Here are a few happy snappies of some (relative) exotica spotted during a Sunday drive that passed through little Conroe, in East Texas, in 2003. The brain-fryingly colorful sight of this VW van used as an advertising sign for auto parts, in the time-honored tradition, drew me off the road. Turned out there were further delights to be had in a vacant lot alongside the building.
So, what have we got here? From right to left, looks like a Euro-spec Mercedes W116, a 1970-73 Volkswagen Type 3 (Squareback), an ’80-83 air-cooled VW Vanagon with the Westfalia camper option, and (stripped of most of its running gear) a 1979-92 Jaguar XJ Series III. Yes, there’s a Merc W126 in the shot as well, but it doesn’t figure in this discussion.
As one can see, although mostly complete, the fleet showed signs of vandalism, and none of them appeared to be in working condition. And yes, the Squareback is in fact pink, with cow-spot seat covers. Those sleepy-eyed headlight decorations are quite something; I don’t think I’ve ever seen another car equipped like that.
I’ve never had a burning desire to own a VW van, but I can see the attraction certain regular habitués of this blog have for these things. It looked the closest to being in running order of the group here.
The Jag proves that no matter what you do, it’s pretty hard to uglify an XJ. Given that the body looks fairly straight and clean, I’m hoping this was an intended restoration rather than dismemberment for parts.
The vehicles, and the shop itself, are long gone, so I have no idea of the eventual fate of these machines. One thing that strikes me is that despite the photos being taken just a few years ago, it seems highly unlikely that such a lineup could be found, unposed, today. Hope you enjoy.