Tuesday, February 28, 2012

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1973 Plymouth Valiant Scamp

For a while now, one of my guilty pleasures in the automotive world has been certain iterations of the two-door Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant. That's right, I'm a sucker for the hardtop coupe (Demon/Dart Sport and Duster) and the two-door sedan (Dart Swinger and Valiant Scamp). The basic body design of both cars is simple and clean without being completely boring. And oddly enough, I've always been a big fan of the Swinger and Scamp's silly rear bumper design which incorporates the car's taillights. Most cars from this era that tried this design motif failed to pull it off adequately, but I think it works on this car. And in the pre-SUV era of the 1970s, I suppose it made sense to have lights mounted that low because most people drove cars that were all roughly the same height or lower.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Danville Street Sighting - 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4

Months ago I asked my readers for their thoughts about cars parked near car shows. Thus far, about 20% have responded that they don't think such a vehicle is eligible for a feature or that some limitation should be in place. So I limited myself to one of those per month so it doesn't dilute the rest of my sightings. It may be cheating, perhaps, but it does at least ensure something more interesting than a beat-up Falcon or a cookie-cutter Camaro. In this case, I snagged a Ferrari 365 GTC/4.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Best of the Rest: Little Luggers

1969-72 Datsun 521 camper, San Francisco
1975-78 Toyota Truck, San Francisco
1978 Chevrolet LUV pickup, San Francisco
1978 Ford Courier pickup, Castro Valley
1982-84 Mazda B2000 Sundowner pickup, San Francisco

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1978 Toyota Cressida

Most of the classics I find on the streets in this state are, well, from this state. Sometimes someone is kind enough to drive across the country just so I can photograph their ride. That is why someone would leave the great state of Vermont, right? Right?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1963 Buick Riviera

I'm a big fan of first-generation Buick Rivieras. The 1963-65 Rivs were a styling triumph for Buick, and this pretty blue luxury coupe is a strong example of the breed. These early (pre-'65) Rivieras lack the hidden headlights that were part of the original design, but in my opinion the fixed-light cars are the best looking. The 1965 models have a cleaner design with stacked lights hidden behind the stainless corner trim, a hood ornament and no simulated side scoops.

Friday, February 10, 2012

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1954 Studebaker Commander

One of my favorite 1950s car designs is the 1953-54 Studebaker coupe penned by the Raymond Loewy studio. The '53 Studebakers appeared almost completely new, replacing a body that dated back to 1947. That body reached its design pinnacle in 1950 with a bulletnose motif which lasted for two years. An unfortunately awkward restyle for 1952 introduced a split grille which was translated far more successfully onto the 1953 body. These new cars had low-slung bodies with light ornamentation that made them look remarkably sleek and modern for their time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Petaluma Street Sighting - 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1

I made a promise a long time ago not to feature every Mustang I see. I think I've done a pretty good job of weeding out the generic stuff, but it's also resulted in a distinct lack of ponycars. So I considered it a good score when I spotted a clean red 1969 Mustang Mach 1 parked in the historic district of Petaluma. The '69 Mach 1 is one of my favorite muscle cars and this one has everything: the Magnum 500 wheels, matte black hood with hood pins, 428 Cobra Jet V8 with shaker hood scoop ... the whole car oozes aggression. For the most part it looks stock, though I doubt that the traction bars on the rear are original.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1960 Volkswagen Type 2 double cab pickup

I have a mild interest in old VW pickups, mainly because they're so much less common than their van or "station wagon" versions. I don't even photograph most of the garden variety Type 2 Microbuses unless they're in mint condition or at least visually interesting. Most of them bore me these days. The pickups, however, with their novel hinged bed sides, are an unusual footnote in truck history. Interestingly, this VW predates the "Chicken Tax" that served to curtail sales of imported light trucks to the US (and did, quite effectively in the case of later VW pickups).

Monday, February 6, 2012

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1970 Mini Cooper S

What's this? Another classic Mini? I told you guys San Francisco was full of the little buggers. This time it's a Mark III Cooper S edition produced between 1969 and 1971. The Cooper S was the highest-performance Mini in its day, available with a 1275cc engine intended for circuit racing. If that badge is to be believed, this is one of only 1,570 Mk III Cooper Ss built. There is a problem though, in that this car looks awfully... sedate for a performance trim. No hood stripes, fender flares, foglights - and it's all one color. And it doesn't help that one can buy the Cooper S boot lid badge online for a little over £10 plus shipping. If it is a genuine Cooper S though (and it's RHD even), that makes it fairly special among the plethora of vintage (and not so vintage) Minis in town.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1972 Ford Ranchero

Last month we looked at a 1972 Ford Gran Torino coupe. Now let's look at the Torino-based pickup, the Ranchero. I happened to find this '72 Ranchero parked down the street from a small repair shop where at least three other feature vehicles have been spotted thus far (note the 1936 Ford pickup in the background of one of the photos). It's a somewhat scruffy part of town (I once had a homeless man con $10 out of me about one block from where I found this Ranchero, after he claimed to be a penniless refugee from New Orleans who just wanted to buy a meal for himself and his wife - and then skipped off right past the sandwich shop he told me he planned to go). The light was fading, so I didn't spend much time taking pictures.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1968 Dodge A108 Custom Sportsman

The first vehicle I featured here on California Streets was a 1968 Dodge A100, so in a way we've come full circle. This is actually the third Dodge A-van we've seen here, and this time it's a '68 A108 Custom Sportsman. It's owned by a Mopar collector in San Francisco. The last A108 featured was a 1970 model in the same colors as this van, but in rougher condition. In retrospect, I wish I'd shot this one more in depth, but at the time it was merely another A-series van and I didn't see a reason. Oh well.