A couple of weeks ago I explained the silly import laws in my country, using a beautiful 1976 Olds Ninety-Eight as an example. I was surprised to find out that brougham love is not as universal as I thought it would be.
Personally, I’m absolutely in love with the big brougham bruisers. The idea of a large comfortable car without any sporting pretensions whatsoever is welcome in an environment full of potholes, streets that are not in the least bit encouraging to drive fast on, crazy drivers and even crazier truck drivers. Just the vision of climbing into a silent and comfy cocoon at the end of the day that’ll float you to your home in comfort is very appealing. The kind of comfort that would be extremely difficult to achieve with suspension tuned for going around the Nürburgring or indeed acknowledging its existence. There’s also the fact that I have the “grass is always greener” effect working on me. By the time I was born, most of them had been scrapped and replaced by smaller and newer Japanese metal, considerably more efficient and nicer to drive.
You can see why, as nice as they seem, broughams are severely compromised. For starters, that same non-Nürburgring tuned suspension means that wrestling one around corners is an…interesting experience, akin to trying to wrestle a medium-sized town house around bends… Not that the interior accommodations in some of them will make you think you’re in a town house. Cabin space was never the forte on some of them. And you don’t have to worry much about crashing because you’ll never be driving fast enough to have one. The Malaise Era was wreaking havoc on engines. 170HP out of a 5.9L V8? That and much worse. And anyway, if you did crash there would be about 14 feet of car between you and whatever you hit.
But don’t let me bring you down about them. Especially when every day I imagine a different brougham sitting on my garage. What about you?