Road King

From a bygone era when Detroit still made real cars.

real car

There is probably enough steel just in that nose to build an entire Smart Car.

I have owned a few of those old beasts in my day and I can honestly say they were awesome road cars.

I had a couple of early 70’s Ford LTD’s and they were so comfortable to ride in on long trips that it was like sitting in your favorite chair at home, going 80 miles an hour all day long like it was nothing.

The faster you went the smoother they rode.

I’m sure you remember. Cars from the 60’s, 70’s and even the early 80’s.

Station wagons entire families and all of their luggage could ride in across the country in relative comfort.

001

Curb weights measured in tonnage and gas mileage wasn’t a concern.

They weren’t rolling entertainment centers and a guy like me, with a set of basic tools in a tool box there was plenty of room for, could fix the damn thing himself on the side of the road for minor things.

Now days you are wasting your time even opening the hood.

Compare those old Road Kings to the aluminum and plastic soap bubbles they have the audacity to call cars these days.

econobox

People these days have absolutely no idea just how much road noise they have to put up with every time they get in one of these newfangled Econoboxes compared to the cars of the 70’s.

Beside the claustrophobic feeling of being jammed into a refrigerator with a windshield every time I have to ride in one of them, the very first thing I notice is all the road noise that goes right through the whole car from the tires on them.

Sure, they get double or even triple the fuel mileage but I am at that point in my life that comfort is more important than distance traveled per nickel.

That is one of the reasons I keep that old Caballero.

This is just a picture I snagged off the internet,

1983_gmc_caballero_amarillo_15571727063450bf6aScreen-Shot-2019-05-06-at-12.58.00-PM-940x540

Compare the body size and style to that station wagon up above and what do you see?

They are exactly the same vehicle minus a bunch of glass and sheet metal in the back.

Even at 37 years old, the damn thing still gets 20 miles to the gallon and runs like a top, even if it does need a bunch of work done to it now.

No car payment and no road noise. On smooth roads I can hear the clock on the dashboard ticking.

The only things I wished it had is cruise control and heat seeking missiles.

19 thoughts on “Road King

  1. I had an 84 vette and an 87 Z28 and both got better than 25 MPG approaching 30 in flat territory. If I had my druthers now I would add a crown vic or continental equivalent to my fleet for the comfort. They get mid 20’s MPG on the highway and are built to win any argument they get in as it regards other cars.

    Every once in a while I see an under 100K mile car like this (usually mid 90’s) come up for sale and half of them are snowbird cars (older owners go to Florida every winter) never seen the salt we have here. Maybe this spring I will grab one…..

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  2. I can see where you’re coming from, Phil – and I can wholeheartedly relate.
    I never had the opportunity calling such a huge car my own but I had a couple of what would be Oldtimers nowadays
    My first car was a Volvo 66DL, followed by an old Volkswagen Beetle running with a six volts battery, a Lada 1500CS (that was even for me easy to repair with incredibly much space around its engine), a four-gear Mazda 323 (the same that was sold as a Ford in the US) – to name a few.
    Judging by the size of the hood the cars you’re showing us seemed to be pretty safe cars in case of an accident provided the driver had a seatbelt and a headrest.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Plus: these cars had character!!
      You could tell from afar which brand it was – it was impossible mistaking one brand with another.
      I am missing these days.

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    • What I didn’t mention was that BOTH of those old LTD’s had pretty extensive front end damage. The first one was a two door 72 that I got drunk in and hit a massive telephone pole in a half a block from home, drunker than a piss boiled owl.
      It hit so hard that the fan went through the radiator, my buddy broke the windshield with his forehead and it bent the frame.
      I put a new radiator in it, a windshield after I finally got a ticket for it and drove that sucker all the way from San Jose California to Portland Oregon at seventy plus miles an hour. It “crabbed” going down the road very badly and people would see that beat to shit old bomber coming up on them sideways at 80 miles an hour in their rear view mirrors and get the hell out of the way. That car was literally given to me and was straight when I got it.
      The other one was a two door 74 that I bought for two hundred dollars that had already been wrecked.
      It had a 460 cubic inch V-8 in it and was a true Land Barge, one of the biggest Ford cars they ever built.
      Eighty miles an hour was nothing to it and my cousin called it “The Couch” because the back seat was bigger and more comfortable than the couch in his living room.
      You could drive that car at over a hundred miles an hour with one finger on the steering wheel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I had a ’73 Ford LTD Country Squire Brougham Station Wagon with a 460 4barrel and that was a land whale and like yours Phil could cruise all day and still go out bar hopping at my destination. It had the factory tow package so a larger radiator and stiffer suspension, beef upped tranny. I got T-Boned in my passenger side doors at a intersection by a Jeep doing at least sixty, cops say and I spun around a couple of times, but I walked away with out a cut or bruise. My favorite Road King was a ’77 Thunderbird. The hood and front clip sat over the curb like your pic. No trunk space thou… I drove it from Portland to Anaheim CA to Disneyland as a GF wanted to go. It was like driving the couch and as comfortable, an 18 hour drive was like driving from Canby to Salem…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I had an 82 Olds 98 two-door. The hood was over 6′. With the front seat in the most rearward position I could sit in the back seat and raise my feet and couldn’t touch the back of the front seat. It had the infamous 5.7 diesel with a 35 gallon fuel tank. It got 25 mpg no matter how it was driven. I had it when I moved to Atlanta. It would not fit in garage. My extended cab F-150 had 6″ front and rear but fit in the garage.

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  4. 4-door ’69 LTD 390 4bbl. Learned to drive in that car. I can parallel park anything made in the last 20 years without thinking about it.

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  5. Those reasons are why I drive a full size Chevy pickup these days, comfort, quiet, and an ass hauler. Only get 18mpg, but that’s better then the ’77 full size I ragged the shit out of. It was a 350 4bbl and on a good day, with a tailwind, goin’ downhill, it got mebbe 10mph. Both 4wd, btw, and used for haulin’ and pullin’ everything I can hook to up. Trucks is for work, not for soccer moms.

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  6. I still remember going cross-country in my dad’s 55 Chevy Station wagon, 3-on-the-tree with that electrically-actuated overdrive. I had restored two ’57’s, on a four-door hardtop and one a two-door hardtop. I had to sell ’em when another kid came along, darn it!

    My very favorite, though, was my ’67 two-top 427 (L88 engine) that was pure fun to drive. Especially in Montana where in the 60’s and early 70’s had “Reasonable and Prudent” as the upper speed limit. Spent a lot of time at over 100 MPH! BTW, 13 mpg.

    Dang! We’re old! I remember gas at 21 cents/gallon back in the mid-60’s.

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  7. We still have Mom’s 77 T-Bird, but it isn’t in running condition. 302 engine, you don’t drive it but steer it, pointing the nose where you want to go. Yeah, far more comfortable ride than the rice burners we drive in today’s world.

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  8. I’m in my late 50’s so I can relate. I now own a Fiat 500. They’re a blast to drive, but yes the road noise is bad. For some reason tire manufacturers decided tires must last 50 or 60,000 miles or more. To do this they made the rubber harder and harder and the noise correspondingly goes up. I just bought winter snow/ice tires and the noise difference is significant. I’m going to use them year round. I don’t care if they only last 2 years (20,000 miles), it’s well worth it.

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  9. My car as a teenager was a 71 Lincon contental 460 4 barrel 10:5 to 1 premium fuel only. Like riding a couch at 80 MPH. Man me and my friends had all kinds of fun in that car.

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  10. Best friend had an old ’70s Impala wagon hand-me-down from his mom. With the tail-gunner flip seat, we could get 7 people inside with ease.
    We used to go out with it hunting kids walking on the sidewalk on rainy days when the gutters were full of rainwater, just to douse them with the bow wave it’d make when we drove near the curb. It was spectacular, and great sport.

    My beast was a ’69 Mustang with a V8 302. Drove like a truck. Three-speed manny tranny, arm-powered steering, foot-powered brakes, and bicep-powered windows and doors. But the speedo went to 120, and I pegged it at around 130 one afternoon heading up I-101 to Santa Barbara, and it was still accelerating, going uphill. The ride wasn’t smooth, but when you closed the door, you felt like you were inside a car, not strapped inside an empty soda can. Worst accident I ever had in it actually dented the front bumper. Almost a whole inch-deep divot.

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  11. I forget if it was 75 or 76 that I had an old 65 chevy impala wagon, with the rear gunner seat and 2 way gate, but at the time, you could order an “add on” cruise control kit from J C Whitney that worked off the vacuum line and had a dashpot with steel cable that connected to the accelerator rod and some very simple electronics, seem to recall gluing a magnet onto the driveshaft and placing a coil pickup next to it . Bolted that into the Impala and had fairly usable cruise control unless going down a steep hill, engine compression was not enough to slow the beast. Wish I had never sold it, was a great college car. Have to revisit this for a 64 Benz that could benefit from such an improvement, that is if you can even get such a thing any more with all the lawfare going on.

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