Here’s a quick thought experiment: Can someone be considered a car collector if their collection includes just one car? Certainly, if you owned only the Mona Lisa, that would be sufficient art to justify building a museum. So, it follows that if Peter Mullin decided to downsize and sell everything but his signature blue 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, one could still call him a collector.
Not convinced? Imagine this theoretical one-car collection survives the next 100 years. The tourists of 2117 will be unaccustomed to human drive and a gasoline-powered car from the 20th century, even if this “museum” is really just your “garage.” A century from now, a late-model automobile from the 1900s will appear ancient and obsolete — a lurching dinosaur — which is why my pick for a one-car collection already looks much like that: a Citroën 2CV Camionette.
Well, this is something I told myself I would never do: Report on a car without being completely certain of its lineage.
It’s a Rolls-Royce, of course. The triple lights at the front and twin side intake flaps indicate it’s a 25/30, one of the brand’s most iconic (and popular) models. The open roof over the driver’s seat indicates the Sedanca de Ville style, named for a Spanish count and Rolls-Royce distributor, Carlos de Salamanca. But the identity of the coachbuilder took me a while.
It’s difficult to imagine this happening today: Picture a major domestic automaker announcing the last hurrah of its largest, most opulent personal luxury car with the usual array of special edition models. But instead of letting its own designers handle the “collectible” trim-and-paint kits, it employed a fleet of famous, mostly European fashion houses to send off their last-generation model in style.
From 1976 until the early 1990s, Lincoln did exactly this for its flagship Continental coupes.
Pickup trucks are a stereotypically American product, right up there with blue jeans and barbeque. The best-selling vehicle in America for the past 35 years? Ford F-Series. And the pickup truck defines our needs as a nation, maximizing towing, luggage, and passenger capacities as much as possible at the lowest possible price.
But must a pickup wear an American badge for us to consider it a proper truck?
After seeing innovative trucks like this 1968 VW Type II Transporter, you can’t help but ask, “Why must these be so rare in America?”
Initially, I drove to Penmar Golf Course expecting to find a Rolls-Royce.
My partner Leslie (a fine car spotter herself and the originator of the “Parked in Drive” name) mentioned seeing a swoopy car with a “flying lady” radiator mascot parked there for sale. When I pulled into the parking lot and saw this tan-on-brown behemoth, it was clear the Rolls was gone, replaced by something far more fascinating.
All the typical cues — separate fenders, landau top, whitewall tires — indicating a classic car also placed it in that most self-contradictory of categories: “Neo-Classic.” The coupe’s “bustle-back” trunk initially reminded me of the last Cadillac design approved by Bill Mitchell, the second-generation Cadillac Seville (which, in turn, took inspiration from t he mid-1930s “Razor Edge” Bentley), and gave me a useful spread of dates to search: 1980-1985.
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