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Cruising in 1972 - Where were you?


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In 1972 I was contract fencing in out-back Western Australia. My lady friend lived in Melbourne, so I was 'cruising' back there fairly regularly, in my 1964 Landrover. It was around 2,500 miles each way, at a comfortable cruising speed of 50 mph. While crossing the Nullarbor Plain I would often read a book propped on the steering wheel, watching for the occasional vehicle out of the top of my vision.  We did some silly things, when we were young and indestructible. If I shut my eyes now I can still hear the whine of the transfer box gear.  I traded a rough Austin Healey Sprite on that Landrover, then rebuilt the engine in my driveway. A very reliable old beast it was, too.

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9 hours ago, JamesR said:

I do remember the era pretty well, though, and it seems to me that circa  '72 saw the first big resurgence in nostalgia on a popular level, and the automotive manifestation of that was the movie American Graffiti, which came out in either '72 or '73. So, as much as we might like to reminisce about '72 (and there was much to miss about it when compared to today) some people back in '72 were already starting to reminisce about earlier days (1962) themselves.

 

But I miss 1972 anyway. I had a great interest in music, and AM and FM radio of that era had a wide and eclectic range of music: Everything from Bread and Alice Cooper to Dueling Banjos and Amazing Grace on bagpipes. One of my favorite weird songs of 1972 was this one, which was very nostalgic, but for an era much earlier than 1962 😄:

 

Hurricane Smith - Oh Babe What Would You Say - YouTube

In 1972, I couldn't get enough of Uriah Heep, and T.Rex. when it came to music.

 

I agree about 'getting nostalgic' around that time.  Even though I was not quite car driving age, my interested in cars was years prior to that, and was buying Motor Trend and other automotive magazines at the time.  In particular, Motor Trend's "In Retrospect" started up around 1972 and ended up being one of my favorites in that magazine where the centerfold was usually reserved for a nice classic car along with a well-written article.   It was a year later in 1973 when I started buying the old Car Classics magazine, and still buy several vintage car & truck magazines each month to this day.

 

It could be said, 1972 was the last good year for style and performance of American cars with very few exceptions.  1973 was when the big ugly battering ram bumper rules took effect, and started to destroy the appearance of the cars, and it wasn't until around 1980 and later when automotive stylists started to make better efforts to work with the issue, and finally incorporate those hideous 5-mph bumpers into the design.

 

Craig

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23 minutes ago, 8E45E said:

In 1972, I couldn't get enough of Uriah Heep

 

"Look at Yourself" is still one of my all time favorite albums.... 

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10 hours ago, JamesR said:

 

I had some hand-me-down two wheel version of that (I was 14 in '72.) Can't remember what brand it was (though Schwinn would be a good guess) or even what it looked like.  Model cars were the closest I got to four wheels back then.

 

I do remember the era pretty well, though, and it seems to me that circa  '72 saw the first big resurgence in nostalgia on a popular level, and the automotive manifestation of that was the movie American Graffiti, which came out in either '72 or '73. So, as much as we might like to reminisce about '72 (and there was much to miss about it when compared to today) some people back in '72 were already starting to reminisce about earlier days (1962) themselves.

 

But I miss 1972 anyway. I had a great interest in music, and AM and FM radio of that era had a wide and eclectic range of music: Everything from Bread and Alice Cooper to Dueling Banjos and Amazing Grace on bagpipes. One of my favorite weird songs of 1972 was this one, which was very nostalgic, but for an era much earlier than 1962 😄:

 

Hurricane Smith - Oh Babe What Would You Say - YouTube

 

Oh Man you made me cry listening to that song.  I had five older brothers and sisters.  The 70's were all about music and cars.  Come to think of it not much has changed for me.  Thanks for making me cry in my coffee.  A welcome relief from the depressing news.

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15 hours ago, TerryB said:

I was 20 in 1972.

In the spring, over Easter,I put a $50 junk yard 283 engine in my 4 door green 55 Chevy to replace the dying 265 it had. I was a commuter student at the local PSU campus working on getting an Associate Degree in Electrical Engineering Technology with graduation scheduled for June 1972.  Had to keep the car alive and running to get to classes. The 283 does its job.

June 1972- graduate mid June and get job with a local company that makes specialty electric wires, some products go to the Atomic Energy Commission.  Three days after starting work Hurricane Agnes devastates the east coast and many places around me in eastern PA are destroyed.  My home is ok, many are not.

July 1972 the President of the United States sends me “greetings” and would like me to report for a pre-induction physical in flood ravaged Wilkes-Barre PA in August.  I go as requested and see the induction center is missing all of its equipment on the first two floors from the flood.  Got my physical and went home to wait for the call up but it never came.  Decided to buy a 1966 Chevy Caprice coup from a local used car dealer to replace the 1955.  Figured I could sell it if the President calls again. Worked at the wire cable company until spring of 1973.  Took a job in TV display engineering with RCA corp that lasted for the next 34 years.

 

Due to the flood, not much cruising going on, too much dirt and damage.  Put chrome valve covers, tach and 8 track stereo in the Caprice to give it a little class. It was a 283, 2 barrel with that fancy button tuft interior.  A nice big ride but not sporty enough so it only lasted until the summer of 1973.  For some reason I have no pictures of it. I guess I didn’t like it enough for photos.

 

 

 

Terry here is a picture of Wilkes Barre after the flood.  My parents had a store there.

0423200926_HDR.jpg

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3 minutes ago, alsancle said:

I was 8 trying to make the transition from gigs to go karts.

 

I was 12 trying to pretend I was 16.  Now I'm almost 60 trying to pretend I'm 55.  You truly can not turn back time:)

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1972. I remember the park and the girlfriend. Back when you could buy a 3 year old Riviera for $1800.

 

002.thumb.jpg.8ad496dbb260f747833793af5c517bdc.jpg

 

I have always had two cars. This one is also from 1972. It was going to be my 1/8th mile drag car but I had to license it while the Riviera was being painted after hitting a bridge.

002.jpg.bd053d4ae3aa04cb70b90cf4eb7f0b5b.jpg

Ever done one end over end? I did have a couple wild years in there... must have been the girlfriend mentioned above.

Edited by 60FlatTop (see edit history)
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22 minutes ago, supercargirl said:

 

I was 12 trying to pretend I was 16.  Now I'm almost 60 trying to pretend I'm 55.  You truly can not turn back time:)

 

I'm 55 acting like a 16 year old.

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Thanks for the reminder. In 1972 I paid $1200 for a new Suzuki GT-750 water cooled 2-stroke triple. First bike I had that would light the rear tire instead of reaching for the sky like my BSA Lightning..Was the year before disk brakes and had this four shoe front brake (note double levers). Also could go into a bad speed wobble at silly speeds. After adding a fairing often commuted between my rent house in Anderson, IN and school in Flint MI, once on a  cold winter day in a snowmobile suit when no car would start. Dropped on a patch of ice under an overpass on I-69 (more signs stolen than any other Interstate). Picked it up and tossed to shoulder as a semi roared past. Adrenaline is good. Years later when smoking badly & needing cosmetics I swapped for a Muncie.

 

a81b36a6390d21f8329fc0e771aaf100.jpg

 

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I was riding shotgun as a small kid in my fathers 1970 GTX. He had special ordered it from Capitol Chrysler-Plymouth in Trenton. FY4 Gold, black vinyl top, gold interior. 440 4bbl, super trak pak 410 gears, heavy duty 4 speed, pistol grip shifter. AM radio, no AC.  Polyglas tires with poverty hubcaps. Didn't buy the Hemi, as it was a family car !, and the warranty was very limited.

 

It was extraordinarily quick and I was shoved back in the seat more than once as he would show me how to dust off other drivers.......

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Hysterical note: in the early 70s a good 440 six pack with trak pak would always beat a 426 Hemi in the 1/4 (none of these silly 1/8 mile thingies in the souf). The world was different then.

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23 hours ago, Delco32V said:

I was riding shotgun as a small kid in my fathers 1970 GTX. He had special ordered it from Capitol Chrysler-Plymouth in Trenton. FY4 Gold, black vinyl top, gold interior. 440 4bbl, super trak pak 410 gears, heavy duty 4 speed, pistol grip shifter. AM radio, no AC.  Polyglas tires with poverty hubcaps. Didn't buy the Hemi, as it was a family car !, and the warranty was very limited.

 

It was extraordinarily quick and I was shoved back in the seat more than once as he would show me how to dust off other drivers.......

 

Oh no Officer I'm fine.   My dad was just trying to teach me how to drive a car ...

Edited by supercargirl (see edit history)
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Was hardly cruisin in 72 , had a i year old , old house to revamp , no money and a rusty 63 hillman minx ,

got stolen one night , but they didn’t rate it much either as was dumped 2 miles away, police found it and unfortunately returned to me !

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3 hours ago, padgett said:

Hysterical note: in the early 70s a good 440 six pack with trak pak would always beat a 426 Hemi in the 1/4 (none of these silly 1/8 mile thingies in the souf). The world was different then.

 

And a good blueprinted Bobcat RA4 would beat a 440 SIX pack.

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I was thinking about this and I became inspired to look up the date OSHA was created, April, 1971. Must have been 1972 when I worked as a millwright for one day (had that title a couple of times since).

The plant was a steel shop in Rochester, NY. At 6 AM I started by taking a standard wooden pallet ride to the top of the third mast extension of a fork lift on a dirt floor and changed the cable on a winch while swaying at inside roof level. Then I repaired burned air lines that had been run over by red hot gear ring stamping in the forge shop. Big sweaty guys, none with more than 9 fingers were pitching the plugs around with tongs. I put out a couple fires fires when they landed in a pile of pallets. Then, after the crew left, I climbed a wooden ladder to the top of the steam cylinder on the forge. I stood on the 12" diameter head, bent at the waist and used a slugging wrench to tighten the head for the next day. At around 6:30 PM I told the guy I was working with I had to go to the men's room. I still remember walking right past it and out the big door to my car.

 

 

I told my Dad I quit when I got home. He said "I am glad you did. I have heard bad things about that place and was scared when you took the job. But I didn't want to say anything to keep you from getting a job."

 

Years later I saw the Roger Rabbit movie and that same feeling of walking out the door came back at the last scene.

 

Yep, they might have overdone the OSHA thing in some instances but sometimes that devoted work ethic could get you hurt. That was 1972.

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I remember that sort of thing, although in my case it was about 1978. Working as a helper in a heavy equipment  shop.  Big shop building with 4 rows of fluorescent light fixtures, and at least 1/4 of the tubes out.

The mechanics were tired of poor lighting and complained to the shop supervisor ; the owners son, generally a pretty good guy.

His method was to bring one of the cranes into the shop and position the boom near the fixture. It was a good sized crane so the boom was at a reasonably low angle.  But the lights in the middle were a good 30 feet up.

I then had to climb up the boom with a light duty rope. new tubes were tied to the rope with a chunk of rubber cord and I pulled them up , changed the tubes, and lowered down the burnt out ones.  Then climb down , re position the crane and repeat.

Took a few hours but we changed them all except a couple with bad ballasts.  I was a bit nervous at first but after a few I got used to the height.  Lots of climbing that day. I sure wouldn't want to do it these days 

In 1972 I was still in grade 9. One of these were my wheels . Bike boom Peugeot , my first " racing " bike. That is just a photo off the net, mine was a nice bronze color. After high school I got a lot more into bicycles and owned a few much better than the "gas pipe " Peugeot.

Although I was very into cars and had a junker Nash Metropolitan to learn from. Replaced by a Sunbeam Alpine in grade 11, my first driving car.

Greg in Canada

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Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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1972 I was sitting in my mom's 1960 falcon with the 200 ci and three on the tree practicing shifts. 1973 I was then 16 drove the Falcon until I bought my first car a 1966 Mustang 200 ci with 3 on the floor.

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"And a good blueprinted Bobcat RA4 would beat a 440 SIX pack" and a blueprinted  tunnelport RAV or Boss9 would beat both. Was talking production engines.

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7 hours ago, 8E45E said:

It could be said, 1972 was the last good year for style and performance of American cars with very few exceptions.  1973 was when the big ugly battering ram bumper rules took effect, and started to destroy the appearance of the cars, and it wasn't until around 1980 and later when automotive stylists started to make better efforts to work with the issue, and finally incorporate those hideous 5-mph bumpers into the design.

 

Craig

 

I remember that in the 1980's a lot of car shows wouldn't allow American cars made after 1972 to enter, in large part because of the reason you stated.

 

Also - at least for some major car makers (like GM) - 1973 was when they began phasing out the once-popular and always stylish two door hardtop body style, starting with their once-sporty midsize models. Finally, while 1972 may have been the beginning of the end for the muscle car era, you could still get a legit new muscle car in '72 that deserved some respect. The noticeable decline in horsepower for '72 was in part a reflection of manufacturer's stating their horsepower as net rather than gross (probably for political and legal reasons) so there were still some powerful engines in fast new cars in '72. For example, you could still get an Olds 442 that made 300 hp in '72 (and that was net.)

 

Still, there were some nice looking American pony cars made after '72:  Cuda, Challenger and Javelin come to mind, as they were somehow able to avoid the industrial factory bumper mandate. Pickup trucks weren't covered in the bumper legislation, so the '73 F100 was still pretty nice looking.

 

 

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Columbia made a pretty good banana bike.  Mine was metallic brown with big handlebars and a small sissy bar out back.  Other kids had greens, orange, purple, red.  Freedom!!  Road rash was common.  We had not moved up to ten speeds yet.

 

Oh, every passing jet was a 747! 😁

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11 hours ago, Billy Kingsley said:

I was born in 1984...

 

8 hours ago, Lebowski said:

 

Definitely...

 

 

5FD23785-8353-444F-B9FA-2B59B9987FC6.jpeg

Bought my first new vehicle from there. 1974 E-100 300 cu in 6 with a three speed column shift.  Van Vanderford was the salesman. Why I remember that I will never know.  They closed not too long after that I believe.  It was a used car shop for a while and as far as I know now an empty building.  

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After having read this article on Daily Mail yesterday I'm surprised that nobody here picked up on who the photographer is -- a legend in the Shoebox Ford woodie world and the manufacturer of the best wood kits for those cars:

 

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/in-tacoma-he-keeps-the-california-dream-alive-one-woodie-at-a-time/

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in '72 i was 12 years old and cruised town with a 16 year old buddy in his dad's '68 gmc pick up.i was the young kid in a crowd of 16 to 18 year old hooligans. it seemed like if you were older than that you either were in the service or married. either way the cars were gone.

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There were a few 73s that were very good looking. Am a GM person but some of those were attractive: Riviera, Centurian, Trans Am and the Grand Am was the first good looking 4-door I had seen. Too bad the Pontiac-EPA conflict knocked out the Grand Am SD-455 or I might have bought one. I have always liked A-bodies.

1973-pontiac-grand-am-4dr-sedan-1.jpg

 

 

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1 hour ago, plymouthcranbrook said:

 

Bought my first new vehicle from there. 1974 E-100 300 cu in 6 with a three speed column shift.  Van Vanderford was the salesman. 

 

So you bought a Ford van from Vanderford? :lol:

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29 minutes ago, padgett said:

There were a few 73s that were very good looking. Am a GM person but some of those were attractive: Riviera, Centurian, Trans Am and the Grand Am was the first good looking 4-door I had seen. Too bad the Pontiac-EPA conflict knocked out the Grand Am SD-455 or I might have bought one. I have always liked A-bodies.

1973-pontiac-grand-am-4dr-sedan-1.jpg

 

 

That is one I had in mind when I stated 'with very few exceptions' in my earlier thread.  The sad part, is the '73 Grand Am was proof that the challenge of making 5-mph bumpers aesthetically pleasing could have been done right from the outset.  Of course, the Corvette, the Chevelle Laguna, and the more expensive F-bodies also proved it, but they didn't look as good as a Grand Am.

 

Craig

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38 minutes ago, GregLaR said:

 

So you bought a Ford van from Vanderford? :lol:

 

Greg;

 

If I'm reading plymouthcranbrook's post correctly, he bought his Ford Van from a salesman named Van Vanderford, which makes it even weirderer or sumthin'.:o

 

In 1972, I was running time trials in my heavily modified 1964 Corvette Coupe ... most in the South Florida Area, but as far away as Road Atlanta.  Even though I had a company car at the time,  I occasionally drove the 'Vette on the street until some cockwomble turned left in front of me on Bird Road.  Due to my relative naivety and an opportunistic insurance adjuster, that was the end of the 'Vette.  I'll have to admit that after all of the performance modifications, the 'Vette was not at all happy on the street, preferring the track.  I wish I still had the 'Vette.

 

Cheers,

Grog

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2 hours ago, plymouthcranbrook said:

 

Bought my first new vehicle from there. 1974 E-100 300 cu in 6 with a three speed column shift.  Van Vanderford was the salesman. Why I remember that I will never know.  They closed not too long after that I believe.  It was a used car shop for a while and as far as I know now an empty building.  

Hard to find, but tough to beat

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“Hard to find but tough to beat “ Was the slogan for  Cellosi Edleson (sp) Chevy in Elmhurst off York Rd and the extension of the Ike expressway as it turned into Roosevelt rd. 
 

im wrong they said “where you always save more money”. They were the number 1 Chevy dealer in the country for a number of years. 

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In 1972 I was a married Veteran and recent collage graduate with a nice 1965 Deluxe Mustang Conv. with every option and a 1965 Plymouth Barracida,

i was was n a new job as a Insurnace Claims Investigator/Adjuster in Tampa FL.  My company bought me a new Ford Grand Torino, allowing me to sell the Barracuda and give the Mustang to my wife.  (She kept it another 24 years)   Also that year I bought my first 1934 Ford Tudor and began a backyard restoration,  

I kept that 1934 for 26 years and we did our first 2 of 12 Glidden Tours in it in 1997 & 1998 after my first 2 of 11 Great American Races in 1984 & 1987. 

I would say 1972 was a good year for cars in our lives.  Funny thing is the 1934 Ford was 38 years old when I bought it in 1972.  Now our newest "collector 

car" is a 1981 El Camino, which is 39 year old and I don't even think of it as a "OLD CAR", let alone an Antique.

 

Can anyone tell me why this site re-arranges my text when I post it?

34 Tudor.jpg

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5 hours ago, padgett said:

"And a good blueprinted Bobcat RA4 would beat a 440 SIX pack" and a blueprinted  tunnelport RAV or Boss9 would beat both. Was talking production engines.

RA4 is production.

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In 72 I was cruising in Casper Wyoming early and then in Laramie.  Had a 68 w-30 442 with 3.91 rear end.  Here we were a little restricted by the altitude of 5100" and 7250".  It was still a pretty quick car that had a toilet for a carb.

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This thread is just a gentle reminder of how old I am. Sorry to be a killjoy but by 1972 cruising was all but dead. "American Graffiti" was a snapshot of what it was like everywhere in the West a decade earlier. Although it was supposed to be one single day in 1962, it was more a montage of what had been going on since the mid 50's. By 1972 when I came across a town or area where cruising was still allowed, it seemed like a strange through-back, like the the movie itself was a retrospective. The movie and the 70's cruising scene was simply a nostalgic recreation superimposed on a world that had grown up and moved on. Vietnam had milked the innocence of post war America. Sorry for those of you too young to remember the real thing.

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