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As I recall, it never managed to top 20 MPG in super-stingy highway driving (cue the enraged comments from readers whose Granadas habitually knocked off 38 MPG with the air-conditioning on), and nobody in my family wanted to know what its city mileage really was (cue the enraged comments from readers whose Granadas beat Honda Insights in city fuel economy).

At this point, I ought to break out the curb weight and horsepower figures, but I’m writing this while sweating out a 10-hour flight delay at Shadow Government World HQ and don’t have access to my reference library; I’m going to guess at a curb weight of 3,400 pounds and a horsepower rating of 92 ().

The idea that took root in America sometime between Walter Cronkite revealing himself as a paid agent of Vo Nguyen Giap and a Georgia preacher getting whacked by some asshole while supporting a bunch of Memphis trash collectors; the inflation resulting from the Vietnam War’s endless kidney-shots to the federal government’s budget (and Nixon’s resulting desperation moves) coupled with the Saudis finally figuring out that they were the pushermen feeding the West’s oil jones and that witholding the sweet black horse gave them power, and Southern Californians getting sick of several hundred “shelter in place” Stage 1 Smog Alerts per year meant that, by the early 1970s, the era of cheap horsepower, chrome-and-Naugahyde-slathered luxury, and general automotive was deader’n Jimi Hendrix.

The muscle cars of the late 1960s were essentially marketing creations— their symbolism as mighty-fisted avengers of perceived slights against the American Way Of Life came later, during the period of Southeast Asian Conflict historical revisionism that got rolling in the mid-1980s, and if you think there’s a link between the auction value of the ’70 Chevelle SS 454 and the level of certainty of the Silent Majority that we were by the media in Vietnam, you’re right— and the once-vaunted quality of Chrysler, Lincoln, and Cadillac had already begun its long drop off a cliff long before the insurance companies, the NHTSA, and the State of California ended the cheap-horsepower-and-chrome party.

Fever is slight or absent; there are malaise and loss of strength.

Yet all the time my nervousness and malaise increased appreciably.

At this point, I think it’s time to cue up the Merle Haggard; Merle expresses the “rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell” sense of the country’s direction at that time better (and in way fewer words) than I ever could.


Some medium-grade hassle that got you pissed and dirty but always ended up with the 250 reluctantly coughing to life.The “automatic” parking brake release was vacuum-operated, and the driver would sometimes need to stick his or her head under the dash and suck on a vacuum line to disengage the brake.What really endeared it to my parents, however, was its ability to beat the thing back into some semblance of shape with junkyard parts and blue rattle-can spray paint.An incident showed me that his malaise was curable by one method only.They swear by their malaise and by their malaise they shall die.