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New car club

The Wylde Blogger Wrecking Crew CC, perhaps?

I turned eight in 1954, but I was no different than Randy Honkala, (and is that a mid-western car kid’s name or what?) maddened like every other boy I knew (except for the suspicious weirdos), breathlessly counting the days before the sheets covering the main windows of the major local car dealerships came down in the fall to reveal their glittering trove of chrome and jewel-painted treasure.

I never really got over it, either, and by the middle 1960s my lust for the splendors roaring out from Detroit reached an apotheosis just about simultaneously with Detroit’s own steel climax. You might say we came and went together.

Ten years later, all was rust and ruin, shitbox VeeDubs and Jappo tinfoil cars ruled the American roads, and guys my age were more concerned with whether we’d make it through until Nixon extracted us from Vietnam (the Ukraine meat grinder of its day, although not a patch on our current slavic murderfest).

But those cars. Most of my most beloved vehicles were built in the period from the early 1960s to the mid-1970s. And like Randy, I too Have A List, although not nearly as extensive as his.

Well as I’ve known my old friend and colleague Bill Quick, for as many years as I have, I’ve never really thought of him as a car nut. His taste in lead sleds is impeccable, starting with this shot of a 1959 Impala like the 58 he owned in his misspent youth:

Now as y’all know, I’m a diehard Ford man from a long line of Ford men on my dad’s side. That said, the 59 Impala is one of a handful of exemplary Chevy iron I always really dug, others being the 58 Bel-Air:

And basically, every model of Corvette ever made, up to and including the criminally underappreciated early-mid 80s body styles, known to automotive historians as the Third and Fourth Generation ‘Vettes. Shown below: the breathtaking 1954 Corvette C1.

Ahh, those swooping, curvy lines; the vivid paint in some other color besides nondescript gray, silver, or charcoal; that toothy chrome grill, the stainless body trim! Folks, they just don’t make ‘em like that anymore, and that’s a crying shame if you ask me.

What with anonymous plastic eggmobiles and graceless, chunky SUVs ruling the road nowadays, no wonder America’s long love affair with their automobiles has finally guttered out, except among a steadily dwindling number of mulishly unevolved fans of the vintage Detroit steel who still bitterly cling to the old ways. No esthetics; no gut appeal to anything besides pure utilitarian practicality; no soul, no spark, no romance: seriously, who could possibly fall in love with and take pride in such uninspiring machines as are on offer these days?

Bill’s post moved me to leave one of my infrequent comments in response, to wit:

Gawd DAMN, but that Impala is gorgeous! One of the small handful of Bowties I do actually like. The death of the car culture—premeditated murder, more like—has robbed American youth of a hell of a lot of cross-generational tradition, joie de vivre, and good, old-fashioned fun.

I’ve lamented that grievous loss here before more than once or twice, so no need to belabor the point further right now, I don’t think. To be perfectly honest, I just wanted an excuse to run a few cool car pics, really. My thanks to Bill for providing me with one.

Update! Man, I’m thinking in my munificent spare time I might just try to Gimp up a patch design for our notional blogger CC cutoff, maybe. We’ll see about that; I know at least Bill and Phil over at Bustednuckles would find such a project interesting, if nobody else did. Too bad Randy Herring is gone; if he was still with us, I could get him to draw me a really good ‘un up in a heartbeat. In fact, knowing Randy he very well might’ve done one on his own hook a long time ago, without ever being asked.

Updated update! For Barry, whose comment-section contribution brought it to mind.

Great tune, great cars, even if they are fuckin’ Bowties.

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32 thoughts on “New car club

  1. We had a ’59 with a 409 🙂 Drag car bought from the junkyard back in 1970, $50 bucks as I recall. Three of us owned that baby.

    The 1958 was the first year of the Impala and despite the 55-57 being the standard bearer of the great Chevy ’50s, the 1958 Impala is one of the prettiest cars of all time in my view.

    My first car was the family wagon, 1956 Chevy but when I got my DL at age 14 in 1967, dad brought home a ’63 Impala Super Sport and that was my first car really.
    Somewhere there are pictures.
    My Dad passed away last week. He’ll receive military honors for his WW2 era service. What a lucky kid I was/am.

    1. HAAA! You can’t stop my 409…and suddenly, an idea for another update pops into my head.

      So sorry to hear about your dad, Barr. He sounds like a real pistol, and I’m sure he was.

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      1. Thanks Mike! As they say, they broke the mold when he was born.

        Love the update, and FORD stands for “Fix Or Repair Daily” of course 🙂

        Except for the GT40 and the Le Mans Program. For putting the yuropeeuns in their place I’ll always hold a spot in my heart for Mr Ford and Carroll Shelby (with a huge assist from Lola and Brit Ken Miles – Ken the real winner of the 1966 Le Mans Race).

    2. Howdy Barry. Long time no post. Still reading, though.

      Can’t tell ya how sorry I am for your loss. It’s tough losing Dad. Lost mine in ’87. Anyway, Much good thoughts headed your way! Keep on keepin on!

      Y’all take care & stay livin,
      Mike in FLA.

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  2. My neighbor in the late 70s brought home a 1970 Chevelle SS with a 454 LS. Black. Hot rodded to the point he could actually lift the front end and do wheelies at will

    Good examples of that car go on Mecum Auction for a 100 grand or more these days.
    I wonder what he sold it for a few years later when the gas fill ups got too expensive. I bet he kicks himself for letting that one go…

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  3. Dad was a jet engine mechanic in the Air Force. He was also a gearhead. He kept mom in Pontiac Bonneville’s 10 years at a time but he traded his cars every couple of years. The Mustang GT got traded for a 68 Camero RS that got traded for a Super Bee that got wrecked and replaced the short lived Bronco. The 16 gallon tank and 9 mpg had him filling up every other day. He went back to Mopar with a Dart Twister. His last hot rod was a Lemans with a 455 that lasted a year before he switched over to pickups.

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  4. I spent the past Saturday watching the Houston Art Car Parade. 280 outrageous ve-hickles. Many hand-crafted by personal friends. My GF INSISTED that we go to the awards ceremony on Sunday, where I introduced her to some of my builder friends. In an odd bit of irony, neither of us drives. But it was worth the nearly 8 hours of bus travel for the 2 events. Mike, you really gotta check it out. Should be buttloads of documentation on the ‘webs. Lori and I both ran out of storage space and battery taking pix.

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  5. Howdy Sir Mike. I’ll attempt to attach a pic of my car. Barry has seen the pic before, and I think Kenny as well. I’m the opposite of you, Mike. Never liked the Fords, but have a great appreciation of several of ’em.

    Mine is a Bowtie – I know – but it’s mine! It’s a ’69 Camaro, of which I’m the very proud original owner. ~ 88k on the clock, few options. 327 2v, powerslide tranny (yea, I said it!), factory A/C, & P/S. That’s it. LeMans Blue, Black int. All Orig, with the exception of a repaint in ’98. Still gorgeous – IMHO!

    Y’all take care & stay livin,
    Mike in FLA.

    PS: Dam – forgot how to post a pic! I’ll email it to ya, Mike. Sorry.

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    1. I certainly do recall your car, it’s a nice one.

      Edit to add: some commenters have had problems with the comment box due to selection of “visual” or “Text” on the right side. I have problems in “visual” mode, so this applies to “text” mode.

      Picture posting is not too bad. If you have a copy on your computer, just click the “Add Media” button in the upper left corner of the comment box. When you click that you’ll get a pop up window that has a button “select files”, click that, then change the location with the windows features to point to the directory where your picture is located, double click your pic, then after a moment or two of uploading click “insert into post”.
      The result will be a long string of “stuff” that will magically turn into your picture when you hit the “post comment” button. Try it out.

      Here’s mine from 1969, I’m in the process of trying to locate it and see if I can buy it back:

      1. Thanks Barry. Nice (VERY nice) car there. Best of luck with your car search. 69 was always was my favorite ‘Maro.

        As far as the pic thing, I don’t see an “add media” button. Upper left has ‘b’, ‘i’, ‘link’, ‘b-quote’, etc. No ‘add media’. Emailed the pic to Mike, but had a dumb ass attack and forgot to ask him to post it for me.🙄 Oh well. Have to do some digging and see how the pic thing is supposed to work.

        Y’all take care & stay livin,
        Mike in FLA.

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        1. Well, huh. Beats me why you don’t have an “Add Media” button. Should be a box just above the text controls (the ‘b’, ‘i’ etc) on the left side. Maybe a web browser issue?

          Edit: Tried it with another browser and my phone and the “add media” shows up on all of them.
          Maybe it’s an “editor” level thing.

          Any regular commenters see the “Add Media” button?

          1. Just checked email, Mike says try the ‘img’ button in the middle. I thought that was for a web address or something. The pic is on my desktop – not on the laptop, so I’ll give it a shot tomorrow. Using the latest version of Firefox on both. ‘Preciate the effort.

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            1. Yea, the “IMG” requires a URL (web address). In fact, if I edit a comment I don’t get the “add media” button, just the img button. I bet the “add media” is only available to editors.

  6. Since we’re on the car warpath 🙂

    An interesting old pic from 1973. The pic is of my first race car, a FV, just completed the summer of ’73. The background is the interesting part as I have collected quite a few vehicles. Those are all mine –
    The 1969 Ford Country Squire wagon that Dad had just bought used to use as my tow car, behind that is a 70 Buick LeSabre, one that Dad retired with 200K and I now used occasionally, the 1969 Camaro I’ve had since new, the MG sedan I purchased for $50 bucks because all the internals are the same as the Mini Cooper (runs good, drove it all the time), behind the Camaro is an old horse trailer we had that is getting ready to be modified into a trailer for the race car, a trailer I have to this day. Unseen on the other side of the MG sedan is my highly modified 1965 MG Midget with a later model 1275cc engine speced out to SCCA F production standards.

    I might have been a car nut.

    1. The Buick LeSabre I used as a beach vehicle. We rode up and down the Hatteras Island beaches putting all the “old fogey’s” with their expensive 4 wheel drive vehicles to shame 🙂
      I’d drop the air pressure in the tires to about 12 pounds and never stop in the deepest stuff, and never got stuck.

      These pics are pictures I scanned long ago to digitize, and the camera was some cheap thing. I’m the photographer here 🙂

      So, pic didn’t work and editing doesn’t seem to allow a post the same way, so next comment for the Buick…

      1. I remember that pic of the FV from many moons ago, Barry. ‘Bout the same time as I posted my ‘Maro originally. At Bills joint, maybe?

          1. I’ll look for it, and if I find it, will post it up here.

            BTW, 1959 is the correct year for my Impala. Dunno why I always remember it as a ’58, the two don’t look even remotely alike.

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            1. I might be wrong about this, probably am, but wasn’t there a sort of transition period with the Chevys where the cars were called “Bel Air Impalas” or something? Might have even started with the 58s, I’m thinking. Never having been a Chevy guy, I can’t say for sure.

              Now, if you want to know all about the difference(s) between the 56 Ford Club Sedan, Town Sedan, and Crown Vic, I’m your man all the way. Not to even mention the Crestline/Mainline/Customline distinction…

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              1. “I might be wrong about this…”

                It is very confusing historically even for a Chevy guy.

                The first Impala was 1958 and one of the distinguishing features was the triple tailights rather than the double. That was the same car, just an Impala level of trim option as I recall. Later the Impala was a specific car.

                Because the names could be applied slightly differently through the years it gets rather convoluted.

                There were trim levels, Biscayne being the low end econo version, Bel Air was a car starting about 1950, then got applied as an upscale trim package in ’53 if my reading is correct. The Impala became the car name in 1959 (I think) and could be had in different trim levels.

                1965 marked the first year of the “Caprice” trim package for the Impala. I know this because I cam home from Boy Scout camp and there was a brand new 1965 Chevrolet Impala Caprice parked in the driveway. Maroon with a black vinyl top that looked to my eyes like Dad had gone wild and bought a convertible 🙂 Just one of a long line of cars I’d like to have back…

                1. Dad drove Chevy’s from the early days, but that 65 Caprice was the last as he then bought a Buick in 67 or 68, then the above pictured LeSabre in ’70 (i think). Then he moved on to Cadillac’s owning a variety of those.

                  Oh, and then in the late 70’s before the switch to Cadillac, there were a couple of Oldsmobile 98’s. One of those, do not recall the year, I drove across Texas when I was working for my Dad. That car was comfort squared 🙂

                  When my mom and dad were married in ’52, mom, like many women of the era, didn’t drive. I remember her first car, a ’53 Buick Roadmaster, purchased in 1958 (I was age 5).

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