Recent Posts

Tom Halter’s Cars of a Lifetime Series

COAL Series by Tom Halter

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Curbside Outtake: 1972 VW Beetle – One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Here’s another Outtake from our recent stop in Hannibal, MO, and one which juxtaposes two forms of transportation that were/are very popular in their day; the VW Beetle and the small SUV (note the license plate on the Escape).

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Curbside Classics: 1980 – 1983 Toyota Corolla – The Datsun 510 Doppelgänger

(first posted 11/10/2011)     My mother famously hates the Toyota Corolla. You see our family owned a lightly used example back in 1984 when we moved to Houston, Texas for just six months. I believe it was a 1981 four door sedan model and brown. I’m not exactly sure what its crime was, but she has always exclaimed that it was “awful, just awful” without any real explanation as to why. To this day she dismisses Corollas without a second thought from any potential car-shopping list. The car we left back at home was a 1978 Datsun 510 station wagon, so I can hardly imagine there would be much difference in the driving dynamics, but at least the Datsun did have a five speed manual. Was she the only person on the globe who hated the Corolla so much? Read the rest of this entry »


Dash Cam CC: 1961 Chevrolet Apache Suburban

Driving with my wife and son to a relative’s Bar Mitzvah event (oh God…), I spotted- only just- a big, dark, familiar shape coming towards me in the opposite lane. Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: 2017 Ford Fusion Platinum – The Car of a Lifetime

Welcome to the final entry in my COAL series. This series of posts, begun over six months ago, now totals almost 35,000 words. By comparison, Hamlet, Shakespeare’s longest play, comes in at 30,066 words. In fact, this series has winded and wended on for so long that I added another vehicle (and therefore another entry)  since I started. In February of this year, I replaced the 2014 MKZ (that I liked greatly) with it’s platform-mate, a 2017 Ford Fusion Platinum that I like even more. Regular readers may recall that I already used the Fusion as a foil for an earlier piece I wrote, titled The End of Luxury. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Outtake: A Studebaker Lover Lives Here

My wife and I stopped off in Hannibal, MO for a bite to eat on our way back from the Grand Canyon earlier this week, and afterwards decided to take a walk down to the Mighty Mississippi River, hand-dipped ice cream cones in hand. On the way, we passed this open garage with a pair of late 1950s (?) Studebakers airing their backsides. A closer peek revealed four more Studebakers parked further inside, but construction fencing around a sidewalk repair project prevented getting any better photos.

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Curbside Classic: 1961 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside – It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time

(first posted 8/17/2011.  Let’s keep Corvair summer fever going)    There have been very, very few vehicles produced in post WWII America that can be accurately described as unique.   Not “sort of”  unique, but unique in the true sense of the word:  that there is absolutely nothing else like it.  The Corvair Rampside is one of those vehicles.  And not necessarily in a good way.  This little truck reminds me of a question that most of us have been asked at one time or another: “Just what, exactly, were you thinking?”

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The Brazilian Air Force and the Planes that Defined Us, Part Two: Peace Time

“The necessity is the mother of invention“.

And during war time, “necessity” is a constant companion in every single step towards victory or defeat. It can be translated as “surviving” and, in order to save and destroy lives, technology advanced fast. In the aviation field engineers and designers worked in a frenetic pace to create airplanes that could fly higher and faster than the enemy’s. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Outtake: 1970 Dodge Charger – Not the Car I’d Take to the Annual Police Ball…

When we settled down in our suburban Tokyo neighborhood a good ten years ago, one of the things I was most looking forward to was a good, leisurely walk where I could indulge all my JDM desires; searching out first-gen Mazda Cosmos, Isuzu 117 Coupes, and Nissan Fairlady Z’s…  Well, I’ve seen a few of those, but what has surprised me most was discovering a significant a number of cars that would have been right at home in my central Ohio high school parking lot circa 1974. Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: Camaros, Camaros, Camaros!

I’ve owned Camaros from three generations.  I am going to merge the memories all together here into one big COAL. Read the rest of this entry »


Cohort Outtake: Mark V – Lee Spins Gold

I’m not looking for these Marks at the Cohort; they just keep appearing there on the front page. And after my little rant over the Mk VI, it’s only appropriate we pay a bit of homage to its pre-hot-washed inspiration. Stare at it long enough, and you’re going to think your eyes are playing tricks on you. Check out that insane front overhang; no other car could ever pull that off except the Mark V. Yes it’s sick, but in a really good way. Read the rest of this entry »


CC Rant & QOTD: Nothing is Sacred Anymore

A couple of weeks ago I was driving into the parking lot of my favorite cheap Mexican fast food restaurant, Taco Bell  (say what you will) and in front of me there was a Dodge Grand Caravan. Read the rest of this entry »


Neighborhood Outtake #2: 1979 Dodge D200 Pickup & VW T2 Bus – The Neighborhood Wood Chopper’s Truck

This is a familiar sight in my neighborhood, as this old Dodge has been living at this house for about 15 years, along with its owner Scott. It gets used hard, as Scott cuts and salvages old and downed trees, and similar odd jobs along those lines. The 3/4 ton Dodge is his faithful companion, and we always wave to each other when I’m driving my old ’66 F100. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1961 Dodge Dart Pioneer – The Anti-Impala

We live in a day and age of opposites.  You may say black while I say white.  We have red states and blue states, Fox News and MSNBC, and let us not forget that Bar-B-Que and PETA each has their fan base.  In today’s automotive landscape this bifurcation continues with opposites like the Prius Hybrid and the F-250 King Ranch.

It was  not always so.  If we could go back fifty or more years, the stark opposites that are so common today were a little harder to come by.  But there was this one:  The 1961 Chevrolet Impala and this car, the 1961 Dodge Dart. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1946 Willys Jeep Station Wagon – The First Modern Station Wagon and SUV

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(first posted 10/28/2013)    The original military Jeep is rightfully considered one of the most iconic and influential vehicles ever built, right up there with the Ford Model T and Volkswagen Beetle. It spawned the whole 4×4 era, and everything that evolved from that.  But the 1946 Willys Jeep Station Wagon might just top that: it “invented” the modern station wagon as we know it. And that turned out to be a much larger category than 4x4s.

And then just  a few years later, when the Station wagon was given four-wheel drive, it also became the proto-SUV. The first modern wagon and SUV, both spawned by a low-budget gamble to keep the Jeep alive after WW2. Does it get more influential than that? Read the rest of this entry »