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Carspotters’ Challenge #124: The Driver (1978)

Being that Truck Lust theme had more to give than expected, it made sense that the Carspotters’ Challenge was to be truck-related. I could’ve just looked up a truck-heavy picture, but a scene used on an Internet music video that I saw a couple of years ago came back to me: the final chase scene from 1978’s cult classic The Driver. In it, we find two drivers-for-hire and their passengers: one drives a hot-rodded 1976 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, a great period getaway vehicle. The other? A 1973 Chevrolet C-10 pick-up truck -the type of rig that’s highly thought of and has been written about- driven by the movie’s anti-hero. 

There’s no shortage of videos showing that particular chase scene. I could’ve taken any of those over the synth-laden one, but chose not to because a) to avoid spoilers if you haven’t watched it, b) avoid any trouble with the violence scenes that come afterwards and c) this is the video that motivated me to watch The Driver, which is one very cool movie, alright.

 

In case you were wondering, the song is called Highway Knight, from the artist Kick Puncher. The song and artist are just one of the many contemporary examples that follow the retro sounds of 1980’s synth music.

So as the C-10 chases down the Firebird, what else are they avoiding to hit as they barrel down the streets of late-1970’s L.A.?

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

Truck Lust: Studebaker "Westinghouse Trucks"

Form follows function. That pithy little slogan, coined by architect Louis Henry Sullivan over a century ago, sums up the hard core modernist approach to architecture and industrial design: the shape of a thing should be determined solely by what it is intended to do, with little or no allowance for ornamentation. 

"Let your hair down, and square dance with me!" -EminemSullivan's buildings were not nearly as austere as the slogan suggests, but other modernists took the concept all the way to its logical extreme. Adolf Loos, one of Sullivan's contemporaries, declared that all ornamentation--any ornamentation--is "immoral" and "degenerate," and when it came time to design buildings, he practiced what he preached. Had he lived to see it--he died in 1933--Herr Loos would certainly have approved of the squarish Studebaker prototype compact pickup truck which is our topic for today.

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GMC Canyon, Isuzu i-Series and Chevrolet Colorado (GMT355 platform)

480-colorado-canyon

I’ve been noticing these more often on the streets lately. There are plenty of them on the roads around here. That’s probably because I’ve been checking out trucks. There’s another reason: the Canyon and Colorado are making a comeback, and mid-size truck guys are frothing at the mouth.

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Truck Lust: 1929-1932 Dodge Merchant's Express

I'm going to say it right up front: This may be, in my opinion, the most handsome pickup truck ever:

DodgeSideview

When I began my foray into the world of pickups, this Dodge was one of the first ones to grab my attention. Not because of its performance or place in history or any of that intellectual stuff. It just looks hot. There's just something so utterly perfect about its design, especially in this sideview, that strikes the right chord of utility, sportiness, proportion and captures the pure essence of its time; so much so that it justifiably ranks up there with a Monet landscape or a Bach contata; it's just that. . .right.

Well, perhaps I exaggerate. But only slightly. In truth, I really do believe that they got the design of this sucker just about perfect. And on their first (more or less) try!

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Truck Lust: An Introduction

Interesting cars meet irrational emotion. 

That's our mission statement, of a sort, and we've hewn fairly close to it. Perhaps a bit too close. We have, I'm afraid, somewhat neglected one of the most popular personal vehicles on the road: the truck. More specifically, the pickup truck. Perhaps no vehicle is more distinctively American than the pickup OldPickup
truck. Oh sure, they're very popular in other countries as well (some more than others), but there seems to be something in our collective DNA that is attracted to this in some ways simplest of vehicles. As of this writing at the end of 2014 three of the top five best selling vehicles in the U.S. are pickups; the Ford F-150 has been the top selling vehicle in the U.S. for over the last 3+ decades. We love our pickups. We even love our sorta-pickups. What the Jaguar E-Type is, arguably, to Great Britain, the pickup truck is to the United States. 

And yet, we here at Car Lust have been somewhat remiss in highlighting these most pedestrian -- and I mean that in a good way -- of vehicles. Out of over a thousand posts we've covered a few true pickups -- some vintage Studes, Ford Ranger, the Subaru BRAT, and the VW Caddy -- and we've also delved into the realm of commercial trucks -- the Divco "Shark Noses" and REO Speedwagons (the trucks, not the band) -- but we've oddly avoided much discussion of perhaps the most common American vehicle on the roads. Obviously there are far more different kinds of cars out there than there are pickup trucks, and one might reasonably argue that a pickup is a pickup is a pickup (except to the enthusiast -- or partisan -- of course) in contrast to the various hatchbacks, coupes, sedans, muscle cars, etc. on the car side of things. We're also not generally a bunch of "pickup guys", in the same way we aren't generally "motorcycle guys" even though we've probably covered those more than trucks. 

Well, we aim to remedy that. Over the next few weeks and months we'll be devoting more space to these vehicles. I for one have developed something of a crush on pickups over the last couple of years for reasons that remain largely unknown (really; I don't know why), so much of this will be part of my personal Car Lust evolution and indulgence. Still, we've all got some experience with the humble pickup truck and we hope to bring a bit of fresh material for your Car Lusting pleasure. 

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Our Cars: 2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

003Before we begin, I have to clarify that this isn’t really my car in the sense that I own it. Another thing worth mentioning is that I have 3 uncles. To avoid confusion, MR2-driving uncle shall be known as Uncle J, his older brother shall be known as Uncle V and their sister’s husband –and former Chevrolet Astro owner- shall be Uncle D.

An interesting proposition was bestowed upon me earlier in the year (May 2013): my family was to drive Uncle V’s new-ish Toyota 4Runner as part of our daily-drivers, with me being the main driver. This came to be for the following reasons: Grandpa’s former steed, a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee Special Edition has been acting up. Not once, but twice I left work in it only to not start, while blocking the same fellow employee in this concrete slab we call parking lot. Thank goodness it had a small descent towards the exit. We got it fixed, but it’s just one of a list of problems that it’s given us. It doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence and its days are numbered.

The second reason was that Uncle J was in Bolivia, at least until mid-July. While over there, we took care of some minor bodywork on his new Ford F-150. Convinced that the truck needed to be used, Uncle V began to use it more as his daily-driver. After the 4Runner got much needed dealership work after serving as my Aunt’s driver while her Toyota Sienna LE was at said dealership, and after I finished ridding the Grand Cherokee of its electrical faults, Uncle V told me to take the 4Runner and park the Grand Cherokee until further notice. While my Mom was the first to let me in on my Uncle’s idea, it came as a surprise that not only did he actually go through with it, but also how soon it was. At least until Uncle J returned in July and order was restored, I have a 4Runner… I kinda like the sound of that.

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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!

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Open Thread Mystery: The Answer

On Monday I posted a photo of a couple of old pickup trucks as something of a little mystery for Car Lust readers to solve:

MysteryTrucks

So here's the answer to the mystery:

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October 13 Weekly Open Thread: Mystery Edition

We get the Halloween season going with a little mystery for Car Lust readers:

MysteryTrucks

Any guesses as to the what, where, significance, etc?

The only hint I'l' give is that I took the photo myself about a week ago.

 

I'll let this sit out there and give a fuller explanation later in the week. 

Feel free to discuss anything else of automotive interest as well.

4th Annual Home Depot Cruise-In, Medina, Ohio 9/14/14

Last Sunday was a perfect day for a cruise-in, so the Frazer Manhattan and I went to the one sponsored by our local Home Depot.

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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.

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Here's some of what we saw.

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

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