(first posted 8/14/2014) So who would like to be a paying beta tester for a 70s Lotus engine? Anyone? No? Well, eleven thousand Jensen owners were, and we can assume unwittingly. Colin Chapman, as well as Lotus Elite, Eclat and Esprit owners owe them at least a round of pints. Perhaps that’s why some Jensen Healey owners are still holding on to theirs. It might be a long wait. Read the rest of this entry »
mncarspotter posted a couple of pictures of a tired looking Skoda 1203 in Bulgaria that had obviously been an ambulance. It’s a bit sad looking, in more ways than one, but the 1203 had a rather happy—and very long—career (42 years), as the most widely used Czechoslovak commercial vehicle in the 20th century. Of course being pretty much the only vehicle of the type being made there at the time assured it a virtual monopoly, hence the accolades. It’s a vehicle that’s never had its 15 minutes of fame at CC, and given that it was built for 42 years, it more than deserves it. Let’s celebrate the 1203 and hopefully it will cheer up some.
It’s amazing what one can forget about having on their hard drive. Perhaps better organization of my pictures would cure that, but the thrill of (re)discovery would be gone. Besides, this assortment of pictures isn’t exactly the most organized anyway as it’s a hodgepodge of pictures over a roughly forty year timespan.
So let’s go on a journey.
My summer COVID-19 travel moratorium continues, so I am back to trawling the airport rental lot looking for some more interesting cars to drive. I had just about given up on finding anything interesting on my most recent prowl when this 2019 Jaguar XE caught my eye. I must confess, I’ve never driven a Jaguar and always wanted to, so I plunked down my credit card at the counter and was on my way.
Around ten minutes of classic footage of the Mercedes-Benz T2 406~508~608 D, showing as much panel van and chassis-cab variants as possible, merely to highlight the series’ versatility. Rolling down the streets and sitting still, being (un)loaded. Some action from the plant and the test track is also included.
No spoken words whatsoever, only calming/annoying (delete as applicable) elevator music of unknown source.
I recently went back to the Toyota Megaweb History Garage, which Jim Klein and I visited last year, and saw a number of cars that were not there last time around – including quite a few foreign ones. This made for a nice break from the non-stop JDM-fest I’ve made you endure for so long. So here’s to you, Mrs Robinson, the first of three or four posts on pure classic cars, starting with the sumptuous Duetto. Coo coo ka-choo.
(first posted 8/13/2014) This particular zone of the Broadway Auto Row in Oakland has long been a lucky spot for me to spot cars on gloomy days. This is the second time that I’ve run across a particular car that holds a special place in my heart and it’s always great to spend some curbside time with what once was “America’s Sweetheart” car. It surely provided relief to the dreariness of a gloomy Bay Area day.
This car could be viewed in two ways. Was it a comically tarted-up version of an outdated economy car? Or was it an optimistic statement that the malaise era was drawing to a close? Both statements are probably true, which illustrates why the late 1980s car market is so interesting to examine in retrospect. And this car’s vanity license plate suits it perfectly – this car embodies the Spirit of ’89.
Another in a series of my reviews that appeared in the online version of African Americans On Wheels, a now defunct automotive magazine that was included as an insert in the Sunday newspapers of major cities.
Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been showing you lots of individual car carriers, a subject that caught my interest a while back after stumbling unto Dick Copello’s Flickr page. Dick hauled cars for some 30 years, and collected pictures along the way. And he has written the definitive book of the subject, American Car Haulers. I urge you to buy it if you’re interested in the subject in greater depth. I will be posting a few brief takes on this subject, for those of you not wanting to take the deep dive.
Like any subject examined for the first time in greater depth, it’s never quite as simple as it may appear, or extrapolating from the more recent period. Car hauling went through some very significant evolutionary steps, and it took some time for it to establish its current role in the automobile transport system. In the early days of the automobile, most cars were either shipped by rail or driven to their destination. There was not an established car carrier industry to speak of, and the picture above shows an early type of car shipment by truck, in this case in an American Railway Express van, a 1919 White. Note how the undersized wooden ramps are bending.
Posted to the Cohort by Chris Irber
We all have our unique proclivities in life, those things we enjoy that make little to no sense to others. Anyone reading this has likely experienced this phenomenon since you are at a website which celebrates and takes deep dives into all the facets of transportation which have improved the lives of many. Sadly, an unfortunate percentage of the population fails to see the importance of these monumental developments, often acting as if they are the opposite.
So, for a variation of this, let me merge this terrific (and important) black Comet with popular culture, something (I find to be) of lesser importance. For this essay I’ve got pop-culture from a half-century ago on my brain, which is perhaps an entirely different matter, but it seems to pair well with this Comet.
(first posted 8/12/2014) During the Great US Import Boom of the 1950s, the Renault Dauphine was the only car that really gave the VW a run for its money. In 1958, it actually outsold the Beetle in eleven states, and had a lot of momentum. In 1959, over 100k Dauphines were sold here. But its fragility and lack of dealer support quickly caught up with it, and when the Import Boom turned Bust in 1960, Dauphine sales evaporated in a reddish cloud of iron oxide.
Renault hung in there, and its rear-engined Dauphine evolved into the boxy R8, and then the R10, the final evolution of a line that had started with the 4CV in 1947. These cars make an interesting comparison on a number of levels, as they are similar in some respects, yet so decidedly different in others. Car and Driver did a comparison of the two in 1967, the only one I’m aware of. We already know how the big-picture story ended, but the charms of the R10 were nevertheless very compelling. Read the rest of this entry »
At the start of the Eighties Alison and I would go dancing every Wednesday at Scratch, a reggae club here in Cape Town. It cost 50c to get in. Regular price on weekends was R1.50, too expensive for us penniless arts students. The police would hover outside expecting trouble. Alison and I couldn’t afford alcohol let alone anything worse, for us music was the drug.