Recent Posts

What If: Chrysler R-Body Wagons and Coupes?

1980 Newport Wagon White

As it was mentioned during the recent 1979 Newport post, the Chrysler R-body lacked both the station wagon and 2-door coupe body styles of its predecessors and competitors. Given Chrysler’s lack of funds and diminished interest in the R-body, additional body styles beyond the 4-door “pillared hardtop” sedan were out of the question. They probably wouldn’t have made much of a difference in R-body sales either. But it’s always fun to imagine what could of been, so I present to you, my interpretations of R-body station wagons and coupes.

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Car Show Classics: Indigestion Part 1 – The Fiats of Como Park.


I’ve been to exactly three car shows since I got a cameraphone two years ago. All at the same place; beautiful Como Park nestled in a crook of the River Yarra. And always featuring Italian cars. These photos have been burning a hole on my computer and I was going to post them on the Cohort, but to be honest it was too much fun doing the research so I thought I’d write them up for CC.

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Labor Day Outtake: Ford C-Series AWD – Not Laboring Today

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This vintage Ford AWD C-Series boom truck is still at work for a tree company. But it’s getting a break on Labor Day, as I hope you are. Perry is off for the week, for a well earned vacation. And I’m turning over rentals, as the kids come back for school. So this coming week might see a few less posts and a few more re-runs. I know some of you CC old-timers have seen some of our “Classic” posts before, but they’re popular with our newer readers, as well as those of us older folks whose memories seem to appreciate a bit of regular reinforcement. Sometimes I re-read my older posts and go; Wow; how did I come up with that?

Thanks for making July and August by far our most successful months ever at CC; almost a million Page Views in each of those months. Where’s everybody coming from, and how did you find us?

Related reading:  Automotive History: The Almost Immortal Ford C Series


Curbside Classic: 1986 Lincoln Mark VII – Aero Luxury

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Today, Lincoln automobiles are vastly different from the ones of my youth. For most of my childhood and early adulthood, there were three Lincoln models: The Continental, the Town Car, and the Mark. All were clearly defined in the lineup, and had a specific clientele. The Town Car was for die-hard traditionalists who wanted full-size luxury, silence from the outside world and a cosseting ride. The Continental was for folks who wanted American luxury in a bit more manageable size, but still with all the gadgets and gizmos they could get. Then there was the Mark–a personal luxury coupe for those who wanted distinctive styling, ample comfort and two doors. That was the Mark’s mission from 1940 through 1998, though the all-new 1984 Continental Mark VII was quite reimagined from its immediate baroque predecessors.

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Classic Automotive History: The Cars Of GM Designer Wayne Kady: Slantbacks And Bustlebacks From Beginning To End

Our early years are called “formative” for a good reason; certain impressions last a lifetime and become a recurring theme. That applies to creative types and designers as well as the rest of us; maybe even more so. In the case of former GM Designer Wayne Kady, his fascination with sloping tails started with….what else? Just about the most beautiful sloping tail ever. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classique: Renault Estafette 1000 – Could Even Its Mother Love That Face?


While driving around Antibes, France, looking for a parking spot after dropping the family off at the beach, I came across this interesting looking vehicle. Once I found a spot, I headed back on foot to explore my find a bit more. Read the rest of this entry »


Cohort Sighting: Mazda AP Cosmo – Rotary Relic


Only one picture exists of this find by canadiancatgreen, but it’s luckily of its more visually interesting posterior aspect, showing off both its roll-down opera window and hockey stick taillights. No, it’s certainly not a beautiful car, but as an example of one of Mazda’s most legendary nameplates, it deserves some attention (though its preservation seems completely accidental).

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CC Outtake: Oval On The Go

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Here’s a sight through my windshield that brought a smile to my face: an unrestored oval-window VW, flaunting its patina for all to see. And a sunroof, no less. I’d like to be behind its wheel right now, hearing the steady thrum and fan whine of it s 36 hp engine (assuming it still has that).

This appears to be a ’57 from the license plate, the last year for the original small windshield and the oval rear window that replaced the “pretzel” split rear window in 1953. Despite the small window, 1957 was a huge year for VW in the US, and if I remember correctly, it was the year the Beetle took the import sales crown in the US. Only eleven years later, VW would sell 423,000 Beetles to Americans. Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: 1982 Toyota SR5 Pickup – I Killed The Pizza Planet Truck

1982 Toyota SR5 rear

Anyone who has kids of a certain age knows the Pizza Planet pickup truck that appears in most every Pixar film, most prominently in the Toy Story franchise. As my middle son was obsessed with Toy Story in general, and Buzz Lightyear in particular, I have seen the films too many times to count and instantly recognized this Toyota pickup as its doppelgänger when I saw it. A few years later, I purchased it but had to promptly kill it.

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Panther Outtake: What A Luxury Car Should Not Be!

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Namely, a taxi! I saw this car yesterday evening, on I-80. I understand Town Car taxis are über common in large cities, but where I am, they are decidedly sparse. It’s always sad to see a once-proud luxury car living out the last of its days in such thankless duty, but at least it will serve in Bristol fashion for hundreds of thousands of miles to come!


CC Outtake: Ford Econoline Travel Wagon – The American Westfalia Camper

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These old Econolines are rare enough but this “Travel Wagon” version seems even more so. It was parked on the very end of a grocery store parking lot in Spartanburg SC and was displaying an antique car tag. I wasn’t sure if it was for sale or if it belonged to a worker at the grocery store.

As we were leaving, I saw a gentleman who looked like a college professor with an impressive gray beard and a buggy with two cases of Icehouse. I told my wife that I bet that was the owner.  Sure enough, he pushed the buggy all the way across the lot to the van. I don’t know if he parked at the end of the lot to avoid parking lot damage or car nuts, like myself, from checking it out or striking up conversations. I can understand this as my ’65 Belvedere gets a lot of attention but I’m not an overly social person.

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CCCCC #11: 1980-1987 Cutlass Supreme Sedan – The Oldsmobile Seville

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There were benefits to being GM. Rush out on stage in a bold new outfit, and get laughed right off it? No problem, just run back to the costume department, where they’ll find you a tried and proven one, and the master seamstresses will nip and tuck it to fit your size A-body in a flash.  Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1941 Cadillac – The First Modern Cadillac, With A Bit Of Further Modernizing; 500 Cubic Inches Worth

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In the twenties and thirties, Cadillac was a true world-class luxury car, with cylinder counts as lofty as its prices. But the Depression and rising income taxes changed everything. So for 1941, a whole new Cadillac with a whole new mission and marketing strategy appeared: lower prices, to compete with Packard and the other mid-price brands.

As such, this is truly the first modern Cadillac, as it established a price relationship with its little brother Chevrolet of roughly 2:1, one that it would maintain for manydecades. So it’s not hard to see why someone would be drawn to updating their ’41 Cadillac to keep up with the times, comfort, and faster highway speeds. The subject of modifying classic cars with updated components can be a touchy one. To butcher up a true and rare classic, often by setting the body on a modern frame and drive train, is derided by some, including a number of us here.  But this Cadillac is still significantly original, and it’s not exactly a rare V16 from the mid-thirties.

Yes, originality is a virtue, but then we don’t want to be saints all the time, do we? Aren’t there moments when we imagined blowing off some kid in his Honda in a 1941 Cadillac with a throbbing warmed-up 500 cubic inch V8 under the hood? I have. But this car’s owner acted on that imagination, and quite effectively at that. Read the rest of this entry »


QOTD/Poll: What’s Your Favorite K-Car Variant?

Lee Iacocca 1980

Whether you love it or hate it, the K-car is one of those automobiles that changed the course of automotive history. With their uncommon for-the-time front-wheel drive, 4-cylinder power, compact exterior dimensions, spacious interiors, and fuel efficiency, the K-cars were a total 180 for Chrysler. Their instant success saved Chrysler from certain death, and made front-wheel drive popular in the mainstream family sedan class.

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Curbside Outtake: 1953 Chevrolet 210 (or Bel Air) – Peekaboo!


Other than pinning this down as a 1953 Chevrolet, the car is playing coy with us and isn’t revealing much else to go on. Hopefully there’s still a Blue Flame Six under the hood (rated at 115hp when mated to a Powerglide), and if so, this car shares its power plant with the new-for-1953 Chevrolet Corvette (which had a tweaked, 150hp version of the engine). Those wheels, on the other hand…