Top Ten Curbside Classics I’d Like To Find In 2012

Since I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, I’ll call them New Year’s wishes: the ten cars I’d most like to find on the street and write up. And since the world is apparently going to end on 12/12/12, maybe I should call this the Ultimate Top Ten CC List. Here goes, in no particular order, but before I do that, let me wish everyone a Happy New Year!

1. 1976 Buick LeSabre: I’ve been wanting to find one of these since I started writing CCs three years ago. But if I tell you why, it would spoil it. It’s not some personal coming of-age experience I had on its wide seats. But with the right checks on the order sheet, the ’76 LeSabre set a record of sorts. Stay tuned.

2. 1963 Corvair Monza Four-Door: We all want to rediscover our first car, no? This one is the closest I could find on google; it’s a ’62. The real thing will have black interior, and the 98hp Turbo-Aire, and the four-speed. Somewhere out there…

3. 1961 Chevy Bel Air Two Door Sedan Or Coupe: Either one, or both will do. In the sixties, I wasted endless hours internally debating the pros and cons of the various ’61 – ’64 Chevys, and in the end, I always came back to these two. 1961 was the last year for the ‘flying wing’ roof, and for some reason, a two-door with that roofline really spoke to me. The bubble coupe could also be an Impala; don’t want to be too nit-picky.

4. 1936-1937 Lincoln Zephyr: When I first stumbled into one of these by accident as a kid in Iowa, parked in a dusty field at the county fair, I spent a good twenty minutes or more obsessing on it. And went back for more later. Having been exposed to Tatras as a tyke in Austria, this was as close as it got. And a pretty nice effort too, despite its conventional underpinnings. I’m ready for a top-up.

5. 1934 Chrysler Airflow: By that, I mean the real unmolested thing, not like this one I found at a car show this summer. Oh, the horror! To each their own, but it did seem a bit of a waste of a nice Airflow.

6. Tatra 77 or 87: OK, we can dream, right? For what it’s worth, there’s probably more of them in the US now than in their country of origin.

7. Steyr-Puch 500-600-650: Austria’s last true domestic passenger car. Looks like a Fiat 500, and the body was a license-built Fiat, but with S-P’s own engine, transmission, brakes, and other components. Unlike the thrashy Fiat vertical twin, the S-P had a boxer twin, with hemi heads. And there were hi-performance versions, like this 650 TR, which was quite the terror in its racing class. My aunt had one (not the TR), and I have happy (if noisy) memories of way too many of us piling into it during our summer there in 1969.

8. Opel Kadett A: Yes, CC is (among other things) a hunt to find all the cars of one’s youth. The 1962 – 1965 Kadett A was never sold in very large quantities in the US, unlike its very popular Kadett B successor. But still, there must be one out there somewhere.

9. 1965 Coronet 440 Wagon: Another Niedermeyer-mobile, and my first (illicit) drive. I finally have a picture of it now. Here I’m tamely getting into the back seat, since everyone else is around.  Nice three-wheel Cushman mail-delivery vehicle back there.

10. 1956-1957 Corvette: Another obsession of my youth that needs to be recapitulated.

Please note that I’ve left out a whole raft of exotic European machinery from the fifties and sixties. I’m trying hard to be realistic here. Anything you’d really like to find in 2012?