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Nissan Week--RIP, Yutaka Katayama, Mr. K

Mr. K 1958 Australian Mobilgas Trial Datsun 210Mr. K and the 1958 Australian Mobilgas Trial-winning, 10,000+ mile-surviving Datsun 210, part of two-car team he managed. Both finished.

As car-people, we delve into this topic a little more often than most folk. This is how I came to learn not only of the Z-car, but the people behind it. Amongst them a name stood out: Yutaka Katayama.

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Nissan Week--2000-2006 Nissan Sentra (B15)

Yellow Spec VWhether out on the street, in magazines or the web, I find that some cars are still the darlings of car guys.

This one isn’t exactly one of them.

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Nissan Week--1987 Nissan Sentra Sport Coupe (Car Lust Classic)

This was first posted on December 25, 2012. I enjoyed driving this car for the time I had it and would like to have another, but they are very scarce these days. And if you have any comments, please leave them on the original post. Thanks, --Chuck.

Sentra Sport CoupeI've been wanting to write about this car for a while, so I finally pulled out an old photo album, copied the prints, and went to work.

And this is why: When I worked at the Nissan plant here in Tennessee (Where they now build the Leaf), they had a very affordable Lease Car Program. A version of it still survives. Any full-time Nissan employee, after 8 months of employment, was eligible for the program. The only requirement? You had to have a driver's license; your previous driving record was of no concern.

You could order any Nissan vehicle that was sold in the US and wait about three months for its arrival. The Infinity Division had not yet been born while I was there; I don't know if they are available now or not. But a stripped Sentra could be had back then for as little as $88 a month, and a 300ZX Turbo was, if memory serves, around $270. The BIG NEWS was that insurance was included, with a $250 deductable.

So for a whopping sum of approximately $185 a month, I had the unlimited use of this custom-ordered Sentra Sport Coupe SE. I had seen a prototype/early production model in the plant's Quality Assurance Department for whatever reason (They were never built in Tennessee), and immediately had to have one. The car you see here is the first white Sport Coupe delivered in Tennessee, or so I was told.

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Carspotters’ Challenge #130: No Porsche’s Land

Fellow readers, you have no idea how happy I was when I found and watched this video. While not the greatest car chase of all time, for what it was, this chase was excellent.

 

It was so good that while this is still a Carspotters’ Challenge, I couldn’t help myself and break it down, at least the highlights of it… and give away some of the answers:

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Al Bundy's... "Dodge"?

Al Bundy's gold Dodge"Married... With Children'"s Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill) had it rough. He was a struggling women's shoe salesman, his wife was a couch potato, his daughter was, well... "fast," and as the song goes, his son tried, but just couldn't do it. However, Al could always (Well, usually) rely on one thing... his trusted car, frequently referred to as "The Dodge."

But it turns out that poor Al's car wasn't a Dodge at all. It was, in fact, a 1972 Plymouth Duster. Why, in at least one scene, you can even see the Gold Duster decal on the "Dodge"'s front fender.

The car uses a screwdriver as the ignition key, and music is piped in via a period-correct 8-Track tape player. And in addition to many memories, some going back to his high school glory days, the "Dodge"'s trunk also held Al's collection of "Big 'Uns," a magazine dedicated to the finest of adult male entertainment.

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Carspotters’ Challenge #126: TJ Hooker in Hot Pursuit

I love being an ‘80s retro nut. I get a thrill of finding stuff related to the decade. It’s the reason why I found out about the track whose music video was used for a successful Carspotters’ Challenge. The beauty of it all is that while making that post, a recommended video listed on the website’s sidebar had a certain Chevrolet pony-car as its icon. I’ve always had a soft spot for those cars, so of course I clicked. Thank goodness that I did, because it was good. Good enough to do another Carspotters’ Challenge video in the same vein as the one featuring the final chase scene of The Driver.

 

The clips are from the TV show TJ Hooker, a show that I’ve never seen re-runs of. The track is called Thrasher, from Dance With The Dead, from the Out Of Body album.

As we join in hot pursuit, what vehicles are we narrowly missing?

I must also ask: was the TV series good? What other TV series would you compare it to?

 

--Tigerstrypes

Great(ish) Commercials: Love Today/Today Is Pretty Great

This is the print advertisement that is supposed to entice Gen-Y/Millennials and me to consider buying a new Honda Civic:

Honda-civic-print-hed-2014
Nope.

*Turns the other way to the Scion dealer*

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Carspotters’ Challenge #125: George Pattison Pontiac dealership, New Orleans, 1963

Tumblr_mwgrsvR1w71r9qhhio1_1280
You know, for a Pontiac dealership, I find the lack of Pontiacs disturbing.

Maybe you can find ‘em.

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References:

http://rogerwilkerson.tumblr.com

The Cars Of "The Andy Griffith Show"

 

TAGS Opening(Sung to the tune that opens "The Andy Griffith Show:")

Well now, take, down, your fishin' pole, and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,

  We may, not, get a bite all day, but don't you rush away. 
  What a great, place, to rest your bones, and mighty fine for skippin' stones, 
  You'll feel fresh, as, a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade. 

  Whether it's hot... whether it's cool... oh what a spot... for whistlin' like a  fool.

 What a fine, day, to take a stroll, and wander by The Fishin' Hole, 
 I can't think, of, a better way, to pass the time o' day. 

The name of that song is "The Fishin' Hole," and those were the words to the whistling theme you heard every time you saw Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie walking toward Myers Lake in Mayberry. Of course Myers Lake didn't exist, so maybe surprisingly, the title openings of the show were shot here.

Just like the music in "The Andy Griffith Show," cars also played an important part. In fact, several of their best episodes were written around them and the people who were driving them. So let's take a gander at a few of these machines... some of them might even surprise you a bit!

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Car Lust Followup: The Renault Le Car

Seeing as it's the 1st of December and we've recently been discussing winterizing our vehicles, I thought I would throw this out for your consideration. I'm not sure this qualifies as a Car Lust exactly, but it definitely qualifies as a Car Thank You. It also represents something of a turning point in my automotive thought process. Herein, my short, sweet, and cold ode to Le Car.  1024px-Renault5-Le_Car

Yes, we have already covered Le Car (or the Le Car, which may be linguistically incorrect however accurate in marketing terms) in its guise as the Renault 5:

Mention the Renault Le Car to the average person on the street, and, if they even remember it, you'll get only snorts of derision and, perhaps, even some open, scornful chortling.

In truth, the Le Car was an awful car with a cutesy name--slow, unreliable, and little more than a French Chevette. To the cynical, it was the latest installment in a decades-long plot to grind Renault's already iffy reputation in America into dust.

I'm afraid I can't add much to that description and won't attempt to. Nevertheless, despite its sordid reputation, Le little Car holds some pride of place in my Car Lust heart if for no other reason than it once saved my life.

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

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