It was a random day in Crown Point, a town of about 27,000 in Indiana’s northwest-most county. We were there visiting one of my wife’s sisters and her husband for lunch. Crown Point, it turns out, is almost a perfect halfway point between our homes. There wasn’t anything special happening on the town square that day, so it was a real surprise to find three old cars parked curbside there. The first one was this final-generation El Camino.
I date this one to 1982-85 based on its four-headlight front end and lack of CHMSL. The earlier two-headlight El Caminos (1979-81) are pretty rare out here but I see these later ElCams still rolling several times a year.
When you get up close you can see little dings and paint scratches that come with age and use. But it appears to be complete and in good condition. This one’s a well-cared-for survivor.
In contrast, this breadbox Bus has been restored. I respect the use of those dog-dish hubcaps. It speaks to restraint in the restoration.
When I was a kid in the 70s a trio of sisters up the street drove a Bus in this color scheme, bestickered as was the practice at the time. So it was a blast from my past to find this one. This Bus was stickered too, but discreetly: all on the windows. Back in the day, people slapped stickers right onto the paint.
I’ve noticed an increase in Historic plates on older Indiana cars. Years ago you could get an Antique plate for a car 25 or more years old, but the car had to be a collectible or a leisure item and you couldn’t use it as primary transportation. The upside was that the plate was significantly less expensive than a regular plate. Indiana bundles a lot of taxes into its plates, making them surprisingly expensive compared to other states. Now the Antique plate is called a Collector plate and still has the reduced fees, while the Historic plate is at full cost but lets you drive your old car anytime and anywhere you want.
My favorite find of the day was this ’67 Plymouth Fury II. It’s probably been fully 25 years since I’ve seen a Plymouth of this generation on the road. I’ve encountered them at shows and auctions, but always hardtops and convertibles.
This thing is clearly a survivor with all of those dings and rust spots. But this owner is making the car his own by adding some pinstripes and attaching those big mirrored wheel covers.
I would have loved to hear this one start and run. Would I have heard the Slant Six or the venerable 318? Either way, it would have been real music from my childhood.