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19

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!

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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 »

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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 »

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

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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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16

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

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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…

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Cohort Outtake: 1969 Pontiac LeMans – A Visit From Captain Howdy

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A fine way of putting a classic car into proper context is to imagine driving it to see a coeval big screen release. I have many memories of leaving the theater to return to the succession of cars I’ve known over the years; on a muggy Friday or Saturday night after a bad movie, it truly is entertainment after the show. Returning to a Gran Torino coupe after a good disaster flick (maybe Airport ’75) on a hot August night, for instance, makes for a nice, complete mid ’70s snapshot, doesn’t it?

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8

CC Outtake: CCs Aplenty Here!

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I have been sitting on these pictures for close to two years, debating whether to use them or not, as the cars are in the driveway and yard, and not on the street. But I have finally decided to share them. I had been driving along one sunny fall day, saw some winking chrome off a side street, and my mouth dropped open at seeing all the classic Chevys there.

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Cohort Sighting: 1965 Imperial Crown Coupe – Truly Incomparable?

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We had a lot of fun comparing two-door sedans with their four-door and hard top brethren yesterday, but the sight of this hardtop Imperial deserves consideration beyond yesterday’s mini-theme because it raises an interesting question: what if the donor four-door model is already a hardtop?  And what if by measures of interior room and roof stampings, the cars are identical?  Luckily, this gorgeous Helsinki find by LDeren gives us a change to mull over the question for a bit while admiring its deep red bodywork.

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Curbside Classic: 1955 Morris Minor Series II – Britain’s Favourite Car, Bar None, And Rightly So.

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CC has recorded previously my nomination for the most significant cars of the 1960s, the 1970s and 1980s. You can probably guess my nominee for the most significant car of the 1950s and for the 1990s – well, you’ll have to wait but you might (or might not) be surprised. And the 1940s? Undoubtedly the Morris Minor from 1948, designed by Sir Alec Issigonis, and a car that bears the stamp of one man more than practically any other. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cohort Outtake/QOTD: Does The Two-Door Make More Sense Than Ever?

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From today’s perspective, the supremacy of the coupe in decades past is somewhat of a surprise, but look around during your typical drive and it makes a bit more sense–most cars have a single occupant.  The rise of the multi-car household enabled more compact replacements to become the “personal” vehicle of choice as the ’80s wore on and the Honda pictured here was among the smallest of these.  So despite being such wildly different cars, the sight of this CRX and this Galaxie by pbell5600 begs the same question: do cars like these make more sense today than when either was in production?

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26

Curbside Classic: 1972 Datsun 1200 – Two Door Sedan, Size XS

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Once upon a time, the two-door sedan was essentially the default body style in much of the world. It was a bit cheaper, and cars were often very small, and they looked better, although I doubt that had much to do with it. Fitting a rear door on small rear wheel drive cars, whose rear axle line was typically substantially further forward than on front wheel drive cars, made for an awkward design. This little Datsun 1200 is representative of so many two-door sedans of its type built all over the world from the twenties through the seventies or so. But its time eventually passed, mostly for the better. Read the rest of this entry »

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Two-Door Day Capsule: 1974 AMC Hornet – Who Needs A Coupe?

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The decline of the two-door sedan is related to many factors, but it was a long, drawn-out process.  While “personal luxury” began popularizing the more-differentiated coupe at the top of the market, mini-muscle cars were doing the same at the bottom end, and as the dowdy Falcon was replaced by the Maverick, it seemed even conservative Ford tossed the formal look aside for its compact at the dawn of the ’70s.  Space efficiency, it would seem, was for squares.

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Two-Door Day Classic: 1965 Ford Custom – The End Of The Stripper Tudor Era

Let’s celebrate Two-Door Sedan Day with this 1965 Ford Custom two-door (“Tudor” in old-time Ford-speak). It’s the perfect bookend to the ground-breaking 1965 Ford LTD too; not only is it the very lowest man in the full-sized Ford totem pole, but it’s exactly the kind of American car that the LTD soon abolished from the (non-fleet) market. It was the victim of the perpetual ratcheting up of the name hierarchy, ironic since the Custom itself was once at the top of the pecking order. That’s ok; even the LTD would eventually fall by the wayside, superseded by something more grandiose. But it wasn’t just the name alone; the whole full-sized two-door sedan era was drawing to a close. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vintage Ad: 1971 Plymouth Sebring – It’s Not A Sedan, We Promise!!

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This large ad from a November 1970 Life magazine was a fun one to upload; it didn’t fit on my scanner and I had to do separate takes.  I realized afterward that it’s freely available online, but what’s the fun in posting a vintage ad you didn’t find yourself?  Regardless of the source, it’s an interesting spot because it not only previews Chrysler’s coming woes, but makes a rather direct point about its divergence from its B-body sedan sibling. As we debate the fine differences between two-door sedans and closely related coupes, keep this ad in mind.  And remember: it’s no ordinary two-door!

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