Recent Posts
1

Beachside Outtake: The Sun Sets On A Splendid Jeep Gladiator

CC reader John Kelley sent me these shots of this immaculate Jeep Gladiator parked at Duxbury Beach in Massachusetts just as the sun was slipping away. Not surprisingly, this Glad recently found its way to salty New England from Texas, which rather explains its condition.

There’s a bit of a surprise under the hood.

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11

Cohort Pic(k) Of The Day: 1963 Mercury Monterey — Looking For A Proper Tune

Photo from the Cohort by tbm3fan.

I occasionally think of music and cars, as in: What type of music would work with this car? And if one must think about it, many factors come into play to figure out a car’s proper soundtrack. After all, cars are a product of their time and each carries a certain essence. Plus, location plays a factor too.

The last is not an element that often comes into mind, but a defining one. In the tropics, where I currently live, it takes some getting used to listening to gloomy Pink Floyd records while driving. All that sun and brightness just work against lyrics like: “I have grown older, and you have grown colder, and nothing is very much fun anymore.”

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9

2024 Maserati Grecale GT — The Farmer’s Daughter of Rental Cars

I’ve mentioned a few times here on Curbside Classic that I have a great fondness for rental cars. My feelings are directly and proportionally related to my lack of fondness for owning new cars. Particularly as I’ve gotten older, wiser, and poorer (one of these things is not like the others, except in my case) the idea of making a commitment to shelling out good money for a vehicle that will rapidly depreciate (despite its being termed an “asset”) and grow inevitably and increasingly undependable on my dime is not at all something that I find desirable. On the other hand, for a couple hundred dollars, I can have that whole new-car experience for a handful of days; and at the end, I can just fly away with no commitments whatsoever. Many things in life should work this way, but don’t.

In short, I love rental cars.  And sometimes they – or at least the rental car companies – love me back.

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10

Curbside Classic: 1962 Buick Electra 225 Riviera – Thriver

This 1962 Electra 225 Riviera sees a fair bit of the street here in Melbourne and I’ve managed to capture it on multiple occasions. I’ve also managed to meet its owner, who it turns out piloted half a Honda Z360 in the 1986 film Malcolm.

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Curbside Classic: 1985 Buick Riviera – A Ray of Light in the Darkness

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(first posted 5/8/2013)      As we all know, boys in their teens tend to focus on two subjects- girls and cars. Since I graduated High School in 1979, the girls of my youth came wrapped in bright polyester, and the cars often came wrapped in mediocrity. As manufacturers budgeted money for mandated emissions and safety equipment, other areas of car design languished in the shadows. I recall reading about the new models for 1975 or 1976, and noting that “new” for most domestic manufacturers meant offering two tone paint options. These new paint designs and vinyl graphic packages were the automotive equivalent of polyester suits and attempted to distract from the aging platforms and reduced power outputs. Thankfully, the 1979 Buick Riviera burst into this automotive wasteland, and let us know the future held better days. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vintage R&T Review: 1974 Toyota Corona SR Coupe – “Solid, Safe, and Sporty, But Sluggish”

(first posted 4/21/2018)        The Corona was growing steadily since its start as a rather small little thing. But it was also becoming much more comfortable, and ever-more suited to American drivers looking for an alternative. The SR hardtop coupe may have been a fair bit smaller, but undoubtedly appealed to many Americans that might otherwise have gone for a rather large and heavy American mid-sized car, which were getting rather huge at this time. R&T takes a closer look.

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29

Vintage Snapshots: Fun In The Open Air – Convertibles In The ’50s-’60s

With spring coming in, it’s perhaps time to take a second look at images of ragtops from the past. And like my previous gallery on the topic, these are some rather sharp-looking rides. Even the humblest model among these is an invitation to enjoy the sunlight and have some fun times.

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18

Vintage Review: 1984 Chrysler Laser (Dodge Daytona) XE Turbo — “A Strong Running Package In Need Of Refinement”

The ’70s had certainly been a rough decade for Chrysler. After barely surviving, a renaissance of sorts had been in the works with the K-Car era that arrived in 1981. A series of modern and practical FWD products, pragmatic almost to a fault, ready to serve a world still carrying the uncertainties left by the previous decade. Yet, by ’84, the corporation had recovered enough to offer fun motoring again. Reasonable and cost-effective fun, mind you, appropriate for the decade.

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5

CC Global: This Volvo Always Stays Ahead Of The Competitors

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Riding along on a 2017 Volvo FH truck and GS Meppel center-axle trailer, two brand spanking new Scania trucks, straight from the Zwolle plant in the Netherlands, the truck maker’s largest and most modern European production facility.

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14

Auto-Biography: The ’74 Audi Fox Becomes a Commuter Car

When we last left this saga, I was deep into my year at Syracuse University and had exposed my ’74 Audi Fox to the worst of a typical Central New York winter, complete with significant amounts of snow, road salt, and the further indignity of repeated short-trip commutes from my hilltop student housing to the Design Department digs on the main campus. Needless to say, the Fox never saw the inside of a garage, living outside and being constantly subjected to the elements –not a great way to treat my nearly-new car, I admit!

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The Birth Of The GM/EMD Two-Stroke Diesel Engine: “Very Well (Ket) – We Are Now In The Diesel Engine Business” (Excerpts From “My Years With GM” By Alfred Sloan)

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(first posted 5/23/2013)     My fascination with trains has a particular focus on the birth and early years of what became the utterly dominant GM EMD two-stroke diesel-electric locomotives. My story of EMD’s early streamlined locomotives through the final “classic” E-9 is here. But I recently cracked open Alfread Sloan’s excellent “My Years With General Motors”, and found perhaps the best documentation yet of just how exactly GM came to be involved in this business, created the first successful high-power American diesel locomotive engine, and turned it into a near monopoly. Kettering’s breakthrough two-stroke diesel engine was of course also scaled down by him to create the equally dominant Detroit Diesel engine, which too came to dominate the bus market, and be highly competitive in the truck market, as well as the mid-sized “Cleveland” engines, equally predominant in submarine and other marine applications.

Rather than try to re-write the story myself, it’s really best heard in Sloan’s lucid writing. It’s a bit long. and maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but it sure is mine.

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Curbside Classic: 1987 Dodge Ram 250 – Oh Ye Ultimate Goddess Of Pickups, Thy Name Be Dodge!

(first posted 4/20/2018)      There is no beating around the bush.  The epiphany cannot be contained.  The truth must spring forth…

This is the ultimate in pickups.

There.  I said it.  Much like a compass cannot escape pointing to magnetic north, I cannot escape proclaiming the truth about this Dodge.

It’s just a shame the popularity of pickups around here isn’t as rampant as it is for passenger cars.  This generation of Dodge pickup has so many things going for it many just don’t realize.

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25

Vintage Snapshots: Traffic In NY — 1956-1963

I generally like to spend CC weekends doing some armchair traveling with some car spotting too. With that in mind, here’s the familiar scenery of New York City captured through some very casual snapshots. About half of these images date from 1956, with others coming from 1958 and one each from 1960 and 1963.

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15

Bus Stop Classics Obscurity:  1994-2002 Nova Bus RTS 06 WFD (Wide Front Door) – The Door Closes on the RTS

We’ve told the RTS story here, but I thought it would be interesting to highlight the last version of this controversial and conflicted design. Read the rest of this entry »

13

COAL: 1981 Bonneville Brougham – A True Gift

Paul, my father in law, and I learned early on that we both really loved cars. We were always doing car shows, and he would tell me about the 1956 Pontiac Star Chief that he customized with dual exhaust, shaved door handles and frenched headlights. Whatever that is!

It is this common thread that moved me to the next car: a 1981 Bonneville Brougham.

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