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Weekly Open Threads

Happy Birthday, Mustang!

It was 50 years ago this month that one of the most iconic cars in American history went on sale. April 17, 1964 to be exact. It debuted on April 16 at the World's Fair and went on sale the next day, going on to become one of the best selling cars in Ford's history and giving its name to a new class of automobile: the Pony Car. And we here at Car Lust are going to spend the next week or two looking back at some of TwoMustangsthe models we've profiled over the years. 

The Mustang went through a lot of changes over the past half century. What started out as, essentially, a dressed-up Ford Falcon soon became a monster muscle car, an accomplished Trans-Am racer, and the automotive star of numerous films. Through the dark performance days of the 1970s, it shifted back to its roots as a small sporty car, the Mustang II, probably by doing so saved itself from the fate of several other of its pony car stable mates. After a thorough redesign in 1979 it matured through the 1980s and 1990s to become a favorite of the tuner crowd, especially the 1989-1993 model years (which they very nearly screwed up). After a questionable redesign in 1994, Ford reached back into the nostalgia bin in 2005 and made the Mustang a classic once again. And now they've evolved it even further for its Golden Anniversary year into. . .well, we'll have to wait an see a bit longer how it all comes together. 

How to explain its success? 

Continue reading "Happy Birthday, Mustang!" »

April 14 Weekly Open Thread: Selling cars - tips, tricks, and any wisdom you have

Honda Civic Caravan

Ever sold a car?  Had good luck with it?  I need your wisdom.  I find myself in the unique position of needing to sell not one, but two cars.  Neither are remarkable unfortunately.  I have a 1996 Honda Civic (wife's) and a 2001 Dodge Caravan (mine) that we've replaced with a 2001 Subaru Outback (wife's) and a 1995 Ford Ranger (mine).  We thought we'd sell them last Fall, but with an early winter, busy schedule, and my own general laziness, it didn't happen.  I asked about this to a degree this past Fall here on the blog, but was hoping for some new and perhaps final wisdom before I take the plunge and get in the market.

I've never sold a car. Or any vehicle.  I scrapped my last one - The Homer.  We sold the body of Bob the Impala for a demolition derby car, but still have the motor.  All of my other vehicles were work vehicles (I used to drive 45-55K a year for work) or vehicles that went to other family members, with the exception of my 1978 Corolla that was also scrapped.

Both of the vehicles are high mileage with some rust.  Interiors are clean, and I'm willing to be honest about their warts (insert oil every XXXX miles...).  We have a pretty good set of records on both, and both vehicles we were second owners on.  Both run just fine - particularly the Honda.  It might have another 200K in it mechanically if the body doesn't rust off the frame first.

Both vehicles have sat over the winter.  One at the end of my driveway, one in front of the garage at church. I've kept both batteries charged, and have run the motors for extended periods as well as cycled the transmissions through gear changes (primarily just in the parking lot) each month to keep the fluids moving.

I'm not asking a ton - probably $1200 for the Honda and a cool $1000 for the Caravan.  If I could squeeze a few hundred more out of each I'd be truly ecstatic.  The difference between $2200 and $2600 is pretty signficiant for our family budget.

Craigslist isn't really a good options, though I'll try it (we're a small, rural town in Southern Minnesota). We don't have a consignment lot in town.  Any "parking" place with traffic will require I move the vehicle(s) regularly so they don't get towed.

So what's the secret?  They'll be as clean as I can get them.  Carpets and seats have been scrubbed. Wording in advertisement?  Locations where they'll sell better?  Prayer?  What's it take?!?

And this is also the place for any other automotive words of wisdom that you may have.

--Big Chris

April 7 Weekly Open Thread--Brown Cars Are Back!

We here at the Car Lust garage have somewhat discussed this before... the lack of any real color choices (Except for what shade of grey/silver you might fancy) on today's cars. But I am here today to say that at least on a few models, a delicious shade of metallic brown has returned.

This Lincoln MKZ Concept Car shows a deep choclate-looking hue:

Brown Lincoln MKZ

Continue reading "April 7 Weekly Open Thread--Brown Cars Are Back!" »

March 31 Weekly Open Thread: Dueling Commercials

Why do we here at Car Lust work so hard? For what? For this? For posts about goofy old cars? Other web sites, they do articles about high end super cars that a total of 29 people actually drive on a daily basis, super-expensive classics that touch asphalt one day a year, and snarky treatises on the detailed ins and outs of the auto industry, and get up to 25 million hits per month. 25 million! Why aren't we like that? Why aren't. . .ummm. . .we like that? Upside-660

Because we're crazy, driven hard-workin' believers in weird cars, that's why. Those other web sites think we're nuts. . . .whatever (we are, btw). Was the Vega nuts? (yes) Pontiac Aztec? (yes) Gremlin? (yes) Allanté? (yes) Were we nuts when we pointed to the AMC Hornet and said it was The Best Bond Car Ever? That's right, we bad-mouthed the 1969 Camaro and you know what we got? A bazillion comments. So we went and bad-mouthed the BMW 3-Series a few months later, and do you know why? Because we really like lots of hits.

But I digress.

It's pretty simple. You write about cars you really like, treat them fairly, and you gotta believe anything is possible. As for all the goofy cars. . . .that's the upside of looking at cars lots of ordinary people live. . .and die. . . with. N'est-ce pas?

Astute readers have probably already guessed that I just parodied a fairly controversial Cadillac ad, which was itself parodied by a Ford ad. As much as we here at Car Lust eschew politics -- seriously, we eschew politics -- I felt this little tit-for-tat marketing campaign might be good fodder for polite -- SERIOUSLY: POLITE -- discussion. I realize the cultural milieu surrounding them is almost inherently political, but we really need to confine comments to the content of the ads, what they say about the respective companies and the core message of each. Do they alienate any of their core customers? Bring in any new ones? Videos below the fold. And feel free to discuss anything else.

My opinion? I'm having trouble fathoming why a commercial that celebrates the benefits -- both material and non-material -- of hard work and perseverance would be at all 'controversial'. But then, to each their own. And the irony of this being from Cadillac, which has graced these pages more than once for their, um, rather sub-par performances (hint hint), makes it all the more intriguing.

But I digress.

Obviously they're both right. They're both hawking vehicles -- let's not forget that part of it -- that were designed, built, marketed, and sold by a whoooooole lot of crazy, driven, hard-workin' believers who wanted to make something more than a two-wheeled wooden cart to haul a religious icon or load of turnips around, not to mention making a better life for themselves than hauling around religious icons or turnips. And all those ecologically-correct environmentalists? Probably posting their composting research to the Web on a computer designed by a couple of crazy, driven, hard-workin' tech gurus. That shade-grown free-trade coffee didn't fly up from Costa Rica on the backs of magic unicorns either. As for the other side, well, the nicest car in the world isn't much fun if you're drowning in your own sewage. So please, try to maintain some perspective.

Image comes from the Fox News (Oh noes! More flames!) web site.

Continue reading "March 31 Weekly Open Thread: Dueling Commercials" »

March 24 Weekly Open Thread

I was sitting around last weekend and happened to catch a portion of The Blues Brothers. I've been watching quite a bit of old 1980s television lately, just for nostalgia's sake (most of which I missed, having spent the bulk of the decade in college and grad school along with the attendant social activities -- i.e., drinking -- that constituted my higher educational career) so whenever something's on from that decade, I make sure to watch a bit of it and reminisce about The Good Old DaysTM or at least see what I missed.

We've touched on the Bluesmobile before, at least in passing, with our ode to the 1974 Dodge Monaco but the film has numerous other Car Lust favorites: The Neo-Nazis' 1974 Pinto Wagon and LTD Country Squire, Carrie Fisher's 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, and Twiggy's 1974 XKE, not to mention the dozens and dozens of cars wrecked in the many chase scenes (for a while it held the record; that has since been eclipsed).

And did you know what the deal was with the mall they destroyed?

But I shall leave you with some of the classic scenes from the film nicely recreated in modern-day Chicago and environs. I saw this a while ago and have been meaning to link to ever since. Well, now's the time. And feel free to discuss anything else you'd like.

 

March 17 Weekly Open Thread--A Classic Irish Car and Car Post

Green DeLoreanWell me laddies and me lassies, we all know that today is St. Patrick's Day. So we're toasting the good folks on the Emerald Isle with a Car Lust look back at what may be the most famous motor vehicle ever assembled there. Of course we're talking about the DeLorean DMC-12, the one and only, of immortal fame.

And finding a green one for today's image wasn't easy. A very few DeLoreans came from the Dunmurry factory in colours, but most, as we know, were brilliant, shiny stainless steel. As are the ones built today from new old stock parts by the DeLorean Motor Company.

So without further ado, Please click here to see the original DeLorean DMC-12 post by Cookie the Dog's Owner.

"May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night!" - Irish proverb. - See more at: http://www.irish-expressions.com/famous-irish-sayings.html#sthash.OwQaIYXE.dpuf
"May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night!" - Irish proverb. - See more at: http://www.irish-expressions.com/famous-irish-sayings.html#sthash.OwQaIYXE.dpuf
"May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light. May good luck pursue you each morning and night!" - Irish proverb. - See more at: http://www.irish-expressions.com/famous-irish-sayings.html#sthash.OwQaIYXE.dpuf

Of course, this also be the place to talk about anything else pertaining to leprechauns, four-leaf clovers, or anything else on the planet, especially if it is automotively related.

And as an old Irish proverb goes, "May your pockets be heavy and your hearts be light. May Good Luck pursue you each morning and night!"

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

Image Credit: The green DeLorean image was found at Photobucket.com.

March 10 Weekly Open Thread: And Here I Thought 24 Years Was Pretty Good. . .

Via Autoblog, we have a man who owned his 1928 ROlls Royce for 78 years:

Mr. Allen Swift died in 2005 at the impressive age of 102, but his automotive story is even more remarkable. Not only is the gentleman credited with owning a Rolls-Royce automobile longer than anyone else in the world, but he had the forethought and funds to ensure its future preservation after his death.Oldestcar

In 1928, while living in Springfield, Massachusetts, Swift's father gave him a 1928 Rolls-Royce Piccadilly P1 Roadster as a graduation present (Springfield and Rolls-Royce have a history – from 1920 to 1931, the British automaker built 2,944 vehicles in the city as part of its attempt to establish a US plant). The young man was passionate about his green-over-green softtop convertible, not only driving it on a regular basis, but maintaining it meticulously over the decades (the two door-received a complete body-off restoration and engine rebuild in 1988).

I can't say as anyone in my family has ever come close to that amount of time on a single vehicle, although I believe I'm way ahead with mine, at around 24 years coming sometime this June. The Spousal Unit has had her Honda Civic for almost 18 years so we're both either very thrifty or just plain cheap. Well, scratch the cheap part, at least for me: If I counted up all the money I'd put into that car over the years I'd probably cry. In public.

Be that as it may, I did a little searching but couldn't find anyone else who'd owned their cars that long. So we put the question out to readers: How long is your longest-owned car?

And whatever else you'd like to discuss.

Photo is from Snopes.

March 3 Weekly Open Thread--Show Time!

It's not a fit day out for man nor beast--but here in the exhibit hall at the Auto Show it's comfortable and you can take your coat off, pick up some brochures and swag, and interact with the giant anthropomorphic hamsters.

"Hamsters? I'm supposed to work with hamsters?"Speaking of swag, at the Car Lust booth, we're giving away promotional AMC Gremlin models.

"It's all new for '72!"If you can't make it to the show, click here to download one for yourself. Print it on 65# cardstock, cut out, and glue it together.

This is the place to discuss the auto show, or anything else that crosses your mind.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

February 24 Weekly Open Thread--"Enough with the @%$#&^*@ snow already!"

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to put the snowblower in the shed and get on with spring.

"The snowbird sings the song he always sings/And speaks to me of flowers that will bloom again in spring" --Anne MurrayThis is the place to share warm thoughts on all things automotive.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

(Photo from the SDC Forum, contributed by member "JRoberts.")

February 17 Weekly Open Thread

This week we bring you yet another list. Thankfully, not another (and another and another. . .) 'Worst Cars Of All Time" list. No, this one is actually kind of fun. It is, via Mental Floss, 11 Features you No BenchseatLonger See In Cars:

It’s hard to picture what today’s teenagers will wax nostalgic about 30 years from now when they reminisce about their first car. (It still required gasoline, perhaps?) Who knows how automobiles will change in the future; what we do know is how different they are today from 30 or more years ago. If you fondly remember being surrounded by two or three tons of solid Detroit steel with a whip antenna on the front from which you could tie a raccoon tail or adorn with an orange Union 76 ball, and enough leg room that you didn’t suffer from phlebitis on long road trips, then you might also miss a few of these.

Among them: The bench seat, ash trays, and vent windows. I like some of these. Bench seats are really passé sad to say, although I'm not sure why I think that; they were never very comfortable and their sole saving grace was the ability to fit three passengers in the front seat (and, um, being somewhat more amenable to certain amorous adventures).

I rather miss vent windows as well. I'm not sure why they aren't made anymore, it seems to me to be a really ideal way of letting a bit of air in without the noise of opening the whole window, if even a crack. Plus you could direct the air flow right at your face. I suppose they were probably expensive to produce and you can get almost the same effect from adjustable air vents.

Ash trays I never had a use for, never having picked up the habit m'self. Ditto the 'cigarette lighter' which most younger folk now might now just refer to as a "DC connector" or something.

Missing from the list? Are there any real hub caps anymore? I've seen a few plastic ones that even have fake bolts molded into them, but I haven't noticed any true metal hub caps lately (not that I've really been looking). I don't think there are too many whitewall tires around either. And of course we here at Car Lust have already told the story of the missing cassette player.

Anything else that seems to have disappeared from the automotive landscape? And feel free to discuss anything else of interest.

Credit: photo is from the article.

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

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