Friday, July 20, 2018
Full disclosure up front. I absolutely cheated with this one. It's one of several cars I've "found" over the years when I attended the Arcane Auto Society's annual meeting in San Francisco. Nice people and a whole lot of weird machinery. This Amphicar was parked in the alley behind the building for a short time at the end of the meet. Public street, weird old car, good enough for me. Where else are you going to see an Amphicar, anyway?
Today the Amphicar still has a vibrant following. I imagine mechanical parts for the Triumph engines are still available. A couple of these cars still appear from time to time at Cars & Coffee meets in my area. Owner's clubs put on special "swim-in" events where people get together and drive their cars into a lake. As I write this, the Celina Lake Festival in Ohio is coming up soon and the Amphicar club will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the last models with a Guinness World Record attempt for the most Amphicars in one place. It should be interesting.
Photographed April 2014
Friday, July 6, 2018
Every year for the 4th of July I like to do a group of features called Independents' Week, focusing on independent American automakers. But since my archives are out of those right now, we're looking at defunct mainstream American brands in the colors of the American flag. We've already had a pair of Mercurys representing red and white. Third in the set this week, representing the color blue, is a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda Gran Coupe.
Considering the lack of visible tailpipes on this example, I'd wager it's a lower-performance car and could even have a six-cylinder. It looks handsome in EB5 Blue Fire Metallic with a white vinyl top and matching side strobe stripes. Mopar Rallye wheels and BF Goodrich Radial T/A white letter tires complete the pony car look. The strobe stripes are available as reproductions for a little over $100 a set; however, if what I read is correct, these particular stripes (option code V4W) were a fairly rare factory option in 1970. The body damage to the left front fender is unfortunate but who knows how old it might be. This car looks very original to me. Considering how much these cars go for these days, it might be worth repairing that fender.
Photographed January 2017
Thursday, July 5, 2018
This week we're celebrating Independence Day a little differently from how we usually do it at California Streets. Instead of featuring cars from defunct independent American manufacturers, I'm featuring defunct mainstream American brands in red, white and blue. Representing the color white today is this 1972 Mercury Cougar XR-7 convertible.
Most Cougars were hardtops and a good number of those were base models. The fancier XR-7 trim accounted for about half of all Cougar sales in 1972. How rare is the convertible? The Cougar Club of America lists 1972 convertible production as 3,169 total, with 1,929 of those being XR-7s.
This one looks resplendent in white over white with a black interior. In an era of vinyl everything, it was possible to get an XR-7 with real leather seats. This one appears to have had a wheel swap from the original 14-inch jobs. I don't think that these ever came from the factory with Magnum 500 rims (at least not in '72) but they're a popular addition and they look fantastic. The white-letter radial tires complete the muscle car stance. Out back, a matte black spoiler resembles something off of a Mustang Mach 1 and is decidedly more aggressive than anything shown in the '72 Mercury brochure. As the license plate suggests, this Cougar is indeed a "Bad Cat".
Photographed May 2018
Wednesday, July 4, 2018
The United States of America celebrates another birthday today, and in honor of Independence Day I usually publish posts celebrating offerings from independent American automakers. I call it Independents' Week. Unfortunately I don't get out as much as I used to, and my archives are fresh out of American independents. So, instead, I have a star-spangled collection of ... well, defunct American brands in the colors of Old Glory. First up is a red Mercury Montego sedan.
To all my readers, have a safe and happy 4th of July! Please check back soon for the rest of this week's series!
Photographed March 2016
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Well, here's one.
1937 Ford Touring Sedan and a 1972 Chevy El Camino.
standard 3-window coupe with a trunk. A Sport Coupe with a rumble seat was also available at extra cost. This one has been built into a hot rod, I'm guessing probably at some point in the 1980s and then neglected. It wears a Pro Street style of stance with huge fat rear tires and little skinny front ones. It rides on Jegs SSR wheels with side exit exhaust pipes and non-stock skimpy black bumpers. Inside there's a full complement of gauges and what looks like a drag automatic shifter. I can only guess what's under the hood, but it's probably safe to say that this one was built to do quarter mile launches once upon a time. I'd say the paint job is probably thirty or more years old.
Photographed November 2016