Recent Posts

Industry Tidbit of the Day: GM’s New 2019 Pickups’ EPA Ratings Up To 3mpg Worse Than Its Predecessors – “Don’t look at the sticker” (or its face)

GM’s new 2019 pickups, the most important vehicle in their portfolio, are not off to a roaring start. There is general consensus that its interiors are not competitive. And now it’s apparent that its fuel consumption isn’t either. Certain versions of the 2019 have EPA ratings as much as 3 mpg lower than comparable 2018 versions. The apparent (and rather obvious) reason: worse aerodynamic drag thanks to that oversize blunt front end. Progress.

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CC Capsule: Toyota Crown – Japanese Import Royalty

Toyota Crown

(first posted 12/8/2013)    While not nearly as popular as a few years back, there is still a steady stream of 15+ year-old Japanese market vehicles that make their way into Canada. The vast majority are sports cars, high end SUVs or four wheel drive vans. Trailing behind in fourth place are luxury cars. This Toyota Crown Royal Saloon is the first of its kind I’ve seen here. It resembles the Lexus LS400. but is based on a different platform.

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CC For Sale: Lancia Delta Intregrale 16V – Want To Go Rallying?

Someone parked his Lancia Delta  close to the entrance of the freeway exit at my place of work. It’s been sitting there for 4 weeks now and I finally managed to find the time to pull over and snap some pics. It features not only the S4 rally decals but has also a somewhat modified interior…..

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Cohort Outtake: Pontiac Survivor

tbm3fan posted a couple of shots of this survivor, which is showing the ravages of time. Looks like some red tape or plastic wrap is being employed on the roof, and some duct tape to keep the vinyl half-roof from flapping in the wind to badly. But here it, still chugging along. And no obvious rust. It was shot at the former NAS Alameda, in the Bay Area.

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COAL: 2002 Saturn LW200 Wagon – A Dream Realized



NOTE: I have no picture of my Saturn Wagon, but this is close enough.

Like a lot of new parents shopping for a vehicle, a minivan is often the safe and wise choice. The room, utility, comfort and safety make a lot of sense when you need room for one or more strollers, pack and play’s  and all of those things.  We were adjusting well to being parents and raising our baby son Adam and he was a very agreeable little guy. The 1998 Bravada was soon to go back on  lease. The suggestion of friends and family was for us to get a minivan, and soon.

Being a GM loyalist, the choice was the Chevy Venture, Pontiac Montana or the Oldsmobile Silhouette, all virtually identical.  But it was pretty clear to me that those three vehicles were the bottom of the barrel in every way compared to everything else out there.  Some men and women are vehemently anti-minivan due to some perceived stigma. We weren’t that way at all. No matter anyway. Instead, I wanted something I couldn’t have as a boy, but certainly always coveted: a station wagon.

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CC Video: A Battered Old Mercedes L-Series Truck Conquers the Most Brutal “Road” In Africa

Johannes Dutch left this in the comments at today’s L-series post. I watched and was mesmerized. This is one of the more remarkable automotive feats on video. It’s almost unbelievable that this battered old truck made it through, both in terms of not getting stuck as well as in not breaking down. Amazing.


CC Global: 1959-95 Mercedes L Series Trucks

Brochure Photo

(first posted 7/1/2014)   Say the words “big truck” to someone who grew up in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s, such as myself, and the first image to crop up will likely resemble the Mack R-Series, the ubiquitous dump truck, fire truck, tractor-trailer, garbage truck, and any other purpose truck of those decades.  The same words said outside the United States in the local language will likely conjure up memories of the 1959-95 Mercedes L Series.  Like the Mack R-Series, the Mercedes L Series came in a broad range of configurations and weight classes and acquired a legendary reputation for utility and durability.  In the United States we rarely, if ever, see this truck except in photographs from foreign countries, but in many parts of the world, it is an everyday sight wherever work is done.

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Vintage Photo: ” Wanna Check Out My Hot New Ride?”



COAL Update: The Jag Hits The Road, Sortof

I previously wrote about our 1988 Jaguar XJ-SC here.  It recently hitched a ride to the tire and brake shop. Read the rest of this entry »


Motorcycle with a Long Lifetime: Kawasaki KLR650

2018 KLR650 catalog image

Last month, Kawasaki announced that their KLR650, shown above in a picture from, would not be offered for the 2019 model year. The KLR650 was introduced for the 1987 model year, and lasted almost unchanged, with just one refresh, for over 30 years on the US market.

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Vintage Snapshot: Margaret Ransohoff With Her First Car (Updated)

(Update: my explanation for running this picture as well as more details about how it was originally used has been added)

I ran into this in my wanderings on the web, and not surprisingly, it caught my eye. But I wondered about whose car it was. The way she’s touching the headlight so tenderly made me think it most likely was hers, but I couldn’t be sure. That is, until its hidden caption appeared only just as I uploaded it into CC:

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COAL:1999 Volkswagen New Beetle – Cheap Fun Winter Beater

Taken the day I bought the car.

The VW Cabrio made such an impression on me, I wanted a Volkswagen to pound around in for the winter.  This one fit the bill.  Cheap, inspected, new snow tires, and cheap! Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1964 BMW 1800 “New Class” – The Tesla Model S Of Its Time

curbside BMW 1800 shot by William Oliver

For some time now I’ve been grappling with the question as to what is the best historical parallel to Tesla. Tesla is a completely new company, highly unique in being an all-EV car company and also pioneering a radical new electronic architecture and assisted-driving features. Its sales and brand image are exploding, seriously challenging the existing premium brands including BMW. Its market capitalization has now surpassed both BMW and Mercedes.

This is historically unprecedented; to the best of my knowledge no car company has ever had such rapid growth due to completely new technology (or without it) in the post-war era. I simply can’t find a proper parallel or precedent.

The best I can come up with is BMW; specifically the New Class (“Neue Klasse”) cars that arrived in 1962. The 1500/1800/2000 sedans spawned all the modern BMWs since, and as such is analog to the Tesla Model S. And the smaller and cheaper and vastly better-selling BMW 1602/2002/3 Series that followed it is of course analog to the Tesla Model 3. BMW it is, unless someone can point out a better choice.

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Automotive Reminiscing: Marvin “Ike” Eichstetter And His Chevrolet

Note:  Over my time at CC I’ve written a number of articles reflecting upon various automotive related family events.  However, from the automotive standpoint, there are other persons and events that stick out and whose story is yearning to be told.

Marvin Eichstetter lived across the road from my maternal grandparents, “Albert” and “Iris”.  Raised in an orphanage, Marvin (usually referred to as “Ike”) farmed his unknown number of acres.  Every warm day a person could drive by on Route N and see the results of Ike’s effort.  He had his row crops on the north side of the road and his cattle on the south side, adjacent to my grandparents 10 acres.

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Auction Classic Flashback: Barrett-Jackson 2010 (part 2 of 2)


When I went to the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona this year, it was the first time since 2010. Though there was no shortage of drool worthy cars and it was a great jam-packed day of car gazing, this year I felt like there just weren’t as many truly unique or unusual cars on hand as I remembered in the past. I think the photos I took in 2010 prove my feeling. Yesterday was part one, which featured cars from the 50’s and early 60’s. Here I’ll feature 15 more highlights from that trip, starting in the 60’s. Hope you enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »