Great article on the ambience of old car interiors.


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Great nostalgic read :clap:

 

https://www.hemmings.com/stories/article/the-magic-inside

Where did the welcoming ambiance of old-car interiors go?

April '21
By Terry McGean from April 2021 issue of Hemmings Classic Car
 
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A good friend of mine used to say that the interiors of some cars had a certain "ambiance," though he had a hard time conveying exactly what that was. In spite of his somewhat nebulous statement, I knew just what he meant, though I couldn't define it any more distinctly myself. It was simply a vibe—a subtle satisfactory sense that would be realized shortly after stepping inside and getting comfortable. It only happened with select vehicles, and the feeling wasn't necessarily the same from one to another. But there was definitely something there.
 
My friend had first been moved to opine on the subject way back when we were both teenagers, cruising around in what were already "old" cars from the '60s and '70s. This was the mid-1980s, and, if memory serves, the car that urged him to make his proclamation was another friend's 1968 Thunderbird.
 
It's become easy to forget, but for fans of the automobile, the dawning of the '80s had been a dark time. It was painfully clear that a golden age of the automobile, the one that kicked off shortly after WWII ended, had peaked in the '60s, and been stamped into something much less interesting as the '70s wore on. Much has been written on the strangling of horsepower thanks to emissions controls and the neutering of styling as a result of crash standards. But the insides of cars suffered as well.
 
While the European automakers seemed to improve their interiors during the '70s, the trimmings inside many American cars became plasticky and less ornate during that same period, save for a burst of available wild colors and patterned upholstery early on (I'm envisioning some orange plaid right now). But as the '80s kicked in, interior styling got even more bland and colors narrowed mostly to blacks, tans, and grays, with the occasional maroon.
 
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When my buddy showed up with that '68 T-Bird, it seemed very much like an artifact from a time gone by… and we loved it. Our lot of muscle car worshipping gearhead teens might have turned our noses up at the four-door luxury barge. Instead, we were taken with the hideaway headlamps, those full-width taillamps with sequential turn signals, and the deep rumble from the 429 "Thunderjet" V-8, all of which seemed to draw straight from the muscle era.
 
The unusual rear-hinged "suicide" rear doors had another interesting feature: part of the faux alligator skin roof covering extended to panels at the trailing portion of each door, making the rear sail panels appear larger and, along with the stylized landau bars, giving the car the look of a traditional limousine. The T-Bird's relatively small backlight also contributed to the effect.
 
Once you climbed in through one of those weird back doors, it really did feel as though you'd stepped into a classic limo. The rear bench seat seemed like a broad sofa, and if you sat back into it comfortably, no one pulling alongside would be able to see you—very much as if you were being chauffeured in exclusivity.
 
We weren't so interested in separating ourselves from the hoi polloi as we were in having our own little clubhouse on wheels. In this case, I'm talking about the kind of club Hugh Heffner might have hosted rather than something based in a treehouse. The plush upholstery, finely trimmed door panels, and soft lighting from the pillar-mounted lamps really did create an atmosphere. All that was missing was a humidor and some tumblers for sipping scotch.
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In the years to follow, there would be select other cars that could offer a similar experience— I'm recalling an early '70s Continental and a velour-trimmed Buick Electra among them. But that warm sense of ambiance my friend had once referred to wasn't always about pure luxury. I've felt a different version in some '60s four-door hardtops, in particular a '60 Olds 98, with its tiny roof pillars, low-back seats, and warmly multitoned cloth-and-vinyl upholstery. The openness of that car with all the windows down on a summer day was an experience unique to the big top-tier sedans of the late '50s and early '60s.
 
Much smaller and more intimate coupes could sometimes conjure their own positive feelings, if the details were right. One friend once had a 1980 Camaro Z28 with a light saddle-colored interior highlighted by corded cloth upholstery inserts that made it feel as though you were being swaddled in a warm, inviting place; it was much different from the confining cold, dark, vinyl caves that were more typical of Camaros and Firebirds of the day. Another buddy had a '66 Mustang with bright red "pony" interior that made his coupe seem like an entirely different model than some other standard black-trimmed 'Stangs I'd sampled.
Detroit has gotten better at creating inviting spaces for its cars these days—they're not all winners, but some get it sort of right. Still, I continue to peer into car cabins at shows and cruises to see what other vintage interiors might be worthy of sparking that old vibe again. Ambiance indeed.
 
 

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65 Lincoln Continental

CUSTOM 1965 Lincoln Continental swap bagged bentley interior A+ PAINT -  Classic Lincoln Continental 1965 for … | Lincoln continental, Lincoln cars,  Bentley interior

1967 Corvette Stingray 427 

 

1967 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray L88 427 Convertible C-2 supercar muscle  classic interior h wallpaper | 2048x1536 | 141735 | WallpaperUP

1957 Chevy Bell Air

1957 Chevy Belair Custom Interior ... | Chevy, Car interior upholstery, 57  chevy bel air

1975 Cadillac El Dorado

Pin on Great 70's Cadillac Interiors

1961 Pontiac Bonniville 

1961 Pontiac Bonneville Bubble Top | S1.9 | Kissimmee 2018

1930 Ford Model A-Always thought these were cool

1930 Ford Model A Coupe - Hot Rod Network | Vintage cars, Hot rods, Ford  classic cars

1967 Jaguar XKE- Family friend had on of these. I thought it was a really cool car. 

Photo of the Day: Jaguar E-Type Interior | David H Wall | Jaguar e type,  Jaguar e, Jaguar

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I wonder how many members here had a shaggin wagon in the 1970's. My father had a few from 1980-2000 when they became "conversion" vans for trips when playing cards and drinking in a vehicle wasn't as heavily frowned upon as today. My god they were comfortable for long trips. 

 

The 70's "Shaggin' Wagon" Was More Than Just A Sweet Ride

Pin on Adventure vehicles

The 70's "Shaggin' Wagon" Was More Than Just A Sweet Ride_国际_蛋蛋赞

http://www.cvltnation.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/theGamingSled-820x4441.jpg

 

Chevrolet Express Limited SE 2000 - YouTube

1995 Chevy G20 Glaval Conversion Van. & Wood Interior.

 

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3 hours ago, El Presidente said:

Feel free to post up your own favourites. 

Personally.....I would pimp out a ride in purple velour tomorrow :D

I will get you a matching purple velour suit (with zebra pattern liner), a big fedora with an ostrich feather, and a fancy walking stick. :lol3:

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I have nostalgic images for a lot of things... but 60's and 70's car interiors ain't one of them.

This is way better than anything I remember from the 60's and 70's... Metal dashboards, 3 on the tree.... once was enough for me!

iris-7.thumb.jpeg.c5a38822f9fb3462cc33ebd04853715b.jpeg

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9 hours ago, Fosgate said:

I wonder how many members here had a shaggin wagon in the 1970's. My father had a few from 1980-2000 when they became "conversion" vans for trips when playing cards and drinking in a vehicle wasn't as heavily frowned upon as today. My god they were comfortable for long trips.

The 70's "Shaggin' Wagon" Was More Than Just A Sweet Ride

 

 

Had similar style van in high school, but in blue shag.  My parents bought it new and it was our family car until 1988.  It was a '71 Dodge Sportsman in the same blue as below:

 

 

maxresdefault[1].jpg

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I wouldn't call it ambience, but the interior of my Lincoln Mark VI certainly was inviting since you could invite the whole family.  All the controls were like appliances, buttons everywhere.  This photo is pretty close to what I had except for the missing speaker cover and mine had the addition of CB radio as part of the "Premium" sound system which also included the 8 track player.  Kids loved riding in the back since there was a ton of buttons to play with back there too.  That's genuine faux wood panels by the way. 

 

Pook & Pook Inc.

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Couple others. 

1947 Woodie Wagon

 

 

 

 

 

Ford : Other Woodie Wagon | Woody wagon, Woodies, Vintage vw

 

When I was a little kid my uncle had my all time favorite Street Rod. A 1932 Ford 3 window "Deuce" Coupe with a rumble sear. I loved riding to car shows with them in that rear outside seat. Similar to this but his was havily modified with a chop top, Hood removed with an Olds 440 Stroker engine with twin Holly 760 4barrel carbs sitting on top of a high rise manifold. Fenders removed with big fat Mickey Thompson tires on the back. I always thought the 32 Duece and 34 Ford that ZZ Top had were two of the coolest cars built to be a street rod in the first half of the century. 

32-chevy-showing-rumble-seat-paul-phylli 

eBay Find of The Day: Blown 454 BBC-Powered Pro Street '32 Ford - Rod  Authority

ZZ TOP's Billy Gibbons 1934 Ford 3 Window Coupe Street Rod 302 CI, Fiber  lass Body is on the auction block by Mecum A… | Street rods, Hot rods cars  muscle, Hot rods

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4 hours ago, Chibearsv said:

I wouldn't call it ambience, but the interior of my Lincoln Mark VI certainly was inviting since you could invite the whole family.  All the controls were like appliances, buttons everywhere.  This photo is pretty close to what I had except for the missing speaker cover and mine had the addition of CB radio as part of the "Premium" sound system which also included the 8 track player.  Kids loved riding in the back since there was a ton of buttons to play with back there too.  That's genuine faux wood panels by the way. 

 

Pook & Pook Inc.

Those old Lincolns were really something! 

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51 minutes ago, inter4alia said:

Those old Lincolns were really something! 

For sure. I loved those mid 60's style. 70's they were battle ships. One of my uncles had a 75 Continental Mark IV. Cars of that size were impressive then. That reminds me of the Monte Carlos and Oldsmobile Hurst of the same year that had the swivle captains chairs. The olds also had the craziest Hurst Gearbox/Transmission for awhile too

1973 Chevelle Malibu all vinyl Swivel bucket interior in Neutral. | 1973  chevelle, Chevelle, Chevrolet chevelle

The crazy gearboxes of Hurst/Olds cars

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16 minutes ago, Fosgate said:

For sure. I loved those mid 60's style. 70's they were battle ships. One of my uncles had a 75 Continental Mark IV. Cars of that size were impressive then. That reminds me of the Monte Carlos and Oldsmobile Hurst of the same year that had the swivle captains chairs. The olds also had the craziest Hurst Gearbox/Transmission for awhile too

1973 Chevelle Malibu all vinyl Swivel bucket interior in Neutral. | 1973  chevelle, Chevelle, Chevrolet chevelle

The crazy gearboxes of Hurst/Olds cars

Oh yeah, the drag race style lightning rods shifters. Been a while since I saw one of those. Awesome! Loving this trip down memory lane. 

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Ricardo Montalvan. "Welcome to a world of reeetchhh Columbian leather". This came out circa 1985 after he had just starred in "Star Trek Wrath of Khan" and was a pitch for a deluxe version of a Dodge K-car. My roommate and I used to laugh our arses off. Each time the commercial came on we would override the narration with "welcome to my [email protected]#*pit of reeetchhh Columbian leather...."

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19 hours ago, Fuzz said:

I will get you a matching purple velour suit (with zebra pattern liner), a big fedora with an ostrich feather, and a fancy walking stick. :lol3:

Here are the Shoes...

https://pleasershoes.com/products/pimp-02?variant=360126676997

 

https://img.17qq.com/images/cruuhqrwqhx.jpeg

 

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52 minutes ago, Fosgate said:

For sure. I loved those mid 60's style. 70's they were battle ships. One of my uncles had a 75 Continental Mark IV. Cars of that size were impressive then. That reminds me of the Monte Carlos and Oldsmobile Hurst of the same year that had the swivle captains chairs. The olds also had the craziest Hurst Gearbox/Transmission for awhile too

 

The crazy gearboxes of Hurst/Olds cars

Oh yeah. Who didn’t want the Hearst Olds back in the day. Very cool. Your post reminds me of the 76 gran prix with the console tilted toward the driver so it was a bit of a sideways pull.  Made it feel like a cockpit  

 

image.thumb.jpeg.44c35f992aa8980af1d64d30d915b321.jpeg 

 

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2 hours ago, Chibearsv said:

Oh yeah. Who didn’t want the Hearst Olds back in the day. Very cool. Your post reminds me of the 76 gran prix with the console tilted toward the driver so it was a bit of a sideways pull.  Made it feel like a cockpit  

 

image.thumb.jpeg.44c35f992aa8980af1d64d30d915b321.jpeg 

 

Speaking of cockkpit. Anyone remember the Vector? Designed by a fighter pilot if I remember right.

11 Vector W2 Interior Images - Vector W2, Vector Car Interior and Vector W8  Twin Turbo / Newdesignfile.com

Vector W2 Twin Turbo (1980) - Old Concept Cars

File:Vector - Flickr - Supermac1961.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsJerry Wiegert and the saga of the star-crossed Vector supercar | Hagerty  Media

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21 hours ago, PigFish said:

I have nostalgic images for a lot of things... but 60's and 70's car interiors ain't one of them.

This is way better than anything I remember from the 60's and 70's... Metal dashboards, 3 on the tree.... once was enough for me!

iris-7.thumb.jpeg.c5a38822f9fb3462cc33ebd04853715b.jpeg

And survivable over 30 MPH.

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1 hour ago, Fosgate said:

Speaking of cockkpit. Anyone remember the Vector? Designed by a fighter pilot if I remember right.

11 Vector W2 Interior Images - Vector W2, Vector Car Interior and Vector W8  Twin Turbo / Newdesignfile.com

Vector W2 Twin Turbo (1980) - Old Concept Cars

File:Vector - Flickr - Supermac1961.jpg - Wikimedia CommonsJerry Wiegert and the saga of the star-crossed Vector supercar | Hagerty  Media

Sure do.  Damn that just screams 80's 🤣

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22 hours ago, PigFish said:

This is way better than anything I remember from the 60's and 70's... Metal dashboards, 3 on the tree.... once was enough for me!

Yeah, I think if anyone from the 70s or 80s saw a Ferrari or Lamborghini interior today they would lose control of their bowels. 

1987 Ferrari Testarossa interior:

7269_p12_l.jpg

 

2020 Ferrari F90 interior:

 

ferrari-f8-tributo.jpg

On 3/16/2021 at 5:48 PM, El Presidente said:

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I must say, I think we could all appreciate driving in a La-Z-Boy recliner. That needs to make a comeback.

On 3/16/2021 at 9:10 PM, Fosgate said:

 

The 70's "Shaggin' Wagon" Was More Than Just A Sweet Ride_国际_蛋蛋赞

 

I just know the outside of this van looked like this:

bedford-van-mural.jpg

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13 hours ago, Fsonicsmith said:

Ricardo Montalvan. "Welcome to a world of reeetchhh Columbian leather". This came out circa 1985 after he had just starred in "Star Trek Wrath of Khan" and was a pitch for a deluxe version of a Dodge K-car. My roommate and I used to laugh our arses off. Each time the commercial came on we would override the narration with "welcome to my [email protected]#*pit of reeetchhh Columbian leather...."

Corinthian leather

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2 hours ago, BrightonCorgi said:

Corinthian leather

Yup. Advertisement flashback. Now I need to go watch an episode of Fantasy Island. 

 

and the

CORDOBA!

 

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For some reason whever I see an old interior like that with the metal and no airbags, etc. I think about how unforgiving it would be on your body in a really bad crash. Real optimist. LOL 

I’ve always hated all Ferrari interiors up until the brand new Roma. They went totally non-Ferrari with it, i.e. it is perfect. 

 

C945E5AC-F657-4F22-AAB3-93673037FF9C.jpeg

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