Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Collector's Corner - Maisto Lamborghini Diablo SV

One of my all-time favorite 1:18 scale diecasts from my collection is the Lamborghini Diablo SV by Maisto. I was a sucker for the Diablo as a kid and this was one of the first 1:18s I made a conscious effort not to destroy. It's a budget model to be sure, but a good value for the money compared to some of the other Maisto offerings I've seen. I got mine back in the 1990s when the tooling was fairly new, but this casting is still in the Maisto catalog and can be found in a variety of colors.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Collector's Corner - All Posts Here

All Collector's Corner diecast features can be found here.

Click the image to view the feature for that model. More to come.

1:18 Scale

Promo Models

Upcoming Feature - Collector's Corner

A few years ago, my colleague and good friend Colin Stacy over at The Automotive Way began supplementing his blog with features on his favorite diecast models and toy cars. His focus has always been broader than mine, including new car reviews and such, while mine has mainly been centered around cool old parked cars on public streets.
However, one of my lifelong passions has been collecting diecast cars, and I've been itching to show off some of my collection the way Colin has. Since I graduated from university a year ago, my trips to San Francisco have become few and far between, leading to a surprisingly large decrease in the number of new street sightings I've been able to photograph. Living in suburbia where everyone has garages and people are paranoid, I simply don't get the chance to see the real cars as much.
So, every so often I'm planning to feature a model or two from my collection just to keep things fresh and interesting here on California Streets. Think of it as an opportunity to hone my photography skills on some smaller vehicular subjects. As always, your feedback is appreciated and encouraged!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Santa Cruz Street Sighting - 1959 Peugeot 403

Ask an American about the Peugeot 403 and they will come up with exactly one example: the beat-up grey convertible Peter Falk drove in the TV show "Columbo". And for that matter, the average person who recognizes the Columbo car probably has no clue what it is and would associate any blocky, grey-colored 1960s European convertible with his car.
The interesting thing about the convertible is its rarity; very few were ever made because they cost almost as much as two of the more pedestrian four-door sedans, as seen here. The 403 sedan (and Familiale wagon) was Peugeot's family car offering for the late 1950s, and with the introduction of the 404 was sold as the slightly smaller, cheaper family car in Peugeot's lineup. Kind of like a Chevy Malibu to the 404's Impala in a way. The 403 could also be had as a pickup in some markets, not unlike the El Camino!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1985 Mercury Grand Marquis LS coupe

On a normal day I don't even look twice at Ford Panther platform cars. They're a dime a dozen, they're reliable, unremarkable and nobody really cares much about them as they age. A friend of mine in Canada has owned four of the older square-bodied Crown Victorias, never paying more than a few hundred dollars for any of them. Then again, he's owned about 25 cars and rarely paid more than $500 for any of them. And that's just it: Ford sold hundreds of thousands of LTDs, Crown Victorias, Country Squires, Mercury Marquis, Grand Marquis and Colony Parks and Lincoln Town Cars between 1979 and 1991. And then they slapped a new body on the old chassis and kept selling the cars at a handsome profit until the last Crown Vic finally rolled off the line this year. They're so ubiquitous as the police car, taxi cab, fire chief's car and livery cab (not to mention the car of choice for thousands of senior citizens) that it's easy to find one as either cheap reliable transportation, a budget "fun car" (read: decommissioned P71 Police Interceptor), or a budget luxury car.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Santa Cruz Street Sighting - 1961 Ford Galaxie Sunliner convertible

There are a lot of banner years for car styling, but 1961 is not usually considered one of them. At least not on the level of, say, 1957. To me, 1961 is generally classified as the final year for tail fins on a lot of Detroit's cars. Ever since their pinnacle in '59 on the Cadillacs, fins were falling out of favor and were gradually being phased out.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV

One of my friends owns a 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V. That, to me, is just about the epitome of 1970s luxury. Gargantuan proportions, absurd levels of comfort, and a ride like the Queen Mary. Or at least that was the idea when it was new (his is a bit crusty). This is not a Mark V. It's a Mark IV, and I'm really starting to like these. In fact, this was one of my favorite shoots I've done so far. Whereas the IV's precessessor, the Mark III, was a bit bland for my taste, the IV pushes almost all the right buttons. It's ridiculously long, but at a glance the roofline appears lower and sleeker than the 1960s-era Mark III. The Continental design touches are all there: the tall, Rolls-Royce style grille with Lincoln hood ornament, the fake spare tire hump, and of course the luxurious padded vinyl roof - but with a twist! The IV now had an oval opera window available.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

San Jose Street Sighting - 1940 Ford Truck

For most of my life, I've been a huge fan of the 1940 Ford. This goes for both the passenger cars and the light-duty trucks. The '40 Ford pickup is one of my all-time favorite classic trucks.

Friday, June 15, 2012

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1995 Porsche 968

The Porsche 968 has always been one of those cars I've been interested in primarily because it's an oddity. I used to get excited when I'd see one, simply because it looked weird and I didn't see many of them. In a way, it was the missing link between the very-1980s 944 and the 1990s 993s and Boxsters. It was the last hurrah for the front-engined Porsche until the Cayenne SUV and Panamera sedan.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Lost History - California Junkyards, Part 2

Last month I put together a sampler of the brightest stars I ever found languishing in an East Bay Area self-service junkyard (excuse me, "auto recycling center"). This time, let's take a look at some of the best cars I've come across at a yard in the North Bay. Please don't ask me about where to find them, because all of these cars are now scrap metal.

1961 Mercury Meteor 800

Friday, June 8, 2012

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1977 BMW 630CSi

One of my favorite two-door luxury coupes is the BMW E24 6 Series. Curiously I always hated the E23 7 Series on which it was based, but felt that the styling lent itself very handsomely to a coupe.