For my next novel (King of the Waves), I'm researching the year 1976, among numerous other rabbit-hole topics. I'm sharing a smattering of these fabulous finds to bring you with me back in time to the mid-1970s—back when they still made cars.
I mean REAL cars.
Hear the audio version of this post.
Met the Ford Elite with a 351-in³ V8 engine. The asking price started at $4,879, but if you wanted some 8-track music with your AM/FM stereo, it ran you an extra $326.
Fuel efficient? Hell yeah! The Elite got 12 miles to the gallon. By comparison, a Boeing 747 gets about 0.2 miles per gallon, and, unlike a 747, you didn’t have to worry about those pesky seatbelt signs dinging on and off when you want to go to the bathroom.
Don’t get me wrong: the Ford Elite had seatbelts, but they were the kind you just kept buckled and sat on. And if you wanted to go to the bathroom while you were cruising, well, that’s why you kept an empty jar in the huge glove compartment.
There was no “Driver Confidence Package” to add on. If you drove a Ford Elite, you already had all the confidence you needed. There was no forward-collision warning system. If you ran into something with this car, you meant to do it.
The mirrors weren’t for parallel parking. There was no parallel parking this car. You just made a hard right turn in front of the Woolworths and put it park. Then you’d use your rear-view mirror to check your look. You only used the sideview mirrors to watch the state patrol saunter up to the driver’s window when he pulled you over.
When he asked, “You know why I pulled you over?” you’d answer, “Because you’re jealous that I’m driving a 1976 Ford Elite.”
These beauties are still around. The current average asking price for this classic is about $10,000.