(first posted 7/3/2013) The 1972-1973 “Fuselage V2.0” cars are hardly a common sight anymore. Well, they weren’t all that common in their day, which of course explains that and a few other things. The first fuselages (’69-’71) didn’t exactly set the world on fire, and the attempt to make them look a bit more mainstream by ditching the loop bumpers in front and back, as well as extending the C-pillar on the roof (among other changes) made them look a bit less bold and a fair amount more generic. While the new ’74s were blatantly GM-esque, these were just the first step in that direction.
Whereas the new front end was just dumbed-down GM/generic, the rear end blatant rip-off of the big 1971 Oldsmobile, as was the horizontal accent strip down its side, and the rear fender flare.
Presumably Chrysler could only afford to do that on the rear, because the front shows no sign of Oldsmobilitis. Oh well; the 1969 fuselage had been a big gamble, and now Chrysler was going to play it safe. The only difference was which GM division to copy for the new ’74s; Buick turned out to be the lucky beneficiary of the Chrysler Styling Studio’s adoration.
Nevertheless, these cars have a decidedly strong presence, especially in today’s streetscape. They’re big, brash, and different, by virtue of their not being another big GM sled. And there’s good old Mopar goodness under their long hoods, especially since this is still the pre-Lean Spark era.
This one has a 400 CID B-block hiding in that massive engine compartment, with what appears to be a few upgrades. The 400 came in 190 (2 barrel) and 250 hp (4 barrel) versions, and if that wasn’t enough, the RB 440 was also available in either 235 or 285 hp trim (all net hp numbers).
No, the leopard skin upholstery wasn’t one of the factory choices that year.
The seventies were a very difficult time for Chrysler, and it would have crashed even sooner if it hadn’t been for the Valiant and Dart. The big cars’ downward trajectory were a particular bitter pill, never mind all the other challenges.
But if you want to stand out from the crowd at the U of O campus, there’s few better ways to do it than with this. There’s even more Lamborghinis on campus than these.