2013 Packard Proving Grounds Cars R Stars Show: Oldsmobile 442 Indy Pace Car Replica, 1990 Olds Trofeo and a 1968 Imperial

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This video could have been shot at Ypsilanti’s Orphan Car Show since all three cars are from dead brands, Oldsmobile and Imperial. Yes, Imperial was once a brand unto itself, not just an expensive trim line on a Chrysler, though by the time this 1968 was made, the car was sold as the “Chrysler Imperial”. We might again see Chrysler reprise the Imperial nameplate but I think someone would revive the Studebaker or Packard brand before they tried reviving the Olds brand. Leading this short parade is a 1970 Oldsmobile 442 convertible in Indy 500 pace car livery. Though it isn’t the actual pace car,  it’s also not a dealer sold replica but rather one of the courtesy cars used at the race.

The 1990 Oldsmobile Trofeo isn’t exactly on most car collectors’ if-I-win-the-lottery list, but car culture is at least as much about people as it is about cars and the fact that someone would keep a 4th generation Trofeo in such pristine condition is one reason why I find car enthusiasts so compelling. We can understand the presence of a ’66 Toronado, a landmark car, at a show like Cars R Stars, but the last gen Toronado/Trofeo is not a highly regarded by car guys in general. I find the fact that at least one car guy does regard this car highly to be part of the charm of the hobby.

1968 was the last year of the crisp and sharp creased look that Chrysler corporation products took on under the styling direction of Elwood Engel, a look that many believe Engel brought with him from Ford, where he had been a senior designer. The following year would introduce Engel’s “fuselage” body styles, a distinctive look that couldn’t be mistaken for anything other than Mopar products.

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