(Found In) Mission District (San Francisco, California): 1972 Toyota Crown Mark II Station Wagon

IMG_8659Out of the Japanese brands that landed in the American Market during the 1950’s and 1960’s, Toyota learned the quickest how to adapt to the foreign to them trends that set the Jones’s hearts alight. One trend realized was the splintering of the American Market, as the generation of Boomers headed to dealerships, they weren’t happy with one-size fits all motoring in escalating finery that had dominated the automotive landscape from The Great Depression through the Fabulous Fifties.

Indeed, after landing a hit with the Corona during the 2nd half of the 1960’s, Toyota went above and below, bringing the baby bear Corolla and the Papa Bear Crown stateside. For those moving immediately out of their Coronas could find themselves in the Mama Bear Corona Mark II.

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(Found In) Islais Creek (San Francisco, California): 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Convertible Coupe

img_2170While once upon a time rival the Ford Thunderbird always seemed ready to switch up it’s identity to keep up with the party, the Chevrolet Corvette stayed very close to its roots. Nearly 65 years later the Corvette remains the longest running mass produced sports car on offer from the good old United States of America.

It wasn’t without many a harrowing challenge, questions about its credibility as such, and many many death watches. How did it stack up during it’s sophomore season of its 3rd generation?

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(Found In) Glen Park (San Francisco, California): 1958 Packard Hawk 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

img_5368Desperate times call for desperate measures. Fewer post-war manufacturer moments represented Code Red better than the reality of the Studebaker-Packard merger of 1954. In the imperfect marriage between the pearl of South Bend and once the most exclusive brand in the land of The USA saw a monumental undoing rather hastily. The debacles of Studebaker’s quality failings and poor ability to keep up with consumer demand of their 1953 coupes had long lasting implications. Packard’s own quality difficulties sunk their Clipper ships and their larger cruise ships.

It’s perhaps fitting irony that one of the final Packards offered were a variation on the latest update of the ill-starred Starlight coupes of 1953. What made this Packardbaker so special?

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(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco): 1960 Plymouth Fury Convertible

img_4850We’ve mused before about the 1960 Plymouth, and the future it found itself in not being as kind as its forebearers had promised it in the Fall of ’56.  Plymouth had a hard time moving on from its miserly image in general, with Dodge prominently powerful as a more premium player in the makings of Mopar at the turn of the decade.

Nevertheless, Plymouth was to offer a glamorous convertible, as expected by all of the Low-Priced Three as a traditional halo model. 1960 would be no different for Plymouth, as they rivaled Chevrolet for the most flamboyant offering for 1960 for the smallest of open top budgets.

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Dynamic Divergence: A Gay Dude (Or a Lesbian) Probably Designed That Car You Love. And Maybe Black People Saved Cadillac…

31703287382_70fbf71fe7_zOne theory I constantly want to debuke about the Automobile, either created once upon a time, or as an item we covet now, is that cars are the provenance of straight, by and large white, men. Since at least the mid-Century, if not earlier, manufacturers employed women, minorities and queers to help design the dreams that we all stare back at with rose tinted glasses.

The reality of the times meant that many of those that were outsiders to the mainstream fantasy marketed as “normalcy” didn’t have a chance to be celebrated in their time, However. My objective is to carve out more unique stories of who designed, built, bought and loved the machines that moved us alongside these amazing rides of the past as we climb into the future.

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(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California): 1951 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe Bel-Air 2 Door Hardtop Coupe

img_4218Although Chevrolet always languished at the bottom of the traditional General Motors hierarchy, often it portrayed itself as an aspirational Cadillac for the everyperson. While Ford’s most often left it to middle child Mercury to dress up in Mama Bear Lincoln Luxury guise, Chevrolet quite often did drag in the duds more associated with the higher echelons of the country’s biggest manufacturer.

The most fashionable firecracker offered by Chevrolet was the first in the low-priced field 2 Door “Hardtop Convertible” mimicking the 1949 Coupe DeVille (and Roadmaster Riviera and Ninety Eight Holiday Coupes) named, in an oh-so-vacation minded frame of mind as the Bel-Air for 1950. How did it do in its sophomore season?

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Dynamic Divergence: Falcons On Film And A Requiem For Dystopian Hipster America

20121757552_79aa4759d4_z Once upon a time, on a website far far away but not really, when I was 30-ish years old, I declared the Ford Falcon the vintage chariot fancied the most by a certain demographic. Interestingly, at the same time I made such a grandiose generalization about my own respective urban peer group, I took up another anachronistic way of expression; Film Photography.

As we slide to a close of 2016, I reckon with the term hipster, and all things twee, including resurrecting the most basic of FordMoCo products from more than a half century ago. Trends come, trends go, however does the Falcon still have a fighting chance to continue to fly as it approaches 60 years old?

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(Found In) Lone Mountain (San Francisco, California): 1964 Studebaker Avanti

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The Studebaker Avanti is the most Christ-like of all personal coupes. I’m not too sure that the end of production at South Bend fell on a Friday, or whether the revival of limited production models came on a Sunday. In a number of ways it was perfect, in other ways it was perfectly flawed.

As we start to close out the year, let’s revisit this car I’ve covered before in terms of which crosses it had to bear for the sins of Studebaker before arising to a bespoke role.

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(Found In) The Tenderloin (San Francisco, California): 1959 Cadillac Series 62 4 Window Hardtop Sedan

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Whether you consider the 1959 Cadillac a zeitgeist or stereotype on wheels; you’re right. No other car sums up the last theatrical breath of the middle decade of the last century to so many eyes like the cream crop cars from General Motors that paraded their proud feathers worldwide starting in the fall of 1958.

What they held, what they hid, was confidence and charisma in the absolutely ordinary. Beyond the wildness that might have been expected, they didn’t take as much of a risk as rivals that survived the decade did.

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(Found In) The Tenderloin (San Francisco, California): 1950 Imperial Deluxe Four Door Sedan

image (25).jpegWe’ve spoken earlier about the Imperial Image problem. From the introduction of the brand in 1926 through 1954, it was positioned as the most premium Chrysler. That problematic push towards the glass ceiling of luxury brands always saddled Imperials with the upper middle class respectability of the Chrysler brand. The challenge, alongside sharing a heavy commonality with Chrysler cars, was being accepted as a legit full luxury competitor to Cadillac, Lincoln and Packard.

Compared to early depression era Imperials, the last that feathered flamboyance on buyers, the first Post-War Imperials doubled down on sturdy, stodgy and secure engineering and styling. The Post-War do-it-yourself motto shifted the palate of the most premium Chryslers from limousines towards a push at self-actualized luxury that would lead to Imperial becoming a separate marque by mid-decade.

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