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May 2012

Great Commercials/Our Cars--"Connections"

The first time I saw this commercial, my first thought was, "Toyota's ad agency filmed an 'Our Cars' post."

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May 28 Weekly Open Thread: Memorial Day

Memorial Day Parade 2012Today is the day we celebrate Memorial Day, to honor all of the American troops that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Whether we attend a parade, watch a race, or put on a barbeque with friends, family, and neighbors, we should take a moment and reflect on the true meaning of this national holiday.

Memorial Day was originally called "Decoration Day," and began during the Civil War to honor white and black Union soldiers who had fought and died for liberation and peace.

The term "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882 and became popular after World War II, but it wasn't until 1967 that federal law recognized the name. On June 28, 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill which created 3-day weekends, moving Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday of May.

Proper observance of Memorial Day includes raising the American flag to half-staff until Noon, then taking it to full-staff for the rest of the day.

Us car lusters note that the Indianapolis 500 is held every Memorial Day weekend. As I write this (5/27/12), the flag has just dropped on the cars, letting them have a go of it. But a car race is by far not the main reason for this somber weekend.

The Memorial Day weekend is also the unofficial start of Summer to a lot of people. Schools used to time their calendars so they they were out of session by this time, and public pools usually open now.

So to mark our Memorial Day holiday weekend and to honor our fallen fellow Americans, perhaps there is no better homage than to play "Taps."

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: The Memorial Day Parade image (with border added) is from

Carspotters' Challenge #14--Gas Up at Bobby's

Ah, the fresh smell of long-chain hydrocarbons.....

"Can you check the oil while you're at it?"Have at it, carspotters!

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum's collection of vintage street scenes, to which it was contributed by member "Fat Tedy.")

1969 Buick Riviera

Buick 2 frontThings are different when you're 12. Especially when you're really beginning to notice cars... and other things. When I was a dozen years old in early 1969, the original Star Trek series was still on, and we had not yet landed on the moon. As a nation, we were still recovering from the horrific events of 1968, including the public murders of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy.

And despite the bad times, we really had no idea how well we had it back then. During the Summer, we got chaufeurred everywhere, had our meals taken care of, paid no rent, and, oh yeah, had the swimming pool at our disposal. In the cold months, there was the game room with pool table and juke box. Plus all the milk and cookies we could eat, brought to us by the lovely Miss Thelma.

Buick 1I guess I'm getting a little "The Wonder Years"-ish here, so lets move on to cars. And the car I remember most from this time was the one my best friend's father brought home one night... a brand new '69 Buick Riviera.

Everything about this car was a class act. From the outside, its gold paint and tan vinyl roof made its clean yet modern lines look elegant but simple. Its proportions were perfect, save for just a little extra overhang behind the rear wheels. But that's the only styling criticism I have of this car.

The fastback profile more than made up for that. This was a car you not only wanted to ride in, it was one you wanted to be seen in. When Miss Trudy picked us kids up in this, we knew the fun had just begun.

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May 21 Weekly Open Thread: Pontiac Holden Is Coming BACK!

Chevy SSOK, I was kidding on April 1st when I said that Pontiac was coming back. But by a sheer coincidence I'm sure ( ;) ), GM is bringing the next generation Holden VF Commodore to America, just as was joked about in that article.

"Chevrolet SS" will replace the Commodore's badges, rather than using the "Pontiac G8" of yore. They're also calling it Chevy’s new NASCAR Sprint Cup car, and it will appear in the Daytona 500 next February.

Holden just announced their new export program, saying that the Commodore will return to North America in late 2013. And the best part of this news? This will be the first time in 17 years that Chevrolet has offered a rear wheel drive sedan in the US.

I suppose it could be said that Holden never really left us, witnessed by today's Camaro. But the Chevrolet SS seems more "Aussie" that the Camaro, at least to me.

So how do you feel about the upcoming return of Holden's Commodore? Do you think there are or should be more Holdens to come?

And of course, this is the place to yack about anything else that even remotely concerns the cars. The whole cars. And nothing but the cars.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credits: The cleverly covered, camouflaged Chevrolet SS image is from

Carspotters' Challenge #13--Unlucky

A black cat must've crossed the transport driver's path on the way to the dealership. If any of the mirrors broke when the Mercury flipped over, it's going to be a really bad day.

"Well, this is going to be expensive."What else do you see?

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum's extensive collection of vintage street scenes, to which it was contributed by member "OrthmannJ.")

Exner Simca Special

Are you in the market for a small, light, open-air roadster that would be just perfect for early summer evening ice cream runs through Mill Creek Gorge between Lanterman's Mill and the Goldfish Pond? If so, have I got a deal for you!

Simca Special

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The First Special Edition Mustang

HC Badge!I was cashing a check at the bank recently, and the friendly teller lady had a picture of her '66 Mustang right there. I knew we had cars in common and that car obviously meant a lot to her, so I asked her about it. She proudly told me it was a "High Country" Mustang; a car that I had never heard of.

There were people in line behind me, so I got all of the information from her that I could as quickly as I could. She motioned to the extra fender badge, and I smiled and acted like I knew what she was talking about.

But later I talked with a bud of mine who has owned several Mustangs and taken them down to their last lock washer. He hadn't heard of them either... so then I didn't feel so bad.

Continue reading "The First Special Edition Mustang" »

Carroll Shelby 1923-2012: A Life Well Lived

There are few people in the automotive industry that are favorites both in the world at large and here in our little corner of the Interwebs devoted to wonderful and, well, not-so-wonderful cars. We here at Car Lust join many in mourning the passing of one of the true giants of the motoring world, Carroll Shelby. From the Cobra to LeMans to the Mustang GT 350/500 (both classic and modern) to the humble Dodge Omni GLH-S, Shelby created performance and excitement out of many a humble automobile and gave the masses not only some really great cars that they could actually own, but an inspiring story of a Carroll-Shelbydepression-era Texan who went on to make a name for himself in the automotive world through hard work and dogged determination -- cliché perhaps, but true.

For a far better retrospective on Shelby's life and times than I could possibly provide, see this piece over at Autoweek:

“He is a visionary in many ways, and a doer. He's an idea man—Carroll gets great ideas—and he does not like details. He doesn't like an office. He's not interested in sitting around on a day-to-day basis. He wants another challenge, to move on to something exciting. That's part of the fun of working for him, it'll always be moving, nothing stagnant. There's a feeling of fun, also a respect for the accomplishments of the man.

“He is an entrepreneur who borders on the con man—he is a legitimate con man. You have to be in this business. It's the old American success story. When he gets knocked down—like with the chicken business [which was hit with a poultry disease]—he's flat, he gets back up.”

We've devoted several posts here to models designed, modified, or inspired by Shelby, some deservedly famous, others not so much, but still interesting. This week we'll be re-running several of our old posts in tribute to the man and his creations. And below the fold on this post, our own Virgil Exner contributes his thoughts  on Mr. Shelby.

Requiescat in Pace, Mr. Shelby; would that we all lived our lives as fully and with as much gusto as you did.

--Anthony Cagle

Continue reading "Carroll Shelby 1923-2012: A Life Well Lived" »

Carspotters' Challenge #12--Road America, 1963

The parking lot outside the track at Elkhart Lake is at least as interesting as the race itself.

Road America 1963See anything that strikes your fancy?

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum's extensive collection of vintage street scenes, to which it was contributed by member "OrthmannJ.")

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

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