Street Scenes IX: More Middle West Bars & Cars

plano612 E. South, Plano IL 2/26/86

Time for another Street Scenes post. It has been on hiatus for better than a year (sorry about that, Chief), but never fear, for I still have dozens of these pictures from “back when.” Let’s start off with this neo-510 and a 1978-80 Regal. Could that Regal be a Mary Kay car? It almost looks pink. Maybe Mary Kay wasn’t doing so hot in Plano back in the winter of ’86…


For those of you just joining us, my father started his career, in 1972, as an insurance claims investigator at Illinois Casualty Company, which was my grandfather’s company. I worked there throughout high school, during and after college, and once again in 2012-13, before I landed my current accounting gig.

After Grandpa Bob cautioned him to “not go crazy” (his previous cars included a ’70 Boss 302 and ’65 TR4), he proceeded to pick out a new company car down at Bob Neal Ford in Rock Island. It was a bronze 1973 Ford Gran Torino sedan (where to, Lieutenant Kojak?), and so he went to work, driving all over the state of Illinois investigating dram shop claims (alcohol-related claims, for those of you not in the biz). Yes, drunk people, car crashes, bar fights–you name it. Fun! Or not. The Torino was just too mainstream for my dad, and it was replaced with a ’74 Capri V6 the very next year. Later company cars included a ’77 Volvo 245, ’77 Monte Carlo, ’79 Bonneville (my first automotive love!), and an ’81 Volvo 242DL.

bartonville5908 Adams Street, Bartonville IL 3/6/86

These pictures are from insureds with a policy in force in the mid-’80s. Back in 1999 or so, I was tasked with pitching a ton of old stuff that had been transferred to microfilm (remember microfilm?), including policies that had long since lapsed. Some of the files had shots of the location and I became fascinated with the old cars in the background. I asked my boss if I could keep some of them, and she said no problem, since they were destined for the garbage can. As a result, I have at least a couple hundred of these pictures, and it’s time to share some more!

dixon115 W. Everett, Dixon IL 1/24/86

We’ve seen a Regal and an 88 (but did you notice what was next to the Olds?), so let’s finish with a FoMoCo product, in this case a 1975-78 Ford LTD hiding off to the left of this very ’60s package store. Looks to be a well-optioned Landau model–it even has cornering lamps! Sadly, we will never know if it was a coupe or a sedan. See you next time!