Spotted While Driving, or Curbside Classics Photographed Through a Dirty Windshield

It’s becoming my annual tradition, this sharing of the old cars I photograph through my windshield while I wait at stoplights. I’ve done it since 2013, except that I skipped 2015. I don’t know why. But the crop since my 2017 post is so large it makes up for it. It begins with this box Crown Vic, which I photographed within spitting distance of JP Cavanaugh’s house. Depending on where you draw the line, that E150 behind it might make this photo a twofer. 

First- and second-gen Chrysler minivans are scarce here in Rustopia now, so I photograph them when I see them. Even when they’re obscured by posts.

This donked ’67 Caprice was on its way somewhere, not under its own power.

A late-80s 560 SL is always a delightful sight. I wouldn’t mind getting a chance to drive one someday.

I followed an ’84 Seville for a few miles on my way to work one morning. It was as pristine as its cloth roof was ridiculous.

An old Jeep with some modifications, used this day as a morning commuter.

I start to weigh a car’s curbside-classic potential when it hits the 20-year mark. The sixth-generation (1998-2002) Honda Accord is just arriving in that club, but the sedans are still everywhere even here in Rustopia. The coupes, however, are starting to become scarce. This one was in very nice condition. Most of the ones I see now are pretty clapped out.

A circa-1990 Mustang LX convertible — the car I wanted when I graduated college. But I saved a few thousand dollars and bought a basic Chevy Beretta instead.

The second- and third-generation Ford Escort has largely disappeared out here now, but when I do see one, it seems like it’s usually a wagon.

These ’80s M-body Mopars are about as common as those Escorts. This one wears Chrysler Fifth Avenue trim.

Of all the finds in this roundup, I’m most excited about this one: an ’87-89 Buick LeSabre T-Type coupe. Goldang, did I ever want one of these when they were new.

And who doesn’t like a big old ’74 Delta 88 Royale convertible?

The purple is strong on this ’68 Torino fastback.

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve seen an Acura NSX on the road.

While driving home from work one day this early Mustang was parked in someone’s driveway.

Look! Another M-body Fifth Avenue! This is the evil twin of the virtuous white one from earlier.

I still think this generation of Toyota Supra is drop-dead gorgeous. I think it’s a design that has stood the test of time.

It’s not a Spotted While Driving roundup unless I share at least one Volvo 240.

These hardy Geo Prisms were common as pennies even here in the snow belt until about 10 years ago. They’re headed toward extinction now.

I got a new car, a 2013 VW Passat, and its windshield glare is wicked. It obscures the goodness of this 70s-80s Trans Am.

And of this AMC-era Jeep. I’m better off photographing cars on cloudy days.

I was driving my mom’s Nissan Note, today considered to be a pretty tiny car, when I came up behind this itty bitty mid-90s Civic and realized how “small car” has been redefined over the last two decades.

This boulevard-cruiser mid-late-80s Nissan 300ZX parks near my office sometimes. I’ll come upon it curbside one day, photograph it properly, and share with you all here.

I know this isn’t a classic, but how often do you come up behind a Lamborghini while driving to work? The license plate marks the owner as a fellow alumnus of my alma mater, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a tough engineering school here in Indiana. I’ve had a pretty good career, but not commuting-in-the-Lambo good.

We loved the Impala SS out here in the vast Midwest, and they were once very common. Not so much anymore.

This guy is …confused.

It’s hard to tell from this dusky photo but this final-generation El Camino was in fine condition. It’s another car I’ve always wanted to own.

I wonder what this VW Cabrio’s story is, with its EU plate and a historic-automobile Indiana plate affixed below it.

Hey, it’s another Volvo 240! But it’s the last one in this year’s roundup — no hat trick this year.

It’s hard to believe the last Oldsmobile Cutlass is around 20 years old. The identical Chevy Malibu sold here in the bazillions, but the Olds not so much.

The second-generation Chrysler Concorde hasn’t quite reached the 20-year mark yet. But they and their first-gen brother are scarce here. It seems like when Chrysler introduced the boxy 300, these bulbous cab-forward cars started disappearing fast.

Let’s wrap up this installment as we began: with a Panther, one of the late “rounded” era. It was flawless. Wish I could say the same for my water-spotted door glass.