Recent Posts

QOTD: Comedifans In Cars Getting Coffee: What Would Jerry Pick You Up In?

Jerry Barry Coffee

If, as I do, you like cars and comedy, Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee series is a viewing must. Jerry arrives at a celebrity’s house in a vehicle that he deems befitting that person’s character… or professional presence… and off they drive to a coffee shop… to talk shop.

But the show is already in season six. What if Seinfeld runs out of comedians? I’m sure many of us would be more than willing to stand in for one.

I pondered what Seinfeld might be driving if he came by my basement apartment for a drive to Hogan’s Diner. What I would want him driving would certainly be my dream car: a Mercedes 300-SL convertible with a hardtop and those gorgeous Euro fishbowl headlamps. But, in the cold light of day, Jerry’s people would probably come up with something completely different. They would look up my car history, which includes a preponderance of station wagons and microcars, and come to odd but proper choice.

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Bus Stop Classics: A Less Familiar Slice of JDM Goodness…….

steam engine

Having lived in Japan on and off for over 35 years, and permanently here as an expat for the past 10, you’d think I’d get jaded to the whole Japan Domestic Model (JDM) car scene, but surprisingly nothing could be further from the truth.  It still fascinates me, primarily due to the window it gives into the broader aspects of Japanese culture and life.  For example, I’m sure readers of Curbside Classic are familiar with such JDM stand-outs as the R33 Skyline GT-R, 3-Rotor Mazda (Eunos) Cosmos, and the Honda 660 Roadster.  All fantastic automobiles only seen in very few countries outside Japan.  But there is another category of Japan-unique vehicles that maybe you’re not as familiar with… Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Road Test: Merkur Scorpio


First was the XR4Ti, now comes the Scorpio to the US under the Merkur moniker. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Outtake: 1968 Buick Skylark Custom Convertible – Better Days In Flint

253 - 1968 Buick Skylark Custom Convertible CC downtown Flint

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when my hometown was best known for headquartering Buick and building GM-branded cars and trucks instead of for toxic drinking water.  Spotting this pretty Skylark downtown a couple of years ago took my mind to a time when the auto industry in Flint, Michigan was the engine, literally and figuratively, that drove a booming economy in the Vehicle City.  Not as an entreaty, but out of sincere gratitude – I thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, wishes and resources that have been directed toward the people of Flint.

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COAL: 1971 Datsun 510 – It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times


It was 1979. I was still in Vermont and after almost a year with last week’s Dodge Dart I was ready for something that could better scratch my driving itch. The human mind is resilient. Any psychic scars associated with the dependability of cars I had owned prior to the Dart had faded. The Dart had proven to be Xanax on wheels.

I admired the BMW 2002 but financially it was not to be. I was someone who bought off-brand macaroni and cheese for 17 cents a box because Kraft was too expensive at 33 cents a box. A BMW, even a bad BMW, was out of my league. Enter the poor man’s version – the Datsun 510. After a little looking I found a ’71 two-door with a four speed manual transmission, and blood shot MOON eyes painted on the hood… Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Comparison: 1962 Buick Invicta vs. 1962 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight vs. 1962 Chrysler 300 Sport- Wide Eyes and Double Chins

(first posted 10/25/2011)   I didn’t realize I had another Buick-Olds mid market smackdown hiding in my photo collection. And due to some Mopar outcries, I’ll throw in the previously-covered crazy-faced 1962 Chrysler 300 in the mix. “Which would do in sixty-two?” is the question for you.

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Design: What Goes Around Comes Around -Audi Revives The Baby Benz



LET ME describe an evolutionary loop I have been pondering, beginning with the Mercedes-Benz 190E. With sheer surfaces and geometric architecture derived from the C111 concepts, the 190E appeared in 1982 without precedent in either concept or aesthetic.  Its diminutative size took Mercedes into hitherto uncharetered territory, yet exquisite proportions kept in check by Bruno Sacco ensured the car looked as lithe and luxurious as his W126. The cut-off rear straight from the C111 ensured low drag, and applied the graphical layout found on the R107. Neatly, a thick black outline was used to lend a more modern look, and a chamfer on the lower edge of the bootlid helped disguise the height. 

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Vintage Review: Buick Grand National GNX


Another vintage review is up, this time of possibly the best Muscle Car of the Eighties. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Outtake: One Of The Disadvantages Of Today’s Tall Trucks

CC 279 020 1200

I can readily lean over the side or front of my F100 when I’m working on the engine. Or even just hop right in, and stand next to it, with my feet on the ground, if that’s what’s called for, as there’s a huge amount of space on either side of the little inline six. But not on one of these. Do they have special ladders for the techs at the Ford dealer?


CC For Sale: 1979 Mercury Cougar XR7 “Two Door Sedan” With 9501 Total Miles – Brougham Lovers Rejoice!

Mercury cougar 1979 fq _xr7_2_door_sedan_f142da16c5

Brougham love has been a bit thin around here lately, so let’s get our juices flowing a bit with this broughtastic Cougar XR7, in green no less. I’m going to copy the text from the ad (here), because it does much more justice to it than I could ever muster. Why they refer to it as a “two door sedan” is a bit perplexing, but for $10,990, it can be yours.  Hat tip to Ed Hathaway, who sent this my way. Since I can’t afford a Porsche 356, this might be the perfect alternative.

New to our Benicia showroom is this simply amazing 1979 Mercury Cougar XR7 2 Door Sedan with factory green exterior paint and a matching green interior. This one-owner classic is almost 100% original and a true survivor with only 9,501 lifetime miles, and it’s factory 351 V-8 runs like it just pulled out of the factory dealership.

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Curbside Comparison: 1955 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight vs. 1955 Buick Special – Battle of The B’s

(first posted 10/12/2011. I’m off to sunny California for a week, so there may be a few more re-runs than usual)   So it’s 1955, and you aren’t necessarily a brand loyalist, yet still a General Motors loyalist. The all new for 1954 B-Body by Fisher cousins, the Oldsmobile 88/Super 88 and Buick Special/Century are pleasantly updated for 1955. While Buick actually ran away with the sales game in 1955 (all the way to #3), Oldsmobile held it’s own in the market (holding steady at #5). Which way would you fly in ’55?

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Vintage Road Tests: Jaguar XJ-6 & VW Golf GTI 16V


Another double feature is up from R&T’s 40th anniversary issue, these two road tests are of cars that couldn’t be more different one from another. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Fiction: The Ferryboat Passenger

This is a continuing CC serial.  The previous episode can be found here.

Louis Broderick pulled the brown Coupe deVille into the freshly paved parking lot.  Sighing as he turned off the ignition, he lit another Brougham cigarette before getting out of the car.

He realized he had been smoking a lot lately, but he also realized he was likely one of the few people in the history of mankind whose smoking habit had saved his life.  If it weren’t for his beloved cigarettes, he would have had a very unpleasant time recently in Paducah.

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CC Outtake: The New Home On Wheels Is Closer To Done, Including The Dome On Top

CC 279 030 1200

I first shot and posted this bus in October of 2014, when it was still a work in progress. Then I saw it the other day, and shot it again. And almost that same day, the owner left a comment about it on that old post, with some details. Woo woo…   So I’ll share his comment with you here, as well as the updated pictures.

By the way, the green upper structure is part of the bus, not the building behind it. Looking at it just now makes that window and air conditioner look like it might not be so. Read the rest of this entry »


Automotive Histories: When The Old Names Died (Part III)

gmc jimmy

The cost of rehabilitating a “damaged” nameplate can be high. So is the cost of introducing and marketing an entirely new nameplate. If you introduce a high-quality, competitive new model but saddle it with an outmoded predecessor’s name, you will encounter resistance from buyers. “This looks nice but, oh, it’s a Cavalier? And you’re charging how much?” In the 2000s, GM simply decided to drop 19 decades-old nameplates, 12 of which were covered in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series. Today, let’s look at the remaining 7. Read the rest of this entry »