Walk and Talk: Rooting Around in the Photo Archives


One needs to make the best of a crummy situation.  About to go crazy from fighting a fever the last few days, I have regenerated enough vitality to take a stroll through my picture archives and see what should have its moment in the sun.

A truly deserving candidate is this Maserati Quattroporte.  Production numbers for this aren’t exactly in Ford F-150 territory.  Parts availability isn’t either, as it’s been sitting for at least eighteen months at a repair facility several miles from here and it has license plates that went out of circulation in 2007.


Try as I might, this Quattroporte just hasn’t excited me.  Maybe it’s the Malaise Era Brown™ the good folks at Maserati bestowed upon it.  This color is the automotive version of bad breath.


If slathered in primer, like this F-250, one could have a blank slate of a Maserati to apply some exotic shade of silver, white, or even beige.  Anything but that horrid brown.  I don’t want to sound snarky and haughty in saying this; that’s really not my personality.  Much to this Maserati’s credit, its color is easy to determine and you won’t have to worry about seeing another one in the Wal-Mart parking lot.


You also won’t easily find the twin to this 1968 Chevrolet Caprice (or is it Impala – does it really matter?).  This wonderful specimen provides so many reasons to be visually captivating.  Shockingly, this picture was not taken in Eugene, Oregon; perhaps somebody just imported it from Eugene.  Moss, lichen, and other barnacle type organisms aside, something tells me this old girl would easily make the drive to Eugene with the air conditioning still working well enough to keep the pickiest penguin happy.


While this Impala doesn’t have patina, it has certainly generated its own unique aura.  I rather like it.

If memory serves, that is a 327 badge on the front fender.


Notice its height in comparison to the Hyundai parked next to it.  I’m dating myself in saying this, but it doesn’t seem like that long ago when these were relatively thick on the ground.

In reviewing my photo archives, I realized this ’68 Impala had some company.


A ’68 Chevrolet Bel-Air sedan has crossed my path.


And I ran parallel to another ’68 Bel-Air, this time a two-door sedan.  For some reason, this one seems like it may be parked in a garage more frequently than the other two ’68s.


If you aren’t fond of the 1968 Chevrolet, I do have this 1969 model.  The frontal appearance is quite pleasant on the ’69 but is certainly less ambitious in appearance than its predecessor.

It’s also interesting to note how phraseology has changed over time; nowadays, when you say you are “going green” it means you are intent to conserve resources.  Back then, “going green” meant either you had gangrene or your full-size car was painted green.  Lots of folks bought such cars, which in a sense was an ecologically astute decision as GM, Ford, and Chrysler didn’t have to spray as much environmentally harmful cleaner through their paint guns when changing paint colors at the factory.  In turn, if you were in a fender-bender or your car contracted chloride induced gangrene, every car in the bone yard was the same color as yours, saving the need of painting your replacement parts.


This 1959 Ford Galaxie is another car I have been lucky enough to catch while exercising.  I’m still holding out for finding a ’59 Ford for a full CC; surprisingly, we have never done a CC on either a ’59 Ford or a ’68 Chevrolet.


Ford’s such as this were still being manufactured into the early 1960s for sale in Australia while the driver appeared to have been manufactured about twenty years later.  He looked to be as happy as a doodle-bug in a sugar bowl.

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With mentioning the early ’60s, here is a fine, big-boned duo I found a year or so ago.  Other than each being an example of the Low Priced Three, these two don’t easily compare.  This copper ’61 Ford is a hardtop, has a V8, and an automatic transmission in a higher trim level.


The ’63 Chevrolet has a six-cylinder engine wrapped in a low-trim two-door sedan body.  All that appears to be needed by either is a little air in the tires.  While I am tempted to induce some age old Ford vs. Chevrolet debate, I won’t.  Nothing about slip-and-slide transmissions or Y-block boat anchors.  Doing so would be inappropriate.


This Ford Model T sounded great and was running around 20 mph.  One of the front wheels was out of round, likely compromising his ability to steer even at that speed.


The world is a terrific place, with so many things waiting to be discovered.  Whether it’s going through unknown towns with well-known names,


or going through memorable sounding intersections (we have a multitude of routes with letters; Wisconsin does similar), there are so many things yearning to be seen.  So, in quick order, let’s take a look.


Here is a Mustang SVO for all who enjoy an exotic Fox.  I found this the day of the CC meet-up in Iowa City; so many cars, so little time.  I do have a full set of pictures for a full CC one of these days, but Paul has beat me to it (CC here).


Most of the time, a Dodge Shadow is as memorable as that bowl of bland vanilla ice cream you had in 1991.  Yet like any ice cream, the toppings can make all the difference in the world and this Shadow having a flaccid top certainly sets it apart from the rest of its brethren.  It’s another CC hopeful.


A baby Ford LTD, one of my favorite Fox bodies.  Even when these were new, when any affinity for four-door automobiles was sneered at by my woefully juvenile classmates, I knew these were special.


The school district purchased a new one in gray.  I always hoped it would become the driver’s education car; no such luck.  The LTD was kept for the administration and a deal was struck with a local car dealer to provide a new driver’s education car every 2,000 miles – I drove a first-generation Taurus once and it was promptly swapped for a stupid Escort.  In every litter of animals, we all know somebody has to partake from the mammary gland in the rear.  Despite their obvious Fairmont roots, I thought these were great looking cars for the time.


Another Fox of a more pedestrian variety is this Mustang coupe, powered by the fire-breathing 2.3 liter four-cylinder with atmospheric induction.  This car, save the faded red interior, is identical to a Mustang I once had.  I routinely obtained 23 to 24 mpg out of that Mustang; when I swapped it off for my 4.6 liter Thunderbird, the nay-sayers in my family were convinced I would be spending a fortune in fuel as I had swapped off that miserly four-pot for a fuel-swilling V8.  Nope; the Thunderbird got the same or better gas mileage and made power aplenty, something that Mustang could only dream about.  Even better, I never wore out the carpet beneath the accelerator in that Thunderbird.


A later model Vega.  Its motivational source remains cloaked in a metallic shroud of mystery.


No action-adventure movie is complete without some gratuitous sex and violence.  Similarly, no photo spread would be complete without a gratuitous Panther, here in the form of a Lincoln Town Car.  If you look real close, there is a second serving in the background for no extra charge.


I will periodically see this Ford Maverick about town.  Seeing it was quite a breath of fresh-air.  Hearing it pull itself down Missouri Boulevard reminded me of John Irving’s description of his title character of Owen Meany and how he spoke by screaming through his nose.  However, this Maverick wasn’t unique in the parking lot.


This Cougar was parked right behind it and both are on a glorified Falcon chassis.  The Cougar sounds great, but it reminded me of Forest Gump telling Lt. Dan:  She smelled like cig-retts.


The Maverick also answered the question long burning within the minds of men and women the world over:  Which is taller – a Maverick or a Neon?  Now we all know.


At least the white Neon hadn’t been repaired with decorator duct tape.  I’m more partial to the design with bacon instead of the splattergrams seen here.


Here’s another car that looks equally at home with duct-tape, a Chevrolet Chevette.  No!  Hold the phone!  That’s a Pontiac T-1000.  That explains its double dose of halitosis brown paint.


Lest you think I am concluding, there are a few other arresting photographs I have, of cars that by their very nature are unique (not to be confused with desirable) or are desirable (not to be confused with unobtainable).  You be the judge on which these are.


Stepping up the Sloan Ladder one creaky rung from a Chevrolet Nova yields a person this Pontiac Ventura.

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One has to wonder – did former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura own one of these?  Did they sell well in Ventura, California?  Did Ventura owners take a pilgrimage on the Ventura Highway?  Or did they just listen to the song?


Taking two shaky and wobbly rungs up the Sloan Ladder from the Nova netted a person an Oldsmobile Omega.  Were these popular at some fraternity and sorority houses in the 1970s?  Was the base price some multiple of 800?  Did some wise acre at the Department of Motor Vehicles abbreviate the name down to Ω?  How many ohm’s were built into its electrical system?


Earlier I gave you two Lincoln Town Cars.  How about two AMC Eagle’s, both in four-wheel drive?


My pictures are still plentiful, but my fingers grow tired from typing.  As someone has done with their ’64 Thunderbird, sometimes you just need to find a spot to park it.