By on August 24, 2011

The reason I’m only doing ’65 Impala Hell Project posts every week or so is the fact that it takes for-freakin-ever for me to search and scan endless sheets of 35mm negatives and slides for images that are relevant to the story (the 1999-vintage SCSI film scanner I’m using sure isn’t helping matters). There is an unexpected bonus that comes with this process, however: I keep running across interesting car photos shot during my travels.
I shot this panoramic photograph out the window of my Impala in early 1994, just south of the Nimitz Freeway on High Street. That spot looks much different now, thanks to a new onramp configuration and Shell station upgrade, and you won’t see dudes hauling a pile of crap on the roof of a Malaise Era Torino wagon any more; look for Tempos and Tauruses in that role today.

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19 Comments on “Down On The Oakland Street, 1994: Before Taurus Beaters Were Cheap Enough...”


  • avatar
    roger628

    I always saw the 1972-’76 Gran Torino as a poster child for everything that was wrong about the 70′s US cars. Big outside, small inside, too heavy because of big bumpers and such, sloppily put together, rust-prone ,horrible handling, gutless and thirsty at the same time,these cars had it all in spades.

    • 0 avatar
      gottacook

      I would assume that the same car when rebadged as the 1977-79 LTD II wagon, with its enormous front overhang, was even worse – perhaps they were better built, but I doubt it.

      Its only real competition that I can think of – that is, with a tailgate that swings out/down and into which the rear window retracts – was the 1971 Plymouth Satellite and Dodge Coronet wagons (and their rebadges through 1978). As far as I can recall, these were much better cars – although sometimes sloppily built, the full-size Chrysler cars were worse – and were more useful as wagons too. Does anyone here concur?

      (No, I don’t count the GM colonnade wagons with their much cheaper one-piece tailgates, even though that’s the common type today.)

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        I don’t believe that the Chrysler intermediates of this era were really much better than contemporary Torinos/Montegos. The build quality and fit-and-finish were pretty bad on the Mopars. The Fords had much nicer interiors.

        The GM intermediates made a decent attempt at improving the ride/handling compromise. Ford went full throttle in pursuit of the whipped-cream ride.

        The Mopars were neither fish nor fowl – they didn’t handle as well as the GM cars, but were rougher and noisier than the Fords. I’d rather have a car that went decisively one way or the other. Just my personal preference.

  • avatar
    tced2

    Tempos still running? I haven’t seen one in months.

    Is this near part of the Nimitz that collapsed in the earthquake?

    Condolences on your SCSI scanner. I know, because I have a SCSI Minolta 35mm scanner (that cost a small fortune) connected to a Windows XP system that I keep running for this purpose. It has taken me several years to get all my slides scanned – S-L-O-O-W – something like 30 seconds per slide.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    “The reason I’m only doing ’65 Impala Hell Project posts every week or so is the fact that it takes for-freakin-ever for me to search and scan endless sheets of 35mm negatives and slides for images that are relevant to the story (the 1999-vintage SCSI film scanner I’m using sure isn’t helping matters).”

    Ed, please buy this boy a new scanner!

  • avatar
    cfclark

    My parents had a ’73 Torino wagon. It sucked. Sucked fuel and just plain sucked.

    A new Epson V600 scanner is about $200, by the way–you and your readers will be much happier.

  • avatar
    texan01

    my neighbor had a 72 Gran Torino sedan. Apparently it was a hot car as it was always overheating, both inside and out. goldish brown, with gold vinyl seats, I remember riding in it a few times before it made way for an 88 F-150 that he still owns. I don’t remember what eventually happened it, I do remember being very cave like and a not very good car.

  • avatar

    Pickles? Now I’m hungry.

  • avatar
    cheapthrills

    So as you are scanning the pictures, are you carefully categorizing them and adding keywords and tags, or are you simply happy with the improvement of looking through thumbnails vs. digging through a box?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    I had a ’72 Gran Torino wagon. Bought it as a winter beater in ’83 for $175. It lasted over 6 months. It was a bargain.

  • avatar
    MarcKyle64

    I drove a ’76 Mercury Cougar XR-7 for a year in college and it was a total slug with horrible mileage, anemic 351C and handling that was not scary, but not confidence inspiring either. I called it the double pimped Torino. (Torino + pimped/Malaise interior = Mercury Montego. Montego with even more razzle-dazzle = XR-7). Reverse died and it was given to a cousin who had it fixed and drove to California. Since I had gutted the emissions in a vain attempt to get more power and altered the unleaded gas filler to accept a regular nozzle, I don’t know if she was able to get it to pass inspection, but we never heard anything more about it.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    I had a ’74 maverick with the “smog” bumpers. When i took them off to get the car painted, WHOA…the handling and braking of the car improved by leaps and bounds. I put one of the little early maverick bumpers on the front, but i never did get around to the rear bumper, before life’s circumstances took over and I had to get rid of the car.

  • avatar
    old fart

    it’s always funny to hear the complaints about the old American cars . I grew up with them so they were always improving compared to what we had before , so fit and finish was not an issue ,gas while it got a little higher was still affordable . Power was adequate compared to all the other cars out there , if you wanted more you got a muscle car. Handling and braking was what it was, we were used to it and compared to manual drum brakes it was allot better and sway bars were starting to be used on some cars, much better in curves .I hear people complain about them having no feedback , hey that’s what we wanted, we were coming from manual everything so we didn’t want to work hard at driving, one finger turning and a gentle touch on the brakes would stop you . The leaf spring cars were still like a buckboard but the others were great, yes they wallowed but it was a comfortable ride it absorbed everything . We knew the limits on the cars and drove to them, instead of overpowering them . For me cars today mostly suck , you feel every crack in the road and even though they absorb bumps my back still feels them and steering isn’t powered enough, their harder to get into and FWD is way more expensive to maintain then RWD .

  • avatar
    tejasjeff

    We had the same wagon.72 Gran Torino.
    The Old Man bought Ford because he has been raised on the farm working on them.
    That POS broke him off Fords for the rest of his life.
    The most memorable fault among dozens was the rear window that refused to stop leaking. the Dealers fix was to add a ball of sealant in corners until the warranty ended.
    It was a wretched auto.

  • avatar
    Marko

    In the Northeast, these cars were long gone before the mid-1990s.


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