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.
When the 1986 Taurus hit the market, it turned car styling on its head. Gone instantly were straight line creases and wedgie shapes. Curves were now in, and oh yeah, were they!
This second generation Pulsar NX followed the trend, and looked so much better with a reskin. It also offered more FUN things like T-Tops and a removable hatch panel that left flying buttresses for strength. With the hatch gone, a small canopy covered the trunk area so your stuff didn't get wet or stolen... hopefully.
It also kept some of the old car. Flip-up headlights, boxy tail lights, and from the side, you could see enough of the old car to know what this one was. Good job, Nissan!
Thank you Art Fern, aka Johnny Carson, for those hilarious words (More or less). Your Tea Time Movies skits with the great Carol Wayne are both fondly remembered and sadly missed.
I think that skit was focusing on a used car dealer. And as you know, many used car dealers "Tote The Note" so you can buy there and pay there. Auto financing convenience at its best. Just don't miss a payment.
Totally unrelated, this fine auto sales establishment has many classic cars to pick from. Let's name some and take them home:
I want that one!
--That Car Guy (Chuck)
Image Credit: We got this low mileage beauty at PinImg.com.
Enter the first generation Pulsar NX into the American market in 1983. Its timing was superb, since the Sentra Sport Coupe was still a few years away, and a regular Nissan Sentra (2-Door, 4-Door, 5-Door Wagon, and 3-Door Hatchback) was for the sensible, not the sporty.
I nearly ordered one of these puppies (I worked at NMMC at the time), but since a 1984 Sport Truck was already in the stable, something more car-like and less fun was in order to replace that wretched Pontiac T100 that I just had to have at one time. So I took the sensible route and got a 1985 Sentra 4-Door XE with a 5-speed. This NX would have been more fun. And a lot more sporty.
...at least not without saying something about it.
I thought this pet peeve belonged just to me, but apparently there are quite a bunch of folks that hate this. And it's not often that one sees a disguised "colorful" metaphor in the title of a Car Lust post. But if there's one method of bad driving that gets my blood boiling... it's people that think they have no need to hold onto the steering wheel in their cars or trucks.
It's that dreaded day that comes around every few months. Triscaidekaphobia at its worst, the day you take extra time to not step on sidewalk cracks, walk under ladders, and keep that rabbit's foot ever so handy.
Of course we're talking Friday the 13th.
These folks had a bad day, but luckily everybody lived to tell. Their luck could have been much worse.
See anything there still somewhat recognizable?
--That Car Guy (Chuck)
Image Credit: Our unlucky photo was found at Static-Secure.guim.co.uk.
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.
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.
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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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.
That 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.
The 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?
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.
--That Car Guy (Chuck)
▲ Please look up at our masthead. That yellow Chevy Vega GT (Or rather, what's left of it) is a 1973 model.
Of 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.
"You're not going to believe what I saw in the store today."
I'm sure some much better quotes come to mind!
--That Car Guy (Chuck)
Image Credit: Driver.Tumblr.com.
(Originally posted by That Car Guy on April 01, 2010.)
Today, 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.
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'!" ♫
There 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.
(Originally posted by That Car Guy on June 15, 2009.)
Two 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.
(Originally posted by Cookie The Dog's Owner on November 13, 2008.)
Submitted by John Boyle
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.
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.
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.
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!