SL. Is there anything more evocative than these two letters, set side by side in chrome trim on the rear end of an aged Benz? Evocative of power, lightness, technical prowess and style – that’s the magic of the SL tag. Evocative of parvenu overindulgence, eye-watering expense and gutless engines – that is the other side of the SL… These semi-contradictory features really came together in the third generation of SLs, the R107/C107.
Curbside Classic and Automotive History: Good Lord! The 1972 Mercury Marquis and its Flirtation With Infamy
(first posted 12/27/2013) The original (and superior) version of Hawaii Five-O was broadcast on CBS from 1968 to 1980. Encompassing 279 episodes during that time, the show was an excellent vehicle for enhancing tourism to the 50th state as it brought an otherwise unfamiliar place into everyone’s home. It also served as an excellent platform for Ford Motor Company advertising.
This past Christmas, Santa brought a wildlife camera to Casa de Shafer. We recently had reason to mount it on the front porch (you’ll soon see why) and we inadvertently captured everything that went by our house over an 18 hour period, providing a nice peek into a slice of the middle of this country.
For reference, my house is on a cul-de-sac off the end of a dead-end road. In other words, you have to be going here to get here and there is no through traffic.
When I visit a car show, I reflexively compile my photographs afterwards and start to write an article covering what I saw. I attended All-Japanese Day at Banyo in and photographed a vast number of classics but it was only later, while I was drafting an article on the show, that I realized just how rare and valuable one of the cars was. Unless this is simply an expert modification, you are looking at one of just 197 C110 Skyline GT-Rs, sold over the course of just four months in Japan. Read the rest of this entry »
“The Greatest” — it’s a title which carries with it great responsibility, and one that should neither be applied nor accepted lightly. Yet for some cars, proclaiming them as the greatest comes with relatively little difficulty. Yet, the Mercedes-Benz W124 series, Mercedes’ midsize range of vehicles from 1985 to 1996 and the first to be referred to as the E-Class beginning in as a 1994 model, is a car that this title comes easily to.
With this, the first day of Spring 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere, my mind turns to thoughts of renewal, rebirth, and the unstoppable passage of time. One could say that I’ve been on an “old, blue station wagon” kick of late, having featured a different one just a couple of weeks ago. While this ’57 Bel Air’s rusty, worn condition stands in stark contrast to that of my previously featured ’63 Rambler Classic 660 Cross Country, both cars had me reflecting on just how much the form of the mainstream family hauler has changed, especially within the past thirty years. This ’57 Townsman wagon was one of about 27,500 produced in the Bel Air trim level, in a model year that included about 176,000 total 4-door wagons out of (literally) almost exactly 1,500,000 Chevrolets. What that means is that this car is an example of a body style and trim level that accounted for just 1.8% of total Chevy production for ’57.
Like so many other artifacts of the past, genuine VW hippie buses are becoming harder to come by in Eugene. And this one is a real gem, about as good as they ever got, thanks to its Beetle raised roof. This is a cultural artifact, my friends, and it’s probably headed to the Smithsonian eventually, since Eugene’s Museum of Hippie Culture never quite got off the ground.
(First Published 9/17/2014) In many ways, this 1994 Chrysler LeBaron sedan represents a number of “lasts” for Chrysler. Starting at the very core, it was the last Chrysler sedan derived from the vintage-1981 K-car, and one of the final vehicles whose entire development took place under the tenure of CEO and Chairman Lee Iacocca.
On the windshield of this Chevy you can read: 17-7-75, in the Brazilian way to write dates, that means July 17th, 1975.
Yes, on that memorable day in my hometown in Brazil, Curitiba, it snowed. Not a whole lot by North American standards but it was pretty amazing for us. The picture shows that in some Brazilian cities the winter can be cold.
Let’s fast forward to the 1984, that was my first year at Technical High School and somehow I have managed to convince my dad to take me and my buddies to school every morning. Read the rest of this entry »
The affection of many Europeans for America’s unloved old land barges has been a frequent subject on this site. Enthusiasts in Germany, Sweden and other countries will go to considerable effort and expense to own American full size cars of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s that get little collector interest in their home country, where German cars took over during that era. So it is quite appropriate to find this 1994 Cadillac Fleetwood in Gothenburg, Sweden, parked away from the historic German Church on the other side of the canal that surrounds the old city. The owner of this chrome-laden, vinyl-topped cruiser with a Rolls Royce grille clearly does not worship at the church of German cars.
With the onset of the Northeastern United States’ third severe nor’easter storm in the past eleven days, this one dumping some two feet of snow and white-out blizzard conditions this past Tuesday, I was sent an extra day early to beat out the storm — mind you after a 10-hour work day that culminated with the closing of a sale on a CPO 2015 BMW 328 to a previous client of mine — to my scheduled sales training at BMW Regional Training Center in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
Thankfully, the New York-New Jersey area didn’t get hit hard with this most recent storm, and rather than be stuck in my miserable hotel room in suburban New Jersey, decided to venture into New York City for my extra day off from work (the whole dealership was actually closed anyway due to the storm).
(First Posted October 20, 2013) I used to play a game on Craigslist. Ok, OK, I’ll be honest, I still do. I will search “Cars For Sale – By Owner” and put in a price range from $10-$1000. Then I will see what pops up that is interesting. Then repeat for $1001-$2000 and so on. It’s a good way to keep up on top of the used market but every once in a while you see something you didn’t want to see… Read the rest of this entry »
The story of the new generation Holden Monaro has two distinct parts: first there was an after-hours concept car built by a group of designers wondering how a coupe version of the Commodore sedan might go; followed by a pretty complete re-work when one Bob Lutz tapped the project for a larger purpose. So it makes for an interesting story…
Honest utility- and commercial vehicles of yesteryear always grab my attention. When visiting an event for classic British cars, I thoroughly check out the Land Rovers first, before moving on to the pavement-only type of automobiles. Four of them arrived on the scene.
Image: IMCDB.com, a still from an episode of the X-Files. That could be Mulder behind the wheel.
By 1999, my trusty CRX was getting long in the tooth. It was beginning to blow lots of oil through the tailpipe, to the point where whenever I got on the gas I left blue haze in my wake. The A/C was inoperable, and it began to overheat in traffic, which made it unusable in the city (which was where I lived at the time). I had a ’78 Scout that started up and ran whenever I asked it to, but was really only meant as a semi-occasional driver and not a full-time commuter (14mpg and a 4-speed stick in Beltway traffic kind of sucks). Something had to give.