I just spent two weeks on vacation in Vietnam, and my pre-trip expectations of seeing fleets of left-behind-by-the-French Peugeots, left-behind-by-the-Americans Falcons, and left-behind-by-the-Soviets GAZs turned out to be ridiculously inaccurate. I saw a few old cars (more on that later), but most of the cars in Vietnam are boring late-model rides like Kia Rios and Toyota Innovas. However, I did see quite a few conspicuous-consumption statusmobiles in Saigon and Hanoi; the grumbling old-time revolutionary veterans no doubt refer to the current Hanoi leadership as CINOs. Here’s an example I spotted near St. Joseph’s Cathedral in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
When scanning old negatives for the most recent installment of the Impala Hell Project series, I found these Ansco Pix Panorama camera shots that I took in gritty, grimy, industrial Hayward, California in 1993. They didn’t add anything to the Impala Hell Project story, so I’m sharing them in a separate post.
Many years ago, I bought a yard-sale box of old 35mm slides in order to score the reusable glass slide-mounts. A few of the original images were interesting, so I hung onto them. With all the scanning of old slides and negatives I’ve been doing for the ’65 Impala Hell Project series, I’ve also been searching for interesting automotive images among the rest of my collection. This photograph from 1964 Pasadena (as in “The Little Old Lady From”, which was a hit song in ’64) contains quite a few interesting vehicles. I’m going to follow up my 1973 San Francisco Car ID Challenge with the 1964 Pasadena Car ID Challenge: what vehicles do you see in this photograph?
While scanning endless strips of 35mm negatives for the Impala Hell Project series, I keep running across shots of random cars I thought were interesting at the time. This sort of photography led, 15 years later, to my Down On The Street series, and so I thought I’d share this set of grainy Tri-X photographs of a Malaise Buick in California’s Central Valley, captured on a super-cheapo Ansco Pix Panorama camera.
After sharing this beater Torino wagon I photographed back in the early 1990s, I ran across a series of shots of an even Malaise-ier machine. Just as silver miners often find lead mixed in with their metal of choice (or maybe it’s the other way around), I keep discovering long-forgotten car photos as I scan the negatives for the 1965 Impala Hell Project series. Here’s a car that I believe has a 0.00043% chance of having avoided The Crusher during the 18 years that have passed since these photos were taken.
Way back in 2008, I created the Nice Price or Crack Pipe? series for Jalopnik, kicking things off with— of course— a $12,500 Chrysler TC By Maserati. NCOCP was a way for me to do something with car ads that didn’t quite work for my Project Car Hell series, and it has remained a Jalopnik readership favorite since I passed the NPOCP torch to the very capable hands of Graverobber aka Robert Emslie. These days, however, I sometimes see cars for sale that make me wonder… hubba rocks required or real-world price? While in Wisconsin last week, I saw this fairly solid ’91 Lebaron convertible in a laundromat parking lot with this very compelling self-service invitation. How much?
The reason I’m only doing ’65 Impala Hell Project posts every week or so is the fact that it takes for-freakin-ever for me to search and scan endless sheets of 35mm negatives and slides for images that are relevant to the story (the 1999-vintage SCSI film scanner I’m using sure isn’t helping matters). There is an unexpected bonus that comes with this process, however: I keep running across interesting car photos shot during my travels.
You’ve got to love a car named the Sports, if only because it reminds us of the pre-focus-group era. I’m on vacation in Door County, Wisconsin at the moment, which means I’m surrounded by endless Packers paraphernalia, startling quantities of Buicks driven by folks 50 years younger than the normal Buick demographic, cheese curds, and this beautiful street-parked vintage Datsun.
As we all know, 99 and many more nines percent of VW-pan-based fiberglass kit cars were never completed, instead clogging up garages until enraged spouses and/or landlords gave them the heave-ho. That makes the ones that actually got finished extremely rare… and well-built, good-looking examples? There’s probably one per time zone.
Plenty of interesting street-marked machinery in my Denver neighborhood; on the same block as the Subaru GL hatchback coupe is this huge survivor of three major fuel-price upswings. It didn’t get crushed after 1973 or 1979, and so we can assume— or at least hope— that it won’t get crushed now.
Every time I see an early NSX— which, sadly, isn’t often— it reinforces my belief that the early 1990s were a golden age for the automobile. You had decent electronic engine controls instead of carburetors (and primitive might-as-well-be-carburetors 80s EFI), model bloat hadn’t gotten totally out of hand, and the SUV revolution hadn’t yet caused cup holders and other McMansion-esque gear to metastasize from every interior surface of every vehicle. Sure, we’re now living in the Golden Age Of Engines— there’s no arguing with the horsepower and efficiency numbers we’re seeing from internal combustion these days— but I’ll take the early 1990s. And the NSX.
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