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Curbside Classic: 1992 Isuzu Trooper – Really Really Big Horn

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Here is one of the more obscure competitors from the beginning of the Great SUV Boom of the ’90s. The result of a lot of hard work by its maker, it is possibly the most ambitious product offered by utilitarian Isuzu, designed with its eye on high-tech bubble-economy Japanese glam, unlike its very no-frills predecessor. Paul does not like the ’92-’02 Trooper if I recall correctly, but I feel rather differently, as you might imagine. Perhaps he might reconsider, given this very basic, five-speed equipped example (which would look so much better in red or dark blue).

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CC Effect Capsule: 1967 Jeep Gladiator J2000 – With Some Additional Graphic Technical Details

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At 8:45 AM this morning, I left a comment at JPC’s 1965 Gladiator CC, referring to my previous Gladiator CC: Now if only one of us had had the guts to pop the hood and gotten a shot of the 327.  Shortly thereafter, I closed up my laptop and got in my truck to pick up some 4×4 posts for a staircase I’m (slooowly) building. And as I pull into the lot at Jerry’s, what awaits me but an almost identical truck. And this time, I did get shots of the AMC 327 V8, as well as a couple of other technical goodies.

Although we generally refrain from posting about two similar vehicles close together, this one seemed to want to break that rule, although I’m going to just stick to a few technical details that don’t overlap JPC’s excellent historical overview of the Gladiator. Starting with that Rambler 327. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Capsule: 1996 Jeep Cherokee – Never a Family Hauler

1995 Jeep Cherokee a

I stopped to photograph this Jeep Cherokee because the two-doors are far less plentiful than the four-doors, which themselves are starting to thin out here in Rustopia. I guess most people bought these to do what we buy CUVs for now, and that demanded four-door utility. But this Cherokee was certainly not bought for that purpose, and the proof is inside. Read the rest of this entry »


eBay Find: 1979 Chrysler Newport – A Like-New Newport in Portland


It’s common knowledge that the short-lived Chrysler R-bodies were a catastrophic flop for the then-struggling automaker. With the majority of them going to fleet sales, these R-bodies took a lot of abuse in the public sector, and were therefore mostly obsolete within decade. Even those that went to private customers, particularly the über-plush New Yorker Fifth Avenue, didn’t seem to stick around quite as long as a comparable GM B-body or Ford Panther.

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CC Capsule: 1986 Plymouth Reliant K – “Hey! That’s My Car! I’ll Move It!”

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There might be dozens and dozens of K-cars plying the streets of Oregon and Washington state, but here in the heartland they are a much rarer affair these days. They used to be everywhere, but those pesky little rust mites got most of them (Ooh, another K-car! Munch munch crunch…burp!).

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CC Capsule: 2002-2006 Suzuki Aerio – Adios Aerios

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On of my neighbors seems to rather like Aerios. And what’s not to like, if you like tall, narrow roomy boxes on little wheels? Right up my alley; or down the street, actually. I could see myself in one of these, for an around-town scooter. They must be pretty brisk too, given the 155hp 2.3 L engine that powered US versions starting in 2004. Hmm; so why didn’t these catch on more? Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1965 Jeep Gladiator J-2000 – Holy Toledo!


Certain cities are inextricably linked to the vehicles their residents made.  Everyone who knows cars can pair the Michigan cities of Flint with Buick, Lansing with Oldsmobile and Dearborn with Ford.  Outside of Michigan, say ‘Kenosha’ and everyone thinks of AMC.  Ditto South Bend and Studebaker.  And the northern Ohio city of Toledo is every bit as identified as the home of the Jeep.

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More Details on The CC Meet-Up in Auburn and Baltimore

Bromo Seltzer towerBaltimore’s famous Bromo Setzer tower

Organizing social events is not one of my strengths, but here’s what seems to be the plan for the CC Meet-ups in Auburn, Indiana and the Baltimore area: Read the rest of this entry »


Cohort Outtake: Renault Alliance Convertible – Kenosha’s Last Sun Chaser

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When the maker of a slow-selling car decides to tear off its roof in an attempt at greater profits and popularity, the result is usually not-so-good (think Yugo or Paseo).  Such was the case with the final few runs of AMC/Renault Alliance, when GTA and convertible variants debuted.  Poor reliability and and weak powertrain performance are not paths to sales success in the United States, but with satisfying chassis dynamics and good ergonomics, the cars weren’t without their merits; maybe that’s why this red convertible, spotted by S. Forrest, has been kept in such good nick.

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Cohort Capsule: Vanden Plas Princess 4-Litre R – International Brougham?

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I wouldn’t classify it as such.  I think it’s important to limit the Brougham classification to those primarily American (and sometimes foreign, usually Japanese) cars which really do it justice.  This car–spotted in California by CJCars–has a gussied up style for sure, but it stops short of true Brougham.  What is it, then?  Well, m’dear, it’s nothing less than proper British luxury–in the form of one of its rarer exemplars.

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Classic Curbside Classic: 1966 Mercury Monterey and the Indian Summer of the Full Sized Convertible

The second half of the 1960s was the last point in time full sized convertibles had any relevance in the American market. A short five years later they would all but have disappeared from most non-General Motors brands. Was it a warm Indian summer, or was it just time to set the clocks back and hunker down for the Malaise Era?

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Vintage Ad: 1966 Mustang – 271 Solid-Lifter V8, Now With Cruise-O-Matic


In the comment threads over the past week, the pairing of Toyota’s VVTL-i 1.8 with its four-speed auto came up, along with Honda’s domestic market twin-cam VTEC-plus-automatic offerings.  Why sell such combinations, when it’s a recipe for slow progress?  Well, when there’s enough demand, you do it anyway.   Read the rest of this entry »


Car Show Classic: 1978 Mustang II King Cobra – The First 5.0 And A Screaming Cobra


Where does one even begin when describing the top of the line, final Mustang II?  The car is already somewhat polarizing, and then one must deal with the Trans-Am knock-off “Screaming Cobra.”  It looks fast but really isn’t, although it introduced a famous badge that still carries weight today.  It is a pristine example of a car that few people restore.  Many enigmas surround this ’78 King Cobra, but could it be the most appropriate sendoff for this flawed yet timely iteration of what is perhaps Ford’s most storied vehicle?

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Cohort Sighting: United Airlines Maverick – A Fresh Outfit For Ol’ Reliable

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How do you all suppose this Maverick got here?  It doesn’t seem to match United Airlines livery during its years of production, now does it?

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The First Wheeled Hummer (And My Only One): Harley Davidson’s Little (DKW) Two-Stroke

This is what happens when you fail to stay on task: I was researching the transition of DKW to Audi, and got distracted with the fact that DKW was the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer in the twenties and thirties. And that DKW’s brilliant RT 125 from the thirties was so advanced, that the Allies all made a grab for it, either the whole tooling (Russia) or at least the blueprints (England, US, India). And no less than Harley Davidson used those blueprints to build their little two-stroke Hummers. And then the light went on: I used to ride one of those! Time for a little more digging, and sharing. Read the rest of this entry »