Bookshelf Classic: Recalling The Colonnade Rabbit Era

I know I’m not the only Curbside Classic reader who looks forward to the work of Laurence Jones. His artful photography complements his knowledge of cars and his witty stories. I especially enjoyed his recent piece about the 1975 Cutlass he grew up with, and the place it held in his family for decades.

His memories of that car sparked a little nostalgia in me, as well. Sadly, my own full-sized rolling heirloom is still lolling about its winter home, but I do keep some wheeled history here on my bookshelf.

Takes you back, doesn’t it? How well I remember admiring the mid-engine Auto Transports that ruled the road back in the ‘70s, their twin gold-plated V8s gleaming behind tinted glass.

And while I never saw one with quite this varied a payload, those three cars on top sum up a tumultuous era in automotive history.

The ’68 Fury. Its Alfa-like driving dynamics, high ground clearance and compact, tossable size made it a favorite of free-spirited off-roaders and cops alike. Then, a few short years later, came the outlandish, capacious “Colonnade” Rabbit. It earned its racy image with more than just its blistering speed and iconic roof-mounted surfboard option; it also had one of the roomiest backseats imaginable. The first “Hot ‘n’ Heavy Hatch” spawned a generation of jokes about using it to do what rabbits like to do. One imagines that many a baby bunny was…well, let’s just stop right there. Too many dirty puns could make the editors’ hares stand on end.

Finally, the Omni 024, symbol of an America that came to its senses in the 1980s. Not too big, not too small, and bank-vault solid. No wonder it’s been a favorite of ours for decades, although no one back then could have imagined the Omnicharger 024,000s crowding the front rows at Daytona, or the Omnivorans that get so many families to the Longhorn on T-Bone Tuesday.

Anyway, thanks for indulging my little nostalgia trip. I’ve got plenty of history books on my shelf, but really, you can’t beat accurate scale models for explaining how things really were.

BONUS Bookshelf Clue! Can you identify the two cars on the lower level of the majestic Auto Transport?