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.
Hey folks, it's the Good Old Summertime, and what better way to spend it than in a classy convertible? And is there any more class than a Lincoln Continental convertible... one not just with 4 doors, but with 2 suicide doors as well?
This Car Lust post was originally presented by Cookie The Dog's Owner on July 14, 2011. It begins with the sedan models, but the pictures of the available convertibles farther into the post are definitely lustworthy:
Mid-century modernist design is making something of a comeback. No small number of our fellow citizens are enamored of martinis and blond wood and Barcelona chairs and boomerang-patterned Formica, eagerly re-creating the look and feel of the culture that the Sixties counterculture was countering.
The mid-century movement broke out into the mainstream in 2007 with Mad Men, the AMC drama series that perfectly captures the look of the Eisenhower-Kennedy era. Mad Men wasn't the start of the trend, though: there had been a lounge-music revival and a Googie architecture preservation movement around for quite a while, you just had to know where to look for them. This fall [(2011)], there will be two new series on broadcast TV that are aiming for that Mad Men vibe: one about Pan American World Airways which features gorgeous
stewardesses CGI Boeing 707s, and another about Playboy bunnies that I can't watch because my wife would kill me it'll air opposite Hawaii Five-0.
It therefore seems an auspicious time to take a look at what is arguably the ultimate mid-century automobile, a car that's a perfect summary of its time and place. It's Nat King Cole on wheels dressed in Botany 500 sheetmetal, as elegant as Jacqueline Kennedy and so swank you could fuel it with cocktails....
David Buehler, who showed me around the old Templar Motors factory in Lakewood for the post I wrote last winter, was interviewed for last Sunday's episode of Cruise-In, a locally-produced car show. Here's the episode on YouTube; David and the Templars take up the first twelve minutes or so.
--Cookie the Dog's Owner
Yes, it's our duty here at Car Lust to bring some obscure, unloved vehicles to light, and Holy Moly, do we have a winner today. Move over Mustang II Silver Ghia, step aside Vega Notchback Cabriolet, begone Levi's Gremlin... we hereby present the 1977 Leata. No, not the Reatta, the Leata.
The formula for this automobilia luxuriouso obscuriata: Take one brand new stock 1977 Chevy Chevette. Install fiberglass body panels. A rear vinyl half-roof with opera windows is a must. Nicer wheels are a definite improvement. Reupholster the seats, door panels, and everything else in that spartan interior that you possibly can.
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 small 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:
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"
Yeah, 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. . . .
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.
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 affordable 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.
Rather 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.
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 right 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.
Sales 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.