Ode to the 60’s

America was king.

…but Camelot ended when President JFK was assassinated; he was our last true combat veteran and leader. LBJ came into power.

LSD.

The Feminist Movement.

The first heart transplant.

Liberal tainted news reporting, ‘Nam and 55,000 Americans.

Hippies.

Apollo 8 and 11.

The Wonderful World of Color and Combat!

Marilyn OD’d and Joey Heatherton was in.

Gas was 29 cents per gallon and you got Blue Chip Stamps.

Fuel, oxygen, compression and a spark was all that was required to fire up your prized motor. Well, that part (almost) hasn’t left us.

Gas stations cleaned off your windshield with real paper…even the stuff from birds. Yes, you were actually waited on. Just how cool was that?

The service attendant that would short dip the dipstick and tell your old man he was a quart low… Well, maybe it’s good that part’s gone.

Studebaker folded.

Pontiac GTO and the Mustang. A behemoth 409 in an Impala. Four-on-the-Floor and a Hurst. Your cup holder was the babe sitting alongside you in a miniskirt.  Polyglas GTs and Firestone Wide Ovals. Toyotas and Datsuns were nothing but big Hot Wheels.

Ah… Car styling that said, “American”. In 1959, we had this:

Generated by pixel @ 2018-12-14T03:07:42.830606

Twenty-five years later, we had this:

81 chevette lft frnt use_1

What happened? We lost Oldsmobile, AMC, Plymouth… Pontiac and Oldsmobile with the future of GM and Chrysler becoming uncertain soon thereafter. Sure, we can always place blame on management but I feel it is much deeper, much more complicated.

One thing is for certain: I like Clint Eastwood and his spaghetti Westerns… I cringe imagining him riding off into the sunset on a Fiat-badged Jeep.

Indeed, Car 54, where are you?

(Note Jan. 6, 2019: I wrote this over ten years ago for a national Mustang car club.)

6 thoughts on “Ode to the 60’s”

  1. Well, I can’t speak for American cars but a lot of the English ones such as Hillman, Sunbeam Talbot, Wolseley, Austin, Morris and so on could not compete at all with the Japanese ones which were vastly superior on all counts. This was even more true with Japanese motor bikes. European cars were not as good as Japanese, but still better than many of the English brands.
    Whatever the answer, I would still like to own that red 1959 winged monster!!

  2. Hello my friend, Happy New Year!
    I remember our part of Nam starting in ’61 and everything went downhill after that. My family life was just fine, but there were KIA lists in the newspaper, protests at every school and government building. I still watched every rocket lift-off on TV, lived in a 2-story house and we still owned 2 cars, despite being lower middle-class.
    I remember the ’60’s fondly, for my life. But as far as JFK having a good record as a President has been romanticized (IMO) since his death.

  3. So nice to have your voice here again, Koji. I don’t know much about cars, but I do have a nostalgic streak, and your list certainly brings up many memories. Health and happiness in 2019, my friend.

  4. “Gas stations cleaned off your windshield with real paper…even the stuff from birds. Yes, you were actually waited on. Just how cool was that?” Indeed, Koji. Sigh. They still pump your gas in Oregon. But it is rare you get full service. Fun post. –Curt

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