Earlier this week, our Junkyard Find was a totally rad 1989 Chevrolet Camaro RS, complete withÂ interestingÂ personal touches applied by an owner who was quite familiar with taste and elegance.
In the comments, things quickly turned to the nature of the automobile during a dark and Malaisey period â€” 1979 to 1989. A question bubbled to the surface for me: Were there any lustworthy American cars made in that period? Let’s find out.
This question came from an assertion made by frequent commenter Krhodes1.
“There were plenty of lust-worthy cars in that era. But none of them were American.”
Of course, the truth in this statement depends on which sort of characteristics you find lustworthy (YMMV, as Krhodes said). I’ll start the ball rolling with a vehicle that, while not an obvious choice where lustworthiness is concerned, is a very relevant one nonetheless.
Majestic, isn’t it? It is of course the Dodge Caravan, introduced to the world in 1984. Built on the ever-versatile K-car platform that saved Chrysler’s bacon, this (tiny, in modern terms) minivan was a new way to cart children and their auxiliary equipment around the country. Up to that point, van offerings were not of theÂ mini variety. Rough, thirsty, based on trucks, and rear-drive, those vans were cargo haulers first, and forced into people-carrying service after. The Chrysler vans were more comfortable, more practical, and much more efficient in times of gasoline Malaise.
The Caravan defined the segment, prompting Ford to follow with the rear-drive Aerostar in 1986 and General Motors to create its Dustbuster vans for 1990. For the reasons above, these minivans were lustworthy to a whole generation of parents. People who, until then, were forced to drive their large families around in a modified cargo van, or perhaps a baroque, wood-sided station wagon.
The Caravan showed North America there was a different way to travel â€” a better way. And for that reason, it’s a lustworthy vehicle of our selected period.
What are your picks for lustworthy American rides from ’79 to ’89?
[Image: Fiat Chrysler]