Recent Posts

CC Global: 2017 Oogstdagen (Harvest Days) – Modern Agricultural Machinery

The Oogstdagen-event is held every year in the month of August. It’s a combination of an exhibition of recent and new farm machinery, a classic farm tractor show, demonstrations and (fun) games. So for a change, here’s something completely different than the usual car and truck show reports.

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Car Show Capsules: A Cornucopia of Classics at Cars & Coffee – Dibs on the Dodge!

Our local Cars & Coffee event recently outgrew the venue they had been using, so our latest was held at a former car dealership that’s been purchased by a local gentleman to house his collection, which we’ll get to in a bit. The day dawned clear and cool, and with a throaty crackle and roar, I fired up the Chev SS Commodore SSV Redline and headed out to enjoy a bit of motorheading with friends. So grab a cuppa joe, and let’s start walking! Read the rest of this entry »


CC Capsule: 1980 & 1981 Volkswagen Pickups – It’s Rabbit Season

For at least the past five years, the arrival of late spring in my neighborhood has brought with it an abundance of wild rabbits.  I’ve lived in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago’s north side for over a decade, but it’s possible I simply have never noticed them before now.  Somehow, though, I doubt it.  There seems to have been some sort of population boom over the past several years.  On the other hand, early VW Rabbits, in any configuration, continue to get scarcer.  I recall spotting just two in Chicago (out of five total) in the past four years – both of them pickups, or “Caddys” as known in other markets.

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Curbside Classic: 1963 Chrysler New Yorker – Virgil Exner Comes Full Circle (with some help?)


(first posted 10/16/2013)     The 1963 Chrysler has always been an odd vehicle, one that seems to have fallen from the sky bearing little stylistic relationship to its predecessors.  It disappeared very soon after its debut, and its replacement expressed yet another new design language that would carry Chrysler into the Iacocca era.  Is there another car from the entire Virgil Exner styling period that more strongly harkens back to the Ghia-built show cars of the early 1950s and the 1955 Chrysler line they inspired?

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QOTD: 2003 BMW 530i (E39) – What Is The Most Gracefully Aged Luxury Car Of The Past Two Decades?

Redesigning a luxury car is no easy task for any automaker. On the one hand, a redesign must not be too radical and extreme, risking the loss of loyal buyers, many of whom have more conservative tastes. Yet on the other hand, a redesign must not be too evolutionary and restrained, because this too might risk the loss of buyers who find it not different and exciting enough. It’s a fine line to walk and it seems that in every case, the automaker is subject to criticism.

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Roadside Classics: Signs of America in the ’70s,’80s and 90s – By John Margolies at the Library of Congress

St. Joseph Auto and Furniture Fabric slip cover sign; St, Joseph, Missouri (1988)

John Margolies was an American photographer who in the 1970s began traveling secondary US highways to document quirky signage and striking roadside eye-catchers. He authored slick, heavy coffee-table books on programmatic architecture and visual essays on novelty subjects like miniature golf courses, movie theaters, Eastern resorts, and road maps. Margolies unflaggingly continued to shoot until his eyes began to fail in the early 2000s. His collection at the Library of Congress goes on into the thousands upon thousands of images. Margolies died in 2016. The accompanying shots are some of those most directly related to the automobile itself. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Outtake: No Failure To Communicate Edition 2

Compared with the first edition we are down a few antennae this time around, but there is still the potential for some serious communication here!  The car this time is a 2001 WM model Holden Statesman, and the blacked-out colour scheme and split-spoke alloy wheels signify it is a limited-edition “International LS8”, which had a run of just 350 cars.

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COAL: 2001 Volvo V40 1.8 Business – “The Crimson Express”

In 2012 my girlfriend and I learned that we were expecting our first child. We decided that a car would make things more manageable as we live hundreds of miles from our families of origin.

Unlike previously, I decided to go about selecting a car in a more grown-up manner. That meant that I would figure out a set of adult criteria and use those criteria to find a suitable car.

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CC Capsule: 1966 Thunderbird Town Landau – The T Bird Comes Down With Brougham Fever

Brougham fever was virulent in 1966 at Ford, and the results speak for themselves. Who needs rear side windows anyway? Despite the fact that switching to a four passenger format in 1958 was the key breakthrough for T Bird sales, Ford knew that many lovers of the ’55-’57 T Birds were never quite resigned to that fact. So Ford kept placating them in ways to make the Flair Bird look more like a two passenger car, like this 1966 Town Landau. Convincing? Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Reviews & Commentary: 1990 Nissan 300ZX Turbo – “Porsche Likes Luxury”

Don’t let the headline fool you.  The “Porsche” in this case doesn’t come from Stuttgart, but rather the bayous of South Louisiana.  But this post will cover one of the best sports cars to ever be imported to the U.S. from Japan (plus a comparison test with a real Porsche thrown in for good measure), along with sex, money and a soupçon of scandal.  So buckle your seatbelts and get ready for a ride.

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Lexus RX 350 – Shortest Ownership Before Wreck, Ever

How often are your car accidents?  Some people drive a car for decades and never wreck.  What about the other end of the spectrum?  What is the record for shortest vehicle ownership before an accident?  A month?  Two weeks?  A couple days?  How about just over five hours? Read the rest of this entry »


CC Outtake: 1985 Toyota Celica Supra – Simply Superb

A couple of years ago, this ’85 Toyota Celica Supra greeted me from the parking lot of a local, neighborhood coffee shop.  The model year is identifiable by the smoother sunshade mounted on the rear hatch and the absence of the third brake light mounted beneath the rear spoiler.  These were Japanese muscle cars I always felt were okay to like in my hometown, the birthplace city of General Motors.  The way the parking lot lights hit and cast shadows on this one’s lean, muscular, geometrically-sculpted body enhanced what I find to be this generation’s enduring visual appeal.  Its successor, the A70 that appeared in the U.S. in the fall of ’86 (of which I am also a fan), sported smoother contours, but in terms of lasting beauty, the featured A60 – which ran from 1982 through ’86, is probably my favorite Supra of all time.

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COAL: 2002 Chevrolet Corsa Wind – Jelly Bean, Maybe; But One With Character

Around mid 2000’s I decided to sell my 1997 VW Gol (see COAL here) and search for another car. What should I look for? After owning two VW Gol in a row I decided for a different thing, not only a different car but also another brand, one that I had always liked, especially because it’s comfortable and reliable, and somewhat more upmarket cars than those I had usually driven… a Chevrolet. But it wouldn’t be a nice road cruiser like an Opala with a 250 ci engine nor a 2.0 liter Monza or a Kadett; all of then cars which for sure I liked very much. That’s the story of my 2002 Chevrolet Corsa Wind, a car that left really good memories.

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Cohort Outtake: 1981 Packard Revival Kit(sch) Car – Still My Beating Heart

In addition to made up names, during the great neo-classic kit(sch)-car era, revivals of grand old marques was of course a common theme. The whole era got its start with Virgil Exner’s 1963 Stutz revival drawing for a magazine, which turned into a series of toy cars, and eventually spawned full-sized ones. Packard was not one of the original batch, but that came soon enough, and a number of Packard tribute kit(sch)-cars were available during the 70s and early 80s. This one—posted to the Cohort by William Rubano—dates to about 1981, and is obviously based on a Cadillac Coupe de Ville, the very car that was responsible for Packard’s demise. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1991 Peugeot 405 Mi16 – Orphaned at Birth

Back in March, Paul posed a question to the CC community: which car would you most like to find in the wild? At the time, I mentioned the NSU Ro80 in my response, which I would indeed be thrilled to discover. However, reality does not lend my choice much chance of coming to fruition, as there are probably no more than a few Ro80s left in the entire United States, let alone sitting curbside. A similar fate meets most of the other selections on my CC ‘bucket list,’ as since compiling this informal list a little more than a year ago, I have crossed out a grand total of six entries – leaving 48 to go. The upshot of this is that running across a car on my ‘bucket list’ is a none-too-common occurrence. As you may have guessed by now, this 405 Mi16 was one of the six. Read the rest of this entry »