Curbside Classic 2012: My Top CC Finds Of The Year

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Curbside Classic is an endless treasure hunt. And the greatest found treasures are not necessarily the most glamorous or most “classic”, but the ones that have long been on the wish list, and were anything but expected. Or even given up for good. So here’s my list, as subjective as it inevitably is.

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1. Opel Kadett Rallye 1900: It’s pretty modest compared to the 1931 Marmon Sixteen that Jim Cavanaugh found, but I’ve been on a hunt for an Opel Kadett for years, and had almost given up. I was a bit shocked when Tom Kockau found one in Iowa, of all places. Walking home on our regular route from the Y one day, there sits a red Kadett, a Rallye 1900 no less. And it’s even a daily driver, as the owner let me know in a late comment to its CC. Most highly unexpected, to say the least.

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2. Australian Ford Falcon XC Ute: After my little white lie about finding an Australian Ford Fairlane, I certainly didn’t expect to be rewarded by finding a genuine Ozzie Ford just a few weeks later. And I almost didn’t stop, having just caught a glimpse of it while zooming down the highway. Stay alert!

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3. 1946 Chrysler Town and Country: Some might question ranking the Kadett ahead of the T&C, but classic vintage American cars do get driven around town by their owners, and sooner or later, almost anything is likely to pop up in the street. A funky old Kadett DD? Not nearly as likely.

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4. 1977 Datsun 200SX (Silvia): Yes, I have a love for the rapidly disappearing obscure old cars that are falling out of the collective memory. The 200SX fits that perfectly, and was on my long wish list that I had almost given up on.

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5. 1963 Clark Cortez: Another one to cross off the wish list. And not just any Cortez, but one of the very first ones built, Serial #29.

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6. Union Pacific EMD E-9s: About as good as it gets. If this were Trackside Classic, it might well be at the top of the list. And I even snuck into the cab: oh joy!

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7. Chevy Vega In Traffic With Vega Girl: One of those fleeting moments that put a big smile on my face. It’s one thing to find an old beater Vega still being used as a DD, another to elicit such a warm response from its co-pilot. It was as if she knew exactly why I was so thrilled to find her! Rock on, Vega Girl!

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8. Peugeot 504: I can show you a picture, but no link to the CC, since I haven’t written it up yet. But it’s coming very soon. I’ve been surprised at how rare they’ve become, since not that long ago they were not uncommon here. In fact, when we moved to Eugene, there was a shop that specialized in just them. Well, that was twenty years ago…

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9. 1961 Ford Starliner: What more can I add that I haven’t said about this one already? It wouldn’t ring true, anyway.

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10. VW Microbus “Samba”:ย  Not all that rare of a find, but what really made it for me was the fact that this one is used as a DD, and by the same guy who I’d seen for years driving his kids in another one. That inspired me to try and do it justice.

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11. VW LT 4×4 Van: We all grow up (sort of), and while the Samba may have been the VW bus of my childhood, I’d take one of these now. More headroom, as well as more room all the way around. Patagonia, here we come.

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12. 1955 Plymouth Belvedere Wagon: I can’t exactly say it was on my wish list, but when an original ’55 Plymouth wagon suddenly shows up, it’s a major treat.

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13. 1940 “Sharknose” Graham: Another unexpected boon. But then drivers of classic cars do sometimes meet up at restaurants, so it’s not exactly a curbside classic of the very highest order. Where’s the patina?

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14. Citroen 2CV: Not all that that rare either, but finding one that’s been someone’s daily driver for years earns it a place on this list.

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15: 1964 Lincoln Continental: Another very recent find that I’ll have to get to soon.

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16: Datsun 411: Another one in the same category, along with quite a few others. Maybe I better stop so that there will be a few surprises left to come in 2013.

So last year I made a list of the Top Ten CC’s I’d Like To Find In 2012. How many did I find? None; although the Kadett comes closest.

And how about our other CC Contributors? Well, I can’t really speak for them, since ranking one’s finds is a rather subjective affair. But one really stands out:

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Jim Cavanugh’s 1931 Marmon Sixteen:ย  There’s little doubt that Jim Cavanaugh passing an ultra-rare Marmon Sixteen on the road, and Mrs. JPC peeling off a superb shot was the cream of the crop of 2012. And here’s the kicker: a year ago, in our post “Top Ten CCs I’d like To Find In 2012, Jim had this to say: A Marmon or a Stutz. It doesnโ€™t matter which. These were both built in Indianapolis, so my chances may not be quite so slim as they would first seem. I’m glad someone got their New Year’s wish; so what’s on your list for 2013, Jim?