Like many CC readers, I’m always on the lookout for interesting older cars, and I end up with more pictures than time to write articles. Many of these cars deserve their moment in the sun, so here are a few random finds from over the past year. There’s quite an assortment here, of virtually every size and shape imaginable.
Let’s start with a car that’s hard to miss on modern roads – a 1979 Lincoln Continental Collector’s Series. Made in the final year of the land-yacht Continentals, the Collector’s Series is immediately distinguishable by its Midnight Blue paint, matching coach roof (without opera windows), and gold-colored grille. Less obvious are the turbine-style alloy wheels with the sides of the turbine fins painted blue.
In Lincoln brochures, such a car would typically be photographed in front of a stately Georgian mansion, but in this neighborhood, the nearly 20’ long Lincoln presents quite a juxtaposition against the 32’ foot wide houses. Regardless of its setting, a 1970s Continental will always look impressive.
This 1966 Oldsmobile Delta 88 isn’t quite as immaculate as the Lincoln. At first glance, one might assume this Olds hadn’t moved in quite a while, but when I passed by this parking lot a few minutes after I took this picture, it was already gone. Of course, it’s not terribly surprising that it was parked outside of an auto parts store. In my opinion, the Ocean Mist turquoise color keeps this car looking special, regardless of its condition.
Just down the block from the Olds, I saw this rust-splotched 1977-78 Buick LeSabre leaving a McDonald’s drive-thru.
A few months later and 1,000 miles away, I saw another daily-driver B-body LeSabre – this one a 1985 Coupe – at another fast food restaurant.
We don’t often see two 25-year old cars on the road together, so this drizzly scene was rather memorable: A 1993 Mercury Topaz and a 1991 Ford Taurus waiting at a stoplight. If not for the CUVs lurking in the background, it would be mighty hard to tell in what decade this picture was taken.
Another rainy-day Ford find was this lopsided 1993 Festiva inching along in a traffic jam. Festivas seem to have virtually disappeared here in Virginia, yet for some reason Geo Metros are much more common. One Festiva feature I had forgotten about was the tiny tailpipe – though barely visible in this photo, it must be among the smallest-diameter automotive exhausts ever made.
This year’s most unusual find also occurred in the rain – a Citroen DS20. I can’t remember when I last saw one of these cars on the road, but their shape and movement is mesmerizing. Though I’ve never ridden in a DS, I remember seeing one occasionally about 25 years ago – and remember marveling at the sight of it gliding over speed bumps. Just watching this DS for a few minutes on a wet September afternoon was a majestic experience, and one that I get to enjoy all too rarely.
My final rainy-day shot here is this 1985 Ford LTD Crown Victoria in Light Regatta Blue with a white vinyl “brougham roof treatment.” As I drove by, I noticed the car seemed to be in immaculate condition, and its setting outside of a rural Nebraska farmhouse seemed perfectly fitting for this car.
My 11-year old daughter loves Cadillacs, and photographed this 1988 Brougham for me. Maybe her Brougham appreciation resulted from all of those bedtime stories I told her about pillowed upholstery and simulated woodgrain applique. In any event, she’s become a good car-spotter, and noticed this Cadillac from blocks away.
This 1974 Dodge Dart Custom is another one of her pictures. Every year I seem to spot one or two Chrysler A-bodies, and this is the winner from 2018. What’s remarkable is that we found this car in Ohio, which isn’t exactly a prime location for preserving rust-prone cars.
While not quite as rare as Darts, 25-year-old Japanese sedans always get my attention, as was the case with this 1991 Nissan Stanza GXE.
Interestingly, the Stanza was parked next to its descendant, a 2013 Altima. This shot of two mid-size Nissan sedans separated by 22 model years shows how car design has changed. Sedans gave grown in all directions – portlier, and with a huge rear end. Windows have shrunk like a receding hair line; in 20 more years, will there be any windows left?
Now for a change of pace, I’ve seen this 1975 International Scout II occasionally over the past few years, and finally caught up with it outside of a hardware store. It’s used regularly and appears to be in very good condition.
I particularly like the Toyota Hybrid badge on the tailgate. I can see an International engineer in Fort Wayne saying “the Scout’s really a hybrid of Sport and Utility – this combination might just catch on someday…”
Another one of my favorite 4x4s are 60-series Toyota Land Cruisers. Seeing a daily driver like this one is enough to brighten up any dreary rush hour as far as I’m concerned.
Seeing CC’s on the road is always exciting, but getting passed by one is even more so – such was the case when this 1979-80 Trans Am blew past me one day… windows down, T-tops off… and in the left lane – the natural habitat for a Trans Am.
Another car that blew past me was this 1986 Mazda RX-7. I apologize for the blurry shot, but this one took me by surprise. For some reason, I see more 1st generation RX-7s than 2nd generation cars, and those 2nd generation RXs that I do see tend to be turbos. This example is a base model – doesn’t even have the optional rear wiper – which made this sighting all the more unusual.
Staying on the topic of mid-1980s base-model Japanese sport coupes, we have this 1987 Honda Prelude.
Earlier this year I wrote a rather lengthy article on a 1980 Toyota Celica, and then happened to see yet another example shortly afterwards. Unlike the GT from my article, this one is an ST.
A lot of bravery is required to drive an MG Midget on roads filled with SUVs and Giant Pickups. The Highlander looks gargantuan by comparison in this photo.
The same can be said of driving a kei car. When I first saw this Autozam AZ-1, I had no idea what it was (the vanity license plate saved me from doing a good bit of research on this). Though I recall seeing pictures of the gullwing AZ-1, I never saw an image of one of these cars from the rear, nor have I ever seen one in person. Since I spotted this fairly close to my home, I sure hope to catch up with it again.
Unlike the Midget and Autozam, the driver of this 1976 Ford F-250 would have no trouble being seen on the roads. This was far from the only older (usually red) Ford pickup I’ve seen recently, but this one stuck out in my mind – maybe it was the combination of the long bed, the tool box, the rifle rack on the rear window, and the Crown Victoria wheel covers that made it memorable.
This pickup was memorable, too, though for different reasons. Volkswagen Pickups such as this 1982 model are rather rare these days, at least on the East Coast.
Less rare are El Caminos, but I’ve always had an affection for them, and seeing a final-year 1987 Conquista is certainly cause for excitement. I think El Caminos have always looked best with two-tone paint.
This 1988 Ford Bronco II is also two-tone… or maybe three- or four-tone. I still see a fair number of Bronco IIs on the road, some in very good condition, but this well-worn example just spoke to me for some reason. Not necessarily in a language I understand, though.
Another vehicle that’s not exactly uncommon are W123 Mercedes sedans, which are probably the most-seen car from their period on the streets around here. But this is an unusual variant – for North America at least – being a European-spec 230E. I find the light green color (with matching wheel covers) particularly alluring.
Most GM10 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supremes that I see tend to be in pretty rough condition, but this 1995 model looks like it just rolled out of an Oldsmobile showroom. It was parked at the far end of a Walmart parking lot, and judging by the dent-free body and unblemished paint, that’s not a coincidence. This must be one of the more pampered examples of its kind left on the roads.
For our final shot here, I offer up this vanilla-colored 1984 Ford Country Squire. A worthy sighting in its own right, the OUR BMW license plate is the (vanilla) icing on the cake… and a worthy conclusion to a year of great finds.