1986 Zimmer Golden Spirit : Hideous Or Heavenly?
The rolling embodiment of Rodney Dangerfield
Tell me about a car that gets no respect!
This 1986 Zimmer Golden Spirit is pretty much it. What you're really looking at here is a Reagan era Fox body Mustang that somehow got encased in a neo-classical shell. of 1930s design cues, 1970s parts bin surplus, and 1980s technology.
Like most luxury rides that try to combine the young and old, what you end up getting is a mixed bag with highly eclectic tastes.
If you love German style luxury take a deep breath, pull that door that looks suspiciously similar to the one on a Lincoln Mark VII, and bear witness to what may be the best leather seats ever sold in the 1980s.
These were made by Recaro. The company that creates seats for race cars, airplanes, and over 40 different automotive brands developed a masterpiece of comfort with the Zimmer seats. In real world driving, these seats are to the Zimmer what the seats on an early-90s Range Rover were to the rest of the car. The icing on the cake.
Now it's a question of whether you can digest all the pieces that make up the Zimmer. This steering wheel is one of dozens of like versus dislike coin flips.
This dashboard would be perfectly at home in a 1980s Chevrolet G20 Conversion van. Check out the 55 mph highlight and the exposed phillips screw in the straight middle.
Alpine was once a premium stereo brand back in the 1980s. It looks cheap now, but back then it was among the top in the industry. The rest of the dashboard is painful to imagine on a car that was sold for today's version of six-figures.
But back then expectations for a high-end American luxury car were way different than they are today. It was truly the worst of times. Lincolns were mostly propelled by throttle-body fuel injected 302 engines whose underpinnings were still mostly stuck in the thick of the late-1970s Malaise Era. Cadillacs were often times just downsized Buicks and Oldsmobiles with fancier interior trims, and Chrysler was trying to market a stretched version of the entry level K-Car chassis as a suitable ride for the affluent. The Zimmer may have not aged well in terms of today's style. But it was competitive enough to be surprisingly profitable and unique when most high-end American cars were mediocrity incarnate.
If you want to know more about the Zimmer, go here, here, and here. In the meantime enjoy the images and remember, sometimes a car that's a rolling cartoon can put a smile on your face in a way that other plain-jane competitors can't quite match.