Curbside Outtakes: Classic Couples


Early last year we were visiting our son in a nearby town and went for a stroll in his neighborhood, when I spotted this (Super?) Beetle. Nothing really special, not something I would normally dig my phone out to photograph, until I noticed the red New Beetle and thought they made a nice pairing.

Two SUV's

A few weeks later, I spotted this pair at our local market. Initially, I planned to snap a photo of the Isuzu Trooper, an increasingly rare sight, but I thought the juxtaposition with the newer RAV4 made for an interesting contrast and included it in the frame. It’s hard to believe that the Trooper was targeted at a similar demographic then, as the RAV4 is now. Or maybe that’s not really accurate, as the RAV4 is targeted at just about every demographic.

FJ45 and G37

Trips to my local Home Depot have resulted in some good CC finds, and this Toyota Land Cruiser FJ45 Troop Carrier was no exception. This is the only picture in this post that was taken from behind the wheel, so composition isn’t great. After realizing that I couldn’t crop out the Infiniti G37, I decided that they made an interesting matchup, like the Isuzu Trooper (not Troopie) and the RAV4. In this case, the iconic SUV is closely tied to the beginnings of Toyota’s rise both worldwide and in the US, while the G37, although a very appealing car, will probably be just a forgotten footnote in a few years.

Tundra and Jeep

On another Home Depot trip, I encountered this pair. As with the G37/FJ45 photo, I originally intended to just record the regular cab longbed Tundra, with its interesting color and nicely crafted wooden camper top. Then I noticed the Jeep Renegade beyond, in an even brighter shade of orange, and decided they too made a nice couple. In fact, the pickup next to the Tundra and the CUV in the background are also reddish in tint: who says cars are all boring whites and grays now?

Two Mazda's

Other than the leading Beetle photo and the two Home Depot parking lot pictures, all of the other photos in the post were taken on walks or bike rides near my house. At some point I realized that I was seeing some interesting cars parked together; siblings or more distant relatives, or sometimes opposites attracted to each other. I’m not sure how to characterize this pair of Mazda’s. Yes, that’s a US Ford Ranger-based Mazda B3000 behind the all-Japanese B2200 in the foreground. Brothers from another mother? Or from completely different generations? Interesting to note that in this case the older one is indeed brightly colored.

By now I was actively looking for nice pairings; this couple is more distantly related, but still from the same family: convertible sports car. Again, the older one, a Sprite not a Midget I think, is in a cheerful color, though in other ways it’s showing its age. And there’s no A-Series BMC engine under its hood; it’s an electric conversion.

More distantly related sporty cars, but now both British. The Morgan is always parked outside, winter and summer, and yet looks well-maintained and must be regularly driven.

And here it is another time, now with a sportier, Colonial curbmate. Due to its proximity, once again there was an interloper that I couldn’t really crop out, but I’ll let it tag along as a third wheel. Though decidedly less sporty, I suppose the Kia Amanti is a CC in its own right, and from this angle looks like it shared some genes with a Lincoln Town Car. The Wikipedia article on the Amanti says that it won a JD Power Award as “Most Appealing Premium Mid-size Car” in 2005. Hmm ….

From sporty to mundane, this matchup highlights two generations of family hauler. Though both are getting on in years, the Odyssey by itself wouldn’t warrant a second glance, while the A Body Cutlass wagon is a fairly rare sight now.

More wagons, this time both Fords. There is a surprising number of both Focus wagons and Freestyles running around here, but that’s true of anything that swallows a few surfboards.

Ford pickups

And more Fords. I’ve posted a photo of this F100 here before, but it’s been keeping company with the SuperDuty recently. As much as we like to complain here about the growing height of pickup beds, this F250 was sagging low. Some combination of a load in the bed and too much tongue weight from the trailer dropped it well below the older 1/2 ton’s profile. On other occasions I’ve seen the F250 unladen and it is indeed taller than the little brother of its great-great-great-grandfather.

The final Ford pairing for this post. I’d seen the brown Pinto a few times on the road recently, so was happy to find it parked just a few blocks from my house a few days ago. And, fittingly, adjacent to another Ford that was once everywhere on the streets of California. Only a decade or so apart, but the aero-Bird still looks modern compared to the Pinto. I know which one I’d prefer to have in my collection … and it’s not the TBird.

Rear wheel drive, body on frame, V8 with pushrods and both white, these two highlight how little evolution there’s been in some aspects of American car design, and yet they look so different. I wonder if they belong to the same household.

Both SUV’s, both white with goldish rocker panels, but that’s about all they have in common. I’m not an expert on either Lexus RX or Ford Excursions, but I suppose they could be from the same model year.

And on the same block, two interpretations of the small four door sedan theme. Again the same color, again from different continents, but this time separated by decades. The Corvair showed up in our neighborhood about a year ago and, like the brown Pinto wagon, seems to be regular transportation for a young woman. I was driving behind it recently and it wasn’t smoking. And it’s been protected by a car cover at times, too.

Now for some newer technology. The blue Tesla was the first Model 3 I saw regularly parked in our neighborhood, and this white one joined it about a year later. Both are parked in front of the High School and have faculty parking permits.

More electric cars. One less common than any Tesla except the Roadster and maybe Model X, and one far less common.

Some of you may question whether these deserve to be in this post: what is their relationship? I’d merely suggest that these were the two most significant sedans of the last 30 years. And they’re both black. And very clean and shiny.

Finally, I hesitated whether to include these Chevies. Not really a fan of the style, but they are definitely related. One is just showing off a bit more than the other.