Blogs at Amazon

« March 2011 | Main | May 2011 »

April 2011

Living Rooms on Wheels

Do you think the Cadillac Escalade or the Lincoln Navigator are oversized? Do you think something like a 1966 Imperial is a living room on wheels? Do you think a Hummer H2 or a mid-70s Eldosaurus is a brazen example of conspicuous consumption? Well, lemme school you--compared to the cars we're going to look at today, those are mere poseurs. Wannabees. Also-rans. Pikers.

You want opulent? You want oversized? You want a real living room on wheels--with living-room furniture? The Crawford Museum's got your fun-sized brazen examples of conspicuous consumption right here, pal. Three of 'em, in fact.

It's not just priced like a house, it's the SIZE of a house.

Continue reading "Living Rooms on Wheels" »

April 25 Weekly Open Thread

As always, this is the place for the random, off-topic conversation that doesn't belong anywhere else.

Here are a few prompts:

  • In some parts of the country (not necessarily Seattle) spring is well underway and the weather is improving. Have your driving or car ownership habits changed at all? Are you washing the car more often, giving it a spring wax, starting to work on it outside? Or are you still staring forlornly out the window waiting for sunny weather like we are?
  • Bring a Trailer is featuring two amazing Lancia Deltas--an Evo 2 Edizione Finale and a Martini 5. Which would you buy? Personally, I'd prefer the Edizione Finale to drive and the Martini 5 to stare at and drool.
  • During my convalescence, I watched an enormous amount of car-related TV. I'm not really talking about classic car-oriented shows like The Dukes of Hazzard or Magnum, P.I.--I'm thinking more of the non-fiction variety, like the Top Gear shows and a bunch of the auction-type shows you see on HD Theater. What do you watch, and why?

My list of favorite shows at the moment run something like this (with extra space to signify relative position):

  1. Top Gear UK
  2. ....
  3. ...
  4. Wheeler Dealer
  5. Top Gear US (but rising quickly)
  6. ...
  7. Chasing Classic Cars
  8. Mecum Auto Auction
  9. ...
  10. ...
  11. ...
  12. Motorweek

For whatever reason, I'm just not a Motorweek fan.

--Chris H.

Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum

Alex and I visited the Crawford Museum in University Circle on Cleveland's east side (not far from the famed Cleveland Clinic) on a recent Saturday. The Museum is operated by the Western Reserve Historical Society.

An overall view of the upstairs gallery.

My primary objective was to get some shots of the Museum's two Jordans to illustrate my last post, but as you'll see there's a lot more to the collection than that.

Continue reading "Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum" »

April 18 Weekly Open Thread

Happy Monday, Car Lust readers! I'm happy to report that I am back at work and am once again able to participate in the various blog doings, although I am very far from full speed either physically or in terms of workload. Last week I concentrated on sifting through 10,000 unread e-mails, and this week I'm hoping to learn how to perform my new job. Hopefully soon I'll be able to get Project AMC back up and running as well.

For those who were curious, I sustained a tibial spine fracture and a tibial plateau fracture. Essentially, it was like blowing out my ACL--in injuries like mine the ACL normally goes, but in my case my ACL won the tug of war with its attachment point on the bone and pulled it out. This is worse in the short term--the surgery is more invasive than it is for an ACL, and I need to both heal the bone and go through a normal ACL rehab--but in the long term it's much better as bone heals more completely than ligament.

In terms of car lust, that means that I won't be driving my stick-shift Audi Coupe GT for another month or two, but I have begun to get behind the wheel of my automatic Gran Torino wagon--and let me tell you, the feeling of being on the road again is magical. It's obviously nice to be moving more quickly and easily than hobbling around on a brace and crutches, but there's something intoxicating about the freedom of movement that cars give us that's easy to forget when you're simply commuting to and from work every day.

This isn't all about me, though, and what I really want to do is turn the conversation to the cars for which we're currently lusting. I'll post a few of my examples, and I'd love to see some examples of cars that currently have you hot and bothered. What would you purchase if you had the money and garage space?

My current lustables come after the jump.

Continue reading "April 18 Weekly Open Thread" »

A 1966 GMC Value Van

Van Front 2 When I think back on all the crap I learned in high school, sometimes I think of vans... sin bins, rolling pleasure palaces, hotel rooms on wheels, whatever. That's what many of them were back them, and the freedom of driving a rolling mansion (Or at least part of one) during our first energy crisis was an All-American event that is sadly all but gone today.

When we think of a Chevy Van, maybe a large vehicle with a rounded profile, lots of windows, and maybe a sliding side door comes to mind. Sammy Johns immortalized them in his 1974 song "Chevy Van." "I gave a girl... a ride in my wagon."

Also when we think of Chevy vans, we don't normally think of GMC vans. But they are essentially one and the same, and a very unique one is our subject for today.

Continue reading "A 1966 GMC Value Van" »

"Somewhere west of Laramie...."

The Jordan Motor Car Company was one of those small independent manufacturers--like Stutz, Reo, Graham-Paige, and many others--that flourished in the early part of the last century and became a casualty of the Great Depression.

JordanEmblem1916Actually, it's not quite fair to call Jordan a "manufacturer," since it really didn't manufacture many of the parts used on its cars. Jordan got its engines from Continental, its axles from Timken, transmissions from Warner Gear (later Borg-Warner), ignition systems from Bosch, and its car bodies and other components from dozens of now-forgotten suppliers and subcontractors. All that Jordan's plant on East 152nd Street in Cleveland did was paint the body panels and bolt everything together.

Yet, unlike many of the other long-defunct "independents" who produced "assembled cars," Jordan is relatively well-remembered today--though not so much for the assembled cars it assembled as for how it sold them once the assembly was done. One of its print ads is considered one of history's most influential works of commercial art, and one can even make the case that the company's founder, industrialist and entrepeneur Edward S. "Ned" Jordan, is the inventor of car lust.

Continue reading ""Somewhere west of Laramie...."" »

April 11 Weekly Open Thread

As always, this is the place to talk about any car-related subject that strikes your fancy.

Sex fears! Lawsuits! Oldsmobiles! Exclamation points! Down in the basement rec room of the Car Lust Garage, between the pool table and the arcade driving games, there's a big long bookshelf with binders full of buff books going back to ... well, they go pretty far back, before I was born anyway. I pulled one out at random for a possible discussion starter, Car Life from November of 1957. A few things struck me about it:

  • The "Aluminum Car of the Future" at the top is one of the speculative designs from the late-'50s Kaiser Aluminum promotional portfolio. We talked about another of these designs, a sort of proto-minivan, during Minivan Madness Week last year.
  • The Raymond Loewy "dream car" below it is a custom-bodied BMW 507. I think it looks like the larval stage of the Avanti. What do you think?
  • Dr. S.I. Hayakawa, the author of the pop-psychology piece blurbed in the big yellow banner between them--is this kind of thing really appropriate for a family auto magazine?--anyway, he had a rather interesting life. He was a professor of linguistics who wrote one of the standard textbooks on the subject. When he was president of San Francisco State College in the late '60s, he won fame for disrupting a student protest by disconnecting the sound system--yanked the wires right out of the loudspeaker with his bare hands. As a United States Senator from 1976 to 1982, he was known to take naps in the middle of long, boring debate sessions and hearings.
  • What car do you suppose they proclaimed the "world's best" in that consumer test?

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Aerocon Boa

Submitted for your consideration, the 1978 Aerocon Boa:

"I'm being swallowed by a boa constrictor..."The Boa was sort of a kit car, but it wasn't the usual bundle of crude, unfinished fiberglass body parts and welded tubing that requires two years of nights and weekends and a first lien on your sanity before it even begins to resemble a working automobile. This particular "kit car" (if you can even properly call it one) was made from the finest aircraft-grade aluminum, it came mostly pre-assembled, and the reason you probably haven't heard of it until now is that it was the living embodiment of the phrase "batteries not included."

Continue reading "Aerocon Boa" »

Nissan Leaf: The Next Big ...er, Little Thing

028 I love automotive public relations events. They have nice people, free soft drinks and snacks, and lots of brand new cars to play with. Does life get any better?

Way back when, the "One Millionth Corvette" event at Bowling Green, KY, was a very special event to me. They had Jim Perkins, Dave McClellan, and Zora Arkus-Duntov, who were the stars of that show.

At the time of this writing, Nissan has a "Drive Electric Tour" event underway where any goomer like me can go drive a new Nissan Leaf. Though it's best to make a reservation, I saw a few folks show up and get to drive a car without one. Our group tour started exactly on time, and a very nice Nissan guide took us through three small display buildings before we got to see the cars up close, get in line, and drive one. There didn't need to be any big-name automotive celebrities here, the car was the star of this show.

Continue reading "Nissan Leaf: The Next Big ...er, Little Thing" »

April 4 Open Thread - Going Topless

Camaro convt. We've all had a rough Winter, but Spring is now here. It's time to roust out the road- ster, clean off the convertible, and fire up the phaeton. Drop the top, take a spin, and let the breeze flow through our hair, if we have any left.

So today's open thread is, "Do you have any special memories of a soft-top car? Would you like to have one, and if so, what kind? Is there anything else about a con- vertible that you would like to share?"

Of course, this is also the place to talk about whatever you want to talk about that doesn't fit in anywhere else that is at least somewhat automotively related. If it can be heard above the wind noise, of course.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Photo credit: Our cool Camaro(s) image is from AutoMotorBlog.com.

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

Powered by Rollyo

Car Lust™ Contributors

July 2014

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31