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Carspotters’ Challenge #169: Sunset Beach, California, 1969

With photos like this one, it's hard to argue that 1969 was a very good year.

Malibubeach2Photo taken by legendary photographer and surfing ambassador Leroy Grannis.

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References: http://www.surfertoday.com

 

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" »

Carspotters’ Challenge #157: So Many Cars, So Little Time…

Because I’m still pumped over Back To The Future Day, I decided to continue celebrating just a little while longer…

Cii7t57wcldt9vo3kffbClick here to get a closer look.

During the world-wide countdown to October 21st, Jalopnik featured the image above. It was done by Scott Park of Scott Park Illustration, a talented artist who’s not unfamiliar to the vehicles of pop-culture. This piece is titled 88 MILES PER HOUR (referencing the time machine’s speed it needs to be traveling in order to time travel), featuring 88 cars from the trilogy (I’m sure there are more that don’t repeat themselves, but the artist did outdid himself. Besides, the BTTF 88mph reference works here).

The script at the bottom is the answer sheet. How many can you make out without cheating—er, double-checking your answers? Can you point out any that appear in the trilogy that’s not included here?

If you really like this poster enough to buy it, you can get it here, among other wonderful artwork from not only the same artist, but others as well.

 

--Tigerstrypes

 

References: Jalopnik

Back To The Future Day: The Future Is At Bob Statler Toyota

2016-toyota-tacoma-statler-back-to-the-future-teaser-02If you’re a Back To The Future fan and are also good with math, then October 21st might hold a special meaning: It’s the date certain teenagers and eccentric genius scientist come visit the year 2015 in a souped-up time machine sportscar.

I’m not here to bemoan the lack of certain future-tech (there are plenty of other people doing that) that even BTTF head-honchos Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale knew they weren’t going to happen by this date, but decided to add it to their franchise for the fun of it.

We’ve seen plenty of BTTF-related news articles, movie re-runs, merchandise and marketing campaigns, all of which were kinda inevitable, given the popularity of the franchise, though I'll admit that it's a little overwhelming how many companies have jumped the Back To The Future Day bandwagon.

Which brings us to today’s post. Some time ago, I’ve found an article telling the story about Marty McFly’s black Toyota pick-up truck, its fall from grace and how its current owner is restoring it. Thinking that I found a follow-up story, I stumbled on another BTTF-based marketing campaign. After getting over the brief disappointment, I checked it out. It was pretty neat; I never realized that Hill Valley’s Statler Toyota had their roots in selling horses way back in 1885! Then, the following teaser scene appeared:

Continue reading "Back To The Future Day: The Future Is At Bob Statler Toyota" »

Birth Year Fantasy Garage Challenge: Tigerstrypes (1989)

Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Introduction
Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Cookie the Dog's Owner (1961)
Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Tigerstrypes (1989)
Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Anthony Cagle (1962)
Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Chris Hafner (1976)

Let me give you further evidence to why 1989 was A Very Good Year.

IROC-Z 1LE 1989 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28 IROC-Z 1LE – IROC-Zs have always been a long-time favorites of mine. While any IROC-Z would do, I couldn’t pass up on picking up the best one of all: the 1LE. It included unique goodies intended for SCCA Showroom Stock racing.

Continue reading "Birth Year Fantasy Garage Challenge: Tigerstrypes (1989)" »

Birth Year Fantasy Garage Challenge: Cookie the Dog's Owner (1961)

Sheesh! Everybody's a critic.Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Introduction
Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Cookie the Dog's Owner (1961)
Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Tigerstrypes (1989)
Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Anthony Cagle (1962)
Birth Year Fantasy Garage--Chris Hafner (1976)

The year 1961 was one of momentous historical events: President Kennedy's inauguration, the first human in space, the first American spaceflights, the Bay of Pigs invasion, the erection of the Berlin Wall, and my birth.

Okay, so maybe that last one doesn't rate quite so high on the historical importance scale.

For purposes of this fantasy garage challenge, the timing of my birth just ain't fair! Two of my little sisters get to have Avantis and Wagonaires in their birth year fantasy garages, but noooooo, not me, I'm too old for those. At the same time, I'm too young for Forward Look Mopars and Loewy coupes.

So where does that leave me? Is it possible to assemble an appropriately Car-Lustful collection entirely out of vehicles from model year 1961? Follow along and we'll see what we can do.

Continue reading "Birth Year Fantasy Garage Challenge: Cookie the Dog's Owner (1961)" »

1989: It Was a Very Good Year!

Nineteen eighty-nine was a dream in a dream
We straddled the thin line between what it means or it seems
To be sure enough we left the world behind

--Grey Eye Glances, "The Lost Coast"

Though nobody expected it to be that way at the start, 1989 was a momentous year, one in which much of what seemed a permanent part of the world was left behind by December 31.

It was certainly that way in Eastern Europe. The "Iron Curtain" looked like it would be there forever on January 1, but that would soon change. In February, the Polish Communist government and representatives of the Solidarity independent trade union entered into the "Round Table Agreement" for the liberalization of the political system; the country held free elections that summer and the new government abolished state socialism and withdrew from the Soviet-dominated "Warsaw Pact" by year's end. In East Germany, a series of mass demonstrations inspired by Solidarity's success led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November.

"You can bend me you can break me, but you'd better stand clear/When the walls come tumblin' down..." --John MellencampThere were other peaceful transitions to democracy in Chezchoslovakia ("the Velvet Revolution"), Bulgaria, and Hungary. The not-so-peaceful Romanian Revolution in December overthrew the brutal Caucescu regime, and the tyrant met his fate before a firing squad. Even in the Soviet Union, the seemingly-mighty empire which would go out of business completely in anticlimactic fashion just two years later, the government had begun yielding to the tide.

The tides of liberty weren't confined to Eastern Europe. Down in South Africa, P.W. Botha met face to face with Nelson Mandela, one of a series of negotiations which led to the end of the apartheid system of racial segregation. The thuggish Noriega dictatorship in Panama was put out of business Just under half of the class appears in this photo.by U.S. military intervention. Brazil and Chile held their first free elections in decades. In China, the Tiananmen Square protests captured the world's attention before the democracy movement was brutally suppressed.

On a much smaller scale of importance, 1989 was a year of great changes for me personally: I graduated from law school, moved, passed the bar, got married, and embarked on my present career. With my law school class holding its 25-year reunion in August (photo at right), and me being all nostalgic and such because of that, it seemed an appropriate occasion to look back on the automotive world of 1989.

Continue reading "1989: It Was a Very Good Year!" »

The Cars of The X-Files: 20th Anniversary

I WANT TO CAN'T

BELIEVE

. . . .that it's been 20 years since The X-Files debuted on television. Actually, at the time of this writing it's been 20 years and a few days, but who's counting after this long? It was September 10, 1993 (a Friday) that the longest-running science fiction television show (9 seasons) brought its own brand of creepiness into our homes on a weekly basis. IIRC, except for Twin Peaks this was probably one of the darkest of programs (literally and figuratively), although imbued with a strong sense of (again, dark) humor as well. Between Twin Peaks, The X-Files, and its spinoff, Millennium, viewers in the 1990s not only got a weekly dose of paranormal criminality, they also got a firm sense of what sort of place the I_want_to_believe_01Pacific Northwest was: cloudy, dark, and rainy for 9 months out of the year (all were filmed, in part, around the Seattle/Vancouver, B.C. area).

And The Cars of The X-Files? Creepy? Cool? Quirky? Errr, no. Not even close most of the time. As a matter of fact, when contemplating this post I was rather hard pressed to find something interesting to say about them, some "hook" to highlight an unusual or interesting feature of the automobiles used in the show and what they implied about the collective Car Lust zeitgeist in the 1990s. In truth, and with few exceptions, there is a dearth of really neat cars presented to pique our Car Lust interest.

So why does this post even exist? Because despite a relative lack of noteworthy rides throughout its 9-year run, there is still a lesson or two to be learned from how automobiles were used and presented in this show and others of the period (and before and since for that matter). A lesson that I try to keep in mind even while I write soaring prose to famous and not so famous cars that capture my attention and that I develop strong feelings about, whether positive or negative. And a lesson we might all keep in mind when looking at, drooling over, and sometimes even dropping some major coin on a car of our dreams:

Sometimes a car is just a car.

Continue reading "The Cars of The X-Files: 20th Anniversary" »

5th Birthday Week--Anthony Cagle's Greatest Hits

HillbrookI've never met Anthony Cagle, but I think we'd have a lot in common. He's into history by trade; I do it as a hobby, like having spent part of the last four years relocating a magnificent mansion named "The Hillbrook ." This not so humble abode used to stand in Westchester County, New York, and was once owned by the family of a dear late friend of mine.

But where we probably share the most commonality is our admiration (Dare I say love) of the Mustang II. I bought a new one in 1974; presently he is the keeper of a magnificent 1978 Fastback. And if he ever wants to sell it, I hope he lets me know.

So in keeping with this week's theme, I'd like to present a few of my favorite Car Lust posts by Anthony J. Cagle, and a few words about each:


1962: It was a very good year

on December 18, 2008

I take this opportunity to sing the praises of not one car, but many: those from a single year, 1962. Why this particular year? I can almost hear the thoughts of many out there wondering why this year and not some other one that has way more hot cars. What about '69 when we had Super Bees and Boss 302s? Or maybe 1964, which saw both the GTO and the Mustang debut? To these criticisms I can only respond: Hey, this is Car Lust, after all.

Continue reading "5th Birthday Week--Anthony Cagle's Greatest Hits" »

1984: Was It A Very Good Year?

Orwell_1984George Orwell foresaw it. David Bowie sang about it. 1984 was almost like "Y2K," in that we had been told it was coming and we should prepare for it. But looking back, the year seems to have been one of national pride, salad bars, economic prosperity, and, well, just good times.

Nineteen Eighty Four did not go unnoticed by several Car Lust contributors:

Anthony Cagle penned the 1984 Mustang SVO.

Bernard Bolisig wrote about the Toyota MR2.

Chris Hafner brought us the Pontiac Fiero.

Cookie The Dog's Owner did the VW GTI.

David Colbourn authored the 1984 Chrysler Executive.

But did 1984 impress other enthusiasts? Were there any new cars that changed the landscape? And did we run out of fossil fuels as had been predicted in 1973?

FieroAs mentioned, 1984 brought us the Pontiac Fiero. In typical GM fashion at the time, it was rushed to market and was not ready for sale, as early- model engine fires and other recalls proved. We all know the car was originally meant to be a high gas mileage commuter car, and by the time the Fiero GT was finally tuned as a true sports car, its reputation was soiled and the car was cancelled.

Continue reading "1984: Was It A Very Good Year?" »

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

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