I was waiting at an accountant’s office, so I whipped out my phone proceeded to rot my brain with 9gag, one of those meme-centric websites. And there it was, a reminder of the existence of the infamous Fiat Multipla, in a garish muli-colored/Harlequin-style paint job, and captions stating how ugly it was while trying to be both funny and uplifting at the same time. Due to profanity, I can’t use that pic. Besides, it’s not as if that was the only time the Internet, let alone 9gag, ribbed the Multipla’s looks.
A short vanity post commemorating me and my Mustang II's 25th Anniversary together. I've written a couple of times before (here and here) about how this thing came into my possession and how we'd gotten to various points on our mutual trajectories. There's really nothing special happening with the old car and I this year apart from the somewhat arbitrary milestone of reaching the 25-year mark. And I have quite a few other Big Anniversaries in 2015. The Spousal Unit and I went on our first date 25 years ago, I graduated from high school (*gulp*) 35 years ago, and I graduated from college (undergraduate school anyway) and moved out to Seattle 30 years ago this summer as well. So, for me it's kind of a reflective time in more ways than one.
Back then I was in the midst of the graduate school paper chase, fresh off of passing my comprehensive exams ("comps") and trying to figure out a reasonable dissertation topic. Work consisted of grabbing whatever teaching positions I could wrangle, trying to get research assistant money, doing contract archaeology in my new (to me) Bronco II, figuring out this whole new girlfriend thing, and drinking a lot of beer. Graduate school is an odd thing, something like an extended boot camp for nerds. You've gone and thrust yourself into a world of arcane knowledge that can only be crammed into your brain through many tedious hours of reading equally arcane journal articles and books. In archaeology, a lot of these works can be almost as old as the subject matter itself and you occasionally find yourself doing an archaeological study of archaeological studies. Really strange things take on enormous significance, such as figuring out what exactly the difference is between intensive and extensive definitions (you really don't want to know) or the theoretical consequences of equifinality. The outside world consists of 'stuff you occasionally experience when you're not trying to get the latest assignment done or paper written' and a good weekend consists not of relaxing with family or friends but 'getting a lot of work done'. I guarantee you that the following exchange takes place at least one million times each Monday morning:
Graduate student 1: "Hey, how was your weekend?"
Graduate student 2: "Pretty good. I got a lot of work done." *heavy sigh*
I honestly thought that clever title came from the site that I found this pic. I got curious, looked it up and found out that is truly the title of this photo.This colorful photograph was taken by Fred Herzog. It was taken in Portland, circa 1959. Not the first Carspotters' Challenge involving Portland.
Go ahead and tell us what do you see. For some reason I'm feeling thirsty. You want something?
The caption for the photo is "View of Brownsville from the Sutter Ave. stop on the L line, Brooklyn, 1978".
I urge you to peruse the other photos at the link. Some of them are quite haunting, especially the World Trade Center under construction. The number of abandoned and junked cars is also rather distressing.
That ‘70s Show was not only gut-busting entertainment, it was a learning experience. It gave a window to how life was in mid-to-late 1970s North America. What we now consider kitschy-cool was actually considered lame back then, not everyone liked ABBA (or Styx for that matter), and being in the throes of adolescence sucked no matter what decade it is. Am I right?
If these cars could talk… most of them would have trouble remembering what went down. That's why we're here for.
As my little "hook" to this little bit of theorizing, I shall remind readers of our mixed opinion on the Beige Toyota Camry. We'd kicked the Camry around a bit, and even voted it the Most Boring Car Ever, although one of our number sought to defend its honor. We have even, somewhat perversely, come to a grudging respect for its sheer indomitable will to live despite our loathing indifference.
We have also, on occasion, evinced some disgust for certain models, and -- let's be honest -- the people who drive them. We have bemoaned the utter banality with which the 1969 Camaro is held in such high regard by so many, such that you can't swing a dead torsion bar at an average car show without hitting at least a dozen. For myself, I have even written a missive attempting to articulate my disgust for a certain yuppie-mobile which, as I admit in that post, is due in part to my own hangups toward a certain segment of the population.
But ever since then I've had cause to contemplate the following question: Who are the best drivers? I daresay most of us would answer "Why, I am, of course". Which I -- of course -- immediately thought of when I pondered the issue.
Frankly, I'm wrong. I'm not the best of drivers. Neither are the guys in their European Sport Sedans blasting along in the fast lane, or the guys in the hopped-up ricers switching lanes every 1000 feet to get to Point B ahead of whoever they happen to be trying to get there ahead of. Certainly not the guy pretending to be on the racing circuit, coming up to within spitting distance of your back bumper and flashing his/her lights if you don't move over within 9 milliseconds of his/her being there. Nor is it the one who can do a J-turn with ease. Or scream into a parking space sideways (despite how cool it is).
Well, okay, maybe those last two have some non-day-to-day Best Driver applicability. . . .
No, after wondering about the question for a while I came to a decision: It's the people you never even notice. Not the ones puttering along in the slow lane going 5 miles under the speed limit; you notice them and they can be a hazard if you're not paying attention. Not the ones who wait to turn left until there is at least a block between oncoming cars, or who turn on their turn signals three blocks before they actually turn. No, I'm talking about those who probably drive a near-pristine Beige Camry, drive within a few miles of the speed limit, always use their turn signals, stay in the right hand lane except to pass, can execute a parallel park on the first try, and never get speeding tickets or get in accidents that are their fault. They treat driving as transportation to get them where they need to be safely, but without fuss or muss.
Yes? No? Feel free to discuss, and anything else that comes to mind.
Credit: The Beige Camry is from our earlier post.
“The traffic jam. Scourge of the 20th century city life. Raiser of blood pressure. Disruptor of supply chains. Stealer of bed-time stories…”
Grabs your attention, doesn’t it? It did for me, until I realized this was a tech commercial. Then my attention waned. I’m not going to dedicate this particular post to the discussion of traffic jams in general, how bad they are, how they make me feel or the technologies involved in making them go away in the future a reality. Why would I want to use a traffic jam as a Carspotters’ Challenge? Well, have a look:
As far as “traffic jams” go, this one at least has some interesting iron on display, for car-people at least. What’s also interesting is the eclectic mix: old, not-so old, North-American, European, UK, etc.
Picking these cars was exciting... not so much as judging a swimsuit contest, but not far from that either. Yet still definitely fun.
What is car sexiness? That's hard to define... I guess you know it when you see it. But there's a seductiveness about any sexy car, a lust if you will... Maybe it's the "I gotta have it" feeling. Even if it's only 1:24 scale.
So here they are, and in no real particular order:
Lamborghini Countach In the late 1970s and early 80s, what teenage did not have a poster of this car on their wall... unless Farrah took up too much room. The low height and exaggerated length provided proportions never seen before or since. And its name translates (roughly) into "Oh my gosh!," and rightfully so.
Part of the tragedy of import cars of the ‘00s is that more likely than not, they’ll be associated to the infamous Fast & Furious franchise. While not the defacto ricer ride of choice, this is what happened while looking for pics for my B15 Nissan Sentra post: I found a screenshot of one from the movie 2 Fast 2 Furious. If these type of cars cold talk, it would be the equivalent of finding an embarrassing snapshot of a time that’s yet to be looked upon with rose-tinted glasses. Speaking of which, I was taken back to 2003, where my MR2-driving Uncle and me went to the movies to see it. This isn’t going to be a movie review, so back to the screenshot:When this scene happened, I remember trying to take it all in. So many cars, so little screen time! Now, at stumbling upon this screenshot, there doesn’t seem to be that many. Regardless, there are a decent number of cars.
So, under all those questionable aerodynamics, flashy paint, vinyl graphics, dated wheels, etc., what can you make out?
With the introduction outta the way, let’s begin listing the (probably) lust-worthy vehicles of the 00’s. A quick reminder: This list doesn’t list said vehicles from model year 2000 to 2010 one by one but categorizes vehicles that fit into the Car Lust way of thinking, so that means that obvious choices aren’t included unless given an explanation. Yes, there’s gonna be exceptions. Yes, there will be disagreements, but just give ‘em time to grow on you, like a decade. Or three. Now, onto the wall of text list.
As we ponder the automotive landscape of the 00's, this is the. . .well, okay, the second vehicle that came to mind; the first was my old Thunderbird post. But I will submit to you, gentle readers, that the reborn Pontiac GTO is truly emblematic of the resurgence in automotive performance that took place during this period. As Hafner notes, performance was stellar and for a really great price. The trouble was the styling; it aimed to bring back a hallowed nameplate but made not even an eyebrow raise, let alone a simple nod, to the original. One can argue the merits of whether or not styling should be a crucial issue to buyers -- and it was hashed out in the comments -- but I think it's fairly clear that simply rebadging a Holden and calling it a GTO didn't work very well.
When Pontiac announced its plans to release a brand new GTO to the motoring public after a nearly 30-year hiatus, excitement ran high. Pontiac had used the long-neglected GTO nameplate to kick off the whole muscle car craze back in the early 1960s, and the revival of the GTO represented not only a potentially exciting new car, but a chance to cleanse the palatte from the sour taste left by the last GTO, the tape-and-sticker Ventura-based 1974 GTO.
When the new GTO debuted, however, it was to sighs of disappointment. The anticlimax had nothing to do with the performance. With a 350-horsepower LS1 small-block V-8, replaced the following year with the 400-horsepower LS2, acceleration was certainly potent. Car & Driver clocked the 2005 GTO at less than 5 seconds from 0-60 and the 13-second range in the quarter-mile.
But, to some, the GTO lacked the visual chutzpah of its predecessors--and in an age of overtly demonstrative cars, that seemed a fatal flaw. The GTO's feeble sales compared to the brisk movement of the new, retro-styled Mustang just drove home the point. After only three years of production, the GTO was quietly canceled.
Read the rest of this post, its comments, and post your own comment here.
--Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear, on a brief description of then-contemporary (mid-‘00s) automobile design, though not directly referring the lot above.
Ah, the '00s. Wii We could talk a lot about that decade –though I doubt a lot of you would have positive, rose-tinted comments about it, not initially at least. I don’t think we’ll be labeling it “epic” any time soon. It started out with a bang, or more specifically didn’t –Y2K and all that, unless you count the ‘Dot-com bubble’ bursting- and quickly turned sour after certain major events took place afterwards not only in the U.S., but also around the world. Things picked up, until a little thing with the economy affected, oh, the whole world. This was the decade that I believe treated the word ‘billion’ as if it was just a ‘million’. It’s an inconvenient truth, I know. We’d notice that the letter ‘i’ and being green became cool and geek became chic. Through it all, this was the decade that my generation was forced to come of age kicking and screaming. No wonder people tried to bring the 1980s back, for better or worse.
Keeping things animated, Here we have yet another Simpson’s-themed Carspotters’ Challenge. The title has less to do with the actual Oscars and more to do with the episode the pic comes from… well, according to my research. I haven’t seen this episode.We're late for the Oscars, anyways (by about three months as of this writing), but what can you spot on the way?
There’s a reason why I was hard on the 2015 Cadillac Escalade commercial: I like Cadillacs. And I like some of their commercials. To see the brand sell its products, in this case one of its most recognizable and best-selling, in such a fashion prompted me to fire up the keyboard then. Thankfully, unlike Honda/Acura, Cadillac has yet to leave me head-scratching or downright displeased through their advertisement on multiple occasions. The following video, while about a decade old, shows one of my favorites from the brand: