When I was in college I worked at a Cadillac dealership as a lot attendant. This was the early 90s, interesting to me American cars were few and far between. The Eldorado Touring Coupe of 1991 caught my attention with its body color trim and rectangular exhaust tips. These cars featured 180 horsepower 4.9 liter V8s that were a significant step up from the 150-ish horsepower engines put in prior year Eldorados.
This brown Triumph passed by me in the opposite direction while I was biking to work. It was burbling through a parking lot on its way to its parking spot. I was stunned to see such a clean looking GT6 and quickly turned around to give chase and shoot some pictures.
We are fortunate in my neighborhood to have an independent gas station that sells non-oxygenated fuel; this is gasoline that does not have ethanol mixed in. This is a good thing for owners of old cars which tend have issues with the oxygenated fuel sold at big chain gas stations drying out the rubber bits in their fuel systems. I take The Healey to this station for fuel and frequently encounter other old cars while refueling. Today’s Street Parked car was parked in the service area (yes, this is a gas station where actual mechanics work) waiting for its turn on the lift.
This week’s Ferrari Friday subject is a car I saw and photographed at the 2007 Northwest Historics. This is a 1949 166 MM Touring Barchetta and is one of the very first Ferraris built. Enzo Ferrari starting producing cars under his own name in 1947, following a long career with Alfa Romeo (I’ll feature a Scuderia Ferrari Alfa racer in coming weeks). The very first Ferraris were the two 125S cars and single 159S produced in 1947. These were followed by the run of 39 166S cars in 1948 and 1949 which produced the car featured here.
Jon Shirley owns this 166 MM and drove it at the 2007 Northwest Historics as well as in rally events. This car is no stranger to racing, having won the 1949 24 Hours of Spa with Luigi Chinetti behind the wheel.
The Ford Mustang II is an important piece of motoring history. No, really. Many people consider this car to embody the worst of the Malaise Era: too small, too slow, too poorly built. I believe we need to look at the Mustang II illuminated in the era it was born to understand why it exists, and why it is actually a cool car.
The photos for this article were all supplied by a reader from the Miata.net car talk community who calls himself Analogeezer. Analogeezer and the gang at Miata.net’s Car Talk forum have been a wealth of great stories and anecdotes about most of the Street Parked cars (and many other topics).
As I write this, I’m sitting in a truck on the road to San Diego to compete in the 2013 SCCA Pacific Southwest National Tour autocross event in San Diego. You may recall that in my last post, I mentioned some nervousness about jumping into the deep end of competition. To ease my nerves, and get familiar with Sean Green’s new Miata, I entered last weekend’s Western Washington Sports Car Council autocross.
UPDATE: This car is actually a 1964 Bel Air, thanks for setting me straight everyone. That’ll teach me to not carefully check my memory!
Matte finished cars normally don’t catch my eye. Even when I do notice them, they hardly ever look good to me. This big sinister Chevrolet is different, the matte paint job really works. The car looks both elegant and frighteningly evil.
The streets of Cuba are littered with Ladas. Car guys, when they think of Cuban cars, usually think of lovingly preserved American cars from the 1950s, just like the ones they see at summertime show and shine gatherings. That isn’t always the case. There are plenty of old American cars in Cuab, and most of them look like they have been in continuous service for over half a century with poor OEM parts support. This street in the mountain town of Santa Clara is typical of what you would see in Cuba. A 1952 Chevrolet with a homemade grill and what looks like hand made rear fender trim is parked behind a Lada 1200, which is parked behind another nondescript 1970s car. But wait, the Lada is festooned with racing and high performance (and Canadian!) themed stickers and graphics.
I just returned from a trip to Cuba where jaw dropping old cars are numerous at every stop light. This is the first of many Cuban Street Parked features we’ll be running; be sure to come back and see what Cuban treasure we have next (hint: old American cars with Scuderia Ferrari stickers). I didn’t need to venture far to find this 1956 Ford Fairlane Convertible as it was parked in the dropoff/pickup loop of my hotel in Havana. This was the first old American car in Cuba I got a close look at and I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.
The Mercury Bobcat is a rebadged and very slightly tarted up Ford Pinto. This car is a street parked holy grail! I haven’t seen a Bobcat in at least 15 years and nearly crashed when I rode my bike past this one on my morning commute. Savor the glory of this orange bastion of 1970s domestic small car compromise.
Most car sites show up and say “Here is my stuff. Take it or leave it.” They don’t want your help to improve their content. They don’t want to reach out and engage with readers. They just want you to watch as they do all of the cool things.
Thankfully, |StartingGrid| doesn’t work that way.
We’re proud of the fact that we reach out to our readers and say ‘Come! Make this place your own!’ In order for this site to be a quality little corner of the internet, we believe that it needs to be shaped to be the way you want.
However, in order to do that properly, we need your help.
This is a page listing all of the Street Parked articles I’ve posted. Can you believe there are so many old and interesting cars still in use? I started this series with some amazing finds: the hand built Diamond T and Alfa sprint car, but as the series continues I find myself liking the forgotten cars the most.
Have a cool old car you’d like to see featured on StartingGrid? Comment on this post and we can see about writing a feature.
This week’s Petrolicious video is about a favorite car and brand of mine, Lancia. The Fulvia in the video holds a parking spot in my heart. It is neither a muscular sports car nor a cushy luxury car, but it stir passion by doing everything well. When tuned properly, the Fulvia was a Rally terror – as most Lancias were. In street trim, they were comfortable performance touring cars tailor made for the narrow, winding roads of Italy. Don’t let the front drive, 1.4 liter narrow angle V4 deceive you, these cars are a blast to drive.
Perhaps some day I’ll get to have one. Until then, this video will have to suffice.
Thanks Petrolicious, you never disappoint.
Autocrossing LeMons Racing Photographer friend of StartingGrid Alan Dahl spotted this rare Malaise Era Pontiac of Canadian origin and sent in these shots. Yes, I said Canadian origin; this car was developed on the H-body platform as a small car for the Canadian market. The Astre shares its H-body underpinnings with such legendary crusher fodder as the Chevrolet Vega, Buick Skyhawk, and Oldsmobile Starfire.
The guys at BRAKIM Racing have their very own private testing facility. This automotive playland appears to have a ton of potential for
hooning the daylights out of testing their rally cars and their cool Fiat 124 Targa Newfoundland car. We’ll have more on that Fiat as they get it built.
You may have heard of Wyatt Knox from his rally exploits, I’m sure you remember him from his accomplishment of being the first person to railslide a rally car. That video is beyond the jump.
Pictured above is a collection of keys. The pair of keys on the left are to the Healey. They are nice and small, small enough to merit a little leather folding key holder so they aren’t lost in your pocket. The foursome of keys on the right include keys to the daily driven Saab and Miata, also a pocketable collection. The big plastic thing in the middle is the key to our newest addition, a Fiat 500 Abarth. Notice the bit of wire sitting between the Abarth key and the rest of the daily use keys? That’s the keyring that failed to keep the daily use collection corralled together. Adding the key to one vehicle made my key collection no longer pocketable. I was able to put them into my pocket with reasonable facility this morning. I drove the Healey today, it being a nice Friday and all nice Fridays being “drive your cool car to work day”. On arrival at my office, single-handed (I was holding a coffee) key removal was impossible with out destructive measures. This is asinine.
There is no reason the Abarth key needs to be as big as it is. Am I supposed to feel better about the car because it has a pants entangling folding key? I should be able to keep a reasonable collection of frequently used keys and have them stowable in the pockey of my jeans. This does not strike me as an unreasonable desire. Were I a hipster or otherwise prone to wearing overly tight pants, I would be prepared with the requisite male purse. But being a run of the mill middle aged jeans wearing nerd, I am not prepared for this level of clothing and belonging management.
I think the only solution for me is to drive old cars.
I encountered this cool old Chevrolet while on a visit to an auto parts store to pick up parts for our LeMons car. This is a 1941 Special Deluxe coupe. I’ve heard some folks refer to these as “Business Coupes”. I’m not sure what differentiates a business coupe from a non-business coupe so I’ll just leave the business coupe business to others and just admire a cool old car.
GM’s Art and Color group (run by the famous Harley Earl) designed this car and I think they did a great job. I particularly like the front fender detail, they give the car a wide stance while also giving the hood a powerful height.
The small styling is excellent on this car, the chrome strip and hood vents are particularly cool with an art deco vibe.
The interior of this humble Chevrolet is nice, not up to the standards of a Buick but plenty nice enough for a working man’s car.
The 1941 Chevrolets were powered by a straight six producing 90 horsepower. These cars weighed less than 3,500 lbs, so that 90 horsepower engine probably provided adequate performance. I’ll have to learn more about cars from the 40s, what was the Miata of the day back then?
For more Street Parked goodness click here
This gorgeous Cadillac is smaller when viewed in person than one would think a 1960s luxury car would be, especially one equipped with a 7 liter v8.
The Mazda Rotary Engine Pickup, or “REPu”, was one of the more interesting vehicles Mazda made in the 1970s. Before the surge in fuel prices caused by the OPEC shenanigans of 1973, Mazda was offering the fun but inefficient rotary engine in just about every car it sold. The REPu was the most utilitarian rotary powered option.
Depth of Speed has released another excellent video! This one is about a Zombie VW rabbit and the enthusiast who built it. The owner did most of the work himself using cast offs and gifts from the VW community. Check out the racing seats he upholstered using leather jackets. This is his first project, he learned by doing. I think he did a great job.
Vimeo video is after the break.
This Chevelle epitomizes the street parked survivor that catches my eye. This car was bought as a standard car with the smallest v8, the 307, and has faithfully fulfilled daily driver duty for over forty years. That it has survived and continues to see regular use is remarkable.
A few weeks back, I shared a story with you about how Birmingham New Street was the seventh circle of hell; turns out cars can be just as bad…
Here’s another benefit to the car – you can sleep in it. I know it sounds stupid and a quality you’re going to use rarely, but retiring to the rear bench of VX02 last night was a rather pleasant experience. Everything I needed was in that car; pillows, sleeping bag, food, music, somewhere to sleep, warmth, everything.
Although, it was technically useless at being a car at that point, as it wouldn’t start (still), it did make for a rather cosy place to sleep.
What a fabulous invention the car is: I was lucky enough to get tickets to the Britcar this weekend and jumping in VX02 on the scorching hot day Saturday turned out to be, it wasn’t more than two or three minutes before the air con had me cooled down, music set just so and on our way.
Coming out of BRMB’s car park, I was immediately confronted by Birmingham’s finest drunks. Why is it that a splash of hot weather in the UK immediately means shorts, BBQs and drunkenness? I’m not complaining, I’m all for a bit of sun, but when a mentalist runs in front of your car wearing a multi-coloured wig, chanting all sorts of profanities, I cannot stress how comforting the clunk, hearing your car doors lock is.
Had I been walking down the road, I don’t think I’d have made it home without getting my head kicked in.
Any of you who have read my other blog, twitter and Project365 (well worth a look, trust me!) will know that I spend a lot of time with the better half. We’ve both started our master’s degrees recently, which meant moving back to the parent’s residences in High Wycombe and Wolverhampton.
This year is going to involve travelling for both of us, a lot for me anyway as I’ll be doing a 35 mile commute each way, everyday. It all starts today (03/October/11), and I thought this would be the ideal time to settle an argument once and for all: Trains or cars; which is best?
And I promise studying Automotive Journalism will not affect the results… at all… in any way… Honest!
Combine the commute with lengthy journeys between the Midlands and the South, and I’m in the prime position to answer this question. It should throw up a multitude of different pros and cons (and hopefully the odd interesting story too) of the different modes of transport; car, train, walking (not the whole way mind!) and maybe even cycling.
Starting now, I’ll be blogging about these modes of transport (and twittering too!!). I will say this though; I had to commute last monday, and opted for the train. I encountered 2 cancellations and 3 delays, making a 45 minute journey across the Midlands into and 2 hour endurance of patience. Trains are not looking hopeful…
*This post is actually one that I’ve dug up from my archives. I wrote this when I was in my undergraduate studies in business school. I’ve kept it as it was when I wrote it, grammar and all, but it explains alot of why I’m so passionate about my interests. Sidenote- it is a long post.
For every person, they have that one activity that when done perfectly brings them moments of absolute bliss. Some people call it being in the ‘zone’, others call it euphoria. Whatever you call it, it’s that moment where everything clicks. It involves all of your senses. Life is perfect, or as close to it as it can.
You have no problems or concerns and you just exist in that moment. Those who are passionate about what they do, spend their lives training, searching and seeking to control the ability to access that ‘feeling’ at will.