Category: Curbside Classic

By on January 10, 2010

CC 66 023 800

Running into this Japanese Domestic Market Toyota Hi-Ace in Eugene was about as unusual as the cold weather that week. It was a frosty December morning after an overnight low in the single digits; pretty uncommon hereabouts. Well, it did have British Columbia plates on it, so that helps explains it. But it’s right hand drive, and a long way from home. Read More >

By on January 9, 2010

Before

Yesterday’s pursuit of ugliness is going to spill over a bit into today’s TTAT. I consider the late’55- ’56 Chevy’s face to be one of the finest ever in the history of trucks. It’s a terrific adaptation of the remarkably clean ’55 Chevy sedan. The classic egg crate grille is nicely balanced by the single headlights, and ornamentation is kept to a minimum. GMC has been in the business of trying to differentiate their otherwise almost identical trucks forever, usually to poor effect. The other day, I ran into what has to be the most egregious example of ruining a fine face. Brace yourselves: Read More >

By on January 2, 2010

the most interesting angle for a not-so interesting year caddy

Here’s my quickie farewell California post: an always popular Caddy Coupe DeVille, vintage 1966. Once again, I’m going to be sparse with my words, and let the pictures do most of the talking. And of course, it’s regrettable that the formidable grille is hiding up against the garage door, but here’s a cheater picture of one. Read More >

By on January 2, 2010

three vintage japenese mobiles in front of a vintage spanish-immobile

On Sunday, we hit the road back home to Eugene. I’ve shot more cars than I’ve had time to post, and we’ll come back to some of them soon, like on a coming President’s birthday (hint). I’m going to keep throwing up a few posts from my hangout at Peet’s in Half Moon Bay, until Stephanie is finished doing her thing. So let’s start (or end, depending) with this 1981 Dodge Challenger. And don’t overlook this triple CC: the Toyota van and a Mitsubishi/Dodge pickup in the driveway. Read More >

By on January 2, 2010

el camino and more goodies in the garage

I have a growing cache of Eugene El Caminos, and was going to break them out soon enough. But taking a stroll around San Mateo, I ran into three ’67s within a few blocks of each other, so let’s caminar down that long and fertile el camino of Chevy’s popular ute pickup, with this particularly popular year. And what’s that lurking in the garage? Let’s take a closer look: Read More >

By on January 2, 2010

old-school los gatos Datsun 810

We lived in Los Gatos from 1987 to 1993. It was already becoming a high-priced enclave for Silicon Valley high fliers then, and now it’s utterly transformed. The Ford, Chevy and even the Honda dealers are now all shuttered, but the RR, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Bentley dealers are flourishing. Disneyland-esque mansions the size of hotels have replaced little ranchers. Driving back into to town after a wonderful hike in the hills with friends, I saw the ultimate extremes: a brand-new “reproduction” full-sized water-wheel “mill” on a dry, scrubby hillside, “turning” slowly while the pump-fed recirculating “stream” spilled from its “sluice” to “power” it. This thing was the size of a two or three-story house; a “lawn ornament” of grandiose proportions straight out of a theme park. Ok; I don’t have any problems with folks having lots of money; but do they have to spend it in such grotesque ways? But just a block away from our old house I found the perfect antidote to my nouveau riche nausea: a 1977 Datsun 810. Read More >

By on December 31, 2009

a manta washed ashore in Half Moon Bay

You never know what will wash ashore on the beaches of Half Moon Bay. Heading for the coffee/wifi cafe to send these dispatches, what do I find in the parking lot, but a pristine 1971 (or ’72) Manta. As you may remember, the best I could in Eugene was this ’74 in a carport that probably hadn’t been driven in some ten years. Read More >

By on December 30, 2009

anybody remember me?

As is all-too obvious, I have a particular soft spot for older Japanese cars, especially the more obscure varieties. So when I walked into this Cordia, I just had to stop, shoot and write. I haven’t seen one since moving to Oregon, but there might well be some logical rationale behind that: the Cordia was almost surely was never sold there. Good luck finding any Cordia, or its Tredia sedan sibling, but if anywhere at all, its going to be here in California. Read More >

By on December 29, 2009

no blindspot

This 1960 Impala needs no words of commentary; it’s one of those profoundly visual and self-explanatory cars. For a frame of reference and background, I direct you to its predecessor’s 1959 Chevy Curbside Classic. Read More >

By on December 29, 2009

a convertibel and unforgettable rear end

How many show-car concepts over the decade have featured a “convertible” body, where the car could be transformed from one body style to another? In my memory, several; it’s an irresistible draw for designers. And how many have actually made it into production? The only one that come to my mind is this gen2 Nissan Pulsar. When I saw it and its gen1 predecessor two blocks away, it was my cue to take a look at this historically significant little car. Read More >

By on December 28, 2009

early 928

It’s been a long time since I saw one of these early 928s. This one is all-original, including those “telephone dial” wheels and mighty dinky rubber. Guess what size they are? 215 60 x 15″. That’s econo-box size today. The engine was the 4.5 liter V8 that put out 219 (net) hp in US trim; 240 PS in Euro tune. It was a fast, comfortable coupe for its day, and a pretty rare find today.

By on December 28, 2009

san mateo riviera

Time to visit the the in-laws and old friends in the Bay Area. When the women and kids head for the mall, and the men turn on the game, its time for me to slip out and prowl the streets of San Mateo. Like most older Bay Area cities, it’s densely built, and an ideal hunting ground for Curbside Classics. And the climate here is about the best possible for street-side car preservation: less rain than Oregon, but not too much intense hot sunshine either. I’ve bagged a whole bunch of interesting cars that I haven’t seen in Eugene, so let’s take a look at them this week starting with this very excellent 1968 Riviera. Read More >

By on December 18, 2009

stained but still desired

Toyota’s failure to crack the US pony car market over the long term is one of its few major stumbles. When I found the pristine Celica Supra Mk I, and then ran across this sad looking and likely abandoned/stolen Mark III, I knew it was fated for me to do a three-parter on the first three generations of Toyota’s ill-fated pony car challenger. It took me a while to find the Mark II, but now we’re at the point of pulling the whole thread together. I’m far from an expert on the Mark III, so please add to the limited body of knowledge that I can muster or fake. One thing is clear: Toyota’s trajectory with the Supra led to a dead end, and that path started early on, perhaps right from the get-go. And the Mark III clearly marked the beginning of the end. Read More >

By on December 16, 2009

superior supra

Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to go back in time and make different choices about the cars we bought? As I sit here and contemplate the qualities and my memories of the Mark II Supra, I ask myself just what the hell I was thinking when I bought that ’83 T-Bird Turbo Coupe instead of a Supra? Don’t remind me; it was in a moment of typical youthful impulsiveness. The Supra had it all over the noisy, thrashy, live-axle T-Bird: a silky-smooth DOHC inline six, more horsepower, IRS, four-wheel disc brakes, and Toyota’s superb build and material quality. Live and learn. Read More >

By on December 14, 2009

a Supra-long nosed Celica

Toyota’s Supra had a rather linear evolution, unlike the Datsun/Nissan Z-car, which lost its way and re-invented itself how many times? Starting out as a soft-sporty coupe with a lazy six borrowed from Toyota’s sedans, it became distinctly sportier and harder-edged with each of its four generations. The final iteration, the turbocharged Supra gen4, has become the stuff of legends and tuners, as in this recent TTAC review. We’re going to take a look at the first three generations this week, so things may start off a little slow, but should be moving pretty quickly by Friday’s wild-looking yellow gen3. Stay tuned! Read More >

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