What are the two ‘tells’ to determine if it’s a ’68 or ’69? Exterior, not interior. This group should know if anybody does…
On the Buick the rectangular rear side markers and the lack of side trim
Non-reflector sidemarkers, could be clear-white in front (as on these GMs) or amber (as with the Mopar round ones). ’70 and up had to be reflective, and fronts could only be amber.
That is not correct. White front side markers have never been allowed in the US or Canada. Starting 1/1/68, the requirement was for amber front and red rear side marker lights and/or reflectors. Starting 1/1/70, the “or” was deleted and all new vehicles were required to have amber front and red rear side marker lights and reflectors.
There has never been a requirement that the front side marker light have an amber lens; a colorless lens with an amber bulb or internal filter (or, these days, an amber LED) is perfectly legal. But front side markers may not emit or reflect white, and that’s been the case since the start.
Depending on the car model, more often the 69s would have no front vent windows. This is the case for the full sized GMs, though for the A-body intermediates some still had vent windows.
1969 A-body hardtops & converts had no vent windows, pillared versions did.
I was thinking more of a universal ‘tell’, not just the cars in this CC. It’s visible from the side view, you didn’t need to check the front or back styling…
I know !!! The 1968 cars did not have front seat headrests while all 1969 cars did !!
You’d be able to see that from the side view !!!!!!
Am I right Ken???
Head restraints were required for the 1969 calendar year (meaning that 69 models would have them). However they might have been an option before that. This is an interior tell though…
Headrests aren’t always a reliable way to tell a ’68 from a ’69. A MY ’69, built before Jan 1 1969 won’t have headrests unless they were optioned.
That applies to the ’69 Skylark/GS at least.
All 1969 GM & Ford products had headrests, only Chrysler held off making them standard until Jan 1.
The Impala Sport Coupe (car on the left) did not have that roofline for 1969, so it is a 68 (or earlier). The chrome on the side goes to the front, which is does not do on earlier Sport Coupes. Therefore we have a 68.
I think you mean the Impala is the car on the right. It looks like a rolling restoration project. From the looks of the rust pattern on the roof, I would say it originally had a vinyl top. And that lovely Ash Gold that was so popular that year. My parents had a Vista Cruiser that color.
Yes, not sure what I was thinking.
A ’69 Impala would also have a chrome loop bumper, which presents as completely vertical from the side profile. These ’68 models had non-integral bumpers and the front end canted forward.
Not sure why, but the 69 Valiant I once owned had no headrests on seat backs and no provision for them. Is the headrest regulation one of those “….and all cars manufactured AFTER 1 January, 1969…..” deals?
One the Buick, 68 models had a “generic GM” rear side marker while the nearly identical 69 models had a rear side marker that was round with the Buick/3 shield logo in the middle.
Yes. And side markers are required after 1 Jan 1970.
If you want to get technical, side marker lamps have never been required. The law reads something to the effect for model year 1968; ‘Lamps OR reflectors that are visible from the side’. And for the 1970 model year; ‘Lamps AND reflectors that are visible from the side’. There are many cars and trucks that don’t have separate marker lamps, yet the park lamps and/or tail lamps are wrapped around so they can be seen from the side.
Yeah, there were some pretty goofy things on those reflectors/side marker lights in ’68 and ’69. 1968 Chrysler products got the lights, while the ’69 cars got non-illuminated reflectors.
Even more strange was the 1968 Mustang which had front lights, and non-lit rear reflectors, with no less than two different reflector designs.
Actually it is the 68 Buicks with the tri-shielded large round rear markers and the 69s have the small rectangular rear marker. I had a 68 Skylark.
I was thinking about that as well. My 1969 Dodge Coronet 500 with the bucket seat and console interior did not have headrests, but they often seen on other 69 Mopars of higher and lower trim levels. They must have been an option that was not checked on my car. I also found it interesting that the side markers on 69 Mopars were reflectors instead of lights as on 68s and 70s going forward
The ’68s had the round rear side marker, with the tri shield in it. My ’69 Skylark Custom has rectangular rear side markers with ‘Custom’ moulded into it.
And you’re correct with the ‘after Jan 1st” line. Head rests were a xx dollar option, and my factory price lists state that the cars price will go up by the same amount on Jan 1 1969.
If you mean the difference on the exterior side view of the Skylark…
The ’68 Skylarks have horizontal ventiports on the bottom of the front fenders and round rear side marker lights with the tri shield emblem. The Skylark name in print, and custom in script above the rear side marker light, and the custom model had fender skirts.
The ’69 Skylarks have vertical ventiports, square rear side marker lights with “Custom” designation on them, The custom model didn’t have fender skirts.
If you mean how to tell all 68 and 69 cars apart, I have no idea !!!
I hope to write up the front car, a GS400, when I have some more time. It helped that the guy selling the Buick labelled it as a 1969, but: the 1968 GS400 had artificial brake vents, and I think the 1970 had a different hood scoop, not visible here.
For the Impala, you can’t see it in the picture, but it had the squared-off triple-round taillights…instead of the 65-67 squares. The 69-70 Impala coupe, as far as I know, was available only with a Caprice-like formal roof.
I usually see the Impala 3-4 times a week–once, I saw it getting a jump. It’s a semi-daily driver for somebody in the neighborhood. Its parking “range” is about a quarter mile. The Buick was a one-time deal.
The 69 and 70 Impala coupe was also offered with a sport roof, which was different than the formal Caprice coupe roof with the inverted rear window.
The sport roof was similar to the roof on the Bel Air 2 door sedan,
Right you are… I looked up the 1969 brochure; I had never seen a 1969 or 1970 “sport coupe” in real life, just tons and tons of the custom coupe.
I have an irrational liking for the fastback-like 1965+ B-body coupes, but could never quite feel love for the mini-Cadillac Caprice/Impala custom coupes.
This point of discussion prompted me to take at look at the brochures at oldcarbrochures.com as well. I had always thought that at some point the Sport Coupe and Custom Coupe became two variations of the same body style, aside from one having adopted a “pillared hardtop” look earlier than the other. From the pictures in the brochures, that isn’t true. They were more alike from 1969 on (and especially from 1971 on) than they had been in 1966-68, but there was always some difference, typically in the rear quarter/back window area, with the Custom Coupe having an at least slightly more squared off, more formal appearance.
Also, while the Custom Coupe adopted a pillared look in 1974, the Sport Coupe never got it. The Sport Coupe remained a true pillarless hardtop for both 1974 and 1975, then was dropped. The Custom Coupe was the only B-body Chevy coupe for ’76.
The Custom Coupe had been a Caprice exclusive in 1966-67, and was the only way the Caprice came as a coupe throughout the entire 1966-76 era. The Impala came both ways from 1968-75.
Great summary, and I have always preferred the Sport Coupe over the Custom Coupe on the Impala.
The 1967 and 1968 B body Chevrolets shared the same bodies. They differed in front clip and rear light/bumper shape. The ’68 was also the first year for side marker lights. Vertical red on the quarters and a horizontal amber with engine call-out on the fender. Interiors were similar with the ’67 having 3 large round gauges primarily behind the wheel, whereas the ’68 has a square-rectangle-square setup. I love my ’68 (but would prefer a ’67).
Nice. The 67 front clip is marginally nicer but really, when you have a 68 there’s not much separating them. I think the 69+ shapes lost the magic until 71.
I agree, but the 1970 does look nice to my eyes. The 1971 though is a fantastic looking car!
Nice car, love the wheels! We had a very similar-looking ’67 Bel Air 2-door sedan with the dogdish hubcaps. It was the car in which I learned to drive. I like the round gauges in the ’67 and the one-year oddity where the Bel Air had the same triple-taillight design as the Impala.
Ours was turquoise; it’s a little hard to tell from the photo if yours is the same color or is blue.
Thanks! It is a turquoise car, in need of some body work. It is all original except the wheels. Poor girl sat in a yard from 1979 until 2009 when I acquired it, some rust on the lower body from the grass growing up around it. These pictures are from 4th of July last year, we all piled in it to go buy fireworks.
My grandpa bought a turquoise ’68 coupe with black vinyl roof new, and he gave it to my mom sometime in the late 70’s. It was the car I came home from the hospital in as a newborn. Unless there were two different turquoises in the catalog and my eyes decieve me, it was the same color as your car.
Paint code KK. Tripoli Turquoise Metallic.
Great photo, and now it really looks like turquoise on my monitor at work, just like our Bel Air was! On my home computer, the color appears to be somewhere between turquoise and blue.
I do wish I still had the car, along with some others that got away.
I let go of a 1961 Biscayne that was my daily driver for years. I really miss that car. 235 c.i., 3 on the tree, and mint green. Got a hell of an offer on it that I couldn’t pass up. Here is a picture of it at the classic car lot that eventually wound up with it.
I have only seen one ’67 Bel-Air and I was definitely surprised to see the Impala’s 6 tail light setup! Something about the mid-late 60’s full size Chevy’s 2 door sedan roof line that just makes me smile. I love them. Too bad you don’t have it anymore!
My parents bought new 67 and 68 Bel Air wagons. They bought a new Chevy wagon every three years, 61, 64, 67. The 67 turned out to be a lemon, so they traded it early for a 68. I have always viewed the 68 Chevy as one of the best looking automotive designs. But I did prefer the round gauge dashboard of the 67.
For most cars, ’68 had some kind of side marker reflector or light, but no front seat head rests. ’69 had the lights and the front head rests. And you’re right, the head rest is interior, but seen from the exterior.
My Triumph TR-250 had the side markers, but low back seats. TR-6 got the high back seats in ’69. So when I see something late ’60s on the street, I look for the side markers and then the headrests. Both it’s a ’69.
But get something tough like a ’68 Beetle, reflectors and high back seats. You had to walk around to the back and see if the rear wheels had a bunch of camber, that’s a ’68. Unless it had an auto stick shift, that had double jointed axles and not much camber. It also said auto stick on the rear deck lid. ’69 Beetle all of them were double jointed axles and a rear window defogger grid. And the reflectors and highback seats.
I used to work on VW’s back then, so you figured out what year it was by looking for the ‘tells’….the domestic stuff is harder for me; even though I was born and raised in and around Detroit…
I have a small pamphlet from VW that describes the yearly changes in the Beetle up to about 1975 if I remember correctly. Very helpful when Beetles were such a common sight on the roads.
Looking at the CC Cohort I found (link here) this 1967 Buick Electra with no side markers. Then there is link to a 1968 Buick Electra with front (and there is a rear) side marker although the front might be a cornering light.
This 1969 convertible shows the head restraints and rear marker
This 1970 convertible shows the front marker now as a reflector/light
The 69 front marker shown here is not amber reflective
It looks like the Impala has a grafted on rear end due to the photo angle and bondo lines.
WRT to meeting Federal standards, not does it depend on each manufacturer, but it depends on the item. While most of them are implemented in the model year, there were some exceptions. Take headrests. All 1969 GM and Ford products had them, while Chrysler held off until Jan 1, the last minute. That’s why many early ’69 Mopars don’t have them. Take shoulder belts-AFAIK all ’68 GMs had them, while Ford and Chrysler held off until Jan 1. Sometimes they are early, all ’69 GMs except Corvairs had the locking steering column, wasn’t required until MY ’70, when everybody complied (except for early Mavericks and the final Falcons.
Yup back in the day the standards were written such that a rule took effect on cars built after Jan 1st so some mfgs would comply with all cars made for a given model year and others would use up as many parts as they could by Dec 31st. Now the regulations are by stated model year.
This made me smile. My folks had a ’68 Impala sedan in the ever dominate Grecian Green. True to form, this Impala coupe is Grecian Green. This was Chevy’s silver in 1968.
Chevy was dominate in my early life. My avatar is the ’67 owners manual featuring an Impala with the same roofline. The avatar is a scan of my Grandfather’s book, and I still have my dad’s ’68 book as well.
I bought the same ’67 Chevy owner’s manual via eBay to relive the old memories.
I learned from Curbside Classic that those big Chevys with the small-block got you a 2-speed Powerglide until 1969. Now whenever I see one I wonder which engine it has because I don’t think I would like a PG. It’s one of those things I wish I didn’t know.
That street looks awfully familiar. Was that shot in Mid-Wilshire?
The turbohydramatic was available with the 396 in 1966. Then on Impala and Caprice models the turbohydramatic was available with the 327 or bigger in 1967. For 1968 it was available with the 327 or all engines on Impala and Caprice. For 1969 all engines all models.
So no matter what that lovely ’68 has a THM. You made my day thanks!
The turbohydramatic was optional, as was the powerglide. So while a 68 Impala could have the turbohydramatic with any V8 engine, it could also have the powerglide, except for the 427.
I would think that with a 327 or 396, there would be a good chance that the transmission is the turbohydramatic.
Oh no you just undid everything 🙂 When did the PG option go away on V8s? Wasn’t that ’69?
The powerglide was still available on full size chevrolets in 1971. I think it is off the options list for 1972. However, smaller chevrolets offered powerglide after 1972.
The last Chevrolets to be available with Powerglide were the 1973 Vega and Nova.
In fullsize cars, I don’t think Powerglide was ever available with the 427, and it was dropped as an option for the 396 after 1968, but it continued to be listed as available with engines up to the 350 until 1971.
The 427 was available beginning in 1966 and could be ordered with the Turbohydramatic but not the powerglide. The 1965 409 was available with a powerglide. No turbohydramatics for Chevrolet in 1965.
Also, 1966-67 Corvettes could have Powerglide behind the 427, since there was no room under C2s for the THM.
The 1965.5 big Chevys with the new 396 was available with the THM.
I have a personal anecdote about the 65.5 Caprice that some may find interesting. All known info places the intro of the Caprice package concurrently with the 396-THM option, as per the attached pic. However, I distinctly recall a 1976 2-part episode of Police Story, which concerned an itinerant family of hillbilly serial killers, the patriarch of said group played by Lou Frizzell, with Robert Stack as the cop tracking them. At any rate, the script had them switching cars frequently, and one of their purchases was a ’65 Caprice. There was a close-up scene where the 409 fender flag, which differed greatly from the 396-427 format, could plainly be seen, and it was definitely a Caprice. I last saw the episode on A&E in the mid 90s.
I think it’s highly probable that the car left the factory that way, too.
Several years ago, I was flipping through the channels one night looking for something to watch, and came across a re-run of “Starsky & Hutch”. The episode prominently featured a 1964 fullsize Chevy, which ultimately got destroyed by the end of the episode. IIRC, the car was identified as an Impala, and had the Impala’s three-taillight rear panel, but was a 2-door pillared sedan, a body style that was only available as a Biscayne or Bel Air.
I would speculate that, since the car was going to get destroyed anyway, the studio may have bought the car cheaply and fixed it up a little to look OK cosmetically on camera. Maybe the rear panel was damaged and had to be replaced. Either they deliberately put an Impala rear panel on the car to make it look like an Impala (maybe they didn’t know that the Impala didn’t come as a two-door pillared sedan, or thought most viewers wouldn’t), or the studio just wasn’t particular about using the correct parts (“Biscayne, Caprice, whatever, it’s all the same car.”). I would wonder if something similar happened to that Caprice on “Police Story”.
Cars that are intended to be destroyed get cobbled together out of parts for budget reasons. The Police Story car never was.
I do remember that episode of S&H. The car started out as a white ’63 Impala 2 door hardtop. In the script, it was repainted green, and alternated between being a ’63 and ’64 Bel-Air 2-door post, finally being destroyed as a ’64, with the trunk lid left unattached so it would fall off before the car exploded. Makes me realize how low budget Aaron Spelling
stuff really was. Too cheap to wreck a mint 13 year old Impala hardtop,
which I’m sure were a dime a dozen in LA at the time. Gotta find something completely worthless!.
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