(Update: This was first published on 2/24/11, shortly after CC first began. This morning, the snow is back again, as this shot taken from my front door just now shows, and deeper than last time. So let’s bundle up and take that walk again, as most of you weren’t here the first time.)
I pull back the bedroom curtain, and yes, it’s snowing out! Doesn’t happen often in the Willamette Valley, and usually its gone in a flash. But the schools are closed (even for this tiny amount), and it seems like nobody’s heading for for work, at least yet. I know it won’t last, and the snow has such a decorative effect on cars. So forget the next CC I was going to write today, grab the camera and head out for an early morning walk.
My autopilot naturally heads me towards downtown, and my usual haunts. But it suddenly comes to me that I should do something different, a survey of the cars in my immediate neighborhood; a four block radius, to be precise. Well, that turned out to be surprisingly bountiful, so pour yourself a cup of hot coffee and get ready for a nice long set of pictures. There’s no place like home…
Now the Volvo wagon wasn’t actually in front of my house, but I put it up at the top for two reasons. It’s by far the most prolific older car; well, I should qualify that by saying interesting older car, because I’ve never done a scientific survey comparing to to the endless old Corollas and such. There were at least a dozen or more on my little haunt, so this one will have to stand in for the rest.
Here’s a familiar friend. My neighbor around the corner has had this aero-back Cutlass for as long as we’ve lived here, almost eighteen years. I just love what a dusting of snow does to cars. It takes the eye away from the distracting surface details, and brings out the underlying form and lines so nicely. I’m suddenly Bill Mitchell, and just walked into the studio where the upcoming 1978 A-Bodies are being fleshed out in white clay. “What do you think of the rear end of this concept, Mr Mitchell?” Hmmm…
Every neighborhood needs an old ’57 Chevy truck in a side yard, waiting out the decades (along with the impatient neighbors) until someone either gets around to fixing it up or….perish the thought. At least this neighbor likes you right where you are.
My criteria for what has achieved the ranks of the shoot-worthy is always in flux, especially so in the snow. Bright colors and interesting shapes accentuated by the snow is what attracts my attention, like this Achieva.
A few of my shots I’m not going to identify, as they stand on their visual appeal (to me, anyway) like the lower eyelashes of this headlight.
Didn’t I just say no more Volvo 240s? But they just look so at home in the snow, for obvious reasons. Eugene was crawling with them when we arrived in ’93, and I figured they’d be mostly gone by now. Doh! The paint on this one looks like its made out of unobtanium; as pristine as the day it left Sweden.
Here’s the deal: we stopped walking all around in our neighborhood years ago, since we like to take much longer urban hikes now. So I’m now out of the usual well-trod route, and encountering cars I’ve seen and shot in other locations, or never knew where even here. This delightful old Toyota Cressida woody wagon falls in the first category; It’s posed for me before but, but I didn’t know where it lived. The first time I saw it I was pretty impressed. But get this: there’s another one in town, almost exactly like this one. Jeez…
They must like this block, because there’s another Cressida wagon, of the next generation, just two houses down.
My general part of town (hell, the whole west coast practically) is not exactly big on new or newish Detroit iron, trucks excepted (and some Fords). We wear the stain of GM’s death on our…car keys. But there’s a little enclave of GM cars down in these two blocks I rarely visit. I do remember these two.
But they must have been lonely in the sea of Toyotas, Subarus and Volvos, and put out the call for reinforcements. And who should answer? This Citation. That never used to be here, and it’s not the one I shot for my GM’s Deadliest Sin CC. Is it coming to stalk me for the abuse I heaped on it?
It wasn’t the only only one who heeded the call either. This plum of a Snowlark has decided to overwinter right across the street from the Citation. Strength in numbers…
I turn the corner, and the GM parade continues. But this one doesn’t really count; old Chebbie trucks are always cool, no matter what the neighborhood.
Ka-Ching!! Isn’t that a sight? A purple gen1 Passatt. Yes, I’ve seen and shot you before in town too, and I should not be surprised that you live here, having joined the two old VW buses directly behind you. As the official VelcomeWagen greeter for the Friendly Street (yes) neighborhood, I welcome you.
More new neighbors; and another Kraut too. What’s this neighborhood coming too? Well, that hardly applies to the GW in the back, which is sporting an interestingly wavy line of snow on its flank. I’d show a close up, but there’s going to be way too many pictures here. In fact, I’ve started skipping some of the less compelling cars already.
And this is more compelling than another car ? But growing behind the 2002 on the front lawn is this…cactus. Bizarre.
I can’t resist a red convertible in the snow, though, and this is only the first of two. Again, there’s that thin line of snow on the side that first stuck to the side molding, and is now drooping.
This Snowfire is all-too familiar, on my most common driving route out of the neighborhood. But the way those blue stripes are disappearing in the snow must be preserved for posterity. If cars like this are a bit too pedestrian, hang in there; I’ve got some real gems ahead.
Not exactly this, but it is a Japanese Ram, and a veteran one at that.
Here’s a former Deadly Sin. Dusted with snow, it looks positively angelic though. Somebody close that front window, please. Got to keep that bordello-red velour nice and plush.
I probably should have skipped this, but this generation Econoline is getting so rare.
Some shapes are instantly recognizable, no matter how well disguised.
This old Mazda is a grizzled veteran still at work. And it’s just about the only customized car I come across today.
Another neighborhood eyesore. But the snow cover a multitude of deadly sins. These two have been frozen in time for decades. We don’t have much of this, but the few that are seem to be in it for the long haul. That Firebird has been in the air on its jackstands for so long I’m beginning to worry about the jackstands rusting away…the next big earthquake will take of that. At least they’re keeping the rest of their fine collection out of sight in the back. Let’s take a look
The Friendly Area neighborhood (seriously, that’s what it’s officially called) vintage car museum. Free admission, if you walk up the alley. Can you recognize the most distant one?
Every Eugene neighborhood has been given one or two of these as apart of a long term Toyota experiment to see if their hatches rust out prematurely. So far, so good. (inside joke; Chuck Goolesbee, where are you?)
And Mercedes once passed out dozens of W123s in this part of town, to see if they will still be perfectly intact fifty years later. Except that Mercedes forgot about the test, not like that’s the kind of thing that would interest them anymore now anyway. Undoubtedly, the The W123s will still all be here in 2030, happily clattering away on biodiesel, with their MB-Tex interiors fully intact. And another 240 manages to slip into the picture. Narcissistic things, they are.
Bully! I almost forgot about this Transporter that moved in a while back. It’s hard to tell today, but someone installed the little panoramic roof windows from a Samba on this one.
But I can’t just shoot and walk away from this venerable Volks. Need to get close, touch it, and absorb its details, which are so dearly familiar to me since childhood. Mind if I call you Grandma?
Air-cooled birds of the same feather…right across the street is a Beetle, of course. Not the only one around either.
There’s another old truck next door to the Transporter, but of a distinctly American sort. This is a former CC. Or is the past tense the wrong way to put it?
We lean more to wagons than SUVs hereabouts. Vintage ones, at that, and nice ones too. My favorite, no less (I used to have the sedan version). Oops, there’s another 240 in the shot. But it is so nicely color coordinated with the house; the exact same shade. Wait a minute…that house has been recently repainted…you don’t suppose?
Every neighborhood needs at least one GM B-body. This is also a former CC. But I don’t have time to put in all the links today; you know where to find them. But soon there will be lots more at the new CC portal here too.
Another car I’ve shot elsewhere that turns out to live under my nose. OK, I probably should have made this a two or three block radius walk; but I promise, we’re now well past the half way point; hang in there.
I remember you! With the first year 260 V8 no less. But what happened to the Fiat 124 Spider that used to poke you in the butt?
We have to do a couple of “Mystery cars” for all our frustrated CC Cluers.
I wouldn’t normally include this, but to assure you we have SUV lovers too. Old,medium, and newish.
Two Firebirds? Its snow-draped aero-slickness is like a nicely carved block of Styrofoam, and just can’t be denied.
Another dear old friend. This VW got chopped right there in that driveway back there in 1993, just after we arrived, And it’s been a semi-daily driver, alternating days with its polar opposite, a jacked up blue Baja Bug. I guess that was the obvious choice to drive to work this morning, cause it’s not here.
Got to have at least one token Subaru, as they’re thick as flies here. But I forgot about an even older one in an alley. Next time.
Another 2002 has moved in! And white on white, again. My two favorite colors. Willkommen indeed.
This Celica has been around for some time. There was a prior gen version Liftback nearby, but it seems to have…moved away (we never want to harbor morbid thoughts about our dear neighbors).
I hope no one’s living in this old Toyota Chinook. But I wouldn’t be surprised either.
You’ll have to indulge my thing for red convertibles in the snow one more time.
Here’s mystery car number two. True confession: by the time I opened this picture at home I forgot what it was too. But it came back to me, I think.
Now this scene is not quite as obvious as it might look at first glance. To understand my neighborhood, or at least a significant part of it, you have to know (well, it’s obvious by now) that it is an eclectic little ghetto. Lots of artists, artisans, and other creative types (writers too!). And they don’t always conform to the predictably boring Eugene standards of…Toyotas and Volvos. That explains these two cars as well as the permanent Christmas decorations/balls hanging year round on the tree right over the Shadow. A little hard to make out, but the closer you get to this house, the more it all falls into place. You want to be “different” around here, drive an older American car. Ken Kesey spent his last years tooling around Eugene in a Buick Roadmaster woody wagon. Welcome to my neighborhood; we embrace diversity of expression. Or is it conformity?
I counted at least two of these vintage Land Cruisers. Ready to tackle those drifts of snow!
Almost done; I promise. But we can’t pass up this bright red Civic, an Si no less.
I’ve cut the walk short, only three blocks to the east. Now these Toyota vans are also dime-a-dozen, but not sporting a formidable array of antennas like this one. Five, at least, including that one mounted off the hitch. A spy in our ‘hood? BTW, that’s a 4WD version of the van, especially coveted.
One more car, and we’re done. This well-loved 02 has been here since before our time, and is regularly driven. And now it has two other 02s to hang out with. Cool.
A quick walk up the alley, and we’re home! But I have to grab a shot of Ol’ Yeller, for posterity.
As I finish writing this and putting up these 51 photos, it’s now 1:45 PM, and sure enough, the snow is almost totally gone already. That’s the way it usually is here, unless we get a very unusually cold storm, where it might last a couple of days. But fear not; nobody in this corner of the world uses salt to clear the roads; just red volcanic crushed cinders. How else would all these veterans still be here? Why do you think we moved here?
The sun is shining now, and it’s time for lunch; I’ll just grab the camera, and head out for a bite to eat and a nice walk…
I swear, there are more old cars in use in your neighborhood than I see in a year. I can’t fathom that people not only keep them, but put them to use. What kind of timemachine are you living in? It’s simply incomprehensible.
Now you see why I started with the Curbside Classic. It needed to be shared.
A couple of key things: no rust; no inspections of any sort; and folks generally don’t drive much. No long commutes here. Many ride bikes, bus or walk. And people come to Eugene to live a simple lifestyle, so spending money on a car is anathema to them.
BTW, what you may have read needed some editing of the text; I hurried, and now cleaned it up.
Yeah, I noticed some typos, but I figured you were in a rush.
Where I live now, the climate is quite humid, it’s practically coast climate all year round. That makes all the cars rust away in a matter of ten or fifteen years. Besides classics that are obviously kept in good condition, one very seldom see cars older than twenty years. So, I tend to notice older and more unusual cars, they stick out. So, it’s not that I don’t look for them. Where I was brought up, up north, it was quite the opposite, with continental climate. I remember a friend of mine, and his first car, a mid 60’s Opel Kadett, then almost thirty years old. And it was a used car, but totally rust free. Things like that doesn’t happen where I live now.
Its the pedantic inspections that remove our old cars from the road every 6months your car must be checked. I have two waiting to be inspected right now my Hillman and a rusty Nissan I brought home.
Awesome photos Paul. Most of these cars haven’t been seen in my neck of the woods for 15+ years. And thanks for all the 240s, I grew up with several!
Living in the northeast rust-belt Eugene sounds like an automotive paradise . Probably not for the new car dealers though .
Yet another fine, fine article, Paul. Love the Metro headlight shot.
Other than the fact that I am soooo tired of seeing snow (living in Michigan can do that to you), these were great shots! You have a way of capturing even the most mundane of cars in a way that makes them seem most interesting!
Did anyone notice that the Toyota Van had Florida plates on it???
And Mystery Car#2 is a second gen Olds Aurora 🙂
Yeah, I caught the Florida plate. You really need that 4wd there…but it may not actually spend much time in FL, you never know.
4wd can help directional stability in heavy rain. And Florida gets a lot of rain.
Wow! Eugene potpourri snow day. Really liked the article and the format of multiple pictures. Best that I could do in my neighbourhood would be an early 90’s Aerostar that appears to be not long for this world.
This so makes me wish that the snow makes it to San Francisco. I can’t help but think how pretty the Dodge Coronets of Fulton would look with a dusting of snow this weekend.
Neat photos, Paul. I think I post this every time you go “spaziergang”. Regardless, I’d like to see more of that Cutlass Aeroback. Or will that be part of the promised Cutlass Classic?
Oh, I have a soft spot (in my head) for Sunfires, too. (I have two of them in the driveway…) I like the racing stripes on the white one.,,
Yes, the CC Complete Cutlass Chronicles (“CCCCC”) will include that and the two door version too. But I keep getting distracted: so the CCCCC will be spread out over several weeks (months?). But it will happen….
Thanks for the stroll, and especially the fastback Cutlass. I’m still amazed the designers got the go ahead to produce it. Not a great looking car, but certainly distinctive.
Even more surprising is that Cadillac two years later came out with the Similar looking Seville bustleback, We they in any way related? This despite the lack of any real interest in the Cutlass Salon or similar Buicks.
No, the Seville was a K-body, the sedan version of the FWD E-body, Riviera, Toronado, Eldorado. I imagine that the styling was locked in for the Seville by the time these hit the market and then fell on their faces. The Seville was a bit different though, with a bustle instead of a fast back like the A-bodies. The Sevilles themselves though were pretty well received. Sales were down initially from the 1976-1979 Seville, but the prices went way up, combined with the 1980-1982 recession, Seville sales started to rebound by 1983.
It is strange how there are so many 240s out there and of all the places snow! 240s and snow, what a combination for great traction. Love the 2002 also. I always love to look in the trunk strut areas of the Bimmers to see how rust free the car really is. This is a great site. It looks like I’ll be hanging out here in my spare time. Thanks for the great contributions. I enjoyed TTAC but never got involved much in the comment dept.
Thanks for these shots, Paul! Especially liked the White Falcon and the pre yuppie Bimmers. Lovely cars along with the ‘chopped’ VW microbus.
Great walk, Paul. Hand to the heavens if I lived in your neighborhood I’d make an offer on that Cutlass Areoback as soon as I had the coin. I missed out on a pristine Cadillac Cimmirron in my old neighborhood and still kick myself on that one just for the kitsch value. Likely could have bought it for less than what I spent on my scooter.
Thanks for the tour Paul, I thought my area was loaded with CCs but yours is covered in them, that chopped VW is awful what were they smoking when they decided on those cut lines. There is a yard full of dead cars nearby but its inaccessable I know about the line of MK4 Zodiacs and E series Vauxhalls it holds because I poured the concrete footings for the new fence that hides them, on a day I didnt have a camera at work with me.
This is awesome Paul, alot of fun to look and read thru. I somehow never ran across this post before.
I will PDF print it for further review (along with a growing library of CC’s), on the tablet during hours when I ‘should’ be sound asleep. Yes, it’s true… this website is a main cause of my sleep-deprivation. And I doubt that I’m the only one 🙂
So much here I can’t process it all. Cool!
The Celica Origami notchback is great, and so is the green Suburban and the Park Ave/Aurora combo. All the dreary Volvos take me back to Maine 30 years ago, not really in a good way…Gimme the Fifth Ave like Aunt Pat used to have, with 98 WJBQ cranked up to appease my cousins and me. Don’t forget to push the brushed metal “REAR AMP” button for extra back-seat sound.
You already had the “token” Subaru in the first pic. Isn’t that a first gen Forrester in your first pic?
Volvos are pretty well represented in Eugene huh? I guess if somebody has a craving for an older Euro car, the Volvo 240 and 740/940 is the best to buy in terms of ease of repair and parts availability
Oh and that snow that you have there, well it can stay there and not come east
The Forester is ours. That shot was taken this morning. The rest were shot three years ago when I made this walk and post. And by now (11:30) there’s close to 4″ on the ground.
I just got up to about 5 inches or so. WOOO! Gonna scrape off the old Tercal and taker her out.
I’m amazed that those BMW 2002s are still alive, having owned one back in 1975. Of course, the friendly climate is a major factor, but my experience with these cars when new (I later owned a 1977 320i, then a 1979 528i) did not create any expectations of such a long life. As much as I would love to have a 2002 today, I shudder at the expense and hassle of keeping it going.
Here’s a picture of my brand new car, taken in October 1975 at the family home, a few weeks before it would get buried in snow for the first time. That’s my dad’s 1968 Chrysler Newport Custom in front of the 2002.
Wow, thanks for posting. that is a great picture, and for more than one reason.
Yes, I love to see that BMW sitting there when it was brand new. But, tied in that that amazing Fall tree shot and the house, it’s very cool that you still have this time-capsule pic, and in that condition.
I agree, it is great to see 3 2002’s still running about at all these days, let alone in the same vicinity. Never owned one yet, but did have a ’99 328i and the one I miss most of all my 20+ vehicles… ’95 540i in Orient Blue w/parchment leather. Oh…what a car. I should have NEVER sold her. (I did keep the window sticker though 🙂
Thanks for the walk! As others have said, simply amazing.
You can hit lower income neighborhoods in my area and find older cars, but they rarely match the condition in Eugene. Indifferent owners along with accidents and crime from the more urban environment combine with rust and take their toll.
A couple of these appear to be around 25th and south Van Buren. There is a house on the corner with a few veteran junk cars (my B-I-L lives a couple houses away).
I want that 77-79 LTD.
Wood-trimmed Grand Wagoneer with slots? That’s my kinda ride!
The Saab convertible reminded me of an odd sight while out and about today: a “classic” generation 900 turbo vert, maroon with black top (don’t think I’ve ever seen that combo in the tin), in seemingly good shape, being driven in the snow by a middle-aged woman. It looked like it was her daily driver.
The Toyota van? Bet it’s a ham radio operator. That one belongs amongst the uber-antenna-mobiles on Hamsexy and such sites.
I remember there was a friend of friend that was big into HAM, he had a bumper sticker on his beat up Coupe deVille, “Hammers do it with more Frequency”, I thought that was funny.