Can’t disagree with the premise. Everything went downhill starting in 1968. I had my 74 Cutlass 455 with 149 hp, 10 mpg if you babied it, and with big honking bumpers. It just got worse from there. The 80’s was totally lost. The 90’s began the period of awakening with my 90 SHO. But the EPA was relentless. They kept the screws on. I hate everything about them…umm, wait, my 556 hp Cadillac V and my 650 hp Z06 are both courtesy of EPA. Well, OK, it did get a little ugly for awhile. But damn this is now the good old days. Even better, when I wipe one of them out courtesy of airbags and seat belts I will likely survive, to continue my love for the EPA. Who would have thought? It wasn’t me.
I came of a (driving) age in 1974. I acquired a 67 VW Karmann Ghia. It cost me $100 and was a total rust bucket. I think these things rusted along the assembly line in Osnabruck!
The nagging question, “is a Karmann Ghia a sports car?” It’s hard to say yes when in 1967 it was powered by a 1500cc 44bph motor.
I felt a bit like the Rodney Dangerfield of my H.S. parking lot! Even the Beetles got more respect.
I do think 1967 is close to the pinnacle for the KG. 67 had many one year only items, several introductions of new items like 12v & front disc brakes. It was the last year of low back seats, filling the tank by popping the bonnet (that always draws a curious crown at the filling station) and lap only seat belts.
Fast forward 45 years and I still find myself owning a 67 Karmann Ghia Coupe, still not fast but what she lacks in speed I think is made up in sex appeal!
There were two “1967’s” One was 1967. The other was 1973, and it could be argued, 1972. In 74’ the bumpers got god-awful and the emissions were even worse. But I distinctly remember my humble 73’ Fiat 124 Coupe being mistaken for a Maserati or Ferrari…Cars prior to 74’ were still pretty, and while emissions were hard on them, they still had some ummph. Ever driven a Mustang II? I still remember the salesman telling me to come off from a stop sign, you had to floor it. What a pathetic excuse for a car. I remember too, thinking how many cars we lost after 67’…loosing the Healy was enigmatic of the new normal. Great article though…
The article says 1967 but I have said for years the American automobile was perfected in 1966. GM had the final version of the Turbo Hydramatic 400. Chrysler had the aluminum case Torqueflite and Ford came out with the C-6 dual range transmission. These were 3 trouble free indestructible transmissions. These transmissions were used for 20 years with little change. Before that transmission failure was a plague. Disc brakes were standard on T-Bird, Lincolns and Corvettes. Many obscured options like AM/FM radios, air conditioning and cruise control were becoming common place. The generator died in 1965. Except for AMC no more vacuum wipers. No more torque tube drives. 1966 was the birth of the true modern car.
1967–i’m reminded of what hst said about haight ashbury–that if you squinted just right you could see where the wave crested and rolled back…
beyond what orourke writes in '67 we had monterey pop. hendrix burning his strat, townsend destroying is les paul, the black panthers, janis, sgt pepper, the indica gallery, the velvet underground…and back to cars, the muira, j-car–all of it in 1 year that boggles the mind. great editorship haggerty. i jusst spend 11 minutes reading the current c&d, r&t, mt and automobile mags–actually the same content across the 4–content all pretty much devoid of insight judgement or creative ability. giving orourke a column is a hint of how great automotive journalism once was and gone–here’s one from 67–ferrari gto v pontiac gto.
as the say on bat, ‘well played sir’.
My current daily driver is from 1967. I don’t know whether that’s a good or a bad thing, since contrary to the US, here in Europe the year 1967 has no significance in automotive history whatsoever.
'68 HEMI Charger. Even Bullet had a stock '68 440 R/T. Of course, they had to hop up the ford to keep the scenes real.
Not sure what your point is ; we also had Hemi’s long before 1967. In 1964 Dave Strickler even ran one when Chevy dropped out of racing, even though his father-in-law was the owner of Ammon R. Smith Chevrolet. Apparently you misread what I wrote.
The point is, '68 better than '67. I am retired Chrysler powertrain engineer from Highland Park, owned a '68 hemi Charger for 34 years. Started racing Mopars in 1964. I know about hemis. Chrysler hemi design was from war effort and flew in a fighter plane in late 1944. Took a while to get it into cars and start the 1950s horsepower wars.