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Free Vin Check, Get Vehicle History Report, Free Car History, Used Car History, Auto History, Free Vehicle History, VIN Number Check, Car History, Lemon, Check - Car History Year 1968

Car History Year 1968
Date: Monday, September 27 @ 00:43:22 UTC
Topic: Cars

By 1968, the United States was heavily involved in the Vietnam war. The conflict had cost billions of dollars and, subsequently, American taxpayers were saddled with a 10 rise in their taxes. Harder to swallow still, was the number of American lives lost, and there seemed no end in sight. Despite putting out peace feelers in the previous year, the North Vietnamese, together with the Vietcong, launched a massive new offensive at the end of January, during the sacred "Tet" New Year holiday, penetrating the grounds of the US embassy in Saigon. In fact, the Tet offensive was a desperate gamble for the North Vietnamese, who had suffered considerable losses in both men and equipment as a result of US bombing, particularly in the north of the country, but it paid dividends. Stung by the speed and success of the attack, and by the ever-growing peace protests at home, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam. The demoralized Johnson did not seek re-election later that year and was succeeded by Republican Richard Nixon, whose presidency was to be less than trouble-free.

Along with the relentless grind of the Vietnam war, there was more bad news that year: civil rights activist Martin Luther King was assassinated, and attorney general Robert Kennedy shared his fate a short time after. The one bright piece of news was that Apollo 8 became the first spacecraft to orbit the moon, paving the way for a manned landing during the following year. In Detroit, the car makers were still caught up in the muscle car business. All the major manufacturers had at least one horse in the race, which was fast becoming a contest to see who could cram in the biggest engine and out-accelerate the rest. Straight-line performance was the main criterion and, in the process, handling, braking, ride, build quality and levels of trim often left a lot to be desired. The original pony car was the Mustang, first introduced in 1965 by Ford as an inexpensive-to-make, sporty car that would appeal to young people, and would cost less than $2,500. It was an instant success, with customers queuing up to buy them; America loved the Mustang.
The original Mustang was designed by Joe Oros, L. David Ash, and Gayle L. Halderman of the Ford Division styling studio. Its style, with a long hood and a short deck, very quickly caught on in Detroit - and it had many imitators, that were quickly christened "pony cars" in honor of the original. The very first model was a two-seat roadster, built of fiber glass on a 90-inch wheelbase, and with a 2.0 liter V4 engine developing only 90hp. Although it was very impractical it was a pretty car, and people flocked to see it at motor shows. The president of Ford, Lee A. lacocca, decided that it was not suitable as a volume car, so dozens more prototypes followed, until the designers arrived at a more conventional four-seat, production model. Part of its appeal was the massive range of options on offer, which allowed the stand model to be personalized in a great many ways. It could be anything from a neat economy car, to a nimble sporty car to a small luxury model. Transmission could be automatic, three- or four-speed manual or stick overdrive, and there were also handling packages, power steering, disc brakes and air conditioning available. A wide range of interior trims could be specified, and there were different accent trims and a selection of special moldings for the exterior. The major problem was that, even as early as 1968, all the manufacturers were chasing a muscle car market that was already beginning to disappear. The hullabaloo that had followed the launch of the Mustang had died down and emissions controls were beginning to hamper the cars, increasingly emasculating their performance. Interest was on the wane and the potential buyers were starting to look for more traditional features in a car. Although the bubble had not burst, it was beginning to deflate. This was reflected in production figures, which had dropped by nearly half, from 607,500 in '66 to 317,000 in '68. Worthy of mention in the long list of automobiles that followed the Mustang's lead in the pursuit of ultimate, tire-shredding, road-burning, neck-breaking straight-line performance are: the Pontiac GTO, the Dodge Charger, the Plymouth Road Runner and the Oldsmobile 4-4-2. These cars represent a unique part of America's automotive heritage and have almost no equivalents anywhere else in the world. To modern eyes they truly look like dinosaurs: huge and powerful but ultimately doomed to extinction due to dwindling space and scarce resources. While they ruled the road, however, they were magnificent: wild and untamed and reflecting a deep-seated love of freedom and resentment of restrictions that is close to the American heart. Specification SHELBY MUSTANG Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 428 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.13x3.98 ins. Horsepower 335 Body styles Fastback coupe No. of seats 2-4 Weight (lbs) 2,659 lbs Price $3,000 Produced 42,841 (all Fastbacks)     Specification DODGE CHARGER Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 440 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.32 x 3.75 ins. Horsepower 375 Body styles Hardtop coupe No. of seats 4 Weight (lbs) 3,575 Ibs Price $3,506 Produced 96,000 (All Charger versions)     Specification PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE V8 COUPE Engine V8 - cast iron block Displacement 383 cu. ins Bore and stroke 4.25x3.38 ins. Horsepower 330 Body styles Coupe No. of seats 5 Weight (lbs) 3,050 Ibs Price $3,000 Produced 42,000 (all versions)  

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