Recent Posts

Curbside Classic: 1980 Ford Thunderbird – The Fabulous FUBAR Edition

(first posted 10/03/2012)    Once, while working on my ’63 Galaxie, I used a cheater bar to remove a bolt.  It slipped, causing me to hit my forearm on the bumper and necessitating a late-night trip to the emergency room.  Using a cheater bar seemed like a good idea at the time.

Another time, when I desired a root beer float but had no vanilla ice cream, I substituted chocolate.  It tasted wretched, although it seemed like a good idea at the time.

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CC Driveway Outtake: Ford Focus Wagon Lovers Live Here

Ford Focus wagon duo - 1

This duo of compact Family Trucksters has a neat private parking space in the outer corner of the family’s premises, directly adjacent to the street. On the right, a 2003 Ford Focus with a 1.4 Zetec-S engine. A first generation Focus, introduced in 1998. Back then, the 1.4 liter gasoline engine was the smallest power unit available.

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Drive-by Outtake: And One For The Home Team…

The import lovers got theirs yesterday…Equal time! Read the rest of this entry »


Automotive History & Mystery: Who’s The Real Father Of The Volkswagen? Hunting For Its DNA Back To 1903

petting the new baby

 (l. to r.) Hans Nibel, Ferdinand Porsche, Paul Jaray, Hans Ledwinka, Edmund Rumpler, Adolf Hitler, Josef Ganz


Success has many fathers.   No wonder so many are eager to share in the paternity rights of the Volkswagen, the world’s most successful and long-lived car. Some have had books written and documentary movies made to stake their claim; others have sued in courts of law and the court of public opinion, in articles, books and the internet.  The essence of their claims is that one person conceived the initial novel idea of a Volkswagen, or its unique technical aspects, or the iconic shape of the Beetle. Drawings, models, prototypes, production cars, and other evidence to litigate their claims are used, from the 1930s right into the present, and likely into the future.

Many of these claims have found considerable traction, including court settlements and favor as well in the court of public opinion. They reflect the innate human tendency to want to give credit for a success to a single person. We love heroes and winners, and it’s much easier to judge things in black and white, and to rely on isolated pieces of evidence or commonly held assumptions for determining the true winner or hero.

The following is an exercise to look more closely at some of the key claimants and their roles in the birth of the Beetle, as well as to look at  some lesser known automotive pioneers whose work influenced the primary claimants as well as the final product. The reality is that technological and design advances are almost never made in isolation which makes this task more difficult. It’s inevitably not truly comprehensive, but it is an effort to shed light on the Volkswagen’s long gestation.

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Curbside Classic: 1990 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe and The MN-12 Platform – More Than You Might Think

Thunderbird SC 4

(first posted 10/24/2014)    During the life of the Ford Thunderbird, it dived in many varied directions and often with staggeringly different results.  Through it all, it did manage to present itself as the aspirational vehicle in the Ford lineup.

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Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: Is This 1964 Oldsmobile F-85 One Of The Ten 4-4-2 Four Door Sedans Built?

The CC Effect™ is at work, at the Cohort. We were discussing the ’64 4-4-2 in the ’65 Malibu SS sedan post yesterday, and this pops up, posted by John Lloyd. Could it be one of the ten 1964 F-85 four door sedans that was built with the “B09 Police Apprehender Pursuit” option?

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Drive-by Outtake: For The Import Lovers Out There…

If you’re looking for something from the home team, stop by again tomorrow… Read the rest of this entry »


COAL: 1976 Mazda Cosmo AP – Maximum Spin

In 1982 I had a year under my belt at my new military assignment in Japan.  My 1974 Toyota Crown MS60 “Kujira” had proved a comfortable and reliable steed for tooling around Tokyo, but I was getting the itch for something a little sportier.  Given how inexpensive used cars were (and still are) here in Japan, adding one wouldn’t prove much of a financial burden.  Looking around the lots off-base, a sharp red Mazda caught my eye – and a quick peek around the back showed the unique rectangular exhaust outlet – it had a rotary… Read the rest of this entry »


COAL #38 2015 Ford F-150 – Built Ford Tough

After owning the 2016 4Runner for a bit, I had come to the conclusion that maybe I should be looking at trucks instead of SUVs. After all I did tow a lot of cars, and trailers, and having more space to haul things in the back seemed to be a good fit. The problem is I have never owned one, or considered a Ford before. I knew that if I was going to look at trucks it would be a Ford because that is what my dad drove, and that is what his dad drove and what his dad drove. My dad always had a Ford F-150 for as long as I can remember, and I grew up in the back seat of one. When it came time to start looking, I decided to ask my dad a few pointers on what to get.

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Curbside Classic: 1984 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe – One Wrong Turn, And Here We Are!


(first posted 10/23/2014)     What is a Thunderbird? Well, it has always been, or at least attempted to be, something special. Not your usual LTD, or Custom 300, or Torino. No. Something with a bit of flair, or great comfort, or great performance. But the Ford Thunderbird, despite a great start, fell down the ’70s luxury car rabbit hole and became a slightly sportier Mark IV. But in 1983, oh man! Things were looking up.

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CC Global: On- And Off-Road Mishmash

1997 VW Golf 1.6 CL - 1

A variety of outdoor activities took place alongside my walking route, last Monday. And some folks were just sitting down by the riverside, relaxing. Let’s start today’s tour, I’ll get back to this good ol’ Golf later.

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COAL Update: 2007 Ford Focus 1.8 TDCI Wagon

My Focus is no longer with me, but it has been like a good dog, always there and never complaining. For all its blandness, this car was really, really good on all parameters on which I needed it to be.

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Cohort Classic: Triumph 1300 – Before It Got Converted From FWD To RWD

posted by Monsieur Burns

The Triumph 1300/1500 is one of the very rare historical oddities: designed and built as a FWD car for some years, then converted to RWD. Really. Let’s take a little look at how it started out in life, and just how and why it ended up as RWD, including as one of the more legendary hot cars on the other side of the pond, the Dolomite Sprint.

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Forbidden Fruit Outtake: VW Amarok TDI – Little Bro

VW Amarok

As I was pulling out of a junkyard parking spot last month I caught sight of something unfamiliar out of the corner of my eye that caused me to do a double take.  Then I pulled right back into another parking spot in order to get out and take a closer look as I realized it was a VW Amarok, the pickup not sold in the US or Canada.  Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Classic: The Very Rare 1965 Chevelle Malibu SS Two-Door Sedan

A Malibu SS coupe or convertible, the dream of so many over the decades. Some fulfilled it; others not. But there’s an alternative for those that waited too long and the price got too high: a Chevelle Malibu SS two-door sedan.

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