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Volvo 480 ES, S, Turbo

Volvo 480 1That bridge looks like California's Golden Gate Bridge, but it isn't. The car doesn't look like a 1980s Volvo, but it is. And I think we North Americans were robbed by never getting this sporty hatchback.

Those bumpers make it look American. The rear quarters say "shooting brake." Its overall design suggests near perfection.

The car may have looked fairly Honda-ish for the time. And why not? This was Volvo's first front-wheel-drive car, so its packaging fit Honda's profile (Though thankfully with a longer, safer front end).

It belongs somewhere between Volvo's P1800GT (1961-1973) and their C30 (2006-2013). In fact, it fits quite well between them, even with its requisite 1980s boxy styling (Think Mustang). The 480 was made between 1985 and 1995, and had all three cars been given the same or a similar name (Maybe the P1700 and/or the P2000?), I doubt that anybody would have complained.

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Notes from the 2016 Cleveland Auto Show

Here's some of what I saw last Sunday, February 28.

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The Cars of "Chuck"

Httpwww.imfdb.org 450px-ChuckS4_96Chuck is a North-American TV show about Chuck Bartowski, a young man whose mediocre life changed when he opened an e-mail containing encrypted content composed of a huge number of highly classified information called the Intersect. Once read and in the subconscious of brain, the person with this information becomes a supercomputer of sorts, able to do things like ID an international criminal, or identify a weapon or document of upmost importance, though involuntarily. And that’s just the first season! Due to his skills behind a computer and overall unorthodox ways in handling situations in relation to governmental bureaus, Chuck reluctantly becomes part of a secret anti-terrorist team effort until a way is found to remove the Intersect from his head. His cover? His mundane life. In the meantime, serious questions appear: What makes a spy: the equipment or the individual? Can one be a spy and have a normal, happy life? Can one be a spy without sacrificing one’s values and integrity?

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Carspotters’ Challenge #168: Rising Sun, Lowered Ride Height

It's always a treat to see the best of other countries' car culture. Regardless of how well-documented they seem to be, Japan never ceases to bore me with theirs.

Httpomgcreeper.tumblr.com tumblr_o1504jX2of1rpzp9do1_1280
Dapper bunch, aren't they?

Yes, you may 'Caption This'.

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References: http://omgcreeper.tumblr.com

Carspotters Challenge #167: Muscle Cars

Our picture may be small this time, but these machines are pure muscle. There's plenty of classic iron to view; I see cars from all of the Big Three Four.

Carspotters 2 12 16

(Maybe even the Big Five if you count the bike.)

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Our Challenge image was found at Hemmings.com.

RIP, Scion

8208167c0a0d028a0039b99d0ac37390While waiting for an e-mail about a part for a Cadillac CTS (still waiting), CarLust contributor That Car Guy (Chuck) let us know the news: Scion will be no more. Just a couple of days earlier we were making fun of Scion’s “lowrider” SEMA car, an eyesore that pretty much encapsulates what’s wrong with the brand. There have been rumors of its demise since I wrote my Scion post and even before that, with Toyota helping out dealers phase out the brand to those that wanted out. There are far more variables responsible for Scion’s fate (Toyota, Millennials’ buying habits, currently cheap gas prices, The Great Recession, global warming, Dinkleberg, etc.), but I won’t go into them.

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1972 Honda CL100 Scrambler

CL 100 ad 2The first street-legal vehicle I had was a 1972 Harley-Davidson 125cc Rapido. But it wasn't the bike I wanted. This one was.

Behold a 1972 Honda CL100. The CL stood for "Scrambler" somehow, which meant it was a dual purpose bike. Agile on the streets, but could take on a dusty trail with ease. And they came in either blue or gold... give me blue, please.

The CL100 had two brothers in Honda's lineup. They shared many parts, but the SL100 had a high, matte black tailpipe and more aggressive off-road tires yet was still street legal, while the CB100 had a low tailpipe, larger front fender, highway-only tires, and maybe it slightly resembled the larger street bikes that Honda sold.

But why would I choose the CL version? What really made me want one? 

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Great Cars of Song Books (and Radio and TV and Film and. . .): The Ford Prefect.

This post could also be subtitled "Cultural References You Completely Missed For Literally Decades". For those not much into British humour, I am referring to "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. If you liked Monty Python you would probably like Hitchhiker; if not, well, you could probably skip reading the rest of this post and feel none the worse for wear for it. For the record, I don't look up to or down at anyone who finds either of these tedious and unfunny; being a live-and-let-live kinda guy, I don't consider either to be "an acquired taste" or "more sophisticated" or any of that (heck, I find farts -- even mine -- well, okay, 1024px-1948_Ford_Prefect_E93Aespecially mine -- funny). It's different and that's that. 

At any rate, I read the book back in the early 1980s and when I read about this 'Ford Prefect' character I thought it was kind of funny, but didn't think it meant anything other than that it was a goofy name. For a bit of background, Ford is an alien who hitchhiked to Earth

from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. Arthur Dent’s failure to suspect this reflects the care with which his friend blended himself into human society - after a fairly shaky start. When he first arrived fifteen years ago, the minimal research he had done had suggested to him that the name ‘Ford Prefect’ would be nicely inconspicuous.

Being a young man from the midwest, I had no idea that 'Ford Prefect' was anything other than an unusual name for someone to pick out of a hat. And so I went for many years, happily reading the books and not bothering to ponder many of the references therein very much. 

Until this whole Internets thing came along. And only recently did I do a search -- for reasons I hereby state that I do not remember -- for "Ford Prefect" and discover, lo and behold, it was a car! Since that's what we do here, I figured it was ripe for a post. 

Except that I know virtually nothing about the Ford Prefect automobile. 

Not like that's ever stopped me before. . . .

Continue reading "Great Cars of Song Books (and Radio and TV and Film and. . .): The Ford Prefect." »

January 25 Open Thread: "It's Snow Time!"

DSC_0599Wow, feet of snow in New England, and several inches in the South. My bud in Gainesville, Florida, said they got flurries!

Thank goodness I found a Jeep about a year ago. These past few days, it has been great for getting around, and it even jumped off another friend's dead battery yesterday.

Have you seen the video of the guy snowboarding through Times Square? The NYPD are even laughing with him.

Now the question comes up... How are you getting around in the slippery stuff? FWD? RWD? AWD? Horse and buggy? Other?

Please let us know!

And if you have anything else even ever so slightly related to cars, this is the place to speak.

Thanks!

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

1973: It Was A Very Good Year... For A While

▲ Please look up at our masthead. That yellow Chevy Vega GT (Or rather, what's left of it) is a 1973 model.

1973_Vega_GT-_Millionth_Vega_Special_EditionOf course, that's just a coincidence to the fact that the 1973 Vega may have been the best looking one of all... possibly because they got it right just before that hideous 1974 design came out.

The '73's front bumper was pushed a couple of inches forward from the '71 and '72 position, with a body-colored panel just behind it (For a 2.5 mph crash standard). And if you can get a good looking Vega, then dog-gone-it, you've done something right!

1973 was the last year that automakers had virtually all control over what their vehicles looked like. That's because the next year, in 1974, 5 MPH bumpers became the law of the land.

Continue reading "1973: It Was A Very Good Year... For A While" »

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

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