Recent Posts

1930 Burney Streamliner: Worst Case Of Rear Weight Bias Ever?

Burney engine

(first posted 12/3/2015)      The recent conversations here about the Corvair’s excessive rear-weight bias (64%) got me thinking about what car had the most excessive rear weight bias ever. And this is what came to mind; a picture that always gives me the willies when I think about how this car must handle in a fast curve. Unfortunately, no specs are available to confirm my guess, but the 1930 Burney Streamline was lightly built, on aircraft principles, with fabric covering the body’s aluminum frame. But hanging out back was a large and heavy OHC eight cylinder inline engine (make unknown). One of the headlines covering it proclaimed “Streamlined Auto Can Almost Fly”.  Take it fast enough through a curve and hit the brakes, and I’m sure it would. Another superlative: it must have the most accessible engine ever. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1967 Pontiac Bonneville – A Long, Flowing Old Car On A Long, Flowing Old Road

1967 Pontiac Bonneville a

(first posted 12/3/2015)     I love to follow the old roads. In Indiana, they don’t get much older than the National Road, which Thomas Jefferson authorized in 1806 and was built across Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois in the 1820s and 1830s. And then when the US highway system was established in 1926, US 40 was laid along that old road. US 40 has been improved (read: straightened, widened, and outright moved) in several places; the old alignments still lurk here and there. But for the most part, when you drive US 40, you’re following a pioneer path. And it seems like whenever I’m on one of the pioneer paths, I find old cars, like this ’67 Bonneville. Read the rest of this entry »


A Quick Tour Of Gary Grimes’ Collection And Some Customer Cars – The Tiger King

As I mentioned in my post about getting my truck’s transmission fixed, Gary Grimes gave me a tour of his premises when I dropped off the truck. We’ll start with this very fine 1948 Chrysler.

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Vintage Road & Track Feature: Bertone’s Lamborghini Marzal – “Design So Fresh That Everything Else Looks Old Fashioned”

I’ve had my turn here gushing over the Marzal, so now it’s Road and Track’s turn. Not surprisingly, they were as blown away as I was when they first saw pictures of it. But then “it is seldom that that an entirely fresh approach to automobile design is seen…it’s so fresh it’s startling”.

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Curbside Outtake: Datsun 510 Wagon – True Blue

It’s been a while since I’ve run into a Datsun 510, although I know there’s a couple of them still around. So here’s a chance to renew our loving feelings to one of the better things that Japan ever sent this way, even if the wagon had a solid rear axle.

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Curbside Classic Capsule: 1993 Honda Accord EX – Peak Accord

We’re headed out to Port Orford for five days, so this is going to be quick; mostly pictures. But what else is there to say about what I consider to be the most appealing Accord ever? Tight, lithe, quick, great styling, superb visibility, durable, reliable; what other superlatives can we add?

This is the last EX of this generation around my neighborhood, and every time I walk by it, I wish I’d had one back in the day.

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Curbside Classic: 2003 Mercedes-Benz ML350 (W163) – Mercedes-Benz Deadly Sin #1


(first posted 12/2/2015)   (The Deadly Sin designation has been used here almost exclusively for GM cars that directly contributed to the death of that corporation. I described their nature and purpose here. When I saw this, it created a bit of a doctrinal crisis for me, since Mercedes never died. But then I revisited the actual doctrinal meaning of the Deadly Sins; according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, a mortal or deadly sin is believed to destroy the life of grace and charity within a person. That applies well enough here.  PN)

I had the brochure for these. In my mind they were just about the coolest cars in the planet back in ninety-something-or-other when that title changed every time I got a new brochure or saw a new car on the street. I still find them extremely good looking. Sadly, they fell from grace in my head the second I came to understand the definition of the words “Quality” and “Reliability”
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Curbside Classics : 1990/2003 Honda Civic – A Tale Of Two Civics

DCF 1.0

1990/2003 Honda Civics – Twins separated by 13 years


(first posted 12/2/2015)    On the surface, these two vehicles have a lot in common. Both represent Honda’s finest North American front-wheel-drive small cars from their respective eras; both are in silver/grey paint; both manual transmissions with inline-four engines; both three-door hatchback body style. But upon closer inspection, the differences become apparent.

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Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: VW Type 2 Bus With Protruding Front Appendage – Crash Protection?

Roshake 77 found this VW bus in Budapest, but I’m stumped by the front appendage. Is it filled with foam to provide better crash protection? Or just a cover for a spare tire?

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Vintage Ads: From The July 1967 Road & Track – Let’s Grade Them

I decide to scan some of the ads in this issue of Road and Track, to share them with you. I noticed a distinct gradient in their effectiveness, so I’ve decided to treat them as class assignments and grade them.

This gets a B. Obviously it caches you attention both visually as well as with the title. But it doesn’t quite go far enough to make the sale. Eye catching is one thing; selling you on how your life will be better if you buy this is another. It’s a bit weak there.

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Curbside Classic: 2015 UAZ-452 3909 – Who Wants To Loaf Forever?

The Soviet Union may have disappeared 30 years ago, but some of its industrial legacy is still current. Nothing can best the (sole) Antonov 225’s ability to ferry bulky cargo, no international space program could do without the R-7 rocket, no assault rifle can rival the AK-47 in terms of ruggedness or popularity. In the automotive realm, the Lada Niva is still with us, as is the UAZ-469. But the oldest four-wheeled legacy product, clocking at 55 years and counting, is the UAZ-452.

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Curbside Classic: 1971 Ford LTD Coupe – Have My Feelings Changed After Twelve Years?

Niedermeyer’s hate for 1971 big Fords is a tired old trope hereabouts. It started twelve years ago, when I excoriated one (tongue in cheek) back at the other site, also to be found here at CC. I’ve been hearing about it ever since, even though I came ever so close to buying a ’72 version. It would have been my redemption if I had, so I guess the issue is still an open question.

Now that I’ve found another ’71, a fine LTD coupe no less, here’s my chance to redeem myself. Have my feelings changed in twelve years? Was I unfairly harsh? My family tells me I’ve mellowed a bit with age. Does that apply to 1971 Fords?

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Curbside Classic: Australian Ford Falcon XC GT351 Ute Found In Oregon – This Time For Real (Or So I Thought)

(first posted 9/11/2012)    True confession: I lied about the ZXGLQ-FU Australian Ford Fairlane I claimed to have found in Eugene. I was so desperate to impress you all with my car-finding prowess (and spike our page views) by bagging an Australian car in Oregon that I resorted to one of the cheapest (and most common) tricks in journalism: deception. What’s more, I might well have gotten away with it, if not for all those pesky readers we have down under (where did they all come from anyway?). I’m so ashamed; so much for my Pulitzer.

The very first comment exposed my fraud: The white car is NOT an Australian Fairlane! And I thought you were my friend, Bryce. Other comments laid into me too, including this harsh one by Troy: That car is a 1972 Torino. This article is very poorly researched. Ouch! Hey, I not only spent a lot of time on that article, but I invented a whole new class of engine, the FEMI (I’m still considering getting a patent on it). Well, I may be ashamed, but I refuse to be humiliated, especially with all those comments about me being stoned and such; perish the thought. Now I’m going to have the last laugh, having found a genuine Australian Ford in Oregon. And a GT351 ute, no less. And no, it’s not a Torino Ranchero that I photoshopped with a Falcon XC front end. This is the real deal. So have I redeemed myself? And all you doubters can go click on ten google ads to make amends. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 2002 BMW 530i (E39) – Peak 5-Series


(first posted 12/1/2015)    The current F10 generation BMW 5-Series is a very capable, very competitive large luxury sedan. There’s no denying that. With BMW’s legendary engineering, a profusion of gasoline, diesel, and electric powertrain in four, six, and eight cylinder options, and numerous performance, luxury, and technology features that could take hours to fully explore, the modern 5-Series is a highly appealing vehicle. Unfortunately, for many of us who remember 5-Series of years gone by, the excitement in BMW’s middle child is no longer present.

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CC Matinee: The Lineup (1958)

Hey, let’s play hooky and go see a movie! Wanna? Read the rest of this entry »