Monday, September 29, 2014

San Jose Street Sighting - 1964 Rambler American 220

I always love a little AMC, and sometimes what I find is literally a little AMC. This is a 1964 Rambler American 220.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1974 Volvo 164E

It's still kind of weird to me hearing the name Volvo tossed around as a luxury manufacturer. They've gone upmarket in recent decades, but living in the San Francisco Bay Area it's very hard to shake the mental image of ratty old 244DLs with colossal black rubber bumpers. One of Volvo's first efforts to break into the luxury field was the 164, an upgraded version of the 144 sedan with a longer wheelbase and bigger engine. The 164 featured 3.0 liter straight-six power, wrapped in a unique front end with round headlamps and a tall, upright grille. Officially sold from 1969 to 1975, a small number were apparently also titled as '76s. This one is a '74, built with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection, a facelifted grille, large rubber bumpers, flush-mounted door handles and the first year without front vent windows. The 1974 164 was also available with heated seats, a perfect luxury item for a car from a Nordic country. Buyers had a choice of four-speed manual transmission with or without overdrive, or a three-speed automatic that hampered acceleration dramatically. Regardless, the automatic was popular in North America. I guess nobody really bought a Volvo sedan for its performance in the pre-turbo days.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1967 Austin Mini Cooper S

Lately we've been looking at a lot of huge cars here, so today let's switch it up with a classic Mini. This one's a Cooper S from the late '60s. I didn't spend a whole lot of time shooting it, so I don't know much about it. From what I can see in the pictures, this Cooper has been customized quite a bit with a roll bar, fender flares, different wheels and an aftermarket grille. The yellow-tinted headlamps give it a French-market appearance. If the taillight design, script badging and rear window shape are any indication, I think this is a 1967 car, an early Mark II. Mini fans, please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1932 Cadillac V-16 Dual Cowl Phaeton

There is something of a mythical quality about the Cadillac V-16. These were some of the greatest luxury cars in their time, comparable to contemporary Duesenbergs, Pierce-Arrows and Packards as ultimate symbols of wealth, power and opulence. They were always limited-production, built to order and built to specification for clients in a number of body styles. It is estimated that domestic GM affiliates Fleetwood and Fisher Body built as many as 70 different body variations on the V-16 chassis, and other coachbuilders produced their own around the world to order. The V-16 was offered for eleven model years from 1930 to 1940, and only 4,076 were built. More than half of these were made in the first year alone.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Danville Street Sighting - 2013 Morgan 3-Wheeler

Most modern cars don't impress me much, and most will never merit a feature post on this blog. But what about new-old cars? Morgan has been building sports cars with many of the same designs and technologies since the early 20th century. Morgan is famous for its wood-framed sports roadsters, but its roots lay in the three-wheeled cyclecar. Cyclecars were a fad for a while in Britain because they were classified as motorcycles and thus were not subject to the tax on regular cars. They were light and primitive and small, and effectively made obsolete by improved cheap small cars.

Friday, September 19, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1958 DeSoto Adventurer

Rounding out this week's visit with the San Francisco car collector I like to call Fifties Guy, is perhaps the rarest Mopar in his fleet. This is a 1958 DeSoto Adventurer, the most expensive model in DeSoto's lineup and one of just 432 made. Of those, 350 were coupes as seen here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1960 Plymouth Fury Convertible

This week we're taking a look at some more of the fleet belonging to the San Francisco car collector I like to refer to as Fifties Guy. This one isn't from the fifties, but it is a Forward Look Mopar. Fifties Guy seems to really love his finned Mopars, and this 1960 Plymouth Fury convertible is nothing short of spectacular.

Monday, September 15, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1959 Dodge Coronet Lancer

It's been a while since we last visited with Fifties Guy, so this week it's all Forward Look Mopars. First up is a 1959 Dodge Coronet.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Alameda Street Sighting - 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ

My previous post about the 1979 Chrysler 300 discussed the Malaise era's idea of a personal luxury car. Fake wood, hood ornament, baroque detailing, padded vinyl roof, you name it. Exotic, expensive-sounding European name? You got it. Take a look at the 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ and you get all those things. And much like the 300 was a sport version of the Cordoba, the SJ was the sport version of the Grand Prix.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1979 Chrysler 300

September 11 is a bittersweet day for Americans. This is the day when we remember the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City on the World Trade Center and on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. We also remember Flight 93, which went down in rural Pennsylvania after a number of the passengers fought the hijackers aboard that plane to prevent it from hitting its target. One of those heroes on Flight 93, Thomas Burnett, lived in my town of San Ramon; there is a freeway overpass here dedicated in his memory. Some Americans also remember this day for the more recent 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. To many, September 11 is Patriot Day, when we remember how we all came together as a country thirteen years ago. Beyond that, this is a car blog, and I generally try not to get overly political here.
So today in honor of Patriot Day, we're looking at a 1979 Chrysler 300.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Albany Street Sighting - 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia TI

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a surprisingly popular classic import in the Bay Area. Most of them are the sporty coupes, but there are a number of Giulia Super sedans as well. I've previously featured at least two of each, but this is the first Giulia TI I've seen.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1977 Buick Regal

A lot of cars have dealer license plate frames. A lot of cars have dealer plaques or name stickers on the trunk lid or rear panel. But not many owners keep the original window sticker from when the car was new. Here's one who did. It's a 1977 Buick Regal originally purchased at Don Stein Buick in Overland Park, Kansas.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Danville Street Sighting - 1951 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible

When selling a home, the Open House is a great way to draw in prospective buyers. But nobody knows to come in unless there's a sign outside. And it can't hurt to put out a little attention-grabber, like, say, a shiny black vintage Cadillac.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 Victoria

In my early days of researching for interesting local cars, I took to Flickr and found some photos of a blue 1958 Ford in San Francisco with a padlock on the driver-side door. Not since the Mr. Bean TV show had I seen a car with an actual padlock on it. I found where it was photographed but the car wasn't there. Years later I was driving through Oakland on my way back from Berkeley and there it was. It's rough, but it's a pretty cool old beast.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Dear Lada Owner...

To the fellow I spotted driving a maroon 1975 VAZ 2103 sedan with California plates "75 LADA" through Danville today, I desperately want to feature your car on this blog!

I've seen the Lada twice now, first at the car wash on San Ramon Valley Blvd, and then again today. Unfortunately this time I was driving a company vehicle and was on the clock so I couldn't follow, but I'll definitely be keeping an eye out in the future.

If the owner should ever happen to read this, please email me. Thanks!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Campbell Street Sighting - 1968 Chevrolet Impala Wagon

On rare occasions I encounter an interesting vehicle used by a business for advertising, that's cool enough to feature here. And sometimes I'd like to give that business a free plug. This car belongs to the owner of Jalisco Mexican Food in Campbell, California. My friends in San Jose introduced me to Jalisco a few years ago (they're friends with the owner) and I've been coming back ever since for their really good beef tacos.