Curbside Classic

2021 Land Rover Defender Corroded

2021 Land Rover Defender owners, are you unhappy with your SUV’s finish? Heritage Customs will give you corroded parts with real rust.

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Theft Alert: 1980 Toyota Celica Supra MkI Curbside Classic

This 1980 Toyota Celica Supra Mark 1 – previously featured as a Curbside Classic right here on TTAC – has been stolen in Eugene, Oregon.

Let’s help its rightful owners get it back.

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Shanghai Motor Show, Curbside Classic Edition

In Shanghai, you can see the latest cars, and the cars of the future with no future. You also can see a tiny bit of the past.

Citroen brought two classics.

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The First Curbside Classic

You might think I’ve been taking pictures of old cars on the streets forever. Not so, actually. I’ve been ogling them, but I always saved my film for family. Probably not completely coincidentally, I started CC about the same time our nest was emptying. But there was one single exception, and today I stumbled on it: a photo of a 1951 Mercury that lived on the street a few blocks from our house in Santa Monica. Its dark blue paint was oxidizing into a divine shade of purple, and one day in 1979 on our regular walk to the beach, I had the impulse: to immortalize this aging neighbor before it disappeared. Technically, this wasn’t really an exception, because Stephanie is in it. That part has changed, mostly.

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Curbside Classic Jr: The 1955 Ford Mini Me – 1956 Ford Consul Mk II

Too many Cubside Classics shot, not enough time to write about them extensively. So we’ll call it CC Jr.: heavy on the pics, light on the text.

The great import boom of the fifties involved everything from Europe; from Abarth to Zagato. And the Big Three got in on the act too, selling their European subsidiaries’ wares. The Opel Rekord sold particularly well, and they used to be easy to find, in California, anyway. And English Fords were mainly the smaller Anglia and the later Cortinas. But here’s a rare bird, a Consul, looking very much like a scaled down ’55 Ford.

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Curbside Classic: 1985 Winnebago 23mpg LeSharo Turbo Diesel RV

Like cars, or even more so, the quest to find fuel efficiency in RVs has come and gone with the price of fuel. In the early eighties, when gas was around $4.00 in today’s dollars, the RV business crashed and desperately looked for a radical solution. One could say that the Winnebago LeSharo was the equivalent of the 1985 Cadillac DeVille: downsized to the extreme. Winnebago desperately searched for the solution, and found it in…France. LeSharo: the LeCar of RVs.

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Curbside Classic: 1982 Dodge Rampage

The passenger car-based mini pickup niche is as old as as the Crosley Roadside, if not older yet. It’s also a highly ephemeral one, that seems to repeatedly draw car makers to it like moths to the flame. And the results are about the same: here today; gone tomorrow.

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Curbside Classic Canadian Visitor Edition: 1966 (Vauxhall) Envoy Epic

The Canadian car market has always been dominated by US makes. But the “special relationship” has also resulted in some curious efforts to maintain a sense of unique identity, or respond to the distinctive characteristics of the market. We had our Plodges (mixed styling of the Dodge and Plymouth models), Beaumonts (sold at Pontiac dealerships with Chevrolet engines and Pontiac style trim), Meteors, Mercury trucks, Fargo trucks, etc. along with various European makes including Vauxhall. In addition to selling its models under the Vauxhall brand, GM’s British subsidiary also created the Envoy name just for Canada. The Vauxhalls where sold by Pontiac/Buick dealers, and so as not to be left out, the Chevrolet/Oldsmobile dealers recieved the Envoy badged versions, like this Epic.

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Curbside Classic Outtake: 1986 Continental

Our cavalcade of vintage Lincolns draws to a close (whew!) and the Lincoln file is exhausted, save for the finale. We’ve obviously plumbed the depths of Lincoln’s long decline, probably best typified by the Versailles. But hope was in the air, thanks to the remarkable Fox-body platform. The best example was the rather remarkable Mark VII coupe, which I didn’t do justice here yesterday, thanks to a sudden onset of late-afternoon chronic Lincoln-fatigue syndrome. My apologies. But even before the Mark VII arrived in 1984, there was a glimmer of hope already, in the Fox-bodied Continental sedan of 1982. One just had to squint (quite) a bit to see it.

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Curbside Classic: 1985 Lincoln Town Car

Thirty-two years is a long time. That’s how many years the Panther chassis-based Town Car will have been made when the last on rolls off the line in 2011. And to what can we credit this remarkable longevity? Brilliant engineering; or insightful marketing strategy? How about a big helping of GM’s boneheadedness mixed in with equal dashes of Ford cheapness and stubbornness. Sometimes you just get handed things handed to you on a platter. Although in the case of the Panther TC, it took a couple of years of anxiety before Ford realized what had been given them: the keys to the last traditional American car.

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Curbside Classic: 1977 Lincoln Town Car

Here it is, the last of the species autosaurus giganticus. Never again would beasts of this size roam our freeways and driveways with their EPA stickers (10/12) still freshly removed. It was the end of an era; the giant American land cruiser became extinct when the last 1979 Town Car rolled off the lines. And that last roll took a while: two hundred thirty three and seven-tenths inches of steel, chrome, vinyl and deeply tufted leather. No less than the visionary Buckminster Fuller, inventor of the geodesic dome and the very un-Town Car like Dymaxion Car lamented (and lambasted) the passing of the last big Lincoln. Given that he was all of 5’2″ tall, that seems a bit odd. But really big cars were such a part of the American psyche, that when they were gone, it left a gaping hole. You don’t miss your water ’till the well runs dry.

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Curbside Classic Outtake: 1968 Lincoln Continental

While I prepare the next full chapter of Lincoln’s (mostly downhill) roller-coaster ride, here’s a couple of shots of a 1968 Continental sedan. To my eye, the degradation of the original’s purity is now under way, although these ’66-’69 models still carry manage to convey a sense of dignity and exclusivity. That would change, all too soon.

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Bus Saturday Finale: Scenicruiser Design Inspiration Discovered

The Greyhound Scenicruiser was iconic, and set off a rash of imitators world-wide. Based on a design of Raymond Loewy supposedly inspired on an earlier patent by Roland E. Gegoux, it was hailed as a stylistic and practical breakthrough. But it was anything but new or original, as this 1937 Kenworth bus illustrates quite well. It was used in the north west for a number of years. But was it original? Is anything?

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Curbside Classic: 1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse

You try finding an intact gen1 Eclipse; it took me months. And forget about it being a Turbo; they’ve all been riced, diced, sliced and mashed into oblivion. Was there ever more of a young guy car than this? I’ll go out on a limb and say that the turbo AWD version of this and its Plymouth Laser and Eagle Talon DSM clones were the closest thing there was to a four-wheeler crotch rocket in their day. It may be a bit on the young side for Curbside Classics, but I figured I’d better grab this Eclipse now, because it may well be the last in town, and its driver is a young guy. High testosterone levels lead to drives of several types, but not generally the one that pertains to preservation. The Eclipse is the victim of its intended demographic.

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Curbside Classics We'd Like To Find: Vintage Ad Scans As Temporary Substitutes

My stash of old car magazines fell off the shelf in the craziness of re-arranging my office. It’s not very large, but time always stops when I open a C/D from 1963, 1967 or 1971. In just a few minutes, I encountered dozens of cars I’d like to find for CC. Some of them I’m sure I will eventually; others not too likely. A Glas 1700 GT? I had zero memory of that being imported to the US, and I tend to not forget obscurities like that. Here’s a few quick ones; if you like, we’ll do it again sometime.

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Curbside Classic: Potential '66 F-100 Pickup Replacement Found – 1993 Toyota T-100

I’ve given it some thought over the years, and there’s only one truck that I’ve seriously considered as a replacement for my F-100, and this is it. In fact, it’s almost a perfect update on the Ford, with the benefits of modern technology. Don’t laugh, but I’ll take mine with the 2.7 liter four cylinder. It’s got more horsepower (150) than the Ford (129), and a pretty healthy dose of torque. It’s not like I’m planning on pulling 10,000 pound trailers down the road. Oh wait; I actually have done that with the Ford…

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Curbside Classic: 1991 Alfa Romeo 164

(Curbside Classics paid a quick visit to TTAC Command Central in Portland on Saturday, and came away with a few goodies to share from that CC Elysian Fields this week)

With the presumed return of Alfa to our shores, its easy to forget that it seems like just yesterday (to us oldsters) that Alfa was selling its handsome 164 sedan hereabouts until 1995. To the more youthful here, the 164 may have been something you ogled from the back of the family Caravan on the way to grade school. Regardless; it’s a quickly disappearing part of the street-scape, and has some fascinating history behind that tasty exterior.

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Illegal Alien Van Nabbed: JDM Toyota 4×4 HiAce

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.

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Curbside Classic Truck Saturday: How GMC Uglified One Of The Most Handsome Trucks Ever

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:

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition Final Post: 1966 Cadillac Coupe DeVille

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.

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Sunday's Posts On Saturday Edition: 1981 Dodge Challenger

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.

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: Triple '67 El Caminos and Reclusive '56 Nomad

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:

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation – Highly Un-Los Gatos Edition: 1977 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.

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: Super-Rare 1971 Opel Manta

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.

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: The Last Mitsubishi Cordia In The World?

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.

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: 1960 Chevrolet Impala

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.

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: Nissan Pulsar – gen2 & gen1

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.

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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition Outtake: 1978 Porsche 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 din…
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Curbside Classic CA Vacation Edition: 1968 Buick 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.

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Curbside Classic: 1987 Toyota Supra Mark III

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.

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Curbside Classic: 1984 Toyota Celica Supra Mk II

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.

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Curbside Classic: 1980 Toyota Celica Supra Mark 1

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!

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Curbside Classic Capsule: 1985 Toronado

Rest assured, I have found a genuine 1966 Toro for an upcoming full CC. And I’ve seen a fairly rare ’77 XS with the wrap-around rear window in someone’s yard that I will hunt down. In the meantime, let’s content ourselves with this somewhat mundane ’85.

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Curbside Classic: 1964 International Travelette Pickup

Welcome to Truck Saturday at TTAT. I know a few of you might not be too keen about old trucks, but they are such perfect CC material: they’re old, still hard at work, lots of patina, and highly picturesque. How can anyone not just love this International Travelette PU? It’s just oozing with authenticity and testosterone; none of that sissified cushiness of its modern successors. And in case you’re wondering about the Travelette name, it’s International’s moniker for a double cab; a play on the name of its popular Travelall proto-SUV. Now there’s history with that name and style, because the Travelette was the first production double cab pickup in the land. Sadly, International bowed out just as double-cabs were finally becoming to catch on.

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Curbside Classic Capsule: 1988 Pontiac Safari

Curbside Classic keeps generating spin-offs. The Outtakes were intended to be for the cars that didn’t make the cut for a full-on CC. But I (rightly) got grilled when I put the mile stone 1978 Mercury Marquis Brougham (the last of the Ford-Mercury land barges) into a CC Outtake. But I still have this problem of too many cars shot and not enough time. Ergo; a new category: CC Capsules. It’s for cars that generally qualify for CC status, but lack the compelling qualities to inspire a lengthy tome, and might be a bit on the younger side. Anyway I do this, I’m bound to disappoint somebody. So here’s our first CCC: a mightily well preserved 1988 (I think) Pontiac Safari wagon:

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Curbside Classic Clue
The Civic’s messy engine compartment was quite a challenge. But blkstss stepped up and called it out pronto. He must have spent some time staring into…
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Curbside Classic Clue
Last week’s fuel filler door clue for the Blazer was a bust. Everyone piled in on it, right from the start. But I’m going to give the win to CyCa…
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Curbside Classic Outtake: 1954 Allard K2

Our twice-weekly urban hike from our house to the top of Skinner Butte, which marks the geographic center of Eugene, affords some nice views. But not just from its peak, because along the way when we have to pass the Sports Car Shop. Owner Bob Macherione’s crew does superb restorations along with sales and service of exotics. But I make a point to keep my camera in the pocket as Stephanie and I ogle his current offerings, because that’s just straying too far from the CC ethos. But when I poked my head into the passenger compartment of this recently completed Allard K2, I just had to share this with you via an Outtake. First, feast on that delicious exterior; then, prepare yourself for the worlds most contorted shift stick:

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Curbside Classic Clue
Hank, who I’m pretty sure won a previous CC Clue, had some doubts about which year Olds we had on tap. His first guess was a ’51, and even though…
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Curbside Classic Clue (with a Guideline)
A big omedetou to potatobreath for snagging that illegal alien, the Nissan Pao. Are you with the INS? I know the Pao was frustrating for some of you, but I w…
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Curbside Classic Outtake: 1978 Mercury Marquis Brougham

This Marquis Brougham certainly seems the polar opposite of yesterday’s Nissan Pao. It weighs three times as much, is a domestic, certainly not an illegal alien, not exactly artistic or tasteful, definitely not retro, and didn’t require a lottery to buy it (more likely rebates). It’s available 7.5 Liter engine is 7.6 times as big as the Poa’s, even if it only makes 202 hp. Yet, a number of similarities occur to me: They’re both in the same parking lot. Their owners are obviously making an artistic statement. They both have a horsepower to weight ratio of 31 lbs/hp. Both engines are carbureted. Nissan and Mercury joint-ventured on the Quest/Villager mini-van. Both of them are not displayed at MoMA. Somebody help me out here…

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Curbside Classic Clue
It’s hard finding the sweet spot with the CC Clue. I made it harder on Monday, and sure enough, not one right guess. All right, I’m going to make…
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Curbside Classic Clue (Updated With Hint)
Still too easy! rpol35 unveiled the ’68 Chevy on the first guess. Must try harder to make it harder. And why is this color so popular in Eugene? Did Ma…
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Curbside Classic Outtake: What's Wrong With This Picture Edition

I was torn about whether to use this Firebird for a Curbside Classic, until I saw a terrific “Screaming Chicken” T/A the other day. Only problem: I didn’t get any shots. But it made me determined to hold out for the real thing. I hear that Trans Ams are in demand now, fetching up to $30k. In the meantime, feast your eye on this delight. Oh, there’s more than one thing wrong with this picture. More detail after the jump:

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Curbside Classic Clue
Last but not least, it’s time to play CC Clue. Nothing like blogging to make the time fly by. Daniel J. Stern identified the Volvo 122 on the second gu…
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Curbside Classic Clue
Kudos to Steve-O, who was able to distinguish between fake vomit, grandma’s fridge, and naugahyde to identify the Dodge Aspen. And his was the first gu…
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Curbside Classic Outtake: 1990 Infiniti M30
Comments to last Tuesday’s Curbside Classic pointed out the lasting stylistic influence of the BMW 6 Series on such cars as the Acura Legend coupe. Tha…
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Curbside Classic Clue
You all seem to like C pillars, so let’s do another one. This time, the vinyl roof grain historians are going to have a big advantage as compared to th…
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Curbside Classic Clue
We set a new record with the Datsun 210 Clue: 50 guesses! Wow. And SFO In Training nailed the woody. And for those that question what’s going on here,…
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Curbside Classic Outtake
Biological mimicry is when a group of organisms share common perceived traits with another group. One relative rare classification of this otherwise fairly c…
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Curbside Classic Clue
Commenter the duke is being promoted. He’s now the king of CC Clue, for nailing Monday’s most difficult ’51 Packard. We bow down before you…
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Curbside Classic Clue
The clues were too easy, I was dropping hints left and right, and DweezilSFV named the Comet on guess number three. No more Mr. Nice Guy; no more hints. If s…
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Curbside Classic Clue
Must make it harder, must make it harder…Joe Chiaramonte nailed the Fiesta on the third guess. Or were the first two just comments? All right, you exp…
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Curbside Classic Clue (Plus CC Suggestions)
You guys ripped the Handi-van clue apart on the first guess, by Dave Skinner. And I predicted it would take twelve guesses! I’ve got to keep reminding…
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Curbside Classic Clue
Kudos to AthensSlim for calling out the Saturn on the first guess. I’m guessing it’ll take a bit longer for this one, like say, the twelfth guess…
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Curbside Classic Clue
Break out your magnifying glasses and guess tomorrow’s Curbside Classic!
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Curbside Classic Clue
Careful! Double check your guess before hitting the submit button. If you really need some help with this one, there’s a couple buried in the text for…
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Curbside Classics Clue
Double your pleasure, double your fun…Curbside Classics is turning into a twice-a-week obsession. Are you going to have the time? How about the make a…
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Curbside Classic Clue
All right, all you expert sleuths of vintage chrome moldings and extruded textures. I will once again try to stump you and will undoubtedly fail. I apologize…
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Curbside Classic Clue
Curbside Classic Clue
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  • Michael Gallagher I agree to a certain extent but I go back to the car SUV transition. People began to buy SUVs because they were supposedly safer because of their larger size when pitted against a regular car. As more SUVs crowded the road that safety advantage began to dwindle as it became more likely to hit an equally sized SUV. Now there is no safety advantage at all.
  • Probert The new EV9 is even bigger - a true monument of a personal transportation device. Not my thing, but credit where credit is due - impressive. The interior is bigger than my house and much nicer with 2 rows of lounge seats and 3rd for the plebes. 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, around 300miles of range, and an e-mpg of 80 (90 for the 2wd). What a world.
  • Ajla "Like showroom" is a lame description but he seems negotiable on the price and at least from what the two pictures show I've dealt with worse. But, I'm not interested in something with the Devil's configuration.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I really like the C-Class, it reminds me of some trips to Russia to visit Dear Friend VladdyPoo.