To then eleven year old me, the 1968 intermediates were stunning, and I liked the Olds best – though not so much the convertible, which lost that stunning C pillar shape as it blended into the belt line. 55 years later they still look great, though old man me likes the Buick a lot more now.
Released to the Public just a few months after I got my license at age 16. Of course, the GTO had my attention. However, the Chevelle looked quite pleasing and I actually would have considered it had I had the werewithall. The Cutlass was definitely given attention as I did have my own. though it was a 64. The Buick was intriguing. but I did not like the skirted rear wheel openings and the heavy look they gave the car. That was GM…. my lust for the Cougar and the Charger were also present. A great time to be a new driver gearhead. Ah, Dreams, indeed.
That “restyle” they gave the “68-9, Buick’s” worked “ok” for the “4door” sedans, and wagons. Otherwise, not at all.
1968 was perhaps the peak of the muscle car era. Had numerous friend’s and cousins at this time who had a ‘66 GTO 4 speed post coupe, a ‘68 GTO convertible automatic, a ‘69 GTO hardtop 4 speed, ‘69 Mustang Mach I automatic, a ‘70 Nova SS 350 automatic and a ‘70 Duster 340 automatic. Bought by well-to-do, guilty parents for their spoiled kids, except my good friend who bought his Duster 340 with money saved from part time/summer jobs. I would have gladly taken any one of these but my parents weren’t so accommodating. I made do with my 6 cylinder Powerglide ’69 Chevy Nova. Perhaps for the best, as everyone of these muscle cars were either wrecked, stolen or vandalized, while my Nova wheezed on.
Interesting that the GTO, 442 and Gran Sport all had 400 cubic inch engines, but these engines were totally different. Back before corporate sharing and cost cutting when the different makes had their own personalities.
At 8 years old in 1968 (still 7 when they debuted), these caught my eye, but the family car was an Impala as my Dad preferred the full sizers.
For ‘68, I’d choose the GTO or the Buick, but if this were the 1969 MY, my pick would be the Chevelle hands down. But the only reason is that I got to see those ‘69 SS-396 Chevelles being assembled at the Broening Highway Assembly Plant here in Baltimore on a tour. The location is now an Amazon Fulfillment Center.
FFWD to 1972, and it would be the Skylark or the Olds 442 every time.
I know this is crazy, well maybe not nowadays, but back then there was one division strangely absent… imagine if Cadillac had one of these cars…. 🤔
Turned “8” in December, that year. Our family car was “65 Biscayne” till, April.
Went to shop for slipping transmission; a new “68 Biscayne”, equally optionless replaced it.
The new one was “Ivory”.
I don’t recall seeing very many corporate GM ads or brochures like this. Most ads were for individual brands.
I suppose the executives at corporate didn’t care which brand of GM car you bought, but the executives at each individual brand were still in competition with each other.
The 442 is my pick of the litter, I think it was the strongest design of the 68-72 A bodies where I feel the GTO and Chevelle peaked in 66-67 and the Skylark GS just elicits a solid “meh” to me, though the restyled and 455 displacing 70 stage 1 might be my pick performance wise.
However in 68 I’m Dodge Plymouth all the way, these look like Generic Motors
There was certainly a big choice of axle ratios. I am a bit mystified by the note added for the 4.33 and 4.66 dealer installed ratios: “Not recommended for city or highway use”. What’s left?
I’m guessing your answer is “the dragstrip”.
’67 Chevelle SS 396 in Butternut Yellow, for my friend Wayne.
Today, the ad would be of SUVs and hybrid pickup trucks.
Something is missing in the transition!!
I struggled with these when they came out – I was a young kid then and had become thoroughly immersed in a world of cars that seemed to peak with styling that followed the GM lineup of 1963-64. To this day I prefer the 1964-67 GM A body cars to the 68+ models, but the featured cars have grown on me, at least moderately.
I struggle with them as an old car fan. To me the best asset of the 68-72 A bodies is they all mostly had good looking front ends, beyond that the short wheelbase coupe body, the fastback roofline that somehow doesn’t look like a fastback for some reason, the taillights in the bumper and the largely carryover powertrains that made their true impact on the preceding generations leaves me cold.
Thinking about it further GM had the arguable stylistic advantage of the big three up to 67, performance parity with Chrysler but a huge advantage in presence and appeal and a clear advantage over Ford their closest rival, but 68 was the game changer with beautifully restyled Chrysler B bodies and the revolutionary Roadrunner, slick fastback Torinos, and for Ford their finally truly competitive and attainable 428CJ plant.
GM A body coupes meanwhile were intermediates shortened and styled to look like bloated ponycars and the stuffy suits on the 14th floor were still capping the displacement limit for them to 400ci. This after a year before banning multi carb intakes – this from the company that launched the first official Muscle car legendary for “breaking all the corporate rules” (with it’s not-421ci 389ci displacement). It really took uncapping them in 1970 for this generation of A body came into their own with the stage 1, HO and W30 455 trios, LS5/6 454s but by then the muscle car era was nearing sunset.
Favor the green, “Pontiac” in that lead pic!
Amazing that just in a decade or so, The Mark of Excellence became The Mark of Excrement.
The early baby boomers were just coming of age with their 1st steady paycheck. Many a young man bought from the above just like Ford and the Mustang.
I was only 10 yrs old at the time, but I do remember the enthusiasm via my older brothers and sisters.
Unfortunate, my generation got Watergate and sky high inflation.
It’s all in your timing!!
Americans were really lucky then.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Copyright 2011 - 2023 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.