yay I aint ded yet.
1965-1975 ACA RoadCruiser, ACA Rio Grande, Montpelier Cavalry
In 1962, ACA began designing the replacement for the Model 60 Corona.Though a 1963 facelift was on the way, ACA designers knew that the Model 60, based on the Model 51 Corona, needed replacing eventually. Initially, the project was called the Corona II, however once the final draft was made, then ACA CEO Kingston Conway infamously noted that “[its] the size of a battlecruiser” and as such, the name stuck with the car being called the RoadCruiser.
Knowing the RoadCruiser was going to be a behemoth, ACA engineers realised they needed a new engine to drive the car along at a reasonable speed. As such, designed along side the RoadCruiser was one of ACA’s most famous engines, the 440 “Shooting Star” Large Block V8. The large lumbering 7.2L cast block made a respectable 297hp, which mated with the RoadCruiser’s "Power-Shift" 3 speed automatic transmission would send the car to top speed of 141mph and would let the car reach 0-62 in under 9 seconds
The chassis was an all new ladder frame that was more rigid than the old frame found on the Model 60 Corona. While the new RoadCruiser also used a double wishbone front, leaf sprung live axle rear, the suspension was adjusted to be softer and smoother, allowing the car to feel more comfortable than its predecessor. The interior was nothing special for the day, though the higher end trims featured premium vinyl seats matching the colour of the exterior, a premium dash and two spoke wheel and a premium radio.
A popular choice for many, the RoadCrusier would be made up until 1981 with two major facelifts in 1969 and 1975
Updated in 1969, the new facelift ditched the old headlights and grille for a brand new chrome grille and set of hidden headlights. The 1969 facelift also received an update 440 V8 which made more power, 302hp and was slightly more economical compared to the previous generation. The 1969 facelift was also the first ACA model to feature AC as standard.
After the 1973 Fuel Crisis, the RoadCruiser was heavily detuned to improve fuel efficiency. In 1975, ACA updated the RoadCruiser for the last time with the new '75 facelift. Externally, a revised grille was added and the hidden headlights gave way to the new standardised sealed beams. Internally, the 440 was heavily redesigned. Modified to run on 91 RON fuel, and fitted with a catalytic converter, power dropped significantly to 212hp. However with the new 4 Barrel Carbutettor and the a brand new "Power-Track" 4 speed automatic transmission with overdrive , the '75 was by far the most fuel efficient model, reaching a combined 9.1 US MPG.
Due to its sheer size and power, the ACA RoadCruiser was a popular fleet vehicle, especially with the police. Introduced early on in 1967, ACA produced a “Police Special” package. This included a specially tuned a 440 V8, police tires, police suspension and police shocks. This made the RoadCruiser Police Special a favourite for tuners and hot rodders, who would purchase old used RoadCruisers in police sales to go down the dragstrip with them.
ACA Rio Grande
Much like the Model 60 Corona before, the RoadCruiser was also sold as a station wagon called the "Rio Grande. It featured the same engine, same suspension and same interior as the standard RoadCruiser, however the Rio Grande had a large rear door to access the back and could be purchased with an extra rear bench. Highly popular with large families, the Rio Grande would see much profit and would be featured in some high profile comedy films, becoming ubiquitous for cross country roadtrips.
As with the RoadCruiser, the Rio Grande received multiple facelifts throughout its run, though it did last for much longer, being manufactured from 1965 until 1983, though this was mainly due to the ACA executives believing that a large station wagon was an important segment. The Rio Grande would not receive a replacement after 1983 due to the rise in popularity of the SUV. The name would later be revived for ACA’s large SUV in the 90s.
In 1965, Montpelier split their full-size luxury car line into two branches; the regular full-size cars and limousines. With the Crown Cavalry marque being used in the new limousine, Montpelier needed a new name for their latest full-size sedan. As such, the new car would be called the Cavalry.
Based entirely on the RoadCruiser, the Cavalry was practically the same car. It featured the same engine, the same chassis and almost the same styling, with minor changes to the rear end and a new more “luxurious” grille and extra chrome trim. The real difference between the RoadCruiser and the Cavalry was inside.
Inside, the Cavalry was nothing like the RoadCruiser. Unlike the premium vinyl seating in the RoadCruiser, the Cavalry had plush luxury cloth and leather seats, AC and heater and a luxury radio set. Suspension was also significantly softened to allow for a much smoother ride. This made the Cavalry one of the most luxurious cars of the time. And since it was practically the same as the RoadCruiser underneath, it also received the 440 “Shooting Star” and could reach 0-62 in under 9 seconds with a top speed of 140mph.
Much like the RoadCruiser it was based off, the Cavalry was updated multiple times with major facelifts in '69 and '75, though unlike the RoadCruiser, the later models of the Cavalry received a very significant change.
Starting from 1969, Montpelier introduced a brand new engine option for the Cavalry, the behemoth, 550CI “Starfighter”. This new engine pushed out 330hp through a 3 speed automatic to the rear wheels. This power gave the Cavarly more grunt compared to the standard RoadCruiser and would later become sought after by hot rodders to tune up the 550 to make even more power. Naturally, the large engine came at a significant cost to weight and fuel economy, which meant that the Cavalry only managed 7.8 US MPG.
Much like how the 440 "Shooting Star was heavily detuned, so was the 550. Power dropped from 330hp in '69 to a measly 214hp in '75. However, miraculously, even with the larger engine and heavier weight due to the luxury interior, the Cavalry managed to achieve a better combined fuel economy compared to the RoadCruiser reaching 9.3 US MPG. Much like the RoadCruiser, the Cavalry also received a brand new "Power-Track" 4 speed automatic transmission with overdrive.