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Wordless Outtake: Meta Pontiac

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(Another find by SoCalMetro)


Automotive History: The Studebaker Sedan’s Last Decade of Styling – Magic with Leftovers

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It is well documented that the last really new Studebaker was the 1953 model.  The Starliner and Starlight Coupes got all of the glory, but the bread and butter of the line were the regular sedans and coupes.  These “standard” Studebakers were nowhere near as good looking as their sportier siblings, but had just as long of a life – sort of.  It is received wisdom that Studebaker kept building that 1953 model all the way to the end.  But did it?  Let’s take a walk through the many changes that Studebaker would make to these cars in the attempt to keep things fresh.

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Cohort Sighting: Toyota Town Ace – Go West, Old Van


When importing its creatively named Van between 1983 and 1989, Toyota wisely kept the most lavishly outfitted versions outside the US, in deference to their general crudeness.  In Japan and other markets where high-speed stability and performance were lower priorities, the van was known as Town Ace, more openly reflecting its optimization as a suburban people carrier, ill-suited to US freeway duty.  That hasn’t stopped a cult following from developing around these vans; while the Mitsubishi Delica is perhaps the most prominent vintage, feature-laden Japanese cabover import, its cult appeal is far from singular.

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COAL: 1965 Buick Skylark Sport Coupe–Occasionally, Even I Get One Right


After a year as a long-term substitute in a poor rural school district, I was hired as a full-time teacher in June of 2003.  The first thing I did was propose to my girlfriend of three years.  The second thing I did was buy this Skylark, for the public employee approved price of $3400.  In order, those were the two smartest things I have ever done.

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CC Outtake: E90 Corolla Wagon – Music Teacher’s Favorite

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The E90 has got to be my favorite generation of Corolla, and the two-wheel-drive wagon’s long been one of my favorite versions. Seemingly becoming rare on the ground, examples like this rust-free ice-blue automatic are therefore worth capturing (incidentally, post 1990 facelift, alomst all came identitcally equipped and in this color).

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Car Show Classic: 1970 Buick Electra 225 Convertible – Black Cherry Blues

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Was 1970 Peak GM? It is a divisive question. But I for one, think it may be “the year,” despite all the goodness present in the 1965 GM lineup and the commencement of de-contenting which began in 1967-68. But if for no other reason, recall that 1970 was the last year you could get a C-body GM luxury convertible.

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CC Clue

CC Clue

Lots of curves and chrome. What is it? All I’ll say is I absolutely loved it!


CC Effect In Action: 1967 Ford Econoline – Starting Over

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Having appeared the in my neighbor’s driveway the same evening I posted the Canadian Mercury Econoline pickup, this 1967 (?) Ford Econoline replaced the 2002-ish Honda Odyssey which had been sitting idle for the past several months.  Given the obvious CC-effect, I began snapping pictures and in the process, started a conversation with its owner.  Her husband, she said, had passed away ten months ago, leading her to pursue her dream of opening a mobile massage therapy practice (based out of this van, of course).  Seems like Bloomington really is the Eugene of the midwest.

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Classic CC Capsule: Dodge Mirada CMX – Loveable Orphan

On the Dodge Mirada’s Wikipedia page it states that one was used in Kenny Rogers’ theatrical acting debut, Six Pack, a film garnering an impressive 5.2/10 on the Internet Movie Database scale.

The story is of Brewster ‘Brew’ Baker, an auto racer who finds himself in the very relatable position of having his race car stripped bare by a gang of six unruly orphans while stopping for a chicken fried steak in a small Texas town.  The movie’s Mirada is owned and driven by Turk, Brew’s competitor in the important final race of the movie.  Befitting Dodge’s general reputation in the early 1980s, Turk furtively calls his Mirada a Buick. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Capsule: 1985 Audi 4000 S Quattro – Sunday Softcore

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The latest crop of sports sedans get to sixty in less than five seconds, corner at .9 Gs, come loaded with digital displays, are uncannily silent and have kidney punishing rides.  Seeing the cars which gave birth to the segment as we know it today can therefore be quite refreshing.  They were easy going, confident cars that were designed in deference to subtlety above all else.  In other words, fun during an aggressive romp, but appropriate for a Sunday excursion.

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COAL: 1984 Volvo 244 GLE – Canadian Swede

1984 Volvo 244 GLE

I have always admired the Volvo 240 series of cars but never expected to own one. This one literally fell into my lap and become the favorite of my winter beaters. The fact that it was built in Canada was the icing on cake for me.

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CC Outtake (with Video): The Human-Powered Pub-Crawl-Mobile

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Starting with the explosively-growing Ninkasi Brewery some years back, Eugene’s Whiteaker neighborhood has seen an influx of numerous other breweries and pubs. And here’s the safe way to explore them all, on this pedal-powered pub-crawl-mobile. We caught this one in front of Ninkasi just moments before its “crew” came spilling out, giving me a chance to catch it in action. Read the rest of this entry »


Carshow Capsule: 1964 Neckar Weinsberg – A DeLuxe Fiat 500 For Germany

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Here’s one that I had to reminded about when I saw it earlier this year – a Neckar Weinsberg Coupe. Read the rest of this entry »


Classic Car Show Capsule: 1955 Chevrolet Nomad – Stealing The Thunder From The High Priced Cars

As if Chevy wasn’t generous enough in gracing the autosphere with its superb new 1955s, it topped it with an unexpected boon, the Nomad. Not nearly as practical as the regular wagon, but that’s not what it was about, by any stretch. This was a sports wagon, the first, really, and a car with which to one-up the neighbors, even if they drove a Buick. And in doing so, the Nomad helped collapse the whole Sloanian GM hierarchy, which had already been tottering ever since WW2. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Global: Hongqi Limousine vs. YLN 801A – Battle of the Chinese Cars

Hongki and YLN

Paul’s reminiscence about The East Glows from the People’s Republic of China has inspired me to do similar Maoist-style self-criticism and come forth with an untold story about Chinese cars.  In my case, it involves a car book and models from the two competing Chinas: the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China (also known as ROC or Taiwan).

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