Curbside Outtakes: Auto Row – It’s 1977 Again

I saw these two many months ago and had actually seen the Mark driving on the base. Fast forward to July and I noticed there were more and more cars along the fence line, which meant stopping for more pictures.

I go down to the USS Hornet every Saturday to do my work and that never stopped despite everything else. Pretty easy to social distance 10 people on an aircraft carrier. I drive in an east entrance along a residential street, as the Main East Entrance is having new residential construction around it. So I noticed more cars, mostly Mopars, accumulating. Let’s start at the bottom of the line away from the street entrance at X.

First two Mopars at the end of the line.


Next in line is the Cadillac. Notice that the Mark, that was next to the Cadillac, is gone.


I now exit my car so I can turn to the right and get an unobstructed shot of the rest in line. As I do this a blue Dodge truck drives right past me and starts to join the beginning of the line. Hmm?

When the blue Dodge stops I start to frame my shot. The driver walks out around the back and then between the truck and the van, making me wait till he is hidden behind his truck for the picture. I then turn to the left to now start on the rest when, out of the corner of my eye, I see this 6’3″ fellow striding all the way down towards me. I’m shooting my Minolta 7D with telephoto zoom and it is kind of obvious to people when pointed in their general direction. He asks me if I am taking pictures of him and I tell him no but only the cars and waited till he was out of the shot. When I said I was going to post them on Curbside Classic for old cars we then ended up having an hour long conversation on his collection.

I note the missing Mark and he tells me he sold it a week ago for $600 to some young guy up in Fairfield. That is quite the ways from Alameda and I don’t think it was a Craigslist ad. He also tells me the new owner is driving it to all the shows. What, I don’t know since all I know of have been canceled. He also tells me the new owner will be putting on skinny tires all around at which point I roll my eyes. He then surmises I am a keep them original kind of guy.

The owner tells me most all are 1977 with a few 1975. He was born in 1977. As for me I couldn’t say for sure since I stopped paying attention to the makes in 1974 outside of those either my parents drove or I did. I was past 16 (1969) and cars of the late 70s weren’t compelling. Given his bent I would assume that the Vette, under this cover, hails from that time frame.

I did like the surfboard on top of the 74 Suburban although I don’t think the owner surfs. Update on it after three days and I see it up for sale on Craigslist for $3690. Tape over the front seat cushion, cracked front window, no headliner, and what looks like painted tape along both roof lines above the windows. One word, rust. Despite the clean looking engine and under carriage I do believe the price is high for a grade 4- condition.

Now the Camaro looks like it needs some help here. Can just imagine what the roof looks like under the quilt.

The two of us got so involved about cars that I forgot to shoot the Camaro that Saturday and just did it a week later. The blue truck here failed smog and he ended up buying it cheap. I suspect a few need smog tests while some don’t.  When I asked him how the electronic ignition was working in his Mopars he didn’t think he had any. So we opened the hood and I pointed the parts out. About this time one of the street denizens in the area had come by and the owner knew him. Long gray hair, gray beard, and pulling those little two-wheel carts senior women would pull. He starts talking about the 273 and the 318 all the way to the last small block the 400. I tried to correct him that it was a B block big engine Mopar but gave up. He sauntered on after that probably thinking I was some smart ass.

Note the fence in the background. That is a storage lot for all kinds of vehicles mostly old from the early 60s up to the late 90s. I’d love to get in there to shoot pictures. Apparently the owner of these cars made some sort of deal with the man who runs the enclosed storage lot so he can park his collection outside the fence line. The whole base is property of the City of Alameda but he has been lucky since some of these cars are not current much less have plates. Maybe they have been stolen as the base has trouble with thieves late at night. The Hornet’s yard was broken into and a 12′ trailer was taken along with brass fittings. Even this fellow had the dash pad taken out of his truck recently.

He wanted to know what was in my collection and I told him. Then asks if I drive any of them down here and tell him mainly the 626 or the Focus. Today I had the Buick LeSabre as the A/C works well and it has been as hot as Hades in the Bay Area the last week and next. He was taken in by the Buick and how the wheels and color weren’t seen that often, while loving the pinstriping down the sides. An hour had now passed and it was near 1715 hours and I needed to go. We part and as I walk back to my car and get in, I see him walking the battery from the blue truck down to another vehicle. I give him this look and he reminds me he is frugal.