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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

September 15 Weekly Open Thread: The People's Car?

Over at Top Gear -- that poor stepsister to Car Lust -- James May had a 3-episode series on Cars of the People (which, you know, we've been highlighting FOR YEARS). Largely devoted to automobiles designed 1024px-VolkswagenBeetle-001 for ordinary folks to carry out their daily business in -- like the VW Beetle, Ford Transit VanCitroën 2CV, Ford Mustang, Fiat 124/VAZ-2101, and various other primarily inexpensive automobiles produced for the masses -- it was an exercise ostensibly directed at determining what the ultimate Car of the People was. Not the car everybody wanted, but the car that the majority of people needed and could get along with and, you know, use

What do you think he decided on?

The VW Golf

"Pah!" said I, "That's not it because. . . .well, because it's. . . .I mean, it can't be since the real ultimate People's Car is. . . . .hmmmmm."

And you know, I couldn't really come up with any good reasons. It seats five. Drives well. Has a hatchback so it's practical. Covers a range of budgets, from basic to hot. And over six generations since 1974 it's sold over 30 million copies so they've got to be doing something right.

Right?

Maybe. But for my money, it's the Honda Civic. It comes in sedan, coupe, and hatch versions in a variety of trim and option levels, it's more reliable and cheaper to maintain than the Golf, and has had its own hot hatchback at times. It hasn't sold quite as well though, only reaching about half the number of the Golf in about the same amount of time (sales figures here). So maybe I'm wrong (perish the thought).

Then there's the Toyota Corolla, the best-selling nameplate ever at 40 million and counting. That must count for something.

He mentioned the Model T and I think that, considered across the entire span of automobile history, I would probably go with it over everything else. It was the first car that was really built for the masses and it fulfilled that role magnificently. As I noted earlier, the Model T was for everything from an around-town runabout to delivery trucks -- beer, milk, you name it -- to ambulances to farm implements. They fulfilled every conceivable use and made motoring a part of daily life for everyone, not just toys for the rich. 

So, what do you think? The Golf? Civic? Toyota Corolla? Something else? 

And feel free to discuss anything else auto-related that comes to mind. Beetle photo from Wikipedia. 

August 18 Weekly Open Thread: Photographs and Memories

A slightly different Open Thread this week. Feel free to discuss anything else auto-related

Two happenstance events came together to make me post the photo to the right. I'm not entirely sure of the date of this, but probably from the later 1960s. It’s from one of many family summer trips to Alabama that we took to visit my dad’s folks when we were growing up. He hailed from deepest darkest Alabama, married my mom while both were in the Air Force stationed in England, and they eventually Catalinasettled in Wisconsin near where she grew up.

I'm also not sure what car that is but it looks like it would have been the Pontiac Catalina. The location is no doubt somewhere between Wisconsin and Empire, Alabama, probably in July or August which is when we went down there. We’d make the trip in one day, usually starting out about 4 a.m. and getting to "grandpaw’s" house early in the evening. It was a looooong day of driving in a hot car with just the stock car radio and whatever other junk we brought along for entertainment.

Anyway, some time ago I was trying to figure out the ftp function on my (new to me) Mac, and came across a set of old photos I’d scanned some time ago. The negatives were sitting in mom’s attic and I brought them back, scanned them in, and mailed them back. I noticed this one in particular because of an old Car Lust post. What a nice piece by one Steven Manseau:

Certain cars remind one of certain periods in our lives, just as certain songs and certain smells can transport us back to simpler times. I didn’t own this car, but the memories from when I was 10 years old will last a lifetime.
. . .
The snapshot-in-time came on a summer afternoon in 1968, upon leaving Hampton Beach sunburnt and sandy (sunblock? what’s that stuff?). Mom stopped at Brown’s Clam Shack to satiate her hungry brood. Afterward, we all piled in (no seat-belts required), fought for our choice seats, and Mom got on the then-new Interstate 495. Back then, few people were on those new roads (my father-in-law later explained it this way–his contemporaries took awhile to realize where these new roads went, and how much time they would save).

Read the whole thing.

Continue reading "August 18 Weekly Open Thread: Photographs and Memories" »

Theme Week: New Cars Week--A Tale of Two Cars

Regular readers may know that I recently purchased a new vehicle, primarily for fieldwork: a 2014 Subaru Forester. Thus far it's* performed its job quite admirably, and I'm really pleased with it overall. Readers may also be aware that for the 24 years preceding that purchase, my daily driver was a 1978 Mustang II. As this is New Car Week here at Car Lust, I thought I'd take the opportunity to offer a little BothCarscomparison as to the driving experience of the two. I do this because probably not that many of you have been regular drivers of anything made in the 1980s, let alone the 1970s, and probably few have done so recently (and many of you young'uns, not at all). 

To start off with, at the right there are two photographs of the driver's side dashboard of each; I'm assuming you can tell which is which. When first stepping behind the wheel of the Forester I was immediately struck by the wide array of controls and bits of information display devices that were present compared with my Mustang. I haven't actually counted them up yet, but thought that might be part of the fun of this post: how many functions can you count on each, just from the photographs? 

Hidden behind the wheel on the Mustang's left are the climate controls (one heat slider control and one controlling the various fans, heat/vent, etc.) and on the right is a knob for the side mirror, the "cigarette lighter", and a modern radio/CD player with a USB input. The left turn signal stalk also has a cruise control attachment on it.

On the Forester I don't believe anything is hidden, although there are probably a dozen or so additional indicator lights on the dashboard that can light up. 

So have at it! You'll undoubtedly fall far short on the Forester since the screen has dozens and dozens of entries, most of which I haven't even seen yet. I'm betting the ratio probably at least 10:1. 

Continue reading "Theme Week: New Cars Week--A Tale of Two Cars" »

2014 Mustangs Northwest Car Show

Last weekend I put my Mustang II in the Mustangs Northwest 2014 Mustang Roundup and All Ford Picnic. This is the first one I've been to in a couple of years so, following tradition, I've collected a few photographs of some of the more interesting cars I saw that day. Yeah, there is the usual assortment of perfectly restored classic Mustangs, but I've tried to highlight the unusual cars that showed up, both Mustangs and assorted other Fords.  AllCars

Interestingly, the last year I was at the show -- 2011 -- it was rainy and again this year it was fairly gray and drizzly as well. This is odd for Seattle, which is usually very dry in July. But a good time was had by (almost) all. I'm just going to throw out a few photos for your enjoyment with what I know about the cars. Often the owners weren't present for me to quiz on their cars, so I've pieced together what I can from what was there and what other information I could find out on the Interwebs. 

On with the (car) show!

Continue reading "2014 Mustangs Northwest Car Show" »

RIP James Garner

The world lost a fine gentleman and actor this past week. We here at Car Lust express our thanks to Mr. Garner for gracing us with his craft all these years and our regrets at his passing. To help celebrate his life in our own somewhat peculiar way, we're linking to an old post of mine about the car(s) of The Rockford Files. Garner had some input into the choice of automobile for the show and did most if not all of the stunt driving himself; he was that good. And he earned kudos from the real drivers on the set of Grand Prix for learning the craft of Formula 1 racing to a high level. And if that weren't enough, by all accounts Garner was just a damned decent fellow. 

Rest in peace, Mr. Garner. And thank you.

1970-1981 Pontiac Firebird Esprit

by Anthony Cagle on February 08, 2011

You may not ever have heard of this car, but many of you over a certain age probably already know of it. The Firebird, arguably, rarely gets quite the attention that the Chevrolet division's sister car, the EspritCamaro, does but it has a nice lineage and it produced quite a few memorable cars--even though a lot of them appear here at Car Lust rather than in the big muscle car magazines and web sites.

I always preferred the Firebird to the Camaro myself, for whatever reason, and the second generation has always been my favorite, especially the later '70s. Again, for whatever reason, the first generation'sstyling never quite did it for me; it just looks to me like something that was thrown together quickly to get something into the pony car market (this is all apart from the performance which was generally stellar). The second generation's styling just seems to have been well thought out with clean lines, good proportions all around, and manages to seem elegant, powerful, and sporty all at the same time. They look good from any angle. Although I adore my Mustang II the Firebirds from that time remain my absolute favorite car.

To continue reading this post click here.

VW Rabbit Pickup: 1980-1983

This is what I wrote some time ago about the Chevrolet El Camino:

Ladies, you may stop reading right now. Avert your eyes, if you must, because this post is about men. Real men. Manly men. Who do manly things in manly ways, that only manly men can do them. Men who mow their own lawns, fix a leaky faucet, and change their own oil. Men who brew up a pot of battery acid every morning. Men who use after-shave, not "post-shave skin conditioner with aloe, seaweed extract and Vitamin E with a subtle scent of coriander." Men who wouldn't touch a quiche with a 10-foot fork. Men who only drink whiskeys that are named after animals or people. Men who only cry when their father or best hunting dogs die. Men who frankly, my dear, don't give a damn. Men who know every manly cliche from the last 30 years and aren't afraid to use them.

These men drive a particular type of car. A car that drips testosterone like a leaky gasket. A car that says, "I know what I need, and this is it." These type of men know that they'll never drive the length and breadth of the Kalahari, but they will sure as hell be hauling 4-by-8s home from the lumberyard (note: not the "home improvement store"). Men who don't need fine Corinthian leather or a station wagon dressed up as an Urban Assault Vehicle. No, this is the Steve McQueen of cars: no entourage, no workout video, and no froufrou drinks with umbrellas in them.

This...

"That's no ordinary Rabbit."...is not that kind of car. 

Continue reading "VW Rabbit Pickup: 1980-1983" »

June 16 Weekly Open Thread: Car Lust Crowd-Sourced Data Collection Project

This week I present Car Lust readers with a challenge and a request: Science!

There's a little project I've been pondering for a while now that combines automobiles and evolutionary theory. In fact, cars are often used to illustrate various aspects of evolution, both cultural and natural. DataCarWe note that many stylistic cues on cars -- like the utterly useless VentiPorts on many Buicks after 1949 -- tend to come and go with a certain regularity, while certain other purely functional attributes -- round, rubber tubeless tires, for example -- become 'fixed' in the population, much like natural selection fixes certain traits in animals. 

What I'm interested in, and I'll be a little obtuse here so I don't give it away, is measuring the sizes of particular models over time. I realize that size has many potential components  -- length, width, interior volume, for example -- but I'm going to simplify things somewhat and use only a few attributes. Then I shall use the data to see what trends are present and when. 

So, what I would like to invite readers to do is this: find the specs on a particular model over a period of time, record them in a spreadsheet, and send them to us here at Car Lust (email is to the right). Use 'Data Collection' in the subject line so we can sift through them more easily. Try to get as many data points as possible on a model. Say, for example, all Mustangs from 1965 to the present day. Or Ford F150s through as many years as possible. Or Camaros. Or even a particular Studebaker. As long as it seems like a relatively continuous model line. Try to restrict it to the same configuration as well, say, all 4-doors or all coupes. As long as what you're recording seems to be comparable. 

As for the variables, let's just go for these:

Make/Model; Year; Overall Length; Overall Width; Weight; Height; Wheelbase. Use Inches and Pounds, please. Europeans are certainly welcome, as the broader the database the better; just make sure you note that and make the appropriate measurement conversions. 

Just stick those into a spreadsheet, enter as much data as you can find, and send it in. And please put in another column for the source you derived the data from. If it's a web site, just pop in the URL. If it's a book, just put in the author and title. Just so we can spot check some of them to make sure we're getting accurate data. This is Science after all! Here's a (hopefully) example:

Make/Model Year Length Width Weight Height Wheelbase Source
Ford Mustang 1965 181.6 68.2 2556 51.1 108 http://www.thehenryford.org/exhibits/showroom/1965/specs.html

So go for it, indulge your inner nerd or OCD. In a few weeks, I'll 'analyze the data' as they say, and present it in another post. Send along your name or moniker as well, and I'll make sure to provide proper credit. 

And feel free to talk about anything else vaguely auto-related.

Photo is from this site

June 9 Weekly Open Thread: Youth, the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Which is, at least in some cases, not a good thing.

I direct your attention this week to an article over at The Truth About Cars: I Flunked Driver's Ed: BabyDriver

It’s true. I write about and review cars and the first time that I took driver’s ed I flunked. How’s that for irony? Now I’m not like that Korean lady who spent a fortune repeatedly failing her driver’s test before finally passing on the 950th try. The next time I took it, I passed, then passed my road test, got my license and never had a problem on the road. 

Good article and worth a read. But this is the quote that struck me:

When I was seven and we were at my aunt’s house. I was playing in the car in the driveway, pulled it out of gear and managed to turn it right into a parked car as gravity took over and I couldn’t reach the brakes.

I'm going to go a bit Oprah now and make a bit of a confession. When I was a wee lad of maybe three or four years, I managed to make my way into my parents' car, put it into Neutral, and proceed to coast back down the driveway and into the street. Fortunately, I didn't hit anything except maybe the curb on the opposite side of the street. I do, however, recall madly (and vainly) trying to stop it by pushing down on the brakes, but my little legs just weren't strong enough to fully depress the brake pedal. Or perhaps I was hitting the clutch or the gas, I don't know. Recall that back in the 1960s (when this happened) a big ol' American land yacht with no power brakes would have been a bear to stop anyway, even if you weren't using itty-bitty 3-year old legs. Either way, what I was doing wasn't working and I do remember being in a mad panic. 

And to this day I still have the occasional dream/nightmare where I am in a car and it's moving and no matter how hard I stomp on the brakes, it just won't stop. Matter of fact, I thought of this post not only becaue of the TTAC post but also because I had another occurence of this dream just a few days ago. In fact, it was only a few years ago that I made the connection between that event and the dreams. It actually happened, by the way, it's not a false memory that I made up as an explanation. My mother till brings it up on occasion. 

I find it somewhat amazing that an experience from my childhood almost a half century ago (Did I just type that?) still affects me to this day. 

So what about you, faithful readers? Do you ever get a similar dream? Are there any particularly memorable/terrifying/exhilarating automotive experiences from your youth? Keep it clean, please. And discuss anything else automobile-related that you wish. 

Credit: I got the above photo from this article at The Age regarding a Hyundai ad that was actually pulled: "The Advertising Standards Bureau requested that Hyundai pull the ad in February this year after receiving more than 80 complaints - many from parents who feared their children would attempt to emulate the ad's nappy-clad stars." 

I think we have successfuly demonstrated that you don't need some stupid TV ad to make kids do stupid things. 

Which I shall reproduce here just to stick it to the censors (below the fold):

Continue reading "June 9 Weekly Open Thread: Youth, the Gift That Keeps on Giving" »

Subaru Justy 1987-1994

Following a bit on my post from last week on the Subaru Outback, I thought I'd send a shout out to another of Subaru's goofy little models: the Justy. I'll be honest: I don't really lust after this car. It was Suby_justysmall and underpowered and not very interesting to look at and I'm not sure what all else, but I never thought much of it, with one exception: I really liked the commercial. 

Other than that, it was more or less derived from a Kei car, and had a tiny 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine and came with either front- or four-wheel drive. The 4WD was what really set it apart; it may not have been the first or only 4WD subcompact out there, but it's the only one that immediately springs to my mind at least. And while I gently deride the engine -- the original carbed engine put out a (none too) whopping 66 bhp -- it did get fuel injection in 1991 which bumped that up a bit and I think was a neat feature for such a tiny little car. 

And, no, I don't know where the name "Justy" came from. 

But, alas, unlike the BRAT which I would dearly love to have, I'm content to just reminisce a bit over the Justy. And it gives me an opportunity to link to their utterly and completely brilliant commercial:

Continue reading "Subaru Justy 1987-1994" »

Subaru Outback: I've Got a Dyslexic Heart

Do I read you correctly, I need you directly
Now, help me with this part
Do I love you? Do I hate you?
I got a dyslexic heart
-- Paul Westerberg, "Dyslexic Heart"

OutbackGen1Yeah, that pretty much sums up my feelings regarding the Subaru Outback. Do I love it for being a practical, non-offensive-looking, Everyman's sport utility wagon? Or do I hate it for being soulless and and styleless and intimately associated with the Birkenstocks-and-socks-wearing set? Who will get irritated most depending on which side I come down on? 

Sometimes it's tough being a Car Lust contributor.

I'll readily concede that I'm occasionally influenced in my taste for a lot of things by the (real or imagined) kinds of people associated with certain items. I admitted as much in my gentle diatribe against the BMW 3-Series and that same sentiment extends to other things. Ferinstance, I was reluctant to get a Mac for a long time because, well, I didn't want to be seen as a Mac PersonTM ("OOOoo, let's wait in line 36 hours for the new iPhone. The headphone jack is on the bottom this time!"). There's even a chance I might have bought a Grateful Dead album at one point but I'd never have gotten past the thought that someone, somewhere might associate me with Deadheads (What do Deadheads say when they're not high? "Hey, this band really sucks."). Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I also admit that I have a proclivity, on occasion, to try for the Ironically HipTM look. You know, like driving around in a hopped-up old pickup truck with fuzzy dice dangling from the rear view and Spandau Ballet cranked up really loud. But I digress.

So I have some trouble with the Outback. I want to hate it, but I just can't; I want to love it, but I just can't. It's functional and practical and efficient and reliable and . . . .bland. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But. . . .

Continue reading "Subaru Outback: I've Got a Dyslexic Heart" »

Car Lust Mustang Classic: My Mustang II

And here we come to the end of our Mustang retrospective with my very first contribution to Car Lust: My very own Mustang II. I've also included a link to something of a followup post on the old Mustang at the bottom. It's recently retired and is moving off into new adventures which will be recounted in a future post. 

by Chris Hafner on March 19, 2008

Submitted by Anthony J. Cagle

I acquired this car back in 1990 while on my way from Seattle to northern California for some MustangBeacharchaeological fieldwork. My month-and-a-half old 1984 Bronco II's engine seized up in central Oregon and, not being able to afford an on-the-spot engine rebuild, I swapped the dealer for something off their lot.

Up until that point I'd not paid much attention to Mustang II's--like many others, I thought of them as "glorified Pintos" and "that thing that Farrah-Fawcett drove"--but this one was in mint condition with only 43k miles on it. It really was owned by the proverbial little old lady who drove it to church on Sundays. And it had a V8! So the deal went down and I drove off with a 1978 Mustang II.

After all of the trouble I had had with both the Bronco and my previous 1975 Buick, the Mustang was a god-send. It drove well, was mechanically sound, but most importantly it just worked. I drove all over northern California for several weeks without problem. And it was fun to drive to boot. The beach photo above was taken shortly after purchase.

Also see this post on the rigors of owning this vehicle.

To view and comment on this post click here.

Car Lust Mustang Classic: Mustang II Cobra II

We end our Mustang retrospective week with a true classic Car Lust: The Mustang II. This post generate moderate interest when it was first put up, but after I linked to it on a Mustang II enthusiast site the partisans came out to defend their car. As much as I love the II's -- I own one, after all -- I had to admit that Chris was mostly correct: It wasn't the greatest car of its time. My view is that the II tried to be too many different things at once -- pony car, personal luxury car, small sporty import, etc. -- and ended up not being very good at any of them. I still think it was a far better car in a lot of ways than the preceding generations, but there you have it. 

by Chris Hafner on September 21, 2007

I wouldn't feel right running a week-long Poseur Muscle Cars in the Afternoon feature without honoring the granddaddy of faux muscle cars, the hands-down premier combination of puffed-up ostentation with knock-kneed weakness, the in-the-sheetmetal realization of the saying "All Hat and No Cattle."

Yes, we're discussing the Ford Mustang II--the Pinto-based blasphemy to the Mustang name. Even today, if you mention the Mustang II to hard-core Mustang fans, they're likely to blanch and quickly change the subject.

When the Mustang II was introduced in 1974, the idea of a downsized Mustang was a pretty solid one. The previous-generation Mach 1 was a massive car--still easily the largest Mustang of all time--that could nevertheless really only fit two people comfortably. Given the trends of the time, a smaller car and a smaller engine made much more sense.

Still... a Mustang based on a Pinto? The Mustang II, symbolizing, I suppose, the rebirth of the Mustang, wasn't a terrible-looking car when it debuted. In fastback trim, with the original relatively understated graphics, it looked pretty good. The Ghia luxury notchback edition, on the other hand, looked pretty awful.
 

Car Lust Mustang Classic: 1964-1966 Mustang

This post was part of our All-America Week back in 2011 where we celebrated many classic American cars. The original Mustang could not conceivably be excluded from that list.

Ya know, I can't believe we haven't done this car yet. After all, this may be the most lusted-after MustangTempaffordable and available car in American history. "Mustang Fever" overtook the USA in 1964, and it hasn't gone away yet.

I guess this post is a little late to the party to be included in our recent "Old Fords Week," but as timeless as these cars are, maybe they don't belong there anyway. I'll stay away from just a boring history of the car (We all pretty well know it anyway) and just try to explain why I think we admire these so much.

I think the main reason people first liked these Mustangs is because anybody could make a Mustang their Mustang, and on a reasonable budget. Each Mustang could be carefully built from Ford's options list, and would be truly unique to the customer.

Mustang showRather than today's mundane trim packages that let you constantly meet yourself on the highway, personalization was what these first Mustangs were all about. And I don't think that philosophy has ever changed.

At one time, there were over 500 dealer spon- sored Mustang Clubs across the country and around the world. 1970 was the peak year with over 200,000 Mustang club members worldwide. In addition to swapping information and stories about them, they are also a great source for parts, or maybe even to find the Mustang of your dreams.

So, do you want to keep it all original? Maybe make it look stock, but replace the suspension, brakes, and drivetrain with modern stuff? You can do anything you want to a Mustang to make it your car.

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Car Lust Mustang Classic: The First Special Edition Mustang

Today's Mustang Classic deals with one of the "Special Edition" Mustangs from the first generation. 

I was cashing a check at the bank recently, and the friendly teller lady had a picture of her '66 Mustang MustangTempright 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.

HC Ad 1966Sales were slow in late 1966, so to boost them locally, a special promotion vehicle for Colorado-area Ford dealers was made. The 1966 High Country Mustangs were special in that they had an extra badge on each front fender, a choice of three unique colors: Aspen Gold, Columbine Blue, or Timberline Green, and, well, that's about it. But all 1966 Mustang body styles, powertrain combinations, and all other options were available with the package.

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Car Lust Mustang Classic: Can You Go Home Again?

Today's Mustang classic was originally submitted by Car Lust reader and Carspotting: Auto Archeology Editor Michael E. Gouge. It's a wonderful ode to Michael's automotive youth and rekindling at least some of what made it such a grand time, connecting two generations of Mustang. 

Mustang guest post
For my fellow car lovers, there is no need to explain the bond a 16-year-old has with his first car. Mine was a 1966 Mustang in Nightmist Blue, and it opened up a world of freedom, of escapism, of pleasure in the sound of an engine purring along an open road. In other words, this angst-filled teenager discovered a home, a sanctuary, in a Mustang.  Three decades hence, that old pony car--along with my youth and a new-found euphoria for the open road--are but memories.

Thomas Wolfe, the acclaimed Lost Generation author who hailed from my hometown of Asheville, N.C., famously wrote, “You can’t go home again.”  The phrase comes from the title of Wolfe’s follow-up novel, published posthumously, to his thinly veiled scathing depiction of Asheville in his classic 1929 work, “Look Homeward Angel.”

Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and fame … back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

I’m offering this brief note on literature because I find myself in some ways journeying back to those youthful dreams and memories Wolfe found are often ruined by time and circumstance. My time machine: A descendant of my long-lost Mustang.

To read the rest of this post click here.

 

Car Lust Mustang Classic: 1984-86 SVO

Another day, another Mustang. This time a true Car Lust Classic: the 1984-86 Mustang SVO. It was a different kind of Mustang in a more European mold, with a turbo 4-cylinder and an emphasis on handling over straight-line performance. While a truly fine car, it didn't make much of a lasting impact on the Mustang line.

I usually go on and on about cars with big honkin' V-8s in big American iron and leave the sporty little 1980

2-MustangSVOs turbo coupes to my fellow bloggers. That's probably the result of the era that I grew up in, where displacement was king and handling an afterthought, if that. Long hood, short deck, and no fewer than 8 cylinders of raw muscle, that's for me, thankyouverymuch.

In a departure from my usual schtick, I shall now sing the praises of another of the forgotten Mustangs  and a true Car Lust special: a 4-cylinder turbocharged Mustang, the SVO (Special Vehicle Operations) made from 1984-1986. It was probably the closest the Mustang ever came to a European-style coupe in terms of execution and all-around performance. And, of course, in true Car Lust fashion, it pretty much went nowhere, too.

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Car Lust Mustang Classic: Ford Mustang Boss 302

We begin our retrospective tribute to the Mustang with one of the (few) truly classic cars we've covered, the Boss 302 by our own Chris Hafner.
 

Boss3021_2 I've been doing a little bit of introspection lately, and in the course of that introspection I've realized I've done a really poor job of representing muscle cars. Okay, I started off with a few bona fide muscle cars, but after that most of the muscle car-related Car Lusts have been poseur muscle cars, or cars like the Chevy Cavalier Z24 or Shelby Charger. Don't get me wrong--I love those cars--but frankly my inattention to true, glorious muscle cars is scandalous and unrepresentative.

I've also realized that the only love I've thrown the Ford Mustang's way, in the form of dubbing the Mustang II a poseur muscle car, was pretty backhanded. Happily, Anthony Cagle responded with a post extolling the virtues of his Mustang II. Well, no more of this shabby treatment.

 

Happy Birthday, Mustang!

It was 50 years ago this month that one of the most iconic cars in American history went on sale. April 17, 1964 to be exact. It debuted on April 16 at the World's Fair and went on sale the next day, going on to become one of the best selling cars in Ford's history and giving its name to a new class of automobile: the Pony Car. And we here at Car Lust are going to spend the next week or two looking back at some of TwoMustangsthe models we've profiled over the years. 

The Mustang went through a lot of changes over the past half century. What started out as, essentially, a dressed-up Ford Falcon soon became a monster muscle car, an accomplished Trans-Am racer, and the automotive star of numerous films. Through the dark performance days of the 1970s, it shifted back to its roots as a small sporty car, the Mustang II, probably by doing so saved itself from the fate of several other of its pony car stable mates. After a thorough redesign in 1979 it matured through the 1980s and 1990s to become a favorite of the tuner crowd, especially the 1989-1993 model years (which they very nearly screwed up). After a questionable redesign in 1994, Ford reached back into the nostalgia bin in 2005 and made the Mustang a classic once again. And now they've evolved it even further for its Golden Anniversary year into. . .well, we'll have to wait an see a bit longer how it all comes together. 

How to explain its success? 

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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.

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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.

 

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

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