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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.

Continue reading "RIP, Scion" »

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? 

Continue reading "1972 Honda CL100 Scrambler" »

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." »

Caption This

Tumblr_mrpdbtNs6w1qjab25o1_500

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References: Tumblr

Carspotters’ Challenge #166: Chinatown, 1961

What would you recommend to check out at Chinatown?

Chinatown, 1961 tumblr_ncy1e18PxX1qdpulbo1_1280

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References: Tumblr

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" »

January 18 Weekly Open Thread: Surf Edition

No, not driving your Woody down to the beach with a couple of sticks on top for a day of catchin' waves. We have instead a car in the surf:

BeachCar

This thread may also function as a Caption This and a Carspotter thread. I saw this at an estate sale over the weekend and, although I didn't purchase the photograph, I decided to snap my own photo of it for posterity's sake. And now it will forever reside on the Internets for all to see, now and into the future. 

There was nothing on the front or back to either date or describe the photo so I really know nothing about it. I assume it's a west coast beach since I got it here in Seattle but we've got a lot of coastline out here to work with so it could be anywhere from here to southern California. My first thought was that it was taken in the 1960s and that it's a 1950s car. I thought 'Chrysler' when I first saw it.

So have at it. Throw out some guesses about the boys, the car, the location, the time. Make up a story about who they are and why they're out there. Or blather about anything else car-related. 

Carspotter's Challenge #165: Xtreme Motorsports, 1924

A curious find from my wife's ancestral photo albums.

Polo ponies? The license plates all read "Ohio 1924," so we can date the photo to the warm weather months of that particular year, but we have no idea who took the picture, exactly where in Ohio it was taken, or what the connection is to my wife's family (if there even is one). One of the sailors in the middle car is holding a polo mallet, which gives us some idea of what the game was.

If you can identify the gasoline-burning "polo ponies," or any of the other cars in the picture, or have any better idea of what was going on, leave a comment.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Automobiles of Interest

You are being watched....

How The Machine sees traffic.John Reese (Jim Caviezel) is a former CIA assassin living homeless on the streets of New York City, drinking heavily and contemplating suicide after being betrayed by his employer and suffering a devastating personal loss. He meets the mysterious Harold Finch (Michael Emerson), a billionaire software genius living in well-crafted anonymity, who extends Reese an unusual job offer.

I've got a list, a list of people who are about to be involved in very bad situations: murders, kidnappings....Most of them are just ordinary people - like her....I want you to follow her, figure out what's gonna happen, and stop it from happening.

The source of Finch's "list" is The Machine, artificial intelligence software he built for the federal government after 9/11 to data-mine computerized records, e-mails, surveillance video, and telephone conversations ("... watching us with ten thousand eyes, listening with a million ears.") and use that data to predict terrorist attacks and threats to national security.

Finch's creation proved to be very good at its job--too good. The Machine successfully detected future terrorist attacks and threats to national security--and thousands of other future crimes that had nothing to do with terrorism or national security. In order to get it to provide only that information the government wanted, Finch had to instruct The Machine to sort its predictions into "relevant" and "irrelevant" categories, and delete the irrelevant ones--even though not acting on that information allows people to be hurt or killed.

Spurred to action by a loss of his own, Finch programs The Machine to send him the Social Security numbers of people on the irrelevant list. ("...nine digits, that's all we get.") Using his money and Reese's skills, he embarks on a private mission to stop everyday crimes before they happen, to save the world one "irrelevant number" at a time.

Hunted by the authorities, we work in secret. You'll never find us, but, victim or perpetrator, if your number's up, we'll find you.

"Team Machine," as the fans call them.

This is the premise of Person of Interest, a television series which has been on the air for four years, and in December finished filming 13 episodes of its fifth season for broadcast sometime in the spring, what is widely expected to be its final run. "POI," as we fans call it, is simultaneously a case-of-the-week detective show, a fatalistic espionage drama, a noir vigilante comic book--Batman without the bats--a serious work of hard science fiction grounded in cutting-edge computer science, a cautionary tale about surveillance technology, a meditation on good and evil, and above all a tale of broken people seeking redemption--not just the best SF series I've ever seen (sorry, Star Trek!), but the best-written drama I've ever seen, period.

Though it has its fair share of car chases and stunts, POI is not a particularly car-centric show. Nevertheless, I've identified a few subjects of interest (get it?) regarding the automobiles used in the series.

Continue reading "Automobiles of Interest" »

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

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