Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Livermore Street Sighting - 1987 Merkur XR4Ti

It's the mid 1980s. You're a moderately successful professional in the market for a new prestige car. You could buy a Cadillac, or a Lincoln, or a nice Chrysler. But you want something a little more European, smaller, and sporty. You could buy a BMW 3 Series, but every yuppie buys a BMW. So you bite your lip and walk onto the lot at the Lincoln-Mercury dealer, past the squishy Grand Marquis and Town Cars, past the formal-roofed Cougar and hump-trunked Mark VII LSC with their thirsty V8s. On one side of the lot there's a shiny two-tone hatchback that looks like nothing else there. "What's a Merkur?" you ask the eager salesman who caught you staring at this strange car that says it was made in Germany. A four-cylinder with a turbocharger? The salesman proudly tells you this car shares its 2.3 liter turbo engine with the Mustang SVO and Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. You didn't even know you could get a Mustang with a turbo! So you test drive this unusual alphanumeric car. It ticks the boxes you're looking for. Alloy wheels, moonroof, rear spoiler, minimal brightwork, rear-wheel-drive, sport-tuned suspension, five-speed manual, and it pulls when you stomp the gas and the turbo spools up. You take a chance, sign on the dotted line and become the only person in your neighborhood with a Merkur XR4Ti.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Alameda Street Sighting - 1946 Chevrolet Stakebed Truck

Two years ago I featured a mid-1940s Chevy commercial flatbed truck. That one was a challenge to identify because of I don't know commercial trucks very well. Here we have another one which may be a 3600 series 3/4 ton model, which if I've guessed correctly is classified as a model 3609 stake bed.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Oakland Street Sighting - 1966 Plymouth Sport Fury

I'm not really sure how the words "Sport" and "Fury" go together. I guess it's something like "Mustang" and "Cobra". When you don't think about it, it makes perfect sense. The name Fury comes from the three Greek goddesses of vengeance. So a Sport Fury must be a very athletic, angry goddess.

Monday, July 18, 2016

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1959 Chevrolet Impala Sport Sedan

My God, has it really been almost two years since we last visited with Fifties Guy? My schedule doesn't allow me to visit San Francisco as often as I used to, and that means fewer opportunities to stop by the street-parked collection of the man I like to call Fifties Guy. Keen readers will remember his steel menagerie of chrome boats. Every so often he buys one, sells another, but always has enough old cars to stay busy with their upkeep. Here's a 1959 Chevy Impala flattop.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Danville Street Sighting - 1968 AMC AMX

My Independents' Week feature series may be over, but I decided to add a bonus one just for the heck of it. Here's a 1968 AMC AMX.

Friday, July 8, 2016

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1972 Jeep Wagoneer

Alright, alright, I know. This is Independents' Week. So why a Jeep? Jeep is part of Chrysler, hardly an independent automaker. (One could argue that Chrysler is pretty darn dependent nowadays, seeing as Fiat's calling the shots, but that's another story.) Well, Jeep used to be independent or at least was produced by a series of independent companies.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

San Francisco Street Sighting - 1949 Kaiser Traveler

This is Independents' Week, where we take a look at American classic cars not produced by the Big Three of Ford, General Motors or Chrysler. Second up this week is a 1949 Kaiser Traveler.

Monday, July 4, 2016

San Jose Street Sighting - 1950 Studebaker Champion

Today is July 4, America's Independence Day. You may have noticed that the entire last month was devoted to British cars and by now you might be ready for your own declaration of independence. So this week let's check out some classics from independent American automakers. First up is a 1950 Studebaker Champion sedan.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Danville Street Sighting - 1962 Triumph TR3B

I've never really known what to make of most older Triumph sports cars. The 1950s and 1960s TR2 and TR3 roadsters have a certain bug-eyed look to them. The TR4 was starting to evolve into a modern sports car and eventually turned into the pretty TR6. Then everything went to hell with the wedge-shaped TR7 and Rover V8 powered TR8 in the late 1970s. (I'd love to feature a TR7 or TR8 someday, but they're hard to find.)