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Carspotters' Challenge #107--Old Smithstonian

May is the peak month for 8th grade school trips to Washington, D.C.  With that in mind, we bring you a photo taken outside of the original Smithstonian Institute building sometime in the 1970s.

Washington DC 1970s (SWF Olds Weighty Eight)

Once you've identified the cars, take a crack at the missiles.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum collection, contributed by member "Olds Weighty Eighty.")

Car Lust Mustang Classic: My Mustang II

And here we come to the end of our Mustang retrospective with my very first contribution to Car Lust: My very own Mustang II. I've also included a link to something of a followup post on the old Mustang at the bottom. It's recently retired and is moving off into new adventures which will be recounted in a future post. 

by Chris Hafner on March 19, 2008

Submitted by Anthony J. Cagle

I acquired this car back in 1990 while on my way from Seattle to northern California for some MustangBeacharchaeological fieldwork. My month-and-a-half old 1984 Bronco II's engine seized up in central Oregon and, not being able to afford an on-the-spot engine rebuild, I swapped the dealer for something off their lot.

Up until that point I'd not paid much attention to Mustang II's--like many others, I thought of them as "glorified Pintos" and "that thing that Farrah-Fawcett drove"--but this one was in mint condition with only 43k miles on it. It really was owned by the proverbial little old lady who drove it to church on Sundays. And it had a V8! So the deal went down and I drove off with a 1978 Mustang II.

After all of the trouble I had had with both the Bronco and my previous 1975 Buick, the Mustang was a god-send. It drove well, was mechanically sound, but most importantly it just worked. I drove all over northern California for several weeks without problem. And it was fun to drive to boot. The beach photo above was taken shortly after purchase.

Also see this post on the rigors of owning this vehicle.

To view and comment on this post click here.

Car Lust Mustang Classic: Mustang II Cobra II

We end our Mustang retrospective week with a true classic Car Lust: The Mustang II. This post generate moderate interest when it was first put up, but after I linked to it on a Mustang II enthusiast site the partisans came out to defend their car. As much as I love the II's -- I own one, after all -- I had to admit that Chris was mostly correct: It wasn't the greatest car of its time. My view is that the II tried to be too many different things at once -- pony car, personal luxury car, small sporty import, etc. -- and ended up not being very good at any of them. I still think it was a far better car in a lot of ways than the preceding generations, but there you have it. 

by Chris Hafner on September 21, 2007

I wouldn't feel right running a week-long Poseur Muscle Cars in the Afternoon feature without honoring the granddaddy of faux muscle cars, the hands-down premier combination of puffed-up ostentation with knock-kneed weakness, the in-the-sheetmetal realization of the saying "All Hat and No Cattle."

Yes, we're discussing the Ford Mustang II--the Pinto-based blasphemy to the Mustang name. Even today, if you mention the Mustang II to hard-core Mustang fans, they're likely to blanch and quickly change the subject.

When the Mustang II was introduced in 1974, the idea of a downsized Mustang was a pretty solid one. The previous-generation Mach 1 was a massive car--still easily the largest Mustang of all time--that could nevertheless really only fit two people comfortably. Given the trends of the time, a smaller car and a smaller engine made much more sense.

Still... a Mustang based on a Pinto? The Mustang II, symbolizing, I suppose, the rebirth of the Mustang, wasn't a terrible-looking car when it debuted. In fastback trim, with the original relatively understated graphics, it looked pretty good. The Ghia luxury notchback edition, on the other hand, looked pretty awful.

May 12 Weekly Open Thread--Street Shark

Presented for your amusement, a photo from the parking lot at the Great Meadow Field Events Center in northern Virginia, taken at Saturday's Team America Rocketry Challenge national fly-off.

[Insert theme music from "Jaws" here.]As always, this is the place to talk about all things automotive.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

Carspotters' Challenge #106--Variations on a Theme (Building)

For this week's installment, we have a panorama of the parking lots at Los Angeles International Airport which surround its iconic Theme Building.

LAX (SWF OrthmannJ)See anything you'd like to fly away with?

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum collection, contributed by member "OrthmannJ.")

Car Lust Mustang Classic: 1964-1966 Mustang

This post was part of our All-America Week back in 2011 where we celebrated many classic American cars. The original Mustang could not conceivably be excluded from that list.

Ya know, I can't believe we haven't done this car yet. After all, this may be the most lusted-after MustangTempaffordable and available car in American history. "Mustang Fever" overtook the USA in 1964, and it hasn't gone away yet.

I guess this post is a little late to the party to be included in our recent "Old Fords Week," but as timeless as these cars are, maybe they don't belong there anyway. I'll stay away from just a boring history of the car (We all pretty well know it anyway) and just try to explain why I think we admire these so much.

I think the main reason people first liked these Mustangs is because anybody could make a Mustang their Mustang, and on a reasonable budget. Each Mustang could be carefully built from Ford's options list, and would be truly unique to the customer.

Mustang showRather than today's mundane trim packages that let you constantly meet yourself on the highway, personalization was what these first Mustangs were all about. And I don't think that philosophy has ever changed.

At one time, there were over 500 dealer spon- sored Mustang Clubs across the country and around the world. 1970 was the peak year with over 200,000 Mustang club members worldwide. In addition to swapping information and stories about them, they are also a great source for parts, or maybe even to find the Mustang of your dreams.

So, do you want to keep it all original? Maybe make it look stock, but replace the suspension, brakes, and drivetrain with modern stuff? You can do anything you want to a Mustang to make it your car.

To read the rest of this post and comment click here


Car Lust Mustang Classic: The First Special Edition Mustang

Today's Mustang Classic deals with one of the "Special Edition" Mustangs from the first generation. 

I was cashing a check at the bank recently, and the friendly teller lady had a picture of her '66 Mustang MustangTempright there. I knew we had cars in common and that car obviously meant a lot to her, so I asked her about it. She proudly told me it was a "High Country" Mustang; a car that I had never heard of.

There were people in line behind me, so I got all of the information from her that I could as quickly as I could. She motioned to the extra fender badge, and I smiled and acted like I knew what she was talking about.

But later I talked with a bud of mine who has owned several Mustangs and taken them down to their last lock washer. He hadn't heard of them either... so then I didn't feel so bad.

HC Ad 1966Sales were slow in late 1966, so to boost them locally, a special promotion vehicle for Colorado-area Ford dealers was made. The 1966 High Country Mustangs were special in that they had an extra badge on each front fender, a choice of three unique colors: Aspen Gold, Columbine Blue, or Timberline Green, and, well, that's about it. But all 1966 Mustang body styles, powertrain combinations, and all other options were available with the package.

To read the rest of this post and comment click here


Car Lust Mustang Classic: Can You Go Home Again?

Today's Mustang classic was originally submitted by Car Lust reader and Carspotting: Auto Archeology Editor Michael E. Gouge. It's a wonderful ode to Michael's automotive youth and rekindling at least some of what made it such a grand time, connecting two generations of Mustang. 

Mustang guest post
For my fellow car lovers, there is no need to explain the bond a 16-year-old has with his first car. Mine was a 1966 Mustang in Nightmist Blue, and it opened up a world of freedom, of escapism, of pleasure in the sound of an engine purring along an open road. In other words, this angst-filled teenager discovered a home, a sanctuary, in a Mustang.  Three decades hence, that old pony car--along with my youth and a new-found euphoria for the open road--are but memories.

Thomas Wolfe, the acclaimed Lost Generation author who hailed from my hometown of Asheville, N.C., famously wrote, “You can’t go home again.”  The phrase comes from the title of Wolfe’s follow-up novel, published posthumously, to his thinly veiled scathing depiction of Asheville in his classic 1929 work, “Look Homeward Angel.”

Wolfe wrote, “You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood, back home to romantic love, back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and fame … back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”

I’m offering this brief note on literature because I find myself in some ways journeying back to those youthful dreams and memories Wolfe found are often ruined by time and circumstance. My time machine: A descendant of my long-lost Mustang.

To read the rest of this post click here.


The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage: Little, But Not Necessarily Mighty

Currently, the Mitsubishi trades paint with Chevy Spark for the questionable honor of being the cheapest new car you can buy in America. But for one thing, how cheap is $14K? Even after adjusting for inflation, it seems that entry-level Basic Transportation used to cost less. And second, what are you giving up for that extra few thousand bucks? At the end of the day, it worth it to get the cheapest car on the market, just for the sake of having a new car? Let’s investigate.


Continue reading "The 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage: Little, But Not Necessarily Mighty" »

Carspotters' Challenge #105--Kenya Believe It?

This week's photo comes from Mombasa, Kenya in the 1970s.

(Insert Warren Zevon music here)See anything interesting?

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo obtained from the Station Wagon Forum collection, contributed by member "GTW.")

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

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