I have long thought that the latter half of the 1960s and early '70s was a great time for Chrysler Corporation styling. This wasn't true in all cases across all brands and models, but the Pentastar produced a lot of really handsome cars during this time period. And before they dipped into an awful rut of desperate-looking "luxury" cars during the Malaise era that lasted even into the 1990s, Chrysler made some impressive luxury cars. Among them is the 1967 Imperial Crown four-door hardtop.
In the '50s and '60s, if you wanted a luxury sedan, you often either got a proper limousine or a 4-door hardtop. The hardtop allowed all four frameless windows to roll down for a feel like the open touring cars of old; or like a 4-door convertible with none of the sunburn risk.
Sunday, April 28, 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
The Saab Sonett is something of a mythical beast among Saab enthusiasts. It began as a lightweight two-seater open sports car with a 3-cylinder two-stroke engine producing 57.5 horsepower, primarily for racing, but rules changed and only six were built. The name Sonett refers not to the poetic form popularized by Shakespeare (spelled 'sonnet') but rather is based on a Swedish phrase meaning "so neat they are" or more loosely, "how cool is that?".
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
For some reason the neighborhood of Bernal Heights is a haven for circa-1950 Pontiacs. I know of at least three of them in the compact area. The first one I found was a stock 1954 Chieftain sedan, followed by this apparently rat-rodded 1951 sedan which almost looks like it was a police car decades ago. A 1949 Pontiac sedan exists as well, but I haven't had the opportunity to find it yet.
Monday, April 8, 2013
I'm still a bit ambivalent toward Mercedes-Benz. They are a brand revered the world over for reliable, well-engineered and safe cars. Many consider them the de facto inventors of the automobile. And yet, the vast majority of Mercedes-Benz products do absolutely nothing whatsoever for me. In fact, only a handful have made it onto California Streets, mainly because mainstream Mercedes cars are a dime a dozen in California and they bore me. The cities and suburbs are still crawling with old clattering diesel W123s and even the older sedans can still be found in moderate quantities. But then there is the matter of the SL-Class.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
There are some cars I photograph more extensively than others, and it frequently depends on the environment or how good an example of that model the vehicle is. Sometimes both factors apply, in the case of this orange Chevy Monza in dappled late afternoon shade. Parked on a quiet residential street in Alameda, this Monza is not really what one would expect to find. But given that the same block contained a 1973 Cadillac hearse, a late '70s Trans Am, a VW Thing and another Monza, I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.
Thursday, April 4, 2013
For a long time now, I've wanted to write something about the Datsun 240Z. They're still plentiful in California and have a strong following as one of the greatest Japanese sports cars of the 1970s. In recent years these cars have enjoyed a bit of a resurgence with the import tuning crowd. I think the anime series Wangan Midnight has helped do for the 240Z what Initial D did for the Toyota Corolla AE86.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
The Jaguar Mark II sedan is considered a true classic among Jaguar enthusiasts. A lot of four-door Jags have come and gone since then, and not all of them have been great cars. The Mark II was supplanted by the S-Type, which evolved into the 420 during an interim period that fully adopted a blockier, squared-off front with four headlamps. This would become a trademark Jaguar styling cue for decades with the arrival of the new XJ midsize luxury sedan in 1968. The design language had first appeared on the 1961 Mark X. The 1966 420 looked like a slightly scaled-down Mark X, and that resemblance may have had something to do with the Mark X being renamed 420G the same year.