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…)
Posts By: Paul Niedermeyer
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
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…)
Here we are again, ready to use those certain special brain cell synapses that were created by spending way too much time looking at cars when we shouldn’t have been. Finally a way to make use of them. I’m happy to announce that Stingray, one of our most loyal TTAC family members won the Sunbird Clue. Felicitaciones! Or did I get that wrong?
Ever wonder where Eugenians get all those wonderful Curbside Classics I bring to you three times a week? After almost two years, it’s finally time to reveal the secret: the St. Vincent dePaul (a mere coincidence) Car Donation Sales Lot. Admittedly, the front row here facing Hwy 99 doesn’t sport a lot of heavy Curbside appeal, but those in the know quickly work their way to the side and back lot, where the really fine sixties, seventies and early eighties vintage iron is held for the true connoisseurs. This is where no less than TTAC’s Editor-In-Chief bought his first car, and returned it here in considerably worse shape a couple of years later. Recycling at its best. It might still be in the back lot where it sat for years; let’s go look. (Read More…)
This is one of 1,540 Sunbird GT turbocharged four door sedans built in 1987. And given how few gen1 J-Cars are still on the streets, is it off the wall to guess that there might be…say… fourteen left in the world; if that many? Well, the fourteen 1970 Hemi Cuda convertibles ever built are fetching around a million bucks each. I know where this car lives, and my finder’s fee is very reasonable. But hurry; if the owner finds out what he inherited from his Aunt, he may become obstinate. (Read More…)
Since we had so much fun with body cavity openings lately, let’s do another. This one looks like it may have contracted some nasty disease, though, so make sure you’re careful examining it.
The ’63 Catalina went undiscovered, but two of you came mighty close. Dr. Lemming guessed a ’67 Pontiac, and partsisparts said “early sixties Grand Prix”. Close.
I’ll leave the editorializing to others, since my held-close-to-my-vest opinions run against the grain here. But despite the naysayers that said it would never happen, or at a lower price, it did; or will very soon. And at a price that values GM roughly the same or more (depending on final price) in total market capitalization as Ford. The short-version details: GM will sell about $10 billion in common stock and $3.45 billion in preferred shares. The US Treasury will sell 263.5 million shares, which comes out to about $7 billion. That will reduce its stake in GM to 43%. The UAW will sell 71 million shares, and the Canadian and Ontario governments will sell 30.5 million shares. GM press release here. Now the really big question: Are you going to buy? Here’s my answer: (Read More…)
It’s time four our annual non-SEMA non-coverage post. You know where to go and find it, but this tastefully customized Prius refuses to be ignored. Shall we guess what those front end scoops do to the Prius’ carefully refined aerodynamics. Ah, but that carbon fiber hood will offset enough weight to mitigate any loss of efficiency from the body work. Admittedly, the Prius C&A Custom Concept had a strong challenger for TTAC’s annual SEMA non-coverage winner: (Read More…)
GM October sales beat analyst forecasts, with total sales up 4%, and YTD sales up 6%. As GM would have you prefer, it would rather you focus on the four core brands, which are up 13%, and 22% YTD. As the General’s dead brands fall away (Pontiac as of this past Sunday), comparisons to their former volumes do become increasingly irrelevant. A key component of GM’s October success? A higher number of new 2011 models to sell, which also brought down incentives. Details: (Read More…)
The 1963 Pontiac was the very crest of the wave that swept the Excitement brand to glorious heights in the sixties. The upwelling first appeared out of seemingly nowhere in 1959. It continued to build momentum, year by year, but no one could have imagined how high it would peak in 1963. Anyone alive between the ages of five and eighty-five at the time remembers it well: the Pontiac waves seized the land, and one after another followed the ’63 until it died down again. The choice was to surf it, or be inundated. The latter mainly applied to the competition.