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Notes from the 2014 Cleveland Auto Show - Part One

The 2014 Cleveland Auto Show runs through Sunday, March 9. I was there on Saturday the 1st, and here's some of what I saw.

Ford would like one of these to be in your future.100_3939100_3942

Continue reading "Notes from the 2014 Cleveland Auto Show - Part One" »

March 3 Weekly Open Thread--Show Time!

It's not a fit day out for man nor beast--but here in the exhibit hall at the Auto Show it's comfortable and you can take your coat off, pick up some brochures and swag, and interact with the giant anthropomorphic hamsters.

"Hamsters? I'm supposed to work with hamsters?"Speaking of swag, at the Car Lust booth, we're giving away promotional AMC Gremlin models.

"It's all new for '72!"If you can't make it to the show, click here to download one for yourself. Print it on 65# cardstock, cut out, and glue it together.

This is the place to discuss the auto show, or anything else that crosses your mind.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Carspotters' Challenge #96--D.S. Jones Pontiac

The used car department at D.S. Jones Pontiac, from a 1981 postcard. I have no clue as to the location--a Google search for "D.S. Jones" brings up a car dealer in Swansea, Wales, and I'm pretty sure that's not the same D.S. Jones as this one.

"Prices so low we can't say them on the radio--and you can finance your car with us even if your credit score sucks like the vaccum of space."Wherever it is--or, rather, was--that's a very Car Lust inventory there.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum's collection of vintage street scenes, to which it was contributed by member "Cammerjeff.")

1987-1993 Cadillac Allanté

How this blog managed to survive for almost seven years without a feature on the Allanté is beyond me. Well, chalk it up to ignoring the obvious I suppose. But better late than never.

I aim here to complete our trilogy of late 20th century Cadillacs that failed to meet expectations.

Say it with me: Only three?

We've already bookended the Allanté with two other unfortunate Cadillac nameplates, the Cimarron, by Cadillac and the Catera. . .also by Cadillac but maybe a bit less embarassing? Well, hardly, but we'll Allante_1
leave that go for now. As a wise sage once remarked, following Karl Marx: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce." While our farcical bookends, the Cimarron and Catera, were separated by almost two decades, one might argue that Cadillac had tried to learn something in the interim -- even down to not starting the name with a 'C'! -- and took a new tack by not simply rebadging another GM product and trying to sell it with a few upgrades from the parts bin and charging a wad of dough for the privilege. No, this time they used a different letter for the name (although they almost blew that, too), and tried building something almost from scratch. Did it work?

Well, in a word, no. But it was sooooooo close. Almost irritatingly so. But, like other GM projects that began with a really good idea but seemed to suffer from wrong decisions at nearly every step--*cough* Vega! *cough*--the Allanté was actually quite a good car for the time and, I would posit, still holds up pretty well in most respects. But, being GM in the 1980s, it suffered from a couple of fatal flaws whose origin we look back on with a "What were they thinking?" look on our collective faces.

Continue reading "1987-1993 Cadillac Allanté" »

February 24 Weekly Open Thread--"Enough with the @%$#&^*@ snow already!"

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put the snowblower in the shed and get on with spring.

"The snowbird sings the song he always sings/And speaks to me of flowers that will bloom again in spring" --Anne MurrayThis is the place to share warm thoughts on all things automotive.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo from the SDC Forum, contributed by member "JRoberts.")

Carspotters' Challenge #95--Wall to Wall in Walla Walla

The crowded parking lot at the Walla Walla Yacht Club's 1959 boat show and parade.

May 1959See anything that floats your boat?

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum's collection of vintage street scenes, to which it was contributed by member "OrthmannJ.")

1937-1940 Ford Coupe

“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean. . ."

And he'll probably be driving those mean streets in a 1940 Ford Coupe. Preferably black.

If the El Camino is the Steve McQueen of cars, the 1937-40 Ford coupe is the Phillip Marlowe. Kinda tough looking on the outside, but philosophical on the inside. Not flashy, suave, sophisticated, or calling attention to itself, but tough, effective, and not looking for trouble unless it comes looking for 1940FordTophim. Yeah, that's what this car is all about: “The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.” Or the car.

All melodrama aside, this may seem an odd Lust for me. Heck, pretty much anything pre-1960s is a bit odd for me, even though I've dipped into preceeding decades a few times (e.g., here, here, and here). I'm not even sure why this particular model caught my fancy: I'm really not that into hot rods, of which this generation of Fords is rightly famous. Chopped, lowered, painted gaudy colors. . . .no thanks. I won't bash 'em but I also won't celebrate 'em.

Then again one could conceivably argue that the '37-'40 Fords marked the start of the mass-produced muscle car, of which I am definitely an aficianado. They weren't factory-produced muscle cars like the later ones, but they had the basics down: largely standard cars that many owners -- often for very particular reasons -- modified into ground-pounding monsters. And for the most part they didn't dress them up like a two dollar hooker -- again, for very particular reasons. I like that. I'm a fan of the sleeper, a wicked fast car that looks like a standard grocery-getter until you step on the gas and all those horses come roaring to life.

On top of that, it's a very handsome car, IMO. It's got a nice balance, not too chromed up (usually), and with more of a modern form to it than many others from that period. You can kind of see the direction that automobile design is heading, from the big carriages-on-wheels to a more modern, sleeker, and more aerodynamic design.

Continue reading "1937-1940 Ford Coupe" »

February 17 Weekly Open Thread

This week we bring you yet another list. Thankfully, not another (and another and another. . .) 'Worst Cars Of All Time" list. No, this one is actually kind of fun. It is, via Mental Floss, 11 Features you No BenchseatLonger See In Cars:

It’s hard to picture what today’s teenagers will wax nostalgic about 30 years from now when they reminisce about their first car. (It still required gasoline, perhaps?) Who knows how automobiles will change in the future; what we do know is how different they are today from 30 or more years ago. If you fondly remember being surrounded by two or three tons of solid Detroit steel with a whip antenna on the front from which you could tie a raccoon tail or adorn with an orange Union 76 ball, and enough leg room that you didn’t suffer from phlebitis on long road trips, then you might also miss a few of these.

Among them: The bench seat, ash trays, and vent windows. I like some of these. Bench seats are really passé sad to say, although I'm not sure why I think that; they were never very comfortable and their sole saving grace was the ability to fit three passengers in the front seat (and, um, being somewhat more amenable to certain amorous adventures).

I rather miss vent windows as well. I'm not sure why they aren't made anymore, it seems to me to be a really ideal way of letting a bit of air in without the noise of opening the whole window, if even a crack. Plus you could direct the air flow right at your face. I suppose they were probably expensive to produce and you can get almost the same effect from adjustable air vents.

Ash trays I never had a use for, never having picked up the habit m'self. Ditto the 'cigarette lighter' which most younger folk now might now just refer to as a "DC connector" or something.

Missing from the list? Are there any real hub caps anymore? I've seen a few plastic ones that even have fake bolts molded into them, but I haven't noticed any true metal hub caps lately (not that I've really been looking). I don't think there are too many whitewall tires around either. And of course we here at Car Lust have already told the story of the missing cassette player.

Anything else that seems to have disappeared from the automotive landscape? And feel free to discuss anything else of interest.

Credit: photo is from the article.

Happy Valentine's Day!

079

This picture was an absolute fluke. My sister had turned her truck around in the barn lot in a skiff of fresh snow; I saw the results, then ran for the camera.

I saw two parallel hearts there, drawn when the front tires made their turn. The snow was melting and I knew the image would not be there long. But here it is, preserved digitally, anyway.

So Happy Valentine's Day! to everybody. And hopefully it's not snowing where you are.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

February 10 Weekly Open Thread: Most Boring Open Thread Ever

*yaaaaawn*

Yeah, Dullsville. Corolla

Paint drying.

Chartered accountancy.

Sitting in a bucket of warm wallpaper paste reading a Jane Austen novel.

February.

Or perhaps a Toyota Corolla? I've taken to disagreeing with my esteemed colleagues on this one: It's not the Camry. I know, I know, it's sold 40 million copies and is the best selling nameplate ever. It's reliable. It's practical. It's cheap. It's. . . .boring. So boring that after looking at it for five minutes I kind of want to poke out both of my eyes just to give them something interesting to do.

When I first saw the "Corolla S" out and about I had a fleeting thought that maybe they'd finally done something interesting with it, but such was not to be. Unless you consider adding a "Unique piano-black front grille" to be, you know, interesting. More "utterly forgettable" is more like it.

So I dunno, talk about the Corolla or anything else auto-related you can think of. I'm already tired of thinking about this car. It's. . . .it's. . . . . .

What was I talking about again?

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

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