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lunes, septiembre 25, 2023
HomeVintage CarsNeighborhood Outtakes: American Cars, Big and Small

Neighborhood Outtakes: American Cars, Big and Small

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This Buick was covered up for a good part of the winter. Would it ever reveal itself?

Indeed it did. And I had a chance to speak with the owner. It’s a 1973 Centurion, with the original 455 under the hood. It’s been in his family since new, purchased by his parents. He was making some minor electrical repairs when I spoke with him, but he does drive it regularly despite the rust. Yes, this is a California car, but after 50 years I think a little decay is acceptable. The racks are used to haul surfboards, so a little salt water drip may have sped things along, and the rust is more than cosmetic … there was some perforation around the edges of several panels. He has no plans to restore it, but hopes to keep it running and maybe pass it on to his grandkids who love riding in the backseat. My favorite parts of the car were the original, Centurion-unique hubcaps with the profile of a Roman warrior.

Another car with a not quite showroom exterior, but this time intentionally modified, not oxidation. I’m not quite sure what prompted someone to paint a dragon on a Chrysler Sebring but the effect was eye-catching.

Staying in the Chrysler family is this neon Neon. It’s been parked on this street for as long as I can remember, maybe ten years, and judging by its condition is regularly driven. It has a manual transmission.

Just in case there’s any doubt – it is a Neon. Though since the badge is nominally in lower case, perhaps it’s really a neon. Of the Dodge variety.

Another Chrysler, this New Yorker was so big I had to use pano mode on my iPhone to get the whole thing in. Along with a curious cat. Trust me, it’s hard to get a good steady pano when you’re holding a 5 month old puppy on a leash who is very interested in a cat.

But I did get a closeup of its badge. What a change in Chrysler’s badging over 30 years, compared to the Neon. I saw this a few blocks from my house on a street I walk regularly and have never seen it again. Just passing through, I guess. The sticker on the rear window is temporary registration for March 2023.

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One more shot. Probably longer, but certainly lower, than the F150 in front of it. Most of the homes in our neighborhood were built between the 1920’s and 1940’s and driveways are narrow and garages small. Even if this car stayed in the ‘hood, it might have been destined to live on the street.

Still with Chrysler, here is a 300 convertible parked downtown.

It appears to be a conversion by Newport Specialty Cars. According to their website, “Newport Specialty Cars has been the leading provider of Exceptional convertible car design for exceptional people throughout the World for 30 years.” The capitalization is their’s. Their site shows conversions of the BMW740iL, Scion iQ and Toyota Prius, among others.

Full disclaimer: I photographed this Cadillac last Christmas while visiting family in Portland, Oregon. So not really my neighborhood. But it’s American and it’s big.

And this newer, though not quite so big, Cadillac DeVille was also spotted in Portland. It was parked outside our Air BnB. I wouldn’t have bothered taking a picture, but the driveway of our Air BnB contained a couple of true CC’s, though only one was domestic, so I was already taking pictures.

An Oldsmobile Bravada and a Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Plus a trailer full of junk. Despite the initial impression, which might have turned off some guests, the accommodations were very nice.

Back in my neighborhood. By itself, this wouldn’t quite qualify as a CC, until I noticed the badging on the rear hatch. And those are private party plates, not commercial or local or state government format. This is the first ex-police Ford Interceptor of the Explorer variety which I’ve seen. Will these soon become as common as ex-police Crown Victoria’s? Other than the cost of fuel, they may make good Uber or Lyft cars.

I know I’ve posted this Falcon before, but its juxtaposition on this walk-by with a Tesla Model 3 caught my eye. There are several Falcons of this style within my dog-walking radius from home.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a better angle of the undercover car without including the Mini. Any guesses as to what it is?

A rare sight on a rainy day, this could be a true SS396. Or not. It had a bench seat and column shifter.

While the powertrain and platform are of course from VW, the rest of this dune buggy is undoubtedly American. But I couldn’t see any manufacturer’s logo. The details of the fiberglass are different from the most common dune buggy brand, the Meyers Manx.

Here’s the business end. VW (or more likely chrome reproduction) tail lights. The name on the muffler bracket is TriMil, which I learned is a well-known manufacturer of VW exhausts. I’ve seen this car driving around and while the exhaust itself isn’t that loud, the overall mechanical noise from the uncovered VW air-cooled engine is a distinctive sound so one definitely hears it coming

That’s it for now, but I’ve got quite a few more Outtakes saved from my recent dog-walking excursions. Nothing too exotic, but perhaps not daily sights for those of you in other parts of the world. Stay tuned.


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