There were probably close to fifty vehicles that were in attendance at one point or another over the span of five hours, and it was a pretty eclectic mix.
Here's some of what we saw.
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.
When 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.
Here, 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.
Today'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.
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.
When 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.
Let's start off with the cars my family needs:
This 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.
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.