Posts By: Paul Niedermeyer

By on November 25, 2010

Two fastbacks found in one week; now there’s something to be thankful for (not that I don’t have plenty already). The Packard Clipper Super and this Volkswagen Type 3 may not seem to share anything other than their tapering hind ends, but there is one other quality that they both have in common, and it makes the VW worthy to share the podium with it: (Read More…)

By on November 24, 2010

I showed a big chunk of the Clipper Coupe’s roof line, and jpcavanaugh got it right away. Congratulations. Now here’s something where google likely won’t be of help to you. It will probably take a former (or current) owner to figure this one out.

By on November 23, 2010

It’s mysterious enough that a genuine CCCA-designated classic car suddenly appears curbside in my neighborhood. And not just any true classic, but the immensely desirable and infinitely awesome Clipper Super Coupe, the most powerful and fastest American car of its day. But the mystery deepens: why did its owner try everything possible to keep me from photographing it the day I first found it, and then why did someone deface it by pouring paint over it the very next night? (Read More…)

By on November 22, 2010

Well, let’s not totally forget the CC Clue. Reshuffled priorities means that the Clue will appear more randomly than like clockwork. But here it is, so let’s recognize our winner from the Imperial Clue…oops, there wasn’t one. But Zykotec gets honorable mention for his “Imperial, maybe a 61” guess. Damn close indeed. On to the next one here…

By on November 20, 2010

The Korean invasion began in the late eighties with three shitboxes: the Hyundai Excel, the Pontiac LeMans, and the Ford Festiva. Korea Week CC pits them against each other to determine the outcome: the Festiva loses the contest by a large margin. Why? (Read More…)

By on November 18, 2010

Between the years 1988 and 1993, GM decided to use Americans in a mass experiment, in which I found myself  an unwitting participant. Seemingly unable to determine on its own whether Korean-made cars would pass muster here, GM just sent boatloads of them over and slapped on the storied Pontiac LeMans name, no less. Then it looked for suckers/participants, both long and short term. Oddly enough, one actually had to pay to play. I ponied up for a week’s worth in the summer of 1990, and put it through the most difficult torture possible to try to kill it, in revenge for having been drafted by Hertz to do GM’s work. I hereby submit my results, in the hopes of getting my money back. Oh wait; that was the old GM. Well, someone’s going to pay to hear my evaluation, twenty years late or not. (Read More…)

By on November 16, 2010

Americans are a forgiving sort, and redemption from sin is just the right gesture away. Well, that applies more to politicians and celebrities than to car companies. It can be a little more challenging to overcome the damage from a poor quality car, especially if you’re the brand new kid on the block. Just ask Yugo; they quickly walked away. As did Peugeot, Alfa, Fiat and countless other imports, even though they had been around for decades.  But the Koreans are a tough and determined folk, and when they got their less-than Excellent head handed to them on a platter, they dug in their heels and figured out what it would take to be given a second chance.  (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2010

Bob Lutz’ Cadillac Sixteen concept wasn’t the first time a revival of the classic Cadillac V12 and V16 era was considered. In the mid sixties, Cadillac was seriously mulling production of one or the other, and several versions of a SOHC V12 engine (see post here) were built. But if you think the Sixteen Concept had a long nose and was a bit over the top, check out this rendering by Cadillac Studio Chief Wayne Kady. From the size of the steering wheel and dashboard, it appears they were planning to transplant the V16 from a tug boat. This must be where the infamous bustle-back trunk of the 1980 Seville originated. Well, this is just a not-so-small taste of the creativity that was unleashed when the designers were asked to come up with ideas. (Read More…)

By on November 13, 2010

Even in Eugene, where Curbside Classics miraculously soldier along on the streets for decades beyond their normal life expectancy, the forces of entropy cannot be forestalled forever. If it’s still running enough to get there, you could donate it to the official CC Sales Lot, and pass that slipping and leaking transmission on to the next sucker loving owner. But when the tow truck has to be called, Judgment Day has arrived. Will you pony up and put yourself that much deeper under water? Or will it end up at the Pick and Pull, donating its vital organs to keep its kin on the road a bit longer? But for the chosen few, there’s one other alternative: the Curbside Classic Graveyard, where it may rust (superficially) in peace until the second coming of Henry Ford (or his only begotten Son Edsel). (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2010

I feel like I’ve become the godfather to hundreds of old cars around town, so when one or more disappears from its usual spot, I usually suspect the worst. And for the second time, I’ve actually witnessed the event, and this time documented it. This Regal Coupe has been a faithful resident near our house, but the other day we stumbled on this sad event. From the long faces of the owner and his fellow mourner, it looks serious. And I have not seen it return since. But fear not; I had already shot it long ago, and it will (re)appear on these pages post-mortem in full CC glory. The other two victims will not: (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2010

Is time slowing down? Just fifteen years separate this 1960 Imperial and the Horizon’s birth. Or was it just that Detroit was terribly slow to embrace the inevitability of modern European design? Better late then never, because not only were the Horizon and Omni the first proper small cars ever built in Detroit, they also saved Chrysler from irrelevance and bankruptcy just in the nick of time. (Read More…)

By on November 9, 2010

Calling a car from this period a monster is not exactly uncommon or uncalled for. But what if its own daddy called it that? Virgil Exner, the father of the definitive automotive fins created a sensation in 1957 when they appeared on the all-new “Suddenly it’s 1960” models. With a straight face, Exner then claimed they were rooted in aerodynamics and highly functional. But with the ’57s he painted himself into a corner; there was no where further to go with them except ever greater absurdity, quickly turning them into caricatures of themselves. Even Exner admitted as much: “by 1959, it was obvious that I’d given birth to a Frankenstein”. I credit him for his honesty, if not good taste. (Read More…)

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