Friday, May 30, 2014

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1948 Buick Super Sedanet

It's been a long time since the full-size two-door fastback was a competitive player in the marketplace. Probably not since the 1970s has anyone seriously pursued that style as a mainstream model, usually more as a niche performance model. Earlier than that, domestic manufacturers took advantage of the public's interest in sleek, streamlined forms and produced a unique body style known as the sedanet (or sedanette depending on who you ask). Buick produced Sedanets from around 1940 until 1952, available on certain years of Specials, Supers and Roadmasters.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1972 Jeep Commando

A few years ago we looked at a 1972 Jeep Commando, hurriedly photographed on a rainy day in San Francisco. It was almost all factory stock and in very good condition, but I didn't have the time to do it justice. For this one, I had better weather and more time.

Monday, May 26, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1972 AM General M35A2C

It's Memorial Day in the United States, a day to honor those who have died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. So today we look at a favorite workhorse of the U.S. military (and many others around the world), an AM General M35 2-1/2 ton cargo truck. Specifically, a 1972 M35A2C.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1962 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Corvan

One of the first 100 street sightings featured here was a 1963-65 Chevy Corvair Greenbrier, posted in 2010 but actually spotted in spring 2009. From that point on, the only Forward Control Corvairs I saw were at car shows, museums or otherwise on private property. Then I stumbled upon this early Corvair 95 Corvan in Oakland. It would be nice to complete the set someday with a Loadside or Rampside pickup, but until then I'll be happy with what I've seen.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Los Gatos Street Sighting - 1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7

"I love it when a plan comes together." Those words were made famous by George Peppard in The A-Team, and it's true. In my case, though, making plans usually ensures something will go wrong, but serendipity frequently comes through and something positive happens that's totally different. I planned a day to drive to Aptos via Santa Cruz. A Flickr member who owns a 1976 Citro├źn CX OK'd me to stop by and check out his car, if I could find it. Well, I couldn't. In fact, nothing in Aptos made itself available. Santa Cruz yielded a couple of vehicles that day including the Mazda Miata art car in my previous post. Then on the return trip I happened upon this gorgeous 1968 Mercury Cougar in the town of Los Gatos. And where better to find a Cougar than in a town whose name means "The Cats" in Spanish?

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Santa Cruz Street Sighting - 1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Art Car

There comes a time when one runs into something too weird to ignore. Such is the case with art cars, a rolling sculpture that makes a statement, even if nobody in their right mind can figure out what the statement or even the theme is. It's easy to dismiss art cars as the domain of people who weren't given enough attention as children, and I really don't want to do that. But for the life of me I can't figure out why putting a Dodge Ram grille on a Mazda Miata and covering it with seashells and car parts was a good idea.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Berkeley Street Sighting - 1953 MG TD Roadster

When I was a kid, I kept a scrapbook of pictures I thought were interesting, both for drawing references and just stuff I liked. One thing that intrigued me was a brochure for a company that offered fiberglass kit cars. They did Porsche 356 Speedsters, Mercedes "Gazelles", Shelby Cobras, the whole gamut of tube frames and/or VW chassis. It was there that I learned of MG roadster replicas. Like the Gazelle, I believe the MG TD kit cars could be built as front- or rear-engined depending on the donor chassis. There is one in my area and it just looks slightly off. When I was younger the old MGs always seemed common enough that if you really wanted one, why not just get a real one?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1965 Ford Galaxie 500

I love the 1965 Ford Galaxie. Yes, I'm biased because my father's first car was a '65 Galaxie, but I also like the way they look. I like the sharply creased body lines, simple and clean without appearing too generic. It's a departure from the '64 Galaxie, with stacked quad headlights, a formal roofline and a slightly jutting coffin-nose grille. The Galaxie was moving upmarket, with the addition of the new LTD as its top model. The Galaxie itself was available with a range of options from stripped fleet special to a nice big family car.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Danville Street Sighting - 1989 Volvo 780 Bertone

The Volvo 780 by Bertone is quite possibly in my top three favorite Volvo models, or at least top five. The 780 is an interesting creature, a Swedish sport coupe designed and built by Italians and powered (in some models) by the PRV corporate V6 engineered with Peugeot and Renault. The 780 was a loaded flagship with real wood, quality leather and a host of conveniences and features from a power moonroof to automatic climate control. It was produced from 1986 to 1991 in limited numbers, with only 8,518 rolling off the assembly line during that period (Some sources say it's more like 9,521, but Volvo themselves claim the smaller number). The US market received 5,695 of those.

Monday, May 12, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1954 Cadillac Fleetwood Series 60 Special

Some people are crazy about '50s Cadillacs. Something about the tail fins, chrome, powerful engines and luxurious floaty ride made the Caddy the car everyone dreamed of owning back in the day. It was what you wanted to trade up to once you became successful and could finally prove to everyone that you were, because you drove a Cadillac. That was back when Cadillac was the Standard of the World and could actually back up the claim. Today everyone best remembers the outrageous fins of the 1959 Cadillacs, but earlier Cadillacs were more subtle.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Berkeley Street Sighting - 1965 Pontiac GTO

In my humble opinion, one of the most attractively styled American cars of the 1960s was the '65 Pontiac GTO. Simple, clean lines give the GTO a classic elegance while maintaining a brawny muscle car appearance. Pontiac had one of the coolest sporty cars on the market that year, stuffing a 389 cubic inch V8 and optional four-speed into the humble Tempest body. The GTO package replaced the base Tempest eggcrate grille with a simpler design from the Le Mans, dispensed with non-functional vents and body trim (except for a fake hood scoop, which could be modified into a cold-air intake by dealers) and received heavier duty suspension, brakes and a new dash with more instrumentation. GTOs also got special badging.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Santa Cruz Street Sighting - 1954 Chevrolet One-Fifty Handyman

I actively search for new cars by exploring new areas, but I also utilize other resources such as Flickr and Google Street View, word of mouth from friends and sometimes even advice from fellow owners who tip me off on where to find cars. My interest in this 1954 Chevrolet 150 Handyman wagon was piqued by a few close-up photos I found of it on Flickr with no location given. I searched in vain for the car online until I was puttering around Santa Cruz with a friend one day and by chance it turned up.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1963 Lincoln Continental Convertible

We've already looked at a few 1960s Lincoln Continentals here, but nearly all have been sedans and thus far, only two years have been represented: 1963 and 1968. This is yet another '63, but it's our first Continental convertible.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1964 Chrysler 300K

Chrysler's 300 letter cars are some of their best-known historical models, a range of high-performance luxury muscle cars that proved themselves on the NASCAR circuit. The traditional logic for a performance car in the 1960s typically called for a relatively light vehicle with bucket seats, a large-displacement V8 and a four-speed manual transmission on the floor. The traditional logic for a Chrysler by this point was a huge, heavy car with a big lazy V8 and an automatic. The 300 was more of a powerful highway cruiser for executives looking for a sportier car than an Imperial. The 300 letter series was the ultimate 300 with more power and more sport touches. And for a select few who wanted to row their own gears, a four-speed with Hurst shifter was available. Chrysler sold 3,022 300Ks in 1964, but only 82 customers bought a 4-speed. This is one of 450 coupes known to survive, and one of just fourteen known 4-speeds left. I contacted Bob Merritt of Golden Lion Grrrages, a Chrysler 300 enthusiast who believes that this car is one of the fourteen in his records.

Friday, May 2, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1970 Toyota Corona Mark II 1900 Wagon 4x4

A lot of the time, when you run across a custom car that's something completely unique, someone else has already posted something about it online. That makes research a lot easier. But sometimes it's a Frankenstein car and in some cases, the history isn't publicly known. All I know is I've seen this 1970 Toyota Corona Mark II wagon at least three times around the Bay Area since 2010 and I still know very little about it.