Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1967 Ford Mustang GT Convertible

Regular readers of this blog may know that one of my traditions is not shooting and featuring every classic Ford Mustang I see. This is California, land of the rust-free classic, the muscle car, and the surviving old Mustang. The early ones are a dime a dozen, figuratively speaking, yet late first-generation cars don't show up as often. Post-1966 convertibles are quite uncommon out my way. So in keeping with my other tradition of photographing whatever car evokes a reaction from me, we examine this '67 Mustang GT.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Danville Street Sighting - 1971 Datsun 510

The toughest calls on what qualifies as a street sighting are usually those belonging to car show spectators. Even more difficult is when those cars are across the street, around the corner or down the block from the car show itself. Here is one such vehicle that really spoke to me, a 1971 Datsun 510 sedan which, at the time I photographed it, was an unrestored two-owner car with 63,000 miles.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1977 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow II

The Silver Shadow is still on my short list of favorite Rolls-Royce models. Really, it is a short list. Rolls hasn't made many cars that personally interest me in their illustrious 100-plus year history. Theirs is a reputation for quality, luxury, smoothness and silence. They build cars to a standard, not a price, and as a result the price is quite high - at least when new from the factory. Old Rollers are quite a bit cheaper.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1967 Ford Cortina Mk II

I like to network sometimes with other car spotters. Bill Stengel of The Street Peep clued me in to a collector of British Fords he once found in the Bay Area, but couldn't remember whether they were in Berkeley or Oakland. Well, they turned out to be in Oakland and I found them quite by coincidence. Someone has no fewer than four Cortinas and an Anglia 105E similar to the infamous flying car from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. This one is the four-door sedan, though you can also see a wagon (or estate) parked on the lawn in a few of the pictures. Oh, the joys of not having a homeowner's association!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Berkeley Street Sighting - 1960 Chevrolet Impala

Turquoise is such a 1950s-1960s color. Long before everyone went mad for metallic teal in the '90s, you had nice hues like this. In some lights it looks blue, in others green, but it's kind of a happy, optimistic color in keeping with an optimistic time. The chrome was thick, cars were big and floaty and if you weren't careful you might cut yourself on the tail fins. This '60 Chevy Impala sedan is Tasco Turquoise with matching interior, and just enough Ermine White to prevent being overwhelmed by all that turquoise.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1979 Honda Accord CVCC

In all my time publishing this blog I didn't think I'd get excited over a Honda Accord. It's that well-built, milquetoast family sedan that everybody and their brother, aunt, next-door neighbor and best friend will own at least one of in their lifetime. The average Accord performs its function with little drama, little character and is just... there. And yet, here's an Accord that has to be the cleanest one of its age I've seen in years. Most Accords give their owners a decade or two of reliable service, and then they have problems. And the owners frequently aren't car people, so when something breaks that's too expensive to fix, or the car is too old to be fashionable anymore, it goes to the junkyard.

Friday, April 18, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1965 Mercury Park Lane Marauder

The 1965 Mercury full-size line is fascinating to me. Someone at Ford must have thrown away all the French curves and left the drafting staff with yardsticks - both for design and for measurement. Few vehicles approach the sheer military grade right-angle-ness of a '65 Mercury Park Lane.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1967 BMW 2000CS

When I was a kid, my parents would drive me up into the Oakland hills to visit my grandmother. One house on a curve had a strange old car in the driveway, a very tired-looking white coupe with wraparound flush-mount headlamps and a BMW twin kidney grille and roundel logo. At my young age I knew old BMWs as having four round sealed-beam lights on the larger cars and two round lights on the 2002 coupes, but never had I seen one like that. Little did I know it was a New Class series coupe, a precursor to the E9 coupes I love so much today.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Castro Valley Street Sighting - 1960 Sunbeam Alpine Series I Roadster

Sunbeam Alpines and V8 Tigers are among my favorite vintage British roadsters, so it's a treat whenever I come across one. Though, as is common with older European cars, I'm terrible at narrowing down the model year or series number without visual clues. Best I can tell, we're looking at a Series I or Series II Alpine produced between 1959 and 1962. I'd like to think it's a '62 because the Series II cars had more power and were the most popular series. A 1963 car would have had vent windows on the doors and 1964 did away with the tail fins (making the rear somewhat resemble a Triumph TR4). The Alpine was a Rootes Group parts-bin special of Hillman and Sunbeam pieces, with a '50s-fashionable body and such novelties as roll-up windows and a heater that actually worked. It was good enough that one saw duty as James Bond's car in 1962's Dr. No. Granted, it only had to outrun a hearse. Nonetheless, modified Alpines were used successfully in racing.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk

Several days ago a reader contacted me about a 1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk for sale in San Francisco and recognized it as belonging to the collector I colloquially refer to as "Fifties Guy". I figured it was a good time to pull it out of the archives.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1967 Chevrolet Camaro RS

I've been hesitant to go after Camaros for this blog. They're not bad cars; they're not even bad-looking cars. I actually like them to an extent. They're attractively designed and are a great option for a classic performance car with a huge aftermarket and tuning potential. I just don't have much interest in them because they're such a common sight at every local car show. Almost all of them seem to be Super Sport clones in cliched color combinations with rally stripes and big engines. Less common are the subtle Rally Sport builds with a 327 V8 and muted colors.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Danville Street Sighting - 1948 Oldsmobile Dynamic 68

It's almost safe to say I've seen more custom cars with late-1940s Oldsmobile grilles than actual Oldsmobiles from that era. It's as if everyone scrapped them and forgot they existed. Fords, Chevys, that's all that seems to come out of the woodwork. The occasional Buick, Cadillac, Mercury or Chrysler product will pop up now and then, but Ford and Chevrolet seem to dominate the American classic car population and Oldsmobile is rarely represented. A postwar Olds, even a garden-variety four-door, is a red letter find for me.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1979 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon

For a long time I had a Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon on my list of cars I wanted to find and shoot. Really, any surviving Pinto is special to me, but I love the wagons and the silly disco-era Cruising Wagon is just cool in its own goofy way. Who wouldn't want a four-cylinder compact wagon with all the custom touches of a full-size panel van? Sure, you can't fit a queen-size bed in the back of a Pinto wagon, but it has the porthole bubble window, tape stripes and maybe a roll of shag carpeting. Finishing the package are slotted forged aluminum wheels and rear window slats, the latter for keeping the interior cool or perhaps affording privacy to intimate contortionists. Unsurprisingly the car was marketed to surfers and young people.

Friday, April 4, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1968 Dodge Coronet 440

Oh boy, if cars could talk. The 1968 Dodge Coronet sedan was not a particularly exciting vehicle, but I find this one fascinating.