Spring is here in full-throttle mode. The blossoms are gone from the trees and the leaves aren’t yet fully mature. It’s a wonderful time of the year, with the days getting steadily warmer.
It’s also time for cleaning, some purging of excess from my photo archives. Let’s start with this amazing 1966 Chrysler 300.
Did I mention it is a convertible? These pictures reveal two things – first, the 300 convertible saw only 2,500 examples produced making it the rarest Chrysler that year. Second, these license plates went out of use in 1997. Yes, this 300 looked as good as it does here.
This 300 was near Salem (if I don’t mention a state, it’s Missouri), sitting in front of a metal recycling center. There was a sign stating this Chrysler is not for sale, but it has been there for quite a while. I doubt it’ll be scraped as there is a line of other ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s era cars lined up out back, including a 1970s Lincoln limousine.
Before we get too far, I must say not all of these pictures will be of breathtaking quality, so please don’t harp on me too badly!!!
The lead picture is a good tie-in to this one. It showed the loop bumper from an early 1970s Dodge Charger, so here’s some members of its family. The Coronet sedans, like the one in the middle, seem to be all but extinct.
Parked to the left of those were three more. Found near Nebo, this picture covers the gamut. A loop bumper Dodge Charger, a nod to the European car contingent, a Brougham, and a miniature Jeep – has anyone ever seen a child-sized Cordoba?
The pink Jeep reminds me of a doughnut shop in Springfield. I mention this as there is a relatively new car museum in Springfield I stumbled upon earlier this week. While I didn’t have time to stop, stay tuned.
Since I’ve been showing Mopar B-bodies, let’s squeeze in another one. I’ve seen this 1977 or 1978 Fury numerous times at the same intersection in Jefferson City. From the sound of it, she is quite mechanically healthy. I would love to find it parked.
Parked was the best descriptor for this 1962 Chrysler 300 in Edina. It looked really good so let’s hope it was awaiting some attention. I have a full set of pictures that are only four years old. One of these days…
Built a year later is the 1963 Ford Falcon Squire. It belongs to the host of a car club meeting. From what I learned, the car was originally purchased by a gentleman with a goodly degree of life experience and he drove it the rest of his days. It’s been local since Day One.
Speaking of local, here’s a Bobcat I found in my backyard. There’s a lot of wildlife here.
After purchasing a sizable lot directly behind me about 14 months ago, my daughter and I found this along the creek bank near the property line. Further exploration revealed we possess pieces of several automotive carcasses, but it’s mainly the bare frames. She did get an accelerator pedal from the creek bed; it looks like it may have come from this 1959/1960 Chevrolet.
The lot is full of invasive bush honeysuckle trees, but none will be as thought-provoking to eradicate as this huge potted plant I found outside of Lebanon.
In autumn, the leaves will be the color of this 1969 Chevrolet Impala I found on the south side of Memphis, Tennessee.
Green has been a popular car color at times, so let’s have a Green Rush. This ’68 Ford Thunderbird sounded exquisite as it was idling by me in this picture. The sound of a healthy V8 will cause auditory addictions.
The jury is out on whether this Dodge Dart has a V8 or not. No doubt somebody here can tell simply by this sideview.
Incidentally, it’s sitting next to a four-cylinder Dodge Dart. Kansas City is surprisingly plentiful with old car finds.
With a model name of 280C, we all know there’s a straight-six under the hood of this 1973 Mercedes.
Ditto for this 1949 Chrysler sitting for sale alongside a low volume state route in the hamlet of Corticelli.
For reasons that are hard to ascertain, Chrysler products keep popping up. That’s a good thing as they are always a delight – and I even got to see this Plymouth silently whip around into a parking stall in Overland Park, Kansas. Being in the Kansas City area, it strengthens my observations about the area being chock-full of goodies, which is weird given the KC area has more freeze-thaw cycles than most places in North America, leading to a lot of deicing chemicals being used in the winter.
Another Plymouth of the same age, I doubt Montgomery City has this on any sort of active patrol. The pipes jutting through the hood do cause me concern should there be rain.
This ’55 Plymouth sitting in Wichita, Kansas, doesn’t cause me the same level of concern. Maybe because nobody has taken a saws-all to the hood?
The black and white color scheme on this ’55 looks rather natural.
On the other hand, the two-toning of this ’55 Ford looks a bit forced.
There is a simple honestly about vehicles used in service. While not a fan of coach built professional cars, this Cadillac ambulance/hearse has one of the better colors imaginable for such a purpose.
Going back to Mopar another time, this ’56 Fury deserves a full write-up one of these days.
It takes little time to realize the vast majority of cars I show are American. Sure, I had a Mercedes earlier, and I’m about to jump onto the European continent, but it all boils down to regional preferences. I once told one of our non-North American contributors I see 30 year old VWs much more often than I do 15 year old Asian cars. That’s just how it is.
So, speaking of older VWs, here’s a Jetta. I’m guessing this is mid-1980s? That assumption is based upon reading the stampings on the tail light lens. Sitting just off-campus near the University of Missouri-Rolla, I’m speculating it belongs to a student.
The Jetta so enraptured me I didn’t notice the Isuzu badged Chevrolet Colorado pickup until I uploaded this picture.
Help is now needed for an age range. This Mercedes 190D taunted me for several years. This was how I saw it several times weekly, in all sorts of weather, during my morning drive to work.
In an ironic twist, I found it parked at its home – only two doors from a house we nearly purchased two years ago. I cannot explain the cone on the roof.
While not European, this Studebaker has all sorts of European vibe. Plus, it is sitting in Hermann – a town whose percentage of residents with German ancestry is only slightly less than that of Munich.
It was for sale but it needs a whole lot of love.
Being on the topic of needing love, this 1941 Oldsmobile is simply pleading for some. Tucked away in the corner at a repair facility in Hannibal, this poor Olds is heartbreaking. It’s also quite solid, so any attempts at rehabilitation should have fewer nasty surprises.
A pre-war car that didn’t need anything is this 1933 Ford. If only they were all so fortunate.
Shifting gears, let’s look at a few trucks. Workhorses tend to be easily overlooked and it’s time to correct that.
This old Ford intrigued me. Sitting somewhere outside of Portageville, it looked like the only thing holding it back from a hard day’s work was some air in the tires.
At the low end of Ford’s Gross Vehicle Weight spectrum is this 1962 Ford F-100. Claimed to be powered by a 312 V8, it would have spoken to me louder had it been born with an 8′ bed instead of the shortly 6.5′. The asking price was $2500 but a person could likely talk the seller down.
We can’t forget Chevrolet, as seen with this 1961 Apache 350. This was a remarkably solid old one-ton.
Lest I be negligent, here’s another Chrysler product in the form of a 1970ish Dodge half-ton. I see this pickup regularly and it’s still being worked as I found it in the parking lot of Lowe’s Home Improvement.
This one is fascinating. When looking for the $0.25 tamales in Corinth, Mississippi, we stumbled upon this old RV. I was unable to go back for more pictures, but the shape of it is intriguing. Any insight would be welcomed.
Not a pickup and not a car, here’s a 1976 or 1977 Chevrolet El Camino – presenting what is one of my all-time favorite styling traits. I won’t declare what that is as the commentariat seems stacked against me.
Two pictures up, there is quite the size differential with the RVs. It reminds me of something I read recently, where someone expounded on the hugeness of Oldsmobile’s Cutlass Supreme during the 1980s, a car that rather epitomizes the Midwest for a large portion of that decade. This is the best example I’ve seen in a while.
But when parked next to a Ford Focus, any merit in size accusations quickly evaporates. Recently I saw a craigslist ad for a 1971 Plymouth Fury that happened to be parked next to a Nissan Sentra; it was a similar proposition.
Cars are still searching for that true sweet spot, the spot Chevrolet captured with their 1955 to 1957 models. This ’57 wagon is at a self-storage facility in Centralia, so maybe it is indeed a tow-car – but likely not.
Arguably, Ford hit a similar sweet spot in the early 1980s with the Ford LTD, one of the many Fox platform Fords spawned from the Fairmont.
Having once owned a Mustang identical to this one, the Fox platform proved itself to be durable, rugged, and a great fit for the time.
It wasn’t unlike the Falcon platform being right for the times, although it was positively ancient by the time this Maverick came along.
This Cougar, found in the same parking lot as the Maverick, was perhaps a better embodiment of the Falcon’s potential. These two are still regularly seen two doors down from where I work.
Let’s close with a car that was also right for the times, but in a format that was rapidly losing popularity.
When was the last time anyone has seen a two-door Oldsmobile Delta 88 of this vintage?
Like most spring cleaning, there is still more to do, but it’s time to focus on some other automotive endeavors.
I think that odd-shaped RV may be a Corvair-based Ultra-Van
It most certainly is an Ultra Van. And no need to send readers to another website, as we have a thorough write-up on it here: https://www.curbsideclassic.com/curbside-classics-american/curbside-classic-ultra-van-cross-an-airplane-with-a-corvair-for-the-most-radical-rv-ever/
I love the 300 but it’s a 1966; not a ’67.
Fixed; typos are such awful things!
There’s so much great stuff here, but the entry that sticks out to me is that ’81-83(?) Jetta.
I love that design, and haven’t seen one in a dog’s age, especially in such great shape, presumably wearing its original paint and trim, so rust free and possibly daily-driven. As “special” as all the rest of these are, that one stands out just for its apparently honest longevity.
That style of Jetta (and Rabbit) went through 1984, at least in the US. 1985 ushered in the Mk II Jetta and Golf here.
Jason – The black & white one is a 1955 Plymouth, not a ’56.
Geesh, I’m not having a good day today, am I?
Great collection of pictures, and I’m familiar with a number of the locations, too!
Did you happen to find the ’84 Cutlass Supreme in Hannibal? I’m pretty sure I photographed that car for a CC two years ago, but then accidentally deleted the picture from my camera the next week. It was a Brougham, with a light gray cloth interior, and in very good shape. Oddly enough, I saw the car again in Hannibal the next year too. It’s taunting me.
The comparison to the Focus is terrific. Speaking of comparisons to Focuses, I’m planning to use this photo in a future Gran Torino CC — the Focus is, indeed, taller.
Yes, I found the Cutlass in Hannibal. You can see the levee right behind it.
That Torino is the same shade of fecal brown metallic as the ’73 my parents owned. Might this be the only time during this period in which the bumper treatment was better with the upgraded bumpers than with the ’74 Torino over the ’73?
It’s definitely the same Cutlass. Both times, I saw it at Wal-Mart’s parking lot. The only other detail I remember was that it was dusty, indicating that it probably drives on gravel roads quite a bit.
The Torino was fecal brown with a band-aid colored interior… quite a charming combination. I’m just starting the CC research on it now… one fact I’ve learned is that those ’74+ bumpers added over 100 lbs. to the car. But I agree with you; it looks more complete with the bigger bumpers (& tail lights).
If you want any info on Torino’s, I have tons on the 68-76 cars. Let me know if you need anything. The Wikipedia page on Torino’s is actually very accurate compared to a lot of stuff I have read on Torinos.
Thanks Bill — I might just reach out to you with some questions once I get a little farther along in the research. The car in the picture is a 1975 Gran Torino sedan — survival rates for the sedans seem much lower than for the coupes, so I was very surprised to see one. I’m looking forward to doing the write-up.
One bit of local Torino trivia: Here in Fairfax, Virginia, the school system used Torinos as Driver’s Education cars. One year in the mid 1970s, the Superintendent and some other public school officials got into trouble for appropriating the Drivers Ed Torinos for their own personal use instead. When caught, they claimed they had to “break in” the new cars before the students used them. I don’t think anyone believed them…
‘When caught, they claimed they had to “break in” the new cars before the students used them’
? I’ll give ’em credit for creativity!
A coworker bought the first Focus ZX3 in town, someone else had a late Escort wagon. The ZX3 was taller than the Escort wagon with its’ bumped-up roof, a harbinger of what was to come.
I’d love to have the ’41 Oldsmobile. The little “Art Moderne” details on those are awesome!
+1 on the details.
What a great selection. I can’t decide which is calling my name more loudly – the 66 300 convertible or that 1962 300 2 door. I really love the 62 300.
I have seen a whole slew of ratty GT Hawks on CL in recent months, and I wonder if this one has been one of them. That is another car I would love to own someday.
I have to disagree with you about the Fox LTD hitting a sweet spot. I remember that these things had a terribly retrograde vibe to them when new with everything from ChryCo or GM being a “modern” fwd platform. I later bought an 86 Marquis wagon at 5 years old and about 100K miles on it. Dirt cheap. I came to like the car quite a lot.
My first car was a hand me down 86 Marquis Brougham. It was 12 years old and pushing 170k miles I loved it. But it was definitely an outdated design. Wish I could find another one.
I agree, if the Fox LTD hit any kind of sweet spot it’s direct successor, the Taurus, wouldn’t have been praised for essentially saving Ford. It was a facelift of the basic 5 year old Fairmont body, with a parts bin repurposing of the 1980 vintage Thunderbird dash. Not bad cars but I don’t know anyone who fondly remembers them besides the rare LX model.
Jason, awesome collection of both cars and photographs! I remembered seeing a few of these cars (not exact pictures) from some of your previous pictures. That ’77 or ’78 Plymouth Fury always makes me stop and think…when was the last time I saw one in the metal?
Great bunch of photos indeed and thanks for posting them. Is that Stave (?) Silo with the tree full of grain? I love that photo.
I do find it fascinating to see decades of history lying around and being driven around since I cannot think of another era where humans made so many pieces of technology that are somewhat resistant unlike a wagon which will rot away in quick order. The cone on top of the Benz is amusing for sure.
My favorite is the last one, the two-door Olds. One is parked on a private lot around the corner from my house and I keep looking longingly at it. I don’t know why these appeal to me so.
Hmm, I like that F-100, short box is fine with me.
I think the Falcon and the Triumph Spitfire are toast.
Is that a “Buckwheat” silo pictured?
An enjoyable article. The El Camino is a ’76. The ’77 deluxe models with the stacked headlights had a vertical grille insert.
Better than the chain link wire fence look of the ’76’s grille – that looked unbelievably cheap and nasty.
Also let’s not forget the SS trim lasted right to the end of Colonade production on El Caminos and the GMC equivaents, with the 454 big block V8 lasting years after they were dropped on the Chevelle. Not sure (especially in Canada) if the 454 was offered through ’77, but it was an intregueing option for those who wanted a muscular mid-size in the mid’70s. Taking advantage of lower mpg standards on trucks.
I’m surprised that MO is such a hotbed of old iron. I figured rust would be a MAJOR issue up there. And the Mopar love…man oh man! That ’67 ragtop 300 looks like my kinda sled, although that trio of loop bumper cars looks like theyre pretty complete and restorable. I dig the Satellite coupes but for some reason that Coronet calls to me, even if its a sedan. Must be because my gramma had one back in the day…and Ive seen a ‘shine runnner’ build on one of those wearing slot mags that I really dug. I’m really loving that D series pickup. IMHO, the crosshair grille like that is the best interpretation of that bodystyle. Those 90s teardrop wheels are just awful, always hated those…but considering that many vintage rides are shod with 20″ or more blinged out clown shoes, it could be far worse.
Rust is not a major issue in the majority of the state. Don’t think it doesn’t happen, but the most prevalent areas for rust are north of I-70.
I just know that rust definitely is a nuisance in west TN. They don’t use a ton of roadsalt like up north but its definitely a thing. I figured with MO being north of there, the salt would be even more of an issue.
A factor that would be as big as anything would be the type of salt (sodium chloride vs. calcium chloride or magnesium chloride) and application amounts. Sodium chloride isn’t friendly but is not as hostile as the other two.
My money is on that Dart having the good ole /6, since its a 2-door sedan as opposed to a hardtop or a convertible…but its really anyones guess.
The ’67-’68 Cougar is one Ford product that Ive always had a soft spot for. Blame From Dusk Till Dawn. Could there have been a more perfect car for the Gecko Brothers?
I like those suicide door T-birds also. If you MUST have 4-doors, that’s doing it right, IMHO.
That Dart looks to me like the type of car that has no options at all – I don’t see a radio antenna. So yeah, slant six. Maybe with a Torqueflite if it was an old-lady car. I see that someone did put full wheel covers on it.
+1. I really like these olds coupes too
i see an antenna. I think the dart is someone’s sleeper. If you look the exhaust pipe comes out in front of the rear wheel.
Ours (VE) had ‘8’ hubcaps
A splendid catalog of photos, for sure.
As far as rust is concerned, the cities are the biggest problem because that’s where the most salt is used.
Not so much in the country.
I thought Darts of this era had a small V8 emblem somewhere on the front fender…or am I thinking of another make of car?
And that early 60s Ford pickup for $2,500 appears to be a “Unibody”. I can’t get my phone to expand/upsize the photo so I can see if it had a separate bed or not.
It sure looks like a so called Unibody (the Ford “unibody” pickups still have a separate body and frame ?)I see no gap between cab and bed. YMMV!
In the pic with the Satellites the on the right has a 73-74 Roadrunner hood. That actually compliments that front end design better than the correct 71&72 hoods, I didn’t think they would even fit.
I really like the Dart, great color
I won’t declare what that is as the commentariat seems stacked against me.
I see what you did there 😉
I will say, oddly, the stacked lights never bugged me on the El Camino as much as they do on the Malibu for some odd reason.
The stacked headlights are OK with me. My gripe with the colonnade El Caminos is that they moved the taillights into the bumper. Such an awkward look – way too low.
I must say that I’ve warmed up to that look over the past few years. A ’73 to ’77 Elky wouldn’t be my first pick, but I wouldn’t kick a really nice one out of my garage, either.
Same deal on the wagons, both the Colonnade and the A/G bodies. It was even stranger on a family station wagon than on a pickup.
I think that’s why they work better to my eye, both ends look equally awkward.
Those taillights also caught all the muck and grime from the rear tires. Springtime usually meant replacing at least one socket on the ’75 El Camino that I owned back in the 1980’s. It was a great truck otherwise.
Well that’s an interesting assortment of ancient autos! The ’33 Ford caught my eye – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that isn’t fully hot-rodded. Although the bobcat is tempting, my pick would be the Falcon Squire; shame it’s in the state it’s in. Thanks for sharing Jason!
Agreed on the Falcon! I have a real soft spot for those 1st gen Falcon wagons. Very simple, honest cars. The hand-crank tailgate window speaks to simpler times. Hopefully it is not to late to resuscitate this one.
Electric back windows were common on those Falcons, and this moldy example is a top of the line Squire which probably mostly had it. The manual ones had a crank handle just hanging there, while this one just has a round thing that you would put the key in and turn it R or L to run the window up and down.
Jason I am curious was the picture of the white 56 Ply fury shot last fall, late Sept. maybe out in west part of the state or maybe down on hwy 44? The owner with white hair at the rear of car is a friend of mine, from the Troy area. He’s in our local car club. Loyd loves him some Plymouths. In addition to this coupe he has a 56 fury convertible,2 32 ply coupes and a 34 Plymouth pickup. All drivers and drive em he does. The reason I ask is the stormy skies in the pic. He showed up at a Sunday night car cruise in Elsberry with the car a mess. Said a hella thunder storm kept pace with him all the way across the state!
I’m with you on your favorite headlamp styling trait. In your recent piece on that topic one commenter said perhaps jokingly, that a certain model IH semi truck appeared to have Monte Carlo stacked headlight bezels. I doubt it, however I can state that the headlamp bezels on my 76 MonteCarlo are identical to the ones on my 76 El Camino.
Great montage no harps here ?
Rich, the picture of the Fury was likely taken in 2012 just outside a monthly car show at the mall here in JC. I can’t even tell you what month it was anymore.
It’s good to know where the car comes from. There are all sorts of cars squirreled away in your area.
I’m also glad the number of vocal fans of stacked headlights is growing. Perhaps a silent majority?
My feelings about stacked headlights is along the same lines as Grandpa Simpson’s explanation of carrying an onion in your belt back in the old days. “…because it was the style at the time.”
Fintail M-B is a 63-65. Either loop bumper Satellite for me, with 66 Caddy towcar. Actually, there are quite a few others here I desire. Great selection, Jason.
Back in the spring of ’86 my boss took delivery of a new Ford Taurus LX wagon with all the bells and whistles. My transportation was an ’85 LTD on the Fox platform. I remember my boss letting have a drive of his new Taurus and I was quite impressed at how the car drove, especially after driving my loose, wobbly LTD. I was rather envious of my bosses new ride, but that envy faded rather soon when my boss came into work one day, cursing like a sailor, fuming over his new Taurus’ transmission going out, leaving him stranded on a toll bridge. By now I didn’t care if the ’85 LTD I drove was painfully ugly to look at and not at all a driver’s car. It served it’s purpose well as a reliable transportation device that never failed me once.
Great collection Jason. I felt compelled to comment on one. In the outlying areas of Tucson we frequently find wildlife in our back yards…including bobcats looking for a quick snack of someones pet. I wanted to upload a picture of a bobcat looking through my kitchen window at a very upset cockatoo but had a problem downloading it to my PC. Your bobcat, however, looks too well fed to jump many fences.
If only someone could catch a Mercury Bobcat in their back yard… 😉
A little late here, but a fine collection indeed. Now if I decided to upload samples of all the cars I’ve shot but not written up, it would be quite the undertaking. Maybe I’ll get to them when I can’t walk anymore. 🙂
Great seeing you this weekend Jason. See you on the web!