(first posted 8/11/2014) As so often happens with cars I like that are shared here on CC, I have the feeling that the title of this piece will receive some backlash. “Those were the days? 1973?! Gas lines, park bench bumpers, strangled performance and muscle cars halfway out the door?! What???” But bear with me! In 1973, new car buyers still had a lot to choose from, no one had yet uttered the dreaded word “crossover” and pickups were for people who, well, actually NEEDED a pickup.
Yes, in 1973 you still had choices. And there was much variety as well: personal luxury cars, a rising tide of efficient, well-made and attractive (albeit horribly rust-proofed) Japanese vehicles, station wagons (with or without Di-Noc, at your pleasure), hardtops, and convertibles.
Variety in color too. Silver, gray and black were available of course, but people cared less about resale value than about the actual car they would enjoy. I am of the opinion that ordering a car based on getting the best trade-in value down the line is dumb. Just get what you want! And people did. There was a virtual kaleidoscope of color charts for 1973 models, be they domestic, Asian or European. Want a red Volvo 144E with red vinyl? No problem. Triple white Eldo convertible? Sure. Bright blue 240Z with white buckets? You got it!
And there were Broughams! Long, lush, lovely Broughams! Baby Broughams like the new X-Body Buick
Nova Apollo and Oldsmobile Nova Omega! Midsize Broughams like the Colonnade Cutlass Supreme coupe, Mercury Montego MX and Pontiac Grand Prix! And, of course, the big, comfortable top-tier Broughams from Cadillac, Lincoln, and Imperial.
Yes, Imperial was still around in ’73, though you could be forgiven for forgetting it. Sales had been steadily tapering off since the mid-Sixties, and despite an attractive facelift of the Fuselage Imperial for 1972, there just weren’t too many folks willing to pay $1500 more than a Chrysler New Yorker Brougham–a car that clearly shared a lot with the pricier Imperial.
The 1973 Imperial was offered only in LeBaron trim, the final Crowns coming off the line for the 1970 model year. You had your choice of the $7313 two-door hardtop or $7541 four-door hardtop.
When compared to the top-of-the-line standard Chrysler, the New Yorker Brougham, the Imperial added bespoke sheetmetal, hidden headlights (always a plus in your author’s opinion) and standard air conditioning ($420.85 for manual A/C and $495.15 for AutoTemp in New Yorkers).
It also retained the loop bumper up front, unlike the Chrysler Newports and New Yorkers, which got a blockier, non-loop unit that, while not bad, was somewhat at odds with the curvy Fuselage style.
But, as the best Chrysler Corporation had to offer, the LeBaron had a lot of cool details, such as that amazing rear bumper, side marker light disguised as an emblem, aforementioned hidden headlights and elegant tailoring. It almost looked like a coachbuilder-customized New Yorker, which really, is precisely what it was.
One notable option on Imperials was a power sun roof, for a hefty $584.75. I can’t imagine too many popped for the sun roof, making this car (one of 14,166 four-door hardtops; 2,563 two-door hardtops were also made) rare even among fellow 1973 Imperials. As you can see in this shot, it was generously sized, like everything else on the Imperial. Stretch-out room? Oh yeah!
This attractive cloth was standard on LeBarons, but as you would expect, leather trim was available for a bit more. I always really liked the no-nonsense instrument panel on Fuselage Mopars, with everything easily falling to hand and logically laid out. The Imperial version, of course, had more simulated wood and padding, but was not drastically different from the Newports and New Yorkers it shared showrooms with.
Out back, you not only had ample leg room, but a built-in pillow on the C-pillar and lavaliere straps to assist your entry and exit. Combined with the pillarless body style, I believe this would be an excellent car to ride in in early spring with all four windows down!
The driver’s compartment was not shabby either, with a split bench and his-and-hers folding armrests. The door panels also had concealed storage, something that I always associated with Lincolns (my grandparents’ 1987 had them, as does my 2000 Town Car). But it appears Chrysler was first. Or was there another car that had them even earlier? I’m kind of curious about that…feel free to chime in in the comments!
But as a 1973 hardtop, the shoulder belts were separate from the lap belts. As it was kind of a pain to slide them out from their clips in the headliner, most folks just left them up there. My brother’s first car, a 1973 ‘cuda 340 purchased in 1999 (yes, really!) had the same thing. But unlike the Imperial with its various power assists and standard air conditioning, Andy’s ‘cuda had no chilled air–making things a bit uncomfortable in the summertime, even with a white interior and a hardtop!
But the best interior option of all were these groovy bucket seats, as shown in the 1973 Imperial deluxe brochure. Wow! I love these things, and would have rapidly checked off the box for them on the order form, but I imagine most of the ’73s did not have them–sadly! Aren’t they great?
I was a little disappointed that the headlight doors were in the up position on this 1973 I spotted at a repair shop one day late last year. But that is being really picky, as this car is a beaut! I love the colors. That deep metallic blue is a great contrast to the ample chrome trim, the white top is perfect, and the blue interior a perfect match to the paint.
Honestly, I was tripping over my tongue, stumbling out of the Lincoln with camera in hand, when I saw this fine specimen. I love my Fuselages! I was equally amazed a few months earlier when I saw the silver-blue 1971 New Yorker two-door hardtop, but this was even better. This was an Imperial. An Imperial, you guys! She was lovely.
And yes, though I get really tired of eBay listing saying “Chrysler Imperial” for a 1958, 1964 or 1951 model, sadly, it was correct for 1973. I am not precisely sure when the little “by Chrysler” emblem was added, but it is shown in my 1972 brochure.
And the sunroof was just the icing on the cake! I love my Town Car, but it looked like a pale luxury car facsimile compared to the grandeur of this Imperial! Well, that’s what twenty-five years of regulation will do to a luxury auto–but then my TC is much safer with four-wheel disc brakes, dual airbags and ABS too…
I was also impressed with this car’s originality. No silly non-factory paint colors, no huge ugly wheels, no bad JC Whitney do-it-yourself window tint. Just a nice, clean car.
Factory wheel covers, whitewall tires, original chrome, original trim. Just how I like it.
I personally would lose the tacky bug deflector, but its installation has likely kept the Imperial Eagle and hood paint sitting pretty for 41 years.
Here we can see the “rubber baby buggy bumpers” added to Imperials for 1973 to comply with the new bumper regulations. Although not the most beautiful bumper guards out there, they are worlds better than some of the ungainly bumpers tacked onto other 1973 motors. 1973 LTD anyone?
Although a true blue (true blue? Ha!) member of the Brougham Brigade, the 1973 Imperial LeBaron wore the final vestiges of the smooth lines seen on American cars from, oh, say about 1965. Clean styling, smooth sheetmetal. The opera lamps, landau tops and ample crushed-velour gingerbread and filigree were just around the corner, but in ’73, the big Mopars, from plebian Plymouth Fury I to Impressive Imperial, were rather clean, cohesive, and most attractive.
As I have heard tell, the ’73 was originally to be the last Imperial, but a chance sighting of a design sketch at Highland Park led to a slight stay of execution for the beloved but slow-selling Imperial.
Said new model, debuting in 1974 as the last all-new Imperial, did not sell well at all, but was a classy bit of kit, and after being slightly decontented, reappeared in 1976 as the “new” New Yorker Brougham, where it sold well beyond any Imperial of recent memory. But I will always have a soft spot for the 1972-73, for their rarity, for their luxuriousness while still retaining clean lines, but most of all, for their honorable continuation of one of the best luxury car names ever–Imperial.
Related: CC Capsule: 1973 Imperial LeBaron Coupe Curbside Classic: 1973 Imperial LeBaron by Chrysler
Outstanding find! But now I’m going to have the song you referenced in your title running through my head all day. My first professional radio job was at a little AM station in Terre Haute, Indiana. we played mostly music your grandparents would’ve enjoyed. The songs were mostly short – 2 to 3 minutes. That song, however, was in our library. At almost 5 minutes long, it was a great song to show up on the playlist when you really needed to go to the bathroom.
“Those Were the Days, My Friend” Mary Hopkins…ah, yes, a classic “DJ break” song! I remember!! 🙂
I lost count of how many singers covered that song on TV shows in this time period. Some things are better left forgotten. Oh well, at least it’s not ‘ I Got You, Babe’. Rare find, nice color, but the front end is strange looking. Probably looks better with headlamp doors closed and no hood deflector.
I’m not really a full size car fan but I think it looks nicer than the Lincoln and Cadillac opposition.I love that blue with white vinyl roof though it must be a brute to keep clean
The “CC Effect” at work again: This weekend, I found a review of the ’73 Imperial by Tom McCahill:
Ol’ Tom – who owned a new one for 15 continuous model years – kept comparing this one to the Imperials of his past, lamenting the loss of performance (due to smog regs) and a decline in build quality.
Said report by “the scribe”, McCahill, was one of his best.
Funny thing, him speaking about bootleggers. My former long-term boss’s father maintained the local bootleggers “hooch-running” cars. Sam Rushton had various big, heavy Packards and such, to haul the booze from the shoreline toward inland. And, wouldn’t you know—-Sam was THE ONE man who paid off his entire debt to his mechanic’s widow… shortly after WW2. Nobody else.
And, yes, one of his drivers “got lead poisoning” from refusing to stop one night for the “revenoo-ers”—-and this was in New England!
Of course, one of Joe Kennedy, Sr.’s trucks got “intercepted” by a pair of rivals from ‘Jersey, near NYC’. Old Joe vowed that he would “get ’em” for that. I don’t think he ever did. But that’s another story. Check out Seymour Hersh’s book, the name of which I forget right now. BTW, FDR had to recall old Joe as our ambassador to England in the late 1930s… ’cause he was an open admirer of Die Fuehrer & the Nazis. Well, getting recalled is a lot better than dying in Benghazi, right?
For me, the o.g. 1969 is that little bit more desirable because SEQUENTIAL TAIL LIGHTS.
Besides the Cougar, T-Bird, and current Mustang was the ’69 Imp the only other car to feature sequential turn signals?
My neighbors had a ’69 LeBaron 4 door hardtop, and I remember that car so well. I often wondered if they licensed the sequential lights from Ford. That had to be patented.
They traded ‘the green hornet’ (what my brothers and I called the car) on a ’73 snowball white 2 door Imp.
as a bonus, the ’69 dealer sales trainer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MG7W1hu3ljs
Great car. The Imperials were consistently the best-looking Fuselages each year. I always laugh at those C-pillar pillowed headrests. Did anyone ever actually use them? And as for your question about door armrest storage, I don’t know the first car with them, but another modern car with them is the 2nd-gen Toyota Sienna.
I don’t know the exact reason, but I feel that the “by Chrysler” badge had something to do with the fact that Imperials had been becoming more closely related to regular full-size Chrysler every year since the late-1950s. Some of the Chrysler full-line brochures during this time even include Imperial, making no explicit claims that it is its own brand. Speaking of brochures, that ’73 Imperial one you used here has always puzzled me. All those pictures of people gazing at interior components sitting out in the open? For some reason the style always reminds me of the painting “Girl With a Pearl Earring”.
The brochure was actually trying to ape the Andrew Wyeth style.
Also, RE the Chrysler badging. In an issue of Collectible Automobile, I read that the act of combining the brands was a strategy to bump-up the national sales charts a peg or two, since the numbers of Imperials moved out the door could now be folded in with lesser C-bodies.
I just googled Andrew Wyeth, and they do really emulate his style. Something very different for a brochure. At least they’re showcasing elements of the car as opposed to cheesy “scenes of life” that Buick liked to use.
Makes sense to me about the badging. Thanks!
There was a funny discussion of those weird images on Tom’s story about old brochures a few weeks ago.
Shh! No one can know the SECRET of the SEATS!
See the movie that everyone is talking about!
A Universal Release
Don’t those seats look nice enough that they belong in a home theater room? 🙂
I was always hopelessly in love with that leather that was almost metallic gold that found its way into Imperials of the late 60s-early 70s.
A stunning car for all the reasons you described .
They sure don’t build them like that anymore!
I grew up in a fuselage New Yorker hardtop that was a shade lighter blue than this one – (more like the other CC you had linked to). Same white vinyl top.
These had huge engines in them and very poor gas mileage – 7mpg, if I remember. We also had a number of quality problems with ours. My father kept it for four years. Engine overheating, issues with brakes, I also remember it breaking down in the middle of a Nevada desert. He bought it because it could pull a full fold-out camper filled with a family of seven.
The Imperial is beautiful. No broughamification, except for the C-pillow and landau strap. The fuselage Chryslers really missed the boat styling-wise for most auto buyers in the full size market. These were beautiful cars, but their styling was a tad unoriginal by this time. Autos of this era had almost a decade of the slab side, long and wide look. Even the Imperial changed towards a more typical luxury car look within the year. What Chrysler did do for this fuselage Imperial was give it very elegant bumpers and a very shapely set of parking and tail lights – and a very nice hood. The rest of the fuselage line didn’t have a raised edge of the hood, like this – and the effect is very elegant.
Look at those rear fenders! The two door had extraordinarily long fenders. They rusted out too. Where the a-pillar drained down into the front fenders. Chryslers of this style often had a rusted through hole in this area within four years.
Looks like the dreaded hidden-headlight, vacuum leak has reared its ugly head.
Nonetheless, the last fuselage Imperial was a sign of how the times were changing. Fuselage styling had arrived in 1969 and never made quite a splash with either the intermediates or full-size Chrysler products. And, like the Forward Look over a decade earlier, probably overstayed its welcome by a year or two.
Still, while next year’s Chryslers (including the last four-door Imperial) were just as big and imposing, they didn’t have the same smooth, 747 wide-body, individual look. With the ’74s, Lynn Townsend and company went right back to just copying last year’s GM products (even if the Imperial had a waterfall grille), and it showed, ultimately ending with the ultimate, box-on-wheels, ungainly ‘coffin’ cars of 1979. Compare a 1979 New Yorker with a 1973 Imperial to see just how bad things would eventually get at Chrysler.
The Cap’n is the real authority here, but I believe these hidden headlights are operated by electric motor instead of by vacuum, as were the Lincoln units.
I think you’re right JP, but I’m not sure about that. Chrysler used electric motors to control the hidden headlights on older models that I’m aware of. We need to hear from 73ImpCapn. (I’m sure he’ll be happy when he sees this article.) 🙂
The ’68-up systems were relatively simple compared to that of the ’66 Charger. See the real expert for more:
I had a ’67 Charger, and actually got the rotating (yes!) hide-away headlights to work, at least most of the time. 2 reversing motors, 4 micro switches, 3 relays and a sneaky circuit breaker in the left kick panel. What a mess! My ’70 Charger had a modified power window motor, a rod, and 2 plastic headlight doors. Never failed.
“And yes, though I get really tired of eBay listing saying “Chrysler Imperial” for a 1958, 1964 or 1951 model, sadly, it was correct for 1973. I am not precisely sure when the little “by Chrysler” emblem was added, but it is shown in my 1972 brochure.”
“I was also impressed with this car’s originality. No silly non-factory paint colors, no huge ugly wheels, no bad JC Whitney do-it-yourself window tint. Just a nice, clean car.”
A big hearty Amen to that!
Tom-I enjoy your perspective on how these cars were products of their time. It’s easy now to mock the “Big Three” on building big-block powered luxo-barges during times of oil embargos and increasing emissions controls; however, there were both money to be made in making luxury cars, the demand was there, and I feel that there will always be a business case for the “top of the hill” brands that Everyday Joe aspires to own one day. Additionally, for the man who could afford a Cadillac, Lincoln, or Imperial, gas prices weren’t THAT big of a concern.
And yes, 1973-the writing had been the wall for Imperial as a stand-alone brand. Chrysler never really did enough to differentiate Imperial from the rest of the Chrysler line. By steadily scaling back the finanical resources to make Imperial unique, the snowball began rolling. Chrysler didn’t want to spend the money to make Imperial more unique, and by not doing that, the public saw the Imperial slowly become a “badge job” on the New Yorker.
It is sad to see, since Imperial was more than a legitimate contender to Cadillac and Lincoln during its time.
Thanks again, Tom!
Incredible find, from the great color combination to the sunroof. About a dozen years ago, I used to see one of these on my morning commute, black over dark grey, great condition.
A guy up the street where I grew up had a ’73 New Yorker Brougham, black over dark blue, dark blue interior, loaded. Really, just a nice as this, which was the Imperial’s Achilles heel.
I always thought that the Imperial’s front end was just a bit odd, and thought that the ’73 New Yorker had it right. But, today, if you offered me a choice of New Yorker vs. Imperial, either equipped exactly as I desire, I’d go Imperial. The entire booty on the Imperial from the the C pillars back is just perfect. Long, sleek, those wonderful tail lights, and best of all the Imperial script down the rear flanks followed by that shield side marker light. They really don’t build them like this anymore (but they should!)
There is a terrific website on the Imperial, and one of my favorite pieces is the saga of a gentleman that restored one of these. A resourceful fellow like Keith Thelen of the CC pages.
> But, today, if you offered me a choice of New Yorker vs. Imperial, either equipped exactly as I desire, I’d go Imperial.
…until the first time you had to replace the front brake rotors on the Imperial. They’re made of unobtainium.
Shhhh! Mine are ok, don’t tempt the rotor gods!
So were the rotors.. starting in ’67 & ’68 Imps. And either the caliper OR the rotor changed in ’69—-I couldn’t remember which.. even ten years ago!
Eventually, Imps had regular two-piston calipers.. like all others. But, for the first few years, they were FOUR-piston jobs: translated, quite expensive to have rebuilt / sleeved. Those early front disc brakes were Imperial-ONLY: they were NOT shared with New Yorkers. And since the Imp was such a low-production car, it may have been that only the original supplier to Chrysler [Budd?] ever made any. They must have been hard to find… in 1983, never mind later.
Online Imperial Club is a tremendous resource. That’s how I learned nearly all I know about Imperial. I could literally spend an entire day on there going year-by-year through all the available literature.
I have spent many happy hours on imperialclub.org over the past 15 years. A great site!
Ah, 1973. My great aunt and uncle around the corner from me bought a white and yellow over white ’73 4 door hardtop to replace their black ’65 LeBaron. I remember being fascinated by the “floating cushion” leather seats and those great rear marker lights.
And just down the street from me, one of our neighbors bought a ’73 New Yorker Brougham in that black over burgundy color scheme that was very popular on these cars. Didn’t like the boxy grill so much, but it was certainly stately. Certainly by comparison to my dad’s gold over gold ’73 Fury III four-door hardtop. My dad refused would never order a vinyl roof – far too flashy for him – but I think fuselage cars look best with them – and certainly less police-spec.
Ha, just remembered my Uncle, on the next block, drove a green ’73 Polara Custom wagon as his work car (his fun car was a raspberry ’73 911). And my grandfather’s last car was a triple dark green ’73 Monaco Brougham 4 door hardtop. He didn’t live in our neighborhood, but he’d grown up across the street from my house. A royal flush of ’73 C-bodies!
Nice write-up on a beautiful car! The car gods were smiling on you, Tom, when you ran into that amazing, apparently unrestored survivor sitting in the wild.
I like that Imperial retained the cool looking loop bumpers and just added little bumperettes as a concession to regulation. My thought is : if that is all that was necessary to comply with the law, why did most of the manufacturers go to great lengths to put massive rams on their cars that befouled styling for years to come?
BTW, is that grill all metal?
Yes, it is all metal. I believe the alpha Mopar had a die-cast grille through the last C-body New Yorker Broughams of ’78.
There is a bit of Imperial trivia (or possibly myth) that Chrysler got dispensation from NHTSA to build a non-compliant ’73 Imperial based on very low anticipated production numbers, and the fact that the car was slated for a complete redesign in ’74. A few other low production cars may have also received dispensation, mostly foreign makes.
If a myth, it is possible that a few things were in place for the ’73 Imperial. It was probably a bit of a brick house in the first place. Next, ’73 bumper standards were that you had to protect critical systems up to 5 mph. By ’79 the standard was no damage up to 5 mph. With the ’73 Imperial slated for a complete replacement in ’74, there was no need to anticipate the future standard. Chrysler did redesign all of its other ’74 full size front bumpers, but part of that was likely related to loop bumpers being a dated look by 1972 or so. Chrysler was the most invested in the loop bumper, and it had virtually disappeared from all other makes.
The Challenger and Barracuda also seem to have gotten the same treatment as the Imp for 1974. While expected production was higher, they too were going into in their last year.
As I think about it, the 1974 Javelin seems to have received the same minimalist 1974 bumper. If I had to guess, I would suppose that these soon-to-be replaced designs were designing for the absolute minimum bumper they could get by with under the law, with no concern for accommodating future tougher standards.
Good points that say the dispensation theory is probably a myth.
I cannot find the reference, but I recall reading once that there was a dispensation on the 5 mph front bumper in ’73-’74 (and rear in ’74) for vehicles with a wheelbase of 115″ or less, and it was specifically intended to cover the Mopar B-body two-doors that were due to be redesigned for ’75. Googling came up with this: “Not every 1974 car has to conform to the 1974 height regulations, however. There are three grounds for exemption. Exempted cars must be on a wheelbase of 115 in. or less and have either a convertible top, a “pillarless” roof like the traditional hardtop’s, or no designated seating positions behind the front seats. Thus all roadsters, all 2-seaters, some convertibles and some hardtops like the Datsun and Toyota coupes, Triumph Stag, Mercedes SLC, BMW CS and Opel
Manta are exempt in this way.”
“…people cared less about resale value than about the actual car they would enjoy. I am of the opinion that ordering a car based on getting the best trade-in value down the line is dumb. Just get what you want! And people did.”
I approve this message. 🙂
I had a ’73 New Yorker parts car with the same colour interior. It lacked some of the creature comforts of this Imperial though, which you pointed out. Great find!
I agree with the resale comment, as do probably most CC readers. But, we are a breed apart in our appreciation for old metal that is less than perfect at times.
When I was a kid, even new car buyers seemed to hang on to their cars until they looked pretty tired, and resale value was nominal. It wasn’t hard to use up most cars as rust, mechanical issues, and interior wear made cars like my dad’s ’68 Impala rather crappy by 1974 or so.
My 2002 Dodge Durango is in very good condition after 12 years and 90,000 miles. The seats are not dry rotting, I’ve had few repairs of consequence, there is just the tiniest bit of body rust in a few hidden welds inside the doors. Most original owners of 2002 Durangos got tired of them half a decade ago, and trade-in value was an issue for those owners.
I got so angry last year when some so-called motoring writer for our local paper advised new car buyers to consider resale value, and only buy white, black or silver cars. That may be okay from an economics writer, but that makes it awfully hard to buy a used car in a decent colour! Dealer ads in the paper may as well be printed in black and white – in a double page spread you’re lucky to see one in red, blue, or – very rarely -yellow or green.
My daughter had to drive 200 miles to get a first-gen Honda Jazz (Fit) in the bright yellow she wanted, as all they had around here were boring colours an artist like her wouldn’t be seen dead in. Likewise when my son bought his car, another long trip to our state capital to find a Mitsubishi Lancer in red.
I lucked out though – for my blue Mazda 3 I only had to go to the next village.
Another fan of what may be the ultimate Fuselage. Beautiful find, Tom.
It was my feeling at the time that the fuselage look had played itself out after about 1971 and was most attracted to the big Lincoln among the big luxoboats. However, I like the Imperial much better now than I did at the time.
I echo Mr. Imperial’s comment above, that in the fuselage era, Chrysler would not spend money in areas that would really set the car apart from lesser Chryslers. It is a shame that during most of the period of the really unique Imperial (1957-66), many of its best years were squandered with unpopular styling (especially 1960-61).
MAN, who would want such a gas-guzzling dinosaur?! I’d be embarrassed to be seen in a tu-tu’d hippo like this! Ha ha ha…
Thanks for this piece, Tom. I can add a few tidbits:
– It WAS still an Imperial in ’73. The VIN has a “Y” where a Chrysler has a “C”. The factory service manual calls it “Carline Y.” And when you go to register it, it’s make Imp, model LeBaron. Not that it matters to anyone except the doofus who gave me static for bringing a “Chrysler” to Extinct Car Day a couple years ago.
– “Looks like the dreaded hidden-headlight vacuum leak has reared its ugly head.” – Rudiger
Nope, that’s a FoMoCo malady. Shady ’70s Mopars use a fat electric motor behind the grille that turns a rod attached to both doors. There’s a relay under the dash that opens them when you turn on the lights, and limit switches in the motor assembly to cut power at full-open or shut. When something goes wrong you can open manually with a knob on the motor.
“- It WAS still an Imperial in ’73. The VIN has a “Y” where a Chrysler has a “C”. The factory service manual calls it “Carline Y.” And when you go to register it, it’s make Imp, model LeBaron. Not that it matters to anyone except the doofus who gave me static for bringing a “Chrysler” to Extinct Car Day a couple years ago.”
You may have just added credence to my assertion above that Chrysler got a dispensation for the Imperial from compliance with ’73 bumper standards. I was trying to weigh this against the evidence that Imperial was again a Chrysler model, and not a make. If still legally a make, Chrysler may have pulled off the dispensation.
More odd trivia- “Y” was still used for the 1990-1993 Imperials, I used to have a 1992-but unlike the 1973, the title said “Chrysler” for make and “Imperial” for model.
For the record, the ’57 through ’66 separate-body-and-frame IMPERIALS was the D-body, not a C. I read this in a Mopar shop manual from that era.
I suppose that when Imp was made a uni-body, argument could ensue that it was then a C-body. Yet, Imperial never shared the same wheelbase with NYers until the 1974 model year.
I dunno: maybe Walter P. should have put a hyphen in between Chrysler and Imperial . . . sort of like, Pope-Toledo or Scripps-Booth ?
We always referred to the hidden headlight malady as a “Firebird salute”, especially if one headlight was up and the other one was down.
I vaguely remember some covered-headlamp cars that if you shut down the car with the lights still on, the covers would not close. Don’t know if it was the same case with Mopars…
Yep, you are correct. It is actually a safety feature mentioned in the manual. By turning the car off with the headlights on and doors open, the doors will stay open allowing you to clean the headlights without them being on. Since Mopar used electric motored doors, all you have to do is turn the ignition to acc to close them without having to restart. I use this feature on my 1981 NY all the time.
Thanks, Corey, you are right. Now I recall where I remember that from: from selling New Yorkers, Imperials, and pre-headlamp LeBarons back in the early 1990’s.
I loved those Mark Cross interiors…
If the Imperial is equipped with Twilight Sentinel, do the doors stay open for a preset time while the lights are on, closing once the lights turn themselves off?
What a terrific find!
While there was certainly a nice array of colors in the ’70s, so many from this time were earth-toned and really dated themselves. This color blue is terrific and it works well with the car. If in black, that is a timeless color.
Tom, is it safe to say you took pictures of the Lincoln Mark IV parked next to the Seville?
I’ve often wondered to what extent the rash of non-colors which is at its’ worst in the entry-luxury field is due to the fact that so many now are leased.
If your business model is based on making only half your money up front and the other half on “certified pre-owned” in 3-5 years, you’ll stock mostly silver, gray, black and white cars with black leather rather than taking any chances on something that’s niche now or might be “so 2014” later in the decade.
That’s a very good point, actually. Since most dealerships won’t let you order a vehicle for lease, instead insisting on “from dealer stock” that’s going to be a much bigger restricton on your choices.
I suppose I should be lucky that the dealer I got the Kia from happened to have a bright blue one in stock that day! (Leasing is something I doubt I will ever do again, though it did actually make sense at the time.)
My emotional side misses all the color choices, but the practical side of me (I used to sell cars) knows that many were impractical. Even with modern vehicles, often times when I see someone driving a car or truck in kiwi lime, an unusual shade of blue, or some other peculiar color I think to myself, “You better love it, ’cause you aren’t gonna get much at trade-in time – and good luck selling it yourself.” Nowadays, even champagne gold is a risky color choice.
I actually did have pictures of the Mark, but JP was planning on doing a CC about his dad’s Mark IV, so I deleted them! I thought I still had a few shots, but I can’t find them.
It was a very nice example, a small-bumpered ’72 in triple white.
You remind me that I need to dust these pictures off and write something.
Black is YUCK: always! It should only be on hearses & funeral home cars. All black does is get hotter than perdition.. and shows every cotton-pickin’ bit of dust & dirt, usually within 20 minutes of washing it–which is what you have to do ALL the time. That’s like having a dog with diarrhea: who needs that?
Beautiful car. Our Cub Scout Den Mother (when *I* was in Cub Scouts, natch) had an Imperial parked in the driveway next to a ~32′ Airstream camper. You had to walk well clear of them as they generated their own gravitational field.
love these cars and the crazy options…btw I thought these cars has ABS
a) wipers for the headlights
b) the microphone/cassette options
here is the headlight wiper option
Wow, even a big Mopar-head like me never knew about those headlight wipers. Having owned a couple of cars with hidden headlights, those would have been really helpful.
I had a 71 Fury Gran Coupe and it had them. Kind of neat with a stream of Windshield Washer Water and a small brush.
there were some other weird options too- I think the imperial had a special hi-beam option too?
Dodge had a special “Road Light” for the Polara, but I don’t know if that made it too other Mopars.
You could get them on the hidden headlight Charger SE, too. I think it was a safety issue – the lenses wouldn’t get washed in a car wash unless you put the lights on, and then you’d have dirty headlight doors. Funny, though, I don’t remember them being options for the Monaco though. Have to check out the brochures.
The Super-Lite was a single grille-mounted halogen driving light. To my knowledge they were only available on the ’69-’70 Polara and Monaco. Sales were hampered by their being illegal in several states.
Chrysler did play with ABS and four wheel disc brakes on various Imperials.
I believe ABS was something like a $500 option on some fuselage era cars, and is probably more rare than airbags on a ’74 Oldsmobile. I believe it was offered beginning in ’71 as “Sure Brake”. I’ve seen an extensive write up on it.
Four wheel disc brakes may have been standard on the ’74 and ’75 Imperial, and the rear discs were dropped from the ’76 Imperial turned New Yorker as part of the decontenting.
I remember Motor Trend praising the 1974 Imperials since they had standard 4 wheel discs. MT was hinting that the new ’74 C bodies would be a hit, too. They also predicted the 74 model year would be another record. These issues were written in summer, ’73, when gas was still plentiful. No signs of rationing, lines, or maximum 55 mph.
Then we all know what occured in October.
I really don’t understand this obsession with calling a ’76, ’77, or ’78 New Yorker.. an Imperial, or “an Imperial would-have-been”. Baloney: I don’t care what the corporation said back then.
It’s a New Yorker: plain & simple. Get over it! It’s “double-talk” and ‘group self-deception’.
Like everyone else in the early 70’s, Except AMC, Chrysler did have an optional ASB system. Yes ASB is what they called it back then for Anti-Skid Braking. Not sure of the exact years of the Chrysler System but I believe it was still available on some 1973s as the rear wheel only version of the system was offered on 1/2 ton International Harvesters that year.
They also had a rear air conditioning, I don’t think it was 2 separate units like a Fleetwood 75, but I think they were separate a/c ducts that blew air out of the package tray, I’ve only seen one before, but I never got to look at it closely.
If I had to guess, I would say that dual a/c unit is the same one that saw duty in really loaded up Town & Country wagons in the 60s and 70s.
To me it seemed like a rear blower option for air, but I can’t tell where you would adjust the temperature, the switch on the dash just says RR AIR. Since these are uncommon, I haven’t had a chance to look at one closely.
The rear A/C in my 65 Imperial is exactly like the rear A/C that was in the 73 and 76 Cadillac limousines I had. I do not “think” Chrysler changed the rear A/C option as long as they offered it.
Yup, got one of these. I believe LeBaron is correct. Unfortunately my compressor quit years ago so I just unplugged it, which disabled everything electric, though at least the heating lines still circulate. Once I can afford to fix the whole shebang I can give a better answer. You get heat from under the back seat too.
So it has temperature control for the rear? Like a dual zone a/c today? Does it have a separate heater core for the rear? Can the front unit be off and the rear unit run and cool on its own, are there controls in the rear?
The Cadillac limousines have 2 independent units with a rear a/c unit behind the rear seat that pretty much operate independent of the front unit.
Hmm, when you put it like that …no, it wasn’t a limo setup that could run while the front was off, except for the fan that blew on the rear window to defrost. Sorry I’m fuzzy, been too damn long since it worked.
Good questions, I don’t remember if the limousine’s rear units would work with the front controls turned off. For some reason I seem to remember they would not. I know the rear A/C’s in both the 73 and 76 limousines would not run continuously, they cycled. For that reason I would not say it was the same kind of automatic climate control as the Cadillac’s had in the front; which was much better.
I cannot remember trying to turn on the rear A/C in the Imperial with the front unit turned off. I will try that next time I drive it. The rear A/C in the Imperial is much stronger that either of those in the Cadillac Limousines both in moving air and cooling ability. The Imperial’s rear unit is overpowering to the point it can be uncomfortable.
When you open the trunk and remove the cover for the rear units in both cars they look much the same.
Dual air-conditioning was an option for Imperials.. going back as far as 1960. I know: a friend found and bought one with such. That car originally came from Oklahoma. And, I’ve also seen a ’59 Imp with dual air… originally from South Dakota. Yes, they had huge compressors and two separate cooling units. It took about 5 and a half pounds of R-12 to fill said systems.
Ah nothing like a car with its own zip code between the front and back bumpers. It is a good looking car. I wonder how bad the gas mileage was on these cars? Of course an owner that could afford an Imperial brand new was not really worrying about gas prices.
That antenna base in the rear, is it a CB antenna or was it an antenna for an optional car phone? I have never seen the early car phone antennas but have seen the actual car phone unit that lives in the trunk.
The exterior and interior colors of this Imperial are not quite rich enough for a luxury car, they look like Plymouth colors. Cadillac had the Firemist line and Ford would soon have the Designer Series. The Europeans were using a deep clear-coat for their metallics.
These Imps only look attractive to me in black.
I’ll have to disagree with you on this one calibrick. I absolutely loved the metallic blue and white top on this one!
However, I will agree they look pretty special in black too. 🙂
A friend’s Duster and great aunt’s 76 Cordoba sported the same color/vinyl top combination. I liked it on both cars.
I also don’t understand folks’ obsession with black paint. Well, I don’t comprehend why so many folks like two-door cars that have rear seats, either.
I surely do miss vent windows, however. They were good for greatly reducing interior wind turbulence when the big windows were lowered. Mopar is to be credited for keeping ’em optional, at least, through ’78 MY big NYers.
Man oh man oh MAN what a beautiful car. The ultimate fuselage, indeed! The way the loop bumpers and hidden lamps were done on these cars is just right, in my opinion, and they are among the last of the breed of “longer lower wider” styling with the hardtop thrown in for good measure. The complex sculpturing of the rear bumper is an amazing detail without being baroque. The fenders look like they could stretch several time zones! Also those loop bumpers, even if dated, are highly preferable to the “look ma I’m a Chevy!” front sheetmetal that the ’73 Newport/NYer wore.
And as to the color? I love it. Maybe not as upmarket as most Imperials but variety is the spice of life, sadly lacking today.
There is (was) an identical twin to this car, parked/sitting on a corner lot in Tifton, GA (approximately 180 miles S.E. of Atlanta). It looked to be in good condition; In the several years that I observed it sitting there, it was only moved once. I wonder if it’s still there? 🙂
Yes, we all know about 1974, but the party before the storm is kind of forgotten.
I say this over and over, the first gas crunch didn’t hit wallets until late October 1973, not the strike of New Years day, 1970, as some who are too young to know assume.
Model year 1973 was a record for actual car sales, not including trucks. There was a mild recession in 1970, which slowed car sales, but by 1972, there was pent up demand for new cars. And the main bread winners that bought new then were the “Rat Pack” generation, not the Boomers. So, many Frank Sinatra fans flocked to big Broughams, Limiteds, and Customs. Caprices started selling better, for one example, and LTD was ready to push out Galaxie for good.
While average Boomers, who looked at Muscle Cars as a ‘fashion fad’, moved on to Personal Lux coupes. Along with sporty compacts: F bodies, Celicas, and Datsuns. True gear heads stuck with used muscle [super] cars, which were cheaply available.
I think that is a pretty accurate summary of the times, Mr. Catt.
Figures we’d feature a Fuselage car while I’m busy moving!
One other thing was summer ’73 was last year that 70-80 mph was still legal, on Interstates, and not seen again until 1996. 1974 was a world away, with slow poking travelers.
So glad we aren’t stuck with the Nixon/Ford/Carter era 55 prohibition!
I wish I had been exposed to these cars growing up. I only remember my uncle, who owned a Dodge dealership, having one of these for a short time. It too was a 73 but with tufted leather seats. I remember the leather was much softer than our Cadillac and Buick and the seats moved in almost silence.
We had elderly neighbors who always kept 2 Imperials in the garage. The bought used and kept them for years. For a long time it was a white 64 and a gold 67 (with that fabulous gold leather interior). Then about 1975 or 76 they traded the 64 on a triple dark green 72 LeBaron 4 door. I am not sure how I never tried to buy either of those cars from them, especially the 67, which she sold after the old man died.
Reminds me of the older couple down the block from my college house who had two fuselage mopars under the carport–if I’m remembering correctly a Fury and a Newport or New Yorker. The cars never seemed to move which made me wonder if the owners no longer drove, but they looked relatively clean and the tires were inflated, so probably recent runners at worst. Still there when I moved to a different place, but at some point the cars were gone…hopefully to a new home and not to the crusher.
Beautiful Car. Thanks for sharing Tom. I thought long and hard about a used 72 Imperial 2 door Coupe in 1975. I think they wanted 2700 for it which was barely in the realm of my affordability. I remember it having White Leather Buckets like those above. Of course it would have about wiped out my savings and I knew having an Imperial would go over like a lead balloon with my Dad, whose idea of a fancy car was the Chevy Impala he was currently driving which was a big step up from the Non AC Fury II or Savoys he had previous to the Impala.
While I love this car, and most fuselage Mopars, I have to have a little fun with a couple of things.
When the first fuselage Imperial came out in ’69, the most poorly differentiated from Chrysler since 1956, the ad copy launched into how the Imperial had a wheelbase stretch to “house extra power equipment under the hood”.
All of that wheelbase stretch was ahead of the firewall, and yet, there was little, if anything, that could not be bought on the lowliest Chrysler Newport as an option, and it all fit under the hood just fine. The wheelbase stretch bought precious little differentiation in appearance, and simply added weight and some minor handling woes to the Imperial. Technically, the New Yorker was a more efficiently designed luxury car in this respect.
And, it is sort of hard to resist some of those seat promotions Chrysler did, even if they did have some of the coolest seats in the business. Hey! Who put this in here?????
“Dear Mr. Roberts, thank you for purchasing your new Imperial on the installment plan. Here is your front seat. Upon receipt of your next payment, we will be forwarding the rear seat, the steering wheel and one wheel cover.”
Here I go making fun, and it turns out there is a perfectly logical reason. Still, I wouldn’t build my ’73 Imperial in the guest room! Its not like this Roberts guy managed to hide it from his wife.
“Harold, you said you weren’t going to buy that car!!!”
*sound of door slamming, rapid footsteps, a car engine starting, and tires squealing*
I agree. The ’73 Imps have the most beautiful seats in any car, ever. Of course, when you have Eames and Mies for inspiration…
No denying the resemblance!
Nice catch on the Eames Lounge. To pick up on yesterday’s thread, I think his Aluminum executive chair had a big effect on the whole “loose pillow/floating cushion” movement.
I appraised a 73 or 74 Imperial at Hinton west of Edmonton, Alberta. It was well optioned and in very good condition. I would definitely take an Imperial over almost any large Chrysler. If I had the bucks, I’d buy the Hinton Imperial in a heartbeat. He was thinking of selling a year ago, lost interest in the car.
Tom, you sure love your broughams. Theyre definitely not my bag by and large, but I respect that kind of passion for just about any car. This was a nice find for sure. I cant call myself a huge fusey fan when it comes to fullsize Mopars, but that loop bumper and grille are gorgeous! The whole face of this car is just a tad malevolent looking, and I like that a lot.
Malevolent? What do you mean malevolent? Just because Rottweilers keep their distance?
You might like the 1970 Fury GT!
Its electric blue, a 2 door, no vinyl roof, a performance edition…..Tom, that’s actually a bit unnerving that you knew the EXACT fuselage model to reel me in!
Only because no one else seems to have a shot with shades in place:
Yaaaay! But now, about those wipers . . . . 🙂
Seriously, your car is absolutely beautiful, and this is a really cool angle that shows off that clean, sculpted hood.
Well thanks for noticing, JP, contributions cheerfully accepted! 🙂
Please also note that the driver’s side back window goes all the way down, and back up too! That was this summer’s PITA project. I have an old repair kit for the wipers that I’ll dig into over the winter.
I am duly impressed with the care the ship is receiving under your good care. It occurs to me that a new avatar is in order – same view but with the headlight door closed. 🙂
I am also willing to recognize you as the superior human being – you fixed the rear window in your Imp the correct way. When the rear windows failed in my 93 Crown Victoria with its patented Destructo (TM) window risers, I fixed them by driving a screw into the track to hold them up permanently. Crude, but effective. If my car were an Imperial 4 door hardtop, I might have done it differently. But it isn’t.
Agreed–kudos to you for what looks to be a very well-done restoration! You can tell when something is a labor of love.
@JP, how *did* Ford make those window regulators so fragile? I’ve already had to do the driver’s window twice in the 20 months I’ve had my ’97 and the passenger side is about to kick it (though I think the motor is the offending part there). If the rears were to ever go I’d probably use your method as I only ever open those on really nice days anyway.
No idea. I have done psgr front once and driver front twice and it seems fragile right now. I have told the kids that when the a/c kicks off, the Vic is gone.
Now yer talkin a black one! Beautiful car! Those ’73 bumper guards are part of the charm for me.
Thank you! It’s funny, people complain about those guards, which only makes me want to add a few more to the bumper plus a couple on a hat. 🙂
What a find. And Tom, your feature really does this magnificent car justice. I was surprised when I saw how many replies there were already, but not after reading it.
True automotive luxury. Just one criticism, if I may: I’m surprised the shoulder belt didn’t have a strap to anchor it to the front seat, to keep it out of the way of people entering the rear. I’m sure I’ve seen this feature on lesser cars.
And as for 7mpg – I think waiting in line for gas would be more of a problem to the Imperial buyer than the cost. 🙂
That seat belt was still the split shoulder / lap variety where the shoulder belt clipped into a portion of the lap belt. In the era these cars were built, most people left the shoulder belt in a pocket provided in the ceiling. The seat back belt guide kicked in when the lap / shoulder belt became permanently integrated, I believe in ’74 on virtually all cars.
In the early ’90s I owned a ’72 Pontiac with the divided belt set up, and actually used it. I left the shoulder belt clipped in the lap buckle, and that kept things a bit tidier. To your point though, it was a poor design, but was essentially the standard industry wide from January ’69 through ’73 produced models. The shoulder strap was optional on at least some ’68 models.
That gas line waiting business was pretty temporary. I recall anecdotes of people trading in Olds 98s and whatever, and feeling miserable in some tiny Japanese car for a few years, and being back in a shiny new ’76 98. My experience has been that as long as you are not stretched by the car you own in the first place, you’ll weather gas price spikes just fine, and avoid dumping your car for pennies on the dollar when prices are up. And there is a correlation to vehicle size and gas tank size. Range on a single fill on this car was likely as good at the typical ’73 car, regardless of size.
I remember a nice, late 60s Olds 98 convertible, offered during the first “gas crunch”, for only $700. Presumably, it ran… steered… and stopped, too.
Yesterday’s clue had me flummoxed. I couldn’t remember who would color key their chrome molding to the vinyl roof color. And, once revealed, I don’t wonder why Chrysler went bankrupt. Color-keyed moldings to match 6 vinyl roof colors on only 16,729 sold.
I love it! And I do believe the headlight doors were electrically operated, by a single motor and very long shafts located in the 18 inches of no man’s land behind the grille but ahead of the radiator/A/C condenser.
Big fuselage fan. And that is a beautiful, beautiful example. Cheers, Tom.
I love these cars. LOVE these cars. The ’72/’73 Imperial is easily one of my favorite cars of all time. I’m only 39 and have had just about anything you can think of from the early to mid 70’s and have wanted one of these forever. Years ago,in 90’s-I spotted a ’73 2 door Imperial that had sat for many years. The price? 600 bucks. I drove by everyday to look. I was delivering sandwiches at the time and was saving up for it. Then one day is was gone. I never saw it at the Pull N Save junkyard or demo derby at the time so hopefully that car was saved.
I have looked time and time again for one of these and found a beat up triple black 4 door in the Twin Cities and I called on it. It was 1,500 bucks and would cost about that much to have shipped to Washington State. Fast forward tonight and while cruising through Craigslist I found one! I have yet to see the pictures and do not know if it is a 2 door or a 4 door but I personally don’t even care. I know it’s green!
I love the front end on these cars. It looks sinister. Evil. It wants to run you over and haunt you at night while you sleep. The ’72/’73 Imperial is “The Real Christine”. Thanks so much for late night reading and kudos to everyone I’ve talked to as a member of Mr. Bennetts “The Brougham Society”.
Thanks Jason. I hope you get that Imperial!
Hope so also. Sometimes the right car “finds you” rather than the other way around. I noticed a Volvo 780 in a parking lot while running errands, walked over to get a closer look and a photo, and noticed a for sale sign…
Best of luck with that Imperial! Go look at it!
I too love the 72/73 Imperials! I believe the 69-71 Imperials probably represent the purest form of the fuselage design. The 72/73 models, however, add a distinctive twist to the design by squaring up the front and rear of the cars; successfully melding a baroque influence with the fuselage styling. Perfect! I’m just finishing up my restoration of my 73 LeBaron coupe (Burnished Red with black top and leather); yes it has those bucket seats!
By the way, storage compartments appeared under the armrests of Imperials in 1957; Crown and LeBaron models only (not the entry Custom model). They disappeared on 1960-62 Imperials but returned again on the 1963-73 models. My 1959 Crown has them, plus electric swivel seats and MirrorMatic!
Bryan, both of your Imperials are beautiful! If you ever want to write them up for CC, drop us a line.
Tommy! Did you notice what looks like a bug carcass on the bottom edge of the bug deflector, in the last photo here? A ‘big mutha’, just like this fine car!
Like you, I love the colors and condition of this one. I had about five Imperials from the 1960s, but never one (yet) from the 1970s.
BTW, ’73 is the last year for the differing, slightly-longer wheelbase on an Imperial versus a NYer.
But, unlike you, I REALLY want those very practical VENT windows; thank you. I do not like interior turbulence!
The Imperials of at least the EARLY 1960s had the ‘concealed’ storage compartments in the front door armrests…. but didn’t offer them EVERY year during that decade.
These late fuselage Imperials still turn up in excellent condition:
So big. So smooth. So blue.
I dig it.
Beautiful color! My brother and I helped special-order a new 1973 Chevy Monte Carlo for our mother in a very similar color, also with a matching blue cloth interior but no vinyl roof.
The oldest of my 3 vehicles in my personal fleet, a 1998 Nissan Frontier, has a similar exterior color.
Dangling shoulder belts — remember those? European cars of the time like Volvos and Mercedes had proper 3-point lap/shoulder belts, but Detroit didn’t adopt them until the feds forced the issue in the ’74 model year. And those separate shoulder belts had no retractors — you had to adjust them manually like the lap belts in the center front and rear seating positions.
What a great rare find! Hidden headlamps always awesome, as they were soon to be gone from the luxo barges. Am I wrong in guessing that color may be the famous B5 Blue? Great color!
Wow! It has a blue interior. So much nicer than today`s black, gray, and tan insides. And it`s an honest to God sedan. Like the coupe, they are disappearing from the American landscape. This one REALLY stands out in the sea of faceless, look-alike SUVs and those miserable ‘crossovers’.
> my TC is much safer with four-wheel disc brakes, dual airbags and ABS too…
Wait, wasn’t the early-’70s Imperial one of the first cars available with 4 wheel ABS? Disc brakes too I think – I know the ’74-’75 had them, though were victims of the decontenting that turned it into the ’76 New Yorker Brougham.
It still has, the ubiquitous for 1973, CB radio antenna base!
Stunning condition Imp.
Unique to the “fuselage” Imperials was the Chestnut Brown interior trim. Knowing that the 1973 was the last of this body, Chrysler also knew that it had more than enough interior panels in chestnut brown. What could they do with them? For 1973, they introduced the Dodge Polara Brougham. This car was offered in two interior choices: cream (or whatever they called it) and chestnut brown. This helped use up the panels that were common to all of these large cars. To this day I cannot find one picture of a 1973 Dodge Polara Brougham. They really are rare cars. Does anyone have a picture?
I would love to take a spin behind the wheel of one of these, but I don’t reckon it’s very likely to happen. Could wish for those groovy bucket seats, but perhaps this one has Chrysler’s innovative and very good optional ABS.
As I peruse the pics I see some parts that were used on just about everything Chrysler built, down to the cheapest el-strippo Valiant:
• Exterior door handles
• Gearshift lever/knob
• Rearview mirror mount
• Useless low-profile-even-when-raised head restraints
• Door lock knobs
Also, I find the front turn signals’ design disagreeable (but then I would, wouldn’t I). Too much like an Edsel’s grille.
I’ve always found that the front turn signals are easier to appreciate if you don’t look at them as being turn signals. If this car had its headlight doors closed this would be easier to imagine as you could appreciate it’s full width grille that ends with those large turn signals which are very evocative of Wood Lite headlights of the early 1930’s, so the intended look is that these would be thought of as headlights(until the turn signal was used). Given the age demographic of the intended buyers, the Wood Lite look would have been a memory of their youth. It actually was a clever way around the U.S. sealed beam restrictions.
That’s an excellent point. Wouldn’t have occurred to me!
That would be more evocative of a 1965 Riviera to me
Is this a record for the number of responses?
1973?! Gas lines”
Not until late October, when 1974 models were out. Some assume the gas crisis started Jan 1st, 1973. Before the OPEC embargo, the 1973 model year had record sales numbers. Sure, no more premium leaded fuel and 5 mph bumpers, but average car buyers wanted luxury and ‘new looks’.
Also, least the GM F bodies made a comeback and were actually going to increase in sales during the dark 1974 model year.
So, no, was not “all gas lines” from 1970-79.