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CC Global: 2021 Truck Show Twenthe – Final Report

Iveco S-Way tractors

Starting the show’s last tour with an array of Iveco S-Way tractors, the truck maker’s top model since 2019. They may look familiar to the BEV trucking business followers, as the Nikola Tre is fully based on the Iveco S-Way.

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Curbside Recycling: BMW 2002, Bavarian Chocolate

Work had taken us to a vintage household in downtown Santa Tecla (El Salvador), a town with still some semblance of the old Spanish style city grid. The house was a large type, once common for large families; with open yards, long open hallways and period correct architectural detailing. While wifey and her entourage were busy with work, I took a walk around the large yard, only to discover that the house’s owners were true Germanophiles.

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Vintage PR Photos: 1937 and 1939 Rytecraft Scoota-Car – “Slips In And Out (And Under) Traffic”

Hang on to your hat, madam!

Check out this gentleman driving his Scoota-Car:

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Curbside Classics: 1961 Buick Electra And Oldsmobile 98 Hardtop Coupes – Big Bubbletop Rarities

GM’s new 1961 cars appeared just a few weeks after we arrived in the US. I instantly fell in love with all of them, and covered up the walls of my side of the shared bedroom with dreamy ads and brochure images. Having deeply immersed myself in them virtually, the next thing was to spot them on the streets. One by one, all the various brands and models and body styles revealed themselves in their lithe new flesh; that is, except for these two: the Buick Electra and Olds 98 two-door hardtop coupes. Nary a one to be seen on the streets of Iowa City.

The same goes for the streets of Eugene, not surprisingly. I’m sure my eyes must have laid on one or two in the intervening sixty years; probably a tired, rusty and sagging one in New York or Baltimore. I’ve long given up the hunt for the real thing and so will have to share these with you virtually too, thanks to the web. But even there the pickings are slim, so let’s do this before they’re all gone.

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Vintage R&T Comparison: 1984 Camaro IROC-Z vs Mustang GT – Showdown

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(first posted 1/27/2016)     This comparison road test confronts two of America’s most known Pony cars- in their highest performance models. Read the rest of this entry »

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Curbside Classics: 1991-1998 Volvo 940/960 – Playing It Safe

(first posted 1/27/2015)

“It has the classic Volvo grille design, large glass areas for good visibility, and that solid appearance that makes you wonder if Volvos aren’t carved from a single block of steel. While there is no chance of confusing it with one of those jellybean shaped cars, there is something very stylish about the new 960.” – Volvo 960 Press Kit, July 1995

As a smaller automaker with historically sensible, safe, and practical values, Volvo has oft taken its time when it comes to significantly redesigning its vehicles. Generation cycles typically last much longer than most competitors and major updates that do occur are often very evolutionary in manner. If there is one car in Volvo’s history that best exemplifies this statement, it is the 900 Series.

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Vintage Ad: On Safari In A 1985 Mercury Lynx

Is it just me, or is there something a bit odd about the clothing of these folks out on the Serengeti, or wherever they’re supposed to be? Yes, Banana Republic was still fairly new and the safari look was what they specialized in back then, but did folks really dress like this? The mom and kid seem to have matching uniforms on.

Never mind…The Lynx is where our attention should drawn. Maybe that’s why I looked at the models and not at the car, as I’m not exactly drawn to these.

Is that a Bobcat his eyes are fixated on?

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Vintage R&T Road Test: 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC 4 – A Slightly Bigger Daytona, For What That’s Worth (A Lot Less Now)

The seventies were a transitional time for Ferrari, as the mid-engine Dino and 308 series started to become their volume product, and what the brand increasingly came to be associated with. The larger, traditional front engine V12 cars meanwhile seemed to struggle a bit to stay relevant. They were very expensive, and stylistically, some of them were not as consistently hitting the mark as almost all of the ones from the 50s and 60s had.

The one exception was the brilliant Daytona. Which made it a bit questionable as to just where this new 330 GTC 4 fit in, as it was a bit larger than that, but not a genuine 2+2 as the 365 GTC. A “tweener”, and as such not one of the more memorable Ferraris. But it nevertheless delivered the classic Ferrari experience.

Not surprisingly, a Daytona today is worth several times what one of these brings now.

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Vintage Ad: 1959 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer – “The Swing Out Seat Says ‘Please Come In'”

So was this the ultimate pickup-mobile of 1959?

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Curbside Classic at Night: 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88–Ready for Launch!

I was bringing dinner home tonight and passed this–a 1960 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 hardtop coupe sitting on a car carrier.  Or is it a launch pad?

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What If: The Wheel That Never Rolled

Google maps detail stude building

(first posted 1/26/2016)     One day in the late 1980s, I got caught in bumper to bumper traffic on the Henry Hudson Parkway, along the Hudson River shore on Manhattan’s West Side. Stuck in time, I scanned the skyline and found myself doing a double-take. Peeking out from under an arch of Riverside Drive, I thought I spotted a familiar shape in the white cornice of a handsome old industrial building. (Screen capture from Google Maps)

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Automotive Histories: When The Old Names Died (Part II)

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(first posted 1/26/2016)     Lucerne. Cobalt. G6. Pleasant, inoffensive names that have one thing in common: they all replaced decades-old nameplates, and they each lasted only a single generation. Let’s take a look at the names that came before and investigate why they were dumped. Read the rest of this entry »

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Vintage PR Shot: 1958 Simca Aronde 1300 Chatelaine – A Shooting Brake For The Chatelaine

This shot (no pun intended) of a 1958 Simca Aronde 1300 Chatelaine gives us an opportunity to sharpen up our vocabulary a bit, starting with the term “shooting brake” and moving on to “chatelaine”.

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Data Diving EPA’s 2021 Automotive Trends Report: Charting The Big Changes Since 1975

EPA’s 2021 Automotive Trends Report is out, and as usual, it is a treasure trove of statistics. I’m going to dive in and extract some key charts and summaries, as the whole thing is a bit much, although I do recommend reading it to properly understand the impacts technology and consumer preference have made on real-world fuel economy.

This is the single most important chart, as it sums up the story so far, since 1975. The plunge in weight and hp and the concomitant increase in fuel economy directly after the two energy crises is stark. 1987 set a record in fuel economy that would not equaled for two decades (2008), by which time weight and hp had increased substantially. Since then, weight has stayed roughly the same, but hp and economy continue to increase, thanks to technology improvements.

Of course economy would be significantly higher if weight had stayed at 1987 levels, but consumers have voted with their preference for larger and heavier vehicles, back roughly to 1975 levels.

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CC Capsule: 1966-69 Kaiser Jeepster Commando — Beechwood, Aged

You never know what will pop up in the yard at my mechanic’s. Seems like anytime I’m over there dropping off or picking up one of our cars, there’s something unusual in the yard waiting its turn. On this day when I picked up my Passat after a brake job, this Jeepster Commando was parked under a large tree. Read the rest of this entry »