Recent Posts
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Vintage Postcards: Malls & Shopping Centers In The 1950s-1960s

Here’s a nice bunch of postcards dating to the early days of the mall and shopping center phenomenon. Understandably, some of these establishments are no more while some remain. But even those still with is are hard to recognize in these images, making it all more fun.

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Vintage M/T Road Test: 1964 Ford Fairlane 500 Sports Coupe – 289 V8, Four Speed And Good To Go

The 1964 Fairlane is widely considered to be the most attractive of the first generation (1962-1965). That’s undoubtedly in part due to its losing its rear finlets, which were getting sorely out of date by 1963. But there were other attractions, especially in the power train department. The 289 V8 was now available in a lo-po 195 hp version (only the 271 hp K-Code was available in ’63), and it could be had with the much better three-speed (C4) Cruise-o-matic. It’s safe to assume that there were likely some other continued refinements in its chassis too.

Motor Trend tested a Sports Coupe with the 195 hp 289, but backed by the optional four speed manual, which made for a sweet combination. Lively performance (0-60 in 9.9 sec.) but very tractable and with quite decent fuel economy (up to 19 mpg). And the handling was also better than average; quite a bit so on some rough desert roads driven at high speeds. A pretty attractive package, all-round.

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Auto-Biography: Emblematic of Emissions

Undated photo showing LA smog in the late ’40s or early ’50s. (Source: pbssocal.org)

 

One of the significant contributors to what is sometimes referred to as the “Malaise Era” in automotive history was the industry’s need to comply with increasingly strict exhaust emissions standards.

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Car Show Classic: 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Gran Coupe – The Broughamiest ‘cuda Around

(first posted 7/31/2013)    Let’s get one thing straight: I love these E-bodies. While I might give a slight edge to the Challenger (I especially love the full-width taillights of the ’70), the Barracuda is equally good looking. One thing that let these cars down, however, was their cheap interiors. My brother’s first car was a 1973 ‘cuda 340. I drove it many times, and could never get over the sit-on-the-floor driving stance and doors that came above your shoulders. Nonetheless, I will always love them for their style. And the seldom-seen Gran Coupe spruced up the often stark interiors quite a bit.

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Bus Stop Classic: Gräf und Stift 120 OGL Austrian Post Bus – Where’s the Trailer Bus?

(first posted 5/18/2018)     When I ran across these shots of this Gräf und Stift Austrian Post bus from the 1950s at the Cohort (posted by T Minor), I had to stop and savor the flood of memories it triggered of riding in buses like this one as a little kid. And not just in the bus itself, but also in a trailer bus that one of them was towing. Now that was something different, and not something one sees in the US;  but it’s still being done by Post buses 60 years later.

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Curbside Classic: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 280 (W123) – Born To Greatness

(first posted 5/18/2018)      Double-u one two three. It had to happen someday. It’s not like these are excessively rare or anything. They are hitting their 40s, so sightings are perhaps not as usual as they were. I had the privilege of coming in close contact with this rather lovely cream-coloured 1978 model recently, so here goes.

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Vintage Snapshots: Cars In The Woods — 1950-1960s

This is another gallery of images that offer a good deal of armchair (or virtual-chair) traveling through time and locations. It features cars either visiting, arriving, or near forest areas. Clearly, all of these belong to special trips, be it a plain vacation, picnicking, or camping.

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Cohort Pic(k) Of The Day: 1975 AMC Hornet – A Hornet In The Big Apple

Photo from the Cohort by Blue387.

Only one image today for this surviving old AMC product. It’s none other than a 1975 Hornet sedan found in NYC, and its nice condition suggests that it has found a good nesting place in that city. Quite a feat actually. I’m not that familiar with NYC, but I would think it isn’t the friendliest place for hornets… or old AMC cars.

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COAL: 1976 Lincoln Mark IV Jade/White Luxury Group — A Very Special COAL

This car is one that is still in my corral, and while it needs body work it runs very well and has very deep emotions tied to it.

The year was 1994. My wife was still working at Publix and became good friends with a sweet lady I’ll call Debbie. She was married to a true gentleman that I’ll call Mike.

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Vintage Reviews: 1983 – 1986 Ford LTD, LTD/LX & LTD Brougham – Lethargic, Tuned or Dutiful?

(first posted 5/17/2018)        Last week, Paul covered the 1983 generation Fairmont-based LTD and its challenging mission of bridging between the “Brougham” and “Aero” eras at Ford.  The resulting car did not set the world on fire, though it wound up as a decent success during a tumultuous period for U.S. automakers.  However, engine and equipment choice played a huge role in determining how good the car was for everyday transportation—period reviews from Consumer Guide Auto Test and Car and Driver help pinpoint the good, the bad and the ugly when it came to the “Fairmont LTDs.”

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Automotive History: General Motors 1949-50 – The Mystery Of The Missing B Body (Part 2)


(first posted 5/17/2018)       In Part 1 (here), we looked at the way in which General Motors converted its A, B and C body shells from the old pre-war styles to new post-war designs.  Well, the A and C bodies at least.  We established that there really was no B body car produced for 1949, unless we count the handful of warmed over ’48 Buick Specials (that were called ’49s) before Buick pulled the plug on them in December of 1948.  1950 would be different.  Or would it?

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Vintage Snapshots: What’s On The Driveway? — Cars In The Suburbs Of The ’50s-’60s

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Curbside Classic: 1982 Lancia Rally 037 Stradale – Group B-List Stardom Attained

Even people like me who know next to nothing about rallying know that those crazy speeds on gravel and snow can only be achieved with 4WD. But there was a time, before the Audi Quattro, when two wheels could steer and the other two would push, and that was that. The last such car to win a WRC title was the Lancia Rally 037.

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Used Car Shopping: 2017 Lexus GS350 AWD–The Decision

 

“You had a bigger smile in the Audi”  she says after I run the engine up through its sweet spot and glance over with an expectant look. Lexus extracted a rich induction sound from the corporate V6 and I somehow believed this was going to impress her in the slightest.  But I find myself yet again perplexed at our mismatched wavelengths.  She’s not the type to push more than halfway to redline under any circumstance, and if you ask what her favorite thing about our Camry is, she will simply tell you that it’s familiar.    

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Vintage R&T Comparison: 1981 Ford Escort, Mazda GLC, VW Rabbit And Honda Accord — FWD Compacts For The ’80s

The transverse FWD layout was taking over passenger cars by the 1980s. By then, the format’s advantages for passenger vehicles were hard to deny, particularly in compacts. A market that had grown in the US after the difficult 1970s, with most carmakers joining the segment. In February of 1981, R&T was ready to test some newcomers to the FWD compact world; the 1st. gen. Ford Escort and the 2nd gen. Mazda GLC. They would face two established players; the VW Rabbit and the Honda Accord.

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