Lincoln’s famous tagline was “What a Luxury Car Should be,” and as the proud owner of a 1989 Town Car, this writer has no desire to quibble with their ad copy. Indeed, it’s one of the best cars ever to grace my driveway. The Townie was acquired as a direct trade for a Honda Magna 750 motorcycle; I know which of the two has given me greater pleasure, and it has four doors and four wheels. Besides, the bike would’ve probably killed me.
As electric cars are finding favor again, I keep hoping that their virtue of instantaneous, silent power will inspire automakers to revive the personal luxury coupe. Electric propulsion would be ideal for a car whose mission is to provide comfortable, stylish accommodation for two passengers plus the occasional occupants of a not-too-small rear compartment.
The long hood, an essential styling hallmark of the genre, could become a commodious “frunk” able to hold all the golf bags the marketing department might desire. Glove-soft upholstery might enrobe seats devoid of confining, uncomfortable lateral support bolstering. Every power assist and convenience would be in place to gladden the sybarite’s heart. For instance, power window switches could operate just by sight, so one’s fingers aren’t strained when ordering at the Starbucks drive-through window. Personal luxury coupes don’t need to be fast, enhancing driving range. The possibilities for Broughamized electric coupes are endless!
Yet, despite my frequent, vigorous attempts to show them the way, carmakers seem blind to the golden opportunity to revive the personal luxury coupe. Elon Musk has even stopped returning my texts. Philistine.
The MKVII is such a counterpoint to its predecessor, the MKVI. That car was a shrunken-down disco barge that clung to baroque styling and superfluous opera windows like a Titanic passenger might cling to an empty champagne crate bobbing in the freezing North Atlantic. Survival by dint of false luxury. The MKVII, on the other hand, was a personal luxury SPORTS coupe. A svelte, aerodynamic machine that could carve a few corners on the way to the county club.
Before Lexus, there was Cressida. It was probably more of a Japanese take on a Buick- or Oldsmobile-style upper-middle-luxury car than the game changer Lexus would be, but that’s no mark against it. The first Toyota bearing the Cressida name became available in the U.S. in 1977, and they were decidedly trans-Pacific cars, bearing much resemblance to contemporary Detroit products. Interiors could be Brougham plush; some available upholstery fabrics wouldn’t look out of place in a bordello – or a Buick. However, the instrumentation was more complete than you’d find on most Detroiters.
The name Sonett has precisely zero connection with the fourteen-line poems Shakespeare was so adept at writing; those are sonnets. Instead, it comes from a Swedish slang expression: Så nätt den är, which I’m told translates more or less to mean “how neat it is.” And neat the little front-drive sportsters are. The first SAAB Sonett was a roadster of compelling curvaceousness. It debuted in 1956, and the trolls in Trollhättan built precisely half a dozen of them.
Today's TTAC Throwback is a British treat.
Everybody thinks a Texan chicken farmer was the first to shove a grunty American 8-cylinder engine into a lithe Britsh chassis, but really Caroll Shelby was just one in a long line of builders to riff on that formula. Before WWII, Jensen built cars with Ford V8 power, and Railton used various Hudson chassis along with their superb inline-eight (and six) cylinder engines to build square-rigged hot rods that milord might use to travel quickly to those country house Saturday-through-Monday affairs in which the upper classes indulged.
GM’s pony cars, the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, received a thorough redesign for their second generation, which debuted in 1970. The Coke-bottle styling of the first-generation cars gave way to a sleek coupe with a long hood and taut fastback rear. The shape was balanced and restrained (at first), showing a decided European influence. The redesign would prove long-lived, remaining in production until 1981.
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- 28-Cars-Later I'm actually surprised at this and not sure what to make of it. In recent memory Senator Biden has completely ignored an ecological disaster in Ohio, and then ignored a tragic fire in Hawaii until his handlers were goaded in sending him and his visit turned into it's own disaster, but we skipped nap time for this sh!t show? Seriously? We really are through the looking glass now, "votes" no longer matter (Hillary almost won being the worst presidential candidate since 1984 before he claimed the crown) and outside of Corvette nostalgia Joe doesn't care let alone know what day it happens to be. Could they really be afraid of Trump, who AFAIK has planned no appearance or run his mouth on this issue? Just doesn't make sense, granted this is Clown World so maybe its my fault for trying to find sense in a senseless act.
- Tassos If you only changed your series to the CORRECT "Possibly Collectible, NOT Daily Driver, NOT Used car of the day", it would sound much more accurate AND TRUTHFUL.Now who would collect THIS heap of trash for whatever misguided reason, nostalgia for a much worse automotive era or whatever, is another question.
- ToolGuy Price dropped $500 overnight. (Wait 10 more days and you might get it for free?)
- Slavuta Must be all planned. Increase price of cars, urbanize, 15 minutes cities. Be poor, eat bugs
- Sid SB Not seen a Core without the performance pack yet. Prefer the more understated look of the Core vs the Circuit, but both are great fun to drive.