By on April 23, 2019

Rare Rides featured an Alpina once before: the performance tuner’s take on the late-Eighties 6 Series — the B7. Today’s Alpina is a B12, which is literally five more. And more is better, right?

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By on February 13, 2019

What happens when a tuning company takes an already luxurious coupe and adds more of everything? The answer is this Mercedes-Benz SEC AMG from 1986.

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By on January 22, 2019

Ever wondered what a bespoke shooting brake might look like if its donor vehicle were a long-wheelbase convertible? Wonder no more, for today’s Rare Ride is just such a vehicle, and is also an Aston Martin.

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By on December 19, 2018

Plenty of digital ink and hurt fingers and bums occurred over the past few days, after Lincoln announced its limited run of Coach Door Edition Continentals (don’t call the doors by their common lexicon name).

But I’m here today to ask you whether any of it matters.

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By on December 6, 2018

Today’s Rare Ride is what happens when you take the generally British idea of a shooting brake and combine it with some designers in Michigan who had big ideas.

It’s the 1985 Trans Am Kammback Concept. It’s real, and it is spectacular.

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By on October 1, 2018

2005 Scion xB in Colorado wrecking yard, mural - ©2018 Murilee Martin - The Truth About CarsToyotas mostly don’t show up in the big self-service wrecking yards until about age 15, so discarded Scion xBs are just beginning to appear in U-Wrench-It inventories. Here’s a Scion Toaster covered with totally brutal airbrush murals, spotted in a Denver-area yard a few months back. (Read More…)

By on August 22, 2018

What do you get when you cross an enthusiast of a dead car brand, a bank account, and a late-model Panther?

This. Presenting the 2008 Edsel Citation:

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By on July 17, 2018

Our Picture Time subject today is a Chevrolet Corvette C4 from 1984. Or rather it used to be, before someone got some big ideas in their head — right at the same time their eyes drifted to a pile of spare fiberglass and plastic.

There may have been a photo of a Ferrari F40 lying around as well.

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By on December 1, 2017

Image: 2006 Lincoln Town Car Packard Custom EditionBrowsing on The Facebook recently presented me with an astonishing feat of custom bodywork, one I felt compelled to share in a very special Custom Edition Picture Time Edition of Custom.

It’s a one-off modification of a 2006 Lincoln Town Car, and you need to see it.

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By on February 27, 2017

Chevy Dually Diesel, Ferrari Custom

Some automotive generalities are undeniable: Americans like their pickup trucks, and Italians like the style and flair of a Ferrari. It’s not often these two interests align, but today’s Rare Rides must have been written somewhere in the stars, because it’s just so right. Via Craigslist, behold the stunning Ferrar-olet.

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By on March 9, 2016

Tom Mix Duesenberg front 3/4 right, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

The high-dollar-custom Ridler Award at the Detroit Autorama gets a lot of worthy attention, but real salt of the earth Detroit car culture can be found in Cobo Hall’s basement, The promoters bill the area as Autorama Extreme, and I always make it a point to check out the cars and people downstairs. There’s usually something worthwhile down there like “the first Mustang,” a bassackwards, mid-engine Ford F-1 pickup, or even an Allison V12-powered ’39 Chevy.

This year, walking past the bandstand where a local rockabilly band was doing a Jerry Lee Lewis song, I spotted something around a corner and immediately recognized it as a Duesenberg I’d written about before here at TTAC. It’s a distinctive car. For aesthetic reasons, I doubt anyone would make a replica. So even before I got near enough to see the longhorns up front and the tailfin that looks more like a hunchback’s deformity in back, I knew it was the so-called Tom Mix Duesenberg — a real Doozy in more ways than one.

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By on February 26, 2016

Round Door Rolls, 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Aerodynamic Coupe front 3/4, Petersen Automotive Museum, Image: © 2016 Ronnie Schreiber/The Truth About Cars

I’ve tangentially touched on the topic of this post, the famous art deco “Round Door Rolls-Royce”, before when discussing Audi advertising and some Detroit history. On my recent trip to Los Angeles to drive a McLaren 675LT (you think Jack Baruth is the only TTAC staffer who can swing the loan of a supercar?), I took the opportunity to visit the newly renovated Petersen Automotive Museum and the unusually bodied Rolls happened to be on display right where you walk into the building.

It’s a striking looking car, to say the least, and a multiple show winner undoubtedly worthy of historical note. Almost more interesting than the car, though, is the way its tale is presented and what that teaches us about the way ideas get entrenched, how a single facet of a story can obscure its context. (Read More…)

By on April 30, 2015

08 - 1984 Cadillac Eldorado Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

As the owner of a proper California-built custom, I’m always on the lookout for down-at-the-heels examples of the breed when I return to my former state of residence. Last month, I spotted this flamed-and-custom-grille-equipped Eldo in a San Jose-area yard. (Read More…)

By on March 28, 2014

From the ridiculous to the sublime. After subjecting you to that curious Hudson Terraplane “coupe”, please consider this my apology. A visual palette cleanser, if you will. Before organizers let the public in to the Detroit Autorama at noon on the Friday of the show, members of the media can get in at 9 AM while the Ridler Award competitors and other top-quality, high-dollar customs are still being set up in their sometimes elaborate displays. Those displays in the front part of Cobo Hall include stands to jack the cars up off the floor so you can see the undercarriages, mirrors to do the same, professional lighting, build books and hero cards. There was one car in the front of the hall, though, that had a decidedly minimalist display, just enough machine turned aluminum floor tiles so the ’32 Ford roadster’s retro bias ply tires weren’t sitting on bare concrete. (Read More…)

By on March 25, 2014
IMG_0617

From this angle it almost makes visual sense. Almost. Full gallery here.

While the annual Detroit Autorama always features many outstanding examples of the automobile as art, there are usually at least one or two vehicles that vividly demonstrate that one’s technical skill (or the financial resources to pay someone with the requisite technical skills) can sometimes reach where one’s artistic talent or aesthetic taste fails to grasp. This Hudson Terraplane “coupe” based on a Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel pickup is without question an impressive build, and it drew some of the biggest crowds of any car at this year’s show. But then, bad traffic accidents draw lots of gawkers too. (Read More…)

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