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Trackside Classic – 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix: Another Time, Another Place

There’s something inside me that can’t help but wonder if 1963 was the apogee of American popular culture.  The radio began its short-lived dalliance with bossa nova music, introducing us to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto.  Books such as The Bell Jar and Cat’s Cradle forced us to think about feminism, mental illness, and the absurdity of, well, ourselves.  Filmmakers brought us such disparate classics as Fellini’s 8 1/2 and James Bond in From Russia with Love.  And of course, General Motors released its holy triumvirate: the Buick Riviera, the Corvette Sting Ray, and this lovely 1963 Grand Prix.

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Trackside Classic – 1927 Great Western Railway King Class 4-6-0 No 6000 King George V – Combining Innovation And Tradition

 

(first posted 12/4/2016)      Few companies cherished tradition like the Great Western Railway (GWR). Look at its premier express engine, the King class. Brass and copper decoration, ornate green livery, bold brass name and number plates – only the size shows it isn’t a Victorian creation. But look more closely, and underneath you will find a thoroughly modern engine, more advanced and more powerful than anything else in Britain, and the climax of 30 years of steady development.

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Vintage PR Photo: 1967 Lincoln Continental Convertible With Stainless Steel Body And Pathetic Rumpled Top

It wasn’t the stainless steel body (by Allegheny Ludlum) that caught my eye, nor the attractive young woman, but that terrible convertible top that has a nasty fold or something right behind the rear door and looks like its sagging between the bows. Is it a cheap aftermarket top bout at JC Whitney? How could the photographer not notice that fold? It boggles the mind…

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Curbside Classic: 1959 Studebaker 3/4 ton Pickup – A Hoosier in King Twain’s Court

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(first posted 3/13/2013)    Ah, a Studebaker pickup, a true piece of Americana.  Does anything say apple pie, Coca-Cola and South Bend, Indiana, quite as much?

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Vintage PR Shot: Ford Cortina Estate Car – Why Not A “Squire”

It’s a…not, it’s Cortina Estate Car. But why they didn’t call it “The Squire”, a name that Ford of England had been using for its top tier Anglia estate car is a bit of a puzzle. The Squire even had a bit of wood on its side, if not quite the DiNoc of this one.

Here’s “The Squire”:

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Curbside Classic: 1972 Fiat 850 Sedan (and Coupe) – Faster Than A Bicycle, Just

 

(for some reason this is one of the last of my CC’s from the other site that hasn’t made the trip here yet, but then Fiat 850’s are a bit slow. Updated and expanded 11/19/22)

To be fair, trying to chase a (running) car on a bicycle, even a tandem, does stack the odds against you. Now with a Fiat 850, those odds are suddenly improved, drastically. I first spotted this little gray 850 sedan in the neighborhood next to the river bike path at some distance. Wow! A Fiat 850! My one and only sighting of one here ever. My trusty stoker and I pedaled furiously, followed it, and would have caught the noisy midget at River Road, had the light there changed just a few seconds later. Porca miseria!

Fortunately Fiat 850s tend to be short-distance vehicles, so we prowled the neighborhood on our Eugene-built Burley tandem. Sure enough, I found the Fiat back in its den, along with two companions; a “project” Sports Coupe, and a parts donor Spider, tipped on its side. The whole 850 family, as fate—or Fiat—would have it.

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COAL: 1984 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Regency – Chapter 21, Somebody Else’s Car

After getting a stupid idea and a 2 door Buick out of my system, I was as happy as I had ever been with a pair of cars – the big Club Wagon was still doing primary family duty and my ’68 Chrysler became a sort of automotive escape pod from the modern world.  But as had had been the case before, my days with the Chrysler came crashing to a halt when I was presented, once again, with another car and THE QUESTION – “Here is a car.  Do I buy it? Yes or No?”.

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CC Global: Brazilian Maverick – From Deception to Passion

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(first posted 12/3/2016)     43 years after its debut in Brazil, the Ford Maverick has reached superstar status among gearheads and collectors. They are in love with the many qualities of the car, and for them it represents power, speed and style.  It’s a classic, a legend and it’s a real Brazilian muscle car. It shares that status only with the Dart/Charger, since the purists don’t consider the Chevy Opala as a member of this club—no inline six belongs here.

Obviously all that love has kicked the value of the car to the stratosphere on the collectible market; a decently restored Maverick GT nowadays commands the same price range of a ’68 hardtop Mustang. Here’s its story, including the bad, the good and..the fast. Read the rest of this entry »

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Curbside Classic: Jeepster Commando – Buick V6 (and THM-400) To The Rescue

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(first posted 12/3/2016)     Jeep had the 4×4 utility vehicle market all to itself, until 1961, when the International Scout 800 arrived. It’s an endlessly-debated point, but one could arguably call the Scout the first SUV, as it was the first to break away from the WW2 military format of the original Jeep CJ, with its full-width body and contemporary design. And Ford soon followed that approach, with even greater refinement with its 1966 Bronco. Jeep needed to respond, as it the idea of Ford, with its huge dealer network, getting into the 4×4 market was seen as a very serious threat.

The 1966 Jeepster Commando, styled by Kaiser-Jeep’s Jim Anger, was the response. Technically, it was hardly groundbreaking, as it was really just a new wider body sitting on the 101″ wb CJ-6 frame, suspension and axles. But an optional ex-Buick V6, was one critical new ingredient. Without it, the Commando would undoubtedly have been stuck in the mud.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Truck Stop Classics: 1952 Fageol Super Freighter – The Definitive ‘50s Moving Van

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(first posted 12/3/2016)    Whether you recognize this distinctive vehicle likely depends on your answer to the following question; Which actor did you first see portray Superman;  A-Henry Cavill, B-Christopher Reeve, C-George Reeves? Read the rest of this entry »

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Cohort Pic(k) of the Day: 1991 Mazda MX-3 – The Lozenge

I saw one of these for the first time in quite a while recently, but it was in distant traffic and I could not get a shot. As it is, I shot one some time back and its CC is here, so my motivation wasn’t that great. But Roshake posted this one found in Budapest, and this profile shot reminded me how rather unusual they were, so its deserves another go-around.

In my CC, I posed the question whether its 1.8 L V6 was the smallest displacement V6 ever (hint: it was not), but I somehow suspect this one is likely one of the four cylinder versions.

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BOAL: 2009 Kawasaki Versys – Ugly is as Ugly Does

When the police came Mrs DougD was very helpful. She hollered upstairs; “Douglas! The police are here! What did you DO??

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Bus Stop Classics:  1945-1952 REO Buses – Flying Clouds and Gold Comets…

There are quite a few posts in the CC truck archive on the REO Motor Company, a mid-tier manufacturer of mostly trucks in the early to middle twentieth century but with ventures into both the car and bus markets also.  I’m sure CC readers are aware that “REO” are the initials of Ransom E. Olds, who started this company after he left Oldsmobile in 1905 in a boardroom dispute.  REO cars were well known in the brass era and built quite a reputation as an elite luxury model through the 1930’s.  Unfortunately, the car division was one of the many casualties of the Great Depression.  The truck and bus divisions, however, soldiered through with many wartime contracts during the 1940’s.  Let’s take a look at several of these REO buses of the post-war period. Read the rest of this entry »

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COAL: 1990 Isuzu Trooper – “Tri-tone”

Ah…my Isuzu Trooper. One of my favorite cars. Here it is in all of its Tri-Tone glory; white roof, black hood, silver body!

 

What I like most about the COAL series is that they are less about the cars and more about the stories behind the vehicles. They tell the stories of different periods of life. Sometimes the stories are interesting, other times they are duds.  The vehicle often acts as a prominent character in the story.  Last week’s COAL was rather uninspiring. While there was nothing wrong with the red Ranger, it did not tell a rather interesting story.  This next COAL tells a story that has more color. 

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Curbside Classic Capsule: 1981 Dodge Challenger – That Thing Does Got A Hemi

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(first posted 5/14/2013)    Obviously, when folks think “Dodge Challenger”, they tend to think of the original and the current one. But in between was the gen2 Challenger, a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant Lancer sold as the Plymouth Sapporo and this Dodge Challenger from 1978 through 1983. And there were two versions of this car; the pre-’81, and the ’81 and on, like this one. We covered the Sapporo here, but let’s give this second series Challenger a spin. Read the rest of this entry »