Recent Posts

Wagons Of A Lifetime: The Way Back– My Family Wagons



Until very recently, there was almost always a station wagon in my life. I remember my first encounter with a station wagon. It was 1976-77, I was between four and five years old, and I saw parked on the curb a comfortable looking car. It was long and black and I remember remarking to my Mom, “Mom, that’s a pretty comfy looking car….there’s an area in the back where you can relax…I can tell because there are nice curtains back there!” Read the rest of this entry »


Cohort Outtake: Custom Cutlass Colonnade Wagon – Not All Dreams Should Be Followed

Olds 1976 wagon custom rq

When I spotted this at the Cohort a while back, I made a note to save it for Wagon Week. I don’t know what more to say beyond what poster T.Minor already said: A man had a dream in Israel, but I’m not sure he should have followed it. Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: Dirty Dart Update Volume Four–Spoiler Alert: Beaters are Better


It didn’t take long for the Dirty Dart to weasel its way into my heart; after all, who can resist a beat-up underdog of a car that probably gets more attention than everything else I own except the ’53 Buick?  The Dart’s best attribute is that it has reminded me how much I love cars that are just a little bit roached.  There’s a certain freedom in a unique beater, and the Dart’s mine.

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CC Capsule. Some Weird and Wonderful Chrycorp Wagons.


Came across some interesting creations from the Chrysler Corporation while researching for Wagon Week. First up is the Plymouth Cabana II from 1958. Can’t tell you much about it, but that frontal treatment is certainly not in the prevailing style emanating from the pre-pentastar at the time. The pillarless look keeps the (relative) clutter to a minimum.

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Curbside Classic: 1966 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser – The Kiddie Wagon

CC 234 037 1200

The Vista Cruiser had ‘GM’ written all over it. Nobody but General Motors had the kinds of huge engineering and development budgets that spawned cars like the Corvair, the Aluminum V8 Buick Special, the flex-drive-swing-axle slant-four Tempest, the FWD Toronado, the Vista Cruiser, and so many others. Before emission controls and fuel economy requirements put the hands of the GM engineers to the fire, they had the luxury to play. And play they did; if you were a kid hired by GM to develop a new station wagon concept, wouldn’t you have come up with the Vista Cruiser? Read the rest of this entry »


CC Wagon Week Kick-Off: A Brief Illustrated History of the Station Wagon

Chevrolet 1958camp

This week CC is going to celebrate the station wagon.  In the form in which it burst to popularity after World War Two, the station wagon is largely dead, at least in the United States. It was conceived as a multipurpose family hauler during the great Baby Boom; a vehicle with which Mom could haul a gaggle of kids to school when it was raining, Dad could haul sheets of paneling for the basement rec-room he was building on Saturday morning, and yet be suitable for taking the Joneses out to the supper club on Saturday night.

A vehicle for all purposes of suburban life, it came into its glory in the 50s, and flourished into the 60s and 70s, despite the growing fragmentation of the market. But by the mid 80s, it met its inevitable demise, at the hands of the minivan and the SUV/CUV; what’s left are a few life-style sportwagons. With one or two notable import-brand exceptions, there hasn’t been a family and budget-friendly classic American station wagon in some time. Let the homage to another automotive dinosaur begin. Read the rest of this entry »


Automotive History: Muscle Cars To Malaise Era-Part 3

muscle to malaise part 8 Satelite cover

The transition years, 1969-1974

In the third installment of this series, I’m headed back MOPAR country where I began with an analysis of the Dodge Charger. Today, I’m looking at the Plymouth Satellite, with a focus on the GTX and Road Runner muscle models. Read on to find out which generation I have dubbed “the transition years” and why.

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CC Outtake: The First Cortina Sighting In The US

Ford Cortina N Squire 1

One of the most elusive cars in my endless CC treasure hunt is the Ford Cortina, which was sold in the US during the sixties in both Mk1 and Mk2 form. And it was reasonably popular, as it offered an attractive package: a roomy, boxy body, lively performance from its ‘Kent’ 1600cc four, crisp steering and sporty handling. Frankly, it was a much more practical package than the Pinto, which borrowed much of its chassis and running gear from the Cortina, but in a vastly less space-efficient body.

These shots were sent to me by my sister-in-law; quite likely her son Aidan pointed it out to her. Ironically, I did see a Mk1 Cortina in her neck of the woods (Bay Area mid-peninsula) a few years back, but didn’t have my camera on me. So here’s to the first US Cortina sighting and posting on CC! Read the rest of this entry »


Swap Meet Classics – Part Two


In the first installment we took a look at the sights that the swap meet parking lot had to offer. This time around we will concentrate on the vehicles and other treasures found inside the swap meet.

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Carshow Outake: 1955 Austin Loadstar BBC Outside Broadcast Van – Smile, You’re On Candid Camera!

1955 austin loadstar-4

If you like old trucks and the BBC, this is just your thing. If not, keep reading, because the tale is worth telling anyway. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Capsule: 1984 – 1986 Jeep Cherokee – The Uncommon Two-Door Version

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The XJ Cherokee is a true classic. I paid homage to it and its French influence here. And there’s still a healthy number around. But the two-door version is becoming a bit rare, especially the early years, like this one, which dates to the 1984 – 1987 era thanks to its 2.8 V6 badge (the wheels are from a later version).  Given that we owned a 1985 Cherokee for 15 years, seeing one of these does bring back the memories. Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: 1969 Ford Cortina GT – Tuning by Lotus, Towing by Angelo


This particular COAL came into my ownership in a somewhat strange story. My best friend’s mother was a very hard-working librarian who was raising three children pretty much on her own. In that sort of situation a little solid reliability is a valued commodity, which helps explain her 1964 VW Beetle family car chugging on through our high school years. In fact, this quality of reliability can be taken for granted, so when my friend urged his mom to buy another car around 1969, the idea of another VW did not seem like a good one. There was obviously more to life than just getting there, and (at least by the automotive magazines) there were more modern vehicles that promised to make those journeys a little more memorable. As far as my friend’s family was concerned this would prove to be very true. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Capsule Ford Granada: The Non-Brougham Euro Version

(first posted 2/7/2012)    CC Cohrt kutzos has posted some more interesting finds in Spain, including the black front end of the SEAT Bocanegro we saw the other day. But this Granada is what caught my eye. And it helps explain my perpetual challenges with the Great Brougham Era. This very clean and tasteful Mk II Granada (1977 – 1985) makes quite the contrast to the American Ford wearing that same name. Ironically, of course, the American Granada was crudely aping certain Euro design cues (Mercedes, mostly). Read the rest of this entry »


CC Capsule: 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue – First, Admit You Have A Problem

(first posted 2/6/2012)   You had to be pretty optimistic to think this car was going to save Oldsmobile.

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Mystery Car Unveiled

CC 242 045 12001963 Chevy six