Thursday, July 27, 2006

"Considered by Some to Be the Best American Sports Car Ever Built": 1985 Ford Mustang SVO

C'mon now. Not even its mom thinks the SVO Mustang was the best American sports car ever built. Kind of an interesting curiosity though, representing as it did the last gasp of newthink in Detroit before the success of its 5.0 sister put everyone back on the old no-substitute-for-cubic-inches path. This wasn't so much Ford building a sports car as it was some autistic child building a Saab out of Tinkertoys.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

"**Tuned by Xenocron on Crome Pro**": 1985 Honda CRX Si

I don't have any idea what that means, but I kinda love that dude's turned this thing into a barely driveable screamer and kept it looking completely stock. Here's to sleepers.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

"Parked on a Nice Lot": 1971 Opel Manta Rallye

Nobody did the flat black hood like Opel. Too bad it's an automatic.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Well Yeah, Just Throw 'Er In Reverse!: 1994 Honda Prelude

I don't know what I love most about this ad: the suggestion that the front-drive Prelude might be suitable for drifting, the "full combat kit" (perhaps accounting for armor shortages in Iraq?), the fact that dude convinced his girlfriend to appear in the photo (at least from the shoulders down), or "Please leave a message." In quotes, just like that. Wha?

Click on the pic to check out the ad.

Why Do You Suppose They Called It That?: 1971 AMC Gremlin

Mostly I'm just curious to know at what point the column-mounted tach was installed, and by whom, and for what possible reason.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

The Things That Dreams Are Made Of: 1986 Aston Martin Lagonda

The only car that can really hold a candle to the Quattroporte in the outrageous sedan sweepstakes. Somebody with more money than me, buy this car and we'll convoy. It'll be awesome.

Note especially the instrument panel that might've been conceived by a James Bond set designer, and also the name plaque on the cam cover. The story goes that for decades Aston Martin employed the same four engine builders; each would hand assemble an engine start to finish and affix his name to the motor when finished — the artist's signature in the corner. Here's the good part though: the guy who worked the dyno, who'd been putting completed engines through their paces for as long as anyone could remember, could supposedly divine the identity of a given unit's builder based solely upon the sound. Almost certainly apocryphal, but when a story's that good you'd kinda be a dick to quibble.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Okay, Maybe I Don't Even Need a Fucking Garage: 1985 Maserati Quattroporte

I am getting weak.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Friday, July 21, 2006

If Only I Had a Garage: 1973 Buick Riviera

The last great gesture of a storied career, and this looks like a fine example. Bummer about the '73 bumpers though.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

If Only I Had a Garage: 1983 Audi Quattro

If you wanted full-time four-wheel-drive in the early '80s, your choices were AMC, Subaru, or this. Exotic lustmobile then, still pretty cool now.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Aim High Dept.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Do It in a Datsun: 1979 Datsun 210

When I was in seventh grade my friend Shawn and I had a game. On the schoolbus we'd keep our eyes peeled and when one of us spotted one in traffic we'd be like, "Whoa! Check it out! Datsun 210!" like we'd just seen a Countach or something. I guess you had to be there.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Weird Old England: 1974 TVR 2500M

Air conditioning?

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Dept. of Probably Not Dept.: 1977 Chevrolet 1/2-ton Stepside

Remember when the idea of hillbillies in the White House was funny?

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Monday, July 17, 2006

CinemathiQ: Grand Prix

John Frankenheimer, 1966

The thing is, I don't even care about racing. F1 is boring, NASCAR is hideous, everything else is just pathetic in its futile struggle for relevance. And this is not coming from some crotchety old-timer going on about how much better things were in his day. No. The shit that I'm into was over before I was born.

That this movie was made at all is shocking; that it was made at the absolute perfect instant in the hundred-year history of motor racing is just ridiculous luck. Neither the cars — pre-wings, pre-sponsors — nor the drivers — Graham Hill, Jack Brabham, Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, Phil Hill, et al. — were ever cooler than they were during the 1966 F1 season, and Frankenheimer shows us everything. When Yves Montand's fictional Jean-Pierre Sarti enters a gala party after winning Monaco, he is accompanied in the frame by the real, corporeal, unmistakable Fangio, toweringly regal despite his unassuming and seemingly bemused deference. Fucking Fangio! And the racing footage just defies belief.

The plot is pure soap opera, but seriously, who gives a shit?

If you haven't seen it, see it. If, like me, you haven't seen it in fifteen years, get the DVD. It's even better than you remember. It'll take your head off. (Marty, yours is in the mail.)

Click on the pic to get yerself a copy!

Bela Lugosi's Dead: 1980 S&S Cadillac Victoria

Is there a more guaranteed hook than the term, "W/CASKET"? I think not.

Click on the pic to visit the auction.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

If Only I Had a Garage: 1966 Avanti II

Raymond Loewy's masterstroke, the car so cool they had to keep building them even after the company ceased to exist.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Friday, July 14, 2006

If Only I Had a Garage: 1965 Jaguar S-Type 3.8

Thirty thousand miles? Five thousand bucks? ("Reserve not met," whatever.) I'd lose the whitewalls though.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

I &hearts the 80s: 1987 Isuzu Impulse RS

As tacky as that short-lived '80s monochrome mania looks now, this car amounted to a total design tour de force when it was introduced, and it's still striking. One year after this example Isuzu started outsourcing the suspension tuning to Lotus (!), and if I'm not mistaken these were rear-drivers, so who knows? Could actually be kinda fun.

Dude gets major anal points for carefully masking the tag numbers while leaving the Rockies intact btw, a meticulous over-attention to detail that's totally in keeping with the rest of the car.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Western New York Special: 1977 Lincoln Continental Mark V

It's all about the carpeted garage, baby.

Pretty sure the front and rear overhang on these things when put together is longer than my whole car.

Click on the pic to check out the ad.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Aim High Dept.: 1978 Oldsmobile Regency Ninety-Eight

I think the key phrase here is "or B/O."

Click on the pic to see the ad.

Pardon Our Drool: 1973 Citroen SM

I'm guessing a major consideration if one were actually contemplating the purchase of one of these would be the availability of "well-known, experienced Citroen mechanics" in one's vicinity. Sounds like we know the guy to go to if you live in San Francisco; I'm less optimistic about my odds in western New York. My lust is unabated.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

I &hearts the 80s: 1983 Nissan Pulsar NX

"Rare, rare sports car," it says. Which might be overstating things. Still, kind of amazing.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Weird Old England: 1974 Lotus Elite

After providing the template for sports car perfection with its '60s Elan, Lotus entered something of a wacky phase with its 1970s road cars. The second-generation Elite seemed to result from a particulary ill-conceived experiment in cross-breeding, to wit: what if we mated an Esprit (Giugiaro's stunning new mid-engine design) with a Europa (Lotus' own, earlier, somewhat clumsier attempt at same)? Except, you know, we'll put the engine in front and give it a back seat?

That's the sound of crickets.

Still, you won't see yourself coming the other way very often, and I'll bet it's a hoot to drive. And fiberglass – no rust, not even in New Hampshire! Live free or die!

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

If Only I Had a Garage: 1978 Lancia Beta

Well, shocker. From the looks of things, it would appear that there is at least one other person in the world who gives something resembling the remotest hint of a shit about these cars. Wherefore my fascination? Something about those exquisitely thin pillars, maybe? And the fact that few things are as seductive to me as the kind of utter obscurity Lancia's enjoyed in this country since, um, forever?

Somebody please buy this car and send me better pictures of it. Thank you.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Oh, Goodie Dept.

Random Thought: 1994 Lexus LS400

Parked next to one at the supermarket yesterday it occurred to me that there's probably not a nicer car in the world to be had for a couple grand than a first-generation big Lexus. I mean, if all you cared about was silly stuff, like comfort and reliability. (Pssssh.)

Seriously: torquey, efficient V-8, leather and power everything, and it's a freakin' Toyota? Who cares if it's got a quarter million miles on it, as most of 'em do. Thing'll go forever. How do you go wrong here?

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

If Only I Had a Garage: 1972 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser

Yet another reason to hate baby boomers: you know why eighteen kabillion stupid giant SUVs have been sold in the last fifteen years? It's because boomers have a horror of station wagons. They're terrified to be seen in one, lest their deluded, imagined aura of "cool" somehow be damaged.


Station wagons are cool. Always have been, always will be.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Monday, July 10, 2006

I &hearts the 80s: 1985 Dodge Omni GLH

Yes, GLH really stands for Goes Like Hell. Per Carroll Shelby, yo.

This one looks pretty tired, but dude's got a veritable K-car spin-off museum out there in the desert: I spy a Shelby Charger, what looks to be a Shelby Lancer, and a late-model Aries/Reliant to boot!

Click on the pic to check out the auction

God Help Me If I Ever Have Money: 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2

There's also a Daytona currently up for bid — the one seen in the background in the Espada photos from the other day — that's already up over two hundred. This auction's stalled at fifty. Is the iconic Daytona really four times more desirable than its 2+2 sibling? Half again, maybe. Maybe even twice. But four times? C'mon, now. It's not like it's one of these we're talking about.

Much as I love 'em, somehow I can't help but imagine I'd feel like a total poseur driving a Daytona. This I could get into, though. Especially in the rosso chino. The photos are pure porn.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

If Only I Had a Garage: 1974 Saab Sonnet III

It would be lazy and reductionist simply to call Satch Carlson the Hunter S. Thompson of automotive journalism, but it wouldn't be entirely inaccurate, either. In a world where cloying nostalgia or pompous, overprivileged self-aggrandizement are a reader's only respite from stale reporting and hype, Satch was and is a true original, beholden to no one, preaching the gospel of eccentric car love to anyone willing to listen. Back in the '80s he single-handedly made Autoweek worth reading. These days he writes exclusively for the benefit of the BMWCCA members (ew!) whose monthly mag he edits, but currently among ebaymotors' many treasures one will find these 3500 words about one of Satch's Saabs. Enjoy!

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

I &hearts the 80s: 1983 Mitsubishi Starion

If I'm not mistaken 1983 marked Mitsubishi's first foray into the U.S. market under its own name, and while its equally lost-to-the-sands-of-time (and hilariously monikered) entry-level sisters the Tredia and Cordia were presumably intended to woo the masses, it was the Starion that quickly took center stage and laid the groundwork for house-music ad campaigns of the distant future.

Pretty much everything about this car reminds me of being thirteen and walking to the arcade by my house after school to play Pole Position. Those weird slotted-disc wheels. The nameplate sticker on the deck lid. The instrument panel straight outta freaking Tron. It does not get any more '80s than this, my friends.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

If Only I Had a Garage: 1983 Porsche 944

Hmmm, the Subaru for six thousand bucks, or the 944 for three? Anyone wanna help me out here?

Click on the pic to check out the ad.

Dept. of Probably Not Dept.: 1992 Subaru SVX

I always admired Subaru's mad ambition with these overpriced, overcomplicated and overweight sporting coupes. Still, dude's dreaming if he thinks he's gonna get six grand for this, however nice it is for its age.

Click on the pic to check out the ad.

Friday, July 07, 2006

That's Progress Dept.

"I can't imagine anyone is going to miss that," he said. Whereupon a nation's forearms atrophied to the point of becoming purely vestigial appendages.

What's funny is that while the article addresses the cost issues for manufacturers, it says absolutely nothing about the weight penalty that might be incurred by the switch. So new cars keep getting fatter and more bloated in addition to being more expensive, while buyers profess to want efficiency and economy. You really want efficiency and economy? Ditch the battery-laden hybrid luxomobiles — add lightness, baby!

If Only I Had a Garage: 1965 Chevrolet Corvair

A grand? And it runs? Yo who's coming to Cleveland with me?

Click on the pic to check out the ad.

If Only I Had a Garage: 1973 BMW 2002

However competent the cars might be, I can't help but think that the guy who drives a modern BMW represents nothing so much as a colossal failure of imagination. Do you root for the Yankees, too? Are you still using Internet Explorer? Do you feel compelled to defend the Bush administration? And don't even get me started on that fucking iDrive nonsense.

Still, I've always loved a 2002, and could easily see myself buying this one, beautifully unmolested as it is.

Click on the pic to check out the auction

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Spotted: 1963 Cadillac

What was I saying about early '60s Cadillacs? Here's the skinny. Me want.

Caddy Stalker

If Only I Had a (Really Big) Garage: 1965 Cadillac DeVille

Much celebrated are the kitschy excesses of the '50s, but it was after the fins peaked in '59 that things got interesting at Cadillac: the cars grew even bigger, but they disguised their outlandishness with perfect proportions and newfound stylistic restraint. This '65 is a nice example, a true four-door hardtop that might not actually fit anywhere outside of Texas but damn if she ain't pretty to look at.

According to the seller this car was ordered with the exceedingly-rare-for-1965 anti-lock brakes option, which sneaky Germans would not discover, reverse-engineer, and reintroduce to the world until sometime in the mid-1980s.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

I &hearts the 80s: 1985 TVR 280i

Any first-year auto design student will tell you that even if you want a line to look perfectly straight, you gotta curve it just a little, otherwise it's gonna end up looking really weird. Case in point: '80s TVRs. Still, I always liked 'em. I imagined a TR7 that'd been driven into a wall and had come out looking all the better for it.

This one's got the Ford six. Looks like fun.

Click on the pic to check out the auction

ESL Moments: 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

If Only I Had a Garage: 1982 Maserati Quattroporte

Okay, seriously, this is my if-only-I-had-a-garage car of all time. The Series III Maserati Quattroporte: massively imposing but impeccably elegant, the classic '70s creased-and-folded Giugiaro wedge writ extravagantly large, with an interior that called to mind an Italian bordello and a big ol' twin-cam V-8 hooked up to a GM Turbo Hydromatic Chrysler TorqueFlite. What more could you want?

These were $70,000 cars when new, and that was a fucking long time ago. The buy-it-now on this one is $2995. Grab a hair dryer and peel off that horrible gold pinstriping, swap out the cheesy faux-BBS rims and you got yourself a beaut!

(Alright this one might look a little rough but I swear, you can get a pristine example for like $7500. I'm dying over here.)

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Spotted: 1953 Kaiser Dragon

Lovers of doomed postwar American marques, unite! Note the totally cool double-bowed windshield.

Anybody know what female pop star I might recently have seen driving a Kaiser Darrin in her video? It's kinda driving me crazy that I can't remember.

Kaiser Stalker

Thought for the Day


[dammit the bastards took it down! I knew I should've copied the text — best post ever! Aarrrgh!]

It's the Little Things: 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

People, they make a big deal about the tube-frame construction, the direct fuel injection, the independent rear suspension and disc brakes all around, the early racing successes, and of course the spectacular doors. Nobody ever mentions the fitted luggage.

It's sexy intake runner day around here, I guess.

Click on the pic to view the listing and "send an inquiry."

If Only I Had a Garage: 1960 Chrysler 300F

Dude says he'll let it go for $5800, "but not just to anyone." Better start polishing that resume and CV.

The dual carbs with those crazy long intake runners just give me a boner, I'm sorry. And the swivel-out driver's seat, and George Jetson gauge cluster, and the giant chrome "300" branded into the inside door panel. We are all high for not buying this.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

If Only I Had a Garage: 1966 Mercury Park Lane Breezeway

Wait, so there's really nobody willing to pony up three grand for this thing? Are you shitting me? Cantilevered roof and retractable rear window and all? Stored for thirty years? WTF?

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

What's the Trade Allowance on My Soul Again? 1972 Lamborghini Espada

Straight-up one of the coolest cars ever. A true four-seater and it comes all the way up to your waist. Y'all can have that Miura and the Daytona in the garage. I'm taking the Espada.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

If Only I Had a Garage: 1979 Fiat Spider

This'd make a nice little playmate for the Miata, wouldn't it? For a '79 the bumpers don't look completely horrible, unlike its MG and Triumph contemporaries. "My friend did lots of work on the engine," though. Hmmm...

Click on the pic to check out the ad.

Monday, July 03, 2006

I &hearts the 80s: 1984 Renault 5 Turbo 2

If you ever laughed as a Le Car teetered by, you might wanna stop laughing now. Back at the dawn of the '80s Renault ripped the motor out of its 5 (as the cars were known in places where Frenchness does not automatically equate to kitsch), turbocharged it, stuffed it where the back seat used to be and went rallying. Of course, they had to build some streetable versions in order to qualify for their class — Group 4 initially, later Group B which gave rise to the conceptually similar and equally badical Peugeot 205 T16 and Lancia Delta S4. Good times.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

I &hearts the 80s: 1984 Bitter SC

Neither Ferrari nor Maserati, as the starry-eyed seller would have us believe, but a rebodied and slightly hot-rodded Opel Senator. He's right about one thing, however: these are exceedingly rare cars, and in fact the 460 number the seller quotes represents the full production run from 1981 to '86, not just the '84 model year.

The SC always struck me as a less-than-entirely-successful Ferrari 400 knock-off, but I kinda liked 'em all the same. Something about the design and international construction telegraphed sleek, efficient, border-hopping Euro-sophistication to me, back when I was young and still believed in such things. It seemed like the kind of car the dudes from Heaven 17 would drive.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

If Only I Had a Garage: 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix

My dad had a '69 like this when I was a little kid, but green, and no hood-mounted tach. Totally bad-ass though. It makes no sense to me that first-generation Firebirds and Camaros are changing hands for near-six figures and this is gonna go for less than ten gr. If only I had a garage.

Click on the pic to check out the auction.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Road Test: 1989 Volvo 240 DL

The second and less charismatic of two Volvos my girlfriend's had dropped in her lap, this one clocking in at a youthful 200,000 check that, 330,000 miles. She brought it in to her mechanic to have the slushbox looked at and got it back with a grand worth of new rotors and pads, one repacked and one replaced front bearing, new rear shocks, and a laundry list of lesser fixes. More money than the car's worth really, and I kinda wished she'd brought me with her to say ixnay on the ear shocksray, f'rinstance. Then I drove it.


New shocks does that? I found myself actively seeking potholes to drive over, such was my disbelief at the complete absence of crash/bang/shudder to which I'd long ago grown accustomed. It drives like a new car. My mind is blown.