Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Land Yachts…Round-Up

We live in a world where an entire music collection, a phone, an alarm clock, a GPS, a flashlight, a bank, a library, a movie theatre, a game console, access to thousands of shops, and a vast array of encyclopedic knowledge can be stored on one little device that fits in your pocket. There was also a time, not too long ago, when each of those things were its own space-consuming device. Back in the day when computers took up entire rooms, bigger always meant better. This held true with cars. Right around the fifties through about the mid-seventies, particularly in American and some European and Japanese markets, your car was nothing unless it was an excess of chrome, bells, whistles, gizmos, dials, room for a growing family and a trunk big enough to transport four dead bodies…cuz apparently everyone from that time was in the mob. These behemoths of yore guzzled gas like there was no tomorrow. The environment can take a flying hike when you're driving a Chrysler New Yorker or a Cadillac Eldorado! That's why this month we're taking a closer look at Land Yachts…all about full sized cars of yore. So grab yourself 40 ounces of some cheap American lager, sit back, and enjoy the ride.


Ralph Savelsberg chimes in early and sets the mood for how this whole Land Yacht thing is supposed to go with this stunning pink and white 1956 Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner, with all the aforementioned bells and whistles, panarama roof and a Continental kit.

Ford Fairlane Crown Victoria Skyliner

Big American cars often means big American asses. Just look at the Kardashians! Or are they Armenian? Anyway, nothing is bigger than the 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor Futura ambulance/hearse conversion used for Ecto-1 in Ghostbusters. Ralph has built this car before but he refurbished it with an array of newly available parts.

Ecto-1 revamped

For his third entry, Ralph reasons that this isn't quite what I had in mind. This NYC taxi is a long-wheelbase Crown Victoria, with a whopping 218 inch length, and it's the last of a long line of wallowing barges with floaty suspension, a lazy V8 and positively prehistoric cab on frame construction. Actually, Ralph, that's precisely what I had in mind!

Ford Crown Victoria NYC taxi

Peter Blackert chimes in with more than a few land yachts of his own. The first being the 1950 Buick Roadmaster Riviera Hardtop Coupe rendered in dark red. Because nothing says upper-middle-class American dream like the Buick Roadmaster!

Buick 1950 Roadmaster Riviera Hardtop Coupe

I once had an upper-middle-class American dream where I was naked in an elevator full of people and then some clown ate me. Anyway, next on the Peter slab is a 1965 Riviera Hardtop Coupe. A decade and a half later, the Buick Riviera is still a big honking car!

Buick 1965 Riviera Hardtop

The challenge write-up describes the Mercedes-Benz Maybach Pullman as the longest production car currently available. Peter takes this as an opportunity to go retro and showcase the 1963 Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman Limousine. Cuz you know what they say…the black ones are always bigger.

Mercedes-Benz 600 Pullman (W100)

Limousines is what I meant to say. Black limousines. Anyway, now that I cleared up that misunderstanding, back in 1957 Cadillac produced the limited edition Eldorado Brougham, A four-door hardtop with rear suicide doors, brushed aluminum roof, and industry-first quad headlamps. It was an automotive dream come true.

Cadillac 1957 Eldorado Brougham

A dream come true for me would be a tropical island, a bevy of pretty wahines serving drinks, a thrashing guitar solo, and a six foot party sub. Hey, a boy can dream big, right?Back in 1968, Cadillac dreamed pretty big with the Eldorado Hardtop. At 472 CID (7.7 litres) this beast had the largest post-WWII production engine ever, producing 375 bhp (280 kW).

Cadillac 1968 Eldorado

You can't let Cadillac bask in all this big car fun themselves. That's why Lincoln came up with pretty much their flagship for luxury cars, the 1956 Continental Mark II. Apparently only a few of these were built as Ford/ Lincoln lost money on each and every car. Don't worry, they recoup their losses decades later with the Pinto.

Continental Mark II - 1956

Peter tells us the Chevrolet division of General Motors was supposed to be the lowest rung. The entry level. The basic car. I don't want to start anything here, but I'm pretty sure he also added they were the car for mouth-breathing inbred morons. Hear that, Tim? Anyway, here is the 1971 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe.

Chevrolet 1971 Impala Sport Coupe

In spite of being an Australian engineer for Ford, Peter shows some more love for Chevy with this 1991 Chevrolet Caprice Estate. This car will, in a few short years, be the last in a dying breed, because as of '96 the wagon was no more; a phenomenon killed by the more popular SUV.

Chevrolet 1991-1996 Caprice Estate

One thing about police work that the US and Australia seems to understand, but some European countries don't, is a police intercepter needs to be menacing. Its a little comical when you're outrunning the fuzz and see an adorable little yellow and green checkered Smart car struggling to keep up in your rear view. Hear that, Belgium? A sample of some of this Australian menace, the 2015 Chevrolet Caprice PPV.

Chevrolet Caprice PPV - 2015

Peter describes a world where big block engines ruled and so did Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper. Why you could club a baby seal right in a children's hospital and no one would take notice. But environmental do-gooders harshed everyone's good time and brought along Captain and Tennille, Olivia Newton-John and whatever band that was responsible for "Afternoon Delight". The 1972 Mercury Cougar Hardtop was the last hurrah.

Mercury 1972 Cougar Coupe

But with "Afternoon Delight" comes Rick Astley, then comes Bobby McFerrin, then comes Hall and Oates, then Billy Ocean, then Men Without Hats, then Wham! Then Wham! segued to secret gay meet ups in rest stop bathrooms, then that lead directly to the death of the Mercury line with the 2011 Mercury Grand Marquis. Its all true!

Mercury Grand Marquis (EN114 2003-2011)

But harkening back before all that, Chrysler enjoyed some fame and notariety with the 1955 Imperial Newport Hardtop Coupe. This was built in a time when men didn't meet in the rest stop bathroom for gay sex. They met for gay sex in the bathroom of the drive-in theatre instead.

Imperial 1955 Newport Hardtop

Six years later the drive-in theatre was still all the rage and I'm sure plenty-a 1961 Chrysler Newport Wagon was there. With its roomy interior it was big enough to start a large family while drudging through the boring bits of the movie at the drive-in theatre and still big enough to bring the growing family along to watch kid-friendly Disney features.

Chrysler 1961 Newport Wagon

Incidentally the least favorite car for starting a family in happens to be the 1961 Ford Thunderbird MkIII Convertible. While we're all a bunch of horn dogs, it seems we still prefer the privacy of a sedan, wagon or cheap roadside motel room. Coin-operated vibrating beds optional.

Ford 1961 Thunderbird Convertible

In the early 70's many car models grew to be the biggest in the line ever, as evidenced by this 1971 Ford LTD Country Squire Wagon. This wood-look vinyl appliqué beast of monstrous size, officially sat eight, eleven if they were kid-sized, or two Kardashians.

1971 Ford LTD Country Squire

No you're not looking at something from the set of Back to the Future. This 1981 Checker A11 - New York City Taxi was built pretty much the same way it was back in 1958. These checkered tanks were ubiquitous to New York City for quite awhile, but a trip to the Big Apple now would mean nary a sight of any of these.

Checker A11 - 1981 (New York City Taxi)

Peter remembers a past that seems to have missed me entirely. I thought I was good at this car stuff but even a Google search could not jar my memory for this admittedly rare 1972 Stutz Blackhawk Coupe. At least the search proved he was accurate in his rendition. Apparently Elvis owned four.

Stutz Blackhawk Coupe - 1972

I don't want to spoil the future for you but a new guy named John's Drift Machines will become a 100th challenge staple when I do the next roundup about a month from now. Why invest in a photo studio when Brawny paper towels will do. Right? Here's a land yacht that is part Millennium Falcon, part toaster oven.

Star Wars: Millenium Falcon - 1955-1957 Aviator Burnside Roadracer

I'm not sure if this 1979 Toyota Hiace built by Senator Chinchilla is quite what I had in mind when I wrote the challenge but I also said to explore your own definition, so there! One thing is for sure, this beast seems to be the most likely thing to go boom in an ISIS terrorist attack. What, too soon?

1979 Toyota Hiace

This custom 1966 Pontiac Bonneville built by Lino Martins is so big, so heinous, so utterly boat-like that it punches the environment right in the god damned face! Back when this beast was built it was OK to pinch your co-worker's fanny!

1966 Pontiac Bonneville…Nightcrawler

Proving that great minds think alike...about the car part, not so much the fanny pinching, Tim Inman's '68 Plymouth Fury Fast Top is dark blue like mine, with a tan interior and black roof. Nuts, right? We totally didn't plan this! He sets his apart with blue ghosted flames.

68 Plymouth Fury Fast Top

That's the last of them! We had a pretty good roundup, I think. We learned that I have weird-ass dreams about being naked in an elevator and six foot party subs. We learned that Belgians are weirdos, Captain and Tennille harshed our buzz, and rest stop bathrooms are a great place to find gay trade. Paper towels make adequate photo studios in a pinch, ISIS goes kaboom and back in '66 it was cool to give your female co-workers a pinch on the fanny. I think there was something about cars in there somewhere too. What does next month have in store? Oh boy! Gee willikers! By golly! Jimminy Christmas! We have a whopper of a challenge in store for you, dontcha know! Its our 100th challenge, yo. This means prizes. Big prizes! And lots and lots of entries. We're calling it 100 Ways To Win. This is an event so big, we had to go back in time to convince astronomers to give us an extra day. I wouldn't make that up! Guess you'll just have to tune in next month to see what its all about. Laterz!

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