Sunday, February 28, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1992 GMC Typhoon

This may at first glance look like a garden-variety GMC Jimmy, but it's so much more than that. Where the regular Jimmy was an off-road oriented SUV with an unfortunate reputation for its rollover risk, the GMC Typhoon was a romping, stomping, turbocharged, all-wheel-drive beast of a performance truck. It's a curious vehicle, developed at a time when performance cars were anything over 200 horsepower and no one had built a fast truck in decades. Then General Motors unleashed a pair of shockingly quick compact trucks based on their S-Series platform. They were a regular-cab pickup called the Syclone, and a two-door SUV called the Typhoon. They sported a turboed 4.3 liter V6 producing 280 horsepower, 65 more than a V8-powered Mustang GT of the era. (According to Wikipedia, some stock Typhoons have actually produced over 300hp). All this power was put to the pavement through a 700R4 4-speed automatic transmission and AWD system with 35% front/65% rear bias. The trucks also featured upgraded suspensions, brakes, and a self-leveling rear suspension. It was unlike anything else available at the time, a truck capable of doing 0-60 in 5.3 seconds while taking the kids to school. The Typhoon was built from 1992 to 1993. Only 4,697 were ever built.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1965 Volvo 122S Station Wagon

Another interesting case of a foreign manufacturer copying a successful design is Volvo with its Amazon line of cars. Their split grille, single headlights and slight tail fins were inspired by 1950s Chryslers, albeit scaled down quite a bit. The design is also said to have been inspired by a Kaiser that somehow made it to Sweden (but I haven't seen very many Kaisers that looked anything like a Volvo Amazon).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1971 Datsun 510

A number of Japanese manufacturers got their start or became successful by copying proven formulas from other companies. In the case of the Datsun 510, Nissan Motor Company copied a BMW. Specifically, the "New Class" series of sedans and coupes introduced in the 1960s. They were trim little cars, powered by four-cylinder engines and rear-wheel-drive. The Datsun 510 was introduced in 1968, but didn't become popular in the United States until 1969. It featured clean and handsome lines penned by Teruo Uchino. To this day I still think the 510 is one of the better looking Japanese cars. US models were powered by Nissan's L16 1.6 liter four-cylinder producing 96 horsepower, coupled with a 4-speed manual or 3-speed automatic. The 510 was available in coupe, 2- or 4-door sedan, or 5-door wagon body styles.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1961 Cadillac Series 62

This blog has featured many brands of old cars, but until now there have been no Cadillacs! How can this be? Chalk it up to their rarity, value and the general lack of street parking space that make it difficult to own, drive and store a vintage Caddy in urban areas. That, and San Francisco's famous undercarriage-scraping hills.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

50 California Street Sightings

That's right, this blog has reached fifty vehicle features. It's taken a long time, and there are many more to come. Thanks to those of you who read my humble little board and give me a reason to keep updating it.

Without further ado, a recap. Links to each feature are provided below. Just click on the vehicle you want to view.

1946 Dodge Power Wagon
1956 Continental Mark II
1956 Mercury Montclair
1957 Mercedes-Benz 220S Ponton (W180)
1958 DeSoto Fireflite
1958 Mercury Monterey
1958 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88
1959 Mercury Monterey Cruiser
1960 Chevrolet Corvette
1961 Chevrolet Corvair Monza 900
1961 Hillman Minx
1961 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight
1962 Plymouth Valiant
1963 Studebaker Lark Cruiser
1964 Porsche 356C
1965 Chevrolet Impala
1965 Ford Falcon Futura
1965 Plymouth Barracuda
1965 Plymouth Fury III
1966 Chrysler 300
1966 Rambler Classic 770 Cross Country
1967 Mercury Cougar XR7
1968 BMW 2800CS
1968 Chevrolet C20 Panel Truck
1968 Dodge A-100 Tradesman
1968 Ford Galaxie 500XL
1968 Mercedes-Benz 250SL
1968 Volkswagen 1600TL (Type 3)
1969 Dodge Dart Custom
Mini Cooper
1970 Dodge D300
1970 Opel Kadett L
1971 Datsun 1200
1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1
1972 Chevrolet Kingswood
1973 Ford Torino
1974 AMC Hornet
1974 Toyota Corona Deluxe
1975 MG Midget
1975 Pontiac Catalina
1976 Chevrolet Nova Concours Cabriolet
1976 Toyota Corolla
1978 AMC Pacer Wagon
1978 International Scout II
1979 Plymouth Horizon
1979 Plymouth Sapporo
1980 Volkswagen Dasher
1987 Sterling 825S
1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo
1989 Peugeot 405S