(This post was submitted by longtime Car Lust reader, commentor, and occasional contributor Tigerstrypes.)
I'll admit that I make it a habit to see what turns 20, 30, 40, etc., years old. But I'll also admit that I was caught off guard by Scion's 10th Anniversary until I saw their Scion 10 Series commercial:
Ladies and gentlemen, following up on yesterday's look at airport limos, we present to you the airport limo to end all airport limos, the sleekest and swankest jet age marvel ever to grace a terminal loading zone: the Jetway 707 built by American Quality Coach Corporation.
What was your first impression of this vehicle? Did you think, as I did, that it looked like an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser that had been caught in a taffy puller, or pumped full of growth hormones by mad scientists engaged in diabolical avant garde experiments previously performed only on insects and other small, meaningless creatures?
That's actually not too far off the mark.
OK, it's the 1960s, give or take a decade or so, and let's say you're going to stretch a car and make a limousine. Many, if not most of us, would probably choose a premium brand such as Cadillac, Chrysler, or Lincoln. But the fine folks over at Armbruster Stageway and other places seemed to have liked more "base model" cars, such as Chevys, Fords, and the now dearly departed Pontiacs.
And from 1962 to 1977 (except for 1975), Checker even built their own in-house 9- and 12-passenger "Aerobus" models. Heck, one of them, the Convoy, was designed to haul prisoners. Now that's pedestrian travel!
Here is a Checker Aerobus airport limousine. This one has "only" 6 doors, but other Checker limos had the full 8-door treatment as well.
What makes up an airport limousine? Well, they seem to be a large, lower trim level 4-door sedan, station wagon, or truck that has been stretched and has one, two, or three doors added on each side. There is usually a large roof rack for extra/oversized luggage and/or Aunt Edna. These vehicles were built for function more than form or luxury; getting passengers and luggage to and from airports and hotels quickly was their reason for being. Going to the opera or prom... not so much so.
It may also be the widest car ever here. In 1977 GM downsized its largest cars, so this body barely escaped the truncation.
How wide is it? Well, it's so wide that the casket can be placed into the coach's rear and moved forward into its latching position. Then the casket can be rotated 90 degrees while still inside. That's with all of the doors shut, of course. Then it can be made to protrude a bit, and be removed from either the left or right side rear door, or out the back. This makes Valentine a true "Three-Way" model.
The Coach belongs to my friend Travis, who hosts a Halloween event every year. I have attended two of these so far, and hundreds of people from all over Northern California (and other parts of the country) flock there to see Valentine, as well as to receive some delicious treats, I'm sure.
Many years ago, a very successful artist friend of mine taught me about airbrushing, shadowing, overlaying, and other graphic arts methods of the day. Many of these tricks were either done by hand or clever applications of everyday darkroom enlargers and other equipment. Of course, now we have these amazing computers that do the same work much easier and faster. And anybody with an imagination can do it.
But one trick he taught me, especially from the 1960s, was how the automakers would stretch an image to make a car look longer... you know, have more rear overhang for a perceived larger trunk, and other styling elements that are frowned upon today. This was usually used on large cars to make them even larger. And l don't know if this image below has been altered, but was the rear overhang on these cars really so long?
I've been wanting to "play" with an image I found a while back to see how far the illusion might be taken. This image is "unique," and I stretched it a mere 15 per cent... just enough for extra elongation, but not enough for exagerration (I hope). So presenting here, in full color even, is the result:
This past Saturday, there was a charity car show in nearby Wadsworth benefitting the local youth basketball program. It was a perfect day for such things, sunny and comfortably warm with low humidity.
Here's some of what I saw.
Yes, folks, some cars just should not be 4-doors. A lot of folks felt this way when the Dodge Charger was reintroduced in the 2006 model year, but we did get used to it. For the most part. I know the cops sure did.
And usually, if a car has a back seat, I'd like back doors there. I learned my lesson in a 2-door Chevette about leaning forward to let folks in the back.
But there are some cars that no amount of time will ever pass to let them be. They are surely from, or should go to, the twilight zone.
When Cookie the Dog's Owner proposed the $100K Fantasy Garage challenge, I was immediately intrigued. Who among us has not dreamed about which cars we'd purchase if only we had the funds available? This challenge is a license to mentally catalog our old and new favorites, weigh pros and cons, and show our tastes and brand loyalties through the creation of a carefully curated collection.
The genius in this challenge is the $100K value limit. Without that, we wouldn't have anything to keep us tied to reality. After all, why add a Mazda to your list when you could add a Maybach? Why add a CRX when you could add an FXX? But the $100K limit, combined with the requirement to include one brand new car, is almost perfect. A cool hundred grand sounds like a lot of money, but it doesn't go as far as one might imagine. I could easily concoct a scenario in which two very nice but still fairly ordinary vehicles consume the whole budget, so turning this into a true fantasy garage requires some creativity.
I chose to put my own spin on this challenge by laying out a series of tasks that I want the cars in my garage to fulfill, and then picking the cars I thought would best fill those roles. This required a lot of revision, as I shifted resources from one bucket to the next, and leaves me without some of my all-time favorites (omitting the Porsche 928, E28 BMW M5, and GMC Typhoon was pretty painful). Overall, though, I'm pretty pleased with the results.
Since in some cases I'm linking off to listings on Craigslist and eBay there's a chance that those links will be dead fairly quickly. My apologies for that, but I'll try to capture some of the pertinent details in the text so that the story doesn't suffer too much.