Friday, July 23, 2010

1957-1958 Zündapp Janus

The Janus, named for obvious reasons after the Roman God with two faces, was made by the motorcycle company Zündapp. It was powered by a two stroke single cylinder engine with a top speed of 50 mph.

1956 Mercedes 190 SL

I rode up to San Luis Obispo in this car, owned and meticulously restored by my friend Richard. We got lots of thumbs up along the way.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

1950 Nash Rambler convertible

Ramblers were economical and practical. Every Nash had reclining seats, a tradition which started in the 1930s when motels were hard to come by in long motoring trips. The bench seat folded all the way back to the rear seat. Of course one did run the risk of accidentally hitting the horn with one's foot, which could prove quite embarrassing at the drive-in movie.

Here I am with my brother circa 1964 with our 1957 Rambler Super. We only used the fold down seats a few times as I recall. It had vacuum wipers that slowed down the faster you drove, so at an idle they flipped back and forth like crazy. I wonder how many accidents that caused. I absolutely hated the car. There was a dent in the metal dashboard from my cranium striking it. The only restraints we had back then were our parents arms, which were never fast enough. My mother once had an argument with a woman driving a 1958 Ford in a parking lot. It escalated to the point where both were side by side at the traffic light, gunning their engines. It was like being in the chicken scene in Rebel Without a Cause. When the light turned green, we raced down the highway, side by side, my mother calling her a 'son of a bitch' which I found very confusing as she was clearly no one's son. I was warned not to tell my father, and I probably never did. Soon after the picture was taken below, the axle suddenly broke at a stoplight, right in front of the garage where my father always took it. We traded it in for a 1964 Plymouth.


I don't know the exact year. It could be late 50s through early 60s. When other American cars were constantly changing their flashy wardrobes, Metropolitans, like Volkswagens, liked what they were wearing. I suspect only the owner knows for sure.

1956 Nash Ambassador

Saturday, July 17, 2010

1963 Chevrolet

One of the prettiest years of Chevrolet.

1956 Chrysler 300 convertible

The 300 was fast, and might be described as the original muscle car.

1964 Studebaker Avanti

My flashy accordion teacher had one of these. He clearly aspired to greater things than teaching little kids like me how to play Cirabirabin. Sadly, Studebaker would be gone shortly thereafter. I don't know what became of my accordion teacher.

1964 Thunderbird

1960 Thunderbirds

The 1958 - 1960 Thunderbirds are now referred to as the 'Squarebirds' and were immensely popular. It's easy to see why -- they are surely the best designed Fords of those years. I've always thought that Ford should have conceded defeat on the Edsel before going into production, kept the two seater birds and made the Squarebirds the new model and called that the Galaxie or the Futura. In 1961, Thunderbird was reinvented once again (see following post for the 1962, which was very similar to the 1961) and Edsel was, alas, gone.

Friday, July 16, 2010

1962 Thunderbird Sports Roadster

Its convertibility was dual -- not just in terms of its roof but its seating. One could place the tonneau cover over the backseat, converting an extraordinary convertible to an intimate, block-long spaceship for two.

A swiveling steering column ensured a graceful exit and entry every time.