Spotted While Driving, or Curbside Classics Out and About During the Pandemic

During the pandemic I’ve been working from home. I put about 4,000 miles on my car in 2020, as opposed to the 18,000 miles I put on it in 2019. So I’m that much less likely to pull up behind an older car at a light right now. Yet I’ve managed to come upon 14 such cars since my last installment of this series in August of 2019 – eight before lockdown and six after. I came upon this Camaro on my way to work shortly after my 2019 post went live.

I followed this 1972 Impala convertible most of the way down I-65 to my office in Downtown Indianapolis one morning. A brief stop thanks to road construction gave me the chance to make this quick photo. I’m not a fan of the fender skirts, but at least this car has escaped enormous blingy wheels.

It dawned on me late in 2019 that the second-gen Ford Taurus is becoming less common. So I decided to start photographing them when I come upon them. At this point, they’re last-resort used cars and are mostly in rough shape.

This sixth-generation Buick Riviera is my favorite find of all of these cars. My high-school civics teacher drove one. He was also a city councilman, and he used to take our class on mini field trips to all these places he had access to because of his position. He did it all very casually: we all had to figure out how to get ourselves to and from these places. I didn’t drive, and even if I did I didn’t have access to a car, so he always gave me a lift in his Riv. It was a cush ride, and that hood seemed to go on for a mile.

My second favorite find was this Squarebird. But that’s only because I haven’t seen one on the road since I was a kid in the 70s. I have always thought these things were ugly as sin. I know they have their fans, but I’m not among them. Yet I respect its owner for keeping it road-worthy.

I am, however, a fan of the Mitsubishi 3000GT. A college buddy of mine got one after we graduated and we had a lot of fun burning up the pavement in it. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen one in this salmon-y color.

Oh look, another Taurus. Gotta document cars like this before they all go to that big junkyard in the sky.

Stopped at a light I spotted this little Honda CRX parked at a gas station. I zoomed my iPhone to the max to get this shot, which accounts for the mottled and blurry image.

Where have all the Dodge Stratuses gone? They must not have been very hardy. I test drove one when they were new and my family was looking to upgrade my coupe to a car more family friendly. I very much liked it: adequate power, decent handling, comfortable seats, plenty of rear seat leg room. But we had three kids, and in the end I realized I needed something with a third row of seats.

It’s one of those things your kids aren’t sure they believe when you tell them, that Olds Cutlasses like this used to be as common as Toyota RAV4s.

This Accord was such a terrific sedan in its day: crisp handling, good power, commanding visibility. You can easily get sedans with good handling and even more power today – but they all have worse visibility.

It’s not a Spotted While Driving post without at leas one old Corolla. Heretofore it has not been a Spotted While Driving post without at least one Volvo 240, but I never came across one and it is thus a new era in Spotted While Driving posts.

This generation of Golf/Jetta wasn’t very popular here in middle America, and especially not in wagon form. Yet here this one was, exiting my subdivision onto the main road.

Finally, I came upon this ’67 Dodge Dart GT on the north side of Indianapolis, stuck behind that bus. It looks good and original, just the way we like ‘em hereabouts.