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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:

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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:

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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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2014 Frog Follies, Evansville, Indiana

This past weekend, my son Alex moved in to the dormitory to start his academic career at the University of Evansville. Move-in day at the University happened to coincide with the 39th Annual Frog Follies, a gathering of "pre-'49" street rods for the benefit of local charities.

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Something like 4,000 street rods were spending the weekend in Evansville, and you couldn't look in any direction without seeing at least half a dozen. By the time we'd gotten Alex moved in and had dinner, the official Frog Follies gathering was done for the day--but there was a de facto cruise-in going on in every restaurant and hotel parking lot in town.

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Here's some of what we saw that evening before the thunderstorms chased us all inside.

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VW Rabbit Pickup: 1980-1983

This is what I wrote some time ago about the Chevrolet El Camino:

Ladies, you may stop reading right now. Avert your eyes, if you must, because this post is about men. Real men. Manly men. Who do manly things in manly ways, that only manly men can do them. Men who mow their own lawns, fix a leaky faucet, and change their own oil. Men who brew up a pot of battery acid every morning. Men who use after-shave, not "post-shave skin conditioner with aloe, seaweed extract and Vitamin E with a subtle scent of coriander." Men who wouldn't touch a quiche with a 10-foot fork. Men who only drink whiskeys that are named after animals or people. Men who only cry when their father or best hunting dogs die. Men who frankly, my dear, don't give a damn. Men who know every manly cliche from the last 30 years and aren't afraid to use them.

These men drive a particular type of car. A car that drips testosterone like a leaky gasket. A car that says, "I know what I need, and this is it." These type of men know that they'll never drive the length and breadth of the Kalahari, but they will sure as hell be hauling 4-by-8s home from the lumberyard (note: not the "home improvement store"). Men who don't need fine Corinthian leather or a station wagon dressed up as an Urban Assault Vehicle. No, this is the Steve McQueen of cars: no entourage, no workout video, and no froufrou drinks with umbrellas in them.

This...

"That's no ordinary Rabbit."...is not that kind of car. 

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The Luxury Chevette, The "1977 Leata"

They say that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. But nobody told these folks that, because they did. Sort of. In a way. Kind of.

Yes, it's our duty here at Car Lust to bring some obscure, unloved vehicles to light, and Holy Moly, do we have a winner today. Move over Mustang II Silver Ghia, step aside Vega Notchback Cabriolet, begone Levi's Gremlin... we hereby present the 1977 Leata. No, not the Reatta, the Leata.

The formula for this automobilia luxuriouso obscuriata: Take one brand new stock 1977 Chevy Chevette. Install fiberglass body panels. A rear vinyl half-roof with opera windows is a must. Nicer wheels are a definite improvement. Reupholster the seats, door panels, and everything else in that spartan interior that you possibly can.

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Divco "Snub Nose" Milk Trucks

There is a class of commercial vehicle known as the "multi-stop," "walk-in delivery," or "step van," which is just what the names suggest: a truck that is used to make small-lot deliveries to multiple customers in a single trip, and is therefore designed to be easy for the driver to get in and out of at each stop. The most common examples today are the parcel vans used by UPS, FedEx, DHL, and your friendly neighborhood letter carrier.

The subject of today's post is a "multi-stop" that was once all but universal, but has disappeared from the ranks of working vehicles: the retail delivery milk truck.

Galliker's Dairy truckMore specifically, we will be taking a look at the "snub nose" milk trucks built by the various incarnations of Divco (the Detroit Industrial Vehicle COmpany) from 1939 to 1986.

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Meet the new car, (not the) same as the old car

The vehicle to the right there probably doesn't strike anyone as being particularly significant; for the most part it's not. Just a basic early 21st century compact Compact Sport Utility Vehicle (CUV or SUV), not too different from half a dozen other similar vehicles we see about a thousand times a day on the streets of our fair cities, 'burbs, and rural roads. Just a fairly basic 2014 Subaru Forester 2.5i. Subaru

It has a couple distinctions though. For one thing, it was Motor Trend's 2014 SUV of the Year:

The Forester combines the practicality of a small, wisely engineered SUV with the fun enthusiasts will enjoy. . .The Forester has the right combination of attributes for many SUV buyers, and seems to do the impossible: It has more power than before, with better fuel economy, is fun to drive, offers generous ground clearance, and achieves all this at reasonable prices. The Forester isn't a wagon anymore. When a vehicle does this much and does it this well, it truly earns the title of Motor Trend's 2014 Sport/Utility Vehicle of the Year.

So it's a decent little SUV. And as a matter of fact, it is now not only my primary vehicle, but the final contestant in an almost year-long search for something to take me into the field and back, albeit not quite at the sub-$10k amount I'd intended.

Even more than that, this thing has the distinction of being the first vehicle I've purchased since George Bush was president.

That would be George H.W. Bush.

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

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