The Snow Holiday Neighborhood Walk: Over 65 CCs Within Four Blocks of Home

CC 215 036 925

(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…

CC 129 009 800

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…