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To Show or Not To Show: That Is The Question

I just wanted to toss this out for Car Lust reader contemplation. The past couple of months I've been wrestling with the question of what to do with my Mustang II. Essentially, to keep it as a fun old car to drive around in, or make it into a show car. I'll run through the pros and cons below, but here's a bit of Car-Show-Fieldbackground to ponder:

First, it's not stock. As the link above indicates, it was my only car for nigh onto 25 years so it got its share of dings and such, and I eventually replaced the engine and exhaust because the old one was pretty wheezy, dirty, and expensive to gas up and maintain. Plus, you know, the old 302 couldn't spin a donut on dry pavement if I tried. Second, despite much of it being in truly excellent condition, it's really not up to car show standards. Oh, I've put it in three Mustang shows and it won something at all three, but in reality it looks pretty pathetic compared to the gleaming, shiny, nearly-perfect cars that populate car shows. So I would be extremely hesitant to put it into a show again without major improvements. Therein lies the rub.

So, the basic pros and cons of making it into a good show car

Pros: 

-- I like trophies.

-- II's are pretty rare at Mustang shows and I'd like people to see more of them. You know, representin' and such. 

-- It's starting out in really good condition, for the most part, not like I got a rusty hulk from a field somewhere.

Cons:

-- It'd be stupidly expensive

-- It'd be stupidly expensive

-- It'd be stupidly expensive

There's a pattern there somewhere. . . . 

Admittedly, it wouldn't be as expensive as a rusty hulk from a field somewhere, but it's still a significant investment. Essentially, it needs the engine dropped and a complete paint job on the outside and in the engine bay. No, it's not tens of thousands of dollars, but I'm not sure I want to spend that kind of money on it (for reasons other than simple cheapness, which I shall get to in a second). I'm not experienced enough nor do I have the facilities to do much of it myself, so I'd be paying someone else to do it. The upholstery is also in need of work, which can also be pricey. Among many, many other things. Until you've paid some attention to show judging you don't really have a good idea of the level of detail you need to get to in these things. It is, in part, an issue of time and money, no question there. 

But there is a larger question in play here, one that has caused me no small amount of internal conflict for some time now: that is, Do I want a show car at all?

Yes, I like trophies. Yes, I like showing off my car. No, I'm not all that averse to some time and elbow grease making it shine. But. . . .I'll admit something here: I've never even gone to a car show that mine wasn't in. Yes, I kind of like looking at shiny, gleaming, perfect cars. Still, the whole thing has always seemed a little weird to me. I imagine any hobby or profession that gets taken to extremes -- wine, coffee, shaving -- can seem a bit out there to the uninitiated, and I really do appreciate the care and time and thought that goes into restoring automobiles. 

Nevertheless, I still think of cars as, with apologies to BMW, driving machines, not works of art to be appreciated from a distance. I can see some particularly old and rare vehicles maintained in as pristine condition as possible as befits their historical significance. But most cars -- be they the rarest Yenko Camaro or a humble 1950 DeSoto -- I only truly appreciate, not sitting in a show their hoods up and nary a spot of grease in sight, but fresh off of the road, having been driven. Well-weathered leather; the smell of warm oil; the ticking of the block as it cools down; a few little dings and nicks from gravel kicked up off of a back road. Maybe not a beat-to-crap daily driver, but a car that's been used and loved and fixed and then used again. For its intended function, not sitting on a lawn somewhere with Do Not Touch signs at every corner. A car, not a work of art. 

RachenThenNow

Rachel Veitch with her 500,000-mile 1964 Mercury Comet Caliente, then and now (well, recently)

I have a little trouble imagining my Mustang being both. Even now, I worry every time I take it out that I'll get a ding in the paint (minus points!) and that more oil will fly up that will need to be cleaned off (minus points!) or that I'll push on the upholstery too hard and get a little tear (minus points!). I just like the idea of taking it out and driving it up to the mountains, stopping at a roadside diner for lunch, and heading back into town and just enjoying being in it rather than worrying about how much work I'll have to do to make up for that little joy ride. 

Ya know? 

Or maybe not. I'm entertaining suggestions. What do you think of daily drivers vs. trailer queens? 

Top photo is from here. I got the Rachel Veitch photos from here and here. As a bit of an update, a couple of years ago Rachel had to hang up her car keys due to health problems. Here's to you, Rachel. 

Winter - getting ready for the change

Parked Car

 

I live in Minnesota.  Or as some say, Minnesnowta.  Inclement weather is just par for the course here.  We don't feel compelled to name every storm, and even when it snows more than a foot (not uncommon) we aren't compelled to label it as a Snowami or Snowpocalypes or things like that.  What we are compelled to do though, is be prepared.  Well, at least the smart ones are anyhow.

Continue reading "Winter - getting ready for the change" »

The 2015 Ford Fusion Energi: Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

During my entire week with the Ford Fusion Energi, it did not stop raining. Not. One. Day. Well, maybe once for a few minutes, but it was at night when I couldn't shoot pictures. But you know what? It didn't matter. This velvety-smooth little hybrid, combining everything that's perfect and balanced about Ford's Fusion platform with the ultra-efficiency of a plug-in hybrid, managed to shine through the most dreary miasma that Seattle's late-fall days had to offer. Maybe the pics turned out a little soggy, but the essential vibrancy of this plucky and refined hybrid was impossible to ignore.

Focus8

Continue reading "The 2015 Ford Fusion Energi: Sunshine on a Cloudy Day" »

SEMA at the Speed of Light

What car enthusiast doesn't include the SEMA show on the old bucket list? Here at Amazon Automotive, our whole team gets to make a yearly foray into that candyland of automotive excess. And while we feel blessed about that, one of the torments of that grueling week is that we are there for work, and we don't get to spend as much time as we'd like just goggling at cars and taking it all in. But people have some pretty high-quality cell phone cameras these days, and how are we supposed to stop ourselves from snapping occasional pics of the most fantastical rides as we run from one meeting to another? Now that we're all back in the office, I've rounded up the compiled cell-phone SEMA pics of Amazon Automotive. While most of them are just quick fly-bys, they represent a broad skim off the surface of the most intense car show on earth through the eyes of a few of us who were there for business. Hit the jump to enjoy!

2014-11-05 12.17.05

Continue reading "SEMA at the Speed of Light" »

1985-2007 Yamaha V-Max

  Yamaha-vmax

For 1985, the motorcycle world would never be the same. Few bikes deserved the title of “game-changer”, but this one did. And that bike was… the 1985 Suzuki GSX-R750.

But wait! What’s going on at the Yamaha pits? A roaring engine, a cloud of smoke and burning rubber, accented with the almost totally-drowned-out sound of uncontrollable laughter?

I can just picture the (totally made-up) scenario…

Continue reading "1985-2007 Yamaha V-Max" »

Time To Go Rogue: A Review of Nissan's Dark-Horse Crossover

While the Nissan Rogue has yet to achieve household-name status in the ongoing crossover arms race, it would be a mistake to look only at the well-worn CR-V, RAV4 and Escape if you were shopping this segment. While it might not yet have the sales numbers of these perennial favorites, the Rogue is possessed of the underdog's hunger to please, and the result is a feature-rich, comfortable, and super fuel-efficient version of the miniature SUVs we've come to know so well. I test-drove one for a week, and came away from the experience with a new respect for a vehicle to which I'd probably never otherwise have given a moment's thought. And since its 2014 redesign, consumers have been taking notice of the Rogue too, rewarding it with steadily increasing sales. So will it take over the world? If it does, we will be able to say we knew it when.

Rogue8

Continue reading "Time To Go Rogue: A Review of Nissan's Dark-Horse Crossover" »

November 10 Open Thread: The More Things Change. . . . .

You know the saying "There's nothing new under the sun"? Yeah. 

Submitted for your contemplation: Girls + Cars. Cars + Girls. I'm fairly certain that the average Roman  curri dealer occasionally had a couple of calida mulierculae Romana* posing next to the new (AD) 14 models. And you can bet that the first thing some guy will do when he invents an anti-gravity landspeeder is dress up a future honey or two in quasi-futuristic bikinis (or perhaps grab a couple of Fembots) and sit them on the hood. It's what we do. Hence, compare and contrast:

Flappercar

That, according to Vintage Everyday, is a Peerless Touring Car, taken in 1923 in San Francisco.

And here. . . .

Two_girls_one_car_by_Graffton

is a more recent rendition.

A couple of things I noted:

-- There's no bumper on the Infiniti to stand on

-- There's probably more steel in the hood of the Peerless than in the entire Infiniti

-- You could probably outfit 20 of the modern ladies in the material in one of the vintage ladies' suits. 

Anything else? 

Sources for the photos in the links above. And let me tell you, if was a tough assignment doing research for this post. . . . .

* Hot Roman Babes. Loosely translated, of course. 

1989: It Was a Very Good Year!

Nineteen eighty-nine was a dream in a dream
We straddled the thin line between what it means or it seems
To be sure enough we left the world behind

--Grey Eye Glances, "The Lost Coast"

Though nobody expected it to be that way at the start, 1989 was a momentous year, one in which much of what seemed a permanent part of the world was left behind by December 31.

It was certainly that way in Eastern Europe. The "Iron Curtain" looked like it would be there forever on January 1, but that would soon change. In February, the Polish Communist government and representatives of the Solidarity independent trade union entered into the "Round Table Agreement" for the liberalization of the political system; the country held free elections that summer and the new government abolished state socialism and withdrew from the Soviet-dominated "Warsaw Pact" by year's end. In East Germany, a series of mass demonstrations inspired by Solidarity's success led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November.

"You can bend me you can break me, but you'd better stand clear/When the walls come tumblin' down..." --John MellencampThere were other peaceful transitions to democracy in Chezchoslovakia ("the Velvet Revolution"), Bulgaria, and Hungary. The not-so-peaceful Romanian Revolution in December overthrew the brutal Caucescu regime, and the tyrant met his fate before a firing squad. Even in the Soviet Union, the seemingly-mighty empire which would go out of business completely in anticlimactic fashion just two years later, the government had begun yielding to the tide.

The tides of liberty weren't confined to Eastern Europe. Down in South Africa, P.W. Botha met face to face with Nelson Mandela, one of a series of negotiations which led to the end of the apartheid system of racial segregation. The thuggish Noriega dictatorship in Panama was put out of business Just under half of the class appears in this photo.by U.S. military intervention. Brazil and Chile held their first free elections in decades. In China, the Tiananmen Square protests captured the world's attention before the democracy movement was brutally suppressed.

On a much smaller scale of importance, 1989 was a year of great changes for me personally: I graduated from law school, moved, passed the bar, got married, and embarked on my present career. With my law school class holding its 25-year reunion in August (photo at right), and me being all nostalgic and such because of that, it seemed an appropriate occasion to look back on the automotive world of 1989.

Continue reading "1989: It Was a Very Good Year!" »

Great Cars of Death V: Conspiracy Edition

Once again the wind whistles through the trees and a mournful cry drifts across the shadowy moors as ghostly images cruise down silent streets. Is that a Gremlin? A Shadow? Or perhaps a Demon

No, it's just another edition of Great Cars of Death here at Car Lust. This year we've chosen a topical car PattonCarfor highlighting, the 1938 Cadillac Model 75 that General George S. Patton was. . . .almost killed in. Technically, he didn't actually die in the car but did pass away 12 days after having an accident in it that paralyzed him from the neck down. I say 'topical' because Patton is back in the news lately with the release of Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard's latest book in their "Killing. . ." series, Killing Patton:

General George S. Patton, Jr. died under mysterious circumstances in the months following the end of World War II. For almost seventy years, there has been suspicion that his death was not an accident--and may very well have been an act of assassination. Killing Patton takes readers inside the final year of the war and recounts the events surrounding Patton’s tragic demise, naming names of the many powerful individuals who wanted him silenced.

Ooooo. . not only a death but a conspiracy theory, too! Almost as good as a regular old (car-related) ghost story. O'Reilly and Dugard aren't the first to broach the conspiracy angle, it's been kicking around for decades now, but they may be the first to really popularize it. So was there anything to it? Does the car still possess secrets waiting to be uncovered? Read on, but I must warn you: if you believe any of it, we'll have to kill you. . . .

Continue reading "Great Cars of Death V: Conspiracy Edition" »

The "New" Kit

We all love that new car smell. And we all hate the payment book. But we also love something else about getting a new car, truck, motorcycle, or whatever. It's a bunch of little things that make no real sense whatsoever individually, but collectively, no new vehicle would be complete without them.

001

It's called The "New" Kit. And it's those extra little markings, stickers (This time, on the headlight), and other things that usually disappear in a week or two.

Continue reading "The "New" Kit" »

October 27 Weekly Open Thread: Will No One Rid Me Of These Turbulent Noises?

FIle this one under First World Problems: Since I bought a new vehicle to replace one of 1970s vintage (and an addition to one of 1990s vintage), I have experienced many neat and wondrous things. Such as heaters that heat quickly; quiet; a smooth ride, etc. However, there are one or two things that have been really bugging me. In this case, constant beeping and flashing:

 

Yes, all the infernal beeping and flashing that seems to accompany virtually every press of a button, though to be honest it's mainly locking and unlocking it with the fob. Lock it and it beeps a couple times and the lights flash. Unlock it and it beeps a couple of times and the lights flash. Lock it before the doors are all closed and it beeps and flashes and then beeps again once the doors are all closed. Can this thing not do a simple task without being a drama queen about it? 

I did try to bypass all the beeping and flashing early one morning by simply opening the driver's side door with the key, but then it immediately started beeping and flashing and added blowing the horn to the mix. "No!" it seemed to say, "Bad owner! No driving!"

I imagine there's some way make it all shut the hell up, but it's not risen to that level.

Yet. 

Stealthy entry is not its strong point. 

Sometimes it's really pleasant to get into my old Mustang with a simple turn of the key and nary a beep or a flash to be heard or seen. 

Please discuss this or any other auto-related topic.

Carspotters’ Challenge #121: Something’s Out Of Place Here…

While browsing the comments’ section on a Jalopnik post, the pic below grabbed my eye. While a certain black wedge is without a doubt CarLust material, let’s take a look at the contemporary machinery that makes said wedge stand out. Who knows, maybe one or more of the surrounding machinery will become CarLust fodder sooner or later.

Jalopnik lamborghini japlapa review printscreen izzdsbqxzwkeb0xcz8al So what can you identify out the back window?

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References:

Pic: Jalopnik

October 20 Weekly Open Thread: American Retro Edition

This week we bring your attention to a photo essay by Vanessa, also known as Nessy, the proprietress of Messy Nessy Chic. Recently, Nessy highlighted a few photos by photographer Ryan Schude, many of whose works feature automobiles, both newer and older. Sayeth Nessy: Tree

The fascinating scenes, the colours, the cars, the people, the places– there’s just so much to soak in, but I’m going to let the pictures do all the talking. All I can say is that his pictures have stolen my American retro-loving heart…

Some of them are a bit busy and, well, goofy for my taste (if that's worth anything) but in most cases the photographs featuring automobiles are mostly simple but elegant in composition. You'll notice often the color pallette of the background scenery and the featured automobile are nicely complementary to one another. They look like they really do fit where they are. Most of them have sort of a mid-century modern flair to them (which I adore), even when there's nothing particularly "mid-century" involved (e.g., the '85 Volvo). I'm particularly tickled that one features one of my faves, the Subaru BRAT.

I'll let you all click over and check out the images in her essay and the photographer's Tumblr pages, all of which are both gorgeously shot and feature several cars known throughout these Car Lust parts. And feel free to discuss anything else. Enjoy.

My favorites (so far) include the photo above and this one in particular:

Jag

 UPDATE: Schude's web site is here and he has a Facebook page for more photos.

Open Thread Mystery: The Answer

On Monday I posted a photo of a couple of old pickup trucks as something of a little mystery for Car Lust readers to solve:

MysteryTrucks

So here's the answer to the mystery:

Continue reading "Open Thread Mystery: The Answer" »

2002 -- 2006 Honda CRV

Remember when you were a teenager and you developed various crushes on certain celebrities? Teen girls had their Davy Jones'sDavid Cassidys, Leif Garretts, Rob Lowes, and James Van Der Beeks (pick yer decade, ladies), while we young men had our Farrah Fawcetts, Catherine Bachs, Dallas Cowboys 2006CRVCheerleaders, Britney Spears'ss's, Kate Uptons, and Lamborghini Countachs (hey, we're a little geeky, okay?). Most of those are pretty standard and easily understood even from the pedestal of advanced age. Heck, much to my parents' chagrin, I had Farrah's 1976 Red Swimsuit poster on my wall (along with God knows what all else, I don't even remember; but I remember that one. . .). 

On the other hand many of us probably had one of those that came out of left field that no one else went gonzo over. You know the type, kind of homely, maybe a bit nerdy, and not someone who would leap to mind as being traditionally sexy, hot, or any other adjective that leaps to mind. But for a time they were the center of our little-understood teenaged hormonal universe and we look back on them, again from the pedestal of advanced age, and. . .well, usually get a little wistful after the initial "What was I thinking?" moment. For what it's worth, my bizarro crush was none other than [censored to protect my dignity] so make of that what you will.

Thus my odd and fairly recent fascination with the 2002-2006 Honda CRV. Oh, don't get me wrong, it's a fine vehicle, but more in the way a KitchenAid Mixer is a fine appliance, but definitely not something to almost obsess over. Think perhaps Kate Jackson to Farrah Fawcett. Danny Bonaduce to David Cassidy. Ringo. Answering Mrs. Thurston Howell III to that eternal question for pete's sake! 

So, no, I'm not sure why I've latched onto the CRV as my Objet d'Lust lately. But I suppose admitting it to others is the first step in recovery. . . .

Continue reading "2002 -- 2006 Honda CRV" »

October 13 Weekly Open Thread: Mystery Edition

We get the Halloween season going with a little mystery for Car Lust readers:

MysteryTrucks

Any guesses as to the what, where, significance, etc?

The only hint I'l' give is that I took the photo myself about a week ago.

 

I'll let this sit out there and give a fuller explanation later in the week. 

Feel free to discuss anything else of automotive interest as well.

Carspotters’ Challenge #120: Traffic Jam in Springfield

Some weeks ago, a record-breaking, series-long marathon of The Simpsons was given on FXX. And earlier this year, but stumbled upon earlier this month (September), Jalopnik raided The Simpsons’ Internet Movie Cars DataBase webpage to form a guide to every real car used in said TV show. These two events motivated me to check said IMDb webpage to see all listed vehicles and see if I could find choice pics for a future Carspotters’ Challenge. Needless to say, I succeeded.

I657687

This pic alone is evidence enough of another Simpsons record: having the most listed vehicles in an animation series, at least up until 2012. Of those, how many can you recognize from at least this pic?

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References:

Pic from http://www.imcdb.org/

Great(ish) Commercials – Style Never Goes Out Of Style… Allegedly

I’ve wanted to tear into this commercial from the moment I saw it. I chose the longer version for further dismemberment.

 

Continue reading "Great(ish) Commercials – Style Never Goes Out Of Style… Allegedly" »

Carspotters' Challenge #119--"Oh, The Pain... The Pain"

We've sort of done one of these Carspotters' Challenges before. But I saw so many especially Lust-Worthy cars here, I thought... "Hey, what the heck!"

CS 119

I see a car that was in one of the best-loved James Bond movies (Hint: It's 50 years old this month). And I think I see at least one that was designed by fellow Car Lust contributor Virgil Exner, Jr. There are also a few more that I would like to pull out of that pile.

See anything in there that you would like to restore?

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our heapin' helpin' of scrap cars image came from PinupsAndKustoms.com.

Miller Motorcars (née) Chinetti Motors, America's First Ferrari Dealership

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Miller Motorcars

There is an elegant structure in upscale Greenwich, Connecticut. It's something of a stately 2-story Tudor with large picture windows, and graces Putnam Avenue with style. At first glance, the building could house antiques and/or art... and yes... in many, many ways, it does house fine art.

The establishment features Ferrari, Maserati, and the occasional "previously owned" Rolls-Royce Motorcar and such. Why, I even thought I saw a more-pedestrian BMW on the premises. They also feature new and, ahem, used Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, McLaren, Pagani, and Rolls-Royce. In fact, they are the only factory authorized dealership for all these unique brands in the state of Connecticut.

Continue reading "Miller Motorcars (née) Chinetti Motors, America's First Ferrari Dealership" »

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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