18 August 2014

Car Stuff: Fantasy Garage #10

I've been trying to add variety so that I'm not just alternating between Random Sighting and Fantasy Garage weeks, but it is time for another FG installment.

Looking back at the cars I've covered so far, it seems like I overlooked something pretty obvious. I have a late-1960s Plymouth Barracuda and a 1967-68 Mercury Cougar, but no General Motors ponycar counterpart from the same time period. I've talked about the first-generation Camaro and Firebird, and I think that one of them should be represented.

It may not come as a big surprise that I prefer the Firebird to the Camaro. Both cars are attractive and had a wide variety of engines available. The Camaro would be the more obvious choice, which is part of the reason I'd choose a Firebird. The cars shared major body panels, so many of the differences are in the details, and those are the rest of the reasons.
The Firebirds had dual headlights and a grille split by the middle of the front bumper, which I think looks better than the Camaro's front end (though hidden headlights were optional on the Camaro, which earns it back a couple of points). Likewise, the Firebird's thin horizontal tail lights, borrowed from its bigger brother the GTO, are also more attractive than the plain square-block lights on the Camaro. And there are small fake louvers stamped into the sides behind the doors; it's just a little thing, but they add another touch of visual interest to the sides of the car.

The first-gen Camaro/Firebird ran from 1967-69. The 1969 models got updated sheet metal that is not as well-liked by many people, and though it looks fine to me I do feel it isn't quite as appealing as the first two years, so I would want either a '67 or '68 Firebird. The only visual differences between the '67 and '68 cars are the addition of side marker lights and the removal of the vent windows. Really I'd be fine with either, but since this is "Fantasy" Garage I might as well go for a first-year model.
I don't even feel all that picky about whether I'd prefer a convertible or a hardtop. I do know I'd want the 326 V8 because it was a good motor and I like small V8s in general. That hood-mounted tachometer is pretty cool, so let's throw in one of those. And the color? GM had two great shades of turquoise that year, a bright one and a deep one; either of those would work, and there was a turquoise interior that matched the lighter exterior color for the full '60s color-coordinated look. Growing up, a neighbor had a '67 Camaro in a deep maroon with a parchment (off-white) interior, and I think the parchment would also look good with the turquoise.

(Images from Old Car Brochures)

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