the two- and four-barrel versions of the 273 cu in (4.5 L) to a seldom-ordered 383 cu in (6.3 L) “B” big-block, rated at 280 bhp, the latter available only with the Formula S package. In 1968, the 273 was replaced by the 318 cu in (5.2 L) LA engine as the smallest V8 available, and the new 340 cu in (5.6 L) LA four-barrel was released. The 383 Super Commando engine was upgraded with the intake manifold, camshaft, and cylinder heads from the Road Runner and Super Bee, but the more restrictive exhaust manifolds specific to the A-body cars limited its output to 300 bhp. Also in 1968, Chrysler made approximately fifty fastback Barracudas equipped with the 426 cu in (7.0 L) Hemi for Super Stock drag racing. These cars were assembled by Hurst Performance and featured items such as lightweight Chemcor side glass, fiberglass front fenders, hood scoop, lightweight seats, sound deadener, and other street features such as rear seats omitted. An included sticker indicated that the car was not for use on public roads; it could run the quarter-mile in the mid-tens in 1968. For the South African export market, a 190 bhp high-performance version of the 225 slant-6 called Charger Power was offered with 9.3:1 compression, two-barrel carburetor, more aggressive camshaft, and low-restriction exhaust system. A handful of Savage GTs were also built from the second-generation Barracuda. In 1969, Plymouth placed an increased emphasis on performance. A new option was the Mod Top, a vinyl roof covering with a floral motif, available in 1969 and 1970. Plymouth sold it as a package with seat and door panel inserts done in the same pattern. The 1969 version of the 383 engine was upgraded to increase power output to 330 bhp, and a new trim package called ‘Cuda was released. The ‘Cuda, based on the Formula S option, was available with either the 340, 383 and, new for 1969, the 440 Super Commando V8. A third generation model debuted for 1970.

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The Duster 340 was a semi-fastback two-door coupe version of the compact-sized Plymouth Valiant automobile that was marketed from 1970 to the 1976 model years, and which spawned a Dodge version, called the Demon. The Duster coupe provided the compact-sized Plymouth Valiant with a sporty body style to attract customers. The car was a $15 million effort to update the compact Valiant for the 1970 model year. The Valiant badge appeared only on the first model year Dusters, and continued to be used on all the companion 4-door sedan and 2-door Valiant Scamp hardtop models. The Duster was built on the Valiant platform and shared the same front end sheet metal, but featured a different design from the cowl back. The Duster was also positioned to compete with Ford’s slightly smaller semi-fastback Maverick compact car and the AMC Hornet that were both also introduced in 1970, and the slightly larger semi-fastback Chevrolet Nova whose design was introduced in 1968. While the Maverick and Nova were offered in a 4-door sedan body style, the Duster nameplate was used only for the 2-door coupe. The Duster was also marketed as an alternative to the original Volkswagen Beetle, as well as the new class of domestic subcompact cars such as the Chevrolet Vega. Numerous trim and option package variants of the Duster were offered with names that included Feather Duster, Gold Duster, Silver Duster, Space Duster, Duster Twister, Duster 340 and Duster 360. These marketing variations of the basic Duster design targeted customers seeking economy, cargo capacity, and/or performance. There were detailed changes every year, as was commonplace in America at the time. This is a 1973 model, with the 340 cubic inch (5.6 litre) engine, which was one down from the top of the range (that honour went to a 360 ci car).

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The Plymouth Volaré and the DodgeAspen were introduced in the middle of the 1976 model year. They were the successors to the Chrysler Corporation “A-platform” platform models, the Plymouth Valiant/Plymouth Duster and the Dodge Dart. During the 1976 model year, Valiant/Duster models were sold alongside the Volaré at Chrysler/Plymouth dealerships, and the Dart models were sold alongside the Aspen at Dodge dealerships. After the 1976 model year, the Valiant and Dart models were discontinued. With the Plymouth Volaré and Dodge Aspen models, Chrysler Corporation hoped to offer consumers modern, fuel-efficient cars that seemed to be more luxurious and desirable than the dated Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart predecessors. And, at launch, hopes were high: the Volaré/Aspen were collectively named Motor Trend’s Car of the Year for 1976, and they were hailed by Consumer Reports magazine for their modern design and good performance. However, the Volaré and Aspen suffered from numerous quality problems, frequent product recalls, and early rusting damage that ruined the cars’ reputations and hampered sales. During development, the Volaré/Aspen models were extensively wind-tunnel tested to be aerodynamically sound. This was done to improve fuel economy through reduced wind drag, improve crosswind stability, reduce wind noise, and increase interior ventilation performance. This testing led Chrysler Corporation designers to soften the front end contours of the Volaré/Aspen, remove their roof-drip moldings, and offer improved internal airflow ducting. Body engineering for the Volaré/Aspen was aided with computer technology, as well as the use of clear plastic stress models. These models helped to reveal stress points in the design phase before any sheet metal was formed. Weight reduction to provide improved fuel economy was achieved with thinner glass, lighter side door beams, and high-strength/low alloy steel (HSLA) brackets and reinforcements that reduced weight, yet were four times as strong as conventional mild steel. In addition, a reduced number of steel stampings offered better sheet metal panel fits with fewer welds needed. Larger glass areas gave the new models improved visibility over their predecessors; the vehicles offered a total glass area increase of 25% on two-door models and 33% on sedans. For the new models, the Chrysler Corporation introduced the Isolated Transverse Suspension System; this new front suspension system used torsion bars that crossed and were mounted transversely beneath the engine, a noticeable change from the longitudinal torsion bar suspension that Chrysler had introduced in 1957 and had used on all models up to that time. This new transverse torsion bar system was not as geometrically favorable as its predecessor, but it saved space and weight. In addition, the new front suspension system was touted as giving a “big car ride” as the suspension had a low, or softer, fore-and-aft compliance. This allowed the wheels to move rearward, instead of straight up and down, when the tires encountered an object, thereby dampening the blow and “rolling with” the bump rather than resisting it. The two transverse torsion bars were mounted along with an anti-sway bar forward of the front wheels, integrating both into a spring-strut front suspension. These components were attached to a K-shaped structural cross member, which itself was isolated from the unitized car body by four rubber mounts. The steering column was also rubber-isolated. Wheel alignment adjustments such as caster and camber could be made by removing plates over the wheel housings. Chrysler Corporation also employed the Isolated Transverse Suspension System with their M- and J-platform models. The rear suspension of the Volaré/Aspen was more traditional for Chrysler Corporation passenger cars, as it used a conventional leaf spring (semi-elliptical) suspension system. However, this leaf spring arrangement was also rubber-isolated, which eliminated a metal-to-metal path through which road noise or vibration could be transmitted to the body. Several 1976 Dodge Aspen sedans served as test vehicles for a gas turbine engine installation, in a project sponsored by the United States Department of Energy. Testing began in August 1976. This new turbine engine was a smaller version of Chrysler Corporation’s earlier turbine engine. At the time, the hope was that turbine engines would be cleaner and more efficient than comparably powerful V8 engines, but numerous technical challenges eventually put an end to turbine engine development for automotive applications. According to R. M. “Ham” Schirmer, manager of Dodge car and corporate advertising for Chrysler, the “Aspen” name originated from the codename “Aspen-Vail” when development for it and the Plymouth “sister car” began in 1971. “Aspen is a very pleasant name”, Schirmer said, “people think of the outdoors, but not necessarily skiing when they hear it … it won’t inhibit where we want to position the car because it’s basically neutral.” Nonetheless, Chrysler sponsored the 1976 Dodge Aspen Team K2 Freestyle and opened up World Pro Skiing’s seventh season, in Aspen, Colorado, as the Dodge Aspen Cup, running courses on Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain. Actor Rex Harrison served as pitchman in an advertising campaign for the Dodge Aspen that was inspired by the “Ascot Gavotte” scene in the 1964 movie My Fair Lady, which starred Harrison. In TV and radio advertisements, Harrison performed a “patter song” using the word “unbelievable” spoken in rhythm. The “Volaré” name is Spanish for “I will fly away” or “I will blow away”; it is also Italian for “to fly”. In print and broadcast media, singer Sergio Franchi was featured in Volaré advertisements. Franchi sang the pop song “Volare”, with altered lyrics, in TV and radio commercials for the car. (The accent mark used in the car’s name is not in the Italian word or the song title; Volaré commercials described it as an “accent on quality”.) As replacements for the venerable Plymouth Valiant and Dodge Dart, the Volaré/Aspen twins shared the same engine and transmission choices and three-box body style with their predecessors, but not much else. Available as a four-door wagon, four-door sedan or a two-door coupe, Volaré/Aspen models came in three trim levels: The base model, the “custom” (for both models), and the “Premier” for the Volaré and “SE” (special edition) for the Aspen. In their introductory year, the Volaré and the Aspen differed only in their rear taillight styling, front grill and parking light location, and location of their side trim strips (lower for the Volaré, higher for the Aspen). Their interiors were completely identical and lacked any kind of branding or differentiation as it was not possible to tell from inside the car whether it was a Volaré or an Aspen. Body styles, engine and transmission options, colors, trim options, and other features were identical. Coupes featured frameless door glass but—likely to improve rollover safety—a thick “B” pillar was used, replacing the popular hardtop body style of the Valiant and Dart. The “performance” packages (Road Runner for the Volaré, R/T for the Aspen) were available only on two-door models; they featured mostly trim items and heavy duty suspension systems. The standard engine was Chrysler’s 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant six, and was available with a single-barrel carburetor. Optional engines were a 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8 or a 360 cu in (5.9 L) V8, both with two-barrel carburettors. Total production was 189,900 (Aspen) and 255,008 (Volaré). The second model year for the Volaré/Aspen was mostly a carryover, but there were some significant changes. The standard 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant-six engine was supplemented by an optional “Super Six” version that employed a two-barrel carburetor; this setup had previously been available in Australian and Latin American markets roughly ten years prior. Along with improved performance, this option also helped with the poor driveability problems that plagued the 1976 models. A new T-top removable roof panel option was available for the coupe. Both the Volaré and the Aspen coupe models also offered “performance” appearance packages that consisted of front and rear spoilers, wheel opening flares, and louvered rear windows; the Volaré Road Runner package called these additional options the “Fun Runner” options, while the Aspen R/T package called these additions the “Super Pak” option. The Plymouth Volaré was Canada’s top-selling car this year. Total production was 327,739 (Volaré) and 266,012 (Aspen). The trim line arrangement was changed for 1978. Instead of having separate base, custom, and high-line Volaré premier/Aspen SE models, there was simply the base model, to which the buyer could add custom and premier/SE option packages. For their third production year, the Volaré and Aspen received their first visual update in the form of new front grille and fascia treatments. Starting with the 1978 model year, the standard three-speed manual transmission was no longer available with its shift lever mounted on the steering column; both the standard three-speed and the four-speed overdrive transmissions were only available with their shift levers mounted on the floor. New performance and trim packages for both models included the Volaré “kit car” and the Aspen “super coupe”, which combined performance trim with the 360 cu in (5.9 L) V8, but the six-cylinder engine was standard. The Volaré “kit car”, made in honor of NASCAR legend Richard Petty, was supposed to look as much like a race car as possible. The wheels had no hubcaps, the wheel opening flares had a bolted-on look, and even the windshield had metal tie-downs just like the race cars. Unlike a race car, the kit car came standard with an automatic transmission. A special addition was a decal kit with large door mountable “43” decals and “360” decals for the hood. These decals were shipped in the trunk either to be installed by the dealer or by the owner. It was available in blue or red. A total of 145 were built. The Aspen super coupe included GR60x15 Goodyear GT radial tires on 15×8-inch wheels, a heavy-duty suspension with a rear sway bar, and a matte black finish on the hood. It was available in only one colour: sable tan sunfire metallic. Special three-color (orange, yellow, and red) stripes separated the body color from the matte black colors. A total of 494 were built. Wider tail light lenses with amber turn signals replaced the previous all-red lenses on Volaré and Aspen coupes and sedans. For the 1978 model year, sales were down over 30% from 1977; total production came to 166,419 (Aspen) and 217,795 (Volaré). The 1979 model year saw few changes. The only visible difference was the replacement of the amber rear turn signals with red ones. For the Volaré, a new coupe-only “Duster” trim package mirrored the Aspen “Sunrise” package, consisting mainly of new stripes and louvered rear windows. The 1978 option packages continued into 1979, with the exception of the super coupe and kit car options. A federally-mandated maximum 85 mph (137 km/h) speedometer, new colors, and a diagnostic connector for the engine were added. Station wagon models were available with a “sport package” (Volaré) or as a “sport wagon” (Aspen) with special stripes, a front air dam, and wheel arch flares. Total 1979 production came to 178,819 (Volaré) and 121,354 For its final year of production, and at the insistence of Lee Iacocca, the Volaré and Aspen were restyled. They gained new front styling (very similar to the Ford Fairmont) with a thin grille and rectangular headlamps. This was achieved by sharing the hood, fenders, and front bumper with the Dodge Diplomat. Premier and SE packages were available, but now only available on the sedan and coupe. The Volaré Duster trim package was also available for the 1980 model year. The R/T package was installed on 285 Aspens for this year. The 360 cu in (5.9 L) V8 was dropped for 1980, leaving the 318 cu in (5.2 L) V8 as the top engine choice. Power from the 318 V8 engine was reduced from 140 hp at 4,000 rpm to 120 hp at 3,600 rpm in two-barrel models. Four-barrel versions of the 318 V8 saw their output increase from 140 hp (non-California) at 4,000 rpm to 155 hp at 4,000 rpm. The 225 cu in (3.7 L) slant six engine remained the base engine offering. The Super Six two-barrel carburettor option was dropped, leaving only the single-barrel, Holley 1945 carburetor for the venerable slant six engine. In this configuration, the slant six produced 90 hp at 3,600 rpm. Total production came to 67,318 (Aspen) and 90,063 (Volaré), though a significant portion of the sales were for fleet (police and taxi) use.

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PONTIAC

This is a Catalina. The 1961 full-sized Pontiacs were completely restyled with more squared-off bodylines, the reintroduction of the split grille first seen in 1959 and dropped for 1960 and an all-new Torque-Box perimeter frame with side rails replacing the “X” frame chassis used since 1958. The new frame not only provides greater side-impact protection than the “X” design but also improves interior roominess. The distinctive protruding grille made its appearance on all Pontiac products during the early 1960s, and was a modern revival of a similar appearance on Pontiac products during the 1930s and early 1940s, as demonstrated on the Pontiac Torpedo. Rooflines are more squared off on four-door models with the six-window styling dropped on pillared sedans and wider C-pillars with flat rear windows on four-door hardtops. A revised version of the 1959-60 “bubbletop” roof was used on two-door hardtops. Wrap-around windshields were dropped in favor of flatter glasswork for improved entry and exit to the front seat. The new body is somewhat smaller and lighter than the 1960 model with the wheelbase down three inches (76 mm) to 119, overall length reduced by the same to 210 in (5,300 mm) and width dropping nearly two inches to 78.2 from 80 in (2,032.0 mm) 1960. The front and rear track of the 1961-62 Pontiac was reduced to 62.5 in (1,590 mm) front and rear. The 1961 Pontiac was advertised as “all Pontiac…on a new wide track.” All engines were again 389 cu in (6.4 L) V8s as in previous years, now called “Trophy” engines. rather than “Tempest” (including the larger 421ci “big bore” engine). Standard engines are two-barrel units rated at 215 hp with the three-speed manual transmission or 267 hp with the optional Hydramatic, with a 230 hp regular-fuel-capable “economy” V8 offered as a no-cost option with the Hydramatic. Offered as extra-cost options were more powerful versions of the 389 including a 303 hp version with a four-barrel carburetor or 318 hp Tri-Power option. New to the options list were two higher performance versions of the 389, including a four-barrel 333 hp unit and a 348 hp Tri-Power option, both with higher, 10.75:1, compression ratios. A 363 hp engine was offered to drag racers. Late in the 1961 sales season the 421 cu in (6.9 L) Super Duty was released for sale as a dealer installed engine. The 1961 models never came from the assembly line with the 421ci engine; instead it was a specialty item installed and sold at the discretion of individual dealers. A new “three-speed four-range” “Roto Hydramatic” automatic transmission replaced the previous four-speed unit for 1961. The new transmission is slimmer and lighter than the older four-speed Hydramatic, which was continued on the larger Star Chief and Bonneville models. Also new for 1961 was a four-speed manual transmission with Hurst floor shifter, available on special order. The 1962 Pontiacs received a heavy facelift from the 1961 design with more rounded body contours and new rooflines on two-door hardtops featuring convertible-like bows. Catalina sedans and coupes got a 1-inch (25 mm) wheelbase increase to 120″, after spending 1961 on a 119-inch (3,000 mm) length shared with full-sized Chevys (Safari wagons retained the 119-inch (3,000 mm) wheelbase through 1964). 1962 also saw the introduction of the Grand Prix, a sporty version of the Catalina hardtop coupe. Most regular engine and transmission offerings were carried over from 1961 with the 389 cu in (6.4 L) Trophy V8, ranging in power ratings from 215 hp to 348 hp. A small number of 1962 Catalinas and other Pontiacs were built with a “non-streetable” 421 cu in (6.9 L) Super Duty V8 with two four-barrel carburettors and 405 hp as a US$2,250 option (when the base Catalina listed at US$2,725), along with various “over the counter” performance options offered by Pontiac including aluminium bumpers and even lighter frames with drilled holes (which were dubbed the “Swiss cheese” frames). For 1963, Catalinas and other full-sized Pontiacs featured cleaner, squared-off bodylines and vertical headlights flanking the split grille, but retained the same dimensions and basic bodyshell of 1961-62 models except for the rear flanks of the new coke bottle styling and due to this styling the rear track was extended to the 59 and 60 Pontiac’s 64″ wide track. Engine offerings were revised as the 333 hp and 348 hp versions of the 389 V8 were dropped in favor of “production” versions of the larger 421 cu in (6.9 L) rated at 338 horsepower with four-barrel carburettor, 353 hp with Tri-Power, or a 370 hp “HO” with Tri-Power . The 405 hp Super Duty 421 was still offered to racing teams during the early portion of the model year but discontinued after General Motors ordered Pontiac (and Chevrolet) to “cease and desist” from factory-supported racing efforts in February 1963. New options for 1963 included a tilt steering wheel that could be adjusted to six different positions, AM/FM radio and cruise control. The 1963 Grand Prix got a brand new body with a unique roofline along with unique front and rear end styling. Although still based on the Catalina, the GP looked much larger, more powerful and more luxurious. It featured sumptuous Morrokide bucket seats and a chrome-trimmed centre console with floor shifter for the optional Hydra-Matic or 4-speed manual transmissions. Mild facelifting including new grilles and taillights highlighted the 1964 full-sized Pontiacs. Engine and transmission offerings were unchanged from 1963 except for a new GM-built Muncie four-speed manual replacing the Borg-Warner T-10 unit. Also new for 1964, was the 2+2 option package available on Catalina two-door hardtops and convertibles that included bucket seats, heavy-duty suspension and other performance equipment, along with the same selection of 389 cu in (6.4 L) and 421 cu in (6.9 L) V8s found in other Catalinas. The 64 2+2 was a trim option only with the same standard engine as the base Catalina. It was only until 1965 that the 421 engine became the standard engine on the 2+2. Throughout most of the 1960s when Pontiac annually captured third place in industry sales, behind Chevrolet and Ford, the Catalina was also often the industry’s third best-selling full-sized car behind the first-place Chevrolet Impala and second-place Ford Galaxie 500. The Catalina’s success in the low-medium priced field led many competitors to respond with similar products such as the 1961 Chrysler Newport, a less-expensive Chrysler that was priced lower than base models bearing the Chrysler nameplate in recent previous years; and the 1962 Dodge Custom 880 and 1963 Mercury Monterey, both of which were introduced as full-fledged low-medium priced full-sized cars in size and power that followed unsuccessful efforts by Mercury and Dodge to bring out downsized full-sized cars. In 1964, even Pontiac’s mid-priced rivals within General Motors responded to the Catalina’s success in the marketplace as well as to capture Chevy Impala owners “trading up” to cars from upscale GM divisions. Buick took its lowest-priced big car, the LeSabre, and lowered the base sticker price further by substituting a smaller 300 cu in (4.9 L) V8 engine and two-speed automatic transmission from its intermediate-sized cars in place of the 401 cu in (6.6 L) V8 and three-speed automatic used in other big Buicks. Oldsmobile went even further by creating a whole new full-sized series, the Jetstar 88, which was $75 lower than the Dynamic 88 series (but still a few dollars higher than comparable Pontiac Catalina models) and also got a smaller engine – a 330 cu in (5.4 L) V8 and two-speed automatic transmission from the intermediate F-85/Cutlass line, along with smaller 9.5 in (240 mm) brake drums (also from the GM intermediates) compared to the 11–12 in drums still found on all other GM full-sized cars from the bare-bones six-cylinder Chevrolet Biscayne to the Cadillac 75 limousine. And since the Catalina was still priced lower than the Jetstar and LeSabre, the lowest-priced full-sized Pontiac was often perceived by buyers as a better value in the marketplace due to its larger standard V8 engine and three-speed automatic transmission, and (in comparison to the Jetstar 88) bigger brakes. A third generation car arrived for 1965.

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A close relative of the Camaro seen earlier in this report, this is the Firebird. The fourth-generation Firebird amplified the aerodynamic styling initiated by the previous generation. While the live rear axle and floorpan aft of the front seats remained largely the same, ninety percent of the Firebird’s parts were all-new. Overall, the styling of the Firebird more strongly reflected the Banshee IV concept car than the 1991 “facelift” did. As with the Camaro, major improvements included standard dual airbags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, 16-inch wheels, rack-and-pinion power steering, short/long-arm front suspension, and several non-rusting composite body panels. Throughout its fourth generation, trim levels included V6-powered Firebird, and V8-powered Formula and Trans Am. Standard manual transmissions were the T5 five-speed manual for the V6s, Borg-Warner’s T56 six-speed manual for the V8s. The 4L60 four-speed automatic was optional for both in 1993, becoming the 4L60E with built-in electronic controls in 1994. From 1993 until 1995 (1995 non-California cars), Firebirds received a 160 hp 3.4 L V6, an enhanced version of the third-generation’s 3.1 L V6. Beginning mid-year 1995 onward, a Series II 3.8 L V6 with 200 hp became the Firebird’s sole engine. From 1993 to 1997, the sole engine for the Formula and Trans Am was the 5.7 L LT1 V8, essentially identical to the LT1 in the C4 Corvette except for more flow-restrictive intake and exhaust systems. Steering wheel audio controls were included with optional uplevel cassette or compact disc stereo systems. Beginning with 1994 model year cars, “Delco 2001”-series stereo systems replaced the previous Delco units.[30]:898 This revised series, also introduced for other Pontiac car lines, featured ergonomically-designed control panels with larger buttons and an optional seven-band graphic equalizer. Also in 1994, the fourth-generation convertible was available; every Firebird (and Camaro) convertible featured a glass rear window with a built-in electric defroster. The 1995 models were the same as those of previous years, but traction control (ASR: acceleration slip regulation) was available for LT1 Firebirds, controlled by a switch on the console. The steering wheels in all Firebirds were also changed; their optional built-in audio controls were more closely grouped on each side. The “Trans Am GT” trim level was dropped from the lineup after its model year run in 1994. For 1995, all Trans Ams received 155-mph speedometers and Z-rated tires. 1995 was also the first year of the vented version of the Opti-Spark distributors on LT1 F-cars, addressing a common mechanical fault with the unit. The ‘transmission perform’ button was available only in the 1994 and 1995 Formula and Trans Am. This option was stopped for the 1996 and later models, but the unused connections remain available for 1996 and 1997 Formula and Trans Am. While 1995 cars still used the OBD-I (on-board diagnostic) computer system (the last year of any American car including the F-body to use OBD-I), a majority of them had OBD-II connector ports under the dash. Firebird performance levels improved for 1996, with the establishment of the stronger 200-hp 3.8 L V6 as the new base engine, and the power rating of the LT1 increased to 285 for 1996, due to its new dual catalytic-converter exhaust system. 1996 was also the first model year of the OBD-II computer system. Optional performance enhancements were available for each Firebird trim level; the Y87 performance packages for V6s added mechanical features of the V8 setups, such as four-wheel disc brakes, faster-response steering, limited-slip rear differential, and dual tailpipes. For Formulas and Trans Ams, functional dual-inlet “Ram Air” hoods returned as part of the WS6 performance package. The optional package boosted rated horsepower from 285 to 305, and torque from 325 lb·ft to 335. Also included were 17×9-wheels wheels with 275/40ZR17 tyres, suspension improvements, oval dual tailpipe tips, and a WS6 badge. Bilstein shocks were a further option with the package. The 1997 model year introduced standard air conditioning, daytime running lamps (utilizing the front turn signal lamps), digital odometers, and optional 500-watt Monsoon cassette or compact disc stereo systems to all Firebird trim levels. For V6 Firebirds, a W68 sport appearance package was also introduced as a counterpart to the Camaro RS trim level. The WS6 “Ram Air” performance package was now also an option for the Formula and Trans Am convertibles, although these convertibles did not receive the 17-inch wheel-and-tire combination. There were 41 Formula convertibles and 463 Trans Am convertibles produced from 1996 to 1997 with the WS6 package. In 1997, in relation to the Camaro, the Firebird received a mid-cycle refresh for the 1998 model year. Major changes included a new hood and front fascia with dual intakes, retracting quad halogen headlights, circular turn signals and fog lamps, a front license plate pocket, lower fender air vents, unified-style lower door raised lettering for each trim level, and a new “honeycomb” rear light panel, with circular reverse lamps. In the dashboard, “next-generation” reduced-force dual airbags became standard. As before, the Formula and Trans Am again received a close derivative of the Corvette’s 5.7 L V8, the LS1 of the C5 Corvette, as the LT1 (and LT4) V8s were discontinued.: The LS1 Firebirds were also equipped with an aluminium driveshaft, replacing the previous steel version, while all Firebird trim levels gained four-wheel disc brakes with dual-piston front calipers and larger rotors at each wheel, complete with a solenoid-based Bosch anti-lock system. The Formula convertible was no longer offered. Beginning in 1998 for 1999 models, a standard 16.8-gallon non-metallic fuel tank increased the potential travelling range. GM’s ASR traction control system was extended to the V6-powered Firebirds, and all LS1 (V8) and Y87 (V6) Firebirds also received a Zexel/Torsen II slip-reduction rear axle. An electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) system replaced the old hydraulic proportioning valve for improved brake performance. An enhanced sensing and diagnostic module (SDM) recorded vehicle speed, engine rpm, throttle position, and brake use in the last five seconds prior to airbag deployment. In 1999, a Hurst shifter for variants with the 6-speed manual and a power steering cooler became options for LS1 Firebirds. In 2000, the WS6 performance package was available exclusively for the 2001 model year Trans Am coupe and convertible variants. For 2002, more convenience items such as power mirrors and power antenna became standard equipment, while cassette stereos were phased out.

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PORSCHE

Although rare in the UK, you are more likely to see a 914 here, as the vast majority of these cars were sold new into the US. Accordingly, there was a 914 2.0 here. The 914 was born of a joint need that Porsche had for a replacement for the 912, and Volkswagen’s desire for a new range-topping sports coupe to replace the Karmann Ghia. At the time, the majority of Volkswagen’s developmental work was handled by Porsche, part of a setup that dated back to Porsche’s founding; Volkswagen needed to contract out one last project to Porsche to fulfill the contract, and decided to make this that project. Ferdinand Piëch, who was in charge of research and development at Porsche, was put in charge of the 914 project. Originally intending to sell the vehicle with a flat four-cylinder engine as a Volkswagen and with a flat six-cylinder engine as a Porsche, Porsche decided during development that having Volkswagen and Porsche models sharing the same body would be risky for business in the American market, and convinced Volkswagen to allow them to sell both versions as Porsches in North America. On March 1, 1968, the first 914 prototype was presented. However, development became complicated after the death of Volkswagen’s chairman, Heinz Nordhoff, on April 12, 1968. His successor, Kurt Lotz, was not connected with the Porsche dynasty and the verbal agreement between Volkswagen and Porsche fell apart. In Lotz’s opinion, Volkswagen had all rights to the model, and no incentive to share it with Porsche if they would not share in tooling expenses. With this decision, the price and marketing concept for the 914 had failed before series production had begun. As a result, the price of the chassis went up considerably, and the 914/6 ended up costing only a bit less than the 911T, Porsche’s next lowest price car. The 914/6 sold quite poorly while the much less expensive 914/4 became Porsche’s top seller during its model run, outselling the Porsche 911 by a wide margin with over 118,000 units sold worldwide. Volkswagen versions originally featured an 80 PS fuel-injected 1.7 L flat-4 engine based on the Volkswagen air-cooled engine. Porsche’s 914/6 variant featured a carburettor 110 PS 2.0 litre flat-6 engine from the 1969 911T, placed amidships in front of a version of the 1969 911’s “901” gearbox configured for a mid-engine car. Karmann manufactured the rolling chassis at their plant, completing Volkswagen production in-house or delivering versions to Porsche for their final assembly. 914/6 models used lower gear ratios and high brake gearing in order to try to overcome the greater weight of the 6 cylinder engine along with higher power output. Suspension, brakes, and handling were otherwise the same. A Volkswagen-Porsche joint venture, Volkswagen of America, handled export to the U.S., where both versions were badged and sold as Porsches, except in California, where they were sold in Volkswagen dealerships. The four-cylinder cars were sold as Volkswagen-Porsches at European Volkswagen dealerships. Slow sales and rising costs prompted Porsche to discontinue the 914/6 variant in 1972 after producing 3,351 of them; its place in the lineup was filled by a variant powered by a new 100 PS 2.0 litre, fuel-injected version of Volkswagen’s Type 4 engine in 1973. For 1974, the 1.7 L engine was replaced by a 85 PS 1.8 litre, and the new Bosch L-Jetronic fuel injection system was added to American units to help with emissions control. 914 production ended in 1976. The 2.0 litre flat-4 engine continued to be used in the 912E, which provided an entry-level model until the 924 was introduced.

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Porsche unveiled the facelifted 991.2 GT3 at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Extensive changes were made to the engine allowing for a 9,000 rpm redline from the 4.0 litre flat-six engine derived from Porsche 911 GT3 R and Cup racing cars. The engine has a power output of 500 PS (493 bhp) and 460 Nm (339 lb/ft) of torque. Porsche’s focus was on reducing internal friction to improve throttle response. Compared to the 991.1, the rear spoiler is 0.8 inch taller and located farther back to be more effective resulting in a 20% increase in downforce. There is a new front spoiler and changes to the rear suspension along with larger ram air ducts. The car generates 154 kg (340 lb) of downforce at top speed. The 991.2 GT3 brought back the choice between a manual transmission or a PDK dual clutch transmission. Performance figures include a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 3.8 seconds (3.2 seconds for the PDK version) and a quarter mile time of 11.6 seconds. The GT3 can attain a top speed of 319 km/h (198 mph).

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From the 991 generation was this 911 GT2 RS. The car was officially launched by Porsche at the 2017 Goodwood Festival of Speed along with the introduction of the 911 Turbo S Exclusive Series. The 991 GT2 RS is powered by a 3.8 L twin-turbocharged flat-6 engine that has a maximum power output of 700 PS (691 bhp) at 7,000 rpm and 750 Nm (553 lb/ft) of torque, making it the most powerful production 911 variant ever built. Unlike the previous GT2 versions, this car is fitted with a 7-speed PDK transmission to handle the excessive torque produced from the engine. Porsche claims that the car will accelerate from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds, and has a top speed of 340 km/h (211 mph). The car has a roof made of magnesium, front lid, front and rear wings and boot lid made of carbon-fibre, front and rear apron made of lightweight polyurethane, rear and side windows made of polycarbonate and a exhaust system made of titanium. Porsche claims that the car has a wet weight of 1,470 kg (3,241 lb). A Weissach package option is available, which reduces weight by 30 kg (66 lb), courtesy of the additional use of carbon-fibre and titanium parts. This includes the roof, the anti-roll bars, and the coupling rods on both axles being made out of carbon-fibre, while the roll cage is made from titanium. The package also includes a set of magnesium wheels. Deliveries started in 2018 and Porsche said that they would only build 1,000 units. Production ceased in February 2019.

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RAMBLER

The second-generation Rambler American was achieved through a heavy restyling of the previous year’s model under AMC’s styling Vice President Edmund E. Anderson. While mechanically identical to the 1960 model, Anderson’s restyle resulted in a car that was three inches (76 mm) narrower and shorter in its exterior dimensions with an overall length of 173.1 inches (4,397 mm), but increased in its cargo capacity. Continuing to ride on the 100-inch (2,540 mm) wheelbase, the American’s new styling was more square (sometimes described as “breadbox”) instead of the round “roly-poly” shape (or “bathtub”), and the visual connection with the original 1950 Nash model had finally disappeared along with the last of the engineering compromises required to accommodate George Mason’s favoured skirted front wheels as the new skin, designed from the outset with open wheel arches in mind, reduced overall width a full three inches. Popular Mechanics wrote “seldom has a car been completely restyled as the 1961 Rambler American and yet retain the same engine, driveline, suspension on the same unit body”. All outside sheet metal was changed, but the side window frames remained the same as previous models. Only the back glass changed to conform to the new roofline. The firewall and dashboard were new stampings, with the clutch and brake pedals moved from under the floor to the firewall. For 1961 the American line added a four-door station wagon and a two-door convertible for the first time since 1954. It featured a power-operated folding top with roll-down door glass, rather than the fixed side-window frames of the original design. Passenger room increased from five to six. The straight-six engine was modernized with an overhead-valve cylinder head for higher-grade models, but the base cars continued with the flathead engine. American Motors built a new assembly plant in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, for the production of Rambler Americans, as well as the larger Rambler Classics. Setting new sales records, American Motors continued its “policy of making changes only when they truly benefited the customer.” The 1962 model year Rambler American lineup was essentially the same as 1961. Model designations changed with the Custom trim becoming a 400. A new “E-stick” option combined a manual three-speed transmission with an automatic clutch as a low-cost alternative to the fully automatic transmission. The E-stick was also available in conjunction with an overdrive unit. The system cost $59.50, but offered stick-shift economy, performance, and driver control without a clutch pedal by using engine oil pressure and intake manifold vacuum to engage and disengage the clutch when shifting gears. Although the Big Three domestic automakers had introduced competitive compact models by 1962, the Rambler American remained the oldest, smallest, and “stubbornly unique”, refusing “to conform to Detroit’s standard pattern for scaled-down automobiles” and “free of gimmicky come-ons.” A 10,000-mile (16,093 km) road test by Popular Science described the 1962 Rambler American as “sturdy, solid, dependable little automobile, comfortable to drive … a good buy for what it’s built for – transportation, not a status symbol.” The automaker’s president, George W. Romney, appeared prominently in advertisements, asking potential customers to “think hard” about new cars and describing “more than 100 improvements in the 1962 Ramblers” and why they are not available in competitive cars, as well as AMC “workers as progress-sharing partners” so that buyers can “expect superior craftsmanship.” For 1963, model designations were changed once again with the 400 now called 440. A new hardtop (no B-pillar) coupe body design debuted, whose steel roof was designed to mimic the appearance of a closed convertible top. This was a one-model-year-only design with a thin profile, clean lines, stamped faux-convertible ribs, and a textured finish. A special top-of-the-line model called the 440-H was equipped with sports-type features, including individually adjustable reclining front bucket seats and a center console, as well as a more powerful 138 hp version of Rambler’s stalwart 195.6 cu in (3.2 L) inline-six engine. An optional console-shifted “Twin-Stick” manual overdrive transmission was introduced. This transmission has a bigger gap between second and third gears compared to the regular three-speed transmissions with overdrive (that operated like a five-speed although the driver needed to know the governor cut-in speed, free-wheeling, as well as when to lock the overdrive in or out). This allowed the transmission to be shifted as a five-speed (1, 2, 2+OD, 3, and 3+OD). The Twin-Stick-shift had the kick-down button on top of the main shift-knob to facilitate five-speed shifting. The entire product line from AMC earned the Motor Trend Car of the Year award for 1963. The recognition was used by AMC to promote the carryover Rambler American models. First, as the Nash Rambler and then as two generations of the Rambler American, this automobile platform performed the rare feat of having two distinct and successful model runs, an almost unheard-of phenomenon in automobile history. The convertible and hardtop were the sportiest of the final 100-inch (2,540 mm) wheelbase Rambler Americans, and arguably the most desirable now. A third generation model appeared for the 1965 model year.

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SATURN

The Saturn Sky is a roadster that was produced by Saturn, and was initially released in the first quarter of 2006 as a 2007 model. It uses the Kappa automobile platform shared with the Pontiac Solstice. The Sky concept was shown at the 2005 North American International Auto Show, with the production version following at the 2006 show. It was built at GM’s Wilmington Assembly plant in Wilmington, Delaware, alongside the Solstice. The Sky featured 18-inch (457 mm) wheels and a 2.4 L Ecotec LE5 I4 engine that produced 177 hp, a new straight-4 2.0 L turbocharged direct injected engine that made 260 hp as well as an optional dealer-installed turbo upgrade kit that made 290 hp. Both five-speed manual and automatic transmissions were available. The styling for the Sky, penned by Franz von Holzhausen, was based on the Vauxhall VX Lightning Concept’s design. It was available in some European markets as the Opel GT. A rebadged version named the Daewoo G2X was unveiled as a concept vehicle for the South Korean market in 2006. The production version was released in September 2007. The Wilmington Assembly plant closed in July 2009, ending production as both the Pontiac and Saturn nameplates were retired.

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TOYOTA

Sole Toyota of note was this GR Supra, very much a current model.

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TRIUMPH

The TR6 was the first Triumph for some time not to have been styled by Michelotti. By the mid 1960s, money was tight, so when it came to replacing the TR4 and TR5 models, Triumph were forced into trying to minimise the costs of the redesign, which meant that they kept the central section of the old car, but came up with new bodywork with the front and back ends were squared off, reportedly based on a consultancy contract involving Karmann. The resulting design, which did look modern when it was unveiled in January 1969 has what is referred to as a Kamm tail, which was very common during 1970s era of cars and a feature on most Triumphs of the era. All TR6 models featured inline six-cylinder engines. For the US market the engine was carburetted, as had been the case for the US-only TR250 engine. Like the TR5, the TR6 was fuel-injected for other world markets including the United Kingdom, hence the TR6PI (petrol-injection) designation. The Lucas mechanical fuel injection system helped the home-market TR6 produce 150 bhp at model introduction. Later, the non-US TR6 variant was detuned to 125 bhp for it to be easier to drive, while the US variant continued to be carburetted with a mere 104 hp. Sadly, the Lucas injection system proved somewhat troublesome, somewhat denting the appeal of the car. The TR6 featured a four-speed manual transmission. An optional overdrive unit was a desirable feature because it gave drivers close gearing for aggressive driving with an electrically switched overdrive which could operate on second, third, and fourth gears on early models and third and fourth on later models because of constant gearbox failures in second at high revs. Both provided “long legs” for open motorways. TR6 also featured semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension, rack and pinion steering, 15-inch wheels and tyres, pile carpet on floors and trunk/boot, bucket seats, and a full complement of instrumentation. Braking was accomplished by disc brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear. A factory steel hardtop was optional, requiring two people to fit it. TR6 construction was fundamentally old-fashioned: the body was bolted onto a frame instead of the two being integrated into a unibody structure; the TR6 dashboard was wooden (plywood with veneer). Other factory options included a rear anti-roll bar and a limited-slip differential. Some say that the car is one of Leyland’s best achievements, but a number of issues were present and remain because of poor design. As well as the fuel injection problems, other issues include a low level radiator top-up bottle and a poor hand-brake. As is the case with other cars of the era, the TR6 can suffer from rust issues, although surviving examples tend to be well-cared for. The TR6 can be prone to overheating. Many owners fit an aftermarket electric radiator fan to supplement or replace the original engine-driven fan. Also the Leyland factory option of an oil cooler existed. Despite the reliability woes, the car proved popular, selling in greater quantity than any previous TR, with 94,619 of them produced before production ended in mid 1976. Of these, 86,249 were exported and only 8,370 were sold in the UK. A significant number have since been re-imported, as there are nearly 3000 of these much loved classics on the road and a further 1300 on SORN, helped by the fact that parts and services to support ownership of a TR6 are readily available and a number of classic car owners’ clubs cater for the model.

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VOLKSWAGEN

There were a number of examples of the Beetle, which is hardly surprising as this car sold in large numbers in the US during the 50s and 60s and the favourable climate here means that rust has not attacked them in the way it did elsewhere in the world.

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As well as the regular saloon there was an example of the Cabrio. These were produced by Karmann at their Osnabruck facility. Production of an open-topped Type 1 Beetle Cabriolet began in 1949. The convertible was more than a Beetle with a folding top. To compensate for the strength lost in removing the roof, the sills were reinforced with welded U-channel rails, a transverse beam was fitted below the front edge of the rear seat cushion, and the side cowl-panels below the instrument panel were double-wall. In addition, the lower corners of the door apertures had welded-in curved gussets, and the doors had secondary alignment wedges at the B-pillar. The top was cabriolet-style with a full inner headliner hiding the folding mechanism and crossbars. In between the two top layers was 1 in (25 mm) of insulation. The rear window was tempered safety glass, and after 1968, heated. Due to the thickness of the top, it remained quite tall when folded. To enable the driver to see over the lowered top, the inside rearview was mounted on an offset pivot. By twisting the mirror 180 degrees on a longitudinal axis, the mirror glass would raise approximately 2 in (5.1 cm). The convertible was generally more lavishly equipped than the sedan with dual rear ashtrays, twin map pockets, a visor vanity mirror on the passenger side, rear stone shields, and through 1969, wheel trim rings. Many of these items did not become available on other Beetles until the advent of the optional “L” (Luxus) Package of 1970. After a number of stylistic and technical alterations made to the Karmann cabriolet, corresponding to the many changes VW made to the Beetle throughout its history, the last of 331,847 cabriolets came off the production line on 10 January 1980.

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The Type 1 Karmann Ghia Coupe debuted at the October 1953 Paris Auto Show as a styling concept created for Ghia by Luigi Segre. In the early 1950s, Volkswagen was producing its economy car, the Type 1 (Beetle), but with an increase in post-war standards of living, executives at Volkswagen proposed adding a halo car to its model range, contracting with German coachbuilder Karmann for its manufacture. Karmann in turn contracted the Italian firm Ghia, who adapted styling themes previously explored for Chrysler and Studebaker to a Beetle floorpan widened by 12 in. Virgil Exner claimed that the design was his, based on the 1953 Chrysler D’Elegance. In contrast to the Beetle’s machine-welded body with bolt-on wings, the Karmann Ghia’s body panels were butt-welded, hand-shaped, and smoothed with English pewter in a time-consuming process commensurate with higher-end manufacturers, resulting in the Karmann Ghia’s higher price. The design and prototype were well received by Volkswagen executives, and in August 1955 the first Type 14 was manufactured in Osnabrück, Germany. Public reaction to the Type 14 exceeded expectations, and more than 10,000 were sold in the first year. The Type 14 was marketed as a practical and stylish 2+2 rather than as a true sports car. As they shared engines, the Type 14’s engine displacement grew concurrently with the Type 1 (Beetle), ultimately arriving at a displacement of 1584 cc, producing 60 hp. In August 1957, Volkswagen introduced a convertible version of the Karmann Ghia. Exterior changes in 1961 included wider and finned front grilles, taller and more rounded rear taillights and headlights relocated to a higher position – with previous models and their lower headlight placement called lowlights. The Italian designer Sergio Sartorelli, designer of the larger Type 34 model, oversaw the various restylings of the Type 14. In 1970, larger taillights integrated the reversing lights and larger wrap-around indicators. Still larger and wider taillights increased side visibility. In 1972, large square-section bumpers replaced the smooth round originals. For the USA model only, 1973 modifications mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) included energy-absorbing bumpers. A carpeted package shelf replaced the rear seat. In late 1974 the car was superseded by the Porsche 914 and the Golf based Scirocco..

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There was also a 181 Trekka here. These were made from 1968 to 1983. Originally developed for the West German Army, the Type 181 was also sold to the public, as the Kurierwagen in West Germany, the Trekker (RHD Type 182) in the United Kingdom, the Thing in the United States (1973–74), the Safari in Mexico and South America, and Pescaccia in Italy. Civilian sales ended after model year 1980. Manufactured in Wolfsburg (1968–74), Hannover (1974–83), Puebla, Mexico (1970–80), and Jakarta, Indonesia (1973–80), the Type 181 shared its mechanicals with Volkswagen’s Type 1 (Beetle) and the pre-1968 Volkswagen Microbus, its floor pan with the Type 1 Karmann Ghia, and its concept with the company’s Kübelwagen, which had been used by the German military during World War II. 90,883 were built.

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There were a couple of examples of the Type 2 “Bus”, the second generation of VW’s versatile van range, first seen in late 1967. It was built in Germany until 1979. In Mexico, the Volkswagen Kombi and Panel were produced from 1970 to 1994. Models before 1971 are often called the T2a (or “Early Bay”), while models after 1972 are called the T2b (or “Late Bay”). This second-generation Type 2 lost its distinctive split front windshield, and was slightly larger and considerably heavier than its predecessor. Its common nicknames are Breadloaf and Bay-window, or Loaf and Bay for short. At 1.6 litres and 47 bhp DIN, the engine was also slightly larger. The battery and electrical system was upgraded to 12 volts, making it incompatible with electric accessories from the previous generation. The new model also did away with the swing axle rear suspension and transfer boxes previously used to raise ride height. Instead, half-shaft axles fitted with constant velocity joints raised ride height without the wild changes in camber of the Beetle-based swing axle suspension. The updated Bus transaxle is usually sought after by off-road racers using air-cooled Volkswagen components. The T2b was introduced by way of gradual change over three years. The first models featured rounded bumpers incorporating a step for use when the door was open (replaced by indented bumpers without steps on later models), front doors that opened to 90° from the body, no lip on the front guards, unique engine hatches, and crescent air intakes in the D-pillars (later models after the Type 4 engine option was offered, have squared off intakes). The 1971 Type 2 featured a new, 1.6 litre engine with dual intake ports on each cylinder head and was DIN-rated at 50 bhp. An important change came with the introduction of front disc brakes and new roadwheels with brake ventilation holes and flatter hubcaps. Up until 1972, front indicators are set low on the nose rather than high on either side of the fresh air grille – giving rise to their being nicknamed “Low Lights”. 1972’s most prominent change was a bigger engine compartment to fit the larger 1.7- to 2.0-litre engines from the Volkswagen Type 4, and a redesigned rear end which eliminated the removable rear apron and introduced the larger late tail lights. The air inlets were also enlarged to accommodate the increased cooling air needs of the larger engines. In 1971 the 1600cc Type 1 engine as used in the Beetle, was supplemented with the 1700cc Type 4 engine – as it was originally designed for the Type 4 (411 and 412) models. European vans kept the option of upright fan Type 1 1600 engine but the 1700 Type 4 became standard for US spec models. In the Type 2, the Type 4 engine, or “pancake engine”, was an option for the 1972 model year onward. This engine was standard in models destined for the US and Canada. Only with the Type 4 engine did an automatic transmission become available for the first time in the 1973 model year. Both engines were 1.7 L, DIN-rated at 66 bhp with the manual transmission and 62 bhp with the automatic. The Type 4 engine was enlarged to 1.8 L and 67 bhp DIN for the 1974 model year and again to 2.0 L and 70 bhp DIN for the 1976 model year. The two-litre option appeared in South African manufactured models during 1976, originally only in a comparably well-equipped “Executive” model. The 1978 2.0 L now featured hydraulic valve lifters, eliminating the need to periodically adjust the valve clearances as on earlier models. The 1975 and later U.S. model years received Bosch L-Jetronic electronic fuel injection as standard equipment; 1978 was the first year for electronic ignition, utilising a hall effect sensor and digital controller, eliminating maintenance-requiring contact-breaker points. As with all Transporter engines, the focus in development was not on power, but on low-end torque. The Type 4 engines were considerably more robust and durable than the Type 1 engines, particularly in Transporter service. In 1972, exterior revisions included relocated front turn indicators, squared off and set higher in the valance, above the headlights. Also, square-profiled bumpers, which became standard until the end of the T2 in 1979, were introduced in 1973. Crash safety improved with this change because of a compressible structure behind the front bumper. This meant that the T2b was capable of meeting US safety standards for passenger cars of the time, though not required of vans. The “VW” emblem on the front valance became slightly smaller. Later model changes were primarily mechanical. By 1974, the T2 had gained its final shape. Very late in the T2’s design life, during the late 1970s, the first prototypes of Type 2 vans with four-wheel drive (4WD) were built and tested.

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As when I sampled this event in 2019, this proved to be an enjoyable way to spend the late afternoon and early evening. It certainly felt quite different to a UK meet, with the majority of the cars present being ones that you would be unlikely to see in the UK, and of course the warm winter sunshine is quite a contrast to the winter months in Europe, as well. It’s not perfect, though, as the predilection of owners to pop the bonnet of the car as soon as they arrive and to sit close to the vehicle makes life even harder for the photographer than the challenge of the late afternoon shadows, but I persevered as this report has evidenced. I look forward to being able to include this event on my next trip to Phoenix which I hope will not be at such as gap as there had been this and my previous visit.

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