If you're only interested in the getting the best that life has to offer, then Nice Price or Crack Pipe has a car for you- the best selling car in America. . . in 1976.
Yesterday's 1975 Stutz Blackhawk escaped getting a black eye with 57% of you nodding in unison over both its fifteen grand price, and Elvis-endorsed pedigree. Now let's again jump into Mr Peabody's Wayback machine and move ahead a year for our next American Idle contestant.
Nineteen seventy six. America's bicentennial year. It was in this year that Saul Bellow won the Nobel prize for literature, Rocky served an uppercut to the box office, and a little known peanut farmer from Plains Georgia no longer needed to lust in his heart for the presidency. David Pearson achieved one of the most spectacular Daytona 500 victories ever that year, with a paint-trading spin involving Richard Petty's car coming out of the final turn, before coaxing his smoking wreck of a Mercury across the finish line at 30 miles per hour. Now that was racing!
Also that year, despite fuel shortages and cojone-robbing emissions controls, American manufacturers dominated the auto market in the U.S., holding down the top spot against insurgent, and more economical, rivals from Japan. The Oldsmobile Cutlass grabbed the gold ring for the first time ever during this turbulent year, enabling Olds to move into third place in sales, eclipsing both Plymouth and Pontiac.
Here's an example of that top-selling '76, in buckskin, offered by an individual who really, really, really likes his Cutlasses. As it hails from the bicentennial year, the 350cid engine under the hood is an Olds Rocket V8, not a corporate parts-bin motor, as it wasn't until '77 that production limitations forced the covert insertion of Chevy engines under the hoods of the Cutlass', causing accusations of deceit from car buyers upon discovery. Olds' advertising tagline of there era was Can We Build One For You?, but apparently, no, they couldn't from '77 onward.
There's not much to be said about the car itself- it's rocking the colonnade coupe "A" body, and that 350 motor is backed up by another 350- the TH350 3-speed slusher. The buckskin paint is shinier than a tax-payer's wallet, and the engine mods probably help drivability and put a few more ponies in with the 235 installed at the factory.
It's unlikely that you will be able to find another exemplar of the era in this nice of shape at any price. Despite the non-functioning horn, extracted A/C (what, it never gets hot in Detroit?) and worn-out weatherstripping, where could you find still-functional plaid swivel seats? Or a space-saver spare that's bigger than the tires on your current car? And when was the last time your car's bumper weighed more than you do?
But sixty nine hundred dollars to step into a time capsule from the disco era? Is that an age that should be revisited, or worse, sustained? At any price? What do you think, does $6,900 put this Cutlass on the top of your sales charts? Or does that price swivel you right out of the driver's seat?
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