Archive for October, 2012

1967- Dodge and Plymouth

October 23, 2012

  The introduction of the Dodge Charger in 1966 was a success for Dodge, so in 1967 it received minor improvements.  The most obvious was the elimination of its full length interior console that gave it seating for only 4 people.  Getting in and out of the rear seat was the “big” complaint that Dodge chose to deal with.  With the optional front seat flip down armrest the Charger could actually seat 6 now.  The exterior now received the Coronets new side indents as well and front fender indicators for the turn signals mounted on the leading edge of the fenders.  The 426 Hemi was added to the option list during the “66” run and continued to be an option.  It added $712 to the Chargers base price of $3128.  Due to the steep price only 117 were ordered with the Hemi.

The 361 was eliminated and in its place the 383 was offered and new to the engine choices as well was the new 440.  Having sold 37,300 Chargers in 1966, the 1967 model was a disappointment as far as sales and only 15,788 were produced.  Clearly the similarity with the AMC Marlin as well as the Chargers overall “puffed up styling” was not winning over the “Performance Crowd”.  Restyling was in order for 1968.

  The Coronet continued with minor changes including the aforementioned side indents.  The executives at Chrysler decided that other than the Charger they would limit the availability of the “Street Hemi 426”.  The official stance was the Hemi would only be available in the “Letter-Series” vehicles.  That meant the R/T series package for the Coronet.  Despite this there were several Coronet Deluxe built with the factory installed Hemi engine as well as at least 1 Coronet 440, 1 Coronet 500 and 55 Super Stock Drag vehicles known as WO23 models.  The 440 and 500 designation were merely trim level packages and had nothing to do with engine choices.  Some people believe since the 440 was an available engine choice that 440 models came with that engine but such was not the case.  The top engine for Coronet was to be the 383 unless the R/T package was ordered, but this was ignored in most cases and many Coronets received the larger engine.  An interesting fact on Dodge and Plymouth vehicles was their use of “fender tags” to indicate options used on their vehicles.  While Ford and GM only listed basic info on theirs Mopar would routinely use 2 or 3 added tags for “loaded” vehicles that help make them the easiest to authenticate even today.

The styling department did a total makeover for the Dodge Dart for 1967.  Now its 4th makeover since the model first came into being, the Dart had gone from Full-size to compact and now into the Pony Car segment.  Standard engine was the 170 slant 6 or optional 225 slant 6 engine.

V8 choices were the 273 small block or if you ordered the GT or GTS you could get the 340 or even the 383 in the model.  The Dart saw an increase in production from 112,900 in 1966 to 154,500 for 1967.

  At Plymouth they had the same engine restrictions on their Belvedere model as Dodge did on the Coronet.  Their Valiant was restyled since it was the “corporate clone” to the Dart.

Sales for the Belvedere/Satellite fell from 189,752 in 1966 to 148,080 in 1967.  Similar to the Coronets fall from 250,900 in 1966 to 184,200 in 1967.  Plymouth still managed to outsell Dodge as far as cars by over 210,000 vehicles.  636,893 compared to 410,088.

  The Plymouth Barracuda got restyled and sales went from 38,029 in 1966 to 62,534 in 1967.  The Barracuda was standard with a slant 6 cylinder engine but options included the 273 as well as the 340 and even the 383 with the right option package.  The “Fish” was clearly trying to take aim at the Mustang but by 1967 there was no way any “Pony Car” was taking the top seller title from the Mustang.  After all Mustang alone counted for 472,121 units built and sold for Ford in 1967.

Davey Boy

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1967 – Ford Makes a Statement

October 9, 2012

 When Ford created the 1965 Mustang, they were building a car to compete with the emerging import market.  It was to be a compact vehicle with seating for 4 or 5 people and with its 6 cylinder engine it was aimed at being an economy car as well.  The small block V8 was to make it competitive as being a sporty vehicle to appeal to the younger buyer.  What they did not count on was the fact that they created the most successful new car to come along since their own Model A in the 1920’s.  While Plymouth actually got the jump on them a few weeks earlier with the Barracuda, it was the Mustang that set the pace and the market segment now known as the “Pony Cars”.  These were vehicles smaller in size and less powerful than the midsize vehicles touted as “Muscle Cars”.

For 1967 Ford made the Mustang wider and longer than before.  This was in part to make the vehicle now capable of installing a “big-block” engine under the hood.  With the addition of the 390 cubic inch motor they had a performer capable of taking on the Muscle Cars and in a smaller package.  While Shelby was creating their “350” and “500” versions of the Mustang, these were not Factory vehicles and in fact Shelby was classified as an Automobile Manufacturer at the time.  Ford learned a trick or two on styling from the Marlin from AMC/Rambler and the Dodge Charger and made the fastback model smoother and wider to where it no longer looked like they just added a chunk of metal and glass to the coupe.

During this time Ford also grew jealous of Shelby getting all the credit for “Performance Mustangs” and was deeply involved in improving their image as such with the addition of special models.  There was the “High Country”, “California Special” and “Hertz” Mustangs plus now the GT and GTA factory models.  Various trim pieces and engine choices designated the respective packages but the top factory option for 1967 was the GT and GTA- both carried the 390 with the later being an automatic transmission hence the “A”.

  The Fairlane continued with minor revisions for 1967 and the GT and GTA versions as well.  Ford was going to change its look to separate it from the full size Fords but that was due for 1968, so 1967 saw minor change.

  The Ranchero was now solidly based on the Fairlane for both its sheet metal and engine choices.  While few people saw the Ranchero or its rival the Chevrolet El Camino as real trucks, they did appeal to the market for people who wanted a vehicle capable of hauling things but without the harsh ride of pickup trucks from the era.  The added benefit was they had a vehicle with some style and with the right equipment checked on the order form – a vehicle capable of serious performance as well.

  Mercury still had its Comet based Cyclone model and the 427 was available as an option although the main engine choice was now the 390.  Some Fairlane GT and GTA models also left the factory with the 427.

 But the big news was that Mercury finally got into the “Pony Car” market with the introduction of the Cougar.  Once again it was Lee Iacocca behind another hit for the Ford Corporation.  Based on the Mustang with a stretched frame and sharing no sheet metal similarity it was to be Mercury’s shot at the market.  The downside was the bigger vehicle meant it needed more power than the Mustang to achieve the same performance and all motors used for the Cougar could be also had in the smaller and more nimble Mustang.  Mercury instead figured their market was a more upscale buyer and while offering “Dan Guerney Specials” they instead went to the luxury models for their focus.

Ground Zero and Time To Start Back Over

October 3, 2012

Greetings and salutations to all who may stumble upon this blog.  I realize I have been absent from this for a rather extended time.  The short explanation is that my business venture has taken all my free time that I formerly used for this endeavor and left me no time for research and trying to keep this going.  That may seem like a “cop-out” to some if not most of you, but this blog actually requires major investment of time and research.  I know you thought it was easy being me, but in fact it is major work and commitment to be this disorganized and confused.  The “Detail Shop” I opened in April 2011, sad to say is no more.  The economy is simply no longer there to make a living washing and waxing cars.  This is my astute observation only after wasting $65,000 of my money trying to prove otherwise.  Back to the drawing board.  Or, rather….. Ground Zero.

Every year on my birthday, I evaluate where I am at and what goals can be set for the following year.  This year is no exception to that routine.  Having been born in 1957 means I have hit the age of 55 now.  Time is running out to get where I want to be.  Should anyone reading this be interested in contacting me involving a business endeavor involving “Muscle Cars”, please do so.

Hopefully someone has the needed funds and lacks the expertise to make a financial business out of what is undoubtably my strongest asset.  That being my knowledge of where the market is and anticipating where it is headed.  My knowledge of the vehicles is also a plus.

While almost everyone knows a 1957 Chevrolet when they see one, there are many details to know if you want to make money on one.  Things such as is it a Bel Air or a 210….. 2 door or 4 door…..original engine or not….all things that greatly vary the value of the car in question.  Is it worth $20,000 or in excess of $100,000 ?

While there are literally thousands of serious “Car Collectors” out there making money on this so-called hobby, there are hundreds of thousands of people doing it as a hobby.  While this blog lends itself towards the actual hobby, the goal I have is to be one of the minority who actually make a living doing it.

I do not mean to offend anyone but the guys like Jay Leno who buy cars just to have them and preserve them for future generations are very rare.  It does help when the individual has somewhere in the neighborhood of about 100 million dollars to play with.  The area where I live has a few guys who make their living buying, selling and restoring cars, and they all have their market niche’s to fill.  There is always new ways and new ideas to move into the market for more dealerships or collectors.  And as the economy turns around the market will grow massively in the future.

 Just as the 1957 Ford Fairlane was the competitor to the Chevy that year there will be different markets to fill and different needs for those markets.  I do not claim to be the expert on all cars, but I also do not shun any one model over another.  While the hobbyists prefer a Chevelle, Camaro, Mustang, Charger, or another model for whatever reason; I also know there is a market for a Maverick Grabber and Mercury Cyclone and even the Nova SS has a following.  Being limited by the Manufacturer such as Pontiac, Ford, Buick, Chevrolet, Dodge, Plymouth and Mercury means you leave out the AMC Marlins and Rebels and even the “lowly” Gremlin X.  It means you also miss out on the Studebaker Avanti, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass and 4-4-2.

There were dozens of models from every manufacturer in America during the Muscle Car years and every one of them had a following because they had a story and a legacy to tell.  Some literally sold millions over time and some sold only a few hundred copies, but every one of them deserves to be mentioned for the mere fact that someone thought they were special enough to buy when they were sold new.  Now it is time for me to get back to the blog and let you know what their story was.

Davey Boy