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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

The Music City Miata Club at Nelson Mazda, April 2, 2016

MX-5. Miata. Roadster. Whatever you name them, don't call them a hairdresser's car. Some angry guy (Or gal) who drives one might beat you up if you do. Or worse, they might challenge you to a run at Tail of the Dragon at Deal's Gap (318 curves in 11 miles), where any muscle car would be horribly humiliated.

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They have possibly received that insult because well, if you want to drive one, you should not be greatly tall of stature or wide in girth because there's no way in hell that you'll ever fit in one. So NFL linebackers, NBA forwards, and Sumo wrestlers need not apply.

Continue reading "The Music City Miata Club at Nelson Mazda, April 2, 2016" »

Car Lust Classic: The 2011 "FIAT FreakOut" in Nashville, Tennessee

Last week, we mentioned that FIAT was in trouble here in America. So for no reason other than to return to a happier day, here's a repeat of the 2011 "FIAT FreakOut" that was held in Nashville about five years ago:

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Fiat Freak-Out 2011 070

Loyal Car Lust readers may remember the 2010 Nashville British Car Club Show post from last October. Now it's July 23rd, 2011, and I'm back in the shadow of the Parthenon at Centennial Park here in Nashville. But this time it's the Italians who get center stage... presenting the 2011 "FIAT FreakOut," or "FFO" for short.

Continue reading "Car Lust Classic: The 2011 "FIAT FreakOut" in Nashville, Tennessee" »

Volvo 480 ES, S, Turbo

Volvo 480 1That bridge looks like California's Golden Gate Bridge, but it isn't. The car doesn't look like a 1980s Volvo, but it is. And I think we North Americans were robbed by never getting this sporty hatchback.

Those bumpers make it look American. The rear quarters say "shooting brake." Its overall design suggests near perfection.

The car may have looked fairly Honda-ish for the time. And why not? This was Volvo's first front-wheel-drive car, so its packaging fit Honda's profile (Though thankfully with a longer, safer front end).

It belongs somewhere between Volvo's P1800GT (1961-1973) and their C30 (2006-2013). In fact, it fits quite well between them, even with its requisite 1980s boxy styling (Think Mustang). The 480 was made between 1985 and 1995, and had all three cars been given the same or a similar name (Maybe the P1700 and/or the P2000?), I doubt that anybody would have complained.

Continue reading "Volvo 480 ES, S, Turbo" »

Carspotters Challenge #167: Muscle Cars

Our picture may be small this time, but these machines are pure muscle. There's plenty of classic iron to view; I see cars from all of the Big Three Four.

Carspotters 2 12 16

(Maybe even the Big Five if you count the bike.)

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Our Challenge image was found at Hemmings.com.

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" »

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" »

Caption This

"You're not going to believe what I saw in the store today."

Bike in store

I'm sure some much better quotes come to mind!

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image CreditDriver.Tumblr.com.

 

Remembering George Barris Week: A 1928 Porter

(Originally posted by That Car Guy on April 01, 2010.)

Porter 2Today, building a new car from previously introduced components such as engines, instruments, body, and chassis pieces is nothing unique. Lotus even does it with a Toyota engine. But back just before The Great Depression, when there were practically more automotive manufacturers in America than there were cars on the road, the idea of borrowing bits and pieces from one make and/or model to complete another one was a brilliant, pioneering breakthrough.

Witness the 1928 Porter Touring Car, valued today as a rare treasure, lusted after by antique car collectors. Built by kitbashing real cars on a true 1:1 scale, the Porter engineers began with a Chevrolet frame, engine, and transmission. And why not? All the development work and costs were done, everything fit perfectly together, and it was a strong, reliable base for a grand touring car in the Roaring '20s.

To see the original post in its entirety and leave comments, please click here.

Remembering George Barris Week: The Batmobile (1966)

Originally posted by That Car Guy on May 21, 2009.)

"Quick, Robin, to the Batpoles!" Whoosh!  "Atomic batteries to power... turbines to speed". The hidden cave door drops, a sign falls, and it's 14 miles to Gotham City. ♫ "Da da da da da da da da da... 'BATMAN'!" ♫



Fullscreen capture 11102015 43259 PM.bmpThere have been "Batman" cartoons and comic books and TV shows and movies, but the one vehicle that carried the Dynamic Duo and won the popularity vote is George Barris' 1966 TV Batmobile. Originally a car show concept car, a 1955 Lincoln Futura was the donor vehicle for the Batmobile.

There would be 3 more copies later, built from fiberglass molds onto stretched Ford Galaxie frames for public displays and such. Ghia of Italy built the Futura; it was used in "It Started With A Kiss" with Debbie Reynolds and Glenn Ford.

The Futura was sold to Mr. Barris for the whopping sum of one dollar, since Ford had no use for it and was storing it at Mr. Barris' shop anyway. The 21-day conversion included enlarging the tailfins, black paint, red trim, red flashing lights, new headlight fins, and new Bat-trim.

To see the original post in its entirety and leave comments, please click here. 

Remembering George Barris Week: The Munster Koach and the Drag-u-la

(Originally posted by That Car Guy on June 15, 2009.)

KoachTwo hilarious monster-themed TV shows, The Addams Family and The Munsters, premiered and expired the same two weeks of the same two years in 1964-1966. Both were in black and white. Each had their audience, and you were either a Munsters fan or an Addams Family fan, or both. I liked them both, but I guess I was more of a Munsters fan, primarily because they had The Munster Koach.

George Barris is a genius. He created custom cars like the Batmobile, Monkeemobile, and The Beverly Hillbillies' truck; if a studio wanted a cool custom vehicle for a TV show or movie, Barris Kustom Cars was the place to call. Barris was also wise enough to retain ownership rights to some of his vehicles and just rented them to the studios, guaranteeing him rights for displays, models, and other rewards.

To see the original post in its entirety and leave comments, please click here.

Remembering George Barris Week: "1914" Stutz Bearcat replica

(Originally posted by Cookie The Dog's Owner on November 13, 2008.)

Submitted by John Boyle

BearcatI am the owner of one of the replica 1914 Stutz Bearcats built for the 1971 TV series Bearcats! by custom car builder George Barris.

I bought the car in 1998 and spent two years restoring it while I was living in Abilene, Texas. I had never owned a unique (that's a good word for a Barris car) car before so I went into the restoration with blind faith and a lot of luck. Luckily, I had just finished helping a friend restore my 1977 Jeep CJ-5 Levi's Edition Renegade, so I was much less a "babe in the woods"automotively speaking than I would have been a couple of years before.

We did all the work locally, with the exception of some brass refinishing and overhauling the brass radiator, which I sent to a specialist who restores high-dollar brass cars in California. I was the general contractor and, with my friend Charlie's help, put the car back together. Mechanically, it was sound--the Ford drivetrain really paid off. I changed the generator to a GM “one-wire” alternator, and had the master cylinder and carb rebuilt. I was able to walk into an auto parts store with a wheel cylinder and walk out 45 minutes later with a new set--try that with a real Bearcat! By comparison, I have a friend in the Stutz Club whose '18 Bearcat was off the road for two years while he sourced a starter. No such troubles with mine. (Knock wood.) The body is all metal and required only a repaint. I had new upholstery done and a new instrument panel made with new old-fashioned looking dials. The new wood wheels took a wheelwright in Oklahoma a year to fashion out of solid hickory. They came out great.

To see the original post in its entirety and leave comments, please click here.

November 9 Open Thread: "Remembering George Barris" Week



George Barris 2Last week, we lost the greatest automotive customizer of all time. Mr. George Barris (Born George Salapatas) left us on November 5th, just two weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

Born in Chicago, he, at three years old, and his brother Sam were relocated to California after their mother passed. While still in high school, George was already customizing cars and started the "Kustom Car Club," and used that spelling throughout his career.

I grew up during the heyday of his work; I was 9 when BATMAN premiered. Many scale models of his creations have been assembled with these hands. And just this year I was planning a trip to Los Angeles, mainly to see iconic TV locations such as the Batcave and Andy Griffith's fishing hole, and of course, to visit Mr. Barris' shop. Sadly, part of that proposed trip may not be completed now.

The list of vehicles, from hot rods to golf carts, Elvis' limousine, and more, that Mr. Barris and company customized is too long for this post. But we here at Car Lust have had the priviledge of featuring a few of them, and as a tribute to the man and his work, we'll be showing them this week.

And as usual, this Open Thread is also the place to discuss anything else in the automotive world.

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credits: Mr. Barris' image is from Gannett-cdn.com.

The 2015 Nashville British Car Club Show

If I were to put this year's Nashville British Car Club Show description into a few words, they would be...

"Quality, not Quantity."

For the last few years ( 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 to be exact), I've had the pleasure to try to showcase the magnificent automotive examples presented at the Nashville British Car Club Shows. But sadly, 2014's event was washed out by heavy rain. There was a make-up show in November, but yours truly never heard about it until this year's show. And from what I heard, not many folks were able to reschedule their cars for that show as well.

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So Saturday, October 10, was this year's date. And the day before we also had some rain, which is why I suppose few drove the distance (Cars have been here from Ontario) to attend this show. The ground was still a big mushy, and there was straw in a few areas to cover the mud. But overall it was a very pleasant day, and the lesser number of displayed vehicles gave time to enjoy what was there, rather than being rushed to take them all in at one viewing. Oh by the way, there were many nice cars in the show that weren't featured here, mainly because I've shown them in posts of yore.                                                 So let's get started!

Continue reading "The 2015 Nashville British Car Club Show" »

Carspotters' Challenge #154: "Sha-za-yum!"

Many of us grew up watching "Gomer Pyle, USMC," if even in reruns. But one episode probably appealed to us car nuts the most. That episode followed Gunnery Sergeant Vincent Carter's most beloved possession, his car, left in the "trusty" hands of, you guessed it, Gomer. Needless to say, the car looked different after Gomer had it for a while.

Here's the "Before":

  Sgt Carter's car

Continue reading "Carspotters' Challenge #154: "Sha-za-yum!"" »

Our First Cars Week (Week Two): Chris Hafner's 1986 Toyota Celica

Chris Toyota CelicaI can't say I actually feel Car Lust towards this scabby 1986 Toyota Celica GT--it's probably more like Car Love. Or, at the very least, Car Affection. It's the sort of feeling reserved not for your first love, or your first crush--those are more intense emotions--but the gentle fondness that you feel for your first girlfriend or boyfriend.

You see, this Celica was my first car. Not the first car I drove regularly, but the first car to be owned and driven exclusively by me. Because of that, and the fact that it was such a trustworthy companion, it holds a special place in my heart and first nurtured in me the love of nondescript older cars. The Celica was also my first hands-on experience with the beauty and majesty of a hatchback.

Continue reading "Our First Cars Week (Week Two): Chris Hafner's 1986 Toyota Celica" »

Our First Cars Week (Week Two): Chuck's 1972 Vega Hatchback

Fair Warning Dear Readers. This may be the most positive review of a Chevy Vega since 1973.

Vega day 1I wasn't even halfway through my 16th year, but it was time to have a car. I had a couple of motorcycles up to then, but the junior year of high school wasn't far away, and I needed a ride.

For whatever reasons, the idea of a small car won out over and large or muscle cars. Or any trucks. I really wanted a '65 or '66 Mustang, but they were just considered "old cars" in 1973. A Chevy Nova would have been nice, but...

The Vega was still new to the car scene, and they were really cool in those early years. The Vega GT was the most fun and racy looking, especially with the sport stripes that were usually found on them.

One day while riding around our little town, I spotted a red Hatchback on a used car lot. We stopped in, and it looked like new. Plus it had some very desirable options... air conditioning (This was July in Tennessee after all), tinted glass, the Custom Interior, and it had a 4-speed. The Hatchback also had wheel trim rings, "bright" metal body side moldings, and the all-important AM push button radio. Immediately, I began to wonder how many gears I could bark the tires in.

Continue reading "Our First Cars Week (Week Two): Chuck's 1972 Vega Hatchback" »

Our First Cars Week: Virgil Exner's '37 Ford (Then and Now)

Mr. Virgil Exner has taken his first car, a 1937 Ford, and significantly updated it. Now called "Purple Max," the car is a sight to behold and surely would be a thrill to drive. Looking very much like a dragster, the Purple Max would cause crowds to stir at any event it attended:

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PURPLE MAX  Specifications:

• Frame: Semi-Space Frame; 2” and 1.5”, 14 Ga. sq. steel tubing. 2” Dia. Roll Bar. 

 • Body: Molded & Sheet Fiberglass. Front Fenders turn & Jounce, Rears are Fixed. Tinted Lexan Canopy slides rearward and pivots down for entry. Side Grillework provides air exit and intake in several areas.

• Engine: Ford 302 V8 (280HP Carburated) with Ford A.O.D. Trans.

Continue reading "Our First Cars Week: Virgil Exner's '37 Ford (Then and Now)" »

September 21 Weekly Open Thread: "Our First Car(s) Week"

Our first car imageGreetings and salutations, dear and faithful Car Lust readers. It seems that we, your humble contributors, have been working on something special as of late. So we bring to you, for better or worse, the first cars we either owned, or drove as our principal mode of transportation, back in the day.

No, Mumsie and Daddykins didn't leave the keys to a new Ferrari next to the birthday cake; most of these machines were brought to us by our own labors. Or we shared them with others in our households.

Either way, these were the first contrivances that gave us freedoms we had only dreamt about.

We'll try to post all of these in one week, but we may go into next week as well. All I'll say is that we have some pleasant posts in the hopper. Maybe they helped make each of us the car enthusiasts we are, and/or maybe they taught us how to differentiate between a metric and an SAE Crescent Wrench.

And of course, this is the usual place for discussing anything else even remotely relating to motor vehicles.

So let's get started!

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our photo was found at OurVinyl.tv.

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!" »

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

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