Recent Posts

Curbside Classic: 1972 Volvo 144E – Volvo’s Blueprint For The Next Thirty Years

(first published 3/27/2012)   The Volvo 140 series was introduced in 1966 as a ’67 model. This car, with continuous updating over the years, finally ended production in 1993 as the 240. The 140 was much more modern than the 122/Amazon it would eventually replace, and cemented Volvo’s reputation for the next thirty years as safe, reliable…and boxy. Read the rest of this entry »


QOTD: Traveling With Animals

Recently COAL contributor RetroJerry told us a story about traveling with a cat in a Chrysler PT Cruiser.  In the comments, Oh!Gust made mention of driving a cat from Czechoslovakia into Slovakia.

These comments disinterred memories of my travels with animals, all cats in my case.

Before I pose the ultimate question, here’s some contextual lead-up to a memorable experience traveling with animals.

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Family COAL, Via The Cohort: 1990 Ford E-350 – Passed Around Like A Christmas Ham

Seeing this extended length one-ton Ford van posted at the Cohort by William Rubano made me chuckle.  Why?  I owned one for about two days.  Naturally, there’s a story about it all…

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Curbside Outtake: Colorado Road Train – A Man Who Could Use A Truck

Chevrolet Express 3500

The other day as I was approaching a junkyard I passed someone on the shoulder making adjustments to a load on a trailer.  Upon leaving the junkyard some time later, I was delighted to see that same someone stopped in the same parking lot I was in and I decided to snap a few shots as something struck me about it.  Later that evening after doing a little math I realized that something was more than just a little off. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Outtake: Subaru Baja – Dead End

Every couple of years here we have to pay homage to the Subaru Baja. It’s still surprises me that these bombed out so badly. It seems perfect for Eugene—whose official car is the Outback—given how popular gardening and other messy and muddy outdoor activities are. But no; it’s either got to be a wagonish Outback or a Tacoma pickup; never the twain shall merge.

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Multiple CCs (Of The W123rd Kind): The Hordes Of Mercedes 280Es, Stuttgart’s Immortal Godzilla, Still Overrunning Tokyo

A few specific old (and non-sports) foreign cars have a very solid Japanese fan-base. The Volvo 240 comes to mind, as does the Fiat 500, the Renault 4 or the VW Beetle and most of its derivatives. Ditto the global taxi that is the Mercedes-Benz W123. There are many other Mercedes models about, from the Pagoda SL to the V12 S-Class, but our dear W123 is ever so ubiquitous.

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Curbside Classic: 1997 Nissan 200SX SE – Have We Met?

(first published 4/10/2012)    Although at least two new cars were for sale at the time, 1995 was a lousy year for Nissan.  What once was a company that produced (relatively) confident, robust cars introduced a new, minimized Maxima and this, a Japanese take on name debasement: the 200SX. Read the rest of this entry »


The Only 1969 Camaro With A Four Cylinder Cummins Diesel

(first posted 8/13/2012)    Do a google search for “Camaro engine swaps” and 891,000 results come up, of which probably 890,999 have to do with some variation of a bow tie V8. Boring. But add “four cylinder” to the search, and things get a bit more interesting. Like this ’69 that sports a Cummins diesel 4BT. Now that’s guaranteed to turn some ears!

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Vintage Snapshots: Happy Early VW Owners

It’s hard to overstate just what a huge influence the VW Beetle had on Germans after the war. Having waited a full decade for it, once it became available to the public at large, it became the ultimate consumer item. And demand grossly outstripped supply, for many years. In fact, during the first few years of production, essentially all of them were allocated to non-private users: governmental agencies of all sorts, critical commercial users, taxis, and other priority buyers. Germany’s supply of functioning vehicles after the war was almost completely depleted, so rationing of VWs was as essential as it was for food stuffs.

But as they filtered down into the hands of private users, or folks used their work cars for weekend outings and such, VWs brought immense freedom and joy to those that had access to them. Like these very happy looking nuns.

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Vintage Ad: 1965 Chevrolet Stageway Coaches, 12 and 18 Passenger Versions – Suburban XXXL

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Junkyard Outtake: Only The Grandest Of Grand Ams Get Grand Am Brand Tires

Pontiac Grand Am

Say that title five times fast…I wasn’t aware that Grand Am tires were actually a thing until I did a doubletake when passing by this one.  Turns out that they are in fact a real thing and in this case are Grand Am Radial GT’s, apparently manufactured by the Multi-Mile Tire Company.  I wonder if the name is the reason the owner chose them.  Were I to have the opportunity to name and market a tire I probably would avoid any association with the now defunct Pontiac model, but I have a different job.  If you had an Olds Alero or a Ford Tempo for example, would you avoid Grand Am tires or hope that they’d give you a little more pep in your step? Read the rest of this entry »


Vintage R&T Comparison: Four Luxury GTs – 1969 Corvette, Mercedes 280SL, Porsche 911T and Jaguar XKE

I’ve really been neglecting my huge stash of donated Road & Tracks, so let’s fire up the scanner and get back on track. Let’s put the time machine back to that great car year of 1969, and ponder this shoot-out of four of the most classic sports/GT cars of the era: Corvette Sting Ray, Mercedes 280SL, Porsche 911T and Jaguar XKE.

Four very different cars, to put it lightly; they could hardly be more different. The Corvette is of course the big burly and traditional American; the Mercedes is posh, elegant, refined but capable; the Porsche 911T is the most genuine sports car of the bunch; and the Jaguar XKE is Great Britain’s great last hope in this arena.

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Ten Years Ago–Forget Work; How Many Can You Identify?

click image for max. size

(first posted 3/3/2011)    CC interloper jjd241 has thrown my work plan for the day out the window. He posted a link to this fab pic in his Vega comments (no connection, I assume?), of what appears to be the Gotthard Pass in Switzerland. It’s started a guessing game as to the year, and identifying the cars. Who needs another new CC anyway? Let the Cluers be kept in suspense. Other than the obvious VeeDubs, I’ve got several nailed; I think. Read the rest of this entry »


Ten Years Ago Today–Curbside Classic: 1962 Corvette – The Marilyn Monroe Of Cars (NSFW)

(first posted 3/3/2011)    Seductive, voluptuous, hot, fast, flawed, sexy, modest beginnings, all-American, iconic, hits the big time in 1953, gone forever in the fall of ’62, immortal, unforgettable. The Corvette and Marilyn Monroe entered my life on the very same day in August 1960, both unleashing a visceral response that my seven year-old body had never experienced before. Fifty-some years later, looking at my pictures of this Corvette, I suddenly made the obvious connection: the Corvette and Marilyn both represent that key moment in our personal and collective lives when innocence was lost. Read the rest of this entry »


Curbside Outtake: Mazda RX7 – Big Wing or Solar Panel?

I’ve never seen anything quite like this, such a giant appendage, and attached to the car via the rear bumper. That must generate some serious down force, to the point I’d be worried about the front end lifting up at speed.

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