Boise, Idaho is a city that is increasingly in the public’s mind as a desirable place to live. Friends of mine are in the process of moving there so I took the opportunity to visit for a few days in mid-April. They are living in the “North End”, another one of those neighborhoods around the country that while once in some decline, is rapidly improving with every new resident and property transfer. It has become very popular and is becoming more and more expensive, however there are still many gems for the likes of us when speaking relative to our automotive interests sprinkled among the newer Land Rovers, BMW’s, and Subarus, all most likely to be sporting a “Bernie” sticker…
Immediately after starting my walk in the Hyde Park section of the North End I stumbled upon this increasingly rare 2-door example of a Jeep Cherokee. Obviously well-used, it looks like it still has plenty of adventures left in it. I was pleased to note that it also had a stick-shift, which makes this even more rare than usual.
Right after the Cherokee I spotted this VW Vanagon camper in that ubiquitous shade of brown that a lot of them seemed to carry back then. The hubcaps seem to date it around 1985 or so, but this Vanagon proved to be a harbinger of things to come as we shall see as we continue.
Okay, a Land Rover Defender 110 with a British plate but left-hand drive. I’m going to assume this is either older than it looks or a private import; Land Rover did sell 110’s here in the 1990’s as I recall but I thought they were all white and with an external roll cage.
Just around the corner (and barely visible through the 110’s window in the last shot) is this somewhat worse for wear looking Defender 90. It looks a lot like an actual ex-Army unit and not just one done up to look that way.
Here’s a real little workhorse of an early ’90’s Toyota pickup, once everywhere but completely invisible and nowadays still to be regularly seen (but hardly ever noticed) in the drier parts of the country, often with lawnmowers or pool supplies in the bed. This one just has some cut branches in back but looks like it’s only a few years old rather than the quarter century it most likely is.
I was walking rather aimlessly, generally as soon as I shot one picture I turned to see if another target was within sight and then headed that direction. In over an hour of walking I almost never had to walk blind, there was always something interesting within eyeshot of the last one.
And so it was here, with a Jeep Grand Wagoneer just down the street. Classically timeless styling, and somewhat sun-faded, this nevertheless is one of those designs that works pretty much anywhere, in any neighborhood, in any socio-economic situation.
Ooh, an older Chevy (C-10?) with lots of genuine patina. I can just hear the engine rumbling in my mind, and I’ll bet the truck has a lot of stories to tell. Many of these are getting fixed up these days and are starting an upward trend price-wise but this one is superbly honest as it is.
Another Grand Wagoneer right around the corner! This time in white, also with some fading on the trim, this one was in slightly better shape than the silver one a couple of pictures ago. I think my favorite color combination on these would be the Ivory with the Burgundy interior, although the Blue exterior is a close second for me. But what the heck, I’d take any of them in any color, I love these trucks and they’ve had a place on my automotive bucket list for years.
Here’s a newer Jeep (well, newer-generation anyway), this is a first-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee with the V8 engine (badge at right of tailgate). Are these getting rare? We still see them a lot in Colorado but they are dwindling too. A huge number of them were painted in this very early 90’s dark green but my sister-in-law had a bright red one which somehow really worked too.
Here’s one straight out of Eugene, the CC capital of the world, a Toyota Van with the 4WD option! This is a later model and the LE version but still was pretty spartan inside. These were sold here between 1987 and 1989 (in this configuration) and have become a rare sight.
This 1986 (?) Celebrity gives me flashbacks to a similar wagon that we used to have in our family. It was not loved. In the case of this one I thought the rust on the doorframes was curious for this area but then noticed the dealer sticker denoting it was sold by Fairchild Chevrolet in Cleveland, Ohio which may help to explain it.
Here’s a Dodge Ram 2500 with the Cummins TurboDiesel. I suppose it’s just broken in at this point but I remember what a splash the styling of these made at the time with its mini-Big-Rig styling that I didn’t really capture in this shot. The singlecab longbed is perfect for its current mission of branch hauling.
This is the only older Subaru I saw. Plenty of newer ones but only this older one. In this case it’s a Legacy wagon from the early 90’s. I remember having one as a rental when I wrecked my ’86 GTI and while I was impressed with its solidity, I distinctly recall how S L O W it was. Once it got up to speed it was fine but getting going…Anyway, it’s good to see this one still soldiering along even with its bad case of sunburn.
If you like your gold in brick form, then this is the car for you. Volvo 740GL. The GL was the base model in the US and endowed with hubcaps and a cloth interior. This one looks to be in fine fettle and could probably fetch a pretty penny (relatively speaking) if it were to be exported to the wet NorthEast of the country although admittedly the sedans are less alluring than the wagons.
Ever since Paul mentioned a while back that he felt the early Explorer’s were getting a bit harder to find, I’ve been noticing them more. I remember when they were THE vehicle. Like the early Grand Cherokee from above, these were often dark green, so it was nice to see this blue one.
These, on the other hand, really do seem to be getting difficult to find. The first generation Toyota 4Runner was hugely popular in SoCal when I was in high school and I suppose the popularity of the later generations hasn’t waned much either.
Yes, a bonus shot of the other end for you! The wheels are off a newer model and the fender flares are add-ons but other than that this 2-door SUV is fairly well preserved although it’s hard to tell if the black lower strip is hiding anything in the metalwork.
Here’s the almost obligatory shot of a Toyota Corolla, this time from the end of its “greatest generation”, which was more or less considered to be the pinnacle of Toyota quality vs. price along with its contemporary Camry cousin. This one even has the (albeit faded) gold package, an affectation that has happily fallen out of favor.
Yes, another Toyota, this time a 4WD truck. These are also pretty much unkillable and while that short wheelbase on this singlecab regular bed has to be somewhat punishing, I’m sure it pays dividends offroad.
I was surprised to see a Ford Camper Special as somehow I thought they were not very common. Later I realized I was thinking of the “Super Camper Special” which had the extended wheelbase and other differences. The regular Camper Special was mainly an options package with several items bundled together and fairly common. This one was in great shape and I was starting to suspect that the people of Boise are A) very into the outdoors and B) they enjoy camping.
A very nice truck, both coming and going.
No, not a Ferrari, but probably even rarer these days, a Pontiac Fiero GT! These were quite the lookers when new and I can still see the appeal, it was a well-styled package.
This was pretty much as sporty as the Fiero line ever got and by the time this version was released they pretty much had all the bugs worked out but then they killed it soon thereafter. I rarely see Fiero’s anymore, but to be honest I don’t see that many more Toyota MR2’s of the same era either.
As well as the Corolla above, there always has to be a Volvo 240 found to fulfill the unwritten minimum requirements of these walks and here it is. This is the somewhat rarer GL version, but I know you’ve all seen a million of these, it’s not getting easier to get very excited about them…
On the other hand, I did get excited when I saw this. Not that I have ever driven one and really can’t even recall having ridden in one, this is the extended wheelbase Aerostar. I fear its best days are behind it though since it is parked without a license plate.
But check it out, it is the “Electronic 4-wheel-drive” version! All of the AWD’s were powered by the 4liter V6 and although badged 4WD it’s really a slip-and-grip system like many CUV’s of today but with rear wheel drive as the default.
Land Cruisers will always be popular if on the rare side and I figured it was only a matter of time before I saw at least one on this walk. These 60-series have timeless appeal similar to the Grand Wagoneer but were certainly less luxurious. On the flipside they are pretty bulletproof mechanically.
Nissan’s KingCab Hardbody pickup had to show up sooner or later as well. A perennial also-ran compared to the Toyota (but still strong competition), these were also extremely popular in SoCal growing up and, like the Toyota’s, enjoy a loyal following.
Wow, these Kia Sephia’s are now CC’s, I didn’t realize this was a mid’90’s model at first. I also didn’t realize that they are based on the Mazda 323 of its time. Of course many Kia’s were related to Mazda’s back then so I suppose that’s not that surprising after all. Someone took a chance on a fairly basic-spec one that seems to have paid off, seeing as how it’s still here on the street.
Then I came across this VW EuroVan Camper and figured, hey, I don’t see EuroVan’s all the time so let’s shoot that. This one is a longer wheelbase version that has the full camper package with what looks like propane and electrical hookups.
After the EuroVan I spied this and to be frank, these kind of creep me out a little bit. I’m not sure why exactly, but they do. This one has the rear extension on it which makes it look more bulbous than usual.
I’m sure it’s perfectly comfortable inside and maybe even drives okay, but if I were walking in the woods and came across this next to a river for example, I’d think to slowly back away and check to see if I had cellphone service just in case. I know those are uncharitable thoughts but for some reason I would never think the same of a VW camper. I do not know why that is.
Let’s exit that dark place and feast our eyes on this fine example of a Ford F-250 Ranger. Obviously a workhorse, I wonder if the door was repainted at some point without benefit of a replacement stripe kit or if it was damaged and the owner got lucky and found the correct color replacement in a junkyard. Right under the badge is another one that says “Jerry Hays”, a little Googling indicates that this truck probably hails from Independence, Missouri. Peeking into the frame right behind it is another early Jeep Grand Cherokee as well.
Somebody likes camping what with this trifecta of truck goodness stacked up in front of their house.
This Chevy C-10 with the spare tire up front and the 350cu in engine looks to be all set up for a camper. I like this color a lot, it’s perfect on this truck.
Then again, I also really like the two-tone on this later Cheyenne model.
But in the end, I really love the yellow two-tone on this Custom Deluxe C-20 Camper Special. I guess this is the one that still sees some regular use, even with all the dust on the windows.
Just down the street in an alley was this Ford F-100 Custom. Obviously also still hard at work (and with a Bernie sticker). What struck me about this neighborhood was that there were a LOT of old trucks still being used. There really were not that many new ones around. Where I live it’s all new trucks and the older ones are a relatively rare treat.
Ooh, a second EuroVan camper. This one has a GoWesty sticker on it and has been upgraded to the Mercedes (or replica) wheels, which is a popular upgrade in order to fit larger tires with a higher load rating. GoWesty is an outfit that specializes in VW camper vans; they purchase them, fix them, upgrade them, and then re-sell them.
This Dodge Ram made me a little nostalgic for the Ram that came with a foreclosure that I bought a few years ago. I had that one towed away as I didn’t have the time or inclination to deal with it. Some of you thought I was crazy to do so as I recall…and I am now thinking I agree with you. Anyway, this one looks set up for camper duty as well with the mudflaps way in the rear like that and the spare just sitting in the bed.
This car represents one of my favorite Civic generations, they look great, felt good, and drove very well. This one is holding up well, I wonder what happened to the hubcaps. For some reason the front and rear steelies don’t match but who knows what happened in the last almost 25 or so years….
Now I’m starting to see a pattern. Keep in mind I am not walking very far, this is all within about an 8×8 block area. These people love their Eurovans. Especially in white, it seems. This is an older version with the black bumpers. Tucked away in the garage just behind it is a black Jetta wagon sporting the Tdi badge of shame…
Another early Explorer but this time with the luxe Eddie Bauer package. It’s remarkable how I used to think the Bill Blass Lincoln’s and Oleg Cassini AMC’s were laughable but when the Eddie Bauer editions arrived, well, that’s something else entirely. Please. As If. But it did look good, didn’t it?
Here’s a fifth-generation Civic, when people realized they got big, or at least bigger than older Accords. A friend of mine got one of these after we graduated from college and I remember being quite impressed with it, that was about the time that we realistically started thinking about buying new cars with our own money and starting to think about concepts such as value, which the Civic certainly had (has?) in spades.
Now you are starting to think I’m putting you on, but no. Another one, with the VR6 engine and the Mercedes (or knockoff) wheels. And white of course.
Here’s the first Cadillac, not just that I shot, but that I saw in the neighborhood (of any vintage). Lots of newer European fare but nothing from Cadillac, which should worry someone in Detroit or New York or wherever Cadillac is now based. Anyway, this appears to be a 1992 Coupe DeVille based on the vinyl treatment around the side window.
Another Toyota truck, this time their first attempt at a larger one, the T-100. This one looks like a 4WD model with the regular cab and bed. I’m always surprised that these never sold as well as I thought they would. They all seem pretty beat these days but they do still seem to run just fine.
I know. Number five. But who’s counting.
Oh, how I wanted one of these while in high school! Behold, the 1986 Toyota Celica GT-S. I never did get one but test drove a few many years later. By then the charm had faded and I moved on, but I do still like them when I see them. This one is sporting some aftermarket wheels (or are they from a Subaru?) and appears to be visiting from Washington state based on the license plates.
At first I thought I had stumbled upon an early two-door Nissan Pathfinder but then I noticed the rear cutline. Those door handles in the C-pillar are a great design trick. This is an XE-V6 model, which I believe was fairly base but still as rugged as the rest of them.
A Ford Ranger XLT, I think this probably has the Camper Special options pack as well, right? Or maybe not, but check out the platform on that rear bumper. It’s like a fishing dock. Still, another honest truck that seems to be driven regularly.
Someone loves their Volvo P1800… I love the wide whites on this one as well as the driving lights and the grille badges. What a great design, I’ll never tire of looking at these.
These were just as ubiquitous as Explorers would become. The Jeep Cherokee Laredo was all over the place, especially in this wonderful bright red. My In-laws had one and I loved the torque of the 6-cylinder engine, what a great little truck. Theirs had the alloy wheels, these I think were from the lower Pioneer trim level but then again it seems this one gets more offroad use that theirs got in Orange County (i.e. none) judging by the bumpers and tow hooks.
Here’s a little Ford Festiva all set up to be towed all around the country behind an RV. Or at least it used to be. My aunt in England had the Mazda 121 version of this and I recall it being a fun drive through the hedgerow’d roads to the pub. I’m sure it’s a perfect little car for bombing around the neighborhood here too.
Another Volvo 240, I think these early 90’s models have among my favorite hubcap designs of relatively modern cars, they have some concavity in them which helps a lot. The yellowed headlights are another matter entirely, how can the driver see with the dim glow that is emitted?
This old VW Camper looks the business, with the driving lights, wider (are they?) wheels, and racks on top. I’ll bet this thing goes into the desert regularly, that awning must be nice at the end of the day when relaxing in the open doorway with one of Boise’s excellent microbrews…
I notice the towhitch, I can’t imagine towing much of anything but maybe it’s used for bikes instead. (and the canoe goes on the roof?) Anyway, it’s obviously well used but looks ready for more. And no worry about door dings in the campsite with those rubstrips, eh!
A non-camper VW! This one is a late-model Vanagon with watercooled engine and the square headlight grille.
This is a cool find, a Jeep J-4000 Gladiator. I wonder what this one thinks of the newer Jeeps like the Renegade etc. I don’t remember the last time I saw one of these and doubt I’ll see another one again soon.
At least it’s red. This is the last one, really. I really am amazed at how many of these I saw. Other than that, I got nothin’ to say about it…
This 80’s LandCruiser was in great condition too, sorry about the sun washing out the shot a bit. That rack looks like it can hold a fair bit of kit, too. The two-tone is great too for more early-80’s appeal, it seems like half the Toyota’s back then were one or the other shade of these two blues on this one.
A lot of the cars and trucks we’ve seen so far have been “older” (of course) but this is the first car that I would genuinely call “old”. I believe it’s a 1965 Plymouth Valiant and has had some work done to it as well as sporting Collector plates but it was nice to see a car that didn’t look at all out of place in front of many of these houses, i.e. I could easily imagine it there fifty years ago (even though some of the houses are much older.)
You guys will correct me but this is the basic “100” Valiant 2-door sedan if I am not mistaken and seems pretty complete to me. It wasn’t that long ago that these seemed to be all over the place as well. Not anymore. Oh, I completely didn’t even notice the Cutlass Supreme in front of it in my rush to ogle this thing!
At first I thought this was a very early GMC S-15 Sonoma but then I realized it wasn’t called the Sonoma until 1991, almost a decade after being introduced. So this must just be a very basic Sonoma and the dogdishes remind me of the first S-10’s when they were introduced to huge fanfare. Then again, if it’s that basic, what’s with the graphic package? It’s a bit of a rolling contradiction.
This one’s a bit interesting, being a Mazda B2600i 4X4. These actually had a Mitsubishi engine and were among the last of the line before being replaced by a Ford Ranger with a Mazda badge on it.
Time stands still for no one and I continually find myself surprised at the cars that really are no longer new by any stretch of the imagination. I’m fairly certain this is a 1995 model based on the keyless entry receptor “pod” on the B-pillar which makes it of legal drinking age here in the States. It’s certainly fairly beat but presumably the 2.8l V6 still starts and gets it around.
This is a pretty sad looking Bronco II, with those wheels/covers that adorned pretty much everything Ford in the early 80’s worldwide…No tint makes this a fairly base model. My boss in high school had a new Eddie Bauer version (yeah, Eddie Bauer!) that I rode in a lot and I thought it was nice at the time. Only later did these gain a bit of a reputation for a propensity to roll over which, to be fair, shouldn’t be a big surprise based on how tall and tippy it looks…
The Lexus LS400 is another of those cars that astound me when I think of how long they’ve now been on the road. I believe this one was built sometime in the 1993-1997 timeframe and is beginning to look fairly used.
I immediately thought of Paul when I saw this second generation Camry wagon – with the painted steelies and the white wagon body it’s the perfect period mashup of his Scion xB and Acura TSX Wagon…Obviously someone likes it, you don’t just paint your steelies graphite gray and with the exception of the cracked front lip, it looked in quite good condition.
Here’s one I saw that reminded me of reader “1964bler” as it’s a black Isuzu Pickup like his although this one has the “SpaceCab” extended cab. Another nice little truck like they all used to make.
Alright, that’s my own extremely filthy car that isn’t quite a CC yet (it’s only going on fifteen years old) but the Porsche 996 series did start production in 1997 for the European market so they are getting close…Sheesh, my feet are really tired after all that walking so thanks for walking with me and I hope we can talk cars again sometime soon!