Historical Autos

The Ford Model T
Far more than a boxy black horseless carriage, the Ford Model T was a symbol for many things that made the U.S. a great nation. Not only was it the first automobile produced in mass quantity (15 million were produced between 1908 and 1927), but it fueled a revolution in management.

“I will build a car for the great multitude,” said Henry Ford at its initial release. “It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces.”

In 1909 it sold for $850 (equivalent in today’s dollars of $20,709), but by the 1920s mass production techniques were so successful that the sales price had dropped to $290 ($3,289 today). At that price, the automobile achieved Ford’s dream and became standard transportation for the masses.

1916 Model 44 Woods Dual Power Coupe
Pictured above is among the World's first production hybrid vehicle. It is the Model 44 Woods Dual Power Coupe, manufactured in 1916. Believe it or not, this car enjoyed a U.S. market share of nearly 40 percent a century ago.

It was powered by both an electric motor and a 4-cylinder internal combustion engine.

This hybrid model was manufactured in Chicago by Woods Motor Vehicle Company from 1915 to 1918 and reached a top speed of 35 mph. 

The car was not cheap either. The retail price was about $2,700. That's about $55,000 today.

1931 Ford Model A

Pictured above is a 1931 Ford Model A The Ford Model A of 1927–1931 was the second huge success for the Ford Motor Company, after its predecessor, the Model T. First produced on October 20, 1927, but not sold until December 2, it replaced the venerable Model T, which had been produced for 18 years. This new Model A was designated as a 1927 model and was available in four standard colors.

By February 1929, one million Model As had been sold, and by July, two million. The range of body styles ran from the Tudor at $500.00 to the Town Car with a dual cowl at $1200.00.In March 1930, Model A sales hit three million, and there were nine body styles available.

The Model A was produced through 1931. When production ended in March, 1932, Ford had sold 4,849,340 of them.

1948 Tucker Torpedo
1948 Tucker Torpedo
1948 Tucker Torpedo
1948 Tucker Torpedo
Inside The 1948 Tucker Torpedo
The Power Plant
What An Engine!!
Original Drawing of The Tucker

Above is the 1948 Tucker Sedan, initially named the Tucker Torpedo, an advanced automobile conceived by Preston Tucker and briefly produced in Chicago in 1948. Only 51 cars were made before the company folded on March 3, 1949, due to negative publicity initiated by the news media, a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation and a heavily publicized stock fraud trial, which allegations were proven baseless in court with a full acquittal.

The car was rear-engined and rear wheel drive. The steering box was behind the front axle to protect the driver in a front-end accident. The instrument panel and all controls were within easy reach of the steering wheel, and the dash was padded for safety. The windshield was made of shatterproof glass and designed to pop out in a collision to protect occupants. The car also featured seat belts, a first in its day. The car's parking brake had a separate key so it could be locked in place to prevent theft.

When the cars appear at auction, which is rare, they command prices attained by only a few marquee cars. Tucker #1038 sold in August 2008 at RM's Monterey auction for the record-setting price of $1,017,500. Tucker # 1041 sold at the Clars Auction on June 7, 2009 for $750,000. The car was on the auction block for a total of 7½ minutes. The previous owner paid $5,000 for the car in 1970. In August 2010 at RM's Monterey auction, Tucker #1045 sold for the record-breaking price of $1,127,500.

!949 Ford

The picture above is of a 1949 Ford sedan, serial number one - the first production 1949 Ford.

The 1949 Ford was revolutionary when it was introduced in the spring of that year. After the second World War, Ford Motor Company had been producing only remodeled designs of their 1942 automobile. Sleek and slab-sided with the trademark circle in the front grille, the 1949 Ford broke from previous ideas of design and engineering. By the late 1940s, the dominance of the Big Three was more apparent than ever. The 1949 Ford symbolized the company's revitalization under Henry Ford II, who had taken over for his grandfather in 1945. Modern management methods and dramatically new products returned Ford to second place in sales.

1949 Desoto
1949 Desoto
1949 Desoto
1949 Desoto
Inside the Desoto

The DeSoto was an automobile based in the United States, manufactured and marketed by the now-defunct DeSoto Division of the ChryslerCorporation from 1928 to 1961. In all the years that DeSotos were produced, more than 2 million were sold.

I singled out the 1949 DeSoto because I feel it was one of the more stylish cars that DeSoto offered. They just don't make 'em like this anymore...


The Allstate was an American auto offered for sale through the Allstate auto accessory chain of Sears & Roebuck during the 1952 and 1953 model years. The Allstate was the brainchild of Henry J. Kaiser, who saw Sears as another means to mass-market his slow-selling "Henry J" two-door sedan, introduced in 1950.

The Allstate was essentially a Henry J, but with a number of unique differences including Allstate badges on the hood and rear deck, a more upscale interior of Saran plaid or occasionally leather or smooth vinyl, special hubcaps/wheel covers, horn buttons and instrument bezels, a locking glove box and trunk lid, special engine color (blue), custom armrests and sunvisors, revised door locks and keys, and special parking and taillamp assemblies. Most notably, the Allstate featured a unique two-bar grille and jet-plane hood ornament designed by Alex Tremulis, who had come to Kaiser-Frazer from the Tucker Corporation.


The Nash Metropolitan was a car that was produced from 1954–1962. In today’s terminology the Metropolitan would be considered to be a "subcompact", but the category had not yet come into use when the car was made. The Metropolitan was also sold as a Hudson when Nash and Hudson merged in 1954 to form the American Motors Corporation (AMC), and later as a standalone model during the Rambler years.

It was designed as the second car in a two car family, for Mom taking the kids to school or shopping or for Dad to drive to the railroad station to ride to work. It was marketed as a "commuter/shopping car" with resemblance to the big Nash, but the scale was tiny as the Met's wheelbase was shorter than the Volkswagen Beetle's. The new Metropolitan was made in two body designs, convertible and hardtop. All came with several standard features that were optional on most cars of the era. Among these factory-installed benefits for customers were a map light, electric windshield wipers, cigar lighter, and even a "continental-type" rear-mounted spare tire with cover.

An AM radio, "Weather Eye" heater, and whitewall tires were offered as optional extras for the U.S. market, however It is unlikely that a Metropolitan could have been purchased without a heater and radio, as all vehicles left the factory with both items installed in them. The Metropolitan was the first American car that was marketed specifically to women.

The Metropolitan was quite a gas saver in the 1950's. It averaged close to 40 mpg at steady speeds of 45 mph. At highway speeds, it average 30 mpg. The suggested retail price for the Metropolitan was $1,445 for a hard-top and $1,469 for a Convertible. Adding a radio and a heater pushed the price above $1,500, which made it only slightly more expensive as the Volkswagen Beetle, which similarly equipped ran around $1,425. A total of 94,986 were made and sold between 1953 and 1962. A Metropolitan in good condition is worth an average of $25,000 today.

1954 Mercury XM-800 Concept Car
1954 Mercury XM-800 Concept
1954 Mercury Concept
Inside the XM-800
Above is  the 1954 Mercury XM-800 Dream Car. Introduced at the 1954 Detroit Auto Show, the XM-800 was designed by the Mercury pre-production studio to promote a second Mercury car line which could compete with Buick, Pontiac and Oldsmobile. Though it was never put into production, it became one of the most popular Concept Cars of the time. Dramatic and futuristic, it is a bold design statement.

2954 Chevrolet Belair
19654 Chevrolet Belair
1954 Chevrolet Belair Engine
1954 Chevrolet Belair
1954 Chevrolet Belair

A car on my personal 'wish list.' 

The Chevrolet Bel Air series featured a wide chrome strip of molding from the rear fender bulge, to the rear bumper. The inside of this stripe was painted a coordinating color with the outside body color, and "Bel Air" scripts were added inside the strip. Lesser models had no model designation anywhere on the car, only having a Chevy crest on the hood and trunk.

The 1954 Bel Air had a revised grille and taillights from that of previous years. Prior to 1954, the 235 and 216 cubic inch six cylinder engines had babbit bearings and scoops to create oil pressure at the bottom of each rod and the oil pressure was standard at 15-30 PSI. Bel Airs could be ordered in convertible, hardtop coupe, 2 and 4-door sedans. In 1954, one could order a Beauville station wagon which featured woodgrain trim around the side windows. Power steering and air conditioning was optional. 1954 added power brakes, power seat positioner and power front windows. 1954 cars with stick shift used the 1953 Powerglide engine.

1955 Chevrolet 210 & Belair

The 1955 Chevrolet was available in three models; the 150, 210, and the Bel-Air. The 1955 Chevy was the first successful Chevrolet with a V-8 engine. The last time Chevrolet tried the V-8 way back in 1938 for one year.

It only happens once in an engineer’s life time, when a company like Chevrolet hands you a blank sheet of paper and says: "Design us a car from scratch". That’s the chance Edward Nicholas Cole was given with the 1955 Chevrolet in May of 1952. Cole started the design with a new frame, new bodies, 3 new engines, new front suspension, new rear springs and new brakes.

When Chevrolet introduced the 1955 Chevy in late 1954 it changed the auto builder's history. What made the new Chevy so popular, then and now? It’s new 265 cubic inch V-8 was probably the most important feature in the motoring public’s eye. The 1955 Chevrolet also represented a completely new vehicle in styling and engineering. With its new styling and the option of a potent new "Turbo-Fire" V-8 it was the most changed Chevy and the most exciting car to ever wear the bowtie badge since WWII.

The 210 series was Chevy’s best seller in 1955 with 805,309 units built. The Bel-Air wasn’t far behind with 773,238 units produced. A grand total of 1,704,667 cars were produced in the 1955 production year.

1955 Ford Thunderbird Coupe

The Thunderbird entered production for the 1955 model year as a sporty two-seat convertible and featured a removable hard-top. It was Ford's introduction to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette. Unlike the Chevrolet Corvette, it was not marketed as a sports car. Although produced as a two-seater, it was marketed as a personal luxury car. The Thunderbird went from idea to prototype in about a year. It was intruduced to the public at the Detroit Auto Show on February 20, 1954.

Production of the Thunderbird began later on in 1954 on September 9 with the car beginning sales as a 1955 model on October 22, 1954. Though sharing some design characteristics with other Fords of the time, such as single, circular headlamps and tail lamps and modest tailfins, the Thunderbird was sleeker and more athletic in shape, and had features like a faux hood scoop and a 150 mph speedometer hinting a higher performance nature that other Fords didn't possess. Mechanically though, the Thunderbird could trace its roots to other mainstream Fords. The Thunderbird's 102.0 inch wheelbase frame was mostly a shortened version of that used in other Fords while the car's standard 292 cubic inch, Y-block V8 came from Ford's Mercury division.

The Thunderbird outsold the Corvette by more than 23-to-one for 1955 with 16,155 Thunderbirds sold against 700 Corvettes. One could be bought in 1955 for around $2,440.
A fully restored 1955 thunderbird sells for around $54,000 today.

1959 Edsel
The Edsel was manufactured by the Ford Motor Company during the 1958, 1959, and 1960 model years. The Edsel never gained popularity with contemporary American car buyers and sold poorly. Consequently, the Ford Motor Company lost millions of dollars on the Edsel's development, manufacture, and marketing. The name "Edsel" has since become synonymous with failure.

Ford Motor Company eventually decided on the name "Edsel" in honor of Edsel B. Ford, son of the company's founder, Henry Ford. In the first year, 63,110 Edsels were sold in the United States; an additional 4,935 units were sold in Canada. In the 1959 model year, 44,891 Edsels were sold in the U.S. An additional 2,505 units were sold in Canada.

For the 1960 model year, Edsel's last, only 2,846 vehicles were produced. Ford announced the end of the Edsel program on Thursday, November 19, 1959. However, production continued until late in November. Total sales for all three years were approximately 84,000, less than half the company's projected break-even point. Reports of mechanical flaws in the models originating in the factory surfaced, due to lack of quality control and confusion of parts with other Ford models. The first-year (1958) Edsels were assembled in both Mercury and Ford factories. Consequently, the desired quality control of the different Edsel models proved difficult to achieve. In fact, many Edsels actually left the assembly lines unfinished. Uninstalled parts were placed in the trunks along with installation instructions for dealership mechanics, some of whom never installed the additional parts at all. Some dealers did not even have all the parts.Fifty years after its spectacular failure, the Edsel has become a highly collectible item among vintage car hobbyists. Fewer than 10,000 Edsels survive and are considered collectors’ items. A mint 1958 Citation convertible or 1960 Ranger convertible may sell for over $100,000.

1959 Chevrolet Belair

For the second time in as many years, Chevrolet again came up with a totally new car. From the front or rear the 1959 Chevrolets resembled nothing else on the road. From the headlights, placed as low as the law would allow, to the cats-eye tail lights, the 1959 Chevrolet was a brand new car with all new sheet metal, a new frame, and even new series names. 

The most visual new change was the flat, wing shaped tailfins. The 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air was the longest car in the low-priced range, whereas two years before it had been the shortest. The frame was new, called GM X frame, and it had no side rails. The Bel Air, which had been the top line series since 1953, was now the middle range. Wagons were still classed by themselves, but had model numbers matching the car series. Parkwood 6-passenger and Kingswood 9-passenger wagons had Bel Air's model number, and as such were the middle range wagons. Under the hood, little change took place. A variety of speed options, such as fuel injection, special cams and lowered compression, gave horsepower ratings up to 315. Bel Air production was 447,100. The new Impala surpassed Bel Air production by 20,000 units.

Ford Galaxie, 500, Custom, & the LTD
1959 Ford Galaxie
1959 Ford Galaxie
1959 Ford Galaxie Skytop Convertible
1960 Ford Galaxie
1960 Ford Galaxie
1962 Ford Galaxie
1962 Ford Galaxie
1963 Ford Galaxie
1963 Ford Galaxie
1964 Ford Galaxie
1964 Ford Galaxie
1965 Ford Galaxie
1965 Ford Galaxie
1966 Ford Galaxie
1966 Ford Galaxie
1968 Ford LTD
1968 Ford LTD
1969 Ford Galaxie XL
1969 Ford Galaxie XL
1971 Ford Galaxie Custom
1971 Ford LTD
1972 Ford Galaxie Custom
1972 Ford Galaxie Custom
1972 Ford Galaxie Custom
1974 Ford LTD
1974 Ford LTD
1974 Ford Brochure

The Ford Galaxie was a full-size car built by the Ford Motor Company from 1959 through 1974. The name "Galaxie" was used by Ford from 1959 as a marketing attempt to appeal to the excitement surrounding the Space Race. In 1962, all full-size Fords wore the Galaxie badge, with "500" added to them. The Galaxie 500 "LTD" was introduced for 1965. The Galaxie 500 part was dropped to the simple LTD in 1966. Starting in 1967, base models were referred to as the Galaxie 500 and the more luxurious models became known as the LTD until the last one rolled of the assembly line in 1974.

The Galaxie was rolled out mid-year in 1959 as a chromed and stainless steel adorned, two-tone colored vehicle. Among the Galxie models available was the Skyliner, featuring a retractable hardtop that folded down into the trunk space; this feature, impressive but complicated, expensive and leaving very little trunk room when folded down, did not last long, being produced through the end of 1959. 

The 1960 Galaxie offered a futuristic, totally redisigned look. The Starliner, featured a huge, curving rear observation window on a pillarless, hardtop bodyshell. The Galaxie 2-door pillared sedan came with chromed window frames. The 1960 featured "half-moon" tail light lenses turned downward. The "A" pillar now swept forward instead of backward, making entering and exiting the car more convenient. 

For 1961, the body was redone again. Tailfins were almost gone, with only a hint of them left, and it included a return of the popular big round tail lights. 1961 also was the year that the 390 engine was debuted, and the 352 was downgraded.

For 1962, the Galaxie name was applied to all of Ford's full size models, moving the Fairlane to a new intermediate sized car. The new top-line Galaxie 500 was introduced in an effort to stimulate midseason sales.

1963 models came with a few improvements, but a 1963½ model, called the "Sports Hardtop" or "Fastback" was rolled out and it handily outsold the "boxtop" square-roof models. The Sports Hardtop was available in both Galaxie 500, and Galaxie 500/XL trim. A base-model Galaxie was offered for 1963 only, badged as the Ford 300. The "Swing-away" steering wheel became and offered option that year as well. In 1963, Ford replaced the outdated 292 Y-Block V8 with the new small block 260 and 289 V8s that were originally developed for the Fairlane.

1964 is often referred to as the most successful year for the Ford Galaxie line. It was marketed as a car that could be expected to last beyond the 100,000 miles, when most cars at the time were on their last legs. The 1964 Galaxie line gained an enviable reputation as durable, comfortable cars that offered decent handling and road-ability at a reasonable price. The 427 cubic inch engine was debuted that year.

The 1965 Galaxie was an all-new design, featuring vertically stacked dual headlights. The new top-of-the-line designation this year was the Galaxie 500 LTD. Engine choices were the same as 1964, except for an all-new 240 cubic inch six-cylinder became optional. The 352 was equipped with dual exhausts and a four-barrel carburetor. 1965 became the year that the coil-ride suspension was introduced, improving not only the ride of the vehicle, but the handling of it as well.

In 1967 all Fords, came with a padded hub in the center of the plastic steering wheel, along with an energy-absorbing steering column, and other padded interior features. Another safety related change was the introduction of the dual brake master cylinder.

The 1968 model had a new grille with headlights arranged horizontally. It was essentially the same car from the windshield back. Thethe XL and LTD models offered concealed headlights. The 302 cubic inch engine was rolled out as well. In addition to side marker lights, tandard equipment included courtesy lights, a cigarette lighter, a suspended gas pedal, and padded front seat backs, and after December of 1968, shoulder seat belts become standard.

Headrests were featured on 1969 models. It was not until 1969 that a station wagon was actually marketed under the Galaxie name. The Galaxie Custom Ranch Wagon, the Galaxie Country Sedan, the Galaxie Country Sedan, the Galaxie LTD Country Squire were born. 

Galaxies for model year 1970 featured the new Government-required ignition lock was located on the right side of the steering column.

A complete redesign was offered for 1971. This included a horizontal wrap around front bumper with a massive vertical center section much in the vein of concurrent Pontiacs. Taillights lost the traditional "rocket" exhaust theme in favor of horizontal lights and trimmed center section. The XL was dropped, as were concealed headlight covers for the LTD. The convertible was moved to the LTD series in 1971 and lasted through 1972.

Models for 1972 were similar but the lower bumper continued across the center grille section and the rear bumper was enlarged with inset taillamps. This was also the final year for the 240 cu in (3.9 L) six-cylinder engine and three-speed manual transmission, which was available only with the six-cylinder engine. All V8-powered Galaxies had the SelectShift automatic transmissions.

The 1973 model was marginally shorter than previous models, but had a heavier, bulker appearance. The Police Interceptor package became available

The 1974 model year was essentially a repeat of 1973, but it was the last year for the Galaxie 500 name. Ford elected to consolidate most of its full-size models under the popular LTD name after that year, but reserved the base-model Custom 500 nameplate for fleet buyers and private customers who insisted on the lowest-priced full-sized model possible. Power front disc brakes were standard.

Approximately 6.5 million Galaxie line Fords were sold from 1959 through 1974, making it the second best selling Ford automobile platform after the Ford Model T.

The 1960 Ford Falcon

The Ford Falcon was an automobile produced by Ford Motor Company from 1960 to 1970. It was a huge sales success for Ford initially, handily outselling rival compacts from Chrysler and General Motors introduced at the same time. During its lifespan, the Falcon was offered in a wide range of body styles: two-door and four-door sedans, two-door and four-door station wagons, two-door hardtops, convertibles, a sedan delivery and the Ranchero pickup. Variations of the Ford Falcon were manufactured in Agentina, Australia, Canada, Chile and Mexico.

As introduced in 1960, it was powered by a small, lightweight 90 hp, 144 CID straight-6 with a single-barrel carbureter. The car sat on a unibody frame, and the suspension was fairly standard; coil springs on the front, leaf springs in the rear. Drum brakes were used at the front and rear wheels. A three-speed manual column shift was standard with the two-speed Ford-O-Matic automatic transmission offered as an option.

The Corvair

The Chevrolet Corvair was a compact automobile produced by Chevrolet division between 1960 and 1969. It was the only American-made, mass-produced passenger car to feature a rear-mounted, air-cooled engine.

The Corvair models produced included a two-door coupe, a convertible, a four-door sedan, four-door station wagon, and also the more powerful Monza model. A passenger van, commercial van, and even a pickup were offered.

The 1961 Monza was heavily promoted and referred to as "the poor man's Porsche" in various car magazines. The Monza series expanded with a four-door sedan in addition to the two-door coupe, and garnered about 144,000 sales.

The Monza Coupe was the most popular model with 151,738 produced out of 292,531 total Corvair passenger car production for 1962. The 1963 model year saw the optional availability of a long 3.08 gear for improved fuel economy. Self adjusting brakes were new for 1963. Of all the Corvairs sold in 1963 fully 80% were Monzas. The Convertible model counted for over 20% of all the Monzas sold.

A dramatic redesign of the Corvair came in 1965. The new body showed influence from the Corvette Stingray and the 1963 Buick Riviera. The "coke bottle" styling set the trend for GM cars for the next fifteen years. For the first time, none of the passenger cars had a "B" pillar, making all closed models true hardtops.

In 1967, the Corvair line was trimmed to the 500, Monza Hardtop Coupes, Hardtop Sedans, and the Monza Convertible. This model year was the first with a collapsible steering column. A dual circuit master cylinder with warning light, nylon reinforced brake hoses, "mushroomed" instrument panel knobs and a vinyl-edged day/night mirror were all made standard equipment.

In 1968, the four-door hardtop was discontinued, leaving three models -- the 500, Monza Hardtop Coupes, and the Monza Convertible. Additional safety features, including side marker lights, and shoulder belts for closed models, were fitted per the federal government's requirements. All advertising was virtually stopped and sales were down to 15,400.

The final model-year 1969 Corvairs were assembled with the Nova in Willow Run, Michigan, the same facility Corvairs had been built from the beginning. A total of 6,000 Corvairs were produced of which only 521 were Monza Convertibles. Corvair was the only 1969 GM car that did not get a locking steering column.

First-generation Corvair handling characteristics became the subject of controversy when Ralph Nader addressed them in his 1965 book, Unsafe At Any Speed. GM had over 100 lawsuits pending in connection with crashes involving the Corvair, which subsequently became the initial material for Nader's investigations.

A 1972 safety commission report conducted by Texas A&M University concluded that the Corvair possessed no greater potential for loss of control than its contemporary competitors in extreme situations. The U.S. Department of Transportation  issued a press release in 1972 which stated that the NHTSA had conducted a series of comparative tests in 1971 studying the handling of the 1963 Corvair, along with a second-generation Corvair (with its completely redesigned, independent rear suspension). The review panel concluded that "the 1960–63 Corvair compares favorably with other vehicles used in the tests. The handling and stability performance of the 1960–63 Corvair does not result in an abnormal potential for loss of control or rollover, and it is at least as good as the performance of some contemporary vehicles both foreign and domestic.

In all, 1,835,170 Corvairs were produced and sold in America. They are valued by many collectors today.

​The Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle, officially called the Volkswagen Type 1 or informally the Volkswagen bug, was an economy car produced by the German auto maker from 1938 until 2003.

There were over 21 million Volkswagen Beetles manufactured since 1945. It was an air-cooled, rear-engined, rear-wheel driven marvel. The Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured automobile of a single design platform anywhere in the world.

Its engine, transmission, and cylinder heads were constructed of light alloy. An engine oil cooler ensured optimal engine operating temperature and long engine life, optimized by a thermostat that bypassed the oil cooler when the engine was cold. Later models of the carburetor featured an automatic choke. Engine intake air passed through a metallic filter, while heavier particles were captured by an oil bath.

Throughout its production, VW marketed the Beetle with a four-speed, manual transmission. Beginning in 1968, on U.S imported models, VW offered an optional semi-automatic transmission, marketed as Automatic Stick Shift and also called the Auto-Stick, which was a 3-speed manual coupled to an electromatic clutch and torque converter.

By 2002, over 21 million Type-1 Beetles had been produced, but by 2003, annual production had dropped to 30,000 from a peak of 1.3 million in 1971. VW announced the end of production in June 2003, citing decreasing demand, and the final original Type-1 VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) rolled off the production line at Puebla, Mexico, on July 30, 2003.

The Beetles were known to be fun to drive, cheap to own, and easy to work on. Their values have risen over the years and are sought by collectors worldwide.

​1961 Ford Thunderbird
1961 Ford Thunderbird

The Ford Thunderbird was redesigned in 1961 with sleeker styling that gave the car a distinctively bullet-like appearance. A new engine, the 390 cubic inch V8, was the standard and only engine initially offered in the Thunderbird. The 390 produced 300 horsepower and was mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission. The 1961 Thunderbird was immediately well received with 73,051 sold during that production year. The Thunderbird was 1961's Indianapolis 500 pace car and was featured prominently in President John F. Kennedy's inaugural parade, probably helped along by the appointment of Ford executive Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense.

One unique feature of the 1961 Thunderbird was the steering wheel assembly, which could be shifted to the right with the pull of a lever, in order to make it easier to enter and exit the driver's seat

1963 Chevrolet Impala Convertible (Local Car)
1963 Chevrolet Impala Convertible

A friend stopped by one day in his almost restored 1963 Chevrolet Impala convertible. It's a real work of art. He's owned it for a number of years. The pictures speak for themselves.

​Ford Mustang
1964 Ford Mustang
1964 Ford Mustang
1964 Ford Mustang
1966 Ford Mustang
1967 Ford Mustang
1968 Ford Mustang
1973 Ford Mustang
1973 Ford Mustang
1978 Ford Mustang
1981 Ford Mustang

Production of the 1964 Mustang, titled as a 1965 model, began in Dearborn, Michigan on March 9, 1964 and the car was introduced to the public on April 17, 1964.

The suggested retail sales price for the new car was of $2,368.00. Original sales forecasts projected less than 100,000 units for the first year. This mark was surpassed in three months from rollout. Another 318,000 would be sold during the model year (a record), and in its first eighteen months, more than one million Mustangs were built.

Some cars with 289 engines which were not given the chrome fender badges denoting the larger engine, and more than one car left the plant with cutouts for back-up lights but no lights nor the later wiring harness needed to operate them. While these would today be additional-value collectors' items, most of these oddities were corrected at the dealer level, sometimes only after buyers had noticed them.

1964 Chevrolet Nova Super Sport Convertible
1964 Chevrolet Nova Super Sport Convertible

My mother bought one of these in 1964. The entire family was in it when it was totaled near Hugo, Colorado in 1966, after the left front wheel assembly came off of it at 70 mph. Thankfully we all survived the out of control crash that ensued without serious injury.

The big news for the 1964 Chevy II Nova was the addition of the factory V8 engine option. The new optional V8 was a 195 hp 283 in V8. The 1964 Chevy II Nova was also the last year that a convertible was offered. Only 10,576 Chevy II Nova's were produced with the Super Sport "SS" option in 1964.

1965 AMC Marlin
1965 AMC Marlin

The Rambler AMC Marlin is a two-door, mid-sized fastback car that was made by the American Motors Corporation from 1965 to 1967. The fastback roof design was previewed on the compact Rambler American. 1965 and 1966 model year production Marlins were fastback versions of the mid-sized two-door hardtop Rambler Classic

The introduction of the Marlin involved special invitations and heavy publicity. The Marlin was advertised in 2,400 newspapers on its launch day, and American Motors' news releases positioned it as aimed at buyers wanting a sporty fastback that was also roomy and comfortable. The Marlin emphasized the stretched-out pillarless hardtop roofline.

The new model met with a mixed reception in the press. Popular Mechanics magazine recorded 0 to 60 mph in 10.8 seconds by manually shifting the automatic transmission, and fuel economy of 18 mpg city; 22 mpg Hwy at a steady 60 mph

Tom McCahill's road test in Mechanics Illustrated recorded 0 to 60 mph in 9.7 seconds with the 327 engine.

Motor Trend magazine found the Marlin well balanced and said it added to the market's various personal performance sports cars.

The San Francisco Chronicle praised it and noted effortless cruising at 80 mph.

Hot Rod magazine, which described the car as "weirdly attractive", ran the quarter-mile in 17.43 seconds at 79 mph with the 327 cubic inch engine and the offered "Flash-O-Matic" transmission.

Automobile Quarterly magazine thought the car very ugly, and expressed dislike for the inadequacy of the rear-view window, the positions of the steering-wheel and stoplights, the softness of the front seats, and the design of the pedals.

The 1965 MSRP was about $3,100.00.10,327 Marlins were sold in the abbreviated first year of production. One in good condition can fetch $10,000 or more today.

1965 Dodge Coronet
1965 Dodge Coronet

Above is a 1965 Dodge Coronet. It's a personal favorite of mine. It was the first car I ever owned. It came equipped with just an AM radio, it had no air conditioning, and it was hardly luxurious, but I was as proud to own it as any teenager could be. 

I paid $300 for it at a long since closed used car dealer located in Ft. Oglethorpe, Georgia

Plymouth Duster
1970 Plymouth Duster
1970 Plymouth Duster 340
1970 Plymouth Duster
1972 Plymouth Duster 340
1972 Plymouth Duster
Plymouth Duster340
Plymouth Duster Interior

The first Plymouth Duster was a semi-fastback version of the Plymouth Valiant, produced from 1970 to 1976. The Plymouth Duster introduced in 1970 was all Valiant from the cowl forward, but the rest of the car was completely different. The design incorporated a semi-fastback roof and twin horizontal taillights, unusual for having no bezels. The door glass was operated by a totally new regulator mechanism, and the windshield was more steeply raked.

The 1970 Duster was available in two models. The standard Duster and a performance-oriented Duster 340. Engine options were 198 cubic inch and a 225 cubic inch versions of Chrysler's Slant-Six, as well as the 318 cubic inch and 340 cubic inch V-8. At midyear, aGold Duster trim package was added. The Gold Duster package came with either the 225 Slant Six or the 318 V-8.

The Duster was a success for Plymouth, so much so that in 1971 Dodge requested and received their own version, the Demon. In response, Plymouth was given a version of the Dodge Dart Swinger 2-door hardtop named the Plymouth Scamp. A new Electronic "Breakerless" Ignition became optional on the 340 V-8 late in 1971 model year.

Following the design changes on the Valiant models, the Duster also received a new hood, grille, front fenders, bumpers, and taillights for 1973. The taillights on previous years mounted from the inside and had a flush appearance. Starting in 1973, the taillights were mounted from the outside and were trimmed in chrome. These remained unchanged through 1976.

The grille-mounted park and turn signall lenses were amber. Prior years had colorless lenses with amber bulbs. The interior rear view mirror was mounted directly to the windshield rather than to the previous double-pivot roof bracket, and the parking brake was now foot, rather than hand-operated. Disc brakes became standard equipment on cars built after 1 January 1976.

Sales of the Duster models averaged more than 200,000 per year through 1976.

The Ford Pinto
1971 Ford Pinto
1972 Ford Pinto Station Wagen
1972 Ford Pinto Interior
1972 Ford Pinto Brochure
1974 Ford Pinto
1975 Ford Pinto
1975 Ford Pinto
1976 Ford Pinto Station Wagen
1976 Ford Pinto Interior
1976 Ford Pinto Brochure
Ford Pinto Interior
1079 Ford Pinto Brochure
1980 Ford Pinto Brochure

The Ford Pinto was a subcompact car produced by the Ford Motor Company for the model years 1971–1980. Initially offered as a two-door sedan, Ford offered "Runabout" hatchback and wagon models the following years. By January 1971, more than 100,000 Pintos had been sold. Overall, during its 10 year production run there were over 2 million Pintos sold.

Many might remember that the Pinto's legacy was affected by media controversy and legal cases surrounding the safety of its gas tank design, invloving a recall of the car in 1978. A study performed later, examining actual incident data, concluded the Pinto was as safe as, or safer than, other cars in its class.

Ford marketed the Pinto under the tagline "The Little Carefree Car," with the first one off the assembly line sold to a man named Charles J. Pinto of Pinto, Maryland, on September 13, 1970. Entry level Pintos were priced at around $1850, making the Pinto the least expensive Ford since six models introduced in 1958.

Except for 1980, the Pinto was available with a choice of two engines. For the first five years of production, only four-cylinder inline engines were offered. Ford changed the power ratings almost every year. Initial Pinto deliveries in the early years used the English 1,600 cc, 98 cubic inch and the subsequent German 2,000 cc ,120 cubic inch, which as it turned out, were less than known for their longevity. 

In 1974, the much more dependable 2.3 litre, 140 cubic inch, over head cam engine was introduced. This engine would be updated and modified several times, allowing it to remain in production into 1997. Despite their reputation as a throwaway car, there are many people who remember the Pinto as a motor vehicle that was cheap to operate and own, and rather fun to drive.

Unfortunately, they have not appreciated in value very much. A pristine 1971 Pinto will fetch about $900 more than it cost new -- $2,750.

​The Chevrolet Vega
1971 Chevrolet Vega
1971 Chevrolet Vega Station Wagen
1971 Chevrolet Vega Interior
1971 Chevrolet Vega
1973 Chevrolet Vega
1973 Chevrolet Vega Station Wagen
1973 Chevrolet Vega
1973 Chevrolet Vega Ad
1974 Chevrolet Vega
1974 Chevrolet Vega Interior
1975 Chevrolet Vega Station Wagen
1975 Chevrolet Vega Interior
1975 Chevrolet Vega
1976 Chevrolet Vega Ad

The Chevrolet Vega was a subcompact automobile that was produced by the Chevroletdivision of General Motors from 1970 to 1977. Available in two-door hatchback, notchback, wagon, and panel delivery body styles, Vegas were powered by an inline four-cylinder engine with a lightweight, aluminum alloy cylinder block.

The Vega received praise and awards at its introduction, including Motor Trend Car of the Year. Subsequently the car became widely known for a variety of problems related to its engineering, reliability, safety, propensity to rust, and engine durability. Despite a series of recalls and design upgrades, the Vega's problems tarnished both its own as well as General Motors' reputation.

Vegas were produced at the $75 million GM facility known as the Lordstown Assemblyplant located in Lordstown, Ohio. It was the world's most automated auto plant, where Unaminate Industrial Robots performed about 95% of the approximately 3,900 welds while building a Vega. The line speed of 30 feet per minute set new auto production records. Sub-assembly areas, conveyor belts and quality control were all computer directed.

The total number of Vegas produced during the seven years was 1,966,157 including 3,508 Cosworth models. Production peaked in 1974 at 2,400 units per day. The same basic Vega that cost $2090 in 1971 carried a retail price of $3249 by the end of 1977.

A basic Vega today is worth almost double what it cost when it was new. Despite the dim reputation by many of the Vega, they are valued by many collectors and quite a few of them have survived.

​The Checker Motors Corporation

The Checker Motors Corporation was a Kalamazoo, Michigan based vehicle company that manufactured taxi cabs used by Checker Taxi. Private ownership was far more rare, but many are in the hands of private owners.

Checker made the iconic American taxi cab which was valued by taxicab companies for its durability in heavy use. Special features included large rear seats and trunks. The company had trouble competing with fleet discounts offered by the larger manufacturers as well as economies of scale in procuring components. The final models were produced in 1982.

From 1922-1959, Checker's production vehicles were built almost exclusively for the commercial livery (taxi) business, although cars for personal use were available on request. Checker entered the consumer vehicle market when it saw purchases of its taxis decline.

Beginning in 1960, Checker introduced the Superba, its first model specifically built for the consumer market. Joining the Superba in 1962 was the Masrathon, which took the place of the Superba Special. The Marathon consisted of standard and long-wheelbase sedans, plus station wagons. Wagons came standard with a motorized fold-down rear seat, which combined with different bodies pushed the price tag up $350 more than the sedan.

Limousines were also offered as Checker sought to tap into yet another specialty market. The only engine was the Continental inline six, which had been used in dozens of cars and trucks since the 1930s. Civilian models were as utilitarian as their fleet counterparts, sporting a simple, flat dashboard with round gauges (this would remain unchanged up to the final Checkers in 1982), rubber mats instead of carpeting, and hardboard ceilings. Floors were flat to allow easy entry and exit.

Checker's cars were lightly marketed using campaigns that centered on their durability and unchanging style. Checker also promoted their vehicles as 200,000 mile cars at a time when most automakers shied away from mileage promises.

The last models were produced for the 1982 model year, with the final automobile rolling off the assembly line on July 12, 1982.

​1972 Honda Civic

The Honda Civic is a line that was introduced into the United States in July, 1972 from Japan as a two-door model, followed by a three-door hatchback that September. With the transverse engine mounting of its 1169 cc engine and front-wheel drive like, very much like the the British Mini, the car provided good interior space despite overall small dimensions. Early models of the Civic typically included a basic AM radio, heater, foam-cushioned plastic trim, two-speed wipers, and painted steel rims with a chromed wheel nut cap.

The first generation Honda Civic was introduced in 1972, but sold as a 1973 model. Due to the 1973 oil crisis, consumer demand for fuel efficient vehicles was high, and due to the engine being able to run on either leaded or unleaded fuel, it gave drivers fuel choice flexibility over other vehicles. It retailed in the U.S. for around $2,150 in 1973. They haven't appreciated very much over the years. A 1973 model in very good condition is only worth about $2,825


The AMC Pacer, an innovative all-new model introduced in March 1975 and billed as "the first wide small car", was a subcompact designed to provide the comfort of a full-sized car.

The Pacer was described as "the seventies answer to George Jetson's mode of transportation" at a time when Detroit was still rolling out boat-sized gas guzzlers. The large amount of glass led Car and Driver to dub it "The Flying Fishbowl". The Pacer's "jellybean" body style is a readily recognized icon of the 1970s.

A total of 280,000 cars were built. AMC Pacers were converted to plug-in electric vehicles.

Electric Vehicle Associates (EVA) was best known for its Change of Pace models a built- to-order adaptation of the Pacer that was priced at $12,360 in 1978. The company converted well over 100 units. First available in the sedan version, power came from eighteen 6-volt lead-acid batteries to a DC motor with a three-speed automatic transmission. The EVA "Change of Pace" sedan weighed 3,990 lb and reached 55 miles per hour with a 53-mile range.

​The Pontiac Fiero

The Pontiac Fiero was a mid-engined, 2-seat, sports car that was built by the Pontiac division of General Motors from 1984 to 1988. The Fiero was the first two-seater Pontiac since the 1926 to 1938 coupes, and also the first and only mass-produced mid-engine sports car by a U.S. manufacturer. Many technologies incorporated in the Fiero design such as plastic body panels were radical for its time.

Alternative names while it was under development that were considered for the car were the Sprint, P3000, Pegasus, Fiamma, Sunfire, and Firebird XP. A total of 370,168 Fieros were produced over the four year production period. The Fiero was on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for 1984. The 1984 Fiero was the Official Pace Car of the Indianapolis 500 for 1984, beating out the new 1984 Chevrolet Corvette.

The Pontiac Fiero, being popularly known as being "made entirely of fiberglass," is wrongly accused of being unsafe in a collision. With its unique plastic body-on-spaceframe design, helped the Fiero achieve a NHTSA NCAP frontal crash test rating of five stars, the highest rating available.

Currently the Fiero has a cult following of owners and customizers. While all Fiero models are considered to be collectible, the 1988 model year is especially sought after by collectors due to its limited production numbers and vastly improved underpinnings. Because of an abundance of replacement parts available from other General Motors vehicles, there are many upgrades that can be done to improve performance and reliability of the cars. A 1988 Fiero in good shape is quite affordable today. They are valued at about $6,000.