(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1977 Toyota Corona Station Wagon

IMG_2305In a number of ways Toyota was the most “American” of Japanese manufacturers. Once on their feet in the U.S. market in the early 70’s, they fielded a line up not dissimilar, albeit smaller and far more efficient, than Detroit rivals.

Mainstream models came in sizes small (Corolla), medium (Corona) and large (Crown/Cressida). There was a “pony” car (Celica) to boot. That’s no different than Ford in the 1960’s minus a halo coupe once you think about it.We’ve made friends with the 3rd Generation car. Today we see what the 5th generation had to offer when you opted for the wagon version.

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(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) Rockridge (Oakland, California): 1968 Saab 95 Station Wagon

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In port cities there tends to be a wee bit more diversity in the classic cars one finds on the streets. Not everything slides into Camaro, Mustang and Cadillac territory. Liberal cities tend to have a bit of diversity in citizenry, and the heritage of such cultures might mean that there’ll be an eccentric offering showing a glimpse of history.

There’s this surprise of this Swedish Station Wagon that did more with far less than your average Country Squire that I found in the lush bushes of Rockridge recently. Stuffing plenty of capacity for buyers that might have a penchant for such a tiny meatball of a car was the calling card of this model for more than a decade.

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(Found In) West Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1963 Mercedes Benz 220SE Hardtop Coupe

image-41The incremental ways Mercedes Benz crept into the American Automotive market is a peculiar story of persistence and perfection. Although their offerings weren’t completely perfectly well baked for American Motoring demands, they did offer peerless posts to take in vast new landscapes in a completely foreign experience to what was determined to be American Luxury.

Meanwhile, traits, trends and trappings not unfamiliar to American motorists made these cars international stars in their own right. Once upon a time, the world over loved the personal fantasy of the Hardtop Coupe, not the carry all capabilities of a Crossover/Utility Vehicle. By securing a few halo spots, Mercedes made due and dough with their Fintail=related Coupes.

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(Found In) West Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1967 BMW 2000 TiLux 4 Door Sedan

24628232036_231815b3c4_oAlthough the 2002 gets the majority of credit for BMW’s North American success, the models that laid the ground work for sports sedan dominance for half a century laid in the Neue Klasse sedans and related coupes released in 1962. From humble beginnings as an alternate for the growing German Post-War Middle Class, the 1500, 1800 and 2000 series sedans defined dynamic motoring the world over.

While redefining the world order of preferred athletic motoring, these cars also made sure that the BMW brand didn’t slink into bankruptcy and oblivion in a cold, harsh, competitive marketplace. They also set the style template for most Mid-sized BMW sedans for decades to come.

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