Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Street Beat Fashion Watch: Custom Shades!

Once upon a time, back before those plastic stick-on fender vents were invented, first thing anybody'd do if he was looking to trick out his ride would be to add some kinda custom windshield header, a practice that to my young mind reached its apotheosis when it was coopted by Pontiac for its Turbo Trans Am pace cars of 1980. Welp, if a couple of vehicles sighted over the weekend are any indication, this is one outdated trend that's poised to make a comeback!

This van seems to be suffering an identity crisis, but hey, at least it looks good. And while I'm not sure what precisely is being referenced here, if this Kia pilot's commitment extends to not being on the phone when I encounter him on the interstate, well then, more power to him!

Click for full-size

Monday, July 18, 2011

Shameless: Can You Picture a Pagoda-Roof Looking This Undignified?

Seriously, Mercedes-Benz SL, what happened to you? Back in the day, you bespoke a certain masculine refinement, an understated glamour, a panache not at all frivolous, but underpinned by real substance. You were the car an aging Cary Grant would drive. Today it's easier to picture behind the wheel an aging Fabio.

Perhaps it's just a symptom of our age. It occurs to me that it's been years since the last time I heard the word that once perfectly summed up your character deployed without snark or sarcasm, as if the very concept has become as debased and obsolete as the idea of a hardtop convertible for two cultured grown-ups. That word? Classy.

Click for full-size booty-in-the-air SL action

Saturday, July 16, 2011

White Whale: Unspoiled TT

Remember the O.G. TT? Remember how, when the Mays/Thomas dynamic duo ran "Auto Union/streamliner Benz/bathtub Porsche" through their patented fin de sicle neoretropomo design generator, the only way you could tell whether the resulting four-wheeled SS helmet was coming or going was by the color of the corner lenses? That was kinda cool, right?

Then I guess there were some high-speed accidents or something, possibly due to the fact that when you design a car with pretty much the exact shape of an airfoil it might then behave as a lifting body, and Audi, not wanting to watch its brand reputation go down the crapper again, quickly slapped a spoiler on that back of that heretofore perfectly symmetrical rear end and, just to be safe, recalled every car that'd been sold to date and spoiled them as well.

Thus was born one of carspotting's great holy grails: the unmolested TT. A car common enough that it can easily hide in plain view, and yet so rare that in ten years of dedicating, ridiculously, some part of the vast unused acreage of my brain to perpetual lookout duty, I had not once encountered it. I'd come close, recently, thinking I might've spotted one in the pages of a fellow obsessive's blog, but it was, alas, a mirage, and the box went yet unchecked, even by proxy. Until yesterday.

Meadowbrook Parkway, Long Island, New York, July 15, 2011, approximately ten a.m. Nimbus gray convertible. No spoiler. Got 'im!

Click for grainy Bigfoot-style full-size