Recent Posts
1

Vintage Photograph: Call An Ambulance! Oh, Never Mind

Now if only the Studebaker had been a tow truck.

From the second shot (below) it looks like things weren’t too dire.

Read the rest of this entry »

6

CC Capsule: 1997 Nissan March (K11) Mooku Tokio Princess – Van Den Whaaa?

The link between Nissan and Austin is an ancient one, but this is taking it to a whole nother level. As I’ve documented before, the 1992-2002 Nissan March / Micra was subjected to countless retro-infused variations. The Mitsuoka Viewt probably takes the cake, but, noblesse oblige, let’s pay our respects to the Princess, as she is graciously granting us an audience.

Read the rest of this entry »

11

Design History: Buick’s Fully-Open Rear Wheel Wells (1953 – 1957) – The Year-By-Year Opening

1954 Special

One of the most distinctive and readily-identifiable styling cues of the 1950s was Buick’s full rear-wheel openings. It sure made them easy to ID as a kid in the early ’60s, trying to make sense of all of the older cars still on the road. But of course, not all of the models had it during those years; it was a steady progression starting in 1953 and ending abruptly after 1957.

Whether it was a positive step and good design is of course a subjective issue. It can be a bit too much on certain body styles, and seems to work better on some models than others. Buick was trying to inject “The European look of wide-open rear wheel wells” (their words) despite their cars being as all-American as it got. And like so many styling affectations of the ’50s, it soon ran its course, to be replaced by the next styling fad.

Read the rest of this entry »

8

CC Auction: Mystery Box

Mystery lot

As mentioned in my Studebaker acquisition post, I also bought a semi-mystery tote in the same online auction. I was intrigued by the box for the banjo steering wheel horn button. I would like to build myself one someday, so it seemed reasonable to buy this one if it went low enough. The auction described this lot as a tachometer with others bit. I put in a low-ish bid and won it (again for my maximum bid). So did I win a treasure cache or a box of junk?

Read the rest of this entry »

12

Curbside Classic: 1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4 – Immortally Cool

1984 Pontiac Fiero 2M4. Rogers Park, Chicago, Illinois. Sunday, September 13, 2020.

Pontiac’s mid-engine Fiero was one of my favorite automotive discoveries immediately after my family’s return to the United States after a year of living abroad.  I honestly don’t remember if that final, long, transatlantic flight had landed in New York, or if it flew directly into Detroit Metro.  At the point of departure from Europe (Paris, if I remember correctly) in late summer of 1984, I was a ball of excitement at the prospect of being back home in Flint, Michigan with friends, family, my toys, the local McDonald’s, and a whole bunch of cool stories to tell about my fourth grade year spent living in my paternal grandfather’s ancestral village in upcountry Liberia.  I was perhaps just as excited to see cars on the road from familiar brands like Chevrolet, Ford and Chrysler, versus the likes of Peugeot, Vauxhall, and Opel.

Read the rest of this entry »

77

Curbside Classic: 1996-98 Ford Taurus Ghia – The Hometown Falcon Knocks Out The Ovoid Contender

ford taurus ghia (4)

(first posted 11/24/2014)    What you are looking at here is the object of my teenage lust. While some teenage boys had posters of Lamborghinis and Ferraris in their rooms, I really wanted to own the short-lived Australian market version of the controversial 1996 Ford Taurus. In a market that hadn’t seen much in the way of American metal in decades, let alone anything this daringly styled, the Taurus was almost exotic. Underneath that bold sheetmetal, though, lay a fairly modern, competent yet unexciting family sedan. Despite its competitiveness, the odds were always going to be stacked against this bull in the Aussie market.

Read the rest of this entry »

45

Car Show Classic – 1966 Lincoln Continental Coupe – Where Have You Been?!

(first posted 11/24/2014)    Remember the Sixties Continental? Sure you do, even if you, like me, were born long after the Sixties ended. But who could forget such an elegant car? Lincoln almost bought the farm after their disastrous attempt at “out-Cadillacing” Cadillac, but a chance encounter with a Thunderbird design sketch saved the day. And the classic car world is so much better as a result of these cars!

Read the rest of this entry »

23

Curbside Newsstand: GM All In On EVs; Cadillac Offering Up To $500,000 To EV-Wary Dealers To Exit Their Franchise

By now it’s old news that Cadillac (and the GMC Hummer) is going to be at the forefront of GM’s massive commitment to EVs. At a recent investor presentation, GM CEO Mary Barra announced that it was increasing its investment in EVs by $7 billion through 2025, for a total of $27 billion (including autonomous vehicles). Her fighting words are:

“We’re committed to fighting for EV market share until we are number one in North America”

Cadillac will be the division that spearheads that initiative (along with the Hummer), starting with the Lyric (above) whose target sales date has been pushed up nine months to early 2022. And Cadillac envisions eliminating IC vehicles form its line-up by 2030, although that’s not yet etched in lithium.

Not surprisingly, a significant number of Cadillac’s smaller dealers (and there are quite a few of them) are wary about having to commit some $200,000+ in infrastructure, training and other costs to sell EVs. So GM is offering them an early retirement: up to $500k to hand in their franchises.

Read the rest of this entry »

31

Curbside Recycling Update: 1978 Chevrolet Nova – Last Call

1978 Chevrolet Nova

We last saw (or first met) our protagonist almost two months ago and I happened to stumble across it (him, her, them?) again the other day.  I immediately realized that time was almost up for this one, as in the high turnover junkyard the cars are placed in rows one after another and when the crew reaches the end of the lot and runs out of room for new arrivals, they start over at the beginning and move a row out to the crusher to clear space for the next lucky arrivals.  The row behind was already cleared so in the next few days it would be this Nova’s turn in the crusher once those spots were filled and more space was needed.

I originally found this car on September 12th, the mark on the rear side window indicates it was placed (or at least staged to place) a few days earlier, September 9th.  I then shared it here a couple of weeks later but for all intents and purposes it was a fairly complete car.  Now at the end it is unlikely that much more, if anything, will be removed from it but its molecules will likely be born again in a dishwasher or a bridge or something.  But let’s take a look at what was actually taken from it over the approximately ten weeks that a resident of the General Motors section at my favorite (i.e. closest) junkyard gets the opportunity to be a donor.  It did have the advantage of being the only Nova on-site during its entire stay. Read the rest of this entry »

2

CC Global: 2012 Mercedes-Benz Tractor And 2004 Nooteboom Semi-Trailer – a Bit Of a Stretch

2012 Mercedes-Benz Actros and 2004 Nooteboom - 1

Spotted at the local shipyard, a heavy tractor with a widespread, tridem axle flatbed semi-trailer. An ideal and common combination for transporting all kinds of steel products. The semi-trailer isn’t as basic as it looks, though.

Read the rest of this entry »

13

Curbside Outtake: 1960 GM PD-4101 Coach – It’s Taken Up Residence In My Neighborhood

My favorite vintage coach took up residence in my neighborhood well over a year ago, and we still walk by it every few days. And clearly someone inside has made it their residence, including a little chimney that appears during the winter season. Got to stay warm.

I used to really want one of these in my younger days, before I realized that it was too big for where we like to go. So I’ll just admire it as we amble by, and imagine all the places it’s been in its long life. Was it a Greyhound bus? Or Trailways? Or one of the many other operators back then? The PD-4104, rightfully called “The Most Dominant and Influential Bus Ever” in Jim Brophy’s excellent Bus Stop Classic, was also extremely well built, so it’s not surprising folks are still using them, one way or another.

Read the rest of this entry »

28

Vintage Photograph: When Cars Were All The Same Height – And Shape

Main Street, Twin Falls, Idaho, 1941, and all the cars are the same height. And shape.

Here’s the view from the other direction; lots more of the same:

Read the rest of this entry »

21

Curbside Classic: 2000-01 Mitsubishi Proudia – It Came Before A Fall

No, we’ve not seen everything on CC yet. There are still some stories to tell, in a Deadly Sins vein, about colossal missteps by ancient conglomerates who should have known better. It’s just a matter of finding the cars on the street, which can get tricky. Have no fear, T87 is here, got extremely lucky recently and found not one, but two first-generation Proudias to illustrate a classic tale of hubris and industrial disaster.

Read the rest of this entry »

51

Automotive History: Horch P240 Sachsenring and Sachsenring Repräsentant – East Germany Tries (And Fails) To Build A Luxury Car

Horch 1957 Sachsenring Wikipedia crop-vert

Ending up on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain for the builders and lovers of fine cars sucked. A number of Germany’s premier automakers were based or had plants in what became the GDR/DDR (East Germany), but life was not going to be the same, given the lower incomes. Initially, the Eisenach BMW factory kept producing some pre-war BMWs (later EMWs). But lack of sales and state diktat ended that in 1955, and Eisenach was switched over to making two-stroke Wartburgs.

Oddly enough, just a couple of years earlier in 1953, the Horch factory, which once built splendid luxury cars before the war, was told to develop and build a new home-grown luxury car. So they did, but not surprisingly, sales were as dismal as the rest of the DDR economy, and it was killed off after a few years. But then a few more were ordered up in 1969, strictly as a parade-mobile. Of all the communist era parade-mobiles, the Repräsentant has to be the saddest by far. It looks just like one of those little fiberglass kiddie-ride carousel cars, right down to the cheap plexiglass windshield. Read the rest of this entry »

33

Curbside Classic: 1964 Mercury Comet 202 – To the Moon and Back

(first posted 9/18/2011)    How many of us can say we’ve owned and loved a car so long that we could have driven it to the Moon and back if we wanted to?  As we’ll get to shortly, if we just kept up on regular maintenance, we could all drive the sturdy and stylish 1964 Mercury Comet to space and beyond if we had a Highway into the sky and beyond. Read the rest of this entry »