Once again, age-related memory issues have cost me the non-automotive content with which I had intended to begin this post. I KNEW I should have written it down, but did not.
1967 will be the last Threes And Sevens post before the US automobile industry entered the Dark Ages. I am, of course, referring to the government regulations and insurance practices that ended the first muscle car era in the early 1970s.
For me, 1967 will always be a special year because my first car was a 1967 Pontiac GTO.
This is not the first time these photos have been shown in Disaffected Musings. I have been asked quite often if I want to own another one of these cars. Too many people, frankly, assume the answer is “yes.”
My affinity for Corvettes has manifest itself in the fact that I have owned three, one from each of three different generations. In general, I am not a fan of buying a “been there, done that” car. Buying a stock first-gen GTO would be doing just that. Given my recent experience with my Z06–which is still not 100% and will not be until a stock exhaust is installed–I don’t think I would want to restomod a ’67 (or ’65) GTO and I wouldn’t want to own/drive a stock example. The only way I might buy one of these cars is if my wonderful wife and I won A LOT of money in the lottery. That’s about a one in three hundred million chance.
Still, I will always think fondly about my ’67 Goat. I am sure that if my first car had been something more pedestrian I would not be the car aficionado I am today, even though my interest in cars predates the GTO.
For the second consecutive year, US car production declined after 1965’s then record output of 8.8 million cars. The figure for 1967 was 7.6 million. Chevrolet topped Ford, building about 1.9 million cars for model year 1967 to Ford’s 1.7 million. For calendar year 1967, Chevrolet produced about 2 million to Ford’s 1.7 million. Once again, the Impala was Chevy’s best-seller at about 650,000 units, including 74,000 SS models. Below, hopefully, is a picture of a ’67 Impala SS:
1967 was, of course, the first model year for another celebrated Chevrolet, the Camaro. Pontiac joined the ponycar market with its own F-body model, the Firebird. Mercury introduced the Cougar and Plymouth the GTX although the latter was not its own model in 1967, but a Belvedere variant. What the hell, here are pics of all of these cars.
The standard GTX engine had the largest displacement of any “performance” engine at 440 cubic inches. (The Lincoln Continental motor displaced 462 cubic inches.) The Chrysler/Plymouth Magnum V-8 was rated at 375 HP/480 LB-FT of torque. The 426 Hemi was available as well.
One of my all-time favorite cars, an entry in my Ultimate Garage 2.0, was introduced for the 1967 model year, the striking Cadillac Eldorado.
A dual-circuit braking system was made standard on all US model year 1967 automobiles. That’s one change I would make to any car no matter that it wasn’t stock.
38 percent of US cars were equipped with air conditioning. I was not able to ascertain the percentage of cars sold with an automatic transmission. Given that percentage was about 75 percent in 1963 and the trend has been upward since then I think it’s safe to conclude the number approached 80 percent.
General Motors, Ford and American Motors adopted a 5-year/50,000 mile, whichever comes first, powertrain warranty. With a minor change to 60,000 miles that is still the standard powertrain warranty for US vehicles today.
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5 thoughts on “Threes And Sevens: 1967”
One of my friends also had a GTO as a first car. His was a ’64 or ’65, I’m not sure which. Anyway, he would love to own one again, and “drools” over any that he happens to see at Barrett-Jackson.
I suspect the attachment I have to the ’67 GTO stems from both the fact that it was my first car and it was a “cool” car.
1967 is something of a demarcation year I think. Government safety regulations had been creeping into automotive design already, and the cars of 1967 and 1968 showed some subtle changes.
As you mention, the dual-circuit brake system was made standard to address a failure of a brake line. Splitting the front and rear brakes meant hopefully at least 2 wheels would have some braking capability even if a brake line broke.
The 1967 Fords had what was called a ‘deep-padded steering hub’ whose name is self-explanatory and was designed to address the thought that the steering column could be pushed into the driver’s chest in a collision, acting almost as a spear.
1967 was generally the last year for the side vent window. Most American manufacturers went to a single pane front door window design for their 1968 cars. Also, it was the last year for designs without government-mandated side marker lights and reflectors.
This can make car-spotting easier. The 1967 and 1968 versions of some cars you mentioned are extremely similar. 1967 Camaros, Firebirds and Cougars have no side marker lights, but do have vent windows, while the 1968 versions do have side markers but no vent windows. The Cadillac Eldorado had single side glass both years, and might seem like it also has side markers, but it’s a bit of a trick. The 1967 Eldorado has what I’m sure are cornering lamps on the lower front fender, ahead of the wheels. These illuminate when the turn signal is activated. The Eldo also has a tail light design that allows the red lenses to be seen from a profile view. The 1968 version retains both these features, but, in the front the turn signals/running lights are moved from in the front-facing part of the bumper to the leading edge of the front fender where they wrap around and are visible from the side. In the rear, a small circular lens (embossed with the Cadillac crest) was added to the flank to satisfy the regulation.
Of course, the next ‘3’ (1973) would see further, probably more noticeable changes implemented to meet more stringent safety standards, though some standards never materialized.
Very good to “hear” from you, Mark. I know you are quite busy now with the new gig. I hope that is going well.
As usual, your categorization of 1967 as a demarcation year is spot on. Here is a passage from one of the most influential books in my life, Modern Classics, The Great Cars Of The Postwar Era by Rich Taylor:
“Unless you live in a cave, you must know by now that the boffins at the Department of Transportation actually run the U.S. automobile industry. And have, ever since December 31, 1967. Remember that date. Any car built after January 1, 1968 has to meet a surprisingly long list of specifications that most European countries don’t require…”
The book was published in 1978 so, obviously, the situation has “evolved” since then, but there are still many cars that are legal to own and to drive in Europe, but not in the US. The only work-around is the 25-year rule, which carves out exceptions to meeting US mandates on cars manufactured at least 25 years ago. I think a similar rule in Canada uses 15 years.
Up close and personal, the car I just bought–a Buick Cascada (really an Opel Cascada)–had been sold in Europe for three model years before being available in the US. Why? General Motors had to make 600 changes to make the car legal for sale in the US. Utterly fucking ridiculous!
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