(first posted 11/15/2015) Never mind that our featured car isn’t a “black sedan”. In my mind, it completely fits the vibe of the 1970 #2 Billboard hit, “Vehicle” from Chicago-based band The Ides Of March. This chariot was big, brash, and in-your-face just like this song’s horn section, even if it was “just” a Bel Air.
This chartreuse Chevy gave me a MeTV moment, reminding me of a scene from the opening credits of a 70’s TV show. It looked like the kind of car that a Jack Klugman character would drive. The streets were amazingly clear for the end of December. I wonder where this Bel Air was headed.
As photographed by the author downtown, The Loop, Chicago, Illinois.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010.
All that car needs is a TAXI bubble on its roof.
One of my favorite Chevrolet’s ever.
About eight years ago, I found a ’70 Bel-Air for sale. With a six-cylinder and a three-speed on the column, I knew it had to be a rare bird.
Great catch and awesome job on the pictures!
Is this some type of retro-import??
There’s a bumper sticker on the rear right flank with the letters DK?? I’ve seen this type of sticker in Europe.
The car is in too good a condition to have lived on US streets.
What’s the car in your photo?
“Vehicle”–great song, hadn’t thought of it in a long time:
That pale blue shooting-brake is a 1960-64 Taunus Turnier “Kombi”, by Ford of Germany.
The early-60s Ford Taunus (no, not Taurus) might be more recognizable to you from the front, with its lozenge-shaped, non-US-compliant headlamps.
I miss the kind of no nonsense guy who would drive such a no nonsense car. It and he were everywhere in the seventies, now the man and the car really stand out. As the big cities have gone into another period of higher crime and decay, one hopes a new generation will buy the new Impala and show the flag of hope for another comeback.
The song, which I was not familiar with, also left me longing for a time when everything wasn’t sampled and you could actually bring in a big orchestra, even if the music was of the electric veriety. Thanks Joseph.
I never noticed them before, but the color and lighting bring out a couple of very subtle bulges over the wheels. At first, I thought they might have been due to a bad bondo job, but looking through other images on the ‘net, the bulges seem to be all-original sheetmetal. Was this the only year that had them? I can’t recall seeing them on any other of the last sixties/seventies full-size Chevys.
The 69 had them too. The lighting almost has to be right to see them.
Great song and nice pic of a car, that makes four doors look good, especially on a set of Chevy Rallye wheels.
Awesome analogy, Joseph, of a no-nonsense car with Jack Klugman as the no-nonsense owner…
But, when I think of a no-nonsense guy driving a no-nonsense car, Fred Dryer as detective Rick Hunter in his Dodge Monaco always pops up. Lol
“Works for me.”
I always thought this song was by Blood Sweat and Tears. The car in color with the black and white background is a great touch. Nice find.
VERY cool shots, Joseph, and great song. Couldn’t get away from that song when it was on the charts on WLS and WCFL.
For those not familiar with The Ides Of March, founder Jim Peterik went on to form Survivor (Eye Of The Tiger). He is still very active in the Chicago music scene.
The pride of Berwyn! They even have a street there that was renamed Ides of March.
Rudiger, The 69 Full size Chevies first used the fender blisters, They worked well with the loop bumper on the 69. Not quite as cohesive with the 63 Cadillac inspired front of the 70. However the early 70s vibe still lives when seeing this car.
I disagree that the 69 does the “bulging fenders” look better than the 70. The 69 has sharp creases along the bottom of the body shell that are not as noticeable on the 70. The 69 strikes me as a marshmallow with very sharp cuts molded into it while the 70 is a marshmallow with a touch more…..air (?) puffed into it.
While I can appreciate the “vibe” of a low buck, full-sized car (my current car is a police Crown Vic with “dog dish” hubcaps), in 1970 I might have felt sorry for anyone who didn’t spring for an Impala or Caprice….or move down a size to the Malibu equivalent of an Impala or Caprice.
Not sure why you feel the sharp creases on the doors and lower fenders are more subtle on a 70, as both 69 and 70’s use the same doors and rocker panels. The only difference on the 1/4 panels are the size of the side market light opening, and the lower front fenders on a 70 have the exact same crease as a 69. It all depends on lighting and color as to how noticeable the creases and fender blisters appear. Interestingly, the reproduction 1/4s available for these cars are inaccurate in that they are missing the blisters and the lower crease on the 1/4 is not correct. When you see a car that had been restored with these panels, the lack of those blisters really stands out against those on the front fenders. Here’s one of my 69’s in Azure Turquiose, as you can see the blisters are very subtle in this color.
I thought I could find images that would prove my point, but they don’t exist. For some reason, I always thought the 69 and 70 full-sized Chevy were subtly different along the lines of the “similar but different” 65 and 66 Ford full-sizers.
My guess is the different bumpers on the 2 Chevys made it look like they were different….at least to me.
Subtle, but definitely there. And a lovely colour, Jimmy.
I like the song, but like the song “Every Breath You Take” by the Police the lyrics are creepy when you look into them. I really hope that “Vehicle” by Ides of March uses as many real instruments as possible since the sounds are amazing. It is fascinating to listen to older music because I swear you can hear echos, quick instances of no sound, various other noises, and sometimes the lack of quality due to the recording technology of the time. Also, the use of real instruments is very enjoyable. When I listen to modern music there seems to be multiple layers of music and no dead space and sometimes it really gets on my nerves.
Sorry, no car content in this post, but…
If you like this kind of early-70s horn-section pop-rock, lend an ear to Keith Hampshire’s “Big-Time Operator”. It’s a bouncy, truly fun little ditty about the kind of jive-talkin’ jerk-of-all-trades who has either held a bewildering myriad of jobs… or is just a huge liar. A type we’ve all met, no? (Although never here at CC, of course.) Toronto-based Hampshire — whose blustery vocals have been compared to Tom Jones, David Clayton-Thomas, and “Neil Diamond’s evil twin” — had himself a big-time success in Canada with this one, although is virtually unknown to Americans other than the northernmost border-staters within reach of Canadian radio stations.
Definitely one from my “Why wasn’t this a major worldwide hit?” file. Enjoy!
I dig this! Never heard of Keith Hampshire before this. Apparently, he had a #1 in Canada with his ’73 rendition of “First Cut Is The Deepest”. And yes – I agree that blowhards can be annoying. LOL
Great looking car and great song with a powerful sound! I don’t see these on the street very much anymore, and they don’t play this song anymore on broadcast radio around here.
I have always thought that Chevrolet got the ’69 and ’70 model years backwards. The ’70 with its “exposed” front end should have been a ’69 and the ’69 with its loop bumper should have been a ’70 in my opinion.
Strangely, the big Chrysler sedans had loop bumpers in 1969. I say strangely, because GM and Chrysler rarely had styling that used the same design elements, at the same time.
Interesting thoughts about these two years. I always thought that the 69 looked like a Chrysler product and the 70 looked like a Buick from about 1966.
PBR Longneck, I see both of those things, now that you mention it. The front of the ’70 Chevy looks like a ’66 Electra 225, and the front of the ’69 Chevy does look like the front of a early ’70s “fuselage” full-size Dodge (which came later).
Chevy seemed to prefer the 2 year design cycle on the fullsizers from the mid 60’s up to 1970……The 1963 and 64 Impalas looked similar but had different grilles and tails.
65 and 66 were again similar….65 had a more pronounced front end with 6 round taillights while the 66 had a more squared up front end and horizontal wraparound taillights…
67 and 68 fullsize Chevies differed again primarily in grill and taillight design….as did the 69 and 70.
Starting in 1971 is when Chevy and other automakers began longer cycles between major styling changes.
I was a huge fan of this song in 1970 when I was a high school freshman just a year away from getting my driver’s license. Memories of this song are indelibly tied to a certain car I passed all the time riding the bus home from school. A 1960 Cadillac convertible, glossy black with a white top, chrome moon rims with with dual pipes sticking out under the back bumper. Sometimes the song was playing on the radio as I went past, sometimes I just heard it in my head. I just couldn’t wait to get the chance to drive a car like that. I hadn’t heard the song in years but I was lucky to find it on a 70’s anthology cd about ten years ago. While I never got the ’60, I did end up with ’64 Caddy convertible after graduating high school. Great memories.
’70 BelAir made a good driver’s ed car that summer. Plenty of room for 4 students and the teacher.
Interestingly enough when the Ides of March folded in 1973 one of the founders of the band Jim Peterik(the writer and lead singer of the song Vehicle) veered off towards a hard rock guitar driven AOR sound and formed Chicago based band Survivor who would be huge in the 1980’s .
My older brother used to rock out to some Survivor back in the day. RIP Jimi Jamison, the voice behind those hits.
Great photos , they unlocked a flood of memories when this was a new car .
Good cars for their time if too big for my taste .
A couple of friends of mine were given a ’70 Bel Air to drive when they went off to school in 1975. They were fraternal twins who looked and acted nothing alike, only sharing identical heads of black hair. The BA was an awful grey and it had only a couple of options, an AM/FM radio, and cloth seats(I think vinyl was standard). It had the “mighty” 307 in it, and when they got it, it already had the “Chevy tick”, which got louder and louder as the crack in the exhaust manifold got bigger and bigger. I helped them change the manifold (driver’s side) in the middle of winter in the parking lot of their building. It was about the most unpleasant couple of hours I ever spent working on a car. Only time worse(Without my getting hurt badly enough to go to the ER) was changing gears in my friend’s 1971 Mustang in Vegas when it was 110 degrees out. Nothing like getting gear lube in your hair when you’re sweating like hell. That smell is one of the most unpleasant odors a car or truck can produce. And a scalp full of zits the next day wasn’t much fun either.
Looks like the Victor FD has been taking banned substances. What year did this car come out?
Also, has the colour on these photos been retouched, or are cars really duller and duller in colour nowadays?
Haha! Nice, Roger! Besides the selective colorization, I did not retouch the car’s color (which was probably closer to buttercup yellow than chartreuse).
Joseph, very neatly done retouch. Clearly emphasised your subject but without hitting between the eyes – the colour contrast was evident in the first view but I only considered a colour match after the second viewing.
And,.yes dull coloured cars are here. I know it’s a personal thing, but grey/silver cars do absolutely nothing for me.
As a fellow Brit, that’s what I thought!
Did you notice the wide rear/narrow front tires – looks like it might be a sleeper to me!
Fantastic song! I may be too young to have heard it when it was new, but it’s been a favorite ever since I heard it on a classic rock station in the 90’s. And nice catch on the Chevy too…
Thanks, everyone, RE: the pictures. Glad you enjoyed them!
The first car that I owned myself was a 1969 Chevy Bel Air 4-dr, Olympic Gold with a white roof, 327 V8 and , get this, 3 on the tree. I bought it in 1972 with 42,000 miles for $1300 – the dealer was having trouble moving it because most people looking at big Chevy’s didn’t want the 3-speed on the column. With the color combination, it was quite good-looking and a lot of people mistook it for an Impala.
From that angle driving away, from the body crease up you can see the 1965 in it.
Whenever I see a full size Chevy in Manhattan, I think of this:
I loved it when he finally embraces his new tags and parks in a doctor’s only parking space at the hospital.
IIRC, when confronted, he says something like, “Cosmo Cramer, Proctology”.
My Uncle Bill bought a new 1970 Chevrolet Biscayne that replaced his 1964 Comet. His had the radio antenna actually in the windshield. I think the car in your photo would have probably originally had this as well.
For a Country Rock take with a similar feeling, check out Shooter Jennings’ “Steady at the Wheel.” The video features a ’69 Cadillac, among others. “The Fourth of July” is pretty great also. The whole album is fantastic, like many things, his first album was the best.
So tell me again why GM thought they needed to make their full size Chevys bigger? 🙂
Very subtle colouration of the target vehicle in a black and white photo. Well done!
Ahh, my high school girlfriend’s father had one of these. Push that bench back, no need to go to the back seats.
The bulges in the fenders for ’69 and ’70 give the cars a “motion” appearance when the light hits it at a certain angle as in this photo of a ’69.
Long live the 4-doors!
Thanks Dennis, never knew the title of the song or the artists! This song was everywhere when I was in college in the early 70s. Now I know it’s “Vehicle” by the Ides of March.