Recent Posts

Alley Outtake: A Motley Collection

In the winter, when our hikes are urban instead of in the woods, we sometimes change it up by walking the alleys instead of the streets. Here’s a motley collection of typical Eugene-mobiles parked by these alley houses.

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Auction Classic: 1951 Frazer Manhattan Convertible – Four Doors Out Of Necessity, Not Virtue


Quick! Think of a four-door convertible vehicle. The first answer that most people think of is the 1961-67 Lincoln Continental convertible, or perhaps the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited if you are of a more modern bent. However, when I think of four door convertibles, my go-to car of choice is the 1949-51 Frazer Manhattan Convertible.

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Anyone Want to Meet Up In Towson on Aug. 3, 4, or 5?

Speaking of CC Meet-Ups, I’m going to be in Towson, MD. August 3-5 to celebrate my mother’s 95th birthday. This would only be a social event, as my schedule is limited, and I have my disabled daughter with me. The possibilities are Friday evening and either Saturday or Sunday morning. It’s not a big deal, but if there’s a few of you that are interested, let me know.


An Impromptu CC Meet-Up in Portland July 28-29: “The Shape of Speed” Exhibit and Vintage Races at PRI

This is very short notice, but PDXMike emailed me this weekend letting me know about “The Shape of Speed” exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. This is an absolute must-see for me, as it covers the beginning of the aerodynamic era with the very finest examples of cars and motorcycles, including a Tatra 77A, which I have never seen in the flesh.

And then he also informed me that it’s The Portland Vintage Racing Festival, at Portland International Raceway, with the finals on Sunday. So I’m coming up for the weekend, in my van, even if it’s not fully finished. We’ll find a place to socialize on Saturday night. So if you’re in the area or can make it out, see you in Portland!

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Curbside Classic: 1960 Corvair Monza Club Coupe – How Some Auto Show Attendees Created The Most Influential Car Of The Decade

(first posted 11/27/2012.  Update: it’s almost surprising how many previous readers/commenters didn’t get the point of this article. It’s clearly not about the first Monza’s rear engine, which was undoubtedly not influential. Its significance was all about offering a fashionable, well-trimmed sporty coupe at very affordable prices. It has long been established as absolute fact that the Monza’s surprising popularity in 1961 motivated Lee Iaccoca to create the Mustang. And that led to both the explosion of pony cars as well as the popularization of coupes, which eventually became the best selling body style in America)

It’s difficult to overstate what a significant car the 1960 Corvair Monza Coupe was. There is no doubt that it turned the industry’s conventional thinking on its head–that compact cars should only be penalty boxes for thrifty folks. That’s what the whole American industry took for granted, and none more than Chevrolet with its Corvair sedan.

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Car Show Outtake: Get Your Photo Taken In An “Iconic Movie Car”

Last weekend’s RACQ Motorfest had an interesting little sideshow. You could get your photo taken with famous cars from movies! You may notice this ECTO-1 isn’t a ’59 Cadillac like the one from Ghostbusters or even an ’84 like the one from the Ghostbusters reboot. It wasn’t the most inaccurate vehicle in this sideshow… Read the rest of this entry »


Design History Capsule: 2003 Cadillac CTS – The Art of Cribbing and the Science of Imitation

The Mazda MS-X Concept was shown in 1997 at the Frankfurt and Tokyo Motor Shows. It was apparently designed at Mazda Research and Design Europe, to explore advanced design and interior concepts for a possible future production sedan. The 2003 Cadillac CTS, as it turns out.

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Curbside Classic: 1994 Chrysler LeBaron Landau – Defiance Is Best Served With A Heavy Hand Of Brougham

Ahh the K-car. So much can be said about it as a whole and its various derivatives, and quite honestly, so much has already been said about it here at this publication, ranging from admiration to utter disgust. Ultimately, after some 15 years of production and mutation, Chrysler did quickly phase out every last K-car derivative to make way for its modern Cab Forward styled cars. One of the very last K-cars, this final generation LeBaron sedan has been detailed here before, though not entirely in its ultimate Landau form. The last of its kind in so many ways, among them, the 1994 LeBaron Landau holds the distinction of being the last Chrysler equipped with a factory vinyl roof, and the last American car featuring button-tufted loose pillow style seats.

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QOTD: Have You Ever Made A Really Stupid Mistake?

Last Monday, I did what everyone who transfers from driving a petrol fuelled car to a diesel fuelled car, or has a mixed fuel fleet, always dreads. I misfuelled my Alfa Romeo Giulietta. And, yes, you do feel a complete idiot when you do it. Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: 2011 Mercedes-Benz GL450 4Matic – Straight Outta Tuscaloosa! (Now With Updates!)


(First Posted January 10, 2016 – This originally appeared out of order since we still had it during the original run of this series, now it is in the correct chronological purchase order)  And…I’m back with more of what our dear late contributor Kevin Martin named my “extended test drives”!  It’s been almost two years (four and half now) (February 6, 2014) since we traded in our 2012 VW Touareg TDI (presciently dodged that resale bullet in 2014 which with further hindsight would have turned into a TDI ka-ching payout had we kept it) on a Certified Pre-Owned Mercedes built by the fine workers at the factory in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, U.S.A. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage R&T Review: 1976 Toyota Celica Liftback – “A Much Improved Car”

1976 brought not just the new Liftback version of the popular Celica, but all the Celicas had significant improvements, including a longer wheelbase, wider track, bigger and wider wheels and tires, among others. It was practically a whole new generation. And ride, handling and braking were all significantly improved, in areas where its predecessor had been a bit weak. The result was a better car overall.

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CC Global: 2008 Volkswagen T5 2.5 TDI And 2006 Hapert Drawbar Trailer – The Towing Transporter

Je kunt mij huren, it says on the trailer’s side; You can rent me. And that’s exactly what folks here do when they’ve got something to haul, just rent a trailer and hook it up to your own vehicle. After the job is done, you bring it back to the rental company.

The towing vehicle can be anything, from a B-segment hatchback to a big SUV. Depending on the trailer’s size and weight, of course. The other day, my neighbor obviously needed something bigger than the widely used single- or tandem axle trailer.

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COAL: 1992 Pontiac Bonneville SE – The Next Generation

Note: None of the pictures in this post are of the actual car

Since we had received good service from our 1989 Bonneville, we decided that the next “new to us” car would be the 1992 Bonneville.  A friend had told us that the local dealer had one in the service bay, so we went over to check it out.

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Storage Field Classic: The Very Advanced (But Mostly Forgotten) Rover 2000TC

(first posted 11/7/2012)      Before BMW had the European sports sedan genre covered, there was the Rover 2000TC. Based on a lively, rear-wheel drive platform, it combined impeccable handling with a dash of classic British luxury. Taking a strategic cue from BMW’s 1600/2002 range, Rover used their 2000/2000TC line to inject a little life into a familiar and rather staid line up. Although the Rover 2000TC, unlike the BMW 2002, is relatively unknown to North American enthusiasts, it might well be even more worthy of our attention.

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Cohort Capsule: Toyota Sports 800 – Toyota’s First Sports Car

posted at the Cohort by William Rubano


We’ve covered Honda’s brilliant S500/600/800 sports car, which had tiny high-winding DOHC fours that revved up to 9,500rpm and made up to 70hp. Toyota was undoubtedly shocked by that, and felt they had to offer something in the same category too. The result was the little Sports 800, powered by an 800cc version of the air-cooled boxer twin from the Publica 700 sedan. It made a still-decent 45 hp but at a mere 5400 rpm. But if it wasn’t exactly a screamer like the Hondas, it was still a fun little bomb on Japan’s roads at the time.

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