Recent Posts

Automotive History: A Salute To The 1977 and 1978 Dodge Monaco (And Plymouth Fury) – The Most Abused Car In Entertainment History?

Once upon a long duration of time, these Chrysler B-body twins of the Dodge Monaco and Plymouth Fury were seemingly everywhere in movies and television being subjected to all manner of harsh treatment.  While it seems the Dodge version was generally the more prevalent, the Plymouth certainly did not escape being bludgeoned in novel and creative ways.

So were these the most abused cars in cinematic history?  While a definitive determination might be difficult, these would certainly be contenders.  Let’s explore this theory…

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Vintage Reviews: 1962 Plymouth – How Did It Measure Up?

(first posted 12/5/2017)           Chrysler’s gamble on downsizing in 1962 was certainly not a commercial success, but from an engineering and packaging standpoint, there were some notable accomplishments.  For the low-priced Plymouth brand, the pragmatic approach to big car design did earn some accolades from the automotive press back when these cars were new.

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Curbside Classic: 1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z28 – Paradise Express

(first posted 12/5/2017)        This past August, I was taking a much needed vacation in a place that shaped much of who I am today.  It’s kind of ironic that I would find so much pleasure in returning to the Rust Belt factory town where I grew up, Flint, Michigan – a place where I had probably literally counted the weeks before my family would move away over twenty-five years ago.  I love this town in a completely non-ironic way, and I’m always seeking out familiar places before they shut their doors forever.  The Dort Mall, the first and only enclosed shopping mall within Flint city limits since it was built in the mid-1960’s, is usually a destination of mine.  I had lost the chain for my automotive-themed wallet and needed to purchase another one from Paradise Express in the mall, which has been open since the mid-80’s.

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CC Outtakes: 1978 Corona Wagon & 1980 Starlet – Toyota Dead End Road

Just a few weeks ago I decided to venture into some unknown streets around my neighborhood. After all, there was one I never used that I was particularly curious about. I wasn’t expecting much, as Waze showed a short drive that dead-ended on a gated community.

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Vintage Snapshots: Hawaii In The ’50s & ’60s, In Kodachrome

Now that winter is coming, how about an escapade to warmer climates? Even better, what if we do so in the past? Beach, sun, and vintage cars. That sounds like a good combo, doesn’t it?

So, let’s pay a visit to the Hawaii of the ’50s and ’60s, in colorful Kodachrome.

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Automotive Product Mascots – Equipment and Services (Part 1)

Personally, I’ve never exactly understood brand mascots. I mean, yes, I get what they are, but in fact I – like the child in our lede picture — have always been somewhat creeped out by mascots of any sort. Most troublesome are the somewhat threatening ones that get in your face with their big-headed…insistence. Whether you find mascots disturbing or compelling or something in between, they all represent attempts by their creators to make indelible impressions on consumer consciousness. Automotive mascots are no exception to this rule. Endearing or revolting, let’s take a look at the various unforgettable creatures that the automotive products industry has fielded throughout the years to shill and support their wares.

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Curbside Musings: 1973 Ford Galaxie 500 – Extra Butter, On Everything

1973 Ford Galaxie 500 hardtop coupe. 18b Arts District, Las Vegas, Nevada. Sunday, October 1, 2023.

As the December holidays approach, I’m reminded of my grandparents’ farm in northwestern Ohio, which is where my mother had spent most of her childhood.  The Dennis family would travel there by car from Flint, Michigan several times a year when I was a kid, including for Christmas.  Making that trip was one of my favorite things in the world.  Long before I had known of any complicated family history between my grandparents and my interracially-married parents which had included a boatload of unpleasantness from years before I was born, a trip to the family farm ranked in my mind above everything but perhaps a hypothetical trip to Disney World.  The Dennises would never go to Disney, but that was fine, as we traveled through Europe and lived in Liberia for a year, which was where my father’s family had originated.

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Curbside Classic: 1989 Nissan 240SX And Silvia/SX History – Who’s The Prettiest Silvia Of Them All?

CC 98 030 925

(first posted 12/3/2013)     Why did I pick this 240SX to write up? Because its a fine-looking car, as well as being one of the last of its genre: affordable fun-to-drive, lightweight RWD coupes. They’ve caught my eye repeatedly, and I’ve imagined myself behind the wheel of one of these more than once. It’s almost ironic that this vintage of the SX/Silvia was a looker, because most of its predecessors sure weren’t. Some things do improve with age. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Snapshot: The Edsel Police

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Brilliant Blunder: 1962 Plymouth & Dodge – The Real Reason They Were Downsized

(first posted 12/4/2017. revised 12/3/2023)    The fact that the downsized and unusually-styled 1962 Plymouth and Dodge were a blunder is indisputable, in terms of their failure on the market. But there’s one or more upsides: We invariably love stories of human folly, as it makes us feel just a wee bit smarter; the more extreme the folly, the more delicious the resulting schadenfreude. But blunders often contain brilliance. And the stories that try to lay blame for them are often not as simple as they’re commonly made out to be.

The real story of why these cars were downsized is much more complex and rational than the one that’s been perpetuated for decades.

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COAL Updates: A 2023 Fleet Discussion – The Iron Door Of The North Clangs Open – (1963 Riviera Content & More)

Another year of old car driving has fundamentally come to a close.  Yes, the Dirty Dart is still ready to go on dry winter days, but the steady diet of crankcase fumes that heal my mind while harming it will go into late autumn hibernation with the bulk of my fleet.  As one might feel a heightened zest for life as it draws to a close, the waning months of the year bring an increased focus on driver’s seat time as I squeeze in the last few dozen (hundred) miles of the year.  Here’s what I’ve been up to in the garage and on the road.

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Curbside Classic: 1963 Renault Dauphine Gordini – You Can’t Please Everyone

Renault almost managed it. They built on their home-grown Beetle, the 4CV, and turned it into a larger, more ambitious and user-friendly car – not just for France, but for the world. And the world was receptive. The Dauphine was assembled in several European countries, but also in Latin America, Australia, Israel and North Africa. They sold these everywhere. Even in the US. And that’s where the ship went off the rails, as they (don’t) say.

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Curbside Capsule: 1992 Ford Crown Victoria – The Last Fresh Crown Vic

(first posted 12/4/2017)         When I call this the last fresh Crown Vic, I realize the Panther cars received extensive chassis revisions in 2003. But by then, Ford had all but given up trying to broaden the Vic’s appeal and attract new buyers. Both inside and out, the ‘03s looked almost identical to the ‘98s. Compare that to these 1992 models: the venerable, 1979-vintage platform underneath was married to a new and thoroughly modern engine and sleek, aerodynamic styling. Very fresh indeed. Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage Snapshots: A Gallery Of Family Rides

Sunday feels like a good day to check out a few families of the past, with their respective family vehicles. At least, I believe most are families, and in the old sense of the word. The extended one; with grandpa, granny, the kids, and more.

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Cohort Pic(k) Of The Day: 1977-78 Buick Riviera – Living In Oblivion

Photos from the Cohort by nifticus392.

Here’s a Riviera that lives neither in glory nor in infamy. Rather, a forgotten one amidst far more memorable versions. The legendary first gen., the ’79-’85 rebirth, the controversial boattail, and the infamous ’86-’87; all form part of the collective automotive imaginary. And this one? A blip in the radar one has to work hard to recall.

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