The Truth About Cars » Alameda The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:03:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Alameda Help Me Solve a 30-Year-Old Mystery: What Car Is Depicted In This Taqueria Painting? Wed, 19 Feb 2014 14:00:19 +0000 03 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne of the things I miss most about living in the San Francisco Bay Area— OK, maybe the thing I miss the most— is the proper Mission-style burrito. Here in Denver, the Midwestern-influenced salty/bland flavors, brown rice, and incorrect shape of the Chipotle-style burrito dominates, and so whenever I head back to Northern California to shoot some junkyard cars, I try to hit the taqueria that got me hooked on Mission-style Burritos in the first place: Ramiro & Sons Taqueria in my hometown of Alameda, California. Inside this place (whose burritos, good as they are, don’t quite measure up to what you’ll get in the actual Mission District about five miles due east and on the other side of the Bay; this place is my personal favorite), you’ll find a painting on the wall that’s been hanging there since 1984, and that painting depicts a yellow two-door hardtop of some sort parked in front. For 30 years now, I’ve puzzled over that painting, trying to figure out what kind of car I’m seeing.
01 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIt looks like something from the heart of Malaise Detroit, no doubt with some air shocks in the back to give it the rake that was all the rage in early-80s Alameda. It appears that the artist is still around, but I thought it would be cheating to ask him. Instead, I’m asking you.
02 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinBack when I was shooting street-parked Alameda cars for the Down On the Street series at Jalopnik, I couldn’t help thinking of the Yellow Mystery Car when I shot this yellow 510 across the street from Ramirez & Sons.
1973 Pontiac Grand Am - Picture Courtesy of Old Car BrochuresMy strongest hunch has always been that we’re looking at a 1973-75 Pontiac Grand Am Colonnade with the blinds or louvers (or whatever you call those colonnade-y things on the rear quarter-windows) removed.
1977 Pontiac Grand Prix-  Picture Courtesy of Old Car BrochuresIt might be a mid-70s Pontiac Grand Prix.
1982 Ford Fairmont Futura- Picture Courtesy of Old Car BrochuresOr perhaps it’s a Fox Ford, say an ’82 Fairmont Futura?
Toyota Corona Coupe - Picture Courtesy of Bosozokustyle
Maybe it isn’t even an American car at all. The Toyota Corona RT132 Coupe wasn’t available in the United States, but perhaps a sailor at the Alameda Naval Air Station brought one over from Japan. All right, let’s solve this mystery— what is this car?

01 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - Taqueria Painting - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 1973 Pontiac Grand Am - Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix-  Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures 1982 Ford Fairmont Futura- Picture Courtesy of Old Car Brochures RamirezPainting1280px-3 ]]> 112
Down On the Alameda Street: 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass Convertible Donk Wed, 21 Sep 2011 13:00:33 +0000 While in California to check out Billetproof Nor-Cal last weekend, I had the chance to visit The Island That Rust Forgot. It didn’t take long to find this ’67 Barracuda convertible and today’s find.
Oakland, which is the mainland to Alameda’s island (separated by about 100 yards of estuary), has been Donk Headquarters for many years now. If you want to split hairs, a true donk must be a box Impala, but I guarantee that nobody on Foothill Boulevard would deny donk status to this machine.

At this point, let’s set the proper mood for contemplating this car by putting on some Too $hort.
Now, some Oldsmobile purists might try to say that a classic Cutlass convertible doesn’t look right with this treatment, but the definition of “purist” (as stated by my friend who enraged his purist Econoline Club peers by dropping a 460 in his low-mile, Canadian-market Mercury Econoline) is “someone who won’t piss in the shower.”
As a former Cutlass owner (purple ’69), I think this car looks good as it sits. First, it’s an ancient A-body convertible that still lives on the street. Second, it livens up a neighborhood full of minivans and Lexuses. Third, if a donk belongs on a race track, it certainly belongs on the street.

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Down On The Alameda Street: 1967 Plymouth Barracuda Convertible Tue, 20 Sep 2011 13:00:32 +0000 Back when I lived in Alameda, California (also known as “The Island That Rust Forgot”), I photographed and posted nearly 600 interesting street-parked cars and trucks on Jalopnik. The first one was this Cadillac Cimarron d’Oro, back in May of ’07; the next 499 may be found here. I moved to Denver last year… which means the ITRF has had ample time to add many new DOTS candidates. I was on the island for a very brief time over the weekend and managed to shoot a couple of them.
This specimen wasn’t actually parked on the street, though it was in a blue-zone spot in a public parking lot downtown. I’ll make an exception to the “must be parked on the street” rule for a handicapped-placard-equipped Datsun 411.
I’ve always had a soft spot for the forgotten ’67-69 Barracudas, which ended up hidden in the shadows cast by the goofy Valiant-with-vast-fastback-glass versions that came before and the Baby-Boomer-nostalgia-inducing E-body versions that came after. I had a couple of friends at Alameda High with ’67 Barracuda fastbacks, which they were able to buy cheaply because— even in the early 1980s— nobody wanted them. This car is still an A Body, like the Dart/Valiant, but the sheet metal no longer looks quite so Valiant-ish.
Apologies for the crappy phone-camera photos here; one uses the camera on hand when a car like this appears. This extremely rare convertible looks a little rough, but I didn’t see any rust and it appears to be on the road to restoration.
The important thing is that it’s a classic Detroit pony car convertible that still sees the street as its native habitat. Perhaps it will be worth too much for street use in a few years, but for now it’s still out there.

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Down On The Street: Peugeot 504 Diesel Wed, 30 Mar 2011 13:00:38 +0000
When I returned to my old DOTS stomping grounds to help defile a once-proud race track, I figured I might find an interesting street-parked car or two on the Island That Time Forgot. First there was this semi-custom ’62 Continental, but then I spotted the real prize.

Thanks for the picturesque background, San Francisco! The only French car I’ve ever owned was a 504 (gasoline-powered), and it was both cool and very maddening. So comfortable, yet so difficult to keep running. Believe it or not, you used to see a fair number of 504s on American roads… and, someday, I’ll get another one for myself.

This one is a much-battered diesel model, in full Ahmadinejad-grade white-sedan trim and apparently rigged to run on some flavor of biodiesel. Such stories this survivor could tell!

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Back Down On The Alameda Street: 1962 Lincoln Continental Thu, 24 Mar 2011 18:00:03 +0000
Back in my Jalopnik days, I started the whole interesting-street-parked-car-photos thing with the original Down On The Street series. At that time, all the cars I shot were located in my old hometown on Alameda, California, and I got up to 600 or so before moving to Denver last summer. Now I’m back in Alameda, in preparation for my role working the 185-car Sears Pointless 24 Hours of LeMons race, and it wasn’t long before I spotted this fine machine parked near downtown.

It’s a very straight, mildly customized ’62 Continental, suicide doors and all, and it clearly gets regular street use.

Though a bit too slab-sided to look very graceful, the lines of this era of Continental have aged well.

The San Francisco Bay Area has been a car-club hotbed since, well, the dawn of the automobile. I’m not familiar with the Antioch Dragoons; the club could be 9 years old, or 90.

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Mini or Electra? Sat, 29 Jan 2011 15:00:25 +0000
I snapped this shot of an Austin Mini (technically a Morris 850) and a Buick Electra 225 parked side-by-side in an Alameda, California parking lot before I left the West Coast, and every time I look at it I wonder: would I rather have an early Mini or a Malaise Era Electra? I can’t decide!
The Mini was one of the first Down On The Street honorees, and I believe the Electra pictured here has been featured in DOTS as well. So, what’s it gonna be, assuming the cars are similar condition? The beautifully simple machine that put the tranverse-engine/front-wheel-drive platform on the map, or the float-on-a-cloud, big V8-powered expanse of traditional Detroit Luxury Iron?

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There Is No Substitute For The Island That Rust Forgot Thu, 02 Dec 2010 16:00:32 +0000
I photographed and posted a total of 578 old cars and trucks on the streets of Alameda, California, for the Down On The Street series before I moved to Denver and then left Jalopnik. Now I’m back in California for a LeMons race, and Alameda has been restocked with new examples of classic street-parked iron.

It’s hard not to love a car that looked like an antique when it was new; the prewar-looking 544 was built well into the 1960s (this example appears to be one of the later models, if we are to judge by the B18 emblem on the trunk lid). It’s beat up and grimy, but it’s still on the street!

The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the continent’s hotbeds of Citroënism, but this one (parked just a few blocks from the Volvo) is the first street-parked 2CV I’ve ever seen on the Island That Rust Forgot. Sure, I’ve shot a Traction-Avant, a couple of Goddesses, and even a GS, but it always irked me that I couldn’t find an example of the most iconic Citroën of all time. Finally!
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