2015 has been a good year for cars (unless you’re the boss of Volkswagen or any of the other automakers caught cheating on their emissions testing). This has me wonder—what was the worst year for the car industry?
I just got back from Iceland (much more on that to come) and I figured a good way to leap back into American life would be to do this talk at NC State about a bunch of incredible Malaise-Era short films provided by the amazing Skip Elsheimer of the A/V Geeks. This'll be fun, so if you're free tonight at 6, come on out!
The "Malaise Era" is commonly defined as the decade from 1973 to 1983, when it almost seems as if American manufacturers gave up. The Big Three have their staunch apologists from that time, but if you want to know the truth, all you have to do is watch their ads.
Welcome to Little Car in the Big City, where I highlight fascinating cars I found walking around a town that is known for being bigger than everything else, but where every car is fighting to stand out: New York, New York.
If you were to believe this advertisement, the new for 1979 Mercury Capri was capable of producing miracles wherever it went and was best described as "sexy". We aren't sure which was more of a stretch.
Tennis isn't the only thing golf great and drink namesake Arnold Palmer seems a little uncomfortable doing in this vintage Cadillac advertisement. Palmer doesn't look much better "enthusiastically" selling the 1974 Cadillac to potential buyers.
Jay Leno, he of the big chin and bigger car collection, chats with Jalopnik about his love of Jalopnik and Tatras. Then we moved on to things he doesn't — all while waiting for burgers from a truck.
Rays and skates are typically bottom feeders, gorging themselves on whatever they happen to come across. Today, we've come across a '75 Stingray for Nice Price or Crack Pipe, and while an old fish, its price is pretty rock bottom.
The movie Tron must have had a profound effect on GM's marketers, who apparently decided that the semi-computerized Quadrajet on the Firebird's 305 engine was really a time machine!
The very nervous DOHC Lotus "Torqueless Wonder" 900 series engine powered all manner of crazy Lotus machinery over the years, and now here's one that will be melted into Chinese dishwasher parts any day now.
Earlier this year, we saw this '79 Datsun King Cab pickup in a Northern California self-service wrecking yard. Here's another one, in a different yard but with the same sad story: truly small pickups are just too small.
Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the City That Rust Sorta Ignored: Denver, Colorado. Yes, this car is a daily driver.
Welcome to Down On The Street, where we admire old vehicles found parked on the streets of the Island That Rust Forgot: Alameda, California. What are the odds that two '79 Corvettes would live a mere two blocks apart?
Reviled as it may be nowadays, the '74 Mustang II sold very well; about 386,000 of the Pinto-derived Mustang rolled off the showroom floors that year, nearly triple the number of '73s that Ford managed to move.
Welcome to Down On The Mile High Street, where we admire vehicles found parked on the streets of the City That Rust Sorta Ignored: Denver, Colorado. Ford downsized the Thunderbird for the '77-79 models, but they didn't downsize the glitz!
The 1978 VW Rabbit sedan weighed only 1,955 pounds, or about a half-ton less than the 2010 Golf. Somehow, weighing so little, it managed to haul five normal-sized humans around... but this car's hauling days are over!
The fact that no specific mileage figures are mentioned in this ad for a pre-big-bumper Celica shows that it's probably a pre-Arab Oil Embargo release. This makes this "economy car" pitch for the sporty-for-its-time first-gen Celica a bit puzzling.