The Great Pacific Road Trip: Part 2

Read part one here.

The plan for this stage of my trip is to finish my work trip to San Diego, drive out to Palm Springs and pick up my ’75 Ford LTD, and then drive it to the Port of Oakland. It all sounds so simple, right?

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Rare Rides: The 1975 Aston Martin Lagonda Series I, One of Seven

The Rare Rides series has covered every generation of Aston Martin’s Lagonda four-door except one. In the Sixties, the Lagonda Rapide helped to define the super sedan class: A grand tourer that could sweep four passengers and their luggage across Continental Europe with ease.

Then there was the late Seventies Lagonda, which had a long production run through 1990. Advanced electronically, that Lagonda was too ambitious and generally earned its reputation as a good-looking, expensive disaster. Finally, there was the Lagonda Taraf, a large sedan designed specifically and cynically for the UAE market. It was built to extract maximum dollars from oil barons and the like. Great success!

But between Lagonda Rapide and Lagonda was a missing link. It was called the Lagonda Series I and is the rarest Aston Martin Lagonda ever made. And one is for sale.

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Rare Rides Icons: The V20 Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry made leaps and bounds after the model debuted as a sedan sub-variant of the Celica in 1980. The first Camry to stand on its own was the V10, a very boxy four-door on sale for just four years, from 1983 to 1986. In the North American market, the front-drive V10 Camry replaced the rear-drive Corona as Toyota’s compact offering. And though the V10 was designed in part with export markets like North America in mind, its successor the V20 used the North American customer as its starting place.

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Rare Rides: The 1980 Toyota Corona, a Camry Predecessor

Today’s Corona is the third to appear in the Rare Rides series. We started in early 2020 with a 1968 Corona Coupe and followed up that October with a Mark II wagon. Today’s entrant is from the last time North Americans could buy one.

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Rare Rides: A 2000 Chevrolet Metro, Which is New

Today’s Rare Ride will upset some of you. It’s one of those cars that was very common in its day, entirely disposable, and a prime example of the characterless econobox. Yet because it was such a throwaway, nobody ever saved one – except this one.

Visiting us from 21 years ago, it’s a Chevy Metro with 400 miles.

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Rare Rides: The 2000 Mercedes-Benz CL 500, a Finale Called Final Edition

Large, luxurious, and very serious, the first generation CL was also an SEC and S during its life. While Mercedes-Benz played the Nineties naming games with its lineup, the W140 soldiered on in two-door format as a last-of for a top-tier Mercedes coupe.

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Rare Rides Icons: Daimler's Flagship Cars and the DS420 Limousine, Elder Statesman

Welcome to Rare Rides Icons, a spinoff of Rare Rides where we take a more in-depth look at those particularly interesting cars throughout history. Today’s large and luxurious Icon is the first time we present a Daimler in this series. The DS420 was the flagship of the brand; a car for heads of state. And in fact over 50 years after its introduction, it’s still in use as an official state limousine in several nations.

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Rare Rides: The 1980 Sbarro Super Eight, Not Your Standard Hatchback

The Eighties were the decade that saw the dawn of the hot hatchback. Today’s little red hatchback is really very hot, because it’s entirely a Ferrari 308 underneath.

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Rare Rides: The 1986 Pulse Litestar Autocycle, Michigan's Finest

Today’s Rare Ride is technically our first ever motorcycle, even though it has four wheels. Called the Pulse, it kind of looks like someone cut the wings off a small plane.

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Rare Rides: Bertone by Any Other Name, the 1979 Volvo 262C

Today’s Rare Ride is an example of the first time Bertone added heaps of Italian build quality to an ordinary Volvo midsize. We’ve covered Bertone’s second effort ( the 780) long ago, so it’s past time we talk 262C.

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Rare Rides: The 1995 Toyota T100, a Truck of a Different Era

Trucks were simpler when today’s Rare Ride was new. No giant grilles, no Ranch Platinum 1764 Embroidery Edition, and no ridiculous styling (I see you, Tundra.) The T100 was a reliable essence of truck, even if it wasn’t what the American market wanted.

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Rare Rides: Rad Van Time With the 1998 Citron Berlingo Calao, by Sbarro

Today’s Rare Ride started off as a standard and rather uninteresting Citroën Berlingo van, and was then thoroughly edited by Sbarro into a windsurfing-oriented beach vehicle.

It’s a lot to process, visually speaking.

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Rare Rides: A 1971 Maserati Quattroporte Prototype, the King's Sedan

Today’s Rare Ride was one of just two finished examples of the ill-fated second generation Maserati Quattroporte. Maserati envisioned a promising future for their large luxury sedan, but the company’s corporate parentage at the time had other (worse) ideas.

And this very car was fit for a king.

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Rare Rides: A Very Luxurious Camry, the 1990 Lexus ES 250

Today’s Rare Ride was the only other car accompanying Lexus’ LS 400 at dealerships in 1990 and 1991. The fanciest Camry offered in the US, it was a badge conversion from a Camry sold in the Japanese market.

But consumers saw through the charade, so while the high-effort LS 400 flew off the showroom floor, the minimal effort ES just sat there.

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Rare Rides: The Chevrolet Citation Story, Part II

We continue our Chevrolet Citation coverage today, just after the economy car’s 1980 introduction to critical acclaim and huge sales figures. Unfortunately for GM, the Citation’s true personality was quickly exposed, and things were entirely downhill from there.

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  • FreedMike Can the final last call edition be the Secretary Special, with a V6 and a vinyl roof?
  • FreedMike I’ve never heard of this so I’ll have no problem not attending.
  • ToolGuy As I understand it, the Toyota Prius basically lasts forever because the engine gets a gentle duty cycle and the battery gets babied. This seems like the opposite of that.[Impressive tech, not for me, but then neither is the Prius.]
  • Dusterdude Excellent work ! Your stories are always linguistically interesting . Even if you weren’t writing about a quirky car on a long and adventuresome journey - I know your write up would still be interesting ! ( I also have a Soft spot for large cars - as my daily driver is a 2000 Chrysler Concorde )
  • MaintenanceCosts There have always been just two reasons to buy AMG cars: the menacing, hard-edged V8 warble, and the styling with subtle shapes but perfectly aggressive details. This is missing both of those things: the styling has gotten cartoonishly aggressive, and the engine will sound like a fart-can Civic. I don't understand why I should want it.