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Carspotters’ Challenge #144: Golden Gate Commute, Then and Now

How long would it take to lose the novelty of driving through the Golden Gate Bridge every day?

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Ye Olde London Taxicab

 

London-taxisThey are as associated with London as Big Ben. They have a reputation for being as clean as a crumpet plate. And they are as recognizable as Parliament.

And perhaps they should be, since they have been around for quite the while. Perhaps the best-known is the Austin FX4, which was made from 1958 to 1994.

They also have a reputation for being all-black, but they do come in many colours. In fact, there are no rules and/or regulations requiring any of them to be black. They can also carry five passengers in comfort, and can turn on a dime. 

They had diesel engines of various sizes and makers, though a gasoline engine was available starting in 1962. Automatics were standard from Day One, but manuals became an option later. Why? I have no idea. I mean... a manual tranny in London???

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Top Gear: The Show That Made Everyone a ‘Car Guy’

Tonight we here in the US of A bid a fond farewell to Top Gear when the last show featuring the trio of Jeremy "The Orangutan" Clarkson, Richard "The Hamster" Hammond, and James "Captain Slow" May airs on BBC America. I'm sure I don't need to go into the details about how their run on the show came to an end, but there was some doubt whether we would get to see the last of the programmes that were TopGearfilmed before it all went belly up. It was a bit of a let down, just sort of petering out mid-season series like it did. I have no idea what tonight's episode will include, if anything, regarding their exit from the Top Gear stage, but at least it's something we know is coming this time and we can treat it with the profound respect it deserves. 

More or less.

When I first started this post -- if I'm honest it was about 2 months ago -- I was trying to find some clever hook by which to hang many profound insights into the allure and worldwide popularity of the show. At first I thought it was simple writer's block (heaven forbid), but then decided that attempting to be all and melodramatic 'n junk would have done a disservice to what they'd accomplished over the last 13 years. So I ditched the profundity idea and decided to just blather a bit on what I think about it. Which will, if you bear with me for a few sentences, hopefully make some sense. 

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1998-2010 Fiat Multipla

Fiat-multipla-pretty-face-small-97852I was waiting at an accountant’s office, so I whipped out my phone proceeded to rot my brain with 9gag, one of those meme-centric websites. And there it was, a reminder of the existence of the infamous Fiat Multipla, in a garish muli-colored/Harlequin-style paint job, and captions stating how ugly it was while trying to be both funny and uplifting at the same time. Due to profanity, I can’t use that pic. Besides, it’s not as if that was the only time the Internet, let alone 9gag, ribbed the Multipla’s looks.

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25 Years of Car Lust

A short vanity post commemorating me and my Mustang II's 25th Anniversary together. I've written a couple of times before (here and here) about how this thing came into my possession and how we'd gotten to various points on our mutual trajectories. There's really nothing special happening with the old car and I this year apart from the somewhat arbitrary milestone of reaching the 25-year mark. And I have quite a few other Big Anniversaries in 2015. The Spousal Unit and I went on our first date 25 MeMustang1990years ago, I graduated from high school (*gulp*) 35 years ago, and I graduated from college (undergraduate school anyway) and moved out to Seattle 30 years ago this summer as well. So, for me it's kind of a reflective time in more ways than one.

Back then I was in the midst of the graduate school paper chase, fresh off of passing my comprehensive exams ("comps") and trying to figure out a reasonable dissertation topic. Work consisted of grabbing whatever teaching positions I could wrangle, trying to get research assistant money, doing contract archaeology in my new (to me) Bronco II, figuring out this whole new girlfriend thing, and drinking a lot of beer. Graduate school is an odd thing, something like an extended boot camp for nerds. You've gone and thrust yourself into a world of arcane knowledge that can only be crammed into your brain through many tedious hours of reading equally arcane journal articles and books. In archaeology, a lot of these works can be almost as old as the subject matter itself and you occasionally find yourself doing an archaeological study of archaeological studies. Really strange things take on enormous significance, such as figuring out what exactly the difference is between intensive and extensive definitions (you really don't want to know) or the theoretical consequences of equifinality. The outside world consists of 'stuff you occasionally experience when you're not trying to get the latest assignment done or paper written' and a good weekend consists not of relaxing with family or friends but 'getting a lot of work done'. I guarantee you that the following exchange takes place at least one million times each Monday morning:

Graduate student 1: "Hey, how was your weekend?"

Graduate student 2: "Pretty good. I got a lot of work done." *heavy sigh*

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The Cars From That ‘70s Show

Snapshot20061113143043fx9.3449That ‘70s Show was not only gut-busting entertainment, it was a learning experience. It gave a window to how life was in mid-to-late 1970s North America. What we now consider kitschy-cool was actually considered lame back then, not everyone liked ABBA (or Styx for that matter), and being in the throes of adolescence sucked no matter what decade it is. Am I right?

If these cars could talk… most of them would have trouble remembering what went down. That's why we're here for.

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The Top 10 Sexiest Cars Of All Time

Picking these cars was exciting... not so much as judging a swimsuit contest, but not far from that either. Yet still definitely fun.

What is car sexiness? That's hard to define... I guess you know it when you see it. But there's a seductiveness about any sexy car, a lust if you will... Maybe it's the "I gotta have it" feeling. Even if it's only 1:24 scale.

So here they are, and in no real particular order:

  Countach

Lamborghini Countach In the late 1970s and early 80s, what teenage did not have a poster of this car on their wall... unless Farrah took up too much room. The low height and exaggerated length provided proportions never seen before or since. And its name translates (roughly) into "Oh my gosh!," and rightfully so.

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Car Lusts of the '00s: The List

  CXT vs GTI R32With the introduction outta the way, let’s begin listing the (probably) lust-worthy vehicles of the 00’s. A quick reminder: This list doesn’t list said vehicles from model year 2000 to 2010 one by one but categorizes vehicles that fit into the Car Lust way of thinking, so that means that obvious choices aren’t included unless given an explanation. Yes, there’s gonna be exceptions. Yes, there will be disagreements, but just give ‘em time to grow on you, like a decade. Or three. Now, onto the wall of text list.

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Great Commercials - Summer of Style

If you’re convinced that after watching the 2015 Cadillac Escalade commercial that all of their commercials in recent memory are underwhelming, or that they’re not as fun as they used to be, this one might prove that it’s not entirely so.

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Great Commercials - Let’s Dance

There’s a reason why I was hard on the 2015 Cadillac Escalade commercial: I like Cadillacs. And I like some of their commercials. To see the brand sell its products, in this case one of its most recognizable and best-selling, in such a fashion prompted me to fire up the keyboard then. Thankfully, unlike Honda/Acura, Cadillac has yet to leave me head-scratching or downright displeased through their advertisement on multiple occasions. The following video, while about a decade old, shows one of my favorites from the brand:

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

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