Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Malaise Era Glasshouse

Before the leaves were on the trees I walked by this big beast:
This is a 1975 Chevrolet Impala in Medium Red. If you've never heard of the term "Malaise Era" when describing a car, listen up! This perfectly fits within the Malaise realm; enormous, underpowered, choked with emissions equipment, and heavier due to safety regulations. Other hallmarks of the Malaise Era are baroque adornments like opera windows, vinyl tops, and big crests or hood ornaments.
Even with a guardrail of a front bumper the grill managed to lose a couple teeth. The rubber bumper trim has come in handy enough times to warrant being screwed back in place. Just in case that wasn't enough 2 big bumper guards are yet another line of defense (or offense I suppose).
The quickest way to identify a '75 full-size Chevy is the turn signal location inside of the headlights. In '74 they were on the leading edge of the fenders, and in '76 the headlights became square.
This body style is known in the Chevy community as the Glasshouse due to it's window-to-pillar ratio on the roof. All '70s Impalas were enormously popular with the lowriding set so a large percentage of the surviving examples are customized. 
This is one of the last true hardtops as 1976 would be the final year. Federal safety standards would call for rollover protection so a fixed pillar between the front and rear doors became essential. Too bad as there's nothing like cruising around with the windows all down in one of these. 
Sweet big ol' opera window on the sail panel. The vinyl trim from that window has come off at some point as well as the top of the back window. Check out the superfluous bit of faux trim on the top back of the rear door so that it blends in with the roof. Continuity people!
*I'd also like to point out the distance between the edge of the trunk and the back of the backseat visible through the rear window. That's just more and more trunk folks! A full size spare is most likely living in that space.
Terms like Land Yacht get bandied about a lot when describing any large car. This one deserves it though as it's not fancy or anything, just BIG.
For most of its history the Impala could be identified as being the top trim level of the full size lineup by the fact that it had 6 taillights as opposed to 4 for the lesser Bel Air. In '75 the Caprice also had 6.
That heavy slab bumper is pure Malaise. When you're producing 2 ton + cars and all of a sudden the government decrees that they need to withstand a 5mph crash without any damage you get these chrome monsters just tacked on.
This side is sporting both of the original hubcaps.
That little round keyhole on the fender front is a vintage alarm!
This was parked in front of an open garage where a proud older man was sitting in a lawn chair talking to his buddy. For a 41 year old ride from the Northeast this looks great! I'm sure it's his pride and joy and perhaps he bought it new. If I see him again I'll stop to ask about it, but for now hats off!

1 comment:

  1. These babies didn't just corner like the USS Forrestal, but you could actually land small aircraft on them! Not as swank as my old 74, though. I could hide six bodies in the trunk comfortably. Not bodies, I mean spares. Spares.