...giving me an opportunity to sample the automotive world on the other side of the world's longest international border.
Greetings, good citizens of Car Lust. I am proud to announce that we here at Car Lust have finally entered the. . . .well, the 2010s: We are now on Facebook!
Well, you know. Got to go where the eyeballs are. Besides, that platform lends itself to more terse links and posts rather than the full articles that we do here. Think of it as an adjunct rather than a replacement. We'll be linking to all of our posts over there, and also posting particular images or links to stories that don't really lend themselves to full blog posts.
The FB page is still in progress and we will be adding a "Like us on Facebook" widget here soon so linking to it will be easier. Feel free to comment and share over there as well.
And feel free to discuss this or anything else automotive that strikes your fancy this fine May morning.
Not sure about the web site itself but the image is from here.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a car that clearly belonged to the category of CarLust when I was in 5th-7th grade when others lusted after Dodge Vipers, Ferrari F50s and Lamborghini Diablos; a car that I often drew in class Study Hall and even used as a writing assignment subject; a car that I daydreamed about making radical modifications (ah, blissful youthful mechanical and economic ignorance…) among other things; a car whose name I respect and whose USDM “successor” I rebuke for setting back 37 years such a proud name; a car whose information –it pains me to say- lives up to its name of not being there; the 1997-2002 Mitsubishi Mirage.
This popped up on my Facebook feed a while ago and wanted to share it with Car Lust fandom. It's from the Vintage Everyday web site, which you should visit regularly or Follow on Facebook. They collect vintage photos from readers, group them together, and post them as regular photo montages around some subject or other. They're very often famous people, though not always in formal photo shoots. But most of them have to do with everyday people going about their business and having some moment captured on film, which is something we seldom get to look at in our media-saturated world.
This installment was titled "60's Mustang – The Most Successful Cars of Ford Ever" and showcases owners with their 1960s-era Mustangs. The title is actually incorrect if one just goes by total sales (the Escort sold the most worldwide, though the F150 beats even that), but I have always been fond of Mustangs and found this series to be utterly charming for a number of reasons.
Rather than bore you with an array of facts and figures and narrative on the evolution of the Ford Mustang, I shall just present a few of my favorites from the series and let the interested reader visit the page and see the rest. These to me give a nice cross section of the sort of people who bought those early Mustangs. While we generally associate the classic 1960s Mustangs with the muscle car era, we must remember that the Mustang was first and foremost a (really, the) pony car. It wasn't really a sports car, like the Corvette, it was a sporty coupe, for the most part a redesigned Falcon with a longer options list. Many derided that first year's Mustang as little more than a "secretary's car". . .which, in fact, it was. That was precisely the demographic that Ford was shooting for: Younger, single or recently married, with enough money to get out of a basic econobox and into something a little more sporty, but still practical. Those were certainly not the only people that bought them, as we'll see below, but that was the core group of buyers.
Either way, as the first photograph shows, people loved their Mustangs. I'm not sure people get that excited about their first cars anymore (or any cars, for that matter) as they've really become almost appliances these days. But back then, when you got your first car, you made sure it was photographed. A lot. Preferably with you, the proud owner next to it. Or on it. . . .
It's a Presidential election year, and you've seen this car, or another one like it, or maybe it was a pickup truck, probably hundreds of times on the road in the past few months: the rear vertical surfaces and windows covered with self-adhesive messages of support for multiple causes and candidates, often from election cycles past. These share space with other stickers forcefully proclaiming unfavorable evaluations of the intelligence and decency of those people--fellow citizens who do not share the driver's political preferences. The most strident of these may go so far as to wish death and worse fates on those people--and they score double bonus irony points if they're right next to a "Coexist" sticker.
The owner of that car, or truck, is engaged in "virtue signaling," the practice of loudly proclaiming just how kind, decent, and enlightened you are. Though virtue signalling is as old as human nature, the phrase is a recent coinage. Its inventor, British writer James Bartholomew, observed:
It’s noticeable how often virtue signaling consists of saying you hate things. It is camouflage. The emphasis on hate distracts from the fact you are really saying how good you are. If you were frank and said, ‘I care about the environment more than most people do’ or ‘I care about the poor more than others’, your vanity and self-aggrandisement would be obvious . . . . Anger and outrage disguise your boastfulness.
Now, it's a free country and it's your back bumper and if you want to use it to promote your cause or your candidate, you're free to do so--but here's something to think about before you all but cover your turn signals with virtue signals. When I see the rear fascia of your car completely stickered-over in this fashion, I have two reactions:
You've signaled your political leanings so clearly that I can probably deduce your position on any of the day's great issues to within a couple of decimal places before I've even met you.
I'm less inclined to want to meet you, even if I agree with you, because you've also signaled that you're one of those dreary "the personal is political" sorts who can't talk about anything but politics.
Please, don't be that guy (or gal). The personal is not always political, political differences need not be personal ones, and we could all use a break from the election-year debate. Let's turn down the volume on the virtue signals and have more non-political spaces in society where we can all interact over something besides our party affiliations.
We can start right here. Hit the comments below and talk about your favorite nonpartisan automotive topic.
--Cookie the Dog's Owner (who keeps the back of his GTI sticker-free, just so everyone knows that he's not one of those people.)
I refer, of course, to the cup holders indentations that used to(?) be on the inside surface of glove box/compartment doors. The one pictured here is from my 1978 Mustang II and I can say almost for a fact that they have never been used for their stated purpose on this car. But my family had a succession of 1960s-70s domestic sedans and all of them had the ubiquitous "cup dimples" for lack of a more formal term (cup holder seems generous in the extreme). As a kid I recall maybe attempting to put some sort of beverage on them but it just never seemed to work out right. Either the door was too shallow and anything but a tiny little teacup would hit the top of the compartment, or whatever cup I was using wouldn't even fit in the dimple.
Suffice it to say, these things have been irritating me to some small degree for much of my life. I mean, it's not like I wake up every morning and cry to the heavens "Why, oh why are there useless dimples in my glove compartment door?". But it has been percolating in the back of my mind, lo these many years. And now, since I have this forum where all the world may partake of my (admittedly minor) little neuroses, I may possibly generate some answers.
Actually, when I started this post it was purely out of some other, related, irritation which we shall get to in a moment. As a matter of fact, when I started searching for these things in the ol' Interwebs I was a bit flummoxed on what even to call them. I came up with "cup dimples" on the fly, but I've also seen them referred to (once) as "picnic cup holders" but nothing else (admittedly I only flipped through the first two pages of Google results).
Am I the only one to find these things somewhat inscrutable as to their actual utility? I bet not.
MX-5. Miata. Roadster. Whatever you name them, don't call them a hairdresser's car. Some angry guy (Or gal) who drives one might beat you up if you do. Or worse, they might challenge you to a run at Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap (318 curves in 11 miles), where any muscle car would be horribly humiliated.
They have possibly received that insult because well, if you want to drive one, you should not be greatly tall of stature or wide in girth because there's no way in hell that you'll ever fit in one. So NFL linebackers, NBA forwards, and Sumo wrestlers need not apply.
*Sits down in booth*
*Booming voice and menu screen says "Please Select Your Vehicle"*
I wonder if the Plymouth has a Christine mod...
*Selects manual transmission*
During Easter weekend, after service of course, a couple of the CarLust staff had a chance to take a quick spin on a Ford Fairmont Futura in the Bahamas. Here they are entering the "St. Andrews parking lot".
Last week, we mentioned that FIAT was in trouble here in America. So for no reason other than to return to a happier day, here's a repeat of the 2011 "FIAT FreakOut" that was held in Nashville about five years ago:
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Loyal Car Lust readers may remember the 2010 Nashville British Car Club Show post from last October. Now it's July 23rd, 2011, and I'm back in the shadow of the Parthenon at Centennial Park here in Nashville. But this time it's the Italians who get center stage... presenting the 2011 "FIAT FreakOut," or "FFO" for short.
This (actually last) week word came down that Fiat is having difficulty in the US market:
Fiat's American dealerships seem to be having trouble bringing in customers and paying running costs. Effective March 9th, parent company FCA will allow Fiat dealerships to combine operations with Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealers, many of which are right next door. Dealers that choose to stay independent will receive monthly assistance from FCA. Sales numbers for Fiat dealers are abysmal. Less than half of the 206 Fiat dealers in the US are profitable, and two-thirds see less than 10 sales per month.
The sentence that stuck out for us was this one:
We're willing to bet that more people would accidentally see a Fiat 500 while looking for a Jeep Wrangler than would actually go out looking for a 500.
Anyway, I thought this might be a good time to revisit an old post of mine. Slightly embarrassing for me since I botched the cooling system in the original post, but no more than having your entire line recalled for rust problems.
And feel free to discuss this or anything else you may wish to.
"There comes a time in a man's life when he hears the call of the sea. If the man has a brain in his head, he will hang up the phone immediately."
— Dave Barry
Some (most?) people go through some form of mid-life crisis and buy a brand new sports car, or maybe that classic muscle car they either had or wanted as a teenager. Others dump their wife/husband and kids and take up with a trophy spouse or perhaps an old flame they recently met at a school reunion or found on Facebook. Still others decide they really feel20 again and start wearing the clothes that today's "young people" wear, listen to the music they listen to, and maybe try to skateboard or trail bike their way into contemporary youth culture, but end up mostly skating their way into the ER.
Of course, we here at Car Lust are different. When we take a walk down memory lane and try to recapture lost youth, we often end up being seized by a mad desire to buy some off-the-wall forgotten car that
no one in their right mind few would consider collectible, classic, or even desirable. Thankfully, the feeling usually passes in a few days and besides, the rarity of our objet d'Lust usually makes them difficult to find in any kind of drivable condition, although they tend to be pretty affordable (eBay and the Internet generally can be deadly in our world).
I confess here for all the world to see that despite my obvious disgust with our family's 1975 Buick Century, I did, in fact, troll the Interwebs for a couple days with the half-baked intent to find a 455 GS coupe version of the Century. Why, I don't know. Despite my hatred of that miserable car, I still like they way the coupes look and would love to have another go with it, with suitable modifications to make it a nice driver. Thankfully, financial common sense (i.e., being a cheapskate) and lack of available merchandise (not to mention a potentially murderous Spousal Unit) dissuaded me from acting on that particular impulse.
Digging into my past once again, I've recently recalled another then-hated car that I've consequently developed something of a fetish for, despite my intimate personal knowledge of its many and varied foibles. To wit: The Fiat 850 Sport Coupe. Indulge me, gentle reader, by continuing to read below the fold, but FOR GOD'S SAKE AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, DON'T LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ONE FOR SALE CHEAP. At least not for the next few days anyway.
It doesn’t matter how you view Toyota cars –or cars in general- whether they’re appliances or machines that never go out of style; if you use ‘em and don’t maintain ‘em, they’ll be scrap sooner than later, regardless of all their praise, earned or otherwise. While this commercial recommends that you take your car to a certified Toyota Service Center, I want to personally include reputable independent shops as well, provided that you don’t know what you’re doing or don't have the tools for the job when it comes to maintenance (there’s no shame in asking for help or letting the professionals do it).
That bridge looks like California's Golden Gate Bridge, but it isn't. The car doesn't look like a 1980s Volvo, but it is. And I think we North Americans were robbed by never getting this sporty hatchback.
Those bumpers make it look American. The rear quarters say "shooting brake." Its overall design suggests near perfection.
The car may have looked fairly Honda-ish for the time. And why not? This was Volvo's first front-wheel-drive car, so its packaging fit Honda's profile (Though thankfully with a longer, safer front end).
It belongs somewhere between Volvo's P1800GT (1961-1973) and their C30 (2006-2013). In fact, it fits quite well between them, even with its requisite 1980s boxy styling (Think Mustang). The 480 was made between 1985 and 1995, and had all three cars been given the same or a similar name (Maybe the P1700 and/or the P2000?), I doubt that anybody would have complained.
It's the time of year when Northeast Ohio is invaded by giant anthropomorphic hamsters--in other words, it's time once more for the Cleveland Auto Show.
--Cookie the Dog's Owner
Chuck is a North-American TV show about Chuck Bartowski, a young man whose mediocre life changed when he opened an e-mail containing encrypted content composed of a huge number of highly classified information called the Intersect. Once read and in the subconscious of brain, the person with this information becomes a supercomputer of sorts, able to do things like ID an international criminal, or identify a weapon or document of upmost importance, though involuntarily. And that’s just the first season! Due to his skills behind a computer and overall unorthodox ways in handling situations in relation to governmental bureaus, Chuck reluctantly becomes part of a secret anti-terrorist team effort until a way is found to remove the Intersect from his head. His cover? His mundane life. In the meantime, serious questions appear: What makes a spy: the equipment or the individual? Can one be a spy and have a normal, happy life? Can one be a spy without sacrificing one’s values and integrity?
It's always a treat to see the best of other countries' car culture. Regardless of how well-documented they seem to be, Japan never ceases to bore me with theirs.
Yes, you may 'Caption This'.