Spotted While Driving, or Curbside Classics That Haven’t The Good Sense To Park To Be Photographed

It’s turning into a roughly annual thing, for me to dump out of my iPhone all of the interesting cars I photographed from the driver’s seat of my car. Scout’s honor, I always do it either from a complete stop, or when I’m going slowly and there’s no traffic around. There was definitely traffic around when I fell in behind this Model T! I’ve never seen one on the road before, and then this one passed right through my neighborhood. I have no idea what the message on the spare tire cover is about.

It’s also not often I come up behind a sixth-generation Ford Thunderbird.

I shot the bird in motion last summer, but last month while taking a morning walk I found it parked right across the street from my house! This family cycles through cars pretty fast, usually Tauruses and the like. Lately some more interesting cars have turned up here, like the Escort wagon and that Fox Mustang.

This Prius is certainly not a Curbside Classic yet, but the interesting juxtaposition of messaging on its tail caused me to stare in puzzlement and wonder. It’s not an obvious conflict to love God and also enjoy guns. I hope this fellow doesn’t somehow conflate the two, however. And the last place I’d expect to see both messages is on the back of a Prius for heaven’s sake.

Late RWD X bodies are uncommon here in Rustopia, and so I was pleased to find this three-light Chevy (Concours? Nova Sport?) waiting to turn left.

I was extra pleased to find this ’65 Ford Galaxie convertible cruising down a major artery in town. I was so pleased I broke my usual rule and am showing the car a little bit hidden in traffic. Such cars have largely passed out of driver status here.

I have an unrequited love for the humble Omnirizon. Their tidy design has always appealed to me. I remember these having great visibility, which I especially value in this era of gunslit windows and tree-trunk A pillars. And I’ve always had a “thing” for hatchbacks: so useful. Yes, this car ticks all the boxes for me. I know I can admit that here with no shame.

I couldn’t believe it when I pulled up next to this Celebrity at a stoplight. The Buick and Olds FWD A bodies became Roaches of the Road™, but the Pontiac and especially the Chevy versions have all but disappeared. I’m sure it’s in part because they ceased production before the others. But Chevy cranked out Celebrities by the gazillions back in the day. They were everywhere. Now they’re nowhere. Except at this light.

Does the Saturn L-Series qualify for CC status yet? They went out of production almost 13 years ago.

The seventh-generation Buick Riviera definitely qualifies. These were probably very nice small luxury-ish cars; I’ve never been in one to know for sure. And I know this is an old trope around here, but did this really have to wear the Riviera name? Kind of like the Mustang II wasn’t a terrible car in a vacuum but it lacked the qualities that made it a Mustang.

I admit it: I photograph cars at lights just because I know I’ll collect them eventually into another Spotted While Driving post. When I put one of these posts together I’m always struck by the volume and variety of CCs I see plying local roads. Otherwise I’d probably think there aren’t that many classics being driven anymore. And any way you look at it, a Rabbit GTI convertible has become a classic.

I photographed this Skylark in the parking lot at my nearby Walmart. I wasn’t driving, but in my defense this car was about to take off and I had just seconds to act. Notice how the ends of the bumper are a little droopy? Remember how common an affliction this was on these Skylarks?

Finding this Citation coupe felt like a Holy Grail moment for me. Hatchback Citations are rare enough these days. But the coupes, which were never remotely as popular as the hatches when new, are hen’s teeth. I watched it roll by as I waited to turn out of my subdivision one morning. It was surprisingly speedy. I had to drive seriously extralegal speeds to catch up to it.

Time was, plain-Jane Blazers were enormously common. Today, it seems like SUVs are like the Ford LTDs of yore: basic platforms all dressed in their Sunday best.

And what’s a Spotted While Driving without at least one Panther? And an early one at that.

Wrapping up this installment is this slightly rusty Volvo 240 wagon. Here’s another car I dream of owning. So reliable, so spacious, so danged useful. I like useful cars.

Related reading:

My previous Spotted While Driving posts: here, here, and here.