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Curbside Classic: 1955 Chevrolet – The iCar – GM’s Greatest Hit

(Let’s follow GM’s Deadliest Sin with one of its greatest hits. First posted 8/23/2011)   Your task: imagine and design the hottest consumer good of the day, one that will have folks lined up at the store to get their first glance of it. And creates a national buzz about its new power and speed, not to mention its fab new looks unlike anything seen before. And smashes all sales records for any any comparable device before or after it. And makes your company the most profitable and highly valued in the world. And one so capable and durable, folks will still prefer to buy it used instead of the newer competition. And becomes a timeless product, an icon of the whole industry, one that folks are still talking about and lusting after a half century later. Who would want to have that job given to them, with all of sixteen weeks to execute it?

Luck is really about being at the right time and right place with the right set of abilities. For Ed Cole and a few of his cohorts, that was Chevrolet in 1954. Read the rest of this entry »


My Unintentional COAL: 1989 Ford Sierra 2.9i Ghia 4×4 – Tales Of Sierras Past And How A 17-Year Dream Came True!


“♬ ♩ Hey! Hey! Tonight we’re gonna party like it’s nineteen eighty-nine…♩ ♫” Author photo (and car!).

Quick! Who remembers what they were doing back in 1997? If you’re like me, you’ll remember turning 24 at most… But happily, many of us car guys & gals remember specific years based on what we were driving. A few of us lucky ones with OCD sharp eyes and minds remember specific years based on cars we saw curbside. 1997 is one such year for me: late in the year I was holidaying nearby and whilst out walking one evening, I spied with my little eye, something beginning with…S!  Yes, that’s right, a Sierra station wagon, curbside! Read the rest of this entry »


Cohort Outtake: The Slow and Non-Furious VW

VW Customized

I noticed this over-the-top custom VW at the Cohort a few days ago, shot in Chicago by Joseph Dennis. But today’s post by Gerardo about the wholesale defacement of Japanese cars due to the Fast and Furious phenomena reminded me how many other fads there have been like that before, including the great VW Fever that really peaked in 70s. Just like every old Ford was once fodder for the hot rod/custom crowd, so every old or junkyard VW  was cut up into something else, or adorned with an endless variety of custom parts that were being churned out by a whole industry geared just to VWs. I’m not sure if this is a “restoration”  or whether this stuff is still being sold, but either way, it’s quite the period piece.


CC Global: The Things of Bali 3

Some car models become long-lived fixtures in countries never envisioned by their original designers or even by the most far-out thinking of marketing directors, such as the Ford Falcon of Argentina or the 1950s American sedans made into “Dolmus” minibuses in Turkey.  Among these automotive near-immortals is the VW Type 181 “Thing” — conceived for European military and North American recreational use, born in Germany in 1968 (military)/1971 (civilian), and living into the 21st Century with no end in sight as the preeminent tour vehicle of the Indonesian island of Bali, almost 7,500 miles from Wolfsburg.  How The Thing arrived there and attained its current status is a testament to the fundamental soundness of the design and its suitability for its eventual destiny in Bali.

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How “The Fast and the Furious” Ruined My Teens.


Alright, the title may be a bit overdramatic and I perhaps may be giving far too much attention to a movie franchise that’s harmless at best. Still, it certainly has made things very unpleasant to some people.

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Cohort Outtake: Hino Briska – Now That’s A New One For Me


Being exposed to a vehicle I’ve never seen or heard of before is a genuine thrill that doesn’t happen often enough anymore. A Hino Briska? But here it is, and Cohort poster Yohai Rodin shot it in Israel, no less. Why in Israel, of all places? Because it was built there, by a Kaiser division. And it has a Renault-based engine. And it’s so cute, to boot. That grille is even original too. What a find. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1980 Chevrolet Citation – GM’s Deadliest Sin

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The 1980s was the worst decade ever for GM. It lost a full ten points of market share, starting the decade with 45%, and ending with 35%, an unprecedented disaster. Its stock over the same period dropped some 50%. And the car that kicked off that decade of hell, and helped propel GM towards its continued long term decline, especially in passenger car production, was the 1980 Citation.

So much was riding on it and its X-Body stablemates, as they represented the very future of GM: more compact and efficient FWD cars. But GM bungled it, and the Citation came to represent everything that was wrong. It had one of the most spectacular first years ever for a new car, and then it crashed, almost instantly. It makes the Vega look like a Toyota in comparison.

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CC Outtake: Help; There’s Something Very Wrong With My Mercedes!

MBZ W114 a 1200

No, this isn’t a Photoshop. I lost my camera a while back, and I’m about to transition to a new device, so I’ve been using Stephanie’s iPhone. And when she handed it to me, I saw a some kind of cursor on the screen, but didn’t know what it meant. Now I do.

Anyway, this cheerfully-colored 300D (W115) obviously did have some kind of problem. Probably the kind that my older brother, who 0nce made a living fixing up old dead Benz diesels and selling them at a good profit, would likely have been able to fix curbside. Some folks who have these cars know what it takes to keep them running; others buy them on their rep for being unstoppable, until they…stop. Read the rest of this entry »


QOTD: The Vauxhall Viva Is Back With Us! Which Other Old Nameplate Should Follow?


Great news! The Vauxhall Viva is back!

The Viva was one of Vauxhall’s two best selling model names of the 1960s, starting with the Viva HA series in 1963 and finishing with the demise of the third series, known as the HC in 1979. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Fiction: Silent Night

snow night

It was a chilly mid-December night in 1984. The tree had been trimmed, the stockings had been hung, and Robert and Monique Hamilton were on their way home from Robert’s office Christmas party in the city. Little did they know that an unexpected present would be arriving early this year.

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Curbside Classic: Mazda F800/F1000 – Expresso Bongo.


We got a lot of Japanese vehicles in Australia, but we missed a lot of cool oddballs. There was one we did get; the Mazda Bongo – a kooky-looking van sold here from 1966 to 1976. Once prolific, now long gone from Melbourne’s curbs, I chanced upon this sweet example in the backstreets of hipsterville. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Follow Up: The Ugly American Is Now A True Hipster

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I’ve been following this car’s changing locations since I first shot about three and a half years ago. In its CC, I called it “The Hip Ugly American”, because I knew its young owners bought it for its hipness, and not its other qualities. But in my most recent encounter with it, it’s now gone full-bore hipster, inside and out. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1976 Mercedes 280C (W114) – Pricy Hardware

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In 1976, the base price of this Mercedes 280C was $13,520 ($55k adjusted), $1041 more than the new 1976 Cadillac Seville. It had a 2.8L six that only managed to crank out a feeble 120 hp, thanks in part to lack of fuel injection. It took some 15 seconds to trundle from zero to sixty. The Seville’s fuel injected 5.7 L V8 made 180 hp, had almost twice the torque, and made the sprint to sixty in some 12-13 seconds. Where’s the true value in that?

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Car Show Classics: 1972 Chrysler by Chrysler Hardtop – Brougham Australian Style

1972 Chrysler Hardtop

As a change of pace from coverage of Motorclassica, here is an in-depth look at one of the rarer cars on show, the 1972 Chrysler by Chrysler Hardtop. This car comes from before the peak-Brougham era, although after the Brougham died – the Holden Brougham that is! If that sounds mixed up, so are my feelings for this car.

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eBay Find: Nissan 240SX – See? There Was One


Last time I found an unmolested tuner car, someone in the commentariat mentioned that something that would be even harder to find stock would be a Nissan 240SX. Challenge. Accepted.

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