Wednesday, March 23, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1958 Buick Century Riviera

I generally am not known for being a fan of cars made in 1958. Actually, scratch that. I love the 1958 Chevy, Pontiac, Edsel, Plymouth and... umm... Studebaker Hawk, I guess. Most everything else that came out of Detroit or even Europe was too grotesque for my liking. (Okay, the '58 Mercedes SL was nice, but it was largely a carryover from a few years before, and the BMW 507 and Austin-Healeys were all right, too.) Most of GM's 1958 offerings were based on the same platform they'd been on for a few years, and had a family resemblance in their styling. Cadillac did its own thing because it was Cadillac. 1958 Buicks never really got me excited, and Oldsmobile was just plain baroque. Regardless, this Buick was the car that introduced me to the fact that a car collector existed around these parts. The fact that I never managed to properly photograph it the first time kept me coming back for almost two years in the vain hope of finding it again. Finally, in August 2010 I managed to shoot it.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1966 Ford Econoline Pickup

When shopping for a truck, most people in the United States would likely pick a conventional full-size pickup, probably a Ford F-Series or Chevy Silverado. There's a reason why those two vehicles are the two best-selling vehicles here, year after year. Which might give you a hint as to why you don't see many cab-forward, van-based trucks in this country. This Poppy Red 1966 Ford Econoline is a particularly fine example of the forward control pickup breed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1967 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow

I don't often see vintage British cars parked on the street, especially not the finest British make of them all, Rolls-Royce. I suppose it makes sense that a hand-built luxury car like this 1967 Silver Shadow would survive four decades. At the same time, I'm a little amused. The Shadow was perhaps Rolls' first "modern" car, and yet it's kind of a parts-bin vehicle. The transmission is from GM, the hydraulic suspension is licensed from Citroen. Still, it was very advanced for its time, and looked current enough that Rolls would build it for fifteen years from 1965-80. The Silver Shadow was the most popular Rolls-Royce model in history, making this a relatively common car by Rolls standards - if you consider a total worldwide production of 30,057 cars over fifteen years "common". And that's including all the long-wheelbase models. When was the last time you saw one in daily-driver condition, street-parked, in as cutthroat and progressive a town as San Francisco? It's big, decadent, has a large, lazy V8 engine and doesn't have to answer to any stinking bureaucrats for pollution standards. I love it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1962 Mercury Monterey

Occasionally in the city I'll run across something entirely odd, or a mainstream vehicle that just doesn't have a strong following. The Mercury Monterey is not an obscure make or model, but for the life of me I can't remember the last time I'd seen one from 1962 until this clean white example turned up in the Inner Richmond in San Francisco.

Monday, March 7, 2011

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. This, my friends, is an Oldsmobile Cutlass 442. It certainly looks quick, doesn't it? It has mag wheels, racing stripes, bucket seats! It must surely be a real barnstormer.