Category: Down On The Street

By on May 10, 2013

02 - Custom Dodge A100 pickup - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOf all the racing venues I visit during my travels as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of LeMons Supreme Court, the ritzy clubs tend to be the weirdest. We went to the Monticello Motor Club in New York a few weeks back, and twice a year the LeMons Traveling Circus rolls into the Autobahn Country Club in Illinois. The reaction of the members, who must navigate the madness of the LeMons pit scene as they drive their GT3s and Facel-Vegas to the clubhouse, runs the gamut from loathing to delight. Most of the time I ignore these guys— I always feel like we’re caddies in the pool in that setting— but as the owner of an A100 I just had to talk to the owner of this truck that showed up at the 2012 Showroom-Schlock Shootout. Read More >

By on May 4, 2013

08 - Washington Island Farm Trucks - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI was born in Minnesota, my wife is from Wisconsin, and I have a job that ships me to the Upper Midwest several times per year. For all these reasons, I find myself in Door County every summer, eating cheese curds, drinking Spotted Cow, and going to vintage tractor shows. Last year, on my way to becoming a card-carrying Bitters Club member on Washington Island, I spotted these old General Motors survivors sitting in a field. Read More >

By on September 5, 2012

I was in my old East Bay stomping grounds last weekend, to drive the Scion FR-S (review coming soon) and watch the Oakland A’s beat up the hapless Red Sox. I also spotted one of the greatest motor vehicles in history while driving down High Street on the way to The Island That Rust Forgot. It featured the letters “UFO” across a vaguely tailgate-ish rear body panel. I’ve puzzled out the type of vehicle it’s based on. Can you? Read More >

By on May 28, 2012

Vancouver’s a funny place when it comes to car culture. One one hand, we’ve got a downtown core that’s switching over to highly affluent residential living, similarly well-heeled Western regions and, carved into the hillsides of West Vancouver, a community that rates its own “Real Housewives Of…” unreality show.

Fuelled by wealth swirling off the Pacific Rim, there’re a lot of high-status automobiles on the streets: throw a rock at random and you’ll likely hit a Supercharged Range Rover, but only after a bounce off two 911s and a Ferrari California. I’ve seen more curbed dubs, beat-up Vantages and hack-job ‘tuner’ M3s than I care to remember. I even recall seeing an RS4 with doilies on the headrests.

Still, to each his own, and for the residents of East Vancouver that means a backlash against conspic-consump buggies and an affinity for hot-rodding. Quick, hand me a ballpoint before somebody notices I don’t have a neck tattoo. Read More >

By on May 10, 2012

When you need to get your message through to the ignorant hypnotized masses, what do you do? Why, paint that message in small shaky painted type on your Dodge Aspen! Read More >

By on April 12, 2012

During my visit to Vietnam last month, I saw about a million Honda Super Cubs, a Hummer H2, and lots of GM products, but I didn’t see something I thought would be commonplace: Soviet vehicles. Well, except for this lone UAZ-452, that is. Read More >

By on March 22, 2012

I just spent two weeks on vacation in Vietnam, and my pre-trip expectations of seeing fleets of left-behind-by-the-French Peugeots, left-behind-by-the-Americans Falcons, and left-behind-by-the-Soviets GAZs turned out to be ridiculously inaccurate. I saw a few old cars (more on that later), but most of the cars in Vietnam are boring late-model rides like Kia Rios and Toyota Innovas. However, I did see quite a few conspicuous-consumption statusmobiles in Saigon and Hanoi; the grumbling old-time revolutionary veterans no doubt refer to the current Hanoi leadership as CINOs. Here’s an example I spotted near St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Read More >

By on November 9, 2011

I’ve been on a Junkyard Find roll lately, but I haven’t forgotten the old/interesting cars that are still among the living. Here’s a nearly-60-year-old Chevy that lives— more accurately, thrives— on the street near downtown Denver. Read More >

By on October 19, 2011

When was the last time you saw a mint-condition first-gen Tercel on the freeway? This early-80s Tercel (Corolla Tercel, according to Toyota’s goofy “tack on the model name the Americans already know” branding experiment) apparently drove into a time machine around the time the Iranian hostages were released and reappeared on the 405 yesterday afternoon, as I was driving an RX-8 out of LAX. Read More >

By on October 12, 2011

After seeing the sad little yellow Fiat convertible in a Denver junkyard, let’s admire a happy little yellow Fiat convertible that’s still managing to evade the cruel jaws of The Crusher. Read More >

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