Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Favorite Street Sightings of 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, let's take another look at some of my favorite street sighting posts of the year. These are the cars I had the most fun shooting, and/or interested me the most.

1929 Packard Model 640 Custom Eight Roadster, San Ramon

1930 Ford Model A Rumble Seat Coupe, Livermore

1932 Cadillac Model 452B V-16 Dual Cowl Phaeton, San Ramon

1948 Pontiac DeLuxe Torpedo Convertible, Danville

1951 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible, Danville

1957 Chrysler New Yorker, Alameda

1957 Fiat 600D Multipla, Berkeley

1968 Mercury Cougar XR-7, Los Gatos

1976 AMC Pacer X, San Francisco

1987 Yugo GV, Foster City

What were your favorites this year? What would you like me to look for?

See you in 2015!


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1954 MG TF Roadster

I guess I went hog wild photographing this one. I typically don't pay much attention to old British sports cars but this first-year MG TF caught my interest. Where I work, a fellow comes into the shopping center occasionally with a beautiful black '55 TF roadster, and since I first saw it I've wanted to spot one on the street to feature. This one was out on Pleasanton's historic Main Street and it is lovely.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from California Streets!

Wishing all of my readers and their families a joyful and safe Christmas, and a happy 2015!


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Collector's Corner - Maisto Hummer H1 Soft Top

Tomorrow is Christmas. Everyone knows that one of the most popular and enduring Christmas toys of the last 25 years is the Maisto 1:18 scale diecast model. And one of the most play-worthy Maisto models ever is their Hummer.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Alameda Street Sighting - 1970 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan

Admittedly I usually don't like photographing really beat-up cars but I do if they're interesting or uncommon. A 1970 Chevy Impala four-door hardtop used to be a common sight on America's roads, but certainly isn't anymore. GM produced over 600,000 Impalas in 1970, the vast majority of which were V8 cars. This number does not even include low-trim Biscaynes and Bel Airs or high-trim Caprices! I have seen an estimate of 46,000 for Impala Sport Sedan production but no actual number seems to be available.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1991 Alfa Romeo 164S

I've never known what to think of the Alfa Romeo 164. The Italian sport-luxury sedan has a look all its own, courtesy of Pininfarina and the last days of an Alfa Romeo independent of Fiat influence. There are some interesting shapes going on in the design, thanks to the overall square shape, bold triangular Alfa grille and deep character line that blends into the narrow strip taillights out back. The 164 featured a lot of technology and a variety of luxury and performance packages. It was available in base, 164L, 164S and 164 Quadrifoglio Verde (as well as a late-model Q4 variant with all-wheel-drive). The S featured a body kit and rear spoiler, 15-inch alloy wheels and a higher-performance version of the 3.0 liter V6 good for 200 horsepower.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1978 Ford Ranchero

I have a mild interest in late-model Ford Rancheros. The mid-to-late '70s utes are big and boxy, coming in two flavors mostly. There's the '72-76 model, beginning with the fish-mouth Torino-based front and evolving into the Starsky and Hutch '74-'76. An all-new Ranchero bowed for '77, based on the new LTD II. It used the same taillights as before, but the rest of the body was new and featured the LTD's coffin nose, pointed fenders and stacked quad headlamps. The body had more of a linear fuselage appearance as well, where the outgoing Torino-based pickup had a sculpted quarter panel.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Collector's Corner - IST Models 1971 Lada 1200

It's been a while since I did a diecast feature, and with Christmas coming it's time to do more. This is also when winter wreaks havoc on Russian roads and it makes for wild dash cam crash footage on YouTube. Put them together and you have a diecast model of a classic Soviet car, the 1971 Lada 1200, also known as the VAZ-2101 Zhiguli. It was AvtoVAZ's first model, a licensed copy of the Fiat 124. The Lada used thicker steel, softer suspension and tougher, simpler components compared to its Italian cousin.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Berkeley Street Sighting - 1955 Cadillac Series 62

As Cadillac runs screaming away from its own heritage in order to compete with its European rivals, the concept of what makes a Cadillac a Cadillac is changing. A new logo for 2015 loses the old laurel wreath around the Cadillac crest. Apparently this was deemed outdated, though the wreath used to denote a higher-trim model. No longer are a floaty ride or squishy couch seats considered desirable, and big engines are reserved only for performance models or trucks. And for the first time, you can get Cadillac sedans with a cramped back seat borderline unsuitable for adults. With all due respect, this is an improvement? This is the future? I understand that you have to compete with BMW, but Bimmer buyers are probably going to buy a BMW anyway. Seems to me Cadillac would want to lure buyers away from Lexus mostly.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Berkeley Street Sighting - 1989 Peugeot 405 Mi16

When one thinks of European sport sedans of the late 1980s, one might name the Germans first: BMW E34 M5, Mercedes-Benz 190E 2.3-16, Audi 4000S Quattro and the like. Then there are the others like the Italian Alfa Romeo 164 Quadrifoglio and smaller 75/Milano, but the French weren't necessarily known for building sporty sedans during most of the 1980s. You could get a 505 Turbo, or if you wanted something that looked like 1990 instead of 1980 you could opt for the smaller and more modern 405. And the hottest 405 sold in the States was the Mi16.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

A lot of people are familiar with the Wagon Queen Family Truckster from National Lampoon's Vacation. Anyone remember what Clark Griswold traded in at Lou Glutz Motors when he got the Truckster? It was an Olds Vista Cruiser wagon. Unlike the Griswold car, though, this '72 model hasn't been crushed flat by an unscrupulous car dealer bent on selling a badly-modified Country Squire.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Oakland Street Sighting - 1972 Fiat 850 Sport Spider

The Fiat 850 is a rather interesting car. A lot of older Italian family cars feature expanded lineups with several unique products on the same chassis, and the 850 is a great example of this. It was offered as a two-door Berlina sedan, two-door Familiare wagon, Furgonata small van, coupe and Spider roadster. Two versions of certain models were available, the mainstream Normale and higher-performance Super. Coupe and Spider models received a special engine tuned for even greater power (47 horsepower instead of the Normale's 34 and Super's 37). All models came with a four-speed stick, rear engine and rear-wheel drive. American 850s got a smaller-displacement, 49.8 cubic inch engine to evade federal emissions regulations applying to engines of 50 ci and larger -- pretty sneaky.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Los Angeles Street Sighting - 1979 Lincoln Continental Mark V

Okay, full disclosure. This car belongs to my friend, who purchased it in L.A. a few years ago for $600 to save it from being crushed. These photos were taken the first time I ever laid eyes on it. This is also perhaps the only street sighting to date which I've actually ridden in.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Santa Cruz Street Sighting - 1970 Mini Cooper S

It's been over a month since our last classic Mini, so it was time for another. I've come across a few Mk III Minis from the early 1970s and they almost all seem to be Coopers or at least done up as such. To the untrained observer (like me), any old Mini with a few visual enhancements and some replica badges from Mini Mania or Moss Motors could be a Cooper or Cooper S.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Berkeley Street Sighting - 1955 Chevrolet Two-Ten Sedan

When all else fails, Tri-Five Chevy. I've featured a number of these cars previously in all different body styles and models, and yet this is the first pillared four-door we've looked at.