Tag: 1977

For Sale:The Original 1977 AMC AM Van 4×4 Concept Vehicle – Ben Branch @Silodrome

For Sale:The Original 1977 AMC AM Van 4×4 Concept Vehicle – Ben Branch @Silodrome

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The styling of the AM Van is clearly the work of AMC designer Richard Teague, the father of the Gremlin, Pacer, AMX, Javelin, and the Jeep Cherokee to name but a few.

This is the 1977 AMC AM Van, a concept vehicle that was planned to have a four-wheel drive powertrain headed by a turbocharged engine – both quite novel ideas for a production car in the 1970s.

This van was part of AMC’s seven car “Concept 80” traveling motor show, intended to showcase to the American public their vision for the future of the automobile. The AMC AM Van was by far the most popular vehicle in the show, resoundingly winning the public vote everywhere it was shown.

Fast Facts – The 1977 AMC AM Van

  • The 1977 AMC AM Van was penned by legendary automotive stylist Richard Teague, the creator of the AMX, Javelin, Jeep Cherokee and a slew of other designs.
  • AMC was known for unusual and oftentimes quite prescient vehicle designs, including the likes of the Gremlin, the Eagle 4×4, and the SX/4 4×4.
  • Had it been approved for production the AMC AM Van would likely have sold well, the 1970s were a time when vans were king, and with the included turbocharged engine and 4×4 drivetrain the van would have ticked a lot of boxes for a lot of consumers.
  • Sadly the van didn’t get the green light for production, and now just this single fiberglass bodied concept vehicle remains to show the world what might have been.

The AMC “Concept 80” Traveling Motor Show

The AMC Concept 80 traveling motor show was unveiled in 1977 and sent on a seven city tour of the United States, to showcase the future direction of the American Motors Corporation

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What Year Was Peak Wagon in America? – Murilee Martin @Autoweek

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MERCURY DIVISION, FORD MOTOR COMPANY

There were two model years when American car shoppers had 47 station wagons to consider. Care to guess?

With the rise of the minivan in the 1980s and the SUV in the 1990s, most Americans lost interest in buying station wagons. Oh, sure, you can still buy a new wagon here today (all of which come from European marques, if you still count Volvo as European), but there was a time when the station wagon was so mainstream that American car shoppers could choose from dozens of different longroof models. The important question here is: what model year had the most new station wagon models available in the United States? Yes, we’re going to determine the year of Peak Wagon now!

As was the case with my still-controversial dive into the subject of the final two-speed transmission offered on a new car in Americadefinitions become all-important here. There are some very important such definitions involved here, and I assume you will be very angry about my interpretation of each of them. Just as with the maddeningly wrong and probably malicious definitions I deployed when I wrote about the Chevy Rat Motor, subjectivity comes into play.

First, calling your van a wagon doesn’t make it a wagon. Yes, Volkswagen of America called the Type 2 Transporter a station wagon in its marketing materials. Chrysler did the same with the Dodge A100, as did Ford with the Econoline and GM with the Corvair Greenbrier. Warlord-grade trucks aren’t wagons, either, so you Land CruiserLand RoverJeep and International Harvester fanatics might as well begin wailing and gnashing your teeth right now. I will allow that sedan deliveries are wagons— that’s a tough call, because some of the early ones are pretty truckish and/or not-so-wagonlike— but you’ll see that the sedan delivery model count doesn’t have any effect on determining the year of Peak Wagon in America.

Second, ordinary Americans had to be able to obtain a mass-produced wagon from a licensed dealer in America, and it had to be highway-legal here at the time of sale in order for it to count toward Peak Wagon scoring. That means no oddball wagons imported by servicemen stationed in Naha or Grafenwöhr, no backyard-built wagons with hand-carved poplar bodies and steam engines, no swoopy atomic-powered wagon prototypes built for World’s Fairs, no onesy-twosy imports of Soviet wagons by spirally eyed fly-by-night entrepreneurs (this one really hurts, because I was dying to include the available-here-in-theory GAZ Pobedas and Volgas, not to mention the Moskvich 402/407), no bracketed-by-asterisks homologation specials, no wagonified Detroit luxury sedans or muscle coupes custom-commissioned by high-ranking Detroit executives for their wives. No, no, no!

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The 1977 Oldsmobile 442 was Lansing’s sporty survivor from the muscle car turf wars – Jeff Koch @Hemmings

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You’ll no doubt recall that 1977 wasn’t a banner year for American performance vehicles. Two hundred net horsepower seemed unobtainable in those emissions-choked, fuel-starved years, and what was the point of a dual exhaust when it had to blow through a single catalytic converter

?Most of GM’s A-bodies had given up any sporting pretension. Chevrolet quit slapping the SS name on its Chevelle/Malibu, and even the shovel-nose, aero-slick Laguna was gone by 1977. Pontiac outsourced the LeMans-based Can Am until the mold for the rear spoiler broke, and the original GTO was just a distant memory by then. Buick’s GS program had quietly fizzled out as well.

What was left in GM’s midsize A-body lineup that had an eye toward performance? The Oldsmobile 442.

Like many of GM’s muscle car names from the past (see Z28 as an example), by the mid-to-late ’70s the “442” moniker referred to a handling-and-trim bundle. Available on the Cutlass S hardtop coupe, 442 (option code W29) consisted of the FE2 handling package (stiffer springs and shocks, 1-inch front and 0.812-inch rear anti-sway bars, and steel-belted radials on 7-inch wheels; FE2 was also available separately on other higher-end Cutlass models), some additional rocker and wheelwell trim, bold graphics, and little else. With FE2, a keen mid-’70s owner could break out of the personal-luxury, sensory-deprivation-tank mold and achieve respectable handling without resorting to something as obvious as, say, a Trans Am. The 442 added a reasonable $134 to the bottom line for the Cutlass S in 1976.

The standard engine was Buick’s 105-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6, with a choice of three-speed manual, three-speed automatic, or (intriguingly) five-speed manual transmissions. Step up to the 110-hp, 260 cu.in. V-8, and transmission choices dropped to the tried-and-true Turbo 350 and the five-speed. Other engine options more appropriate to something with the 442’s image and chassis capabilities were the 170-hp four-barrel 350 V-8 (mated to a Turbo 350 automatic), and the 185-horse Olds 403 backed by a Turbo 400. Olds’ 455 disappeared after 1976, so the 403 was as good as it got in ’77. Gear ratios varied between 2.41:1 and 3.08:1, depending on powertrain and what box you checked on the dealer’s order form. Car and Driver tested a 350-powered, 2.41-geared Cutlass in 1977 (a powertrain installed in about 85 percent of all Cutlasses for the year) and found an 11.9-second 0-60, an 18.4-second quarter-mile at 75.7 mph, and a 109-mph top speed. Sleepy, maybe, but stir in the standard FE2 suspension, and you get what Car and Driver called “something altogether different from the rubber-stamp supermarket car it might otherwise be taken for.” Well, maybe not with those stripes.

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After 18 years, it’s about time to jumpstart my stalled 1977 Trans Am project – Thomas A DeMauro @Hemmings

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“Considering our choices, I think the Trans Am has the best chance of getting finished,” my son Tommy commented while we were shooting photos in the driveway for a Hemmings Daily article this past week.

He was right, given the decrepit condition of our other vintage projects. The T/A has been nestled in the garage since we moved to Western Pennsylvania in 2003. Its bodywork, paint, and graphics were completed about a year before. For those who are doing the math, that’s 19 years ago, which is embarrassing to admit to myself, let alone all who will read this. To put that fact into more painful perspective, Tommy was about a year old when this car came out of the restoration shop. He’s 20 now.

Longtime readers already know that I got the T/A (along with a pile of parts for my 1967 GTO) in the early 1990s, in trade for my 1969 Judge that needed work. The ‘Bird served as a daily driver for several years, and during that time I swapped in a four-speed. Its body was later restored at Melvin Benzaquen’s Classic Restoration Enterprises in New York State. The process was covered though a series of articles published in a now-defunct magazine I edited called High Performance Pontiac.

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JUNKYARD TREASURE: 1977 OLDSMOBILE CUTLASS SUPREME COUPE – Murilee Martin @Autoweek

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One of the biggest-selling motor vehicles of late-1970s America, now used up.

The 1973-1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, and particularly the sporty-yet-affordable Cutlass Supreme, proved perfectly suited to the automotive needs of a gigantic swath of North American car shoppers during the dark days of the Malaise Era. The Cutlass was comfortable and reliable, and it looked sharp; it stayed at or near the top of the vehicle best-seller charts during its production run. Though millions of these cars were made, you won’t see many of them today. That makes today’s Junkyard Treasure an especially noteworthy one.

Read the article and see the photos here

Gone but not forgotten: Ford’s Maverick turns 50 – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

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On April 17, 1969, Ford introduced a new compact two-door sedan with sleek fastback styling, designed to counter the sales threat posed by the Volkswagen “Beetle” and other fuel-efficient imports. In its first (partial) year on the market, the Maverick sold 127,833 copies, besting the Mustang’s 126,538 unit sales from April-December 1964. Though the Mustang lives on today, the Maverick — which marks its 50th birthday in 2019 — left the U.S. market after the 1977 model year.

Read Kurt’s article here

The Ford Granada: Like a Mercedes-Benz 450SE with a $16,319 rebate – Kurt Ernst @ Hemmings

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Introduced for the 1975 model year, Ford’s Granada was initially intended to replace a pair of aging mid-sizers: the Maverick and the Torino. In marketing its newest sedan and coupe, Ford set its sights on an ambitious across-the-pond rival – the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Read Kurt’s story here

The Duesenberg Hot Rod

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Whilst watching a recent edition of Jay Leno’s Garage on YouTube I was reminded of  what a cool car  “The Duesenberg Hot Rod”  actually is!

I saw some pictures of the car years ago and with the mainstream coverage of the old car hobby these days it was nice to see it up close via Jay’s channel.

The car was built back in the 40’s by Hal & Bill Ulrich.

Dave Blake shares an important piece of hot rod history the car won the first nationally sanctioned SCCA drag race!

The Blake family has owned the car since the mid 70’s, Mr Blake’s Father saved the car from being sold and broken up for parts, Mr Blake couldn’t afford to buy the car but traded it for a Cadillac.

Watch the video to hear about the history and the modifications to this piece of Hot Rod history.

 

The car pictured in 2011 via The Hot Rod Disorder blog is I believe based off a 1934 Ford body and Duesy chassis and running gear.

Here’s another shot from Howard Gribble on Flickr with some background on the car.

There is also a really interesting thread on the car from the ACD Club forum here