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Scion: 10 Years After

(This post was submitted by longtime Car Lust reader, commentor, and occasional contributor Tigerstrypes.)

Scion at 10 1

I'll admit that I make it a habit to see what turns 20, 30, 40, etc., years old. But I'll also admit that I was caught off guard by Scion's 10th Anniversary until I saw their Scion 10 Series commercial:




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The Cars of Templar Motors 1917-1924

The Templar Motor Car Corporation, located in Lakewood, Ohio, was one of the 57 locally owned automobile companies that operated in the greater Cleveland area between ninety and a hundred years ago.

Templar: the Superfine Small CarThough Templar went bust in 1924, its 300,000 square foot three-story factory still stands. After Templar's demise, the building was the home of Lake Erie Screw, a maker of threaded fasteners, for many years, and now serves as "Templar Industrial Park," a business incubator for smaller companies, studio space for local artists, and a banquet hall. It's also the home of the largest concentration of Templar automobiles in the civilized world.

The assembly hall display.Templar built 6,500 or so vehicles during its automotive career, of which there are 37 known survivors. Eight of these are displayed in the third-floor assembly hall of the old Templar plant--the room where they were originally bolted together--and another is displayed on the second floor where Templar's engines were once manufactured.

David Buehler and Mr. Templar's TemplarThe curator of Lakewood's Templar collection is David Buehler, a lifelong resident who has had a lifelong fascination with his hometown's only indigenous auto company. David owns the cars in the third-floor display, and has five more Templars of his own at home--and he knows where every one of the other 24 survivors are. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Templar, from company history to minute mechanical details, and a personal collection of Templar artifacts ranging from employee ID badges to blueprints to the only known example of a Templar children's pedal car. Over Thanksgiving weekend, he gave me the full guided tour of the old Templar factory.

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The Way We Were - Big Chris

While I haven't had a list of tremedous vehicles I've driven, what I lack in quality I make up for in quantity.

My first two cars were Toyota Corollas.  I started with a 1979 in white with 4 doors and a 5-speed manual.  We got this from some relatives and my parents drove it for a year or so before I was old enough to drive.  Unfortunately, I don't own photos of most of my vehicles (or most of my childhood).  We didn't own a camera most of my life (crazy huh?) and it just was never a concern of mine to document these sorts of things.  The '79 was a great learner car.  It was a stick, and it was slow.  So I got good experience but was limited in how quickly I could do stupid things.  Eventually the clutch cable broke, and the car wasn't worth fixing with some of the other issues that began to crop up with it.

The second Corolla was a dirt brown 1978 2-door with the automatic transmission (was previously my grandparent's car).  The only option it had was a rear window defroster.  Both Corollas were glorified beer cans with wheels.  I give thanks I was never in an accident in them.  The only claim to fame for the brown car was that we sold it with nearly 300K on it for something like $500.  The body was shot, everything mechanical worked, but barely.  Suspension was laughable.  But 4 years later the same guy who bought it was driving it around town still.  You just couldn't kill it.  A cockroach of cars.

The next car I got was a 1984 VW Rabbit.  4 doors, tan everywhere, and epically slow.  My first front wheel drive car and my first hatchback.  It was as uninspiring as a car could get, but it served me well until the distributor broke off in the motor.  I regularly ferried about a half ton of offensive linemen home after football practice in this little car.  Rear bumper just barely above rubbing pavement.  Imagine three linemen in the back seat of a VW Rabbit.  Yeah.


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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:


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December 30 Weekly Open Thread--I got an Avanti for Christmas!

"Hawaiian Eye"....sponsored by Studebaker!I've wanted an Avanti ever since I first saw one in the parking lot of the shorthole golf course near my house sometime in the early seventies. It's been a running joke in the family for years: "What do you want for Christmas?" "An Avanti: R2 engine, four speed, turquoise." Every Christmas morning, I get teased: "Sorry, no Avanti this year."

So imagine the shock this Christmas when the kids led me into the garage...and there it was, under a car cover: an Avanti!

Not just any old Avanti, either, but a genuine Studebaker, 1963, with the supercharged engine, and a 4-speed stick shift.

As you'll see from the pictures after the jump, it's a bit of a project car and it's going to require a lot of work, but the upside is the pieces are all there and it came with a detailed set of instructions.

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Car Lust Classic: Car Respect--Geo Metro

Please note: This feature was first posted by Chris Hafner on April 22, 2008. Please place any new comments on the original post.

Metro1I'm not actually going to write a Car Lust for a Geo Metro, simply because it doesn't generate lust for me. I have a lot of respect for the Metro, but as we can see in other walks of life, respect does not always equal lust. My respect for the Metro is a purely intellectual response; the only real emotion the Metro prompts in me is a slight tinge of ennui.

(Note that this isn't really true of the Metro's predecessor, the Chevy Sprint--its turbocharged variant will be appearing in this space someday as a bona fide Car Lust.)

Yet the Metro, in its own way, was as superlative as any Porsche, as extreme a performer in its sphere as any Ferrari. Its forte? Providing maximum fuel economy and usefulness for the minimum price. Within that context, the Metro was the ne plus ultra.

There has been a lot of conversation lately about alternative-fuel cars, hybrids, electric cars, hydrogen-fueled cars, Smart cars, and the like--all very cool developments, all interesting additions to the automotive world. Then fellow Amazon blogger Rich Sloan blogged about his friend's Smart fortwo--and subsequently got roasted in the comments for saying that his friend's fuel costs were $0 after 142 miles.

All of this really puts into context just how amazing the Geo Metro was--or, possibly, that we just haven't made much progress on fuel economy in the last decade. I like both the Smart and the Prius--there's something gadgety about them that appeals to me--but if your goal is just to have a useful gas-sipping car, it would be hard to do better than a Geo Metro.

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Car Lust Classic: Santa Claus' Sleigh

Santa's sleigh Car LustWhat an amazing vehicle! Used only once a year, this marvelous machine travels at infinite light speeds, delivering a massive quantity of packages unparalleled by any other transport device ever conceived by humankind. It's quite stealthy, too! No actual photos of the sleigh are known to exist--the image here on the right was compiled by an artist from dozens of witnesses' descriptions.

The owner of this airborne transcontinental transport device, a Mr. Santa Claus, registers it at his home at The North Pole. He lives there with his wife, and they tend to a small but talented herd of reindeer; a herd that not only has the ability to propel this craft and its contents through the nighttime sky, but also can achieve quick and safe take-offs and landings. One particular reindeer named "Rudolph" reportedly has a unique ability to brighten the evening skies with an illuminated proboscis. The herd stays in shape all 12 months of the year, as their annual one-night, global circumnavigational mission is quite physically taxing, to say the least.

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2014 Mazda 3 5-Door Hatch: Something Just Clicked

You know that moment, with a car that's been around for a few years, when the automaker finally works out all the kinks and puts out a car that is perfectly dialed? Like what Dodge did with the 392 Challenger for 2011: suddenly, with the right amount of power and the right amount of handling, everything just falls into place, and you can finally say that they got that car right. That seems to be what's happened with the all-new Mazda 3, the bread-and-butter compact that's been paying Mazda's bills since 2004. Now on the cusp of its third generation, the Mazda 3 is indeed dialed—it hits all the right notes in power, handling, and appearance. Let's take it for a spin...


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Preview: A New American Motorcycle called Motus

Motus 1Motus Motorcycles is coming, and I think that's a good thing. And they will very soon join America's major motorcycle manufacturer names beside Harley-Davidson, Indian, and others.

All of their bikes will be assembled in Birmingham, Alabama, not far from the Mercedes-Benz plant in nearby Vance. I say "assembled" because the engines are cast and completed in East Texas, then shipped to the Yellowhammer State.

The bike will be offered in what's called a sport-touring model, and in two versions, the MST and the MST-R (shown here, with the fancy red valve covers). Each bike weighs around 500 pounds, which is a featherweight in this class.

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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.

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

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