(first posted 3/15/2013) If I ever run out of cars to shoot in Eugene (not likely), I’ll just start hanging out in our sister city to the east, Springfield. The other day, I stopped in at two car dealers; Springfield Buick, and Dan’s Automotive. This used car lot on Main Street was surprisingly chock-full of CCs, and I’ll give you a full tour later, so don’t go off about the Stude in the background. But the queen of the lot deserves its own special moment, since it’s one of my all-time favorite cars. Read the rest of this entry »
I only followed stock car racing somewhat peripherally back when it was a lot more interesting. But in the summer of 1965, I became very aware of the fact that a certain David Pearson was tearing up the classic short dirt tracks in a 1965 Dodge Coronet and virtually unbeatable. The combination of the make and model of his steed being the same as our family chariot, and the glowing praise heaped on him by the writers that followed the NASCAR season sucked me in. I was suddenly a David Pearson fan. And in my intermittent following of NASCAR in subsequent years, whenever I happened to catch him in action, I was rarely let down.
He even took that Coronet up to Pikes Peak, where he looks like he’s having fun, as usual. Pearson, who just passed away at 83, was always cool and collected, and typically bided his time to make his move. But when he did, it was almost invariably successful. That’s why he was named The Silver Fox. Pearson was second behind Richard Petty with 105 wins to Petty’s 200, but Pearson had a higher winning average. Here’s a video below of one of his most memorable wins over Petty, at the 1974 Firecracker 400, the result of an incredibly bold gamble when he was already solidly in the lead, to back off and give it to Petty. Temporarily.
A long, long time ago I used to read an automotive site that was abbreviated TTAC. Long before there was such a thing as CC (and long before I ever started writing online) I rented a car and decided to write a review for submission to TTAC. For reasons that elude me the review never got submitted. In going through some old folders on my computer I came across the rental review I wrote when this car was still new. So when is a Classic CC piece not a rerun? Howabout right now.
As a post script on my Scottsdale auction series, the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale had a small Bullitt theme running through it. Fans of the Highland Green Mustangs had three choices, all of them great. I thought I’d take the opportunity to show these cool cars and throw in a little history. Click through to see more, and watch out for black Chargers! Read the rest of this entry »
My Pap always used to tell me that money had a way of burning a hole in my pocket, especially whenever he would slip me my allowance. Shortly thereafter I would pester him to take me to Radio Shack to buy some electronic gadget that caught my eye. Now that I’m an adult (at least according to my age), I have bigger toys that occupy my time and my wallet – usually the four wheeled variety.
(first posted 3/23/2013) Ford may have been first to the intermediate dance (among the Big Three, anyway), but GM came fashionably late and better dressed. Styling, they say, sells cars, and GM’s mouthwateringly crisp, taut lines across its new 1964 A-body line suddenly made Ford’s fast-selling Fairlane look frumpy. Annual freshenings of the 1962 body did no good, and a 1966 restyle helped only a little. So Ford tried again for 1968, presenting this fresh, clean result.
Minivans. Washington Heights, a predominantly Puerto Rican and Dominican neighborhood in uptown Manhattan, is full of them. I’ve featured the disproportionately large number of Nissan Quests and Mercury Villagers in my old ‘hood but they’re not the only vans. From Buick Terrazas to Mercury Montereys, from first-generation Plymouth Voyagers to GMC Safaris, Washington Heights is a veritable Minivan Land. Because of this, it makes photographic pairings like this very easy to find. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been perusing another trove of vintage snapshots, and these two, presumably shot on the same day, rather grabbed me. It took me a couple of minutes to identify this splendid superliner, as initially I thought it was the Queen Elizabeth. It’s the SS France, which was launched in 1961, and was the pride of its country. But like all of these liners, it fell on hard times and she was laid up in 1974, and sold Norwegian Cruise Lines, and renamed the Norway. After a long career as a cruise ship, she was sold and resold, with the designs for either refitting or scrapping, but the liner was laid up eventually over environmental concerns. She was finally scrapped in 2008.
And how long did this 1960 Plymouth survive?
Spotting this X1/9 at a Walmart parking lot took me by surprise, especially when I took a closer look. It’s a genuine beater, which is not how one typically sees X1/9s these days. They’re usually in the hands of devoted owners who pamper them, and appreciate their qualities. Well, that’s not to say this ones owner doesn’t appreciate its qualities, but it’s certainly not pampered.
Obscure rebadges can result from many different scenarios. Sometimes an automaker needs to fill a hole in their line-up and they don’t have a suitable in-house product. Sometimes a rebadge is the result of a misguided joint venture. Other times, corporate acquisitions give automakers access to product that’s worth keeping around. Today, let’s look at four examples of how these scenarios led to obscure rebadges. Read the rest of this entry »
(first posted 3/26/2013) There are about 250 million cars on the streets across the United States. Most have not reached Curbside Classic Status, and those that have are often “common” classics such as an SS Chevy or Mustang. In addition, the ravages of rust and time have driven car after car into the jaws of the recycling center. Because of this, our roads are littered with the popular, the common, and the new. Despite this challenge, each of us searches for their own Curbside Classic Holy Grail. It may be a very rare car, an unusual body style, or a car we remember from our youth. My personal Holy Grail is the Toyota Carina. Read the rest of this entry »
Yeah, I know: if you were young when these cars were new or newish, you’ll have no problem. Or of course if you’re an ace car spotter. But when folks complain that today’s cars all look alike, they’re likely to be above a certain age.
Here’s another view:
The Niedermeyers’ move from Iowa City to Towson, MD. in the summer of 1965 was not a happy one for me. Compared to that little cosmopolitan and progressive university town, Towson was insular, conservative and dull. Nobody had ever been anywhere in their lives except at the ocean during summer vacation. They all wore the same preppy clothes. They were unfriendly. And they all drove big, boring sedan, especially Fords. Even the nuns at Immaculate Conception, who got three new ’66 Ford Custom 500 sedans in various pastel colors, one of them exactly like this blue one. I still struggle with the unhappy memories it’s brought up. Now I’ll have to share them in the hopes that it’s therapeutic. Feel free to sit this one out.
There are some old cars you won’t be surprised to see still on the roads two or three decades later. Camrys and Corollas, for example. Old pickup trucks. Exotics. Conservative sedans favored by the elderly. One type of car you definitely don’t expect to see is a 1980s hot hatch like this Ford Escort XR3i. Read the rest of this entry »