Cohort Outtake: 1969 Pontiac LeMans – A Visit From Captain Howdy

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A fine way of putting a classic car into proper context is to imagine driving it to see a coeval big screen release. I have many memories of leaving the theater to return to the succession of cars I’ve known over the years; on a muggy Friday or Saturday night after a bad movie, it truly is entertainment after the show. Returning to a Gran Torino coupe after a good disaster flick (maybe Airport ’75) on a hot August night, for instance, makes for a nice, complete mid ’70s snapshot, doesn’t it?

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Actually, for that entire era the ever-popular domestic coupe seems to work best as the perfect cinema shuttle (returning to a Colonnade Cutlass after seeing Rocky would work just as well).  So was this Pontiac, with its Exorcist-inspired graffito, driven to see that Christmas ’73 blockbuster?  It would surely be appropriate, for what appears to be a very late ’60s or early ’70s example.

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Just as the movie marked the corruption of the main character’s innocence, so does this model mark the the end of LeMans’s youthful charm. Before long, the intermediate Pontiac coupe would be more reminiscent of Linda Blair in Chained Heat. Do we blame the execs on the fourteenth floor? Or was it Captain Howdy?