Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Great White NOPE

S.S.H.E. M.C.
Stacked Square Headlight Edition; this is how I refer to the cars built during the brief but horrible window of 1976-1979 when the last of them were made. It's just like it sounds; cars with 4 square headlights stacked on top of one another. For whatever reason this was a feature only on the wackest, slowest, and most bloated rides ever to come stumbling and wheezing out of an increasingly troubled Detroit. With the exception of the gutless Ford II this was also a feature exclusive to once great models that became shadows of their former selves. Without further ado:
 Ugh. What we have here is a 1976 Chevrolet Monte Carlo made out of cream cheese and unfulfilled dreams. You can tell it's a '76 as opposed to the '77 (also a S.S.H.E.) because there is no hood ornament. Happy Birthday America! This is your bicentennial Monte Carlo. When you press the horn on this ride it actually plays the Sad Trombone.
Why am I being so hard on this ride when I am the sort of person who gets excited about Pintos & Gremlins? Because to me this is the perfect example of a car whose design heads mostly in a certain direction but doesn't fully commit. 
Early on in this blog I featured the twin to this car; a '77 Pontiac Grand Prix. However, the Pontiac knew who it was and went for it totally; padded landau roof, goofy medallions all over it, and gaudy paint. This is a plain white barge with huge proportions and boring style. Those Cragar SS wheels look great, but they would look even better stacked up in the corner of some garage waiting for a better car to come along!
 Yes this is the first time I'm deciding to truly bash a car without mercy, and I couldn't have chosen a more deserving example if I do say so myself. This looks like a snowdrift parked on the street. You almost expect Danny from the Shining to escape out that little side window and run off into the Maze.
Of brother. To top it off it looks like the owner replaced a missing reflector with the sort of thing you stick in the ground near your mailbox so nobody backs into it!
 Those swoopy fender flare lines are about as sporty as painting flames onto an aircraft carrier. About the coolest thing on this car for me is the fact that the back window comes to a pointed V in the middle.
 Now we have the height of audacity! That little zit on the fender in front of the front wheel is a hood lock. What exactly are you protecting here? The engine choices for this beast ranged from slow to moribund. If you were to pop the hood you would see a big lazy engine so strangled with emissions equipment that it looks like an octopus is attacking it.
In 1976 if you were a Nascar driver who loved Chevys this is the car you raced. The most amazing thing about that era is that they still raced these as stock cars complete with chrome bumpers and grills! To watch those old races is incredible as the gargantuan rides really look like they're going way too fast and the crashes look like terrible real-car crashes as opposed to a roll cage dressed in a generic body. Richard Petty raced one of these and it looked pretty cool, but this plain white lump is just an awkward stage for Chevrolet during the low point in American automotive design.
Tomorow I'll be featuring: something cooler!

1 comment:

  1. Dude, you're too young: it's a car alarm, not a hood lock -- example here: