Saturday, January 31, 2015

Collector's Corner - Motormax 2001 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor

If you've ever checked out eBay for police car diecasts, you'll know that it's a highly lucrative business. Collectors are often willing to pay a hefty price premium for an authentic replica, custom or otherwise, of their local agency's cruisers. A multitude of brands produce dozens of department liveries, and those that aren't covered by official releases are accommodated by releasing a plain black or plain white car ready to be detailed with waterslide decals offered in the online aftermarket. Some builders run wiring through the big 1:18 scale cars and install battery-powered LEDs that allow the squad car to have flashing lights and sometimes even sounds. It's a pretty cool effect. Unfortunately, a lot of the better police car replicas are rare and expensive, such as Auto Art's Ford Crown Victoria and UT Models's Chevrolet Caprice.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1971 Mini 1000 Automatic

I've sort of made a recurring thing posting classic Minis every so often. Here's another monthly Mini, if you will. It's our first factory-automatic one, a 1971 Mini 1000.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

San Ramon Street Sighting - 1972 International Harvester 1210 Travelette Pickup

I've heard a number of jokes about International Harvester trucks and rust. And I know that a lot of them really did succumb to rust. The 1970s IHC pickups are rare enough to start with, even before factoring in attrition from hard work and road salt and moisture. International always was kind of a niche player in the light-duty truck market, doing most of their business with heavy commercial trucks and the Scout SUV. Despite this, the Light Line pickups were offered in a wide range of styles, drivetrains and bed lengths.

Monday, January 19, 2015

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1951 Pontiac Chieftain DeLuxe Eight

I mentioned a couple of years ago that Bernal Heights is an unusual area full of unusual old cars, and that curiously it seems to be home to a lot of vintage Pontiacs. I've found a rat-rod '51 sedan and a beautifully restored '54 Chieftain there, and most recently this unrestored survivor '51 Chieftain DeLuxe.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

El Cerrito Street Sighting - 1951 Chevrolet Styleline DeLuxe

One of the great candidates for a budget '50s custom is the 1949-54 Chevrolet. They come in several body styles, have a classic look to them and are relatively easy to come by. They still have a vestige of that fat-fendered style and a good amount of chrome, and they support a range of themes from hydraulic lowrider to chopped and dropped lead sled. Sure, there's no factory V8 to speak of, but that never stopped any hot-rodder worth his salt.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Alameda Street Sighting - 1976 Toyota Corolla Deluxe Liftback

When my parents were just starting out, they had a choice to make: make a down payment on a small suburban ranch house or buy a Toyota Corolla SR5 Liftback. They picked the house. It was a wise choice, but the Corolla Liftback was and still is an interesting offering in the economy-car market of the era. I've always liked them, especially in lemon yellow.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1972 Volvo 1800ES

I'm still a fan of Volvo 1800ES wagons, in no small part because I'm a sucker for station wagons in general and two-door wagons in particular. The 1800ES was a rare bird even when new, as the final evolution of the P1800 sports coupe first seen in 1961. Only 8,077 ES wagons were ever built, and they remain a cool curiosity today.

Friday, January 9, 2015

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1953 Ford Customline Tudor Sedan

We've looked at a number of mid-1950s Fords already on California Streets, but none were ever quite as quintessentially "Fifties" as this one. This very pink '53 Customline spotted near San Francisco's Chinatown is a great example of one of my favorite model years of the decade.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1962 Mercury Monterey

Sometimes when I go into the city to look for cars I end up spending the whole day in one neighborhood. The day I photographed this 1962 Mercury Monterey four-door hardtop, I also found a 1950 Hudson, 1955 Chevy wagon, 1962 Magirus-Deutz fire truck, 1965 Ford Fairlane, 1977 Pontiac Sunbird, 1982 Toyota Starlet and several other interesting historic vehicles I'll be featuring here at a later date. All were in San Francisco's Sunset district.

Monday, January 5, 2015

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1968 Pontiac Firebird Convertible

Ever since I was a kid I've loved the 1967-1968 Pontiac Firebird. Given the choice of one of these, or a same-year Camaro, Mustang, Cougar or Barracuda, I would have trouble picking just one. But the Firebird places really high on my list of favorite cars from this period. It's not just a pretty face either; I'm pretty bored of seeing countless '67-68 Camaros at car shows. GM built 235,147 Camaros in 1968 and only 107,112 Firebirds the same year. GM produced 94,432 Camaros in 2013 (the most recent year for which I can find production numbers at the time of this writing) and Pontiac no longer exists at all.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Pleasanton Street Sighting - 1988 Lotus Esprit Turbo

One of the first cars I photographed for this blog was a red 1988 Lotus Esprit. Now here's another. For some reason all the Esprits I find parked on the street seem to be red, as this is our third one. It's a very nice one, too.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1972 Dino 246 GT

Let's start the new year off right, shall we?

One of my favorite events each year in San Francisco is Fleet Week, the second week in October when the U.S. Navy brings in an assortment of ships and the Blue Angels aerobatic team performs above the Bay for thousands of thrilled spectators. This latest Fleet Week air show fell on October 12, Columbus Day. North Beach has a large Italian population and the city holds an Italian Heritage parade on Columbus Day. When leaving the city after the air show, my friend and I spotted this dark red Dino 246 GT parked on Columbus Avenue. Incidentally, my friend is a huge fan of 246 GTs, so it was a perfect find for both of us.