CC Vacation Outtakes: Random Curbside Classics from London and Ireland

Taking inspiration from several other contributors, I decided to compile a grab-bag of sorts of all the random one-off pictures I managed to shoot while on vacation over spring break that weren’t enough for posts of their own but certainly interesting enough to share.  So without further ado…

Starting things off is this gorgeous 1968 Mustang that drove by as we were waiting for a bus outside of the Tower of London.  I was startled by it as it was so unexpected, the center of London being pretty much dominated by newer German luxury cars and about a million new Toyota Prius’.

I’m hardly the world’s biggest Mustang fan, but I’ve always liked the fastbacks and this very period color works extremely well on this one.  It was simply in immaculate condition and a treat to see.

Then, not a minute later, this 1964 AEM RouteMaster (RM1933) passed by.  This particular bus is all over the internet if you search by the RM1933 number with plate ALD933B, there are even scale models of it available.

From what I can tell London Transport operates a “Heritage Service”, wherein this bus and several others of the era are used for two routes in London, including this stop at Tower Hill.

Later, walking across one of the bridges near the end, this Mercedes W123 coupe wafted by.  Red isn’t my favorite color on these, but at least it’s different from most any modern Mercedes in that regard…

One must always take the opportunity to photograph a Citroen H-van whenever possible, although it seems that there are now more of them than there were twenty years ago.  No doubt they have all been pulled out of French barns and pressed back into service as Food Trucks, such as this one I found in Chicago a couple of years ago.

This red one was on the Riverwalk near the London Eye and like too many things these days, vandalized, but at least back in service, I suppose it beats moldering in a barn.

Yes we did the tourist-trappy things and while I usually bitch and moan about such things and have been on the London Eye before, my kids counted it a highlight of the trip, so I suppose it was worthwhile.  Not two weeks later we would have occasion to remember these exact views when that incident occurred with the driver mowing down pedestrians on the bridge below Big Ben.

I spent much of the ride ogling the traffic on the bridge wondering if something interesting would appear and was quickly rewarded with this “Quayside Classic” passing by in the water.  With the Zoom at maximum extension on my little point and shoot I was quite impressed with the image quality as we were still pretty high up.  I do not know my boats at all, but I’m sure someone does.  I absolutely love the livery on this one, it’s very Austin Powers.  God save the Queen, indeed.

Here’s one for reader calibrick, a lovely late series Mercedes 190E in what looks like Smoke Silver captured as we were walking back in the rain towards our AirBnb near Covent Garden.  I don’t know why but I finally figured out that the stance on a lot of these reminds me of 80’s-90’s French cars, notably the Citroen BX and Citroen Xantia.  Something about the way the back squats a bit.  Not that it’s a bad thing, mind you, I love those cars.

At one of the approaches to Covent Garden and likely owned by one of the vendors of the little stands inside was this blue 1997 Volvo 940 2.3.  A fairly base spec model with those hubcaps, this shape still looks good twenty years after this one was built and almost 35 years after the shape was introduced.

It wouldn’t be a successful walk in Britain without a Mini sighting.  This one’s seen its share of London rain judging by the bottom of the door.  This looks to be a 1978 Mini 1000 model and driven by an enthusiast judging by the multiple London-Brighton rally stickers on the side window.  The car in front of it is a Toyota Aygo, which is slightly smaller than a North-American market Toyota Yaris…

…but still manages to look quite large compared to the Mini.

An M-reg Ford Fiesta (M=1994 model year) is starting to be a fairly rare sight, I always liked the way the cut- lines flowed around the rear taillights.

A day later after a flight to Dublin, I spotted this current generation VW Transporter in this gray (grey?) color (colour?) that I found fabulous (or just fab?).  It’s so anti-stylish that it actually IS stylish.  I don’t think it gets any more utilitarian than with the black plastic bumpers and the steel wheels.

Not even a window in back.  Where’s the slider, you ask?  On the other side, since it’s right-hand drive of course and the curb (kerb?) is on the other side.  I wish I could think of something to say about the tires (tyres?).  Alright, I’ll stop with our common language…

A couple of days later and a few hundred miles further South in Kenmare, just around the corner from where I shot the 2CV Fourgonnette, I found this Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, very similar to the one owned by contributor Johannes Dutch.  His is in much better shape and doesn’t have the blocked out side windows but this is very much a working truck.

Right in front of it was its brother from another mother, an Isuzu Trooper 2-door, also with blanked off rear side windows.  As with the Toyota, it obviously sported a turbodiesel mill under the hood.

Here is the definitive sign that world will surely soon come to an end.  A BMW minivan known as the 2-series “Active Tourer”.  A sad, sad, day indeed.  In the European mini-minivan norm, it sports conventionally hinged doors and is about the size of a first-generation Honda Odyssey which also had the conventional doors.

With its somewhat tall profile, this is about as unexciting as a BMW gets.  I saw it again later in town and the interior did look nice with its sand/tan color scheme.  Here’s a link to an article Car&Driver did on it, apparently it is front wheel drive and based on a MINI platform.  Heresy.

I spied this in a parking lot and immediately thought “Ooh, Paul would love this” – A Peugeot Electric car!  Obviously a rebadged Mitsubishi i-MiEV, this sold in Europe as a Peugeot Ion.

The Mitsubishi was anything but a success stateside, and used examples are practically free, but if one lived in Eugene, had a garage with an electrical outlet and ventured no further than to Skinner’s Butte and back, then this would likely work just fine. Or you could just walk.  In any case, I had no idea this existed.  It’s a big world out there.

Traveling further to what I believe was a town called Dingle, we spotted this fabulous Mercedes W124 Coupe.  These are rare enough in the States, and seem to be even rarer in Europe.  Largely hand-built, they commanded (and still do) a huge premium over the rest of the E-class line.

As we wandered around town, it really started pouring rain, as a result I heard and saw this car well before I could get my camera out of my pocket.  A Series-2 Jaguar XJ6, it had a commanding presence amongst all the typical Euro-hatchbackery all around it, or maybe it was the color.  Probably both, completely different.  A shame I couldn’t get more pictures, it was stunning.

However, right across the street someone had parked their car from the same era, an R107 generation Mercedes.  I love the period AA badge (like our AAA Auto Club in the US, not Alcoholics Anonymous), my grandfather always sported one on the grille of his cars in England.  Something about the rain in Dingle made all the convertible Mercedes’ come out.  Or, more likely, it rains all the time so they don’t have any other option.  With all that rain, maybe my grandfather lied to me when I was a boy and AA does in fact signify..naaaahhhh, it couldn’t be!

A 380SL was quite a pricy car back in its time.  It’s nice to see that it is still being used and obviously cared for.

We’re approaching the end of my digital roll of film, so as we were getting ready to view a parade on St. Patrick’s Day in Killarney, something about this scene struck my eye…

Ah yes, the, uh, “Horse’s Head” mounted on the outside wall of Mustang Sally’s Tavern lets us end this tour much the same way we started, with a Mustang.  Or at least part of one.  If I am not mistaken, this is also a 1968 model, I must have been having the luck of the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day…