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AM Blog:
September, 2010 (Archived)

Image: 1980 Lincoln Versailles
The 1980 Lincoln Versailles

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Friday, September 30, 2010 2:28 PM

Front Wheel Drive Constant Velocity Joint

Front wheel drive for personal luxury cars became the latest thing with the introduction of the 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado, which was followed close behind by the 1967 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado. The main advantage of front wheel drive was improved traction, since the weight of the engine was located over the wheels that drove the car. These CV joints were mostly trouble free, as they were protected by rubber boots that kept lubricant in and dirt out. But after years of flexing, the rubber boots were prone to splitting, no longer protecting the components within. And as it is with so many things today, the replacement parts aren't exactly like the originals.

For instance, did you know that a torque dampener was originally built in to the right side constant velocity joint? If you did, you get extra points because most if not all of the replacement CV joints do not include this shock absorber. And depending on where you live and how you drive your classic car, the absence of this shock absorber can mean a premature end to your CV joints.

Sunday, September 26, 2010 8:35:31 AM

Image: 1975 Chevrolet Nova 4-Door SedanHow the 1975 Chevrolet Nova Became A 1976 Cadillac Seville takes a look at some of the challenges Cadillac Motor Car Division faced during the development of its first smaller car, which was based on an economy compact model from another division. Improvements to ride and handling, isolation of the passenger compartment from noise, harshness, and vibration, and choosing an appropriate power team for the new car were all challenges Cadillac had to face. Plus, it had to do so quickly, since it had a self-imposed 16 month period to develop the new car and get it to market! This time frame was the shortest development period for a new car in General Motors' history.

The 1976 Cadillac Seville was powered by a 350 cubic inch V-8 engine built by Oldsmobile Division. Cadillac modified it to include the first analog computer-driven Electronic Fuel Injection system provided as standard equipment on an American car.

This is an interesting look at how a $3,209 Chevy Nova became a $12,479 Cadillac Seville. In addition to being the first smaller luxury car from Cadillac, the Seville was also the first luxury car designed by an American car company to compete with the luxury imports. The end result was truly amazing when you consider what Cadillac started with! (This is not saying that the 1975 Nova was a bad car, but it certainly was never designed to compete in the luxury class.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 9:46:02 AM

Today in The Classic Car Showroom: 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe. This one owner original car has been meticulously cared for over the years. Finished in Roan Brown Metallic with an optional Sandalwood Custom Cabriolet vinyl roof and Antique Light Sandalwood Leather upholstery, the color combination is very sharp and typical of cars of this era. A subtle factory accent stripe in orange gives just the right amount of contrast.

This Eldorado is well equipped, and is ready to show or drive. If you're a '70s Eldorado fan, this might very well be the car for you as it seems to need very little, if anything.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 2:17:55 PM

A quick note to let everyone know that we're aware that Mileposts Search isn't returning any results when you use it to search the site. This search is powered through Google, and we're not certain where the problem is. We're looking into it, however, and will let you know when the issue is resolved by posting here as well as on our Site Status page.

Sunday, September 19, 2010 7:31:17 AM

We have completed the main navigation update on the make and model contents pages. Hopefully, you will find the revisions helpful. We think it's now easier to locate specific links, and they are better organized with more consistency throughout the site. We are updating and revising our Automotive Books pages now, and we're going to start with the books pages for individual models first. We've been working on the Lincoln Books page, although we're not finished with it at this point.

Enjoy your Sunday, everyone!

Friday, September 17, 2010 6:32:35 AM

We are currently in the process of reworking the main navigation on the make and model contents pages (i.e. 1955-1979 Ford Thunderbird, 1966-1978 Oldsmobile Toronado, [links open in new window or tab] etc.). We've already started on some of them, while others haven't been touched yet, so if you see things look a bit different, this is why. We're not making major changes, we're just trying to define the navigation to make it easier to see, and better organize it. It probably still won't be what we'd ultimately like it to be, but we'll be a step closer to that.

We're also going to be working on all the reference books pages for specific makes and models today (i.e., Lincoln Books). We'll be adding new items to the page, and rewriting the HTML so the file sizes are smaller, which should help the pages load faster for you. During this time, you may come across links that don't work or pages that display incorrectly. These should both be temporary, so please check back later. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

Let us know if you see anything that we may have overlooked. You can contact us using the E-mail Us link listed under the Contact tab in the navigation menu at the top of this page. Enjoy your Friday, everyone!

Thursday, September 16, 2010 8:50:39 AM

We have adjusted the font size of the links in our Classic Car Parts Auctions section to make the text a little larger. This makes the links a little easier to see without making them too big. Hopefully you will like this change. If you have any comments, please let us know by clicking the E-Mail Us link in the menu at the top of the page. It's listed under the "Contact" tab.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010 7:25:57 AM

Image: 1980 Lincoln Versailles1980 Lincoln Versailles (Advance preview)
This was the end of the road for the first smaller, compact Lincoln. Hindered from the very beginning by its modest platform that started life as the Ford Granada/Mercury Monarch, the Versailles was at a disadvantage because it still looked a bit too much like its less expensive cousins.

Quality control was in top form, and the Versailles came equipped with almost everything on Lincoln's luxury accessories list. New standard equipment for 1980 included a Twin Comfort Lounge Seat with driver's side 6-way power adjustment. Each side had its own fold-down center armrest, and reclining seat back. New Luxury Cloth upholstery was durable and very soft. Other improvements included a new starter and revised jack.

A new Electronic AM/FM Stereo Search Radio replaced the Electronic AM/FM Stereo Search Radio with Quadrasonic Tape Player of last year. Quad tapes were on their way out, as were 8-track tapes, to be replaced with the new smaller cassette tape format. And it just so happens that a new AM/FM Stereo Search Radio with Cassette Tape with Dolby® Noise Reduction was available as a new option for 1980!

The 1980 Lincoln models did not sell well, the division was down 42 percent overall, so Versailles wasn't the only model that suffered, but with sales for the year of just 4,784, it was time to retire the Versailles. In its short time, the Versailles introduced the Clearcoat/basecoat painting process to the domestic market, it was the first American car with halogen headlamps as standard equipment, it introduced the concept of the smaller, compact Lincoln to Lincoln's traditional customers, and took technology to new levels in the assembly plant with new procedures to test electrical system performance, paint gloss and depth, and to locate squeaks and rattles before the car was shipped to the dealer. Mechanical components were matched to reduce noise and vibration as well. The Versailles proved that a smaller car could ride just as well and be just as quiet inside as the bigger Lincolns.

That's quite a lot for a motorcar that many consider to be a failure. We don't agree with that perception, and we hope you enjoy a brief step back in time to 1980, the first year of the decade that brought us so many changes.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010 6:53:28 PM

In The Showroom: 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado Coupe with just 9,000 actual miles! Beautiful Andes Copper Firemist paint with a White Cabriolet padded vinyl roof, and get this: Terra Cotta Medici Crushed Velour interior!! RARE is the word. Medici Velour is the exclusive upholstery Cadillac reserved for the luxurious Fleetwood Talisman in 1974, and was only available in 3 colors on the Eldorado, so it was seldom ordered and very rarely seen today.

Loaded with Automatic Climate Control, AM/FM stereo radio with integral stereo 8-track tape player, Cruise Control, Dual Comfort Seats with dual 6-way power controls, Tilt and Telescope, power door locks, power antenna, rear window defroster, illuminated visor vanity mirror, dual exterior remote control mirrors, etc. This car looks like the dream boat that it is.

Take a look! No, it's not inexpensive but it shouldn't be. Seller advises everything works as it should, including the air conditioning. Opportunities like this don't come along all the time. This is the right color combination, the right condition, and it would look perfect in your driveway! This is too good to let get is too short to wait any longer.

Post 2: Saturday, September 11, 2010 10:55:24 AM

Image: 1979 Lincoln VersaillesPreview invitation: The 1979 Lincoln Versailles is now online, ready for your inspection. We had originally hoped to have this section ready to go yesterday, but we felt since 1979 was the best-selling year for the model, it deserved a little more attention. So, the 1979 Versailles' is a bit graphics heavy, and we designed quite a few custom images for it. One of the changes was to the Vehicle Certification Label, which was revised this year, and all new Fords had the new version of the label in 1979.

New styling greeted Lincoln Versailles customers this year, and the changes were very effective. Additionally, five new paint shades, four new vinyl roof colors, and two new interior trim colors were added. Two half-vinyl roof styles were available, one of them using Lincoln's Cavalry Twill vinyl material with a simulated convertible top look, which was becoming very popular at the time, inspired in part by the Versailles. A brushed stainless steel wrapover molding with integrated Coach Lamp on the center door pillar really gave the car a more formal, town car appearance. A smaller rear window and a padded vinyl-covered deck lid spare tire hump gave the rear new distinction.

Lincoln's finest sound system became standard on the Versailles in 1979. An electronically tuned, AM/FM stereo radio with Quadrasonic-8 tape player dispersed sound through 4 separate channels, each with its own speaker. A power antenna was included, of course. The sound from this system with a Quad-8 tape playing was pretty incredible!

Enjoy your visit back to 1979, when platform shoes, polyester fabrics, disco music, and the Lincoln Versailles were all the rage. It wasn't such a bad time to be alive. Have a good weekend!

Saturday, September 11, 2010 10:23:27 AM

On September 11th, Automotive Mileposts remembers those who perished on this date in 2001, and our thoughts go out to their families and loved ones. May we all have peace on Earth someday.

Post 2: Friday, September 10, 2010 6:09:36 PM

We have been notified that our network will be performing maintenance which will require core router reboot. This may result in down time for, which is expected to last around 15 minutes. This maintenance is scheduled for 1:00 AM EST on Saturday, September 11, 2010. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Friday, September 10, 2010 9:33:48 AM

Just a quick note to update you on the progress of the 1979 Lincoln Versailles section. We're well underway, but since this section will have more graphics than normal, it's taking us a bit longer than we thought to work our way through it. Plus, there were a lot of changes between 1978 and 1979, and it's taking longer to verify all of them as well. We're still hoping for a preview later today, but there's a possibility we may miss that projection. We'll keep you advised, but don't be surprised if it gets bumped back a day or two, just in case. Enjoy your Friday!

Thursday, September 09, 2010 7:21:13 AM

We officially announced the 1978 Lincoln Versailles this morning on our Recent Site Updates/News page. Work on the 1979 Versailles is well under way, and it could be ready to go as early as late today or tomorrow. As you know, AM Blog readers usually get the first chance to see new additions to the site. We normally try to give you, our blog readers, advance notice to see the latest before letting others know, and we often are still finishing up those pages while you're looking at them.

We'd like to thank Bryan as well as a couple of others for letting us know when they spot an error. Sometimes they find something on pages that have been online for a while, and sometimes they spot things before the official announcement, as Bryan did yesterday while viewing the 1978 Versailles pages.

We strive to provide accurate information, and sometimes this can be difficult because often reputable resources report different things. Sharp readers like Bryan and the others help make sure what you see here is accurate, and we'd like to thank all of you for that. Enjoy your day and thanks for making Automotive Mileposts a part of it!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010 8:08:20 AM

Image: 1978 Lincoln Versailles1978 Lincoln Versailles is now online! In its second year and first full season on the market, sales of the Lincoln Versailles crashed. This was of course of great concern to Lincoln, which rushed to identify the problem so it could be corrected. It was determined that the Versailles bore too strong of a resemblance to the much less expensive Mercury Monarch, which often sat on dealer lots adjacent to the small Lincoln. So a rush redesign was implemented to reduce the similarities between the two models. But this would not be ready until 1979, too late to help 1978 sales.

All Versailles' received the smaller 302 CID 2V V-8 engines this year, which had been available only on cars destined for California or a high altitude area the year before. A new Electronic Engine Control System provided better performance and economy, and a new Variable Venturi carburetor was able to mix the fuel/air ratio more precisely as well.

A new Dark Red was added to the listing of paint finishes, vinyl roof, and interior trim colors. New options included a 40-Channel Citizens Band Radio, Illuminated Outside Thermometer, and Wire Wheel Covers, which were a no charge option that replaced the standard Forged Aluminum Wheels.

This sneak peek is for AM Blog readers, and as such we're still working on the pages today. We're actually still making some changes and additions to the 1977 Versailles as well, so don't be surprised if you check back and see things have changed a bit. We'll announce the '78 models officially tomorrow. We hope you like the Versailles as much as we do.

Monday, September 06, 2010 8:26:28 AM

Today is Labor Day, the unofficial end of summer, a day to relax and enjoy yourself or perhaps have a party. With the cooler days of fall just ahead, you may want to consider taking care of a few projects before you tuck your classic car away for the winter. Perhaps spend a few hours really detailing all those little areas you've neglected, like air conditioning registers or really getting under the seats with a vacuum.

Now is a good time to address that cracked steering wheel, hazy glass, dull aluminum or stainless trim, or perhaps one of your newer vehicles has yellowed and scratched plastic headlight covers. We have a Restoration and Auto Detailing Repair Kit page with kits already assembled to help you take care of these things. Or, an Electroplating Kit for Tin and Zinc so you can create shiny new trim at home without the cost of sending it out to be done. Or, for that final oil change of the year, don't forget to add ZDDP to your new oil, chances are the new oil you just bought doesn't protect your engine as well as it should.

Whatever you decide to do today, we hope you have a restful day doing what you enjoy doing. Happy Labor Day!

Sunday, September 05, 2010 10:38:59 AM

Image: 1962 Ford Thunderbird Swing-Away Steering WheelHistory of Ford's Swing-Away, Tilt-Away, and Tilt Steering Wheels
One of the Thunderbird's signature features beginning in 1961 was its movable steering wheel. Initially an option, it was so well accepted and ordered by most drivers that it was made standard early in 1962 production. It remained standard through 1966, when it was discontinued in favor of a new Tilt-Away design, that not only moved aside automatically, it also offered 9 vertical tilt positions that the driver could choose manually.

Safety standards made the Tilt-Away too expensive after 1969, so a traditional Tilt Steering Wheel without a move aside feature became the norm. The early Swing-Away was offered on some Ford models from 1963-1966, and the later Tilt-Away was optional on 1967-1969 Ford Mustangs and Mercury Cougars as well. Lincoln also got in on the act with a unique Vertically Adjustable Steering Column in 1964-1965, which was also quite unique in its operation.

This article was written by Andy Angove for Automotive Mileposts. Hopefully, it will clear up any confusion about which style was available in a particular year, and explain the differences in their operation.

Post 2: Saturday, September 04, 2010 4:01:02 PM

Image: 1977 Lincoln VersaillesAs mentioned earlier, here's your advance preview of the 1977 Lincoln Versailles. As Lincoln's response to the Cadillac Seville, the compact Versailles was a new kind of Lincoln, and the best equipped Lincoln built to date! The Versailles introduced Clearcoat paint to the American market, and exhibited very strong attention to quality control and fit and finish. Almost everything one could desire on a luxury car came standard, and the few options allowed buyers to tailor their car to fit their individual needs.

The Versailles was introduced late in the 1977 model year, but sold over 15,000 copies before model year end. This was a fairly strong start, and Lincoln was looking forward to a better year in 1978, which was be the first full season for the Versailles. Alas, that was not to be as the baby Lincoln's modest beginnings were objectionable to some luxury car buyers, who couldn't justify spending that much money for a "fancy Mercury Monarch." Interestingly, some auto magazines in comparing the Versailles and Seville, commented that the Seville looked like the fancy Chevrolet that it was, but the Versailles was pure Lincoln. Apparently, not many agreed with that assessment.

The Versailles was a great car, and it introduced the idea of a smaller Lincoln to the public, which was planned across the board for 1980. While collector interest in the Versailles is small now, it is growing and there are more than a few owners who think the Versailles is the absolute tops! Enjoy, and we'll announce this formally on Monday to commemorate Labor Day.

Saturday, September 04, 2010 12:24:42 PM

Good Saturday afternoon, everyone! Skip here checking in to let you know that we are at the 90% point on our next classic car coming online, the 1977 Lincoln Versailles. The first year of a new make and model always takes a bit longer, as we have additional graphics to create for them, which are modified for the later models (unless major changes prevent modification!) so we hope to have this next one online either later today or perhaps tomorrow. At the very latest, barring any unforeseen issues, it will be online on Monday, which of course is Labor Day. Until then, enjoy your weekend and I'll be back later with any updates, as necessary.

Post 2: Friday, September 03, 2010 7:44:37 PM

Test posting. Please disregard, checking software. (Have a good weekend everyone!)

Friday, September 03, 2010 6:49:48 AM

Image: 1963 Buick Riviera instrument panel and consoleAUTO BREVITY:
Classic Car Ignition Switch Locations

Over the years, the ignition switch has moved around quite a bit on classic cars. Some were better located than others. While they should be easy to locate to a driver unfamiliar with the car, the position should not interfere with other controls, as many people had a group of keys dangling from the switch while driving. At times, Ford located the ignition on the left side of the steering column, which was an unusual location for right handed drivers.

When the ignition switch eventually gained the attention of the Feds, it became a safety item—yes, we said safety item—and its position was soon standardized among American car makers. At this point, it was moved to the right side of the steering column, and when you turned off the car and removed the key, you not only locked the ignition, but also the steering wheel and the transmission shift as well! You'll have to read the article to understand why this move was considered a safety item. GM implemented it for 1969, and Ford and Chrysler and the rest followed in 1970. It is interesting to consider the various locations this necessary automotive control has occupied over the years.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010 6:26:09 AM sets a new traffic record for August 2010! Thanks to the support of people like you, our readers, Automotive Mileposts showed an 8.8% increase in August over July, and we broke our previous record for the best month ever in May 2010 with an increase of 6.9%! Thank you for your loyalty, we appreciate it very much.

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