1976 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme: Peak GM

1976 Cutlass
1976 Cutlass-2
It gets better.

This was the most popular car in the world America, in the 1970s. Even after they got neutered. This is the third best version. The ’77 is better because the grill is less “hey look at my heavy-handed family resemblance to a Delta 88.” Also, my sister had one, and it was sweet.  The ’73 was better because the bumpers were less onerous, the ginormous 455 made more power. And also JackDova and the Minotaur.

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1977 Ford Thunderbird: Dad’s Coworker

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This is the 1977 Ford Thunderbird. Larry at Upjohn had one, yellow with brown velour seats. “Cramped back seat.” That was the official reason we couldn’t have one in a 4 teenager household.

At the time, I thought these were cool. I liked the 1978s better because they had Thunderbird logos on the headlight covers. Ideally, mine would be midnight blue and chamois. [Ed.: It was a thing.]

These were wildly successful for Ford. The previous generation was blobby and overwrought, on top of fat and slow. These were crisp and underpowered and mostly slow. Except in NASCAR form. Or when flogged by Car and Driver. A great car for the disco era, but it’s pretty transparent as a cosmetic burnish. What’s cool is how it echoes the brand and corporate styling cues of the time. What is not so cool for this period is that the only things making this a “Thunderbird” and not an LTD II Landau Brougham or a Lincoln Mark V Junior, are the badges (the words and the birds).

Yes, the greenhouse is unique. Basket handle B pillar treatments are not inherently Thunderbirdian. It just identifies it as a T-bird because the T-bird is the only model on the lot with that look.

And, cynically, it disguises the profile, so as to not be equated with its twin under the skin when pitching that sticker price.