Easiest-ever car question for Americans
September 26, 2013 6:59 AM   Subscribe

What is this American, possibly 70's or 80's car? It's at 39:21 minutes on this video (Valley Girl).

To cut a long story short, Valley Girl is my favourite flick ever, and I'm planning my life beyond fulltime motherhood, and while my Hyundai hatchback is very well-behaved and perfect for a family car... I'm making plans for beyond fulltime motherhood.

It will be expensive to either source one in Australia or import one, hence my pre-planning.

(I had a VF Valiant coupe, which was your Dodge Dart but right-hand drive. I really want to drive a cool car again in the future, and I am prepared to sink bucketloads of cash to get something like Randy's ride. Or technically Fred's mother's ride, for those who have wasted many hours watching Valley Girl.)

PS: please don't judge me. Valley Girl has so much sentimental value, I couldn't even begin to explain.
posted by malibustacey9999 to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
Best answer: You can check out all the cars from the movie on the IMCDb.org page for Valley Girl. I think it's a 1972 Chevrolet Impala, though?
posted by dukes909 at 7:09 AM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Dukes909 is correct. Looking on Cragislist it seems people want insane prices for these in California
posted by blob at 7:22 AM on September 26, 2013

Best answer: 5th Generation Imapala - '72 was the last year for the convertibles, and the first year all of the motors were compatible with unleaded. Pre-emissions motors with gigantic displacement, parts are very easy to come by in the US. Try to find a 350 (the most popular Chevy V8, incredibly cheap and abundant aftermarket parts) or the 454 big block, which is also very popular with hot-rodders. Super easy to work on. Be wary of body rot - in northern parts of the US, they use salt on the roads as a de-icer, and this eats away steel like nothing else, including structural members.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:29 AM on September 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you can live without the convertible option, try to find the 1973 Impala, which was the longest, lowest, widest, and heaviest that GM ever made them. It was like driving a living room sofa down the highway!
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 8:40 AM on September 26, 2013

Best answer: Here's one on Ebay in LA. The seller can't quite decide whether it's a 71 or 72.
posted by w0mbat at 9:34 AM on September 26, 2013

Best answer: It's definitely a 71 or 72. My money is on 72. And beware of a major front to back crack in the middle part of the dashboard if the car ever saw winter temps. As mentioned above, though, you would probably do well to avoid any that had ever been in colder climes because those cars were notorious for rusting body panels. We had a blue 73 that was eventually more rust than paint.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 4:59 PM on September 26, 2013

Best answer: I meant to add: "If they attack the car, save the stereo!" Great movie. Took forever to come out on DVD.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 5:26 PM on September 26, 2013

Best answer: malibustacey9999, you might want to extend your search to include the Chevolet Caprice if you can deal with a very mild variation on the "Valley Girl" car. Unlike its "lower tier" twin, the Impala, Caprice convertibles were made in 73, 74 and 75. The "Caprice" name doesn't quite have the meaty history to it like the "Impala" name does, but they were basically the same car each year, it was just a question of trim levels. From low end trim to high end it went, Biscayne, BelAir, Impala, and Caprice. All of the levels weren't available all the same years, but they were basically the same car each model year. Since a convertible was considered a high end car, I don't believe any drop top Biscaynes or BelAirs were made (in the 70s), but both the Impala and Caprice were. HTH.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 6:38 PM on September 26, 2013

Best answer: Goddammit, I spent ten minutes on that before I opened the thread.

Concur, 1972 Impala. It's a real bad shot of it though.

I still hold a special place in my heart for big ass 1970-80's cars. At one point in my life, I drove an '83 Cadillac Eldorado, and it was remarkably like smoothly driving a decently furnished living room around the state at 14 miles to the gallon.
posted by Sphinx at 6:40 PM on September 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Very naughty of me to mark everyone 'best answer', but they all were. I knew of Impala's, but I was familiar with much earlier models, I would have never guessed that Fred's mum's ride was an Impala.

Funny that you linked to that 'insane price', blob. On a quick search, I found a pristine '72 in Queensland - maybe 1500 kilometres away from me - for AU$19,500. That's a bloody good price for a well-maintained imported car here... and I'll also explore InsertNiftyNameHere's alternative suggestions (and I promise that if anyone ever attacks, the stereo will be saved).

You're all like totally tripendicular to the max, for SURE!
posted by malibustacey9999 at 4:44 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Fer Sher!!! Just don't forget to send us photos of whatever car you get.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 10:01 AM on September 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Now that I think about it, I feel I should remind you that 1970s GM cars were built on something called a perimeter frame. Basically, they had the torsional rigidity of an inflatable swimming pool mattress. You can't expect them to corner well, and if there is anything out of alignment on the frame, you are in for some interesting times.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 10:52 AM on November 14, 2013

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