Blogs at Amazon

Weekly Open Threads Feed

November 9 Open Thread: "Remembering George Barris" Week

George Barris 2Last week, we lost the greatest automotive customizer of all time. Mr. George Barris (Born George Salapatas) left us on November 5th, just two weeks shy of his 90th birthday.

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

October 19 Weekly Open Thread: And The Great American Car Is. . . . . .

The Dodge Viper? 

So sayeth Jack Baruth over at Road & Track: Gallery-1444918538-viper

This is the way the Viper's world could end: not with the bang of obsolescence or defeat at the hands of its megabuck Eurotrash competitors, but with the whimper of a union contract that just happens to close one small-scale manufacturing facility. The supposed end of the Conner Avenue plant in 2017 would also be the end of the Viper. There's just no case to be made for restarting production somewhere else. It might impact FCA's ability to turn out more crossovers or something like that. 

No, the greatness of the Viper is in its very spirit, its very conception. It's the idea that supercars can be built in Detroit. It's the idea that the hyper-rich sheikhs and software moguls and Russian oligarchs out there don't get an exclusive monopoly on driving a six-hundred-plus-horsepower nightmare chariot with wings that wouldn't disgrace a Bleriot monoplane. It's the idea that a working-class man in Phoenix can save up most of his life and spend his hard-earned money on something built by other hard-working Americans in Michigan and that at no point do we require the approval of Enzo Ferrari or Ferdinand Piech to make that happen.

Of course, he then goes on to relate all of the Viper's shortcomings with respect to other supercars. Frankly, this wouldn't be on my short list of what may constitute The Great American Car (my first thought would be that it was actually a truck) mainly because it never quite seems to have caught the imagination of the wider American public like, for example, either the Corvette or Mustang did. And it was never really what one might call a World Beater so I doubt many beyond our borders would think "Viper" if asked about a classic American car.

Still, even if the Viper isn't my favorite car I do agree that I love the fact that such a thing exists in the first place.  

I got this link from Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit where there's a healthy (and interesting) discussion in the comments. So I thought I'd throw the idea out to our own Car Lustentsia: What would you rank as The Great American Car? And what do you think of the Viper? 

And, of course, anything else you may want to toss out for consideration. (Photo is from the R&T link).

Carspotters' Challenge #154: "Sha-za-yum!"

Many of us grew up watching "Gomer Pyle, USMC," if even in reruns. But one episode probably appealed to us car nuts the most. That episode followed Gunnery Sergeant Vincent Carter's most beloved possession, his car, left in the "trusty" hands of, you guessed it, Gomer. Needless to say, the car looked different after Gomer had it for a while.

Here's the "Before":

  Sgt Carter's car

Continue reading "Carspotters' Challenge #154: "Sha-za-yum!"" »

September 21 Weekly Open Thread: "Our First Car(s) Week"

Our first car imageGreetings and salutations, dear and faithful Car Lust readers. It seems that we, your humble contributors, have been working on something special as of late. So we bring to you, for better or worse, the first cars we either owned, or drove as our principal mode of transportation, back in the day.

No, Mumsie and Daddykins didn't leave the keys to a new Ferrari next to the birthday cake; most of these machines were brought to us by our own labors. Or we shared them with others in our households.

Either way, these were the first contrivances that gave us freedoms we had only dreamt about.

We'll try to post all of these in one week, but we may go into next week as well. All I'll say is that we have some pleasant posts in the hopper. Maybe they helped make each of us the car enthusiasts we are, and/or maybe they taught us how to differentiate between a metric and an SAE Crescent Wrench.

And of course, this is the usual place for discussing anything else even remotely relating to motor vehicles.

So let's get started!

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: Our photo was found at

September 14 Weekly Open Thread: Return to the '80s Edition.

I hereby throw down the gauntlet, metaphorically speaking of course. Is the Honda Prelude. . .


the archetypal 1980s car?

It's got a lot to recommend it. It didn't start out in the 1980s and it lasted well past the 1980s. I'm not even sure it was that big of a seller in the 1980s. But whenever I see one, it just screams "1980s" at me. Clean but sporting lines, a good performer, excellent build quality, the sort of car that US manufacturers hated the Japanese for but envied at the same time. It was, in a phrase, all that was good about the 1980s. 

As a side note, in the last four days I've seen two Cadillac Allantés, which also scream 1980s at me, though at slightly lower volume (and without the positive vibes). To be honest, the DeLorean might really be the Ultimate 1980s car, but so few were made that seems kind of irrelevant. 

Yes? No? Indifferent? And feel free to discuss anything else of potential automotive interest. 

Photo from Wikipedia. 

August 31 Weekly Open Thread - Judgment Day

This is the place to talk about anything automotive. As a possible discussion-starter, let's ask the same question Nash's ad copywriter posed: how do you judge a car?

Here come the Judge(ment)!

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

August 24 Weekly Open Thread

It was a beautiful day in Northeast Ohio last Saturday, perfect for walking around the Studebaker Drivers Club Ohio Chapter meet in Talmadge.

Studebakers!I'll have a full report for you, starting tomorrow, on the many delightful and interesting cars I saw.

Today's discussion will deal with an automobile I saw there that is anything but delightful. In fact, one might go so far as to call it disturbing. We're talking about a vehicle that flirts with Ssangyong Rodius and Fiat Multipla levels of wrongness. Before you scroll down or click the "continue reading" link, just remember: once you see something, you can't un-see it.

Continue reading "August 24 Weekly Open Thread" »

August 17 Weekly Open Thread: It's That Time Of Year AGAIN!

Yes, it's "Back To School" time. And it's also "2015 Year Model Clearance" time. Funny how both events happen together.


There's the Lincoln Summer Invitation Sales Event. And Volvo has the Wonder Of Summer Event. Volkswagen offers the VW Model Year End Sales Event, while Lexus proposes the Lexus Golden Opportunity Sales Event.

Infinity gives us the Summer In The Driver's Seat opportunity, while Acura has the It's That Kind Of Summer Event. And not to be left behind, there's the Toyota Annual Clearance Event, plus the Mazda Summer Drive.

You could do the Honda Summer Clearance Event, but don't forget to read the fine print there.

Continue reading "August 17 Weekly Open Thread: It's That Time Of Year AGAIN!" »

Stick Shift Lesson

This 10-minute educational film from 1936 is probably the best explanation you will ever see of the inner workings of a manual transmission.

This is the place to discuss stick shifts, or any other automotive topic that strikes your fancy.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

August 3 Weekly Open Thread: Welcome to Amazon, (former) Top Gear Presenters!

Dear Jezza, Captain Slow, and Hamster (Can I call you guys that, seeing as we're co-workers now?),

Now that you are joining us on the Amazon payroll (even though, to be completely forthright, we're not exactly on the Amazon payroll, at least most of us), I thought I would take the opportunity to welcome TGCrewyou to the company, late-comers though you are to this whole Internet-thingie. Admittedly, your penchant for expensive super-cars might put you a bit at odds with what we do here, but I like to think of your new role here as complementary rather than competitive. Nevertheless, although we've largely cornered the market on cheap domestics (and even some cheap exotics!), we have been somewhat remiss in covering European models that are, shall we say, not at the top of anyone's Ten Best list. We've done a few missives on your Brit cars -- Stag, TR6, and a Jag or two --  but unless it was imported in (relative) droves, we haven't given our typical Car Lust treatment to your own set of cheap domestics

I'm guessing you'll have a slightly bigger budget than we do (which is, basically, nothing nil). I actually suggested we start our own Car Lust television program at one point, but the idea was stillborn owing to the fact that it's difficult to do much on a budget of $0.00. We would have had to use our own cars for all of our road tests and challenges and what-not and just put a sticky-note on the dash that would let the viewer know what car we were supposedly reviewing:

"Now, If this were an actual Lincoln Continental Mark V, I could show you the plush velour seating, but since it's a 1978 Mustang II you'll just have to imagine that it has copious amounts of room and no chamois-colored vinyl bucket seats. . . ." Our production facilities would, of necessity, be somewhat limited; instead of our own hangar and track, we'd be pretty much limited to Hafner's driveway. 

I'd also like to offer our services as Producers. I'm certain we could find difficult and entertaining challenges for you to accomplish, even throwing in some of our own North American vehicles for you to enjoy ("Your challenge is to each buy a 1970s GM subcompact for less than $500 and then get it to start"). We can also demonstrate the proper way to drive a 1970s land yacht; please note that it does not involve "handling", but more like a long, flat highway and AC/DC. 

We might even see our way, as fellow Amazoners, to letting you guest-post here once in a while. I'm betting we'd even waive the initial writing sample. You'll probably appreciate the fact that we have little editorial oversight. If you wish to do so anonymously we could even generate noms de plume for you. You would, obviously, have a certain leeway in terms of subject matter, but you might want to leave the pickup trucks to us (cuz we're experts and stuff). 

So that's it. If you have any questions on how to maneuver around the Amazon world headquarters building or navigate the various rules and regulations covering employment here, well, don't email us because none of us know anything about that stuff ('cepting maybe Hafner, they supposedly pay him to do this). But we'd certainly welcome your input here at Car Lust, and will gratefully accept a great deal of money to name your new show "Car Lust". FYI.

-- The Car Lust Team

Credits: Photo lifted from The Independent.

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

Powered by Rollyo

Car Lust™ Contributors

November 2015

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30