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77

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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26

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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61

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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117

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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14

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 »

13

KOAL: 1986 Mitsubishi Mirage/Colt – Special Guest Appearance

From the Cohort by Roshake 77

No, that’s not a typo, for this is not your usual COAL entry, this is indeed a KOAL: Kill Of A Lifetime. Proceed at your peril, you’ve been forewarned.

A note: In order to guarantee the rights of defense of all involved, the actual vehicle -a different Japanese popular offering- involved in the upcoming gruesome events, will remain unmentioned. Instead, Mitsubishi’s 2nd gen Mirage, Colt/Champ in the US, will take its place, a chance for this popular 80’s compact to appear once again in CC, missing somewhat in recent years (getting thin on the ground I suppose).

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Curbside Classic: 1989 Chevrolet Cavalier CL Wagon – Final Days

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(first posted 1/25/2016)

Ah, the Chevy Cavalier.

It would seem that every person I know (myself included) has either owned one or at least one of its J-body cousins in the Pontiac Sunbird (and later Sunfire)… or perhaps an earlier cousin of the more rare variety like the Buick Skyhawk, Oldsmobile Firenza or maybe even the infamous Cadillac Cimarron. The Cavalier always lead the J-body pack in terms of sales and at one point in time, they were absolutely everywhere. The final production Cavaliers (and Sunfires, too) are still found all over the place, continuing to rack up the miles as inexpensive ‘A-to-B’ commuters or a reasonably reliable first car for the newest of drivers; quite a storied end for a car that took a bit to get out of the gate. Read the rest of this entry »

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Curbside Classic: 1969 Toyota Corona – It All Started Here

Toyota 1969 Corona ffqyellow Corona shot and posted at the Cohort by Foden Alpha

(first posted 1/11/2016)    How Toyota came to revolutionize the automobile industry and become the world’s largest and most profitable automaker is a very big story, but arguably the most important single chapter is this Corona. It was the vehicle with which Toyota created a successful foothold in the US market, the world’s richest by far, and long the source of an outsize share of Toyota’s profits. Within just thee years if its introduction in 1965, this Corona vaulted Toyota from obscurity to the number three import brand. And that was just the beginning of Toyota’s huge impact on the American auto industry, which went through repeated convulsions thanks to this slightly goofy looking little car and its successors.

This Corona typifies all the qualities that Toyota came to be known for and made it successful. Although the name changed once along the way, when it transitioned to front wheel drive, the Corona and Camry are effectively one continuous evolution; fifty years of the same basic formula: reliable, economical, comfortable and trustworthy transportation. A very successful formula at that.

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The Olson’s Chrysler Turbine Car Story – And Other Hot Links To Turbine Car “Ownership”

A while ago my mom found something that was rather interesting while looking at stuff that I might be interested in: On a old but recently updated webpage was a story about a family who got to to experience the 1963 Chrysler Turbine car for a few months during the main stages of the Chrysler Turbine Car program, and it was told from the view of Mark Olson. Mark was a teenager at the time and his father Alden Olson was chosen to be the 160th user during the program, and Mark didn’t just write his experience down, but made an entire website dedicated to the Chrysler Turbine Car.

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