Car Show Classics: 2022 Greenfield Village Motor Muster, Cars Of The 1970s – A Belated Part II

Almost nine (!) years ago, I wrote about a selection of 1970s cars from my favorite car show of the year, the Motor Muster at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, MI.  There’s much more to see than cars from the heady decade of my birth, but for some reason the wild and colorful hues and lines of the ’70s show up well on the green, green grass of the village.  Regardless, when was the last time you saw a 1971 Mercury Colony Park station wagon?

Let alone a Colony Park with bucket seats?  Yes, this Mercury must have a Marti report somewhere, because it is undoubtedly one of one (or maybe a handful).

Although I’ve never been a booster of big Fords of the 1970s, the rarity and condition of this grand old Mercury is impossible to overlook.  On the other hand, those rear seats look like a cell in a dungeon to me – what a miserable place to be stuck for hours, days, (weeks?).

Unlike the Fords of the era, this Mercury has a straight-through dashboard without the confining “cove” for the driver, although all of the controls are still placed far away from a grasping passenger, especially considering the bucket seats in this car (although they are as wide as a bench).

God, look at all the shiny Di-Noc paneling and those hidden headlamps.  It’s glorious – what a machine.

Ford wasn’t all about fake paneling in the early 1970s; they also offered many shades of yellow, green, and brown, and this bright yellow basic Torino has me yearning for a lemon cream pie.

Its restoration (or preservation) is immaculate, especially for something that started life as basic transportation, with a base 302 under the hood and what looks like an aluminum aftermarket radiator behind the fan shroud.  No judgment – half of my old cars have an aluminum radiator, too.

The interior is taxi-like in its simplicity, but it is as spotless as everything else on this Torino.  What a nice, uncommon car.

More in line with my preferences is this Mach 1 Mustang (a ’71 or ’72 – I didn’t write down the year and I don’t have a picture of the gas cap).  It’s missing the color-keyed bumper that was standard on Mach 1’s, but few would notice or care.  This is one of my oldest car crushes, as I’ve been gawking at pictures of my dad’s Grabber Lime ’71 since I was a kid.

The concurrent Camaro and Firebird were almost certainly better-looking cars if one is to be honest with oneself, but the Mustang with its flat roofline is distinctive and muscular.  I’d drive one anytime, anywhere.

Of course, if you’ve ever sat in one, you know that the seat is torturously upright (although it should be adjustable with a turn of a bolt), and the rear visibility is poor.  Nevertheless, the four speed in this example would go a long way toward assuaging those complaints, although I would replace the steering wheel with the boring factory version.

This ’73 Mustang convertible is almost as attractive as a Mach 1.  Growing up in a Ford family, my childhood list of dream cars was constituted by first-generation Mustangs, one of which was one of these.

Most ’73 Mustang buyers purchased the automatic transmission, but this one has a three-speed manual, which makes it all that much better.  I love the wild interior colors of the ’70s; it’s a little tougher to be sad on your way to work (or home from work) if your car’s interior is smiling at you.

That dark Ford green was popular that year, as long as a small sample size at a car show in 2022 is accurate.  This Gran Torino Sport is different from most you’ll see these days.

It has the formal roof with a green vinyl top, whereas most Sports that I see at shows are Sportsroof models (Gran Torino Sport Sportsroof is a mouthful).

The ’73 Torino suffers a little in comparison to the similar ’72 model due to its…ample…front bumper.  The tunneled grille of the ’72 model also looks more cohesive in my opinion, but the ’73 is still a striking car from the last throes of the mid-sized muscle car.

This one has the top-of-the-line (in horsepower) 351 four-barrel engine with air conditioning.  It’s interesting that this was the performance option when there was also a 429 four barrel available, but that engine had been detuned to the point that it was barely making 200 horsepower.  Dark times indeed (color options notwithstanding).

Some of these ’73 models with the 351 were ordered with a four-speed transmission, but this one has the column-mounted automatic (and a very green interior – perfect!).  It’s interesting to compare the number of gauge clusters on the dashboard with an average ’60s Ford that had a speedometer, a fuel gauge, and a temperature gauge.

For some reason, my camera was attracted to ’70s Fords last summer at Motor Muster, but they didn’t have a monopoly on green.  This ’71 El Camino is a prescient example of a truck that likely didn’t haul many serious loads.

It too has a green interior and a “basket handle” selector for its automatic transmission, in addition to your standard car show gimcrackery.  The familiar ’70s driver-centric instrument panel is featured here as well, and kudos to whomever kept this Chevy in top condition for over 50 years.

The ubiquitous 350 small block sits in a surprisingly crowded engine bay, which is understandable considering the number of options on this El Camino.

A “truck” that perhaps saw more hard use in its life was this school-bus-colored 1978 International Scout II.  If International could have lasted long enough to meet up with the SUV craze of the 1990s (and beyond), the automotive landscape might have looked a little different today (probably not, who am I kidding?).

Regardless, this Scout was one of my favorite cars in the show, although that’s always a tough call.  Internationals were notorious rusters (what wasn’t?), but this one has either lived a charmed life or had a skilled body technician ministering to its every need.

The color may be a tip of the hat to International’s unsung school bus heroes.  I rode in an old-at-the-time ’74 Loadstar for most of my third grade year, although it was replaced by a newer Chevy at some point (in the winter, perhaps?).  I still remember the beefy stance of that International as it idled outside the school at the end of a long day of practicing my multiplication tables.

Here’s a car I know little about, although I have quite a few pictures in my files of various versions.  It’s a Triumph Dolomite Sprint; uncommon in the States, it might have been a “four-door sports car” before the Nissan Maxima claimed the title in the ’80s.

The interior was everything that ’70s American cars weren’t: upright, airy, and glassy.  The traditional dashboard and gray buckets added a light feel that honestly makes me want to take a Dolomite for a drive.

The Sprint’s engine was quite impressive for its day: a two-liter, 16 valve four-cylinder with twin carburetors.  The vagaries of the British auto industry most likely led to its not quite being a hit, but the BMW 2002 probably didn’t help.  Feel free to add your take in the comment section if you have anything to say about the Dolomite.

There’s a little something for everyone at June’s Motor Muster, even this 1978 VAZ.  The annual car show invites cars from 1933 up through some indeterminate date in the 1970s (it’s historically been 1976, but this car obviously post dates that milestone year).  If you’re in the area and you like ’70s cars, or almost any car, it’s the place to be.