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June 17 Weekly Open Thread: More "Study Hall" Drawings

GMC Safari VanLast week, we Car Lust automotive designers doodlers presented a couple of high school "Study Hall" drawings for your amusal and perusal. We're hoping to do a presentation with a bunch of these in an upcoming post, and need your help with this historic deed.

Any vehicular rendering is welcome. Planes, trains, trucks, wheelbarrows, rickshaws, whatever. Also, something was said about customized erasers, and they are invited as well.

So please forward any artwork images to the office at: CarLustInfo@Amazon.com, or send them on to me at cpl-1617@Hotmail.com. Maybe we can put something together for a post around the 4th of July.

Batmobile in Franklin 2On an unrelated note, somebody in my home town has purchased one of the original TV Batmobiles. It has been seen driving around town and was also spotted at a local car show. I hope to see the car in person soon, meet the new Bat-owner, and do a follow-up story.

And as usual, this is also the place for any fair discussions on anything else even remotely automotive related.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credits: The "Study Hall" drawing is courtesy of Tigerstrypes; the Batmobile Bat-picture was taken by my friend Kelly Harwood on his Bat-cell phone.

June 10 Weekly Open Thread: High School "Study Hall" Drawings

006We've all done it. Let's admit it.

And while cleaning out the attic a few days ago, I found some of mine... the old high school study hall car and truck drawings. Survivors of decades of heat, cold, arid air, and neglect.

They weren't plentiful... I'm sure more are around somewhere. In fact I remember at least two more sheets of these developmental designs. And they do give a period insight, having been scribbled in the early to mid 1970s.

004My car was called the Targa Cheetah, being the fastest car on the planet, and it had electrically-operated sliding roof panels. The car was available in either the 2-Door Sport Model or a 4-Door Luxury Landau. I was later quite saddened when I found out Lamborghini was going to use my car's name on a truck.

The Targa roof style always had me enamored, but it took almost 40 years to write about it. And when Aston Martin copied my straight-lined beauties for their Lagonda... well, the case was gonna be in court for years.

Continue reading "June 10 Weekly Open Thread: High School "Study Hall" Drawings" »

1971-1973 Buick Centurion vs. 1971-1973 Buick LeSabre

Buicks fighting

"Uh-LLLLadies... and... Gen-tle-men! On the left, weighing 4,329 lbs. and standing 54 inches in height with a wheelbase of 124 inches, we have the 1973 Buick Centurion. And on the right, also weighing 4,329 lbs. and standing 54 inches and with a wheelbase of 124 inches, we have the 1973 Buick LeSabre."

"So, from the Car Lust home office here in the great United States of America..."

"... Uh-Let's get ready to rum-bullllllll!"

Quite a while back in a discussion here at Car Lust, we swapped stories comparing the similarities and differences of Buick's Wildcat/Centurion vs. their LeSabre. If memory serves, the outcome more or less stated that the Wildcat/Centurion was Buick's "sporty" full-sized car while the LeSabre was the more practical one. Of course, the Electra 225, Buick's flagship luxury model, had enough differences to not be included in the discussion.

Continue reading "1971-1973 Buick Centurion vs. 1971-1973 Buick LeSabre" »

2013 Honda CBR500R: The First Ride

CBR500R Beauty ShotDreams can come true. Some time around last November, I read that Honda was about to build the bike of my dreams. And since I'm quickly reaching the age where the "Sunny Acres Trailer Park" in Retirementville, Florida, is looking more appealing every day, I figured this may be my last motorcycle. So I wanted to go all out and do it right.

On January 16th, 2013, for my birthday (Which I surprisingly share with Top Gear's James May), I put a deposit down on a red, white, and blue CBR500R, like the one pictured here. I knew the bike would not go on sale until sometime in April, which was fine with me. Turns out we had a longer winter than normal, and I was not going to be able to ride it anyway. Plus, waiting for the bike gave me something to look forward to as the dreary winter day pages fell off of the calendar.

I had about three months before the bike was to arrive, so internet shopping, here we come. First, a new all-white helmet was in order. Sounds easy enough, but that was harder to find than first imagined... most of today's helmets look like a custom shop has spent hours airbrushing each one of them. New boots and a riding suit to match the bike soon came in the mail as well.

Continue reading "2013 Honda CBR500R: The First Ride" »

David's Greatest Hit: The 1992 Mercury Marquis

DD Grand MarquisNathan of Brainfertilizer Fame:  I never met David. We didn't spend extra time talking via emails, and I never once heard his voice.  We never shared a special friendship above all others.  But we shared something: a silly love for cars that didn't always deserve the passion.

John Donne said, "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Do not ask for whom the car horn honks; it honks for thee.

I hope that my alteration of the quote isn't taken as a lack of respect.  It is my first reaction to try to lighten serious moods, to make it easier to carry the burden.

At times, as I've participated in various online communities, I've wondered what would happen if I died.  How would anyone know?  How would I be remembered?  Would I be missed?  Would my absence even be noticed?

David, you are remembered.  You are missed.  This man, whom I have never met...his friendship, the bond created through a common love, touched me in ways I never realized until he was gone.

Continue reading "David's Greatest Hit: The 1992 Mercury Marquis" »

Car Lust Classic: Our Cars--1951 Cadillac Sedan

by David Drucker, posted May 2, 2008

1951cadillac1I want to tell you about the 1951 Cadillac sedan I bought in 1970. Not because it was such a wonderful car--although it most definitely was--but because of a defining experience I had behind its enormous, non-power-assisted steering wheel. First, though, let me introduce the car.

I was 21, living in Brooklyn, and needed something to replace the '65 Dodge Custom 880 that I had, in a fit of pique, sold. For a while I looked at first-generation Corvair convertibles which, thanks to Ralph Nader, were as cheap as cheese. I was about to answer an ad for a red four-speed when a nearby listing caught my eye. It read, “1951 Cadillac 62 sedan. Black. Good shape. $150.” I was intrigued, and not just by the price. You see, in 1970, a car from the early Fifties looked positively ancient. It made a fashion statement that your average late-Eighties sedan wouldn’t begin to duplicate today....

Click here to read the rest of the original post.

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The David Drucker you saw here at Car Lust, unashamedly singing the virtues of V-8 Yankee road barges like the one above, was just one small part of a very large picture. He was the author of Billboard's Complete Book of Audio, an avid musician and guitar collector whose musical tastes ran from the Grateful Dead to Frank Sinatra by way of Alison Krauss and Widespread Panic, a fan of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books and Monty Python's Flying Circus. He was one of those people who found joy in life, and brought joy to everyone around him. Though I never physically met him, my life is richer for having known him.

As he walks the Streets of Gold, I have no doubt he'll come across a pristine '92 Grand Marquis with the keys in the ignition and a copy of American Beauty in the cassette deck--that or a '51 Caddy.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

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David's work here at Car Lust inspired me before I became a contributor. He brought the perfect cars to the limelight, and contributed to our long-running "Very Good/Bad Years" series. I can't remember a bad word he ever said about anybody or anything... in fact he even defended minivans.

I, too, never met or chatted with David. But I still felt I knew him. He, I, and the rest of the Car Lust writers and readers are united by our interests in these jalopies. I just wish he was here to write some more about them.

And if I take anything from this, I want to reach out and meet as many of this group as I can. I'd like to call some folks and put a voice to a name. Maybe even meet one or two more in person. We've lost a member of the Car Lust family... but maybe this will knit the rest of us a little closer together.

David, I hope you enjoy that Grand Marquis up there.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

$100,000 Challenge, Take 2: Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame's Max Cars Edition

After reading Chris Hafner's post, I realized that if I hadn't gone so Mazda-heavy, I could have gotten some great 20- and 30-year-old cars in my garage.

I wanted to try again, with a fresh slate.  I hope you'll indulge me, and I hope you even find it entertaining.

But I've got to change the rules, slightly.  I'll still have limitations, because limitations help channel and inspire creativity.

First change: no "car currently on sale" requirement.  All cars need to be 20 to 30 years old.  Maybe 15, at most.  The point is to get cars that are old enough to be great value, but not so old as to be "classic".  The point is to catch cars near the bottom part of the trough, where the value has declined as much as possible, but not to the point where the value starts to rebound from rarity/coolness.

Second change: I have to have exactly 20 cars.  No more, no less.  The point is to see how close I can get to the $100k total without going over, for exactly 20 cars.

Third change: All car prices will be according to the NADA "clean retail" price, but here's the twist: if you can manage to find a 20-year-old car in "clean retail" condition, it won't really be ready to go.  The coolant system will be having problems, or it will consume oil as lustily as Vikings drank mead, or the paint will be starting to flake off, or a few minor rust points, or the alignment will be horribly off, or...you get the picture.  A 20-year-old car that wasn't lovingly restored to new condition is going to have some issues.  So right off the bat, I will budget $2000 per car to get it up to speed.  That might go to a tune-up, or a paint job, or a replacement door + paint, or an alignment, or a new radiator, etc.  That might be an underestimation, but we are starting with a "clean retail" example, so I think an average of $2000 will work.

That leaves me with $60,000 to get 20 cars.  So I'm looking for cars I can get for averaging just about $3000 each.

That's the rules I have.  Let's see what I come up with.

Continue reading "$100,000 Challenge, Take 2: Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame's Max Cars Edition" »

$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Chris Hafner

Higher EducationWhen Cookie the Dog's Owner proposed the $100K Fantasy Garage challenge, I was immediately intrigued. Who among us has not dreamed about which cars we'd purchase if only we had the funds available? This challenge is a license to mentally catalog our old and new favorites, weigh pros and cons, and show our tastes and brand loyalties through the creation of a carefully curated collection.

The genius in this challenge is the $100K value limit. Without that, we wouldn't have anything to keep us tied to reality. After all, why add a Mazda to your list when you could add a Maybach? Why add a CRX when you could add an FXX? But the $100K limit, combined with the requirement to include one brand new car, is almost perfect. A cool hundred grand sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn't go as far as one might imagine. I could easily concoct a scenario in which two very nice but still fairly ordinary vehicles consume the whole budget, so turning this into a true fantasy garage requires some creativity.

I chose to put my own spin on this challenge by laying out a series of tasks that I want the cars in my garage to fulfill, and then picking the cars I thought would best fill those roles. This required a lot of revision, as I shifted resources from one bucket to the next, and leaves me without some of my all-time favorites (omitting the Porsche 928, E28 BMW M5, and GMC Typhoon was pretty painful). Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Since in some cases I'm linking off to listings on Craigslist and eBay there's a chance that those links will be dead fairly quickly. My apologies for that, but I'll try to capture some of the pertinent details in the text so that the story doesn't suffer too much.

Continue reading "$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Chris Hafner" »

$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame

Let's start off with the cars my family needs:

2014 Mazda6:

Mazda_6_2013_MIASThis very nearly was a 2010 Mazda6.  I love my current daily driver car.  It has plenty of power, plenty of room for 4 adults on long trips, handles amazingly well, looks nice, and is generally very satisfying to drive in almost any circumstance.  However, the rules state you have to have one brand new car, and after thinking long and hard, I decided my daily driver would be the best choice to select a brand new vehicle.  The main reason for the upgrade is that the brand new Mazda6 looks nice, has plenty of interior room, has plenty of power, and handles just as well as my 2010...but with the SkyActiv technology, its gas mileage improves by nearly 30%.  To have a non-hybrid family sports sedan that gets 38 mpg highway is very exciting to me, because I am not a fan of the massive batteries necessary for hybrids: the environmental impact of creating, storing, and disposing of the battery pack really bothers me, and I don't like the idea of having to spend several thousand dollars to replace the batteries to keep the car in less than 10 years.

So this will be my daily driver.

Continue reading "$100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge: Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame" »

January 21 Weekly Open Thread: "The Beast"

The beast 1About this time every four years in our Nation's capital, we get to see an amazing spectacle. That's right, we get to see live on TV the car we citizens provide to transport and protect our President.

"The Beast" will make its second inaugurational appearance today. And regardless of our political views, any inauguration is a time to relax and enjoy the peaceful transition of power that our country uniquely provides.

Some insiders say that this car is more truck than anything else. I don't believe it's a crossover though. And it definitely was not built for good gas mileage. It, in itself, is an ambassador to the world, as every other Presidential transport, including Air Force One, has been.

Continue reading "January 21 Weekly Open Thread: "The Beast"" »

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

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