I’d like to offer my apologies in advance to anyone who’ll find my treatment of this car uncharitable, but sometimes it’s difficult to keep my criticism to myself. This is especially true when the reasons for my disapproval could’ve so easily been avoided. It’s no secret that I love mid ’60s Mopar styling, so when I saw this B-body hardtop sitting at a used car lot nearby my home, I had to take a look.
The other night found me in a part of town I haven’t been to for some time, and I snapped a few driveway scenes as long as the light held out. This one has quite the collection of cars. And there’s still one more hidden. Read the rest of this entry »
I stumbled into this on one of my many searches, and it made me stop. It’s not just a great snapshot generally, but obviously, I couldn’t miss the little study in automotive contrasts on the left. An Isetta, and a convertible at that, right behind a ’58 Chevy Bel Air. So when I went back to find the source of this shot, I Googled “New Orelans 1959″ and came up with a few other random shots worth sharing. Read the rest of this entry »
We’ve showcased our fair share of Broughamy eBay finds here on CC, and the B-body has been a perennial favorite, either as a CC in the wild or when listed for sale. Rarely chiming in, though, I’ve decided to go ahead and share one I find especially charming. My favorite ’77-’90 B-bodies have tended to be wagons, but it’s the early coupes that possess the greatest visual interest, and as far as the different divisions’ models go, the Buicks tend to be my first choice, owing to their ornate dashboards and restrained exterior trim. When I remember how attractive the initial Pontiac variants were, on the other hand, it becomes a toss up.
There’s nothing like stable or slightly declining fuel prices to induce Metro-amnesia, like the now-forgotten fact that someone bid up the price of a sixteen-year-old 1992 Metro XFi on an Ebay auction to an eye-popping $7,200 back in 2008. Would this one even fetch $720 today? Well, if its owners think oil prices are cyclical, they’ll stash it away until the next price spike, which admittedly might be a bit of a wait.
The Metro XFi surfed the tide and ebb of oil prices from day one, which explains its demise in the oil glut of the mid-90s. And then the Prius took its place as the mileage champ. It’s always a good exercise to be a contrarian, so lets celebrate the current moderate fuel prices with the thriftiest little car sold here during its reign. Read the rest of this entry »
As they say, a picture says a thousand words, and this great shot by AGuyInVancouver maybe be worth three times that much. It’s much more than a mere twofer; it’s really a triptych which illustrates the story of the average American large compact through three examples built and/or conceived roughly two decades apart. While that eighth-gen Acura CSX (Civic) is far from being a classic, it’s an appropriate marker in the ongoing story of the compact American sedan across several generations.
In researching my other post on The East Glows, I came across carnewschina.com’s China Car History section. No mention of the 1965 Beijing sedan that was somehow mistakenly given that lyrical name, and it’s not really a comprehensive history of Chinese cars, but there are lots of Honquis and a number of more recent but obscure cars form the 80s and 90s. Like this Haliu BHL 6350, caught on the street in 1996, a curious little mini-van which was obviously inspired by the first generation Toyota Previa. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1955, the Nomad Wagon was the most expensive Chevrolet by a healthy margin, and marked the beginning of Chevy’s expansion into the mid-priced market. By 1968, that storied name was recycled on the lowest-trim Chevelle wagons. It’s a familiar cycle, that never seemed to end, until the name was pushed all the way off the bottom rung of the ladder. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1971, I committed a crime, the repercussions of which still affect me today. I was a bored eighteen-year-old whose overdeveloped but under-used automotive memory banks craved stimulus. In those pre-web dark ages, the information gap between monthly car magazines was excruciating. Desperate, I plied the 629.22 rack of the Iowa City Public Library, and found the font of automotive history. I slipped the heavy Rosetta stone under my baggy Army surplus jacket and walked out. I’ve been guiltily absorbing its contents ever since.
Ironically, out of the thousands of cars listed in it, the one that really grabbed me in 1971 was this one. And I (and my kids) have been searching in vain for it ever since. Turns out I never will find a genuine The East Glows, but I am eager to have some old Chinese Curbside Classics featured here. Are there any?
Pardon the bad pun, but I just couldn’t resist. I’ve seen this grey 190D, with its Hungarian front plate, running around town for over a year and only now got around to snapping a few pictures. From a distance, I misread its 2.2 liter call-out as 2.5, and not having seen the front, with its sealed-beam headlights, I overlooked that with its 2.2 diesel, it is painfully slow (though with judicious use of the five-speed gearbox and regular foot-to-floor applications of throttle, keeping up with traffic in-town looks to be a cinch).
The Morris Marina was the first new car from the newly merged British Leyland (BLMC) and illustrates clearly why the volume car business of the preceding BMC had failed, and why government ownership, or indeed any other type of ownership, is no panacea to an organisation’s ills when not backed up by a financial commitment comparable to industry standards.
Canadian market oddities are a popular topic here at Curbside Classic, and we cover them every now and again. Just last week, we brought you the Pontiac Laurentian, with Chevy-based, narrow track mechanicals hiding beneath spiffy bodywork. And there is, of course, a parade of Plodges in our archives, most recently, a ’61 Dart Seneca. This Econoline truck, however, is even less differentiated than either of those; not really a marketing exercise as much as a bygone way of bringing Ford’s heavier-duty vehicles to rural locales with only a Mercury dealer (Canada is generally more sparsely populated, remember), the Mercury Econoline wasn’t intended to convey additional prestige over the more common Ford.
The thing about cars that were considered very ugly when new is that they often tend to mellow with age, like the perpetually-maligned Pontiac Aztek; it doesn’t really look so bad anymore. It was just a bit too far ahead of its time, and had a few unfortunate details, like its beak. But it hardly stands out anymore, and has actually become hip, especially since Breaking Bad. But the Vehicross? After some fifteen years is it looking a bit less out there? Read the rest of this entry »
(This latest COAL comes to us by way of CC reader Leon Eckell, aka eckell3)
This past April, while returning to my car after a visit to the notary, I caught a glimpse of a small “Buy Here, Pay Here” used car lot across the street from my bank. There was a very attractive 1999 Firebird for sale which I decided to investigate and ultimately ended up buying. I’d always liked the fourth-generation Firebird and I figured that I could rely on my then-current car, a 1990 Volvo 240 DL, as a winter daily. A month later, when I returned to exchange my temporary tags for permanent license plates, I noticed a 2006 Taurus in SE trim sitting on the lot. As it had a number of things my Volvo did not–like cloth, A/C and solid bodywork–I decided to take it for a spin; I was growing tired of fighting the tin worm and Old Red was truly beginning to fall apart. Having grown up with Tauruses, I also knew how to work on them quite easily, so I bought it, using the Volvo as a trade-in.