Recent Posts

Curbside Classic – 1996 Rover 800 – Less Than The Sum Of Its Parts


(first posted 4/14/2015)    Perhaps the car that best defined the 1970s for the British industry was the 1976 Rover 3500, known as the SD1. It was a car that created a hugely positive impression, and was considered a market leader in several ways, not least styling and performance. But how could BL follow it up, after another oil crisis and the ultimately disappointing sales of the SD1? The answer was with Honda, and the third car from the BL/Honda partnership – the 1986 Rover 800. Read the rest of this entry »


The Superb Automotive Illustrations of Harry Anderson – Before Fitzpatrick and Kaufman

Automotive illustrations were of course very common, with the last great exponents being Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman, who carried on doing Pontiac and Opel illustrations right up into the early ’70s. Back in the 1930s, perhaps the greatest automotive illustrator was Harry Anderson, whose work was often commissioned for calendars given out by oil companies and such, and not by the manufacturers.

Here’s a gallery of some of his standouts. This first one, of a 1932 Lincoln KB caught my eye, as it’s in a setting that’s familiar to me:

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Storage Lot Classics: Big Exotics In Tiny Places

A few weeks back, I discovered this gemstone mine of CCs. It’s so much easier when they gather all the precious metal in one place, isn’t it? Alas, storage lots, junkyards and used car lots are few and far between in Tokyo, chiefly because a lot of acreage is required, but space is expensive. So this was the tiniest (and loveliest) little storage lot I think I’ve ever seen. Let’s go for a tour.

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Fieldside Classic: The Mystery Car In The Mountains

On a recent trip to the mountains a friend pointed me in the direction of this abandoned shell of an old car. There cannot be too many if any salvageable parts left on it. The upside down orientation and encroaching trees make it hard to identify. I believe I know roughly what it might be but what are your thoughts?

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Curbside Classic: 1985 Oldsmobile Calais Supreme Coupe – GM’s Deadly Sin #35 – Peak GM Malaise

Malaise (def): a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or uneasiness whose exact cause is difficult to identify.

Our task today is to determine the exact cause and sources of the malaise this Calais engenders. It shouldn’t be hard.

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COAL: 2003 Mazda Miata – A Welcome Gift

Not long after my girlfriend and I moved into our house, unrelated, my dad was looking around at options to replace his beloved but aging Mazda Miata. He had it pretty much since new, purchasing it in 2004 with very few miles on the clock but 14 years and 168,000 miles later – it was showing its age. One day, a suitable replacement Miata showed up on eBay so he bid early, thinking likely he’d get outbid. But in Ohio, in December, the challenger never came, so overnight he ended up with two Miatas and limited storage space to park these cars. Instead of the hassle of finding a buyer for his old car, he graciously gave it to us! Read the rest of this entry »


In Motion Classic: 1969 Buick Riviera – Rivvy In The City

004 - 1969 Buick Riviera CC

(first posted 4/13/2015)    Westbound afternoon rush hour traffic on Jackson Blvd. in the Loop can move very slowly.  The glacial pace of traffic enabled me to catch up to this glacier-blue 1969 Buick Riviera as it glided slowly forward.  It looked like royalty among the nondescript boxes inching along next to it.  This car’s a star.

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Curbside Outtake: Diesel Rabbit “Trailhawk 4×4” – The Spiritual Antecedent To My xBox

I have been noticing lifted little FWD cars for some time now, and they undoubtedly were something of an inspiration to lifting my xBox. I ran into this bright blue diesel Rabbit a month or so back, and added it to my collection. Speaking of collections, I bet I’ve shot and posted a good dozen or more diesel Rabbits over the years. There’s still more to find, but a “Trailhawk 4×4” edition is not likely to be repeated.

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Tokyo Outtake: Toyota Probox “Brobox” – Urban Warrior

A while ago Jim Brophy shared a great little post featuring the Toyota Probox, one of the more ubiquitous contractor grade vehicles that are all over Tokyo (and the rest of Japan).  That reminded me of one that I saw when I was last over there and created the perfect opportunity to share it here.

Yes, Japan has a large tuner crowd that usually specializes in lowering and making things faster.  But they also have fans of the Off-Road culture with lots of examples of the Toyota Land Cruiser and many other off-roaders, almost always spotless but sometimes modified.  So here we have one of the apparently few privately owned Proboxes, converted to be a little more “Bro”-style, ergo the Brobox named more after our own BroDozer pickup trucks and not Jim Bro-phy although that fits too… Read the rest of this entry »


CC For Sale: 1976 Maverick – $4,555; One Owner, and Loaded, Right Down To The Bumpers – Your Time Machine To The Seventies Awaits

Been hankering for a time capsule to that splendiferous decade of the seventies? What better vehicle to relive it in than this sublime ’76 Maverick. It’s got a battering ram in case the worm hole back in time is a bit constricted. But the trip  might take a wee bit of time, as its 302 V8 has all of 134 hp to fight against Einstein’s fairly solid theories. But it will prevail, in the end.

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Vintage For Sale Ad: “Mercedes Benz Bullet Proof Car, Lately Owned by Hermann Goering” – Actually This Was One Of Hitler’s Mercedes (Or Not)

I guess the Soldiers’, Sailors’ and Airmen’s Families Association had gotten as much money out of exhibiting what they thought was Hermann Goering’s Grosser Mercedes as they were going to in 1952, and were ready to pass it on. But its provenance is misleading, as Goering’s beloved blue 540K Cabriolet was a two door, not this monster. They might have gotten more money if it was advertised as such. (Update: it appears this car was made for Goering in 1944)

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Curbside Classic: 1995 Ford Escort LX – As Exciting As Toothpaste

1995 Ford Escort LX.

One thing I remember fondly from my early college years was watching The Price Is Right around lunch time in the TV room with the other residents of my dorm floor.  Few things have been a constant throughout my entire life like this game show, starting with sick days spent home from elementary school while nursing a cold, augmented with chicken soup, Vernor’s ginger ale (fellow Michiganders know about this common home remedy), and a comfortable knit afghan on the couch.  Even after decades-long host Bob Barker retired from the show in 2007, by which point I had been a working adult for years, I would enjoy watching new host Drew Carey’s rapport develop with contestants in what seemed a very comforting continuation of long-established tradition.

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Motorcycle Classic: Suzuki T500- The Best Bike (Almost) Nobody Remembers


(first posted 7/12/2012)    Prior to 1968, everyone knew you shouldn’t build a two-stroke bike bigger than about 350cc. Anything larger would create power that couldn’t be managed due to the narrow power band, overheating, and drink as much gas as a car. But soon after Suzuki unveiled its 500 Cobra, the naysayers not only shut up, but quickly began singing its praises. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: 1972 Chevelle Malibu SS 454 – Big Block Cherry Bomb


(first posted 4/15/2015. Aiden is now at the University of Arizona, but he had to leave his ’79 Z-28 at home. But that doesn’t seem to be blunting his success with the young women)

(Welcome our newest Contributor, my nephew Aidan, age 13, who lives in San Mateo, CA. Last year when I was down to visit, we did two joint CC hunts, which  I wrote that up here and here. We went on another CC hunt yesterday, and found a motherlode of cars, which we will both be writing up from time to time, but individually. Aidan picked this one as his first car to share. He does love red classic muscle cars. Paul N.)

When I first saw this Chevelle Malibu in the distance walking with uncle Paul, I thought it was my favorite model: a 1970 Chevelle Malibu SS, but we soon figured out it was a ’72 SS 454, because of the single headlights and the grille. Cherry red with the famous two stripes through the middle, this car was the hottest version of the last of the true hardtop Malibu coupes.

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Vintage PR Photo: 1947 Studebaker Woody Wagon Prototype – It Was Pulled From Production At The Last Minute, But Later Rescued and Restored

Studebaker did not make post-war wagons until 1954, a bit late for the booming all-steel wagon market. But for their new 1947 line a woody wagon was intended to be part of the line-up, and this prototype was built and shown at several car shows. At the last minute, the wood plug was pulled. It’s handsome enough, but woody wagons were very quickly falling out of favor, as all-steel wagons were cheaper and of course much more friendly for everyday family use. Not having an all-steel wagon was a missed opportunity.

So it was a pretty obvious call to leave this as a one off, which then moldered away somewhere on Studebaker’s sprawling test grounds. It was found in 1980 by a team of Studebaker Drivers Club members, who retrieved the body. The Studebaker National Museum eventually took possession and complete restoration was undertaken. It was a long, painful restoration but it was finally completed in 2012.

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