Recent Posts

Cohort Sighting: East German Barkas Van and Retired German UPS Trucks

Barkas and ups

This picture posted at the Cohort by Hannes caught my eye. Not only is there an old GDR Barkas van, a rather remarkable little truck much more advanced than the VW Transporter in many ways, except for its two-stroke engine. But there’s also some apparently retired german UPS vans here, which show a certain similarity to our here, but also some differences, as they are of course locally sourced. I don’t know the manufacturer; maybe someone else does.

But let’s take a closer look at the Barkas. Read the rest of this entry »


Driveway Outtake 2: 1961 Buick LeSabre – Bring On The Love

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Just a block away from the new Prius I found this new arrival in the neighborhood too. This one gets a bit worse gas mileage, though, but it might appeal more to the eyes of some of you. Read the rest of this entry »


Driveway Outtake: 2016 Prius – OK; Bring On The Hate If You Must

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Needless to say, Eugene is Priustown, USA.  So it didn’t surprise me to see this new 2016 Prius in my neighborhood a couple of months ago. It was the first one I’ve seen close up. Which is a bit of a challenging undertaking. Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: 1953 Chrysler Windsor Convertible – Love At First Sight

1953 Chrysler Windsor Convertible

When I turned 16 1n 1960, my mother took that afternoon off from her real estate job and waited for me to come running home from the school bus stop. We got into her 1957 Chrysler Windsor and she drove me to the NYDMV office in Garden City. After the necessary processes I walked out of the DMV with a New York State learner’s permit, unlocked the passenger door for my mother, got into the driver’s seat, adjusted the seat and mirrors, and drove home.

This was the beginning of my real life. Driving – legally – on public roads. No more back and forth runs in the family driveway and no more driving slowly around the parking lot of the Freeport Yacht Club when no one else was watching.

I had been saving up money for the time when I could buy a car doing odd jobs like mowing lawns, weeding gardens, paper routes, shoveling snow in the Winter, scrubbing boat hulls in the Summer, and baby sitting. Yes, baby sitting. It was good money and easy indoor work, and all I could eat from the fridge.

In 1960, 100 dollars could buy a reasonable vehicle if you weren’t fussy. I wasn’t too fussy, but I didn’t find anything that struck me the way I wanted to be struck. And, after selling my small boat and outboard motor, I had 300 dollars to buy a car.

One evening in late fall of 1960 I was walking along the dock in Freeport Long Island when it happened; I was struck. It was love at first sight.

Read the rest of this entry »


Rolling Classic: 1976 Volkswagen Type II with Type IV Power – “It Is Floored!”


On my way out of town yesterday, I spotted a very familiar profile in the traffic up ahead, and was able to catch up within a few blocks. I then LOL’d when I saw the “It is floored!” decal in the rear window.

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Curbside Classic: 1974 Dodge Club Cab – Another Dodge First, Not That It Helped All That Much

(first posted 12/10/2012)    I don’t know how it was where you were, but in northeastern Oklahoma in the 1980s, Dodge pickups were never much of a factor until the the Cummins turbodiesel became available for 1989.  The Dodge Ram’s new-found popularity that year was due almost entirely to the Cummins engine, and the heavier 3/4 and 1-ton versions appeared almost instantly and everywhere with flatbeds and gooseneck hitches all around Green Country. But back in 1972, Dodge pioneered the Club Cab, the first extended cab pickup. It may not have done much to pull Dodge out of its perpetual distant third place, but it did revolutionize the industry. Read the rest of this entry »


CC For Sale: 1977 Jeep DJ-5 Dispatcher – Ready For More Abuse

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I’m not sure it’s still for sale, but a couple of months back I stumbled into this veteran Jeep DJ5 Dispatcher not far from my house. I bet it’s got a few miles under its belt. Read the rest of this entry »


Bus Stop Classics: GM Old Look Update (1959-1969) – Hedging Their Bets


The GM Old Look Coach – a true classic in every sense. Most readers of this site know that the Old Look was produced largely from 1940 until the introduction of GM’s New Look or “Fishbowl” model in 1959.  But what is less known is that a smaller model of the Old Look would remain in production in tandem with the New Look for another 10 years. Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: 1993 Honda Prelude – My First Car


This is actually a 1995 Prelude, but finding photos of this car in stock condition is harder than you’d think.

A few months after I turned 14, my mom gave me a heads up that if I wanted to drive when I turned 16, it’d be in a car I paid for myself.

That summer, I joined the army of young people who have mowed grass for their neighbors. Before I knew it, I was spending several days a week behind an old mower that I picked up at a yard sale, slowly building up funds in a little checking account at the bank down the street. When I turned 15, I found a part-time job that allowed me to make even more, and slowly the numbers in my ledger started growing.

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Cohort Outtake: The Purple Fargo Van

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After our fake Fargo pickup the other day and the Dodge B-series vans yesterday, how about we combine them for this splendid find by nifticus, a genuine Fargo A108 van, spotted in the Vancouver, B.C. area. Read the rest of this entry »


The Opel Kadett Asassination – By Car and Driver

(In yesterday’s vintage review Car and Driver gave an Opel the win in its comparison. A few years earlier, it was a very different story. First posted 3/9/2012)

Car and Driver made its rep in the sixties, and it took some colorful writing along with some blatant stunts to cement it. Few are more (in)famous than the Opel Kadett assassination, a so-called review of a 1968 Kadett LS 1.5L wagon in the February 1968 issue. It’s long overdue for it to be reviewed, shedding light on how this came to be. It really needs to be done, because like so many memories of the far distant past, a re-reading makes it clear what a sophomoric undertaking it really was. And a very blatantly contrived one. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: The Humble But Well-Travelled Datsun 210

(first posted 7/31/2012)     Fast, sexy, and exotic. None of these words have ever been used to describe the Datsun 210. Homely, reliable, and adequate have likely been used more often than not. For reasons I can’t articulate, even to myself, I’ve always had a soft spot for the 210. Perhaps it was the yellow Datsun Sunny (one of the other names the 210 had in other markets) my aunt had in the UK. I don’t recall the details of it very well, unlike the Renault 5 another aunt had, but I do remember thinking there is some sort of rightness about it. Perhaps my love of slightly different but humble cars can be traced by to those trips over to the UK. Humble; yes that’s probably the best word to describe the 210.
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CC Outtake: Olds Custom Cruiser – There’s A new B-Body Stranger In Town

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GM B and C Bodies (the RWD kind) are getting a bit scarcer on the ground, and I’ve pretty much seen them all. So when a new one suddenly shows up, it’s worth noting. Especially when it’s listing a bit to rear from a heavy load, and has out of town plates. And two more noteworthy items: Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: 1990 Integra – The Unintentional Acura


Sometimes, being “the car guy” has unintended consequences. Last Fall (2015), an Internet friend of mine from Seattle lamented to me that she needed to get a new car, because she was having difficulty getting in and out of “a car so low”. I helped her pick out a nice Lexus Certified RX450h, she bought it, and it made her happy.

“But now”, she lamented, “what do I do with my Acura? The dealer essentially didn’t want it in trade, and I don’t want to sell it myself.” Read the rest of this entry »


Automotive History Capsule: Virgil Exner’s 1960 XNR – Plymouth’s Corvette Fighter Almost Made It Into Production

(first posted 7/30/2012)    Virgil Exner came very close to getting his 1960 XNR roadster into production, although probably in a slightly toned down form from the pretty wild prototype. Based loosely on the new Valiant, it had a 250- hp Hyper-Pak 170-cu in (2.8-liter) slant six that took it up to 146 mph. Its projected price of $3,000 would have made it an interesting lower-cost competitor to the Corvette and other popular sports cars like the Austin Healey 3000.  But it was not to be. Read the rest of this entry »