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About Anthony Cagle

Anthony Cagle came of age in an era when women were women, men were kinda like women, too, and cars developed a reputation for being overdesigned and underpowered--the '70s. His Car Lust bonafides include owning only one car not made during that ersatz decade of automobile history and then for only a month and a half. He currently pursues archaeology and keeping his 1978 Mustang II as clean and wickedly fast as possible, all the while defending its honor among the hordes of non-Car Lust afficionados.

Posts by Anthony Cagle

March 31 Weekly Open Thread: Dueling Commercials

Why do we here at Car Lust work so hard? For what? For this? For posts about goofy old cars? Other web sites, they do articles about high end super cars that a total of 29 people actually drive on a daily basis, super-expensive classics that touch asphalt one day a year, and snarky treatises on the detailed ins and outs of the auto industry, and get up to 25 million hits per month. 25 million! Why aren't we like that? Why aren't. . .ummm. . .we like that? Upside-660

Because we're crazy, driven hard-workin' believers in weird cars, that's why. Those other web sites think we're nuts. . . .whatever (we are, btw). Was the Vega nuts? (yes) Pontiac Aztec? (yes) Gremlin? (yes) Allanté? (yes) Were we nuts when we pointed to the AMC Hornet and said it was The Best Bond Car Ever? That's right, we bad-mouthed the 1969 Camaro and you know what we got? A bazillion comments. So we went and bad-mouthed the BMW 3-Series a few months later, and do you know why? Because we really like lots of hits.

But I digress.

It's pretty simple. You write about cars you really like, treat them fairly, and you gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the goofy cars. . . .that's the upside of looking at cars lots of ordinary people live. . .and die. . . with. N'est-ce pas?

Astute readers have probably already guessed that I just parodied a fairly controversial Cadillac ad, which was itself parodied by a Ford ad. As much as we here at Car Lust eschew politics -- seriously, we eschew politics -- I felt this little tit-for-tat marketing campaign might be good fodder for polite -- SERIOUSLY: POLITE -- discussion. I realize the cultural milieu surrounding them is almost inherently political, but we really need to confine comments to the content of the ads, what they say about the respective companies and the core message of each. Do they alienate any of their core customers? Bring in any new ones? Videos below the fold. And feel free to discuss anything else.

My opinion? I'm having trouble fathoming why a commercial that celebrates the benefits -- both material and non-material -- of hard work and perseverance would be at all 'controversial'. But then, to each their own. And the irony of this being from Cadillac, which has graced these pages more than once for their, um, rather sub-par performances (hint hint), makes it all the more intriguing.

But I digress.

Obviously they're both right. They're both hawking vehicles -- let's not forget that part of it -- that were designed, built, marketed, and sold by a whoooooole lot of crazy, driven, hard-workin' believers who wanted to make something more than a two-wheeled wooden cart to haul a religious icon or load of turnips around, not to mention making a better life for themselves than hauling around religious icons or turnips. And all those ecologically-correct environmentalists? Probably posting their composting research to the Web on a computer designed by a couple of crazy, driven, hard-workin' tech gurus. That shade-grown free-trade coffee didn't fly up from Costa Rica on the backs of magic unicorns either. As for the other side, well, the nicest car in the world isn't much fun if you're drowning in your own sewage. So please, try to maintain some perspective.

Image comes from the Fox News (Oh noes! More flames!) web site.

Continue reading "March 31 Weekly Open Thread: Dueling Commercials" »

March 24 Weekly Open Thread

I was sitting around last weekend and happened to catch a portion of The Blues Brothers. I've been watching quite a bit of old 1980s television lately, just for nostalgia's sake (most of which I missed, having spent the bulk of the decade in college and grad school along with the attendant social activities -- i.e., drinking -- that constituted my higher educational career) so whenever something's on from that decade, I make sure to watch a bit of it and reminisce about The Good Old DaysTM or at least see what I missed.

We've touched on the Bluesmobile before, at least in passing, with our ode to the 1974 Dodge Monaco but the film has numerous other Car Lust favorites: The Neo-Nazis' 1974 Pinto Wagon and LTD Country Squire, Carrie Fisher's 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, and Twiggy's 1974 XKE, not to mention the dozens and dozens of cars wrecked in the many chase scenes (for a while it held the record; that has since been eclipsed).

And did you know what the deal was with the mall they destroyed?

But I shall leave you with some of the classic scenes from the film nicely recreated in modern-day Chicago and environs. I saw this a while ago and have been meaning to link to ever since. Well, now's the time. And feel free to discuss anything else you'd like.


Meet the new car, (not the) same as the old car

The vehicle to the right there probably doesn't strike anyone as being particularly significant; for the most part it's not. Just a basic early 21st century compact Compact Sport Utility Vehicle (CUV or SUV), not too different from half a dozen other similar vehicles we see about a thousand times a day on the streets of our fair cities, 'burbs, and rural roads. Just a fairly basic 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i. Subaru

It has a couple distinctions though. For one thing, it was Motor Trend's 2014 SUV of the Year:

The Forester combines the practicality of a small, wisely engineered SUV with the fun enthusiasts will enjoy. . .The Forester has the right combination of attributes for many SUV buyers, and seems to do the impossible: It has more power than before, with better fuel economy, is fun to drive, offers generous ground clearance, and achieves all this at reasonable prices. The Forester isn't a wagon anymore. When a vehicle does this much and does it this well, it truly earns the title of Motor Trend's 2014 Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year.

So it's a decent little SUV. And as a matter of fact, it is now not only my primary vehicle, but the final contestant in an almost year-long search for something to take me into the field and back, albeit not quite at the sub-$10k amount I'd intended.

Even more than that, this thing has the distinction of being the first vehicle I've purchased since George Bush was president.

That would be George H.W. Bush.

Continue reading "Meet the new car, (not the) same as the old car" »

March 10 Weekly Open Thread: And Here I Thought 24 Years Was Pretty Good. . .

Via Autoblog, we have a man who owned his 1928 ROlls Royce for 78 years:

Mr. Allen Swift died in 2005 at the impressive age of 102, but his automotive story is even more remarkable. Not only is the gentleman credited with owning a Rolls-Royce automobile longer than anyone else in the world, but he had the forethought and funds to ensure its future preservation after his death.Oldestcar

In 1928, while living in Springfield, Massachusetts, Swift's father gave him a 1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly P1 Roadster as a graduation present (Springfield and Rolls-Royce have a history – from 1920 to 1931, the British automaker built 2,944 vehicles in the city as part of its attempt to establish a US plant). The young man was passionate about his green-over-green softtop convertible, not only driving it on a regular basis, but maintaining it meticulously over the decades (the two door-received a complete body-off restoration and engine rebuild in 1988).

I can't say as anyone in my family has ever come close to that amount of time on a single vehicle, although I believe I'm way ahead with mine, at around 24 years coming sometime this June. The Spousal Unit has had her Honda Civic for almost 18 years so we're both either very thrifty or just plain cheap. Well, scratch the cheap part, at least for me: If I counted up all the money I'd put into that car over the years I'd probably cry. In public.

Be that as it may, I did a little searching but couldn't find anyone else who'd owned their cars that long. So we put the question out to readers: How long is your longest-owned car?

And whatever else you'd like to discuss.

Photo is from Snopes.

1987-1993 Cadillac Allanté

How this blog managed to survive for almost seven years without a feature on the Allanté is beyond me. Well, chalk it up to ignoring the obvious I suppose. But better late than never.

I aim here to complete our trilogy of late 20th century Cadillacs that failed to meet expectations.

Say it with me: Only three?

We've already bookended the Allanté with two other unfortunate Cadillac nameplates, the Cimarron, by Cadillac and the Catera. . .also by Cadillac but maybe a bit less embarassing? Well, hardly, but we'll Allante_1
leave that go for now. As a wise sage once remarked, following Karl Marx: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." While our farcical bookends, the Cimarron and Catera, were separated by almost two decades, one might argue that Cadillac had tried to learn something in the interim -- even down to not starting the name with a 'C'! -- and took a new tack by not simply rebadging another GM product and trying to sell it with a few upgrades from the parts bin and charging a wad of dough for the privilege. No, this time they used a different letter for the name (although they almost blew that, too), and tried building something almost from scratch. Did it work?

Well, in a word, no. But it was sooooooo close. Almost irritatingly so. But, like other GM projects that began with a really good idea but seemed to suffer from wrong decisions at nearly every step--*cough* Vega! *cough*--the Allanté was actually quite a good car for the time and, I would posit, still holds up pretty well in most respects. But, being GM in the 1980s, it suffered from a couple of fatal flaws whose origin we look back on with a "What were they thinking?" look on our collective faces.

Continue reading "1987-1993 Cadillac Allanté" »

1937-1940 Ford Coupe

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean. . ."

And he'll probably be driving those mean streets in a 1940 Ford Coupe. Preferably black.

If the El Camino is the Steve McQueen of cars, the 1937-40 Ford coupe is the Phillip Marlowe. Kinda tough looking on the outside, but philosophical on the inside. Not flashy, suave, sophisticated, or calling attention to itself, but tough, effective, and not looking for trouble unless it comes looking for 1940FordTophim. Yeah, that's what this car is all about: “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.” Or the car.

All melodrama aside, this may seem an odd Lust for me. Heck, pretty much anything pre-1960s is a bit odd for me, even though I've dipped into preceeding decades a few times (e.g., here, here, and here). I'm not even sure why this particular model caught my fancy: I'm really not that into hot rods, of which this generation of Fords is rightly famous. Chopped, lowered, painted gaudy colors. . . .no thanks. I won't bash 'em but I also won't celebrate 'em.

Then again one could conceivably argue that the '37-'40 Fords marked the start of the mass-produced muscle car, of which I am definitely an aficianado. They weren't factory-produced muscle cars like the later ones, but they had the basics down: largely standard cars that many owners -- often for very particular reasons -- modified into ground-pounding monsters. And for the most part they didn't dress them up like a two dollar hooker -- again, for very particular reasons. I like that. I'm a fan of the sleeper, a wicked fast car that looks like a standard grocery-getter until you step on the gas and all those horses come roaring to life.

On top of that, it's a very handsome car, IMO. It's got a nice balance, not too chromed up (usually), and with more of a modern form to it than many others from that period. You can kind of see the direction that automobile design is heading, from the big carriages-on-wheels to a more modern, sleeker, and more aerodynamic design.

Continue reading "1937-1940 Ford Coupe" »

February 17 Weekly Open Thread

This week we bring you yet another list. Thankfully, not another (and another and another. . .) 'Worst Cars Of All Time" list. No, this one is actually kind of fun. It is, via Mental Floss, 11 Features you No BenchseatLonger See In Cars:

It’s hard to picture what today’s teenagers will wax nostalgic about 30 years from now when they reminisce about their first car. (It still required gasoline, perhaps?) Who knows how automobiles will change in the future; what we do know is how different they are today from 30 or more years ago. If you fondly remember being surrounded by two or three tons of solid Detroit steel with a whip antenna on the front from which you could tie a raccoon tail or adorn with an orange Union 76 ball, and enough leg room that you didn’t suffer from phlebitis on long road trips, then you might also miss a few of these.

Among them: The bench seat, ash trays, and vent windows. I like some of these. Bench seats are really passé sad to say, although I'm not sure why I think that; they were never very comfortable and their sole saving grace was the ability to fit three passengers in the front seat (and, um, being somewhat more amenable to certain amorous adventures).

I rather miss vent windows as well. I'm not sure why they aren't made anymore, it seems to me to be a really ideal way of letting a bit of air in without the noise of opening the whole window, if even a crack. Plus you could direct the air flow right at your face. I suppose they were probably expensive to produce and you can get almost the same effect from adjustable air vents.

Ash trays I never had a use for, never having picked up the habit m'self. Ditto the 'cigarette lighter' which most younger folk now might now just refer to as a "DC connector" or something.

Missing from the list? Are there any real hub caps anymore? I've seen a few plastic ones that even have fake bolts molded into them, but I haven't noticed any true metal hub caps lately (not that I've really been looking). I don't think there are too many whitewall tires around either. And of course we here at Car Lust have already told the story of the missing cassette player.

Anything else that seems to have disappeared from the automotive landscape? And feel free to discuss anything else of interest.

Credit: photo is from the article.

February 10 Weekly Open Thread: Most Boring Open Thread Ever


Yeah, Dullsville. Corolla

Paint drying.

Chartered accountancy.

Sitting in a bucket of warm wallpaper paste reading a Jane Austen novel.


Or perhaps a Toyota Corolla? I've taken to disagreeing with my esteemed colleagues on this one: It's not the Camry. I know, I know, it's sold 40 million copies and is the best selling nameplate ever. It's reliable. It's practical. It's cheap. It's. . . .boring. So boring that after looking at it for five minutes I kind of want to poke out both of my eyes just to give them something interesting to do.

When I first saw the "Corolla S" out and about I had a fleeting thought that maybe they'd finally done something interesting with it, but such was not to be. Unless you consider adding a "Unique piano-black front grille" to be, you know, interesting. More "utterly forgettable" is more like it.

So I dunno, talk about the Corolla or anything else auto-related you can think of. I'm already tired of thinking about this car. It's. . . .it's. . . . . .

What was I talking about again?

Great Cars of Kenya

We here at Car Lust are proud to present you with yet another installment of "Great Cars of Foreign Countries." This time: The Kenya Edition. This does tend to be a U.S.-centered blog so when I get the chance to venture outside the boundaries of this great auto-nation of ours, I like to observe the sorts of automobiles our friends elsewhere tool around in. We have our own quite unique car culture here and it's always nice to Lionsget some perspective from elsewhere. 

As part of my work with the UW Department of Global Health I had cause to venture to the great country of Kenya for a conference and training of the data staff at the Coptic Hope Center for Infectious Diseases. I only managed to hang around in Nairobi so I didn't quite get to see the breadth and depth of the Kenyan automotive world but I'm guessing what you'll see here is a fairly good cross-section of what's available.

Kenya car culture in essence: Toyota. Really. I would hazard to giess that probably 60% if not more of the automobiles I saw were Toyotas. Second most was probably Nissan. A very small smattering of anything US-made, although I did see a GM dealership at one point. But otherwise it was Toyota after Toyota after Toyota, predominantly Corolas and Camrys with about a thousand different nameplates. But there were a few other oddities as well.

Continue reading "Great Cars of Kenya" »

January 13 Weekly Open Thread and the Million Mile Miata

We open this week's Car Lust with a story from Road & Track on their attempt to push a Mazda Miata to the million mile mark:

Road & Track's first love affair with the Miata was back in 1989. Same year, same color: Mariner Blue. The plucky little car took Dennis Simanaitis and Andy Bornhop on on their respective Bluemiatahoneymoons before the test wrapped up. Simanaitis later bought the car when Mazda finally decided to sell it. I think he still has it.

Some 25 years later, our new (old) car is going to serve a totally different purpose. Sure, it can expect plenty of road trips, but there's a bigger goal in mind—we want to share our enthusiasm for sports cars, and there's no sports car more approachable than the Miata. 2014 marks the model's 25th anniversary, so in order to kick that off, we'll share our new toy. We'll share it at track days and we'll share it around the office. We'll even drag our non-stick shift-driving friends out to school parking lots on weekend mornings for a little Miata time. And when they graduate, well, they can put some miles on the Miata, too.

We featured the Miata on its 20th Anniversary back in 2009 -- can you believe it's already been five years? -- and it will probably make another appearance at some point this year. I suspect that their little car will make it at least close to a million, although one wonders what the cost will be.
Which made me start thinking about a couple of other things: Anyone else remember when it was incredibly rare for a car to even hit 100,000 miles? I do. Used to think it was an almost unobtainable goal ; nowadays I'm wondering if the Civic's manual transmission will make it to 200,000.
I've also been contemplating the ins and outs of maintaining an older car vs. buying a new one. Admittedly, I have some experience with keeping an old beast on the road, but as a practical matter I've always thought it was mostly cost effective to maintain an old car -- barring something truly catastrophic, like a cracked engine block or bent frame or something. There are other considerations, of course, like maintaining reliability, getting new features, etc.
So what do Car Lust readers think? How long do you think you ought to keep ol' Bessie in the garage before trading the old girl in on a new model? And feel free to discuss anything else.
The Miata photo is from the R&T article, btw.

The Way We Were: Chuck Lynch, aka That Car Guy

Chuck Lynch (That Car Guy)

Well Anthony, you asked for it, you got it. First off, here's a picture of me in 1972 standing beside my first street legal motor vehicle, a 1972 Harley-Davidson 125cc Rapido. That's me, second from left, under the arrow. The late Mr. Bill Abernathy, who sponsored the event, is to the left; David and Kevin are to the right. Dave owned a 1966 GMC Value Van about three years after this picture was taken:


Continue reading "The Way We Were: Chuck Lynch, aka That Car Guy" »

The Way We Were: Cookie the Dog's Owner

Cookie the Dog's Owner

Here are a few pictures I found in the ancestral photo albums.

The first is of Dad and me and the 1949 Ford sedan. According to the date stamp in the right-hand border, the film was developed in May, and it's dated "62" in pencil; but based on how I'm dressed, it was probably taken earlier in the spring. I would have been just over a year old.1949 Ford

This was not necessarily a formal occasion. Dad wore a fedora with his business suit well into the 1970s.

Continue reading "The Way We Were: Cookie the Dog's Owner" »

The Way We Were: Anthony Cagle

Anthony Cagle

First up, this is me and "my" 1975 AMC Hornet.


That was taken in 1985 just before I set out from Wisconsin to Washington state for grad school and the Rest of My LifeTM. As my demeanor suggests I wasn't particularly happy upon leaving behind "my" Hornet, but c'est la vie I guess. I would have been 23 at the time, still in my (happily long abandoned) beard phase, and freshly graduated from college with a degree in archaeology and ready to head for the west coast in my new/old. . . .

Continue reading "The Way We Were: Anthony Cagle" »

Jan 6 Weekly Open Thread and The Way We Were

We here at Car Lust have highlighted our own vehicles and those of our readers on several occasions, but one thing we've not done -- except by accident every now and then -- is shine a light on our vehicles and ourselves. We've often argued that the reason we write in glowing terms about mostly forgotten or Cary_grant_exiting_a_tiny_carunderappreciated models is that many of these vehicles, despite their flaws and foibles, sold many thousands of copies and ended up being important parts of the everyday lives of their owners. People drove them to their very first job, went on their first real date in them, drove in them with their buddies to the seashore or the lake or the mountains, or piled into them with the rest of the family for long drives on summer vacation. They bought them, drove them home, parked them in the driveway, and admired their own personal form of freedom: the ability to go where one pleased when one pleased.

So we shouldn't forget that, behind these cars we love so much, are the people who drove them and cared for them and showed them off and. . . .well, sometimes wrecked them (hopefully without unduly damaging themselves or anybody else in the process).

Hence, over the next week or so we'd like to take this opportunity to submit a few snapshots of our very own automotive histories; and this time not only the vehicles themselves but of us as well. We realize that there is risk in this endeavor, as readers may be shocked to learn that those of us penning these missives -- especially those of us over a certain age -- may have some none-too-flattering photographs in our past. Hard to imagine, I know, as most of you no doubt imagine us all looking like literary equivalents of Cary Grant or, for the younger crowd, Hugh Jackman (and for our latest contributor Grace Kelly or Scarlett Johansson). But we throw caution to the wind and set them out there anyway for all to enjoy.

And we also invite readers to send in their own photos -- modern or not -- for submission. The older the better. The more dated the better. And hopefully along with a few sentences describing the scene, the vehicle, and what was going on in your life at the time.

And, as always, feel free to discuss anything else automobile related.

Credits: The top photo is of, yes, that's me, exiting my old Isetta (via Chris on Cars). All others for the remainder of this week, unless otherwise indicated, are by the authors.

December 16 Weekly Open Thread: Be Careful Out There

Not to start the week on a bit of a downer, but as we continue through this holiday season and enter into the final week or so before the Christmas holiday -- and its attendant last-minute shopping madness -- we here at Car Lust would like to take a few minutes to reflect on recent events and remind our valued readers to take it easy out there. CourtesyWave

Two weeks ago the actor Paul Walker was killed in an apparent speed-related automobile accident. The irony of the Fast & Furious star meeting his untimely end in such a way ought to give us all pause to remind ourselves of what should be a truism at any time of the year:

The roads should not be fast or furious.

It's easy to become impatient these days when we're all rushing around to various holiday-related events and getting all of our preparations ready for whatever sort of celebrating we're doing, all while we're surrounded by great multitudes of others doing the same thing. And it's easy to drive aggressively as we try to snag that rare parking spot close to the mall entrance or navigate heavy traffic anywhere else we happen to be going. But if the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year's should be about anything, it should be about good will towards others, even if we don't know who they are and they just cut in front of us. Especially if we don't know who they are and they just cut in front of us.

We all just want to get where we're going, do what we need to do, and -- most importantly -- get back to our friends and family in one piece. Take it easy out there. Give the other guy some slack. Losing a choice parking space certainly isn't the end of the world and it certainly isn't worth losing one's temper over in this season of peace and forgiveness. A friendly wave and a "go ahead" will go a long way toward making the holidays happier, healthier, and much more relaxed.

And, as always, fee free to discuss anything else of automotive interest.

An Ode to the Filling Station

Filling station. Gas station. Whatever you call it, nearly all of us have used them on an almost weekly basis. They've been a part of the American landscape for over a hundred years now. They're so ubiquitous that most of us probably don't even notice them until we need one, and then only to check the prices. Now, it's true that today most stations are rather bland affairs: a bunch of pumps under a freestanding ShellShedroof with essentially a small convenience store on the inside, and occasionally a service bay or two.

"Pah," I hear you scoff, "they're just gas stations, what's the big deal?"

Well, they're not that big of a deal, but as I have previously waxed poetic about Sinclair stations, I decided that it was time to indulge myself a bit further. Like any feature of the architectural landscape, while the buildings themselves are largely designed around a particular set of functions -- selling gas, goods, and sometimes servicing -- within those constraints they can vary according to prevailing stylistic trends, local aesthetics, and aspects of corporate self-imaging. Studying stations of past times tells us what people thought about the role of gas stations, the role of the automobile, the structure of the human landscape, and even how we ought to relate to one another generally. Some are simple, some elaborate, but all have something to say about their time and place. Unfortunately, due to their ubiquity and generally lowly function many have not survived to the present day. But I think they're worth noting, appreciating and, in many cases, saving from the wrecking ball.

Continue reading "An Ode to the Filling Station" »

Car Lust Classic: 1963 Chrysler Turbine

Editor's note: Since this is the 50th anniversary week of JFK's assasination, we are re-running a few of our posts having to do with cars from that year and also directly with JFK himself. This was the very first Car Lust post I did way back in 2008. They say that if you really want to learn something about a subject, teach a class in it. Very true. In the last five years of writing here I've learned more about the history of automobiles than from all of the books and magazines and television programs I'd ever read up to that point. And learned a lot from my fellow conspirators contributors about cars that I never gave a second glance to. Please enjoy my first foray into Car Lust, hopefully as much as I enjoyed writing it.
by Anthony Cagle on August 12, 2008

As odd as it may sound, the Chrysler Turbine was not just a concept car but a limited-production model; 50 were actually produced and placed with Chrysler customers for real-world testing. Consequently, this was closer to actual production than your average concept car.63turbinf

The idea of using a turbine engine in automobiles has been around for a while and the concept continues to be batted around and appears every few years in popular technology magazines. A turbine engine works by first compressing air, heating it up either directly or indirectly by burning fuel, and using the expanding air in a turbine which results in work which is used to both further compress incoming air and also provide either rotational energy or thrust, depending on the application. Regular aircraft engines are too large and emit too much heat to simply be placed in a car, so Chrysler's research focused on reducing the size of the engine and developing a regenerator to recycle hot exhaust gas back into the combustion chamber--thus increasing gas mileage and reducing the output temperature of the exhaust gases.

To read the original post, click here.

November 11, 2013 Weekly Open Thread: Limousine Week!

Now, regular readers of this blog will probably not go out and buy any of this week's theme cars since they are manifestly expensive and impractical for daily use. Nevertheless, like certain other specialized vehicles, we all stand a pretty good chance of at least riding in one some day (whether we're aware of it Pink-hummer-limousineor not). So we might as well know something about them and the weirder the better.

According to Wikipedia, the modern limousine is a standard automobile -- usually an existing luxury model -- driven by a chauffer. A "stretch limo" is usually considered as one that has had its wheelbase lengthened, either by the manufacturer or by a third-party coach builder. In this they are similar to the specialized coaches built for carrying the dead to their final resting place. For most of their history, limousines were standard luxury sedans used by the wealthy and the well-connected to go about their daily high-profile business. The last few decades have seen an explosion in stretching nearly any vehicle and are most often used as rental vehicles for weddings, sweet sixteen parties, proms, you name it. And the odder the original vehicle, the better.

Continue reading "November 11, 2013 Weekly Open Thread: Limousine Week!" »

Great Cars of Death: Hank Williams' 1952 Cadillac.

The names read like a litany of tragedy: Hendrix, Joplin, Morrison, Winehouse. . .promising musicians who drugged and/or drank themselves to the grave before they even turned 30. Open up the age bracket a bit and you'll find Hutchence, Bonham, Moon, and Scott; all cut short at or near their prime creative HJCaddy1years. And that's just a few of the more famous ones, an exhaustive list makes for rather depressing reading.

But before them all was Hiram King Williams, better known as Hank Williams. Perhaps the first country music superstar, Williams died from drug and alcohol related causes in the early hours of 1953. . .before his 30th birthday as well. And because this is Car Lust (and Halloween), I've chosen to highlight this particular celebrity's untimely demise because the unhappy event occurred in the back seat of his car, a 1952 Cadillac convertible. No haunting. No bizarre coincidences. No stories of the car being cursed and causing death and destruction long after the initial event. Just an unfortunate end to a short but spectacular career of an artist perhaps many people these days don't even know about, and if they do they may regard him as some kind of goofy hillbilly.

Such is far from the case (well, okay, there was something of the hillbilly about him), and many artists of the present and recent past were influenced by his music. . .and not all of them are or were country artists. So before you click away, sit back and have a short read about one of the most influential but underappreciated artists of the 20th century, his tragic end, and his way cool car.

Continue reading "Great Cars of Death: Hank Williams' 1952 Cadillac. " »

Halloween 2013 Weekly Open Thread

The full moon rises over the dark and misty moors. . . .

A hound bays in the distance as the ever-present low fog curls around the barren trees. . .is that a house in the distance?

Or is it perhaps. . . . .A GARAGE??!!Ghost--phantom-night-Hitchhiker-dreamstime_xs_18704696-Krodere

We here at Car Lust ring in the spookiest week of the year with an Open Thread devoted to spooky car stories, yours or those with a bit more notoriety. There are quite a few ghost stories and urban legends involving cars. Perhaps the most famous and oft repeated is that of the phantom hitchhiker:

Two young men are on their way to a dance when they spot a girl their age walking along the road in a party dress. They stop and ask if she'd like to attend the dance with them. She accepts and spends the evening dancing with them. When the dance is finished, the young men offer to take her home and she insists they drop her off at a certain spot. They agree, and since it is raining, one of the boys gives her his coat, saying he will pick it up from her later. As she requests, they drop her off at a house on Meshack Road. A few days later, the boy returns to the house to retrieve his coat... but is told by the woman at the house that the girl he describes sounds like her daughter, who died in an accident on that road. When the boy visits her grave at the cemetery, his coat is laying beside her tombstone.

The basic story has several variations, including the girl vanishing in front of a house or vanishing at the site of the accident that killed her. A well-known variant is Lydia's Bridge, a staple of North Carolina phantom lore.

Me, except for the devil incarnate that tried to get me to commit suicide, mine have been fairly benign.

Any ghost stories of your own, or even weird and creepy happenings involving automobiles?

Credits: The phantom hitchhiker photo, along with yet another variant of the story, can be found at the Southeastern Ghosts and Hauntings blog.


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

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