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Car Spot: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda

A car from the golden age of muscle cars

If you’ve read any of my posts, you know that I love cars with big V8 engines, especially the ones from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Of course, my dad having worked for American Motors, I’m partial to AMXs and Javelins, but I love them all like this week’s spot, a 1970 Barracuda.

I see all kinds of cool cars like this in the parking lot of Ironwood Golf Course where I work during the summer.

Like the AMC Gremlin, it debuted on April Fool’s Day, but in 1964. Plymouth took a page out of Ford’s book, speeding up development time and keeping costs low by using the Ford Falcon, but in this case, the Cuda was based on Chrysler’s A-body Valiant.

This was the beginning of the pony car era, started by the Mustang, but soon after joined by the Camero, Firebird, Cuda, and Challenger.

RELATED Spot: Muscle cars made a comeback with the Dodge Viper

The new model used the Valiant’s 106-inch wheelbase along with the Valiant hood, headlamp bezels, windshield, vent windows, quarter panels, doors, A-pillar, and bumpers. Only the trunk and some of the glass were new. It wasn’t until the third generation, debuting in 1970, that anything left over from the Valiant was finally gone.

plymouth barracuda, cuda, pony cars

Consisting of coupe and convertible models, the all-new Cuda was built on a shorter, wider version of Chrysler’s existing B platform, the E-body. Dodge saw an opportunity and launched the Challenger and although it shared the same platform there were differences. They shared no exterior sheet metal and the Challenger, at 110 inches, had a wheelbase that was two inches longer, and a body five inches longer than the Barracuda’s.

plymouth barracuda, cuda, cuda 340
This fish could fly with all those ponies.

Buyers had a choice of ten engines (image that) ranging from the base slant six all the way up to two 440s. Now you’d be lucky if you had two options.

340 Six Pack340ci3x2bbl290 hp @ 5000 rpm345 lb-ft @ 3400 rpm
340340ci1x4bbl275 hp @ 5000 rpm340 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
383383ci1x4bbl330 hp @ 5000 rpm425 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
383383ci1x2bbl290 hp @ 4400 rpm390 lb-ft @ 2800 rpm
426 Hemi426ci2x4bbl425 hp @ 5000 rpm490 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
440 Six Pack440ci3x2bbl390 hp @ 4700 rpm490 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm
440440ci1x4bbl375 hp @ 4600 rpm480 lb-ft @ 3200 rpm

According to TopSpeed.com, a Cuda mated to either a four-speed manual or a three-speed TorqueFlite automatic, with a 426 HEMI got from 0 to 60 mph in only 5.8 seconds, the 0-to-100-mph sprint stood at 13 seconds, while top speed was rated at 117 mph. On the quarter-mile strip, the HEMI Cuda was one of the fastest muscle cars available, needing only 14 seconds to complete the run.

RELATED Spot: See its older cousin given a second chance, 67 Dodge Charger Restomod.

cuda, plymouth barracuda
pony cars
This Cuda looks fast even parked.
plymouth barracuda, cuda
pony cars
This Cuda had the total package with a 4-speed.

So what are they worth now?

1970 was the best year in sales with 55,499 Barracudas sold, 25,651 base Hardtops, 1,554 base Convertibles, 18,880 ’Cuda Hardtops, 635 ’Cuda Convertibles, and 2,724 AAR ’Cudas. Obviously, the droptops command the most.

In 2015 a 1970 Plymouth Hemi Cuda convertible, one of just 14 produced, sold at auction for $2.5 million bucks but ones like this week’s spot are much more affordable. According to Hagerty, one in Fair condition will fetch just over $45,000, Good condition, $54,000, Excellent, $74,500, and $92, 200 all very reasonable prices for a piece of American automotive history. Because of the energy crisis in 1973, the end of the line for Cuda came in 1974.

75 Cuda Concept. Photo Source: Hot Rod

But before that, this really cool concept had been produced featuring a Superbird-inspired aerodynamic body and it came close to being built. According to the website Chrome Fin Restorations, the prototype was taken to Cincinnati to be viewed by a consumer group for feedback and the results weren’t great, they weren’t even good.

“That wild body went to Cincinnati of all places, and it was a disaster,” remembers designer Milt Antonick. “I came back from Cincinnati and realized it was all over; management didn’t want muscle cars anymore. It was the saddest day of my career at Chrysler.” This would have easily rocked anything else in the market!

It’s really sad that the pony car era, which came back in 2008, is riding off into the sunset again with the emphasis on cars going green. Certainly electric cars with their fake ICE sounds will never replace the excitement and rumble of these cars.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with some history behind it. Have a great weekend.

#Plymouth

#Barracuda

#Muscle Cars

Car Spot: Porsche 914

A Porsche for those that couldn’t afford one …

When you mention Porsche, the 911 usually comes to mind first. It’s a dream car for many gearheads, the one car that they salivate over and long to own, but ownership usually comes with a budget-busting price. But there is a very affordable alternative for those wanting to join the club, the 914 the subject of this week’s car spot.

Talk about opposites, a road-going 914, and an off-roading Jeep CJ.

The 914 used to be the fourth cousin-twice removed from the Porsche universe because of its ties with VW as it originally was intended to be a replacement for the Karmann Ghia. It was sold as the Porsche 914 in the US and as the Volkswagen-Porsche everyplace else. This led to many diehards stating that it was not a “real” Porsche.

Found on a Wisconsin lot but the tags are from California.

Introduced in 1969, the standard 914 was powered by Volkswagen’s horizontal four-cylinder engine, producing a meager 80 hp. Later a second version: the 914/6, was powered by a six-cylinder engine with, total power output exceeding 100 hp. But in the “more hp means more bucks” universe, the extra cost made it almost as expensive as a standard 911. When production ended in 1976 almost 120,000 914s had been sold worldwide.

You can see the VW influence with the slapped-on side marker lights.
Might be cheap but at least the logo is in gold.

The basic 914 is a very affordable entry into the collector market and the Porsche club with daily drivers available in the mid-teens to low $30s however there are some that will take serious cash such as a homologation special, the 914/6 GT is a very sought-after collector vehicle as only 3,300 examples were made. Race versions of the car pumped out a heady 205 hp.

How pricey can they get? A 1970 sold at an RM Auction in Monterey, Calif., in August of 2021 for $665,000! A 1970 with just 30,000 miles and a Certificate of Authenticity sold recently on BaT for $120,000. And, there are other examples sold in the $80-ish range on the site.

Photo: RM Auctions

The 914 has long been looked down upon by the Porsche elite as a lawnmower surrounded by a metal shell, not supposed to be worth anything — fun to drive for an hour, maybe, but entry-level at best. Still, it’s a Porsche!

Thanks for stopping by and checking out this blog entry. Come back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with some of the history behind it. Have a great weekend.

Car Spot: 1970 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible

The last year of big horsepower

I love muscle cars. There’s nothing like that rumble from the duel exhausts and smoke coming from a burnout. I especially love muscle cars where the top comes down like this week’s car spot.

I used the headlights from our Durango in a rare night spot.

Introduced in 1964, when Oldsmobile was looking to create something to compete with the GTO. It got its name, “442,” from how it was built — a four-barrel carburetor with a four-speed manual transmission and dual exhausts. Introduced as an option package for F-85 and Cutlass models, it became a model from 1968 to 1971. Motor Trend tested an early 1964 4-4-2 with a 3:55 rear axle and ran 0–60 mph in 7.5 seconds, the standing quarter mile in 15.5 seconds at 90 mph and reached a top speed of 116 mph.

4-4-2 logos let you know this Oldsmobile is special

Many 4-4-2 enthusiasts see 1970 as the pinnacle of performance from Oldsmobile. A booming time for muscle cars as everybody was in the game. I love this era. General Motors dropped the cap on engine size and Oldsmobile responded by making the Olds 455 V8 the standard 4-4-2 engine. Output was 365 hp while a 370 hp variant was available with the W30 option.

Functional air scoops gives this big engine plenty of fresh air

The revised body style, and increased performance, was good enough to make the 4-4-2 pace car at the Indy 500 in 1970. A high-performance W-30 package was offered, which added a fiberglass hood (like this week’s example) with functional air scoops and low-restriction air cleaner, aluminum intake manifold, special camshaft, cylinder heads, distributor, and carburetor. Motor Trend tested a 4-4-2 W-30 with the four-speed manual transmission and 3.91:1 rear gears, clocking a quarter mile time of 14.2 seconds at 102 mph. The fun police (ie: EPA) came in and after 1970, that was about it for exciting 4-4-2’s. The last 4-4-2 rolled off the assembly line in 1991.

This 4-4-2 looked spotless.

In 1970, Oldsmobile sold about 3,100 4-4-2s fitted with the W30 package. The Sports Coupe is the rarest of the bunch with only 262 units, while the convertible, like this one, is a close second with 264 examples. Because of the low numbers, and great performance, these command serious cash. According to Hagerty, in Fair condition, you can expect to pay $75 grand, Good, $115 grand, $160 grand for one in Excellent and $194 for a Concours example. A 4-speed, like this car has, will bump up the price by 20%. This car’s owner, who also told me she owns a 57 Tbird is one fortunate person owning a very important piece in automotive history.

Thanks for stopping by and check back next week for another one of my spots along with some history with it. Have a great weekend.

Car Spot: 61 Rambler Cross Country

A time when wagons roamed the country

Just in case you couldn’t tell, I have a soft spot for the cars and Jeeps made by American Motors Corp. Maybe it was because my dad worked there for 17 years starting in 1963 and ending just after Chrysler bought AMC. Not sure why he did, because his dad was into Chevys and my mom’s dad was a Pontiac and Hudson salesman. It was just something about a certain pluckiness of the company that would almost always come up with something the other manufacturers weren’t offering.

Did you know that at one time AMC was No. 3 in sales, ahead of Chrysler? Part of that was because of the station wagons they produced, like this week’s car spot, a 1961 Rambler Classic Cross Country I found on a car lot in Johnson Creek, Wis.

In 1961, the redesigned Classic Cross Country wagons were among the most popular station wagons in the land and Rambler moved nearly 82,000 of them that year pushing them into the No. 3 sales spot with a car that had not seen much change since 1956. Studebaker, still selling cars, was fifth.

RELATED Spot: This Rambler’s grandkid, the AMC Pacer.

Unique Rambler door handle. I remember these.

Among the things that made the Classic such a value was its standard engine, the 195.6 Inline Six. Not as powerful as Chrysler’s 225 Slant Six, but with up to 138 hp from the 2-barrel version it got the job done. Better than Ford’s anemic Falcon Thriftmaster or the Lark’s Skybolt, which tended to blow its head gasket.

This almost always happened though, throughout AMC’s history, the other manufacturers out-engineered the company, this time with their magic door gates and Vista Cruisers. The ride was over. AMC would slip to No. 4 until Chrysler bought the firm in 1987.

RELATED Spot: When AMC joined the pony car race with the Javelin.

The Rambler logo. Notice some pitting on the chrome, This was also on other chrome pieces on the car.
Power rear windows were still a few years away. This one is an old-fashioned crank.

This one will sit on this dealer lot for a long time since it has a super high price at $29,000!

Wayyyyy too high as these cars normally go for around 11 grand or less in really good shape. Not sure why the dealer thinks this one is an exception. Maybe because it’s a survivor.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next week for another one of my spots along with some history behind it. Have a great weekend.

Car Spot: 1997 Dodge Viper GTS

Built when Dodge was in total fun mode …

Bob Lutz is one of my all-time favorite car guys. He brought so much to the automotive world in fun cars like this week’s spot, the Dodge Viper.

Looking to create a modern-day Cobra, the first prototype was tested in January 1989 and went on sale in January 1992 as the RT/10 Roadster. This car was all business when it came to performance. The heart of the beast was a V10 based on Chrysler’s LA V8 and designed with the help of Lamborghini, which was then owned by Chrysler Corp. The engine weighed just 712 lbs. and was rated at 400 hp. The SR I version could accelerate from 0–62 mph in 4.2 seconds, 100 mph in 9.2 seconds, and ran the quarter mile in 12.6 seconds, hitting 113.8 mph. It’s maximum speed was nearly 165 mph. Viper had large tires that allowed the car to average close to one lateral g in corners. However, with no driver aids like traction control the car proved tricky to drive at high speeds, particularly for the unskilled driver. All this fun only set a very enthusiastic owner back $52,000.

The first Vipers were bare-bones performance cars. They had no exterior-mounted door handles or key cylinders and no air conditioning. The roof was made from canvas, and the windows were made from vinyl using zippers to open and close, much like a Jeep Wrangler.

Viper did have some creature comforts, like manually-adjustable leather-trimmed sport bucket seats with lumbar support, an AM/FM stereo, a cassette player with clock and a high-fidelity sound system, and interior carpeting. Aluminum alloy wheels, and a lightweight fiberglass roof was optional on later models. An adjustable performance suspension was also an option for most Vipers.

The car was an immediate hit giving the Dodge brand some much-needed juice among enthusiasts and the automotive press. Its popularity overshadowed the recent failure of Lee Iacocca’s pet car, the TC, which had cost five times as much to develop.

RELATED SPOT: Read about Lido’s Italian Folly.

In 1996 Dodge introduced the Viper GTS, a new coupé version of the Viper RT/10. Dubbed the “double bubble”, the roof featured slightly raised sections that looked like bubbles to accommodate the usage of helmets and taking major design cues from the Shelby Daytona designed by Peter Brock. More than 90% of the GTS was new compared with the RT/10. It came with the same 8.0 L; 487.6 cu in V10, but power was upped to 450 hp/490 lb.-ft. of torque. This was also the first Viper to be equipped with airbags and also included air conditioning, power windows, and power door locks standard. That year it also was chosen as the pace car for the Indianapolis 500.

All this fun came to an end when the Fiat Chrysler group announced the Viper would end production in 2017 due to flagging sales. Also contributing to the axing was that the car was unable to comply with federal safety regulations, requiring side curtain airbags.

What are these worth now? Somewhere around $100K like this one that I saw at a dealership in Southcentral Wisconsin. This Viper looked to be ignored for quite some time as yup, those spots you see all over it are bird shit. What a way to treat an automotive icon, especially if you expect to get top dollar for it.

It’s so sad as next year there will be no V8s available in Dodge cars and trucks thanks to our government which has managed to suck all the fun out of performance vehicles by insisting on electric cars. I’m not happy at all with EVs.

RELATED POST: See why this rush to electric vehicles to so ill-conceived.

Be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with some history about it. Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend.

Car Spot: 69 Dodge Charger Resto Mod

A ’60s era muscle car gets a second chance …

So which side of the convo are you on?

Should a car be restored to factory specs or brought back to life as a restomod? I can go either way. This week’s car spot, a 1969 Dodge Charger, is a Resto Mod. I found this at the same car show in Oconto, Wis., where I spotted the earlier Corvair Greenbriar.

Charger was introduced by Dodge in 1966 positioned as an upscale, upsized pony car. It had an uncanny resemblance to American Motors’ Marlin, which debuted one year earlier, just not the extreme fastback.  The Marlin however was positioned as a personal car, an emerging market niche at the time.

This is a second-gen Charger which I think looks way cooler. Redesigned for 1968, and Dodge thought they’d only sell 35,000 units but the public loved the redesign and 96,100 Chargers were produced. The second-gen is based on the Chrysler B platform and saw various cosmetic changes to the exterior and interior including an undivided grill, rounded taillights, and hidden headlights.

RELATED SPOT: See this Charger’s great uncle

Available engines were a 225 cu in, 1bbl I6, although why somebody would order that on this car is beyond me; a 318 cu in, 2bbl LA V8; a 383 cu in, 2bbl B V8; a 383 cu in, 4bbl B V8; a 426 cu in, 2×4bbl Hemi V8; and a 440 cu in, 4bbl RB V8.

So what’s something like this worth? I found a bunch of them for anywhere from $90-100K, more than an original restored one with a 383, but that’s way less than the higher horsepower ones, like the 440s. They go for around a buck 50.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next week for another one of my car spots along with some history behind the find. Have a great weekend.

#Dodge Charger

#69 Dodge Charger

#Dodge Charger R/T

Car Spot: A Camaro with some extra zip

Better than factory and more fun …

The Chevy Camaro was second on the scene in the pony car era debuting on Sept. 29, 1966, for the 1967 model year a bit after the Ford Mustang. Four distinct generations of the Camaro have been developed before production ended for the first time in 2002. Chevy brought it back as a concept car that evolved into the current fifth-generation Camaro starting in 2009. What I love about it is that it’s pretty much a blank canvas when it comes to performance mods. This week’s car spot is. a great example, a 2022 Callaway Camaro SC750 I saw near our daughter’s apartment in Monona, WI.

The Callaway Camaro begins life as a ZL1.

Started by former race car driver Reeves Callaway in 1977, Callaway Cars, the company has evolved into a revered specialist manufacturer. It all started when Callaway installed a turbo compression and other components into a BMW 320i. Car & Driver magazine tested the modified BMW and the next thing he knew that PR gave him his start.

For those that can’t handle this power, Callaway makes one with a little bit less, the 630.

Callaway started by making turbo kits for cars made by Audi, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Porsche, and Volkswagen. In 1986 he added the Corvette. In 2017, Callaway took the already powerful ZL1 and raised the power from 650 horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque to 750 horsepower and 739 lb.-ft. of torque, removed the standard blower and replaced it with a Gen III Magnuson TVS 2300 with a triple row intercooler. Callaway also added a high-flow intake system and high-performance exhaust which gave it extra horsepower. 

Bet is sounds amazing. Something EVs will never have.

What made the big difference was Callaway’s GenThree Supercharger system matched to the proprietary TripleCooled intercooler setup. It produces more horsepower and torque than any other mass-produced muscle car. With a top speed of 198 mph and 0-60 in 3.5 seconds, it’s no wonder the SC750 is one of the fastest Camaros on the market today doing 0-60 in just 3.3 seconds. That beats the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye by .3 seconds.

So what will all this fun cost an adrenalin junkie? I’m one!

At a reasonable $81,830 that includes the engine upgrades, all kinds of suspension upgrades and either a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic. By comparison a Redeye is slightly less at $76,430, but that price is going to go way up with the end of the line coming soon for Dodge’s V8 engines.

It’s sad really. Remember back in the late ’60s and early ’70s? It was the golden age for pony cars. The Ford Mustang started it all, the Camero, Pontiac Firebird, Dodge Challenger, Plymouth Barracuda, and AMC Javelin all followed.

Next year Dodge and Chevy are scheduled to end production of the Challenger and Camero. Why? Because of this push for EVs. I am not a fan!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next week for another spot along with some history. Have a great weekend.

#Chevrolet

#Camaro

#Chevrolet Camaro

#Callaway Camaro

Car Spot: 67 Chevy El Camino

Following Ford into a hot market …

Ford has caught Chevy napping more than once in automotive history. Every car person knows about the Mustang, but did you know about the El Camino, the subject of this week’s car spot.

It was legendary designer Harley J. Earl, who had suggested Chevy make a coupé pick-up in 1952, but Ford beat them to it with its Ranchero. Chevy introduced the El Camino in 1959 and it was based on the 119-inch wheelbase two-door Chevrolet Brookwood station wagon.

Chevy knew it had to play catchup to Ford and went in a different direction when it came to styling making it look like Chevrolet’s high-end Bel Air on the outside with two-tone paint, and a Chevrolet Biscayne interior. It was an immediate hit outselling its Ford counterpart in the first year. Its starting price was $2,500.

After just two years Chevy took a break from production because sales had dipped and it was retooling the El Camino to fit the Chevrolet Chevelle platform. Chevrolet came back with another hit and won the overall battle with Ford for five additional generations being made from 1964.

El Caminos from 1968 to 1973 are considered the best-looking models and are cult classics among many car enthusiasts. The El Camino’s production had to be shifted to Mexico in 1985 due to low sales, and Chevrolet wanting to reduce production costs. Chevy pulled the plug in 1987 when pickups, like its S-10, became more popular. Chevy actually toyed with the idea of bringing it back in 1995 with a concept El Camino built on the full-size Caprice station wagon platform but plans to produce it got scrapped. Bet that would have looked cool.

What caught my eye on this ’67 was the badging on the front saying it had a 396 V8. I’m thinking this is an SS and the markings weren’t put back on the car after its restoration. But although the 396 engine was available to buy, there was no official 1967 El Camino Super Sport option or badging. A true El Camino SS didn’t appear until 1968.

So, what’s it worth? Values range from around $15,000 to $40,000, averaging at about $25,000. But if it’s an SS model, or one really close like this one, prices can shoot up to well above $50,000.

Note the yellow Chevy SSR passing on the left. I did a car spot on a red one I saw not far from there.

There’s also a story about where I found this spot. It was spied a couple months ago at a really cool service station on Pine Island, Fla., which was hit by hurricane Ian just recently. I’ve found some other spots there as well, a Dodge Magnum and Cadillac Allante. Like others in that area, his shop was hit and is in the long process of rebuilding. This car had Massachusetts plates, so I hope it made it back home before Ian hit.

Thanks for stopping by. Check back next Friday when I’ll have another car spot along with some of its history. Have a great weekend.

Car Spot: AMC Pacer

Another swing for the fence car from America’s smallest automaker.

When you’re up against big car companies with big budgets and big lineups you have to do things differently as was the case for American Motors in the 70s. They were all about different in that time period first with the Gremlin in 1970 and then with the Pacer in 1975. This week’s car spot focuses on a 78 Pacer Wagon Mark spotted at the Mecum auction in Chicago this past weekend.

Introduced as America’s First Wide Small Car, it was also ahead of its time with its cab-forward design while all the other cars were the traditional three-box designs. Developed to offer the interior room and feel of a big car but in a much smaller, aerodynamic, and distinctive exterior package. That it was. The automotive press loved it and so did I owning a 75, Autumn Red Metalic with a white interior. It had a massive amount of glass which led to one of its nicknames, the fishbowl. And I added even more glass with an aftermarket sunroof, which leaked, and my friends called mine the Astrodome.

RELATED Post: Read about the Racer Pacer.

One of the complaints consumers had was the lack of space in the back seat when adults rode along so a wagon version was added in 1977. It also gave the Pacer a more traditional design and more cargo space. Popular Mechanics described the newly added 1977 Station Wagon body style as a “styling coup”, and said: “Who needs the coupe!”

The car was introduced with a choice of two inline sixes that were fuel efficient but because of the Pacer’s weight, 3,425 pounds for the coupe, 74 more for the wagon, its 304 V8 was added to the lineup boosting horsepower but decreased mpg. It was during this time period that the Pacer became positioned as a luxury car. This 78 is a great example. A D/L level Pacer that was loaded with leather seats, power steering, brakes, locks, and windows, a Sony CD player, tinted windows, the 304 V8, custom wheels, and woodgrain. Not really wood:). It sold for $8,250, about average for a Pacer like this in good condition. However in 2020 at Mecum’s auction in Indianapolis a 77 sold for a crazy amount of money, $25,300! There is/was a Pacer wagon I found on Hemmings where the guy was asking for 30k that had been converted to electric. Yikes, can you imagine the weight of that one?

RELATED Post: My promo model Pacer.

Larger hood to fit in AMC’s 304 V8

By 1980 the public had grown tired of the Pacer’s unique styling and poor gas millage and AMC ended production. 280,000 Pacers were built in Kenosha and more at VAM in Mexico. This swing for the fence might have been the beginning of the end for AMC. Developing the Pacer cost the company a ton of money as did the new Matador coupe and neither car saved the company. Renault bought a controlling interest in AMC in 79 and that was it for building its own passenger cars. Was the Pacer ugly? Maybe but one thing is for sure like the other Dick Teague-inspired designs is that they were unique and had character unlike many of the other cars coming out of Detroit at the time. Yup, I’m an AMC homeboy and proud of it!

AMC’s unique door handles used on all vehicles and the rear liftgate on Jeep CJ’s and Wranglers.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with some of its history. Have a great weekend.

Car Spot: Land Rover Series IIA

A distant cousin to Jeep

At one time the name Land Rover meant luxurious automobiles and the folks in England just loved them. But then came along World War II and all manufacturing shifted to supporting the war. When it ended, the rebuilding efforts did not include passenger cars, they called on tough 4×4 vehicles that could help out. This week’s car spot, a 1969 Land Rover Series 2A was a big part of that. The LR was part of the Cars and Guitars Event held this past June in Green Bay and hosted by the Automotive Gallery. A great place BTW. My friend Darrel Burnett runs it so say HI for me.

Inventor Maurice Wilks wasn’t even close to working on something like that. He had spent part of the war years working in top secret on a jet engine and had developed a gas turbine that had potential for use in passenger and commercial vehicles. But that’s not the country needed and faced with working on a a turbine, which could of been pretty cool, or closing up shop, shifted to satisfy the government’s demands for utilitarian practical vehicles which could be exported in quantity.

Having nothing like that and running around his farm in a MB Jeep, he used that vehicle as a template. Then came the Series I Land Rover which featured the ruggedness that were essential for a military vehicle and an expedition vehicle. One that was used in the African bush and the Australian outback, places where a vehicle failure could put the occupants in danger of their lives. Why this is such a British thing is beyond me.

This Series II is the vehicle’s evolution and was made in 88″ SWB (Short Wheelbase) and 109″ LWB (Long Wheelbase versions). The early examples of the Short Wheelbase came with the same 2 liter four cylinder engine as the Series I until the stock of those engines ran out in the summer of 1958. After that the new 2.25 liter four cylinder OHV engine was fitted, and all Long Wheelbase 109″ Series II were fitted with that engine from the beginning of production.

Even though I’m a Jeep guy I love the ruggedness of this Rover and the attitude the owner has with all the graphics. They could go off-roading with me anytime. These were the 4X4’s that people actually took off road unlike to ones made now. After all, who’s going to take a 100K plus vehicle off-roading? Dependability is also an issue, it sucks, but hey, you’re driving a Land Rover, right? Just like the celebs.

RELATED VIDEO: Mark Savage reviews the 2022 Land Rover Defender 90

One in decent shape is a solid investment with prices trending up. I found several for sale from as low as $28,000 all the way up to near $50,000.

Be sure to check back next Friday for another one of my car spots along with a little bit of history. Have a great weekend.