Posts By: Phil Coconis

By on July 1, 2013

Surf-Spec Volvo 122S (1)After the combined inspiration of what I’ll refer to as “Murilee’s Barrage o’ Volvo”—recently featured in his “Junkyard Finds” columnand my most recent “BODACIOUS BEATERS” entry—featuring a purple Chevy II Wagon—I have no choice but to segue to today’s entry!

Available from something like most of the ‘60’s decade here in the U.S., the Volvo 122S—sold as the “Amazon” in its home market—certainly holds a fond place among my youthful automotive memories. A neighbor across the street used to shuttle a group of us teenagers to High School in a sedan version. I recall the gear shift lever of exaggerated length, the rather organic engine thrash and gearbox whine demonstrated during acceleration, and the leisurely progress of this activity charted by a horizontal left-to-right “red tape” speed indicator. (I was surprised when I later did learn of the “Amazon” designation, as these vehicles never impressed me with anything I could properly call “ferocity”—all genders notwithstanding!)

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By on June 22, 2013

LaPorte2003--Courtesy www.motorcyclemuseum.org

Just to set the record straight, my use of the phrase “Wonder Years” (in Parts One and Two) is not sourced from any past television series, but rather, from the original source: an advertising campaign from the ‘60’s (it may go back further than that, but that’s when it was introduced into my consciousness) featuring a brand of sandwich bread. That’s the impact that television had back in earlier times. To be able to lay down a form of written history that includes such occurrences is one of the main reasons I’m logging all of these “Memoirs”. A forum is thereby provided that can be both informative to younger generations, and allow the generations that “were there” to recall and discuss these events. (Read More…)

By on June 13, 2013

Early Chevy II Wagon

 

After viewing Murilee’s succession of Volvo features, I was tempted to throw my hat in the ring with a very cool continuation on that theme…and I will…but maybe for the entry after this one. In the meantime, I’ve got a bit of a Bodacious kind of theme going myself, and consequently an appointment with destiny that must be addressed immediately… (Read More…)

By on June 9, 2013

Considering the recent entries in my “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner”, it’s looking like I’m going to have to “go with the flow” and dig up another memory of my early automotive history for this entry in “Bodacious Beaters”.

This time the subject is the very first car I ever owned—and it was one of these: a 1966 Chevy II Super Sport with 283 cubic inches of Bowtie Smallblock under the hood, and the venerable two-speed aluminum Powerglide under the SS console shifter!
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By on June 2, 2013

 

Looks like we’re going for a double-shot of Valiance, here at the home of the B/B! This time it appears to be a ’63 Convertible model, done up in early ‘80’s Sunset Strip Heavy-Metal Hair Band red and grey primer, no less!

As in it looks as if it was really done in the early ‘80’s and just left to its own devices! WAAYYY BODACIOUS!

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By on June 1, 2013

 

 

The very fact that I’ve allowed myself to be delayed in making this entry underscores the fact that the experiences I related in Part One, and am about to relate here, really have had a profound and lasting influence on my priorities.

Living up in the E. Sierra, there are always plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, especially after the snow thaws. This year has been no exception. So, in between warm-weather projects, I’ve been staying fairly occupied with motorcycle preparation (for both road trips and off-road excursions), and field “testing”.

So far, so good! Now, back to stories of early influences in my MotoLife.

As I mentioned in Part One, with the variety of racing venues proliferating the Greater Los Angeles Area in the decades of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, it was really hard NOT to be favorably influenced by all of these motohappenings.
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By on May 19, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Typically, when you’re talking in antique vehicle terms, one might consider spotting something like this early ‘60’s Plymouth Valiant; a rare sighting in ANY circumstance. To find one largely intact, still operational, and out on the street—well, that puts it on another level!

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By on May 9, 2013

 

As with many young lads growing up as the motor sports world was rapidly advancing in the 1960’s, I was totally fascinated with just about anything sporting wheels—especially if there was a powerplant involved. And especially if it involved head-to-head competition with such devices.
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By on May 8, 2013

Since I’ve gotten myself started on a racing theme (see a recent entry in my “Memoirs of an Independent Repair Shop Owner” column), I figured I’d keep it going with this BB entry. (Read More…)

By on April 28, 2013

With the rising cost and generally limited choice available to those motoring enthusiasts out there—and we know that the spirit is alive and well, in spite of (and because of) recent economic developments—events featuring alternative ways of expressing such enthusiasm are certainly newsworthy. (Read More…)

By on April 19, 2013

 

 

Shifting gears into the warmer seasons affords the motoring aficionado many joyous opportunities.

Up here in the Eastern Sierra, with the threat of big winter storms passed, road crews sweep off the gravel concoction they’d spread during the thick of it—allowing for more spirited driving (and additionally, in my case, riding the superbike). Snow finally melts in the forested areas, opening up the gravel roads, Jeep trails, and whoop-de-doo punctuated singletrack to all manner of Off-Highway Vehicles (I like to rock a two-stroke dirtbike for this application).

The opportunity for really epic road trips can also be realized. (Read More…)

By on April 4, 2013

Even though I was just a mere boy growing up during the ‘60’s in SoCal, I have no problem recalling the variety of impressions motor vehicles of all stripes made on me back then. Of course, I was especially into the noisier and flashier examples, be they airplanes, auto, boats, motorcycles, or trucks.

I distinctly recall the “Rambler” nameplate, but not because they were noisy or flashy—nor, did it seem, were their drivers. (There were a few exceptions to this—the most noteworthy being the SC/Rambler, AMX, and first production Javelin.) (Read More…)

By on March 23, 2013

Well, it looks as though winter is about done—at least from my vantage point west of the Rockies; but I still have a few more “revelations” to relate on the subject. As I stated in my last entry, these experiences were all new to me, since I’d never lived where “true winter” driving conditions were a regular occurrence. So, without ado, and as “green” as spring vegetation, here are a few more of my cold-weather “discoveries”.

While I wasn’t unfamiliar with a parking brake (some call it an emergency brake—which may in itself be a subject for further discussion) stuck in the “applied” position, I soon found additional reasons for this to occur in true winter weather. (Read More…)

By on March 22, 2013

 

That I do agree with other’s criticism of the fact that the Toyota Corolla has become too appliance-like over the past decade, has me looking back on earlier iterations of the model with increasing fondness.

While there were indeed some memorably fun-to-drive FWD versions—the FX-16 for one (and some may include the NUMMI Nova Twin-Cam, although it wore a “Bowtie”)—there was, and is just no comparison to the “FTD Factor” intrinsic in the earlier RWD models. That “factor” was very present even in the little 1972 1200 Coupe I owned (and “boy-racered” to the degree that my budget and skill set allowed) back in the late ‘70’s. (Read More…)

By on March 10, 2013


 Even though these full-size, front-wheel-drive GM offerings seemed to carry a stigma of being cars that the grandparents preferred, they undeniably had some virtues that just about any passenger car-type motorist would appreciate.

While certainly making no pretensions toward being any kind of “performance” vehicle, they did indeed perform well for their intended purpose: that being—at minimum—an efficient, four-passenger (with seatbelts for six), open-road cruiser. (Read More…)

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