By on August 27, 2020

It’s been a while since Buy/Drive/Burn covered a trio from the Seventies; December 2019, in fact. But today we return to that decade of automotive change with (almost) everybody’s favorite topic: personal luxury coupes.

Let’s sort out which of these PLCs was worth taking home in ’76.

Dodge Charger 

Dodge’s Charger nameplate debuted for the 1966 model year as the company’s muscle car offering. It maintained this guise through 1974, before Chrysler realized that muscle cars were old hat and a PLC was the new hotness. In 1975, the fourth-generation Charger debuted in its new luxury form. Twinning its styling with the Chrysler Cordoba, the Charger was offered solely in SE trim for its first year. Engines on offer were all V8s, in 318 (5.9L), 360 (5.9L) and 400 (6.6L) displacements. In its second model year, trims expanded to four: base and Sport versions were a rebadge of the old Dodge Coronet, while the SE and Daytona trims continued the Charger’s 1974 styling. Transmissions on offer included a three-speed manual or automatic, as well as a four-speed manual. Today’s SE has the mid-pack 360 V8 and an automatic.

Ford Elite

The rise of the PLC market necessitated a product expansion from Ford. The company needed something nicer than the Gran Torino, but less expensive than the top-flight Thunderbird, to satisfy the middle market. Thus in 1974, the Gran Torino Elite trim was introduced. For the first year, it was advertised separately to the Gran Torino, but for all other purposes was still a trim of that model. Ford classed it up from its originally planned name: Gran Torino XL. In 1975, the Elite dropped its prefix and became an independent model. Engines ranged from a 351 (5.8L) V8 to a massive 460 (7.5L), and all cars used the same three-speed automatic. 1976 was the final year for Elite, as a product shakeup occurred in ’77. The shrunken LTD II-based mid-size Thunderbird absorbed the customer for the Elite, and it was thus dropped. Today’s Elite has the middle option 400 (6.6L) Modified V8.

Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

The Cutlass Supreme was an early entrant into the PLC field, introduced in 1966 as the top spec of the Cutlass range. Like the Elite it was initially a trim of the Cutlass, but unlike either of the other vehicles here, the Supreme name was applied to multiple body styles. A new generation for 1973 limited offerings to a two-door coupe and four-door sedan. The new version included a unique roofline reserved for the Cutlass Supreme coupe. In 1976 the Cutlass Supreme was reworked visually, gaining the quad square headlamps which would take Oldsmobile through all of the Eighties. A pinnacle-tier Brougham trim was added to the Supreme name, creating the model’s ultimate luxury variant. Engines on offer ranged from a 231 (3.8L) Buick V6 through a 455 (7.5L) Oldsmobile V8. Transmissions were of three speeds in manual or automatic guise. A five-speed manual was eventually available, but only with the 260 (4.3L) V8. Today’s Supreme utilizes the familiar 350 (5.7L) Olds V8 and an automatic transmission.

Three luxury coupes, all of them bringing mid-Seventies driving bliss. Which goes home with a Buy?

[Images: seller, Ford, Dodge]

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84 Comments on “Buy/Drive/Burn: Moderately Luxurious American Coupes From 1976...”


  • avatar
    snorlax

    Buy the Olds, drive the Ford, burn the Dodge.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yep, I agree. The Cutlass was a good car and the #1 selling car for many years. The other two, although not bad weren’t nearly as good

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Drive the Cutlass Supreme with the four-speed, only because it’s a manual.
        Crush the other two overweight fuel hogs.
        (I did make out with a girl in the back seat of her Elite while in high school… good memory, but the car was still a money-draining pile of junk.)

        Cars have come a long way since then, fortunately… but like McDonald’s, they produce what they think people will buy, whether it’s any good or not.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Agreed on that order.

      The Dodge would turn bad in Week 2; the Ford would turn bad in Year 2.

    • 0 avatar
      eng_alvarado90

      This is the right answer.
      Not only the Cutlass would likely be the most reliable, it’s also the best looking and sought after.

      Elite should be fun with the 400 (for the time being)

      Charger: Dodge should have axed the model before turning it into this sad thing.

  • avatar
    2manycars

    I’d burn all those and drive a Matador coupe just for the sheer bizarreness of the thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      The Matador had a interesting commercial at the time…

      Neighbor #1 pulls up in a new Matador

      Neighbor #2 says, “What is it?”

      Neighbor #1 boasts, “It’s a Matador!”

      It was actually a successful ad campaign for AMC

      • 0 avatar
        Tomifobia

        I like this one. Extolling the virtues of the Buyer Protection Plan. A couple of people (me included) made fun of the guy noting that his car’s been in the shop “several times” so the channel owner shut comments off.

      • 0 avatar
        Mike Beranek

        I would only want the Matador if it had the Francisco Scaramanga/Count Dookoo flying option, complete with NickNack serving champagne.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          And James Bond chasing after them.

          In an AMC Hornet that somehow ended up in Thailand.

          With a Louisiana redneck sheriff riding shotgun.

          So much awful stuff in that movie (aside, of course, from Maud Adams).

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        The AMC Gremlin ad was also humorous. “Where’s the rest of your car?”

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    This one’s easy for me; buy the Cutlass Supreme. I owned the ’75 version and loved it. The ’76 didn’t lose much from that previous year’s version. I can’t say that about the others.

    That said, the Ford Elite looked ok but it had its issues… most specifically that of being a Ford–never a reliable brand in our family, though we owned a ’73 Gran Torino sedan at the time. A few years later they tried again with an LTD II off the same basic platform and it was even worse. The Ford’s a burn–and keep burning until there’s nothing left, not even ashes.

    The Dodge Charger lost its mojo as a muscle car but it had the look of luxury that was truly appealing. Just looking at it reminds me of the old “Fine Corinthian Leather” commercials for its stablemate, the Cordoba, as advertised by Ricardo Montalban.

    So in order:
    Buy– Cutlass Supreme;
    Drive– Dodge Charger;
    Burn (with prejudice)– Ford Elite.

    • 0 avatar
      Tomifobia

      Fun (?) fact: To save money, Ford fit stacked rectangular headlights into the Elite’s awkward nose, then used it for the “new” LTD II, which looked even more awkward.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        The lines between the Torino, LTDII and Elite got very blurry at this time, add in the Thunderbird and Mercury versions and it was a confusing mess

        • 0 avatar

          Cougar wagon!

          • 0 avatar
            MRF 95 T-Bird

            The Cougar Wagon made a brief comeback in 82 as a non XR-7 based on the Fox body Fairmont/Zephyr/Granada/Cougar.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @Lie2me: Aye, I agree with you. The three cars were so much alike in so many ways that it’s impossible to remember that they didn’t all share the same platform (only two of them did.) I’ve been corrected on that more than once. I hated the Gran Torino after ’72 and owned both a ’73 Cutlass S and a ’75 Cutlass Supreme. Really got what I wanted in the Supreme but sometimes wish I’d gone for the Omega hatchback instead… far more useful, if not as much fun or as comfortable (remember the Chevy Nova of the same years.)

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Funny how one’s past perceptions shape one’s choices. A buddy had a used Ford Elite of this era. This was over 30 years ago. He decided to take it out to an area we called “the weigh scales”. There was a gravel pit and a bunch of trails behind the scales.
      We brought along some spare wheels. The objective was to play “Dukes of Hazzard” with it until it died. We could not kill it. We damaged virtually every square inch of the body. It bounced off of trees, was jumped and got stuck multiple times. We blew out multiple tires. I had to ram one door with my 4×4 just to get it to close. We scrounged up 4 more tires, mounted them and he drove it home. He then parted it out.

      With that being said, I’d buy the Chevy, drive the Ford and burn the Dodge.

    • 0 avatar
      randyinrocklin

      I liked the 75-85 Cutlass. I had a 73 Merc 2 Dr Montego, nice car 351 Cleveland head motor, gas guzzler. Drove like an aircraft carrier. I’d say burn the dodge.

  • avatar
    la834

    The Cutlass Supreme Brougham wowed me with its loose-cushion crushed velour seats in 1976, which hadn’t yet become a ’70s cliche, as well as the neat dash with eyeball vents. Prettiest sheetmetal of the group, smoother, quieter ride than the Dodge and better handling than the Ford. Buy the Olds, drive the Dodge, burn the Ford.

  • avatar
    Jon

    A lot of folks here complain that modern CUV’s and SUV’s of the same class all look alike and have similar powertrain selections. I agree wholeheartedly, yet in the pictures and specs above, all these cars look strikingly similar with equally similar powertrains.
    All these cars were made 8 years before i was born but in the simple comparison above, it appears that manufacturers have always benchmarked each other, thus reducing the amount of design diversity, therefore creating similar driving experiences between brands.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @Jon: Part of the problem with that is the fact that the EPA’s pollution control rules were coming on strong, combined with an oil shortage just a couple years before, forcing brands to make cars lighter and improve fuel economy even then. To reduce costs, all the brands started downsizing and GM initiated the more boxy, square-cornered look with the ’76. It didn’t take their competition long to follow suit but even then Chrysler still had some proper shapes to their cars into ’79 (I owned a ’79 Dodge Aspen, which was one of the last of the truly stylish models.) After that, they all looked like sharp-edged boxes for nearly a decade.

    • 0 avatar
      gearhead77

      They look similar but aren’t the same. Unlike today’s crossovers which all basically look the same. You can’t do much with a hatchback shape, this I understand, but it makes for a very dull landscape. The cars in this post are all identifiable as a Ford, GM or Chrysler product, in the context of the time.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Everything back then had to have opera windows, landau roof and a long hood. It was de rigueur

      • 0 avatar
        WhatsMyNextCar

        @gearhead77 – Only the Olds, with its 4 square headlights, stands apart. The Mopar and the Ford look very much alike, but they’re probably distinct to someone who either studies or lived with the era’s makes/models. It’s the same with Japanese sedans of the 90s. I can easily distinguish a Camry from an Accord from an Altima, etc., but I remember people from the generation before me saying they all look alike.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          The Cordoba (Charger) was easily distinguishable by its different sized sets of lights. When they replaced those with stacked rectangular headlights in the following generation it was generally agreed that its looks had been ‘ruined’.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Burn, burn, burn.

  • avatar
    dusterdude

    + 1 Vulpine

    Buy– Cutlass Supreme;
    Drive– Dodge Charger;
    Burn – Ford Elite.

    (The 70’s where a bad decade for Ford car reliability, including the Elite- there were some bright spots, but not many)

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I’m generally a Ford person when it comes to domestics, but I don’t like (and never have liked) the looks of these cars. All but the Olds are just plain ugly and overwrought to me. And I’m only a year younger than the cars in question.

    I’d take the Dodge now as a classic because it’s more rare than the other two and still burn the Ford. T-bird, LTD all those baroque parade floats are just hideous to me.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    I am tempted to say burn all of these turds, but I think they should instead be put on display as a warning to future generations. Those who fail to learn history are after all doomed to repeat it and nobody wants to repeat this miserable, wretched period of automotive history. What a bunch of turds.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    My mom’s best friend had dark metallic green Elite. She was so very proud of her “pretty” car…I can still remember how she was beaming with pride the day she drove it home from the dealer. Then…the recalls….the always wet carpet (from A/C condensate and/or heater core leak) the stalling, then tappet noise from the 400M… It wasn’t long until she was working with a lawyer on a lemon case.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    The Cutlass was the car I wanted then, and still want today. The Olds version of the Colonade was by far classiest of the GM bunch, and I have always found the grille treatment (front AND top) to be unique and special.

    When these were new, I was just getting into all things mechanical, and was constantly perplexed as to how the Olds 350 engines in the Cutlasses had such a different sound than the Chev 350 engines in Malibus and MonteCarlos. The difference in sounds was, profound. To my ears, the Olds engine sounded more refined, sophisticated, and as smooth as butter. I have never researched the source of this difference, but I assume it is due to different firing orders.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      I knew the Chevy by heart 18436572 but had to look up the Olds which is the same.

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      The Chevy 350 and the Olds 350 were entirely different engines. They had different exhaust systems also which made a difference in sound.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      To this day I have always wondered the same thing. Take a Chevy 305 4BBL, A Pontiac 301 4BBL, and a Olds 307 4BBL and each sound totally different. Ditto the 350 motors from each of the 4 divisions. Add the various Cadillac V8’s into the mix and there was yet another different sounding engine. Fords 255-351 engines had a unique sound as well as did Chryslers 318-360-400 engines.

      When we were at the auctions and were looking at various Cadillacs, Olds and Buicks for our dealership I could always tell which engine they had by the start up or rev up noise they made with the Olds engines being really distinctive. The Chrysler’s had their very distinctive starters too with the V8’s that were impossible to confuse with anything else

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        It’s been a while since I heard that “tin can rolling down a hill” sound of an old Mopar starter.

        :)

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          I always thought of those starters as being more of a high-pitched screech

          • 0 avatar
            JimC2

            I mean the sound, after the engine has fired and catches, and you relax the ignition key from “start” to “on.” The motors and the starter geartrain (something unique to the brand) took a couple seconds to wind down and made that unique noise. I think it was those same gears that made the screech you’re talking about.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    One of my favorite automotive youtubers resurrects a 30 years dormant Elite here:

    https://youtu.be/HuWjiIb6FZk

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      That was amazing to see.

      • 0 avatar
        R Henry

        The ViceGripGarage channel is a treat…great quarantine viewing. Glad you enjoyed!

        This is my fave episode: https://youtu.be/A0ItpbPWEgA

        –it helps if you have Minnesota farm boys in your family, as I do…the humor takes a while to “get.”

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          @R Henry, thank you for your previous recommendation of Vice Grip Garage – great stuff.

          Another side (possibly) of Derek Bieri:
          Part 1
          https://youtu.be/s3CUF2PViTc
          Part 2
          https://youtu.be/nrj9xF8wAdg

  • avatar
    David Cardillo

    I had a used Chrysler Cordoba, with rich Corinthian plether, which I enjoyed for a couple years. Boy, was that car nosey!!

  • avatar

    As mentioned in comments on another article here: that’s a Charger in name only. Never liked the body style change much like I never liked the “Fox body” Mustangs. Just my sucky opinion.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’ll go with the consensus here – buy the Olds, drive the Dodge, burn the Ford.

    But if we’re talking ’70s GM personal luxury cars, I’d definitely go for the Grand Prix over the Cutlass.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Buy: Cutlass Supreme- The better of the colonnades with nice cushy seats. Equipped with the 260 V8 and the 5 speed is a fun drive though far more Salons came with it particularly in the 442 trim package.

    Drive: Dodge Charger- A sportier Córdoba. You don’t need the “soft Corinthian leather” since the SE has nice trim. The Lean Burn might be an issue.

    Burn: Ford Elite- I owned the corporate twin 75 Cougar XR-7 in the 80’s. It was a nice ride but some issues cropped up like a leaking rear main seal and an ac compressor that threw a rod and cracked.

    Honorable mention: Pontiac Grand Prix SJ.

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Buy the Olds, drive the Olds, torch the rest. I’d be interested in the Charger if it had a 4-speed, manual PLCs are pretty much unicorns.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I am guessing that I am the only person here who actually ‘owned’ each of these vehicles or their corporate siblings. And not when they were beaters. Had each on 1 year leases, although I only kept the Ford and the GM for about 6 months each then flipped them to someone else in our corporate ‘car pool.

    Had the Gran Torino Elite. Brown on brown (a top selling colour for Ford in that era) with the 460 engine.

    Had a Cordoba (not the Challenger) with Corinthian leather and the 400 Engine.

    Had the Grand Prix SJ (not the Cutlass) with the ‘big’ engine.

    Each had their pluses and minuses. For their time each was considered ‘powerful’ and ‘prestigious’ for a young up and comer. Sort of how you would regard today’s 3 Series BMW.

    The Gran Torino was the most ‘brougham’, Ford sort of being the forerunner in that style.

    The Grand Prix had the best instrument panel.

    The Cordoba actually got the most attention. Possibly why I kept it for a full year. The Cordoba was a sales success, the Charger not so much.

    I would quite gladly put any of them in my driveway. Get a perm, put on my gold jewellery, maybe put some Boz Scaggs or Bee Gees on the 8-Track and just ‘style’ away.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Arthur, you and I are from the same era, even owned the same Grand Prix. Your observations are spot on :)

    • 0 avatar
      CobraJet

      I had experience with all three similar cars of that era. I bought a new 74 Gran Torino 2 dr. Not as plush as the Elite but was the same car. My parents had a 73 Luxury Lemans coupe that was similar to the Olds. I rented several Cordobas for business trips.

      The Torino had better build quality than the Lemans. It was also smoother and more quiet. Interior trim pieces were falling off the Lemans within two years. The Córdoba was a solid car. It handled a bit better than the others and had plenty of power. I kept my Torino for 6 years and never did anything to it except regular maintenance.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    Buy the Charger–get it with the 360 and cloth seats. Daytona version is preferred.
    Drive the Cutlass–best selling GM car back in the day. Drove OK but prefer the Charger.
    Burn the Torino–crappy driveability and typical Ford pimp styling.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    Wow, an almost unanimous winner. The Olds.

  • avatar
    SilverCoupe

    To play the game, buy the Olds, as it looks least offensive to my current eyes. Drive the Dodge, burn the Ford.

    But by that point I had given up on Detroit, and bought a ’75 VW Scirocco. I did like the AMC Matador, though.

  • avatar
    swilliams41

    The Cutlass Salon was my favorite. A buddy in high school had one and it was great. Not all that fast but it handled like a demon. Plus it had big reclining corduroy buckets! Novel in an American car. It was also a great road car. Miss that thing. 350 4bbl Soft yellow with brown interior.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The Dodge had torsion bars for the front suspension and it actually handled pretty good. A 360 with a 727 behind it is a pretty bulletproof drivetrain and the leanburn system had some pretty easy work-arounds. That would be the one I would drive. Full disclosure, mom and dad had a ’78 Magnum and later in life I had a ’79.

    I would burn any Ford car from that era.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    For those of you salivating over the idea of the manual Cutlass, a decent one is up for auction, in 442 flavor:

    https://www.trucksandauto.com/auctions/519/lot/10217904-1976-Oldsmobile–Cutless–442-Coupe

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Oh hell, burn them all.

    But if I must choose, burn the Ford (or wait for it to burn itself), drive the Dodge (and pretend I’m a discount Ricardo Montalban knock-off), and buy the Oldsmobile (even though the nose styling clashes badly with the body shell).

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    – 24 years after the first flight of the B-52,
    – 21 years after the first flight of the U-2,
    – 12 years after the first flight of the SR-71, and
    – 9 years after the first flight of the Saturn V,

    GM, Ford and Chrysler pretended this was the best they could do.

    [Realize that these vehicles were produced in the same year that the F-15 was introduced.]

    • 0 avatar
      R Henry

      @ToolGuy

      Two points:

      1) Military procurement cycles/budgets and consumer automotive development budgets/cycles are not comparable in any meaningful way. Neither are the products.

      2) EPA did not require 5mph bumpers, EGR valves, or oxides of nitrogen limits on military jets!

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Yeah later we’re going to discuss exactly why USAF procurement peaked 60-odd years ago. (Rubs chin thoughtfully.)

        [I’m genuinely curious. Seriously.]

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          Simple answer, war or the threat of it.
          At the start of WWI airplanes were simple pusher types. By the end of WWI there were 4 engined bombers being used.

          At the start of WWII many nations including Britain, and Japan were still using planes with open cockpits and fixed landing gear. By the end of WWII jet fighters and bombers were being used.

          The Cold War including the Space Race also sped up weapons technology.

          After the fall of the Soviet Union the USA has not faced another nation that has threatened its military dominance, yet. Russia under Putin realizes that it does not need to build a military that might be able to defeat the USA, it just needs one that can threaten the countries it borders and make the USA wary of going to war against it. China is focusing on building its first ‘blue water’ fleet and building naval bases for when it can eventually challenge the USA.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    The olds at least has some mystique about it.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    The Ford, when equipped with certain C6 transmissions (help me out here, Ford fans), was an early attempt at building a self-driving automobile (a truly “auto” automobile!)… albeit only in reverse. I seem to remember there were supplemental instructions attached to the interior within the view of the driver’s seat.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I owned a 70 Mustang with the C4. Ford sent me the safety sticker which I promptly affixed to the sun visor. I’ve seen other owners who stuck them to the dash or glovebox.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    Buy and drive the Olds, burn the rest. I had a special kind of hate for the Elite in particular, whereas I rather liked the Olds, much cleaner styling and better quality than the other two. In 1979 I bought a Malibu coupe with 305, 4-speed and F41 sport suspension, that car was a revelation.

  • avatar

    I never saw these cars in person. But from photos they look great – distinctly American, pure luxury coupes. There was nothing like that in Europe, nothing even close. I have no idea about how they drive or reliability. So from looks alone I would buy Chrysler Cordoba because it looks the most elegant, drove Olds Supreme (looks like smallest in size) and burn Elite because it looks ridiculous. Nothing personal. I actually like Fords.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I hated the looks of all three of these cars, but I hated the Ford most. The other two were about equal. My family had a bunch of Colonade Cutlasses, and I came to hate them, inside and out. My sister and mother had ’73 Cutlasses, mom’s was amazingly better than my sister’s car. It ran better, got better mileage, had zero issues in the nearly 2 years she had it, while sis’s car was in the shop a lot. I was given my mom’s ’72 Cutlass, mostly because I refused to take a ’73 due to it’s hideousness.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Having owned a 73 Chevelle and then a 77 Monte Carlo with swivel buckets and rally wheels I would pick the Cutlass. GM midsize cars of this era were so much better than Fords or Chryslers and they were the number 1 sellers. I would pick the Ford next although it just wasn’t the car that the midsize GM’s were. I liked the styling of the Cordoba and the Charger but they were the poorest quality and having worked with a guy who had a new 78 Cordoba he went through 3 transmissions in less than 2 years which he previously had a Cutlass with no issues.

  • avatar
    jrhmobile

    Buy and drive the Olds. Burn the other two.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Cutlass coupe preferably in Salon trim. Burn the other 2 but If I had to choose I would drive the Dodge and burn the Ford.

  • avatar
    justVUEit

    Drive – Olds. They were popular for a reason. Although if we were living in a fantasy-land make mine with the biggest motor available.

    Buy – The Dodge. Then burn it. Notoriously bad quality control in those days although the 360 / 727 combination was rather good. So was the slant 6. It was indestructible but way too little motor. Most Chryslers of that era felt like there were too many extra parts the parts bin so to use them up they installed them on all the cars. For years it looks like they had all the same side marker lamps. At least on this model, they went with something different for the front. I like the fender mounted turn signal repeaters. I wish we still had those today, they were a neat feature.

    Burn – Ford. The styling on these was just hideous. They cheaped out wherever they could. They used the same steering wheel on the big Lincoln’s, and never even bothered to rebrand the radio as a Lincoln. They used the same warning light for temperature and oil pressure. Cheap. It reeks of cheap. Cheap from the top of the lineup to the bottom. Burn it.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      The quadrophonic sound system in the Mark IV Pucci was a thing of beauty, for that period. Far superior than any factory sound system of that era that I was ever aware of.

      Olds Cutlass was a name that was slathered on multiple vehicles during that period, hence its sales numbers. For 1976 (from Wikipedia) ‘Cutlass models including the Cutlass Supreme coupe, sedan and wagon, Vista Cruiser wagon, Cutlass Salon coupe and sedan, and the new Cutlass Supreme Brougham coupe. The 4-4-2 option was still offered on Cutlass S coupes as an appearance/handling package.’

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    @ponchoman49: At one time, Pontiac was the testing platform for upcoming Caddy motors… I’m talking back in the ’50s as my maternal grandfather had a ’54 Star Chief (with the lighted Native American head on the hood) carrying a V8 under the hood. Later research had me discovering this engine showed up in a ’57 or ’58 Caddy with some minor differences and a wee bit more power.

    I personally know that Buick offered a Wildcat engine, Olds had the Rocket engines. I don’t remember if Chevy, Pontiac or Caddy had a named engine series.

  • avatar
    Jim52

    Drive the Olds, Buy the Dodge, Burn the Ford.

    Full disclosure. I inherited a 1979 Cordoba from my Dad after he put 130,000 miles on it. I took it to 159,000 then sold it. This was in Ohio with crappy roads, salt and bad winters. The car had zero rust and never was in the shop–it actully looked great after a nice wax. Ricardo M be damned. One exception–1979 was the first year for smog controls called Lean Burn. This made the car a poor (terrible) driver until engine fully warmed up. 20 minutes in winter and ten in summer. It always gave 17 city/21 highway–this was the 5.2L/318.

    The Olds looks great to me sitting here today. The Ford not so much.

  • avatar
    Jim52

    Drive the Olds, Buy the Dodge, Burn the Ford.

    Full disclosure. I inherited a 1979 Cordoba from my Dad after he put 130,000 miles on it. I took it to 159,000 then sold it. This was in Ohio with crappy roads, salt and bad winters. The car had zero rust and never was in the shop–it actually looked great after a nice wax. Ricardo M be damned. One exception–1979 was the first year for smog controls called Lean Burn. This made the car a poor (terrible) driver until engine fully warmed up. 20 minutes in winter and ten in summer. It always gave 17 city/21 highway–this was the 5.2L/318.

    The Olds looks great to me sitting here today. The Ford not so much.

  • avatar
    71charger_fan

    I’ve spent time behind the wheel of a ’76 Cutlass S and a ’78 Charger SE. Although I’ve never driven an Elite, I’ve driven a couple of ’70s Torinos. I would definitely burn the Ford. Buy or drive between the Olds and the Dodge is a toss up. Although, given the formal grill of the Olds on offer, I guess I would buy the Dodge and drive the Olds. If it was a Cutlass S, I would buy the Olds and drive the Dodge.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    On second thought I would burn both the Dodge and the Ford and buy and drive the Cutlass. Although this is the Malaise Era for cars the GM intermediates and full size were still better than Fords, Chryslers, and AMCs of this Era. I liked the looks of the Cordoba and the Charger but I knew quite a few people from this time that had both of Fords and Chryslers especially Chryslers that had major problems with them.

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  • 28-Cars-Later: I agree, but that applies to all consumer things.
  • 28-Cars-Later: True but those other sources never yielded many choices, more of a right place right time type thing.
  • Lou_BC: Agreed. Unless a vehicle is used directly for work, it’s a luxury item. I’ll wait if I...
  • Inside Looking Out: Oh, I forgot to mention that you will have to sign up for that tricycle and wait several years...
  • 28-Cars-Later: Additional: That doesn’t look anything like extensive damage, the air bags didn’t even...

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