Sunday, April 18, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 Town Sedan

One of my favorite years of the Ford Galaxie is 1963, a model year where everything just looked right somehow. I loved it enough to buy a 1:18 scale model of one (Sun Star makes a fantastic '63 Galaxie 500XL coupe), and to photograph them when I see one on the street.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Castro Valley Street Sighting - 1953 Dodge Coronet

"That thing got a Hemi?"

Those are some of the most famous words in the vocabulary of any Chrysler fan. The Hemi engine remains something of a mythical beast, a highly desirable option in any model in which it was offered. It can mean the difference between an affordable muscle car and a multi-hundred-thousand-dollar Barrett-Jackson auction special.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1973 Volkswagen Squareback

Most station wagons are conventional designs with a front-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout and four doors and a rear hatch. In Europe, that formula is sometimes different. Some companies, such as Volkswagen and Fiat, built a number of cars with rear-engine layouts. European cars were also generally smaller than American cars, so two-door wagons (and some sportier wagons with lower rooflines, often called shooting brakes) were fairly common. Some two-door wagons included the Opel Kadett and Volvo 1800ES. Domestic two-door wagons used to be common in the US, often as lower-priced alternatives to their larger four-door stablemates. Compact wagons such as the Studebaker Lark were common in two-door form. But after about 1965, domestic two-door wagons had all but disappeared, leaving the niche to European imports. And of those imports, none was quite as ubiquitous and popular as the Volkswagen Type 3 Squareback.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1956 Imperial Southampton

It used to be that Cadillac and Lincoln had a serious competitor in the top-line domestic luxury segment. That competitor was Chrysler's Imperial division. Promoted to brand status in 1955, Imperial had long been the top model in Chrysler's lineup. Now it was its own division to further set it apart from "lesser" Chryslers.

Friday, April 9, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1987 Chevrolet Turbo Sprint

This is probably the first car I photographed for this blog that left me wondering, "Is it worthy?" It's a 1987 Chevrolet Sprint, a captive import produced by Suzuki for Chevy from 1985 through '88. The Sprint was based on the Suzuki Cultus, arguably one of the most whored-out car platforms in history. The Cultus in its various forms has been sold in several countries on at least four different continents and under a variety of names and brands. After the Sprint was dropped in 1988, the newly redesigned Cultus arrived in the United States once again in 1989, badged as the Suzuki Swift and as the Geo Metro. It was also sold in Canada as the Chevy Sprint (Geo Metro after 1992) and Pontiac Firefly.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1936 Ford Pickup

Back in the 1970s, my dad owned a 1936 Ford pickup. He bought it for $20 as a basket case and restored it himself.

This is not that truck.

I've only seen his old truck twice in my life, and it looked nothing like this one (his was Corvette Elkhart Green, all stock except for a Mercury flathead V8 and chrome simulated wire wheels). But it should give you a clue as to why I have a soft spot for 1936 Ford trucks.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

San Jose Street Sighting - 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T

Chrysler has always had a strange reputation for arriving late to the party, making few friends, and often leaving early. In the case of the Dodge Challenger and its corporate twin, the Plymouth Barracuda, this statement could be called somewhat ironic. The Barracuda, as an entry in the ponycar wars, actually predated the Mustang by a short span of time. But where the Barracuda was a warmed-over Valiant that came standard with an anemic slant six, the Mustang had style and substance going for it and was wildly popular. The Barracuda grew up, of course, and by 1970 had become a force to be reckoned with in the muscle car wars. Also in 1970, the Barracuda gained a stablemate, the Challenger. These cars could be had in potent forms, with large-capacity V8s and even the famous Hemi. The original Challenger was only around until 1974, although it would come back twice. The first reintroduction came in 1978, when the Dodge variant of the Mitsubishi-based Plymouth Sapporo was named Challenger. In 2008, a new retro-styled Challenger was introduced on the 300 platform. And yes, it was available with a Hemi.