(first posted 8/17/2015) The Oil Embargo of 1973 is generally considered the pivotal turning point in history, when American automakers fully invested themselves in what we now refer to as The Great Brougham Epoch. More specifically, what is meant by this statement is that U.S. automakers hastily transitioned from offering performance-oriented models atop most vehicles’ lineups to models geared towards luxury.
Even before the first energy crisis of 1973 put a damper on big engines and performance, carmakers were beginning to introduce these Brougham-influenced packages on many models, complementing high-performance trims. The 1966-1969 Plymouth Fury-based VIP was one of these such models. Plymouth would take a little longer to go all the way Brougham on its mid-size B-body lines, but the 1971-1974 Satellite Sebring Plus was an early foray towards Brougham.
Although the definition of “Brougham” in its regards to automobiles is not set in stone, typically a vehicle from this period is considered a Brougham when it: 1) Is a luxury-oriented upper trim level, 2) Features upgraded interior appointments, and 3) Is generously slathered in exterior trimmings, such as liberal amounts of chrome, vinyl roofs, opera lights, and wire wheels, to name just a few.
I hesitate to call this 1972 Satellite Sebring Plus, a “Full-Brougham”, because it lacks much of the exterior appliqué commonly associated with Broughams, outlined in the paragraph above. Additionally, in the succeeding years Plymouth would make the necessary enhancements to its B-body coupe (ditching the Satellite name for “Fury” in the process), bringing it up to full-Brougham specification.
So, just what did upgrading to the Satellite Sebring Plus get you? Well admittedly, not much. Technically speaking, just about every available comfort, convenience, and decor feature was “optional” across the board on all Satellite models. Just how optioned Sebring Plus models were typically ordered by dealers is another story. Although as you can see from the list above, one could equip their Satellite Sebring Plus with features such as power windows, air conditioning, AM/FM radio with 8-track cassette, power disc brakes, sunroof, a 400 cubic-inch V8, and a number of decor options.
Satellite Sebring Plus models did feature two notable standard upgrades: the 318 cubic-inch V8 and the same all-vinyl high-back buckets found in the performance Road Runner model. A floor console with shifter could be ordered, though our featured car sports a center seat cushion and armrest. A cloth-and-vinyl split-back bench with center armrest was also optional on the Sebring Plus.
Naturally, the 1972 Plymouth Satellite can not be discussed without bringing up its chrome loop front bumper design. Along with the larger Fuselages, this feature tends to be a highly controversial item, as most people either love it or hate it. In your author’s opinion, the loop bumpers gave these cars a sleek, aggressive look that was lost with the more conventional front fascia (and corresponding 5-mph bumpers) in 1973.
As aforementioned, this car continued through 1974, upon which it was renamed “Fury” and given a substantial restyling owing to a far more “personal luxury” look as opposed to sporty coupe. Plymouth never received a true personal luxury coupe, as the related B-body Cordoba would go to Chrysler, despite rumors it was originally intended for Plymouth. Regardless, this new “small Fury” would fully embrace the Great Brougham Epoch, now in full-swing.
Yet the Sebring name would not permanently die in 1974. Two decades later, Chrysler would introduce another coupe called Sebring for the 1995 model year. In similar fashion to the Cordoba, there are rumors out there saying this car was originally planned as a Plymouth. In any event, the FJ-body Sebring coupe wasn’t an overly successful model for Chrysler, and it would not likely have significantly impacted Plymouth’s fortunes or fate.
1971 Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus
One the Plus side, the early versions of this generation B were sort of the anti-brougham compared to the direction that GM was taking the market at the time. From a style standpoint, Chrysler was offering some real alternative looks compared to GM and Ford. The problem was, up close these cars just weren’t very competitive. Cheap interior materials, even on the upper trims, were obvious in the showroom. These tended to be a bit creaky with suspect build quality. A shame really. The E body introduced a year before this generation B suffered much the same fate.
This is such a nice clean example of a car that I (and the market) mostly ignored back in the day. Even with its faults, I’d love to take one home now, even if it never would have happened back when I was shopping this type of car as a used vehicle for high school.
In the late 70s I was looking for a car, just having returned from a year overseas. I had driven my ” baby ” sister’s 70 Malibu, and ridden in and driven a few mid 70s Torinos, when I saw a 71 Satellite Sebring (not a Plus) for sale 15 miles from home. Of the Big 3, I was partial to Ford/Mercurys but there were none for sale.
Besides, my experience told me they were a bit of a boat. The 70 Malibu was OK, nothing special, but the 2 speed Powerglide was so 1960s. So I really was excited by the Satellite….until I drove it. The quality of the interior or the overall fit and finish of the car were acceptable. However, the big letdowns were the steering and brakes. They were both too light/over assisted as to come across as too artificial feeling. That kept this Plymouth out of consideration in my book.
Love the styling, but you are correct: the NON-Plus interior is not too appealing. But the steering and brake pedal feel were the turn-offs for me.
Historical note: President Nixon did two things which, for better or worse, have affected American automobiles & driving ever since: the 1970 Executive Order establishing the EPA, & Operation Nickel Grass, which instigated the 1st Embargo. Previously the US had little involvement in the Mideast, even embargoing arms sold to Israel, but ever since then, we’ve been fully immersed.
The latter is only partially true — the U.S. had been supplying Israel with arms for something like a decade before the October War. It’s true that JFK and LBJ had both been very reluctant to escalate their level of support, but LBJ had reluctantly changed his tune to some extent after realizing the extent to which the Soviets were making inroads, particularly with Egypt; the U.S. then looked at the situation as a Cold War imperative.
Nickel Grass was the trigger for the embargo, but it’s very likely that if the October War hadn’t happened, there would have been some other provocation (albeit possibly not provoking quite so dramatic a reaction). The member states had been chafing at restrictive oil prices for a while, and so while I don’t doubt the sincerity of the members’ outrage, it also served a timely strategic purpose.
I don’t disagree with the overall gist of your point, although I would also add a third: the end of the Bretton-Woods exchange rate system in favor of allowing currency values to float.
Beautiful looking car. I’ve always liked Mopar cars of the 60s and the early 70s. The further you get into the 70s, however, then car makers seem to sacrifice performance and reliability in favour of style, economy and emissions. I’m all for breathing clean air, but this is crazy what govt. will require of car makers.
I know these cars have their fans, but I think they are one of the ugliest cars ever built. The loop bumper reminds me of Elvis Presley’s glasses from the fat days and the rest of it is just a blob. Over 40 years have passed since these were introduced and I still can’t see anything redeeming in the styling.
I like the ’71-74 Satellite styling a lot. I hated the ’75 and up Fury replacement, but to me it was better than the Colonade cars. I think this car is great looking, but I liked, and bought the Roadrunner version a lot more. Mine was a twin of the silver one:
Looking at the options list, The Sebring Plus wasn’t really a proto-Brougham but a neutered Road Runner, without the 440 engine. (Aside: 440 6-pack shown was not actually available for 1972.) In addition to the RR’s bucket seats, a center console, tach and hood pins could only be had on the RR or Sebring Plus. It seems akin to the modern Chrysler 300S, which has the appearance of the 300 SRT8 but without the SRT’s engine.
Alternatively, it was a way to get a trailer tow package on a “Road Runner”. Both were available with the 400cid engine, but only the Sebring Plus could be ordered with trailer tow package.
This has to be one of the few Sebring Plus-es built without a vinyl roof, either full or canopy. Vinyl roofs were all but mandatory in the early 70s for any car that even approached respectability.
I really appreciate this shape and styling now, this was pure Mod early 70s. I would argue that this car was the anti-brougham, which tended towards baroque filigree for trim on every surface, and square shapes. These were more futuristic, evoking a “suddenly it’s 1980” kind of vibe. For my money, Chrysler never really did a proper Brougham until the 74 Imperial and 75 Cordoba, and even then the Imp was a little sleek for a proper brougham.
Totally fat Elvis, but still beautiful in all of it’s fuselage body expansiveness.
No mention of The B-52’s?
I didn’t pay much attention to muscle cars when they were new. This one slipped past me entirely.
Your pictures bring out the pure extraterrestrial weirdness. A designer must have found Exner’s rejected ’62 prototypes, dropped some acid, and expanded on the theme.
I hated these when new (also the new for 71 Javelin, Mustang and Charger), though I’ve since softened my outlook.
Gem: your first instinct was correct. And still is 40 odd years later.
Thanks I thought I was the only one who felt this way! I’m also one of the few fans of the 70 Coronet/Superbee, make mine a pink one, Barbie’s muscle car has been on my wish list since I first read about them in early 1970.
When the call came to go luxurious, Chrysler was at a huge disadvantage. Their cars were simply not as quiet as the competition. They could match or exceed GM and Ford on drivetrains, but they could not change sheetmetal fast enough or manage to make them quiet enough.
That said, I always liked the look of the small Fury 2 door of 75. I wonder if you could still get those giant armrests with the buckets on those. Now what crazy cloth design did Plymouth offer. Highlander? the indian one?
During 1974, there was a “Sundance” edition of this car. It featured metallic burnt orange paint with a white vinyl top. The upholstery was a very vivid cloth that featured a bold, striped design in orange, black and white. The rest of the interior was a light colored vinyl.
I just googled it. Spectacular upholstery. Quoting Cary Grant in “The Grass is Greener”
“If you can’t be shiek, be odd.”
I can only find evidence of a 1974 Plymouth Sebring with the Sundance package, but I’m sure that my grandmother’s favorite cousin owned a 1973 Sebring with that upholstery and color combination.
Isn’t it spelled “chic” ?
While not one of my favourite cars overall, this is one of my favourites with the “loop bumper” look, partly because it’s got the pinched-in center. The colour does this one no favours though.
If I was ordering one new, I’d be torn between the Sebring Plus and Road Runner. The RR could be had with the 440, but the Sebring Plus has the 2-tone paint scheme with silver lower half, which looks neat. I presume this one has the 2-tone paint, but it’s not obvious from these pics due to the angles.
I think the 2 tone paint may have been part of the 2nd year “spruce up” that the Plus got for 72. And yet, a picture I just found of a 72 Plus shows the “mandatory” vinyl roof but not the silver lower body paint.
The title of this article says its a ’72 so it should have the silver lower, unless it was optional and could be deleted without deleting the chrome trim. A google image search of “1972 satellite sebring plus” shows lots with the silver lower paint and almost all have a vinyl roof. Wow, vinyl certainly was popular then!
A search for “1972 road-runner” shows about 1/4 of them with vinyl roofs too, and the majority that don’t have strobe stripes that go up the C-pillars and over the roof like a basket handle.
In the late 70s I was being transferred from the east coast to the west coast and wanted to buy a car in my hometown rather than from a stranger in California. One of the cars I looked at was a near twin to the car here. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a Plus, just a regular Sebring Satellite and it had a slant six. The colors in and out were the same (a HUGE selling point for me, as I love yellow cars). And I might have bought it but a test drive revealed incredibly light power steering. My mother’s maiden aunt had a 64 Plymouth with very light power steering and before the drive I was hoping steering effort had improved in 7 years.
As another poster here has pointed out, part of the Plus package was a tachometer. In fact, the Plus shared the same gauge cluster with the Road Runner and the “high line” Chargers. Regular Satellite coupes used the strip speedometer found in Satellite and Dodge Coronet 4 door sedans.
Not every 1964-72 mid size 2 door car was a “muscle car”, Satellite Sebring was aimed at Torino 500 and Chevelle Malibu, the bread and butter cars. Coronet 500 was replaced by the Charger for ’71, to compete with LeMans and Cutlass.
With average 318 V8 motors, not 440 six packs. So, the Sebring Plus was not a ‘Road Runner’ successor.
The styling, though, was clearly meant to suggest performance, or at least success on the NASCAR ovals. The Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix, meanwhile, were all about personal luxury in a smaller package. The first- and second-generation Monte Carlos were meant to be blue-collar Cadillac Eldorados.
The buff books loved the 1971 Mopar intermediate coupes. Car and Driver tested both a Road Runner and a Dodge Charger in 1971, and raved about both of them.
Buyers, however, weren’t that impressed, judging by the sales figures. The buff books were still into performance, while buyers had moved on, and now wanted luxury looks at a reasonable price.
Wow, that color palette……
Can you imagine any mainstream mid-size car today offering any of those color choices?
But we have silver white and black ! Aren’t those enough for you?
I’d like to see more colors and the elimination or massive downsizing of those stupid consoles that eat up room. At least let there be a “delete” option.
That’s the main thing I dislike about today’s cars – no colours except red. And all those murky almost-black metallics. Ugh!
With you on the sludgy, greasy colours. In 20 years time there will be plenty of “WTF was I thinking”
Nice find! I prefer these in RR form, but this would make for a nice car either way…and it appears to be in immaculate condition. I have mixed feelings on these loop bumpers. In a monochrome paint scheme (as found on RRs and GTXs) I think they look great…but with the full chrome surround…not so much. The ’73 and ’74 models actually pull off the 5 mph bumpers very well, and while the look is slightly less aggressive, its definitely got attitude and flows well with the rest of the car.
I see you made the connection with the FJ body DSM coupes. Theres more in common than just the name, since like this Sebring plus which is a tamed RR, those coupes too fell short of the cars they succeeded in the performance department. The Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon (which are virtual sister cars to these) offered a far sportier package with greater performance. The outgoing all-Chrysler G body Daytona was one of the most powerful and fastest fwd cars on the planet in IROC R/T form (along with the Spirit R/T) and the Stealth could be optioned up to run with the contemporary Corvette.
The Sebring/Avenger coupes may have looked great but thats about all they had going for them. What was Ma Mopar thinking? Personal luxury was dying. And the Magnum 5.2 and 5.9 engines (even tuned for truck use) were more than competitive with what the Mustang GT and GM F bodies were offering at the time. Mopar hadnt offered a direct competitor to those in some time yet as the current Challenger shows, there are more than enough enthusiasts out there to support a Mopar muscle car. Seems that with some minor tweeking, these coupes (and the even less successful Sebring/Stratus coupes that followed) would have captured plenty of buyers had they been rwd with available V8 power. The parts were in the bins to engineer these cars the ‘right’ way all along.
The DSM sport coupes were perhaps not the best basis for a personal luxury coupe. Another example where enlarging the back seat was a priority but not the right one.
Exactly. In the 90s we were well into the era where people wanting a roomy back seat simply didn’t buy two-door cars.
The first car that I legally drove. I had saved my pennies and hired a private driving school rather than share the car with two other students by doing it at my high school. The driving school had previously used a 69 Mustang, and when he arrived at my home it was in a baby blue Satellite Sebring. I was shocked, but it passed as I was anxious to get my license and my freedom.
The Sebring was actually really nice to drive. I thought the thing looked cheap, the color and the interior finishes were awful, but I did enjoy driving it, especially compared to driving our family cars. No one in my family had owned a Mopar at that point, they were strange and mysterious, especially with the fascinating sound emitted by the reduction gear starter.
“No one in my family had owned a Mopar at that point, they were strange and mysterious . . . ”
Same here. The idea that anyone made a car where the key teeth pointed up to go into the lock cylinder was bizarre to me when I found out. But nobody made a better feeling column shift lever – positive, clean, quiet, and a very short arc between D and P.
That key lock cylinder thing was one of the stranger things about the Big 3. It’s like they went out of their way to make sure they were all different. GM cars pointed down, Chrysler pointed up, and Fords had teeth both up and down!
They probably did it partly just to be different, but having the teeth pointed up has a technical advantage: If a small amount of water or dirt gets into the lock cylinder, it won’t get into the tumblers because they are above the keyhole, not below it as in the GM case.
Of course Ford, having teeth on both sides of the key, has an ergonomic advantage because you don’t have to pay attention to which way you insert it. If they designed the lock cylinders well, they also won’t be affected by water or dirt.
As an owner of a 74 Charger SE Brougham, I am pretty familiar with these cars. There is so much room under the hood in front of the radiator support, especially in the Charger. The hood is as long as some cars it seems! I warmed up to this generation, though I prefer the 68-70 Chargers. Mine is also in an original condition like this Satellite.
I like the original color too, beige, brown and green were common colors back then. Not everyone wanted a bright color, for a variety of reasons. They looked good in print photos, or in the showroom though.
Too many were jacked up with traction bars and destroyed when I was in high school. I knew of one guy in the neighborhood that tried to replicate this model kit.
i wouldn’t mind driving something like that model, except for the blower.
With its louvered quarter windows, the Charger SE Brougham did a much better job of ‘going brougham’ than the Sebring Plus. The specialty-car Charger was always more upscale than the Satellite and fit the upmarket demographic much better. The Charger targeted the Grand Prix from the beginning while the Coronet R/T was Dodge’s answer to the GTO. Plymouth never really had a Grand Prix competitor; the closest was the GTX and it, too, was closer to a Coronet R/T or GTO musclecar than a Grand Prix.
So it’s ironic when the ’75 Cordoba arrived on the scene that, suddenly, its Charger twin ended up in the sales basement. Apparently, Charger fans wanted more of a balance between performance and luxury than the Cordoba-based Charger offered. It must have drove the Dodge marketing people bananas and they did eventually rectify the situation somewhat with the slope-nose, headlights-under-clear-covers 1978 Dodge Magnum.
I’m always a bit baffled when I hear people say they don’t find these pre-big bumper Satellites attractive. To me, they are gorgeous and one of the best designs of the early 1970s.
This is one of my favorite early ’70s car designs. I liked the later ones ’73-74 so much I bought one as my first car. I instantly regretted selling it to buy a truck. But about a year ago, a friend of mine saw a car that looked just like my Roadrunner, and when he got the VIN, I checked it and it matched. It’s fully restored with a stroked 440 in it. I just wish I could get to Vegas to drive it again. Even better would be to somehow come into some $$ and buy it.
Confused about the “eight track cassette”. I know what an eight track is and I know what a cassette is but not the combination of both.
Page from brochure refers to a stereo cassette player, clearly the usual two-hub sort because of the recording capability. Eight-track (continuous-loop 1/4-inch tape) home decks with recording capability were just beginning to be available around that time, while home cassette recorders were already common. (I’m surprised to learn about a car cassette deck that could record radio broadcasts; did anyone else besides Chrysler offer such a thing?)
The first built-in eight-track cartridge players for cars were offered for 1966, to the best of my knowledge, in such cars as the Thunderbird; in 1967 they became available on lower-priced GM cars such as our Pontiac Executive three-seat wagon (two speakers only: the “left” one in the top center of the dashboard, the “right” atop the right rear wheel well).
When factory and aftermarket car cassette decks started to appear a few years later, they offered no auto-reverse, but you could at least fast-forward and rewind the tape. (Home recording eight-track decks did offer fast-forward – at least, our Hitachi did – but rewind was impossible with the continuous-loop design.) I believe the eight-track format would have never taken off if car cassette decks had been around a few years earlier.
In early 1972, I bought a Craig 8-track recorder/player. It was a cheap deck bought thru the BX on my air force base. Not much control – you inserted the blank tape while holding down the “record” button and away it went. Auto volume input level control, no pause or anything. It worked OK, but I wanted something better.
That summer I bought a very nice 3M Wollensack unit (image below off internet) from Handy Andy Electronics in Sacramento for $159.95. That was a very nice unit and did a fine job.
Less than a year later, I switched to cassettes.
The ‘eight track cassette’ wording is puzzling. In the 1971 B-body interior redesign, the radio was moved to a location in the driver instrument pod, utilizing the same, new, slim-line radio that was introduced in the 1970 E-body. There may have still been an AM/8-track option for that radio, but there was no cassette version. However, you could get a separate, stand-alone cassette player/recorder that was mounted on the transmission hump, effectively meaning it might have been possible to order a B-body with both an 8-track AND cassette player.
I always called them 8-Track cartridges. Stayed with them until 1985 because I had so many. Replacing them all with cassettes was cost prohibitive. I had a ’68 el Camino with an AM radio. Remember those flat plastic floor consoles with the grippy points on the bottom and shallow cup holders that you could buy for $1 at Wal-Mart and Auto Zone? I’d made one into a 8 track with 2 speakers entertainment station. The cigarette lighter did double duty as a power source for that and the FM converter sitting on top of the 8-track.
In the Hemmings online classifieds, there’s currently a green 1971 GTX with the optional play/record cassette deck; it’s a separate unit sitting on top of the front end of the console, clearly pictured. The in-dash radio is a separate thing, so I suppose a car with both cassette and 8-track could have been ordered.
(About 15 years ago, you could get a Subaru Outback Limited with both a cassette deck and a 6-CD changer in a combined in-dash unit; my father had one so equipped.)
Peak US styling, shame about the colour. How rare is a non-RR/GTX version/replica of one of these?
There was no more GTX by then; 1971 was the last year – after which there was no good reason (if there ever had been) to offer an intermediate with a 440 V8 as standard equipment.
“There was no more GTX by then; 1971 was the last year – after which there was no good reason (if there ever had been) to offer an intermediate with a 440 V8 as standard equipment.”
That’s not technically correct. Although the GTX ceased to be a separate model by 1972, just like the GTO, the GTX became something of an option package when a 440 was ordered in a Roadrunner. A Roadrunner so equipped got a small ‘GTX’ emblem on the trunklid, either next to the Roadrunner sticker on the right side (1972) or by itself on the left side (’73-’74). In effect, it was a trunklid engine call-out, similar to the ‘440’ on the hood stripes.
Some restorers have either removed the GTX emblem when repainting, or done just the opposite, and removed/replaced the Roadrunner stickers/emblems with GTX. But the way a 1972-74 440 engine Roadrunner came from the factory (and was designated) was Roadrunner/GTX. It was exactly the same as the one-year-only 1971 Dodge Charger Super Bee, which I guess replaced both the previous Coronet Super Bee and R/T models.
It seems like one of those ‘Roadrunner things’ where someone in Chrysler management (probably Dick Macadam) had simply decreed that a Plymouth B-body coupe with a 440-4v would, somehow, always also be a GTX. The only car that didn’t meet that criteria was the 1970 Plymouth Superbird, which had the 440-4v engine as standard.
Thanks, this is all news to me. (I’m better with Pontiacs.)
It’s a subtle nuance that I doubt even many dealers knew about when the cars were new. It’s not like the ’72-’74 Roadrunner was a hot seller, and I don’t think the GTX was even advertised, anywhere. It was just the 440 engine option for the Roadrunner in all the brochures. With ‘musclecar’ being a dirty word by then, I’m sure virtually all of them were special order cars, too. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that the few new owners of 440 engine ’72-’74 Roadrunners being irate at delivery when they saw that the factory had ‘mistakenly’ put a GTX emblem on the trunklid.
My favourite of this model is the 74 Sebring with steel road wheels. The music director at our small town radio station had one in a dark green with just a few options. Even with the black bumper blocks the car looked really good.
That said these cars were not in the same league as similar products from GM and Ford in terms of design and engineering. But then, by the mid-seventies not many cars were that great as we all know.
While I tend to lean more to the ‘like’ crowd of the fuselage Plymouth B-body coupe, I can certainly appreciate the sentiments of those who don’t. There’s a lot not to like there, almost foreshadowing the current retro ‘bloat-mobile’ Challenger nearly 38 years later, particularly when the Plymouth is equipped with painted bumpers. I’m not sure, but I think there’s an aftermarket kit that can be affixed to the new Challenger’s front end to give it a look very similar to the Sebring Plus’ dumbbell front end.
A couple of minor notes on what appears to be a very nice, original feature car. The first is the shot of the rear seat also includes the manual quarter window crank. This would be the last intermediate Mopar hardtop with that feature. For the next year (1973), the only way to get a true hardtop Satellite was to order power windows. If your ’73-’74 Satellite had manual windows, the quarter windows were fixed.
Second, did anyone else notice how strange the very small ‘Plymouth’ emblem is on the trunk lid above the lock cylinder? At first, I thought it was some non-stock add-on but I think that’s actually how they came from the factory. It just doesn’t look right, like the lettering should be larger, or maybe located on the lower left side of the trunk lid, opposite the ‘Satellite Sebring’ emblem on the right.
I didn’t pick up on the trunk emblem because I was looking at the tail lights, which look like saggy bum cheeks. These belong in the AMC camp of weird.
Agree that the the ‘saggy bum cheeks’ rear bumper is AMC-like. If it could have met the 5 mph requirement, I could easily see that rear bumper on the ’74 Matador coupe. It definitely makes that a bad (maybe the worst) viewing angle. The ’71 probably had the best rear taillights, followed by the ’73-’74.
When compared with the Torino and Malibu competition, the ’72 Satellite Sebring really does come in last place. I might even go so far as to say that, in some respects, the ’73-’74 Sebring, even with the mismatched front and rear fenders, is a better looking car.
I’ll bet that isn’t a “factory” placement for that Plymouth emblem. Especially since no other Chrysler-built car has an emblem placed there. Usually, an emblem placed in the middle of the trunklid covers the trunk’s keyhole.
I think it’s factory. As evidence, refer to a previous CC on the 1971 Satellite Sebring Plus. There’s a rear perspective shot that shows the exact same small emblem in the exact same spot. Further, although they used the same size emblem on the later ’73-’74 cars, there was now enough room on the redesigned bumper for it, and it looks much better in that location.
But it truly is strange that the emblem got shmucked above the lock cylinder on the earlier cars when it would have been substantially more appropriate in the empty area on the left side of the trunk. Maybe it was a misunderstanding between the stylists and production.
1973-74, a little different.
Black & white.
I never noticed before how very similar looking are the 72 Torino the 73 Satellite. When you consider that the 71 Torino had an “eggcrate” grille, the car in this picture looks like it could have been an “alternate” Torino design.
A vastly improved Torino is what I always thought it was. Just like I considered the Challenger/Cuda an improvement on the 1st Gen Camaro. A lot of Mopars were cleaned up versions of other car designs.
I preferred the 1973s to the 1972s, for both the grille treatment and the taillights. The back end was more sophisticated looking, and the front looked cleaner.
Visibility out the back end was beginning to become an afterthought with these 1972 Satelites. A challenge to parallel park no doubt.
How about a Chrysler 200 c with a brougham trim.
I called the ’71-’74 generation a “transition” design. http://bit.ly/1gTCjpB The one that got us from the ’68-’70 “peak” to the ’75 malaise mobile when it morphed into a Fury.
I’ve always liked these cars, especially in pre-73 bumper mandate guise. Chrysler made a big effort to differentiate these coupes from the sedans. The leap forward from the boxy ’70 to this fuselage generation was radical, and the results were beautiful.
The polarizing effect of the front bumper is understandable, and I think the effect would have been less so had Chrysler used a visually lighter design. The details on these Sebrings are great: the nameplate forward of the rear wheels, the 71’s triple element side marker lights, the red/white/blue emblem on the grill and inside door panels, the round front parking lights snug in the lower valance, and the wacky tail lamps.
Nice catch Brendan.
BTW, I am very familiar with the location where you captured this Sebring. There’s lots of CC worthy history there. If there’s any way you can send me a private message, I’d love to fill you in.
You have to wonder if Chrysler hadn’t dumped so much money into development of the ill-fated 1970 E-body, they might have had the cash to come up with an attractive 1971 Satellite 2-door that utilized the sedan’s front end sheetmetal, in addition to the Satellite coupe. Instead, they went with two completely different body styles between the sedan/wagon and coupe. It makes sense due to the enormous success of GM’s two new intermediate personal luxury coupes, the 1969 Grand Prix and 1970 Monte Carlo. The problem was the 1971 Satellite coupe ended up having to cover a much wider spectrum: low-price coupe, performance (Roadrunner), and personal luxury (Sebring Plus). This meant that the Sebring Plus just didn’t have the caché of an exclusive, separate model. The Sebring Plus wasn’t anything special; it was just a Satellite coupe with more options.
One wonders how differently things might have been if a low-price coupe and Roadrunner had been based off of the sedan, and the Sebring Plus had been made a personal-luxury only specialty car like the GP and MC.
Honestly, considering what it cost Chrysler in the long run, the E-body really deserves to be considered a Deadly Sin.
One of my absolute favorite 1970s Chryslers. And it wasn’t brougham, it was Mod.
My neighbor had one of these in the 1980s, a ’72 Satellite Sebring Plus in Lemon Twist yellow with the optional white vinyl side protection accents. I thought it was the most beautiful combination, the car looked just like a slice of lemon pie with a dollop of whipped cream. At the time the car was already dented and starting to rust, but mostly clean enough to still sort of see how striking it must have been when new. I have never seen another like it since, even googling does not bring up any images of one in that color.
This Satellite was a quite competent handler, was around town peppy even with the smaller 318 V8 engine.
Esp when compared to the slower, sloppier handling, heavier, Much More “Brougham-ie” Torino.
look at my 69 Bee to see where they were headed
I always liked those and the RR’s. My original car was supposed to be just like this, but my cousin sold the damn thing, after forgetting I wanted it.It was black and 3 years old, and looked showroom new, in and out:
The moment the Monte Carlo and Gran Prix broke sales records, there should have been an immediate response from both Ford and Chrysler. There wasn’t. Chrysler was in the throes of its redesign of full sized cars, which more than verified the death of the large domestic automobile for a generation.
Chrysler didn’t seem to have a Plan B regarding personal luxury coupes. The Cordoba was rejected by Chrysler as the wrong car for that brand, that is, until it was obvious to everyone that Chrysler couldn’t sell big cars anymore. Chrysler’s Cordoba success was in spite of the leadership at Chrysler’s inability to sense a major auto trend even five years after the fact.
There was no intermediate product available to capture the personal vibe of Monte Carlo at Ford either. It took Ford five years to offer an Elite, which was a bloated Torino with single headlights and “twindows” – (I know, not technically a thing). In the meantime, Oldsmobile smoked the sales charts with Cutlasses, making it the biggest selling make in the US.
Yet – nothing from Plymouth or Dodge. What was needed was something bigger than the Fury II. But Chrysler didn’t have anything else. Dodge couldn’t sell the Cordoba based Charger SE, or the first generation of Magnum/Mirada. In short, Chrysler, regarding the personal luxury car, really muffed this entire auto genre with half-baked options.
There was no way to dress up those Satellites of Sebrings and make them look like a Monte Carlo, or even a Ford Elite. (Ford hit a grand slam when it updated the Elite into the Thunderbird and sold a million of these Torinos.) Their profile was not formal at a time when the market, after five years, was full of formal profiled automobiles in that class. Sad.
When I see one of these cars, I see a Chrysler/Plymouth version of the 1974 AMC Matador coupe – wrong cars at the wrong time, even when the writing was on the walls market-wise. AMC had no excuse for that Matador Coupe. Chrysler was broke and on the ropes, that’s why it ended up with odd looking bloated intermediates with luxury décor. So sad.
My uncle bought a new 1974 Road Runner. I remember being excited about it until I rode in it. Big Yuk.
As Mr. Spock would say: “fascinating” . Always thought this car has one of the best “mean” faces out there. the round parking light complimenting the headlights. tail was cool with a clean rolled edge and simple taillights inset into the bumper. profile was heavy but in my mind purposeful. (but put a vinyl roof on it and and i will shift 180) really surprised me that people did not love it….not criticizing but observing. and in butter yellow inside and out with a COLUMN shift i really love it. Imagining the musical Starter…couple hundred cubes coming to life and slapping that classic mopar shifter into d.
I look at this particular car and remember my 71 Scamp – because when the dark brown vinyl roof started peeling off the car (quite soon after a buddy and I fixed the rust and resprayed the original Tawny Gold Metallic lower body) this was the color I chose to paint the roof.
My Scamper’s interior was this exact color, and the painted door uppers were quite close to this 1972 paint color, so I picked it.