5th Birthday Week--Anthony Cagle's Greatest Hits
I've never met Anthony Cagle, but I think we'd have a lot in common. He's into history by trade; I do it as a hobby, like having spent part of the last four years relocating a magnificent mansion named "The Hillbrook ." This not so humble abode used to stand in Westchester County, New York, and was once owned by the family of a dear late friend of mine.
But where we probably share the most commonality is our admiration (Dare I say love) of the Mustang II. I bought a new one in 1974; presently he is the keeper of a magnificent 1978 Fastback. And if he ever wants to sell it, I hope he lets me know.
So in keeping with this week's theme, I'd like to present a few of my favorite Car Lust posts by Anthony J. Cagle, and a few words about each:
1962: It was a very good year
on December 18, 2008
I take this opportunity to sing the praises of not one car, but many: those from a single year, 1962. Why this particular year? I can almost hear the thoughts of many out there wondering why this year and not some other one that has way more hot cars. What about '69 when we had Super Bees and Boss 302s? Or maybe 1964, which saw both the GTO and the Mustang debut? To these criticisms I can only respond: Hey, this is Car Lust, after all.
But I have my reasons, some of them carefully reasoned and others a bit more self-referential. I will admit right up front that this was the same annus incredibilis that saw the introduction of the Cagle Mark III model (that would be your humble blogger), but that's actually secondary and is good only as an additional plot device to the larger point which I came to by other avenues. In truth, I'd been gravitating towards the general 1961-63 era for some time, an interest initially sparked by a single event in automotive history (below the fold).
The upshot is that I find the cars produced in the period between what we think of as 1950s classics and the muscle car era of the later '60s to be terribly attractive in their own transitional way. In a lot of ways they seem to capture that moment between the staid '50s and the free-for-all '60s that, in some sense, reflects on how society (or at least society as presented by the media) looked at the time. After the gray flannel suit, but before bell bottoms, if you will.
•Anthony's "Very Good Year" post started us all on this theme, though arguably a couple had already been done. But he brought the series to life, it was aped by several other of us contributors, and even inspired a whole week of "Best and Worst Year" posts.
Here's a list of our "It Was A Very ---- Year" posts:
Welcome to a Very Good Week (Cookie the Dog's Owner)
1898: It Was A Very Good Year! (Cookie the Dog's Owner)
1929: It Was A Very Good Year (Anthony Cagle)
1957: It Was A Very Good Year! (That Car Guy [Chuck])
1962: It was a very good year (Anthony Cagle)
1969: It Was A Very Good Year! (That Car Guy [Chuck])
1974: It Was A Very Bad Year (That Car Guy [Chuck])
1978: It Was A Very Good Bad Odd Year (Anthony Cagle)
1984: Was It A Very Good Year? (That Car Guy [Chuck])
1985: It Was A Very Good Year! (Cookie the Dog's Owner)
1991: It Was A Very Good Year (Anthony Cagle)
Car Lust: A Look Back at Automobile Magazine’s 1994 All-Stars (David Drucker)
Year 2K (Nathan of Brainfertilizer fame)
I think that's all to date; my apologies if I've left out any. I hope and expect more of these will follow.
"What is that?"
"Its name is the Pussycar Automodule."
"I must be dreaming. . . ."
With apologies to Albert R. Broccoli (and Sean Connery), when this car first crossed the desk here at the Ministry of Silly Cars we (well, mostly I) immediately determined that it would make a marvelous followon post to La Femme, if for no other reason than it is ripe for an amazing array of double entendres, perhaps even eclipsing the potential of the Wienermobile. However, seeing as this is a family blog, I shall attempt to make it through this post with a PG rating. Probably.
Oh, errr, it may help you to get through this by pronouncing it, alà Sean Connery, "Poosey-car".
AMC Hornet--The Best Bond Car Ever
by Anthony Cagle on October 13, 2010
"He's mad, I tell you, mad!"
No, I'm not. ("Denial! That's the first sign!") Friends and fellow Car Lusters, before you start composing angry emails to management berating them for letting a raving lunatic type his incoherent rantings into the blog, first lend me your eyes and allow me to make the case.
At first glance, no, the lowly AMC Hornet does not appear to be anything particularly special. It's never been as famous as some of the other Bond cars--at least in and of itself. And in terms of either sheer performance or coolness, yes, it probably falls pretty short (see? I'm not totally off my rocker). I'll grant that the original DB5 carried a certain panache (not to mention a .30 caliber machine gun and ejector seat) and the Lotus Esprit was not only elegant but handled well ... underwater. Yes, all fabulous cars and nearly everyone, myself included, would love to have a licence to kill to have one in our garages.
On the other hand, as we archaeologists are fond of saying, context is (nearly) everything. Most of those other cars were pure fantasy in that, outside of the magic of special effects, they didn't do a whole lot of things that many, many other equally capable cars of the time were able to and did. But the Hornet is something special. It actually did what those other cars could only sit in their clean, well-lit garages and dream about doing: The Stunt.
•Just in case anybody has forgotten my appreciation of the James Bond cars, please click this. So when the "AMC Hornet--The Best Bond Car Ever" post appeared, naturally my ears perked up. And when you see the scene in "The Man With The Golden Gun" where Sheriff J. W. Pepper is beating on the interior of the Hornet inspecting its build quality, I hope one laughs... I do every time.
Car Disgust: BMW 3-series
by Anthony Cagle on July 30, 2010
This is probably one of the most challenging posts I have ever attempted to compose. How does one go about dissing perhaps the most revered sport sedan of the last 30 years, arguably one of the finest automobiles in the world at present? And I have labeled it an Objet d'isgust?
Well, it's complicated. Often when one attempts to dissect one's own feelings about a particular object, especially negative feelings, it's more a matter of self-discovery than anything else. And part of that self-discovery is determining the origin of those negative feelings, which often arise from sources that have nothing whatever to do with the object of hate. In addition, I've often found that my perceptions of certain people, places, or things say more about how they've been presented to me rather than as a product of my own thought process. And once all the navel-gazing is said and done, I sometimes end up realizing my hate has more to do with my own preconceptions than with any inherent qualities of said object.
And so we come to the BMW, particularly the 3 series. My feelings towards BMWs have always been kind of schizophrenic. On the one hand, I've always tended to see them as the quintessential self-satisfied Yuppie-mobile; on the other, as a largely objectively high quality automobile. How to reconcile the two? Well, if you can stand a little amateur psychologizing and '80s pop culture references with your Car Lust history, join me below the fold as I delve into the swirl of emotions surrounding this car and others like it, all without (hopefully) ticking a lot of people off.
•I can't imagine why anybody would go against the BMW crowd. After all, they're the kindest, most considerate group of drivers on the road, ever. Right? So why pick on them?
Vehicular Archaelogy II: Update and Additions
Once again we venture into the field (pun intended) of historical archaeology for some interesting automotive tidbits. This post gives some updates on the previous post as well as a couple of new items for your edification and amusement -- and hopefully some information input. That previous post proved quite valuable as many of the cars have been identified to a good series of years, giving us at least a baseline for the time that they were put there, always a valuable commodity for archaeologists. Also in the meantime I found out a bit more about the car dump along the river bank which I will pass along.
I also have a new site which, sadly, I had only a couple of minutes to snap a few photos of, so I am hoping for some reader input on the make, model, and year, although that might be tricky given the limited set of photographs.
And for the pièce de résistance one utterly Car Lustable example that will surely send certain auto-hearts to twitterpating.
Again, this is all from an unidentified area of eastern Washington state, although at least one photo and link will give the general location away.
•It was a slow morning when I first read this post, and it got me awake and going. I searched the internet for images to clarify what this contraption used to be. But we still haven't identified the make of thie engine and frame, so the mystery continues.
Father's Day Roundtable
One might reasonably argue that we here at Car Lust do not really write about cars as much as we write about ourselves; the cars are simply a vehicle (pun intended) allowing us to tell a story of how we view ourselves, our friends and family, and society generally. We're mostly average folks with an interest in offbeat automobiles, much like the readers who come here to read our missives to cars gone by. Hardly anyone will ever drive a Lamborghini, but everyone and his brother either had a Ford Pinto or knew someone who did. As Chris put it so aptly regarding the Ford Pinto:
Somewhere, three decades ago, a designer proudly unveiled it to the bosses at Ford; workers spent their waking hours building it. Young families bought Pintos, showed Pintos off to their friends, washed Pintos in their driveways, drove their babies home from the hospital in Pintos. Some of you drove Pintos; some of your parents or grandparents drove Pintos. Pintos were on TV, in movies, in magazines and newspapers. The Pinto is part of the fabric of our history.
Since the child is father (or mother) to the man (or woman), it makes sense for us to look back at our formative years to examine where our attitudes, likes, and dislikes for particular cars comes from. Setting aside the debate over the accuracy of the stereotype, fathers tend to be associated with the family car far more than mothers are. Most of us have fond (or otherwise) memories of going down to the car dealers with dad to get a new car for the family, driving it home, and then watching as it is shown off to all the other dads in the neighborhood, usually with the hood up and everyone making comments about horsepower, transmission ratios, etc., whether they know what any of it means or not.
Some of the most endearing posts and comments I've read on this blog are memories of dads and cars. And so we have convened another Car Lust Round Table™ to share. Included are reminiscences by Car Lust bloggers as well as links and quotes to some of our favorite posts and comments, all in honor of Dad for this Father's Day.
•This hit home to all of us contributors here at Car Lust. I lost my father 20 years ago this month (August, 2012), so it was nice to have a chance to bring that photo of him and his car to light again. So we all had a moment to remember our dear dads, whether they are still with us or not.
Glorified lawn chairs for seats.
Total weight: Less than 500 pounds.
No protection from the elements.
Approximate cost per vehicle: $9.5 million.
Total distance traveled: About 56 miles.
But, oh, what miles they were.
Often described as a "spacecraft on wheels" the Lunar Rover -- technically the 'Lunar Roving Vehicle" or LRV -- may not be the most performance-oriented vehicle we here at Car Lust have ever featured (even by our standards) and it's certainly not much of a looker, but in terms of what it actually did -- and where it did it -- I daresay it's probably the most innovative vehicle to have ever graced these pages. Though it has been referred to as a glorified golf cart, it was anything but. It was designed to operate safely and reliably in one of the harshest climates known to man and be able to perform an act of origami just to fit on the landing vehicle. And it wasn't ever supposed to be built.
•One reason this post hit so close to me is that I have climbed all over the rovers at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama (home of United States Space Camp). My friends and I did this innocently; we didn't notice the "Keep Off" sign till it was too late. But nobody threw us out of the place, and we got some great pictures.
So thanks for these and many more great posts Anthony, and keep 'em coming.
--That Car Guy (Chuck)
Image credits: I took the photo of The Hillbrook in 1980. There are absolutely no traces of the house left, except for a recreation of its library (With Mr. Arents' 6,000 books on tobacco) in the New York Public Library; the driveway which is now called Lincoln Lane; and the front doorway, which may still be "available."