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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" »

The Peugeot 604

604 1When the idea of "French Cars Week" here at Car Lust was first presented, I thought my only experience with them was watching a great car chase scene in For Your Eyes Only. But after I thought about the subject for a moment, I remembered I did have some experience with a French car... and it was a very good one.

In 1979, I visited a friend in Toluca Lake, Burbank, California. George wisely kept the Ferrari to himself, but the "house car," a 1978 Peugeot 604, was my car for almost two weeks. And at the time, our family had a similar car, a modest 1972 Mercedes-Benz 250 sedan (Ours also had circular factory fog lights). So driving the French counterpart gave me a chance to compare them, even though they were 2,000 miles apart.

604 George'sHere, just in front of the Ferrari 365 GTC4, is the "house car," the 604 graciously loaned to me by George. Normally the two cars were parked side by side, but on this July 4, 1979, we pulled the Italian car out onto the street for some photos.

I'm glad I framed the 604 in the background to help remind me of the visit; this may be the only image of the 604 I have.

George liked the French, and especially their engineering. After all, anybody that builds the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, not to mention helping us win the War Of Independence, can't be all bad.

Continue reading "The Peugeot 604" »

Toyota Celica Supra 1978-1981

1979-Supra comboToday's little post is just a follow up to Anthony Cagle's superb coverage of the 1970s Celica. In fact, this report is just a shadow of the last generation Celica featured in his post.

My admiration for this car began one day, as a 21-year-old, when I saw an ad for the first Toyota Celica Supra. The glossy presentation literally blew me away. Here, for the first time in my automotive history, was a small car available with all the refinements of any larger machine. It had power windows and door locks, a tilting steering wheel, a luxurious, plush interior, cruise control, a snazzy console, multi-adjustable bucket seats, and even a sunroof.

That ad showed a dash featuring an amazing array of seven gauges (Including the clock), a large sum of instruments not easily found on any other car of its time, nor even today. An industry-leading AM/FM 4-speaker radio was there, as was (dare I say it?) an 8-Track tape player. In 1979, leather seats and automatic climate control was offered, again, unheard of in a small car on these shores.

Continue reading "Toyota Celica Supra 1978-1981" »

$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" »

Test Drive--2013 Chrysler 300

Can a handsome young man with a fondness for light, agile cars and manual transmissions find happiness, or at least contentment, behind the wheel of a luxury battlecruiser with a slushbox? Or is the very proposition madness?

"Madness? ... THIS. IS. MOPAR!"

Continue reading "Test Drive--2013 Chrysler 300" »

1991/1992 Ford F-150 "Nite"

1183While on vacation in California in July/August, 2012, I saw this pristine 20-year-old Ford F-150 Nite. It was a rare Styleside model, short wheelbase. Luckily I had the camera with me.

Obviously somebody else appreciates them, as few classic trucks look like this. It looked 100% stock and brand new... even the reflective stripes were shiny and working. And inside the rear wheel well, do we see any dirt? I don't.

Seeing this pristine beauty appear out of nowhere brought back a lot of memories and was the inspiration for this post. I mean... the truck looked as new as the one I had driven back in 1990. Its perfect, reflective black sheen and multi-hued tape stripe made it stand out even among the brand new cars.

It brought back many other memories as well.

Continue reading "1991/1992 Ford F-150 "Nite"" »

5th Birthday Week--Anthony Cagle's Greatest Hits

HillbrookI've never met Anthony Cagle, but I think we'd have a lot in common. He's into history by trade; I do it as a hobby, like having spent part of the last four years relocating a magnificent mansion named "The Hillbrook ." This not so humble abode used to stand in Westchester County, New York, and was once owned by the family of a dear late friend of mine.

But where we probably share the most commonality is our admiration (Dare I say love) of the Mustang II. I bought a new one in 1974; presently he is the keeper of a magnificent 1978 Fastback. And if he ever wants to sell it, I hope he lets me know.

So in keeping with this week's theme, I'd like to present a few of my favorite Car Lust posts by Anthony J. Cagle, and a few words about each:


1962: It was a very good year

on December 18, 2008

I take this opportunity to sing the praises of not one car, but many: those from a single year, 1962. Why this particular year? I can almost hear the thoughts of many out there wondering why this year and not some other one that has way more hot cars. What about '69 when we had Super Bees and Boss 302s? Or maybe 1964, which saw both the GTO and the Mustang debut? To these criticisms I can only respond: Hey, this is Car Lust, after all.

Continue reading "5th Birthday Week--Anthony Cagle's Greatest Hits" »

Car Lust Classic--Pontiac 6000STE

...not to be confused with the Ciera, or the Celebrity, or the....I have absolutely no idea what to make of the Pontiac 6000STE. At its heart, it is simply a Chevrolet Celebrity clone; which itself was an outgrowth of the much-maligned Chevrolet Citation. I have already described the misery inflicted upon my car enthusiast father by the 6000STE's A-body sibling, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. I can't imagine a less promising foundation for a sports sedan than that.

And yet ... and yet, there was a period of time in the early 1980s when the 6000STE was regarded by the leading automotive journalists as the finest sports sedan in America....

Click here to read the rest of the original post by Chris Hafner, and to leave your comments.

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

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