Monday, December 27, 2010

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1973 Jensen-Healey

I'd venture that not many people know the relationship between the British Jensen-Healey and California. The story is this: When Austin-Healey stopped building their 3000 series of roadsters, Kjell Qvale, owner of British Motor Car Distributors in San Francisco, suddenly had no small British roadster to sell. He went to Donald Healey and Jensen Motors and invested money in the company, reminding them of the golden rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules. With the help of Healey's son Geoffery and Jaguar designer William Towns, the Jensen-Healey roadster was born.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1967 Buick Skylark

Whoever wrote that song "Time Is On My Side" must never have owned an old car in the city. Time's never on your side, especially if the car needs work and you don't have the time or money to give it love.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1967 Ford Cortina 1600 GT

Out of all the Ford products I've spotted in this state, this is easily one of the most obscure. It's a 1967 Ford Cortina (Mk II) 1600 GT. if you live in the US, you've probably never seen one, but Ford sold over 16,000 of them in the States in 1967. That was the year the Cortina became the best-selling car in its home market, the United Kingdom. That's right, the Cortina was a British Ford. It slotted below the compact Falcon in Ford's American lineup and was pretty much the only four-cylinder Ford available in America at the time. So why didn't it succeed here?

Monday, December 20, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1968 Lincoln Continental

Nowadays one might refer to an AMG Mercedes or BMW M sedan as "Bad-Ass Class". What is Bad-Ass Class? It's a luxury car that looks bad-ass, usually one that's crazy fast. Well, this isn't crazy fast, but it is classy, and it. Is. Bad. Ass.
It's a 1968 Lincoln Continental.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1964 Ford Thunderbird

I'll admit it, I have a number of automotive guilty pleasures. One of them is the 1964 Ford Thunderbird, a car whose styling doesn't mesh all that well but for some irrational reason I love it. Take a close look at the design. The grille clashes with the headlights, the roofline seems too formal and square compared to the sculpted body, and it looks like a stylist got confused and nearly put a Chrysler Pentastar upside down on the trunk lid. Had this been a Town Landau model it would have had big silly S-shaped landau bars on the C-pillars, too. The ride is mooshy, handling and braking are terrible (four-wheel drums!) and even with a big 390 V8 I could take it off the line in my Focus.