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About That Car Guy

That Car Guy, aka Chuck Lynch, is a '57 model. A lifelong resident of middle Tennessee, he's had a passion for cars and trucks since Day One. His automotive career truly began in the early 1980s, when he worked at Nissan Motor Manufacturing Corp. USA, producing training videos while they were building the plant. He later worked in the NMMC Corporate Communications department in video, print, and 35mm photography. In 1991, he became technical editor, writer, and an on-camera reporter with the "Road Test Magazine" TV show, which morphed into "Car and Driver Television" after his absence. Chuck has won Car and Driver's "10 Best Contest" 10 times through the years, visits as many automotive museums as he can, and hopes some day to have a nice place to store and work on his cars.

Posts by That Car Guy

August 17 Weekly Open Thread: It's That Time Of Year AGAIN!

Yes, it's "Back To School" time. And it's also "2015 Year Model Clearance" time. Funny how both events happen together.

2015-Summer-Clearance-Montana-AccordSlider

There's the Lincoln Summer Invitation Sales Event. And Volvo has the Wonder Of Summer Event. Volkswagen offers the VW Model Year End Sales Event, while Lexus proposes the Lexus Golden Opportunity Sales Event.

Infinity gives us the Summer In The Driver's Seat opportunity, while Acura has the It's That Kind Of Summer Event. And not to be left behind, there's the Toyota Annual Clearance Event, plus the Mazda Summer Drive.

You could do the Honda Summer Clearance Event, but don't forget to read the fine print there.

Continue reading "August 17 Weekly Open Thread: It's That Time Of Year AGAIN!" »

Ye Olde London Taxicab

 

London-taxisThey are as associated with London as Big Ben. They have a reputation for being as clean as a crumpet plate. And they are as recognizable as Parliament.

And perhaps they should be, since they have been around for quite the while. Perhaps the best-known is the Austin FX4, which was made from 1958 to 1994.

They also have a reputation for being all-black, but they do come in many colours. In fact, there are no rules and/or regulations requiring any of them to be black. They can also carry five passengers in comfort, and can turn on a dime. 

They had diesel engines of various sizes and makers, though a gasoline engine was available starting in 1962. Automatics were standard from Day One, but manuals became an option later. Why? I have no idea. I mean... a manual tranny in London???

Continue reading "Ye Olde London Taxicab" »

The Top 10 Sexiest Cars Of All Time

Picking these cars was exciting... not so much as judging a swimsuit contest, but not far from that either. Yet still definitely fun.

What is car sexiness? That's hard to define... I guess you know it when you see it. But there's a seductiveness about any sexy car, a lust if you will... Maybe it's the "I gotta have it" feeling. Even if it's only 1:24 scale.

So here they are, and in no real particular order:

  Countach

Lamborghini Countach In the late 1970s and early 80s, what teenage did not have a poster of this car on their wall... unless Farrah took up too much room. The low height and exaggerated length provided proportions never seen before or since. And its name translates (roughly) into "Oh my gosh!," and rightfully so.

Continue reading "The Top 10 Sexiest Cars Of All Time" »

Carspotters' Challenge #134: The Drive-In Theater

Most are gone now, but a tradition in the 1950s, '60s, and '70s was the drive-in theater. Usually on warm summer weekend nights, these places were full of cars, people, and delicious food served right there on the premises.

Some Drive-Ins charged by the car load, others by the individuals per car. So a trunk packed with 4-5 people sneaking into one was not uncommon. (Been there, bought the T-shirt, as they say ;) .)

And as the joke goes, they had very low prices for the afternoon matinee.

Drive-In Theatre CSC 1

They were also a place where both hanky and panky occurred... just don't get caught!

See anything you'd like to drive home? (Extra points if you can identify the movie that's playing. Extra EXTRA points if you can identify the cars in the movie that's playing!))

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our warm Summer evening at the drive-in image was found at DriveTheNation.com.

April 20 Weekly Open Thread: "What Is A Blueprinted Engine?"

"Hey, I have a hot rod with a blueprinted engine!"

Engine-blueprintMany of us have heard somebody say that, then we nod our heads in agreement. And some of even have a slight idea of what that means. So to help explain this, we turn to EngineBasics.com, who at least partially define Engine Blueprinting as:

"A true blueprinted motor though, is one were every single part has been measured and matched exactly to a tolerance that FAR EXCEDES the manufacturers original tolerances. On a blueprinted motor one could say there “are no tolerances”, since everything is matched at times to a hundred thousands of an inch. The amount of balancing a blueprinted motor needs is so low its off the scale. All bearing and races are measured to be with-in thousands of each-other."

They can say that a lot better than I can.

Therefore, basically, a blueprinted engine is one built to incredibly tight tolerances, mainly to avoid power-robbing vibration issues.

So there. And of course, this is also the place to discuss anything else even ever so slightly automotive related. With or without blueprints.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our blueprinted engine example came from EddiesPerformance.com.

Car Lust Quantum Leap: The Chevette

I guess it should not be a surprise that I picked this microbial minicar, since about anything you do to a GM T-Body will improve it anyway. But I have always defended this car, which was the best-selling American small car of 1979 and 1980. After all, I did own two of these beauties.

Chevette 2 door

First off, I'd keep virtually all of the external sheet metal, but build an up-to-date, high-tensile steel space frame under there that meets today's crash standards. After all, is the Chevette really such a bad looking car?

Continue reading "Car Lust Quantum Leap: The Chevette" »

Carspotters' Challenge #132: "Where Were You In '62?"

I guess this Carspotters' Challenge fits in with this week's Birth Year Fantasy Garage Challenge. After all, these beauties of yore were then and are now treasures to behold. But being born five years before 1962, few if any of them meet the requirements for my own Fantasy Garage Challenge.

One of the best car movies of all time is "American Graffiti," set in the year 1962. After all, car-wise, 1962 was also A Very Good Year as well. So here are a few scenes from the movie with some great cars:

Mel's wide

A nice wide shot of "Mel's Drive-In."

Continue reading "Carspotters' Challenge #132: "Where Were You In '62?"" »

Car Lust's $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge Update #1: The Jeep

A while back, we here at the Car Lust home office and used vending machine storage area suggested a $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge. And among other dream machines, I said that I wanted a Jeep.

DSC_1023Yes, a new CBR600RR found its way into the delapidated smokehouse/shed structure that doubles as its garage, but since I didn't mention that bike in the Challenge, we won't count it. But I did recently make one addition to the "fleet" that should be mentioned here, a 2001 Jeep Wrangler SE.

In my contribution to that Theme Week, I wanted a brand new Jeep per the Challenge's requirements that required at least one new vehicle. But after nearly a year of failed negotiations with our local dealer, I gave up searching for a Jeep... for a while. Then this one popped up out of nowhere.

Somehow I knew this Jeep was "right" as soon as I saw the ad's pictures. This one looked clean. And I mean clean! And it was. It's a 14-year-old TJ Series, but just look at that shine... and that's the original paint! Plus, there's not even a door ding on it. The only scratches are where a previous driver's boots met the paint under the door while climbing in and out. Rust? Nada!

Continue reading "Car Lust's $100,000 Fantasy Garage Challenge Update #1: The Jeep" »

March 16 Weekly Open Thread: "What Is A Crate Motor?"

Crate motor 3We've all heard the term tossed around a lot, but do we really know what a "crate motor" is?

Well, there is no easy definition of a crate motor. It's easy to say that a crate motor is a brand new engine assembly, usually with a warranty, delivered right to your front door. And though that's true, things don't stop right there.

Some crate motors are just an engine block, crankshaft, and pistons, all nicely bolted and torqued together. This is called a short-block. A long-block crate motor is a short-block, but with the cylinder heads and gaskets also in place.

Next up the menu (And price range) is the more or less complete engine with all of the above, plus an intake manifold and exhaust headers. And finally, there is the ready-to-run option that includes everything you'll need except for oil, fuel, and electricity.

Oh, and money. You'll need money. Most crate motors are expensive. Really expensive. Why, a new GM 640-horsepower Supercharged LS9 like they drop into a Corvette will set you back around 30,000 big 'uns. But the ease of just dropping in one of these power plants saves a lot of time which makes up for a lot of that expense. Or so "They" say.

Continue reading "March 16 Weekly Open Thread: "What Is A Crate Motor?"" »

Nissan Week--Great Commercials--Datsun 280ZX "Black Gold" (Car Lust Classic)

From April 28, 2010, here is a Car Lust Classic featuring a great Nissan Datsun TV commercial for "Black Gold." The car is the 10th Anniversary special edition of the original 240Z, and the period content of the ad speaks for itself. So enjoy this look into the automotive past and, as usual, please leave any new comments on the original post.

I stumbled across this commercial the other day and thought it worthy of a Car Lust commercial deconstruction. My thoughts are after the jump.

 

0:01--I love the soundtrack. This was the era of disco, and it's used to good effect here. You want hip? You want to be with it? You want the right chariot for your night out on the town? You want the Datsun 280ZX Black Gold.

Continue reading "Nissan Week--Great Commercials--Datsun 280ZX "Black Gold" (Car Lust Classic)" »

Nissan Week--1980-1984 Nissan Maxima (First Generation)

Maxima 1"They" say a copy is never as good as the original. And my opinion of the Maxima is that this is true. Later versions of this nameplate just never met the lofty standards of the original, and I'm about to say why (In my humble opinion). But is my opinion biased? Why yes, very much so.

I was introduced with this first-generation marvel in 1982 when I started working at the Nissan plant in Smyrna, Tennessee. We had a number of these cars as "pool cars," available for any real or semi-genuine company vehicle need. You only had to ask for one through the company's concierge, and return it undamaged with some gas left in it. There was a running account at a local convenience market, so fuel never cost us Nissan employees a cent.

The first time I sat in a Maxima, I was a passenger. Even at the ripe old age of 25, I was exploring cars and how they were built, and working at the (then) world's most advanced auto plant was pure daily heaven. And this one seemed years ahead of others on the road, being the first American-sold car that had an invisible lady who told you when your fuel was getting low. She had a small but important vocabulary, pronouncing such wisdoms as "Lights are On." "Key is in the ignition." As well as the ever so popular, "Parking brake is On!" And there was more.

Continue reading "Nissan Week--1980-1984 Nissan Maxima (First Generation)" »

Nissan Week--1987 Nissan Sentra Sport Coupe (Car Lust Classic)

This was first posted on December 25, 2012. I enjoyed driving this car for the time I had it and would like to have another, but they are very scarce these days. And if you have any comments, please leave them on the original post. Thanks, --Chuck.

Sentra Sport CoupeI've been wanting to write about this car for a while, so I finally pulled out an old photo album, copied the prints, and went to work.

And this is why: When I worked at the Nissan plant here in Tennessee (Where they now build the Leaf), they had a very affordable Lease Car Program. A version of it still survives. Any full-time Nissan employee, after 8 months of employment, was eligible for the program. The only requirement? You had to have a driver's license; your previous driving record was of no concern.

You could order any Nissan vehicle that was sold in the US and wait about three months for its arrival. The Infinity Division had not yet been born while I was there; I don't know if they are available now or not. But a stripped Sentra could be had back then for as little as $88 a month, and a 300ZX Turbo was, if memory serves, around $270. The BIG NEWS was that insurance was included, with a $250 deductable.

So for a whopping sum of approximately $185 a month, I had the unlimited use of this custom-ordered Sentra Sport Coupe SE. I had seen a prototype/early production model in the plant's Quality Assurance Department for whatever reason (They were never built in Tennessee), and immediately had to have one. The car you see here is the first white Sport Coupe delivered in Tennessee, or so I was told.

Continue reading "Nissan Week--1987 Nissan Sentra Sport Coupe (Car Lust Classic)" »

March 9 Weekly Open Thread: "Nissan Theme Week"

Nissan AdWhether it's "Major Motion," or "We Are Driven," you know a Nissan ad when you see one. They are fast, tightly-cut ads to promote their vehicles with great excitement.

And rightly so. From the 240Z to today's 370Z and in between, we have seen a lot of great innovative cars from Nissan. Plus, Nissan builds many of their vehicles right here in the USA, so not all of them are "imports."

This week, we here at Car Lust will pay tribute to a few Nissan models, both old and new. And we might even pull an appropriate Nissan post or two from the Car Lust archives.

So whether you call them a Nissan or a Datsun, you can't call them dull. Well, most of them you can't.

And of course, this Weekly Open Thread is also the place to speak about anything even nearly automotively related.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our ad image was found at InsideEVS.com.

Al Bundy's... "Dodge"?

Al Bundy's gold Dodge"Married... With Children'"s Al Bundy (Ed O'Neill) had it rough. He was a struggling women's shoe salesman, his wife was a couch potato, his daughter was, well... "fast," and as the song goes, his son tried, but just couldn't do it. However, Al could always (Well, usually) rely on one thing... his trusted car, frequently referred to as "The Dodge."

But it turns out that poor Al's car wasn't a Dodge at all. It was, in fact, a 1972 Plymouth Duster. Why, in at least one scene, you can even see the Gold Duster decal on the "Dodge"'s front fender.

The car uses a screwdriver as the ignition key, and music is piped in via a period-correct 8-Track tape player. And in addition to many memories, some going back to his high school glory days, the "Dodge"'s trunk also held Al's collection of "Big 'Uns," a magazine dedicated to the finest of adult male entertainment.

Continue reading "Al Bundy's... "Dodge"?" »

The NEXT Top 10 Worst Cars Of All Time

Thank You so much, dear readers! Your contributions and input when this post was suggested a while back were well received and appreciated. But we had a couple more blanks to fill, so I've injected my own supplemental nominees for this dubious honor. There aren't really any winners here, except for maybe some great deals on a used car lot if you can find one of these veehickles in superb condition. If.

So now, without any further fuss and in no particular order, here are your (And our) suggestions for

The NEXT Top 10 Worst Cars Of All Time:

Windstar

Ford Windstar. Ya know 'em, Ya love 'em, Ya can't live without 'em. Well, OK, we can. And we do. Plagued with corrosion and durability issues throughout its production life, the resale value on these is, well... ▼.

Continue reading "The NEXT Top 10 Worst Cars Of All Time" »

December 29 Weekly Open Thread: "The World's Most Irritating Car Commercial"

Lately here at Car Lust, we've featured a few new and old commercials, for better or for worse. A Corvette ad of over 30 years ago is probably the best of the best, but now this ad may be the worst of the worst.

Now please don't get me wrong, I love FIATs. It was a pleasure to cover their "FIAT FreakOut" here in Nashville a few years ago, and I even owned an X1/9 for a few hours... which of course is another story.

But personally, I don't like people shouting at me. So every time this commercial comes on, I dash for the Mute button. Madly and instantly. The moment I hear those notes and that voice screaming coursely and repetatively, it has to go. Now.

Here is said ad:

 

Hopefully their Gran Finale commercial will have its swan song soon as well.

Your thoughts please? And of course, this is the place to vent anything even slightly automotively related. Anything.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

The Cars Of "The Andy Griffith Show"

 

TAGS Opening(Sung to the tune that opens "The Andy Griffith Show:")

Well now, take, down, your fishin' pole, and meet me at The Fishin' Hole,

  We may, not, get a bite all day, but don't you rush away. 
  What a great, place, to rest your bones, and mighty fine for skippin' stones, 
  You'll feel fresh, as, a lemonade, a-settin' in the shade. 

  Whether it's hot... whether it's cool... oh what a spot... for whistlin' like a  fool.

 What a fine, day, to take a stroll, and wander by The Fishin' Hole, 
 I can't think, of, a better way, to pass the time o' day. 

The name of that song is "The Fishin' Hole," and those were the words to the whistling theme you heard every time you saw Sheriff Andy Taylor and his son Opie walking toward Myers Lake in Mayberry. Of course Myers Lake didn't exist, so maybe surprisingly, the title openings of the show were shot here.

Just like the music in "The Andy Griffith Show," cars also played an important part. In fact, several of their best episodes were written around them and the people who were driving them. So let's take a gander at a few of these machines... some of them might even surprise you a bit!

Continue reading "The Cars Of "The Andy Griffith Show"" »

The "New" Kit

We all love that new car smell. And we all hate the payment book. But we also love something else about getting a new car, truck, motorcycle, or whatever. It's a bunch of little things that make no real sense whatsoever individually, but collectively, no new vehicle would be complete without them.

001

It's called The "New" Kit. And it's those extra little markings, stickers (This time, on the headlight), and other things that usually disappear in a week or two.

Continue reading "The "New" Kit" »

Carspotters' Challenge #119--"Oh, The Pain... The Pain"

We've sort of done one of these Carspotters' Challenges before. But I saw so many especially Lust-Worthy cars here, I thought... "Hey, what the heck!"

CS 119

I see a car that was in one of the best-loved James Bond movies (Hint: It's 50 years old this month). And I think I see at least one that was designed by fellow Car Lust contributor Virgil Exner, Jr. There are also a few more that I would like to pull out of that pile.

See anything in there that you would like to restore?

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our heapin' helpin' of scrap cars image came from PinupsAndKustoms.com.

Miller Motorcars (née) Chinetti Motors, America's First Ferrari Dealership

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Miller Motorcars

There is an elegant structure in upscale Greenwich, Connecticut. It's something of a stately 2-story Tudor with large picture windows, and graces Putnam Avenue with style. At first glance, the building could house antiques and/or art... and yes... in many, many ways, it does house fine art.

The establishment features Ferrari, Maserati, and the occasional "previously owned" Rolls-Royce Motorcar and such. Why, I even thought I saw a more-pedestrian BMW on the premises. They also feature new and, ahem, used Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, McLaren, Pagani, and Rolls-Royce. In fact, they are the only factory authorized dealership for all these unique brands in the state of Connecticut.

Continue reading "Miller Motorcars (née) Chinetti Motors, America's First Ferrari Dealership" »

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

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