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June 27 Weekly Open Thread: Leave it to Chevy Edition

This came across the wires* on my Facebook feed the other day and I was rather tickled by it: Tony_Dow_with_Marty_Tryon_and_Corvair_tx600

Leave It To Beaver: Classic TV star reunited with his classic car

There's a video at the link and I've embedded the YouTube version below, as long as it may last. Essentially, Tony Dow, who played Wally Cleaver on the classic 1957-63 TV show, bought a new Chevrolet Corvair Spyder in 1962. He sold it three years later to a person who kept it for the rest of his life. Upon the latter's death, it was decided to give the car back to Dow. The video shows his reunion.

We've dealt with the Corvair before, wherein we (actually, I) argued that it was a decent performance car that got an unfair rap in the press, but was probably doomed anyway:

The Corvair's bad reputation has lingered; the Corvair even made it onto Time Magazine's list of 50 Worst Cars. In some ways that is deserved; the Corvair's very innovative design made it difficult to fix, it had a lot of mechanical problems (at least early on), and although its handling problems were overblown, the early models were a handful. Many are certainly loved by their owners; one woman even tried to take it with her.

Definitely worth getting back, especially after it had been extensively restored. I would have preferred the blue paint job though.

One site running the story asked readers if they would like their first car back, so I thought I'd toss it out as well: Would you take your actual first car back if you could? I suppose we ought to stipulate that said vehicle would be largely restored since pretty much anyone over the age of 40 would likely only get a pile of rust back. 

Me, depends on whether you mean the first car I truly owned or the first car I really considered mine:

Hell no

Hell yes

* For that matter, does anyone under 30 even know what that phrase refers to?

May 30 Open Thread: Memorial Day and Tonight's The Night!

First and foremost, today is Memorial Day in the United States. Let's pause and appreciate the people that have sacrificed all for their and our Country.

Fullscreen capture 5292016 80741 PM.bmp

And after the parades, cook-outs, and fireworks, we have something else to look forward to tonight.

Continue reading "May 30 Open Thread: Memorial Day and Tonight's The Night!" »

May 16 Weekly Open Thread: "I'm Mad As #*!! And I'm Not Going To Take It Any More!"

...at least not without saying something about it.

I thought this pet peeve belonged just to me, but apparently there are quite a bunch of folks that hate this. And it's not often that one sees a disguised "colorful" metaphor in the title of a Car Lust post. But if there's one method of bad driving that gets my blood boiling... it's people that think they have no need to hold onto the steering wheel in their cars or trucks.

Wheel wrist

Continue reading "May 16 Weekly Open Thread: "I'm Mad As #*!! And I'm Not Going To Take It Any More!"" »

May 2 Weekly Open Thread: Facebook Edition

Greetings, good citizens of Car Lust. I am proud to announce that we here at Car Lust have finally entered the. . . .well, the 2010s: We are now on Facebook!

I know, I know. Probably half of you are thinking "About time!" and the other half are thinking "Trendy pikers." Facebook-cars

Well, you know. Got to go where the eyeballs are. Besides, that platform lends itself to more terse links and posts rather than the full articles that we do here. Think of it as an adjunct rather than a replacement. We'll be linking to all of our posts over there, and also posting particular images or links to stories that don't really lend themselves to full blog posts. 

The FB page is still in progress and we will be adding a "Like us on Facebook" widget here soon so linking to it will be easier. Feel free to comment and share over there as well.

And feel free to discuss this or anything else automotive that strikes your fancy this fine May morning.

Not sure about the web site itself but the image is from here.

April 11 Weekly Open Thread--Stuck on Stickers

It's a Presidential election year, and you've seen this car, or another one like it, or maybe it was a pickup truck, probably hundreds of times on the road in the past few months: the rear vertical surfaces and windows covered with self-adhesive messages of support for multiple causes and candidates, often from election cycles past. These share space "As an added bonus, all those stickers keep the paint from fading.with other stickers forcefully proclaiming unfavorable evaluations of the intelligence and decency of those people--fellow citizens who do not share the driver's political preferences. The most strident of these may go so far as to wish death and worse fates on those people--and they score double bonus irony points if they're right next to a "Coexist" sticker.

The owner of that car, or truck, is engaged in "virtue signaling," the practice of loudly proclaiming just how kind, decent, and enlightened you are. Though virtue signalling is as old as human nature, the phrase is a recent coinage. Its inventor, British writer James Bartholomew, observed:

It’s noticeable how often virtue signaling consists of saying you hate things. It is camouflage. The emphasis on hate distracts from the fact you are really saying how good you are. If you were frank and said, ‘I care about the environment more than most people do’ or ‘I care about the poor more than others’, your vanity and self-aggrandisement would be obvious . . . . Anger and outrage disguise your boastfulness.

Now, it's a free country and it's your back bumper and if you want to use it to promote your cause or your candidate, you're free to do so--but here's something to think about before you all but cover your turn signals with virtue signals. When I see the rear fascia of your car completely stickered-over in this fashion, I have two reactions:

You've signaled your political leanings so clearly that I can probably deduce your position on any of the day's great issues to within a couple of decimal places before I've even met you.

I'm less inclined to want to meet you, even if I agree with you, because you've also signaled that you're one of those dreary "the personal is political" sorts who can't talk about anything but politics.

Please, don't be that guy (or gal). The personal is not always political, political differences need not be personal ones, and we could all use a break from the election-year debate. Let's turn down the volume on the virtue signals and have more non-political spaces in society where we can all interact over something besides our party affiliations.

We can start right here. Hit the comments below and talk about your favorite nonpartisan automotive topic. 

--Cookie the Dog's Owner (who keeps the back of his GTI sticker-free, just so everyone knows that he's not one of those people.)

March 14 Weekly Open Thread: Fiat Edition

This (actually last) week word came down that Fiat is having difficulty in the US market:

Fiat's American dealerships seem to be having trouble bringing in customers and paying running costs. Effective March 9th, parent company FCA will allow Fiat dealerships to combine operations with Chrysler-Jeep-Dodge-Ram dealers, many of which are right next door. Dealers that choose to stay independent will receive monthly assistance from FCA. Sales numbers for Fiat dealers are abysmal. Less than half of the 206 Fiat dealers in the US are profitable, and two-thirds see less than 10 sales per month.

The sentence that stuck out for us was this one:

We're willing to bet that more people would accidentally see a Fiat 500 while looking for a Jeep Wrangler than would actually go out looking for a 500.

Yeah, probably. 

Anyway, I thought this might be a good time to revisit an old post of mine. Slightly embarrassing for me since I botched the cooling system in the original post, but no more than having your entire line recalled for rust problems.

And feel free to discuss this or anything else you may wish to. 

Fiat 850 Sport Coupe

"There comes a time in a man's life when he hears the call of the sea. If the man has a brain in his head, he will hang up the phone immediately." 

— Dave Barry

Some (most?) people go through some form of mid-life crisis and buy a brand new sports car, or maybe that classic muscle car they either had or wanted as a teenager. Others dump their wife/husband and kids  and take up with a trophy spouse or perhaps an old flame they recently met at a school reunion or found on Facebook. Still others decide they really feel20 again and start wearing the clothes that today's "young people" wear, listen to the music they listen to, and maybe try to skateboard or trail bike their way Fiatinto contemporary youth culture, but end up mostly skating their way into the ER.

Of course, we here at Car Lust are different. When we take a walk down memory lane and try to recapture lost youth, we often end up being seized by a mad desire to buy some off-the-wall forgotten car that no one in their right mind few would consider collectible, classic, or even desirable. Thankfully, the feeling usually passes in a few days and besides, the rarity of our objet d'Lust usually makes them difficult to find in any kind of drivable condition, although they tend to be pretty affordable (eBay and the Internet generally can be deadly in our world).

I confess here for all the world to see that despite my obvious disgust with our family's 1975 Buick Century, I did, in fact, troll the Interwebs for a couple days with the half-baked intent to find a 455 GS coupe version of the Century. Why, I don't know. Despite my hatred of that miserable car, I still like they way the coupes look and would love to have another go with it, with suitable modifications to make it a nice driver. Thankfully, financial common sense (i.e., being a cheapskate) and lack of available merchandise (not to mention a potentially murderous Spousal Unit) dissuaded me from acting on that particular impulse.

Digging into my past once again, I've recently recalled another then-hated car that I've consequently developed something of a fetish for, despite my intimate personal knowledge of its many and varied foibles. To wit: The Fiat 850 Sport Coupe. Indulge me, gentle reader, by continuing to read below the fold, but FOR GOD'S SAKE AND ALL THAT IS HOLY, DON'T LET ME KNOW IF YOU HAVE ONE FOR SALE CHEAP. At least not for the next few days anyway.

To view the rest of this post click here.

Leap Year Day Weekly Open Thread

It's the time of year when Northeast Ohio is invaded by giant anthropomorphic hamsters--in other words, it's time once more for the Cleveland Auto Show.

"...You can get with this, or you can get with that..."I'll have a full report for you later in the week.  For now, this is the place to talk about cars, hamsters, and everything else.

--Cookie the Dog's Owner

The New Top Gear Hosts: There Sure Are A Mess of 'Em.

News story here. Tg_-line-up_maincloser_af1

People of the world, may we present the brand new Top Gear TV team!

We are very proud to announce that racing driver Sabine Schmitz, YouTube star Chris Harris, F1 pundit Eddie Jordan and motoring journalist Rory Reid will join Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc and of course, The Stig, when the show returns
in May.

I know who three of them are. Back when the **** hit the fan, someone had mentioned Sabine as a potential host, which I thought was a good idea. I wouldn't have known Chris Evans from Adam had he not been a Star In A Reasonably Priced Car once. I was surprised at the Matt LeBlanc addition, but he's certainly got the acting and comedic chops to work with. 

The others I certainly wouldn't know from Adam, although this Eddie Jordan chap I would probably think is a reincarnated Roy Scheider if I were to bump into him in a crowded restaurant. 

I guess they're going for an ensemble rather than attempting to replace the three departures with a new set. Makes sense. Kind of a new direction rather than a strict replacement. Sprinkling non-Britons in the mix makes that abundantly clear. 

I'll certainly give it a chance. I tried to like the US version, but it never really hooked me. I guess we'll just have to see. 

Oh, and why didn't I know about the open auditions?

What do y'all think? Will you not even bother? 

January 25 Open Thread: "It's Snow Time!"

DSC_0599Wow, feet of snow in New England, and several inches in the South. My bud in Gainesville, Florida, said they got flurries!

Thank goodness I found a Jeep about a year ago. These past few days, it has been great for getting around, and it even jumped off another friend's dead battery yesterday.

Have you seen the video of the guy snowboarding through Times Square? The NYPD are even laughing with him.

Now the question comes up... How are you getting around in the slippery stuff? FWD? RWD? AWD? Horse and buggy? Other?

Please let us know!

And if you have anything else even ever so slightly related to cars, this is the place to speak.

Thanks!

--That Car Guy (Chuck)

January 18 Weekly Open Thread: Surf Edition

No, not driving your Woody down to the beach with a couple of sticks on top for a day of catchin' waves. We have instead a car in the surf:

BeachCar

This thread may also function as a Caption This and a Carspotter thread. I saw this at an estate sale over the weekend and, although I didn't purchase the photograph, I decided to snap my own photo of it for posterity's sake. And now it will forever reside on the Internets for all to see, now and into the future. 

There was nothing on the front or back to either date or describe the photo so I really know nothing about it. I assume it's a west coast beach since I got it here in Seattle but we've got a lot of coastline out here to work with so it could be anywhere from here to southern California. My first thought was that it was taken in the 1960s and that it's a 1950s car. I thought 'Chrysler' when I first saw it.

So have at it. Throw out some guesses about the boys, the car, the location, the time. Make up a story about who they are and why they're out there. Or blather about anything else car-related. 

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

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