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COAL: 2003 Mustang GT – Finale for the Fox Body

I’ve always found it easiest to learn by doing. Whether it’s studying verb conjugation for a foreign language, how to grill up a proper hamburger, or a humble oil change, in my experience there’s just no better way to get to grips with a task than by jumping in and getting your hands dirty. So after spending years reading about, watching videos about, and generally fantasizing about the idea of a true-blue rear-wheel drive V8 powered slice of American cheese, I was more than happy to dive right in and see what was what.

I picked up this 2003 Mustang GT last August, after spending basically all of COVID getting more and more bored with my Accord (COAL here for the curious). It was and still is a lovely daily driver – comfortable for my 6’8″ frame, roomy enough for 4 adults, and possessing of that trademark Honda sturdiness. All of that math adds up to a reliable and practical vehicle, but not a particularly exciting one and after a few years with it I was getting increasingly envious of the brash V8 cruisers sharking around my area.

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Curbside Classique: 1958 Peugeot 403 – A Vendre, Grand Choix de Voitures Neuves et d’Occasion, Petit Prix*

Bonjour, Monsieur, Madame; comment allez-vous? Bienvenue au garage du Boulevard Winston Churchill, agence Peugeot. We offer a full range of new Peugeot cars and autres grand marques, d’occasion. How can we be of service?”

Bonjour, Monsieur; we are looking for a strong car that will serve us for many years in this rural area and also for the long journey on the new autoroutes pour les grandes vacances. It must carry 5, or 6 sometimes if necessary, people, have a big boot, be very comfortable and practical to run and to maintain. We will need many years of service, so reliability will be important;  it must give the correct impression and obviously it will be French.”

“May I suggest the Peugeot 403? We are an agence Peugeot, so we can get new cars direct from the factory very quickly, and we have a selection of second-hand cars at good prices, and I can show you also the car Monsieur le Maire of our town is using”

(*For sale, a wide choice of models, new and second-hand, at good prices.) Read the rest of this entry »

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Vintage Video: GM’s 1956 Prediction Of The Autonomous (Turbine) Car Of 1976

(first posted 5/20/2016)

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The Corporation: The Story Of My Father, A GM Executive; Part 3 – Viva Russelsheim!

Vauxhall Viva HA

(first posted 9/9/2013. Links to Part 1 & 2 at the bottom)    My father’s retirement came in 1963, immediately after Vauxhall introduced the Viva, which was smaller than all of its postwar Vauxhall predecessors. By this time, the company had Philip Copelin as a CEO. Copelin was an American who was well suited to mediate between Luton and Detroit, as he had spent a lot of his life in Europe, and had worked for General Motors Overseas Operations. Read the rest of this entry »

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CC TV: “Deadliest Roads” – What I’ve Been Watching, And I Highly Recommend It

I was a bit harsh on poor Mr. Ed yesterday. But the reality is that I have almost invariably had difficult relationship with typical tv, which is why I stopped watching it after I left home at age 18. Do not ask me about tv shows from 1971 on, because I missed out on 99% of them. The same largely applies to other aspects of popular culture. Yes, I later worked in tv, which only reinforced my feelings about it (I considered myself akin to a vegetarian butcher). We did not have a tv at home when our kids were little; they were read to, and started reading at a very young age instead.

Enough sermonizing. Fortunately the availability of watchable tv has vastly improved in recent years, and I have indulged in some quite good series on dark winter nights. But I invariably prefer documentaries and other non-fiction (books too) over scripted and fictionalized tv. Currently I’m watching these “Deadliest Roads” documentaries, and find them to be very compelling, and not just because of the scenes of ancient trucks, buses and cars navigating horrendous roads. There’s lots of human interest, history, geography, politics as well as excellent insight into how a large portion of humans live, often on a dollar or two a day. There’s some intense human drama and reality embedded in these, including little children as young as age six pounding rocks to make gravel. Here’s just a sampling; there’s quite a few more of them on Youtube.

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CC Global: Berlin Curbside Classics

Spring is here, and that means that many gems kept hidden from view and protected from salt (not that it snows much anymore in Berlin…) are back out in the open. Or when have you last seen an IFA F8? Even though I am married to a women born in the German Democratic Republic, the vehicles built in that state are not my area of expertise – shame on me. From what I understand this is basically a DKW F8, a pre-war design from 1931.

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Curbside Classic: Acadian Canso Sport – Long Way From Home

Somewhere in migration this Acadian lost its flock and ended way down south, all the way to Central America. Granted, Acadians didn’t “migrate”, as they were assembled in Canada in order to comply with the APTA pact. Still, one surviving example of the unfamiliar brand has found its way this far south.

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CC Capsule: 1988 Pontiac Safari Wagon – At The Dawn Of The Aero-Look Age, A Vinylishing Breed

(first posted 6/19/2012. 2022 update: Last time I saw it a few years back, it was showing ever-increasing signs of deterioration from being stored outside. Too bad, as this car was almost showroom condition when I first shot it)    How can I not trot out one of my better street finds to follow up on JPC’s superb 1948 Pontiac wagon CC? But unlike that gem, the B-Body is a well-known commodity hereabouts, so there’s no need to get loquacious. Anyway, the pictures of this pristine daily-driver Safari speak much more eloquently than my feeble words could. But there is a bit of story about this particular car; more like a snippet, actually. Read the rest of this entry »

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Curbside Classic: 1948 Pontiac DeLuxe Streamliner Station Wagon – At the Dawn of the Jet Age, a Varnishing Breed

(first posted 6/19/2012)    Every once in awhile, fun stuff really can happen when you get a text message while sitting on the couch on a Sunday afternoon.  This is what happened to me a couple of weeks ago.  As I was enjoying the remnants of my Sunday newspaper (yes, I still read one of those) I received a picture text from my son Jimmy.  “Cool car, check it out” was the message.  “Great,” I thought.  “Another resto-mod with a Chevy smallblock.”  But, it was nearby, so I figured that I would waste five minutes of my life and go look.  First impressions are not always accurate, and this is one that was not.  It turned out to be a genuine straight 8 Pontiac that I was glad I checked out.  And now, you can too.

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Vintage Comparison Test: 1991 European Sedans Under $30,000 – Road & Track Ignores Pending Extinction

R&TEuroSedanSpread

(first posted 5/19/2016)    More than most U.S. buff books, Road & Track magazine displayed a particularly strong penchant for European cars.  Therefore, it was no surprise that the magazine would assemble a comparison test of European sport sedans for the August 1991 issue.  The problem was, two of the brands tested would actually exit the American market just as the article appeared, and the others would suffer mightily at the hands of the Japanese.  But never mind, just don your tweed jacket and cap and revel in the wonders of Olde Europe.

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CCs in Israel: March – April 2022: Sports-cars to Vans and Everything in Between

Corvette C3, VW T3, Subaru Leone, BMW E34

Here is another batch of captures from the previous two month driving on Israel’s roads. As per usual, I inserted some words where I thought more information could be of use.

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Vintage Ad: 1976 Allison AT 540 Transmission – Clutching For Attention

1976 Allison AT540 automatic transmission ad

The world’s supply of amusing transmission ads is rather small.  Actually, this 1976 Allison ad is the only example I’ve ever seen – so it deserves a bit attention.  Somehow, the ad copy writers managed to fit in references to teen dating and goat roping in a bid to get magazine readers to read a bit more about the company’s AT 540 automatic transmission.  These days, we call this clickbait — whatever the term, it undoubtedly worked.

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Vintage PR Shot: 1962 Studebaker Lark Skytop Hardtop On Set Of “Mr. Ed” TV Show – A Match Made In…TV Hell

In Iowa City in the early 60s, the only tv in our house was in my parents’ bedroom, so we were pretty tv-starved. But we had to be pretty desperate to actually watch Mr. Ed, one of the lamest and dumbest shows ever in that great wasteland that was tv back then. The story lines were so stupid and stilted, and the whole premise of Mr. Ed, the talking horse, giving advice to Wilbur on…some idiotic domestic issue. I couldn’t begin to force myself to try to conjure up any memorable episodes; they were all more or less equally dumb.

And then there was their sponsorship by Studebaker. Oh my; what a less than inspired choice by that out-of-touch South Bend outfit. Couldn’t they find something just a wee bit more…with it, rather than clueless Wilbur, Carol and Ed Post? No wonder we called them Stupidbakers back then.

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Curbside Classic: 2000 Alfa Romeo GTV 3.0 V6 24V – Just Kidding, Rog!

It’s always a bit of a delicate exercise to write a post about a car that one’s co-CContributors (or, dare one say, CColleagues?) is known to be keen on, to the point that they actually bought one. In the present case, our very own Roger Carr wrote an impassioned piece about his new steed, a red 1997 Alfa Romeo Spider with the 2-litre 4-cyl. twin spark. So when I uncovered this later blue V6-powered GTV coupé, I knew I had to tread carefully, hoping that it might perhaps be different enough to be safe.

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