By on October 31, 2010

Plenty of ’69 – ’69 Mustangs around, but the seventies’ B-Body Mopars are might scarce, except for the restored garage queen Chargers and the like. This Plymouth wagon particularly caught my eye, because it’s the closest thing I’ve seen to ’73 Coronet wagon that replaced my mother’s ’65 Coronet.

Her ’73 drove and handled quite a bit better than the ’65, which had particularly nasty steering and agricultural habits: plowing the front wheels through every turn taken in spirited driving. Both had the 318, but the newer LA version in ’73 ran much better than the old polyshphere, despite the smog controls. Of course, it was new, and the ’65 old, so maybe the comparison isn’t exactly fair and balanced.

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33 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: Suddenly It’s 1970...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Nice.  Seeing those two in the driveway I’d have to take a Sunday drive twice, once in each car.

  • avatar

    Rats, no trailer hitch, I was sure this was going to be a serious tow-car.

    0/ Country Sedan 351 Windsor

  • avatar
    DeadEd

    Looks like the wagon may be temporarily missing an engine.  Notice the nose-high stance, and what appears to be the base of something like an engine crane tucked underneath.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    Nice rims on that bad boy.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Glad I kept my ’72 Fury…kinda cool to drive the past for fun…

  • avatar
    MattPete

    I miss that shade of green.  My parents had a late-60s Cougar in that color.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      Ford briefly sold the Mustang in a color of green close to that of the Dodge a few years ago.  I liked it, but it didn’t stay available.
      http://www.americanmuscle.com/2005-lime-green-mustang-gt.html

    • 0 avatar
      MattPete

      That’s the color — I always called it Olive-Metallic.  I’ve seen a car of recent vintage (Mustang?) driving around Fairfax Virginia in that color.

      Edit: here’ s that color, on an old Cougar, no less:

      http://www.hemmings.com/users/209373/ride/6385.html

    • 0 avatar
      mdensch

      My parents had a ’72 AMC Matador that same color.  AMC called it Grasshopper Green and it was very common.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      Mattpete: Ford’s current Kiwi Green is pretty close. One of the driver’s ed cars I had was a 72 Coronet wagon in that same color.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      My folks had a 68 Mercury Montego in a similar shade of green. I forget what it was called, though.
       
      That’s a neat old wagon; it would be a great cruise night vehicle.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    Not a bad looking car for it’s day. It’s been quite a while since I’ve seen one out in the wild.
     
    My High School orchestra teacher used to tell me about the Dodge Coronet wagon he had and how much he loved it. He ended up selling it to a man that was from England, and he ended up having it shipped over there when he decided to leave Florida.

  • avatar

    two classics in one driveway. Very nice! And no rust on that mopar

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    My Mom had the 1976 Dodge version of that wagon, a Coronet.  Although fairly nice looking, it was an unreliable POS.  Instead of a headliner made of cloth, it had one made of about three sections of perforated painted cardboard, held up by chromed steel brackets.  We lived in a humid climate, and that stupid cardboard would sag.  After several times of re-installing it, we finally ripped it out, leaving the car with a “really attractive” unfinished ceiling.  To top it all off, the car had a tendency to shut down while taking turns at slow speeds.  Then again, my Dad had bought it used from Avis, so perhaps it had been beat to sh1t by renters…I think we sold after about a year of owning it.

    • 0 avatar
      Polishdon

      Must have been abused.  I have a ’75 Corornet Crestwood with over 200K on it.  I finally had to replace the cardboard liner this year due to having the inteior and exterior redone. 

      My ’75 Dodge sat for about 13 years in a field before I restored it and it wasn’t even prepped for storage.  It was just parked.  New carb, starter and minor wire repair and she fired tight up.

      You can see a pic of her at: http://i56.tinypic.com/a0jw91.jpg

  • avatar
    Towncar

    “Of course, it was new, and the ’65 old.”
    I think you are on to something there.  In those days, cars got old faster than they do now.  When I was going around the lots with my dad looking for my first car in ’72, anything older than about five years was a dog.  I ended up with a ’66 Coronet, actually, which was a decent ride for $400, but it had clearly had a hard life, and was still significantly better than the ’65’s and ’64’s we saw.  I literally don’t remember seeing anything surviving older than a ’64.
    Much as we might like to complain about some of the changes in the market since then, cars really have got more durable with less maintenance.
     
     

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Much as we might like to complain about some of the changes in the market since then, cars really have got more durable with less maintenance.

      I can certainly agree with that.  I see cars from the 90s and 00s every day and don’t think of them as “old” cars.  And most of them seem to run fairly decently.  Driveability seems to be  better as cars age – unleaded fuel and high energy ignition keep engines from developing so much carbon buildup as opposed to older cars with breaker point ignition and leaded fuel.  During the 70s when I was in elementary and middle school, it seemed like practically every car older than 4 or 5 years old ran like crap.  They knocked as they accelerated due to carbon buildup (and lower octane fuel) and could be a bitch to start and keep running on cold mornings with carbs and points.  And so many of the older cars and trucks had partial and complete misfire or burned exhaust valves, just chugging away with obnoxious exhaust fumes.  Back then, to say that my car wouldn’t start used to be a valid excuse for being late – everyone could relate.  Today, it’s still possible but not likely.

      Part of the driveability issue had to do with early emission controls.  Up through the ’74 model year (’72 in CA), cars left the factory with de-tuned and partially redesigned engines (low compression, EGR valves, power robbing smog pumps) to meet federal objectives for CO, HC, and NOx.  When catalytic converters came out for the ’75 model year (’73 in CA), then engines left the factory tuned for optimum performance (as much as possible with lower compression and EGR valves) – only choked down badly with first generation cats to hurt performance even more.  In a nutshell, federal EPA requirements exceeded the available technology of the day, and cars ran poorly very soon into their service lives as components aged badly.

      Oh, and one last thing, the exhaust systems on pre-catalytic converter cars seemed to need replacing almost every year – especially dual exhaust.  After cats, exhaust seemed to last much longer – less corrosive acids.

    • 0 avatar
      OldandSlow

      With the exception of early deaths of some automatic transmissions – most modern cars will easily last 200K with proper maintenance.  It helps to have covered parking to protect the plastic bits, both in the interior and on the exterior of the vehicle.
       
      It’s not all a bed of roses. There were timing belts to replace on some cars.  MAF sensors for the intake and DPFE for the EGR need an occasional cleaning, plus the occasional replacement of the O2 sensors.  The EGR plumbing needs an eventual clean out or replacement of the EGR valve or DPFE.  The catalytic converter will need an eventual replacement, as well. When all of the above are maintained on a modern vehicle with fuel injection and distributorless ignition in order to pass emissions testing, then engine at least will have run closer to peak efficiency during its life than did the old carburetor’d engines, with distributors and breaker points.
       
      That said, pre-lean burn vehicles with manual transmissions seem to last forever in dry climates like New Mexico.  As opposed to tire pressure monitor sensors and what not, the only sensors to replace are the oil pressure and coolant temperature sensors, with maybe the fuel level sender the gas tank.

    • 0 avatar
      caljn

      I remember picking up a new Buick at the dealer in ’72 with my Dad and at the time it was completely standard and acceptable for the dealer to say something like “come back in a few weeks with a list of what’s wrong with it”…

      I also remember around the same time having a few cars in the family that were questionable to take out in the rain.  It would either not start at all or leave you stranded after going thru a puddle.  Times sure have changed…for the better of course.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I will testify to the durability of newer cars. I have a 1995 Pontiac as my daily driver, but I could not imagine doing this without the way cars are designed today. Thirty years ago, a fifteen year old car would have either been a garage queen or in the junkyard. Not very likely it would be any kind of daily driver.

    • 0 avatar
      econobiker

      Yup, durability is much up over the cars of yesteryear.
       
      Back in the mid to late 1980s I was a member of the Slant Six Club and they had a listing for cars that had over 200,000 miles in their magazine since this was an achievement for the 1960s and 1970s to get over 100,000 out of a car. Remember when car odometers just had 5 digits?
      The mechanical issues used to get the US cars and rustout would get the Japanese cars of the 19060s and 1970s…

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    …Presumably the tires on the wagon aren’t quite stock…

  • avatar
    AJ

    That is a cool wagon. Glad to see it looking good.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    I like the wagon a lot more than the ‘Stang.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      Brown was always a stupid color choice to offer for a sporty car. But that was the period…. Of course if I see another ad with a silver, white or black car in it I will scream….

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      Brown was always a stupid color choice to offer for a sporty car.

      Our ’69 Olds 442 was a darker sh!t colored brown than the ‘Stang pictured with white pinstripes and red wall tires (ever see those?).  I never really liked the color, but there were plenty of brown cars back then.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    Nice wagon !  I have a 1975 Coronet Crestwood !

    http://i56.tinypic.com/a0jw91.jpg

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    I want it!!!!!

    It reminds me of the 72 Coronet I grew up in. I miss that car so much…

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Her ’73 drove and handled quite a bit better than the ’65

    But to me, the 71 and newer B bodied Mopars had really cheap-feeling bodies compared with the earlier models.  A friend had a strippo 74 Charger in the late 70s.  The doors shut with an awful sound and made the steering column shake.  The interior hardware felt really cheap, as did the door panels and upholstery.  Shut the trunk and the sheetmetal of the lid rattled against the inner lid frame.  My buddy’s Charger was red and his family called it the Coke Can because it felt like the two used the same guage of metal.  In the upper midwest, these were rusters (although not as bad as contemporary Fords).

    Although the bulletproof mechanicals remained in use, I never had much desire to own one of these later Bs, at least when there were lots of 66-70s around.  Maybe time has softened me, because I kind of like this wagon. 

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    As a wagon afficionado, I love that Dodge….tres cool. 

    Bet it weighs less than a current Accord or Camry, too….

    Add: don’t know why the Magnum for some reason didn’t look quite this cool….

  • avatar
    sco

    Re last weeks feature on cars with excess front ends, the ’73 Coronet wagon pictured is a strong contender for longest rear end overhang

  • avatar
    Mike66Chryslers

    I know somebody that just bought a Satellite wagon exactly the same as that, except for the rims, as his new daily-driver.  I think it’s even the same green color.
     
    My mom’s second car was a Dodge Coronet in metallic rootbeer brown with black interior.  318-2bbl engine.  I forget the exact year, but it was the same bodystyle as that wagon, except it was the sedan version.  My grandmother had been the first owner.  My mom drove that Coronet until it rusted out and was replaced with a brand new 1986 Ford Aerostar.  Now THAT was a real POS and the only car that my parents used as a trade-in on something else instead of driving into the ground.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I owned that same Stang coupe in a mustard gold color with what was called a Western vinyl roof pkg with the rococco embossed trim around the qtr and rear window which was different than the Grande roof. It had the 302 Auto W/ factory A/C, AM Radio, pwr steering and manual drum brakes. Back in 1978 I bought it from an elderly couple for $300 with a slight knock in the engine. Could not figure out the knock for months till I tore it down and found a broken piston skirt. I found another short block, rebuilt that and ran it till 1986 with 220K. Original transmission lasted too with normal maintenance.      

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