While waiting for my wife to stagger out of the dentist’s chair after a root canal, I grew bored with the October, 1994 issue of Highlights and other similar waiting-room reading material and noticed this painting on the wall. It turned out to be the illustration made by the Denver architectural firm that built the dentist’s office building, back in 1949.
Calling a car from this period a monster is not exactly uncommon or uncalled for. But what if its own daddy called it that? Virgil Exner, the father of the definitive automotive fins created a sensation in 1957 when they appeared on the all-new “ Suddenly it’s 1960” models. With a straight face, Exner then claimed they were rooted in aerodynamics and highly functional. But with the ’57s he painted himself into a corner; there was no where further to go with them except ever greater absurdity, quickly turning them into caricatures of themselves. Even Exner admitted as much: “by 1959, it was obvious that I’d given birth to a Frankenstein”. I credit him for his honesty, if not good taste.
Contrasts and extremes; it’s what keeps things (and this gig) from getting dull. Today I give you the ultimate contrast to yesterday’s Porsche 356A. Both were built at the same time, and were the pride and joy of their respective countries. A reasonably affluent buyer could afford either of these, although even the 60 hp “Normal” 356 cost somewhat more than the 315 hp Super 88 in 1959. Either way, their respective owners would have enjoyed the prestige and envy of their neighbors when they drove them home new. But look at these two cars forty years later, and what do we see? Contrasts; and lots of them. They’re about as different as two cars can get. But thanks to a bi-continental childhood and a little help from my friends, I can still find love for both of them.
I could spend three life-times finding Curbside Classics on the streets of San Francisco. Last time here, before I started this series, I found a running Fiat 600 Multipla parked on the street. Does that give you a fair idea of the potential? On the other hand, I get annoyed by the city’s traffic and parking, so I don’t spend anymore time then necessary there. But on New Year’s Eve morning, we bopped into an almost dead town for some time at Fort Mason and the waterfront. I wasn’t really looking to shoot anything, but then there it was, sitting in front of a purple building. For a moment, I thought I might have found a very elusive ’57 model, but until that appears somewhere, this ’58 will do, quite well.
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- JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
- JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
- Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.
- Dartdude Lorenzo, the reason for low manual transmission here is that most dealers won't stock them. I wanted a 2012 Kia Koup with manual tranny it was available, but no dealers ordered any from the factory hence there was none available. Go on any car manufacture's web site and price and build and build your model and you would be lucky if the model existed and was available.
- The Oracle Good news is that based on the model years many of these have already been junked or experienced terminal engine failure.