Monday, November 26, 2012

Alameda Street Sighting - 1957 Cadillac Sedan DeVille

Cadillacs of the 1950s have always been rather hit-or-miss in my opinion. They're all classics, but not all of them are something I'd want to cruise around in. The early '50s cars in particular have a certain sameness about them that makes me feel ignorant when I have to Google the various model years to tell the difference. Cadillac design really got interesting in 1957, when the fins got bigger to compete with Detroit's other more extroverted offerings. The front end styling was still familiar Cadillac, but aft of the B-pillar everything looked new. The C-pillar was thicker and now reversed, as was the reverse-slanted A-pillar (formerly vertical), giving the greenhouse a crisp, symmetrical look with wraparound windshield and rear window. Out back, the fins have more of a designed-in look that abandons the little P-38 fighter-inspired tail fins that dated back to 1948, and are capped with chrome trim that continues downward to the little blister taillights and exhaust outlets built into the bumper.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Street Sightings Wish List

The holiday season is upon us and Christmas is fast approaching. Kids are making their wish lists for the toys and stuff they want Santa to bring them.

I once made a list of cars I would not be likely to feature as street sightings. Here's my wish list of vehicles I would most love to find, photograph and feature.

Alfa Romeo Alfetta
Alfa Romeo Giulia / Giulia Super / GTV / Giulietta
Alfa Romeo GTV6
Alfa Romeo Montreal
AMC Concord / Eagle
AMC Matador coupe
AMC Pacer
Any member of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg family
Bricklin SV-1
1950s-early 1960s Cadillacs
1950s-1970s Chrysler/Imperial (Forward Look to Fuselage)
Citroen DS21 / Familiale
Citroen GS / 2CV / Dyane / Ami / Mehari
Citroen HY van
Citroen Traction Avant
Checker Marathon
Chevrolet Corvair sedan / Lakewood wagon / Corvan 95 pickup
Clark Cortez motorhomes
Classic Motor Carriages kit cars (i.e. Classic 359 for novelty purposes)
Datsun 411
DeLorean DMC-12
DeSoto anything
DeTomaso Pantera
1958-1959 Dodge Coronet / Lancer
Dodge M37 / Power Wagon
Dodge Omni GLH
Dodge Charger Daytona / Plymouth Superbird
1957-1958 Dodge Sweptside pickup
1958-1960 Edsels
Ferrari F40
Ferrari F50
Fiat 128
Fiat 131 / Brava
Fiat 850
Fiat Strada
Ford Fiesta (1st gen)
Ford Model T
Ford Model A
Ford Pinto Squire / Cruising Wagon
Hearses and flower cars (particularly vintage)
Honda Z600
Hudson / Terraplane
Indy 500 Pace Car edition vehicles
[Lincoln] Continental Mark II (1956-1957) also other classic 1950s-1970s Continentals and Mark series
pre-1995 Lotus sports cars
McLaren F1
Mercedes-Benz 280SE coupe / convertible (pre-1971)
Mercedes-Benz Heckflosse / fintail
1950s-1960s full size Mercurys
1930s-1950s Packards
1958 "Packardbaker"
Peugeot 504
Peugeot 505 wagon
1970-1971 Plymouth Barracuda
Vintage Pontiacs particularly 1957-1959
Pre-1980 oddball English roadsters - Sunbeam, Triumph, Morgan etc
Qvale Mangusta
Ramblers / Nashes
Renault LeCar (or any Renault)
Vintage Rolls-Royce / Bentleys
Saab 9-6 coupe/ 9-5 wagon
Saab 99 Turbo
Saab Sonett
Shelby anything (GT350 / GT500 / Cobra also Shelby-branded Mopar products or Series 1)
Soviet/Russian cars (Lada/GAZ/Volga/etc)
Big old funky station wagons
Studebaker Grand Turismo Hawk
Toyota FJ55 Land Cruiser
Volkswagen 412 wagon
Volkswagen Karmann Ghia Type 34
Volvo 122S Amazon wagon
Volvo 1800ES
Willys 4WD All-Steel Station Wagon
Willys Jeep
Woodie wagons of any kind (particularly off-brand cars and unpopular model years)

Others... what would you, my readers, like to see here?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Danville Street Sighting - 1963 Buick Wildcat convertible

I'm not an expert on 1960s Buicks. Aside from the Riviera, it seems most of the Buick line was an upgraded version of the more common Chevrolets and Pontiacs. The 1963 Buick Wildcat may have a passing resemblance in profile to the 1963 Chevy Impala. That's because it is based on the full-size B platform Chevy, albeit with many changes. Wildcats were an interesting creature, more of a large sporty car than a general boulevard cruiser.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Alameda Street Sighting - 1962 Studebaker Lark

Studebaker is one of the few brands that usually makes me stop and take notice when I see one on the street or at car shows. Avantis, Hawks and the classic 1950-51 bulletnose cars are the iconic models everyone remembers, but the 1960s Larks are cool as well. Consider that they were developed on a shoestring budget from late-1950s body and chassis components and you're left with an oddball compact sedan that looked very different from most of the cars on the road.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Collector's Corner - Maisto 1955 Volkswagen Type 1 Beetle

Is there any car on this earth more recognizable than the Volkswagen Beetle? They built more than 20 million of the things and sold them all over the world for several decades. For sure, the Bug has made an indelible impression on people - and kids everywhere recognize it. Heck, they play games that involve punching each other when they see one. So it makes sense for model manufacturers to produce a VW Beetle. Maisto, Revell, Solido and a number of other companies make one.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Danville Street Sighting - 1943 Dodge WC-52

In the United States, November 11 is Veterans Day. It's a day when we honor those in uniform who have fought for our freedom. In honor of our armed forces, I'm featuring a World War II military truck, a Dodge WC-52.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Rental Car Review - 2013 Buick LaCrosse

I recently went on a road trip with a good friend of mine visiting from Canada. The destination was southern California, but our plans expanded to Las Vegas as well. Instead of putting a bunch of miles on my car or his pickup, we elected to rent a car.

The rental company had exactly two vehicles available: a Toyota Yaris 5-door hatchback and a 2013 Buick LaCrosse. Neither car was something we wanted, but since the trip would involve mostly highway driving we selected the Buick.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Santa Cruz Street Sighting - 1963 Ford Thunderbird

For those readers who cringed at the 1961 Thunderbird I featured last time, rejoice! Here's a beautiful 1963 T-Bird I found in sunny Santa Cruz. This car is nearly perfect and I'd wager it's been restored. For some reason I love 1963 Ford products in metallic beige. I have a diecast display model of a '63 Ford Galaxie 500XL painted this color, which I chose because it was subtle and elegant compared with the bright reds and blues of the time period. Mind you, I complain about modern beige cars but I don't see it as too much of a double standard. Modern cars are boring to start with and beige makes them even worse!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Alameda Street Sighting - 1961 Ford Thunderbird

It breaks my heart sometimes to see a classic car being kicked around. At some point it ceases to be a beautiful machine and metastisizes into that ugly old car everyone avoids in parking lots and curses on the highway (you know, the vehicle everybody blames the bad smell on whether it's at fault or not). There's only so much a car can take before it becomes cost-prohibitive to repair. This is typical of cars from the 1970s onward, the big boats that aren't worth very much and thus make no economic sense to restore after a wreck. Those cars usually end up unceremoniously dropped off at a junkyard when their owners decide it's better to take the scrap value and run rather than invest another dime in their old jalopy.