Archive for the ‘Cars I Have Seen’ Category
okay, the sighting of a 2013 ferrari f12 berlinetta is a lovely sight to behold… so lovely in fact it made me reach for the trusty ol iphone and make the first posting on this rascally blog in a year and a half! i love this black color… in europe i commonly see black ferrari cars… so refreshing after seeing only red ferrari’s in the usa that the douchey tom selleck wannabee’s order.
(photo courtesy boice tomlin) CIHS booster boice tomlin was kind enough to apprehend this majestic muscle-bound chrysler product whilst driving in the indiana-ohio corridor. not being schooled in the art of sass nor in the idiosyncrasies of american muscle, i have nary an idea what i am looking at though i think its a dodge challenger or charger or some such fuck.
The 911 can trace its roots back to sketches drawn by Ferdinand Porsche in 1959. The Porsche 911 was developed as a more powerful, larger, more comfortable replacement for the Porsche 356. The new car made its public debut at the 1963 Frankfurt Motor Show and It originally was designated as the “Porsche 901″. 82 cars were built as 901s, However, Peugeot protested on the grounds that in France it had exclusive rights to car names formed by three numbers with a zero in the middle. So, instead of selling the new model with another name in France, Porsche changed the name to the 911.
(happy birthday k-star!) The 356 was porsche’s first production automobile. It was a lightweight and nimble handling rear-engine rear-wheel-drive 2 door sports car available in hardtop coupe and open configurations. Production started in 1948 at Gmünd, Austria where approximately 50 cars were built. In 1950 the factory relocated to Zuffenhausen, Germany and general production of the 356 continued until April 1965, well after the replacement model 911 made its autumn 1963 debut. It is estimated approximately half of the total production of 76,000 356s still survive.
(photo courtesy of mike savage) according to mike: “more airport porn. this guy watched alot of Star Wars growing up…. as seen at CPH Copenhagen April 2010.”
The Porsche GT3 is a high performance version of the Porsche 911 sports car. It is the latest in a long line of high performance models which began with the 1973 911 RS. The GT3, named after the FIA GT class it was intended for, has a 3.8 litre naturally-aspirated six cylinder engine which is based on the unit used in the Porsche 962 and Porsche 911 GT1 race cars. Since its launch in 1999 a number of variations, designed for both road and track, have been added to the range. Porsche is currently developing a hybrid version which uses two electric motors and a Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems which was initially developed for Formula One.
every once in awhile a scene appears before the iphone lens here at CIHS that exhibits nice aesthetic attributes, though the vehicular subject is under-whelming… such is the case here with the everyday ford spotting whilst being transported via taxi to the airport in hong kong. savor the mundane! appreciate the mediocrity!
The Porsche 944 was a sports car built by Porsche from 1982 to 1991. It was built on the same platform as the 924, although 924 production continued through 1988. The 944 was intended to last into the 1990s, but major revisions planned for a 944 S3 model were eventually rolled into the 968 instead, which replaced the 944. The 944 was a successful model and was available as both a coupe and cabriolet in naturally aspirated and turbocharged forms.
you don’t see too many citroën’s in the usa… especially not too many like this in terms of amount of use, condition and running order.. kind of harkens a worn 1970′s chevrolet caprice or something, like something you see all the time on the streets, only this was a banana yellow citroën. a welcome omen perhaps !
(photo courtesy mike savage) another great photygiraffe from mr. savage who spotted this mini slumbering in its stall in kyoto japan. in his own words: “this one is my fave. color and graphic composition are spot on.” indeed.
(photo courtesy mike savage) this mystical white pantera was spotted prowling the cobbled streets of copenhagen denmark and was quickly apprehended by an alert and quick trigger-fingered mike savage. this photo has everything we like here at CIHS and then some! amazing shot… thank you kindly mr. savage.
whilst enroute to the schipol airport in amsterdam, i spied this car transporter a’transportin’ a few vintage citroën 2CV’s that appeared to be in fine fiddle. the dutch are the nicest lot of folk i have ever encountered and the kindly cab driver offered to slow down and maneuver so i could get a better shot… i politely declined as i thought perhaps this might violate a certain cars-i-have-seen catch and release protocol.
The Citroën 2CV was an economy car produced by the French automaker Citroën between 1948 and 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with uncompromisingly utilitarian unconventional looks, and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork, that belied the sheer quality of its underlying engineering. It was designed to move the French peasantry on from horses and carts. It is considered one of Citroën’s most iconic cars. In 1953 Autocar in a technical review of the car wrote of “the extraordinary ingenuity of this design, which is undoubtedly the most original since the Model T Ford”. It was described by CAR magazine journalist and author LJK Setright as “the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car”. It was designed for low cost, simplicity of use, versatility, reliability, and off-road driving. For this it had a light, easily serviceable engine, extremely soft long travel suspension (with adjustable ride height), high ground clearance, and for oversized loads a car-wide canvas sunroof.
the saab 900 harkens back to a period when european cars truly looked european and exhibited certain traits that even revealed the country in which they were built and designed. the saab 900 is an unconventional vehicle that clearly could only be swedish and a saab. i really wish we could have enlightened european automotive design once again…. it seems currently everything is designed by a computer which waters everything down to some lowest common denominator formula…. it is a sad day indeed when a hyundai is hard to discern from a mercedes.
The Ford Maverick was a compact car manufactured from April 1969-1977 in the United States, Canada, Mexico and from 1973-1979 in Brazil — employing a rear wheel drive platform dating to the original 1960 Falcon. Originally marketed as a 2-door sedan at an initial price of USD$1,995 the Maverick was designed to be inexpensive to manufacture and maintain. The name “maverick” was derived from the word for unbranded range animals, and the car’s nameplate was stylized to resemble a longhorned cow skull.
i spotted this porsche gt3 patrolling the foot of the roppongi hills mori tower in tokyo. i’m sure the gt3 is fast and the most splendid thing since sliced bread, though there really is no way around the fact that the huge spoiler is probably one the top 3 douchiest things in all of creation. whats more is that it was a dorky looking middle to late age japanese woman piloting this craft….. lost in translation, aye ??
(photo courtesy of matthew mcneil) matt mcneil spotted, aprehended and submitted this shot heading Eastbound on US60 in Mesa, Arizona, in his own words, of a “55 survivor with a few rat rod touches…. lowered, mirrors moved etc.” thank you matt !
(photo courtesy of boice tomlin) another great sighting and shot from our indiana operative….. thank you boice. i have been yammering recently about selling my 2009 carrera and buying an early 911…. i think this year depicted would be within the target range, i would prefer a short wheel base pre-1969 but have not identified the vagaries to be able spot these versions properly, so i just guess. i have been counseled to skip the 912 as they were under-powered and prone to issues as a result. if a 4 cylinder is desired, look into a porsche 356…. which is a car i have considered.
sometimes you see sublime vehicular stories on the road that are so intriguing you find yourself reaching for your camera out of rote. in this instance we find a mind-jarring avacado green oldsmobile cutlass hatchback with a curious red steering wheel piloted by a man who definitely looks the part. straight outta central casting i tells ya! whats the story ? unless i followed him home i wouldn’t know and frankly i wasn’t that curious.
i spied this bentley continental gt on interstate 5 just north of fort lewis washington. one thing i have noticed with some of the ultra high-end cars such as rolls royce and bentley is that the new models with modern production methods just don’t look as special or exclusive as they used to. i think perhaps it is a combination of not being hand-built any longer and now designed on a computer. if a vehicle is going to cost over $200k then i want it be built and designed with large doses of analog old school craft. i think ferrari is the only ultra high-end manufacturer right now that is pulling it off. i saw a bentley sedan recently that could be mistaken for a hyundai…. truly pathetic.
my buddy steve in seattle recently acquired this very nifty porsche 911 targa. he was gracious enough to let me take it for a spin and i must say there really is no substitute for pure analog manual controls… no power steering, no power brakes, no traction control, no BS… just good times behind the wheel. i snapped this shot on the way out of town of mr. lodefink piloting his craft whilst donning an Andy Capp hat and cool shades.
it isn’t very often that you get the opportunity to photograph one of your cars at freeway speeds piloted by an entity other than yourself. but…. by cracky, this opportunity materialized a few weeks ago whilst enroute to the uber dork-fest known as the rose city bug-in. depicted here is my 1960 volkswagen beetle in fine fiddle.
this car may not be in “who’s who” but it certainly qualifies for an entry in “what was that ?!?!” not sure really what else to say, i’m rendered speechless aside from mentioning it reminds me of a tex avery cartoon.
The Volkswagen Type 181 “Kurierwagen”, popularly known in the United Kingdom as the Trekker, in the United States as the Thing, and in Mexico as the Safari, was a small military vehicle produced by Volkswagen from 1969 to 1983, although civilian sales stopped in 1980. It was based in part on Volkswagen’s Type 1 (Beetle), and was a continuation and improvement over the Kübelwagen, which had been used by the German military during World War II. The name Kübelwagen is an abbreviation of Kübelsitzwagen, meaning “bucket-seat car”.
i spotted this single cab on approach to the rose city bug-in. i got me quite a hankerin’ for a nice restored single cab with canvas hoop cargo bay. if anyone knows of a good one for sale, why let me know !
i spotted this dog taking his old man out for a ride here in portland…… thatsa gooood buoy!! Evoking the mythological creature of Indigenous peoples of North America, the Thunderbird entered production for the 1955 model year as a sporty two-seat convertible. Unlike the Chevrolet Corvette, it was not marketed as a sports car. Rather, Ford created a new market segment, the ‘Personal Car’ to position it.
while not as rare a sighting as the tatra, i don’t see too many vintage airstream trailers in these parts. my only wish was that it was towed by something more period than the yawn inducing suburban. In 1969, upon their return from the Moon, the crew of Apollo 11 were quarantined in the Mobile Quarantine Facility, a modified airtight Airstream trailer, until it could be determined that there was little likelihood of their having brought back lunar pathogens with them.
i suppose the odds of spotting a tatra on the road are about as rare as winning the lottery, though spot one indeed i did! sporting a rear-engine air cooled V8, The Model T603 was allocated only to senior members of the comuninst bloc political and industrial establishments. Small numbers of T603s were exported to most of the central European countries allied to Czechoslovakia at the time and to Cuba. Sales to private individuals were not normally possible, although a few T603s appear to have been privately owned in East Germany. During the car’s twenty year production run, 20,422 cars were built, mostly by hand. To the west of the Iron Curtain the car was unknown, though some were used by Czechoslovak embassies in western capitals.
(photo courtesy of boice tomlin) cars-i-have-seen blood brother boice tomlin spotted this porsche 911 in bloomington indiana, quickly assembled his photographic arsenal (iPhone) and successfully captured the specimen we witness here. nice shot…. thank you boice !
i was headed north on a beautiful country road in monmouth oregon when what did i spy but a genuine farmer on a genuine tractor. the rural areas to the west and southwest of portland are quite intriguing……. so much so that i am considering trying to purchase a few acres where i can plant my survival seeds prior to the impending societal collapse.
i loves me a good volkswagen bus. i spied this one tootling down interstate 5 with a sticker in the window proclaiming “0-60 in 11 minutes”. it was piloted by a young lad who looked not a day past 19 and every bit a character. i remember my friend steve lodefink had a volkswagen bus in college…. t’was in sweet condition and i believe it was a ’76 in two-tone cream yellow and white. i also recall him telling a tale of how he fell asleep at the wheel and the bus flipped over on its side and skidded that way for 100 yards coming to a rest in jackpot nevada. luckily ‘old fink emerged with nary a scratch. magic bus.
The Impala was introduced in 1958 as a new, upmarket, sporty trim package created for Bel Air coupes and convertibles. From the windshield pillar rearward, the 1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Impala differed structurally from garden-variety Chevrolets. Hardtops had a slightly shorter greenhouse and longer rear deck, giving the impression of an extended body, plus bright rocker moldings and dummy rear-fender scoops. Three taillights each side would become an Impala trademark whereas lesser models had two, and wagons just one. Special crossed-flag insignias sat above the side moldings. With a six-cylinder engine, a Chevrolet Bel Air Impala started at $2,586, while $2,693 bought a V-8.
(photo courtesy ali rahimi) this jaguar XKE coupe was spotted in portland oregon by ali rahimi just as he was firing up his crack-pipe. being the devoted cars-i-have-seen enthusiast he is, he dutifully set aside the crack-pipe and fired up his iphone to apprehend the beautiful automotive scene that was playing out before him. this photo has everything we are looking for here at CIHS… great aesthetic value, motion, and an incredible automobile sporting majestic antlers growing up from the roof. good job and thank you ali !
this vehicle represents a time when “foreign cars” really did look foreign. the saab 95 was a 7 passenger wagon built in trollhättan sweden and was a variant of the saab 96. i remember my friend steve lodefink had a pristine white saab 95 a few eons ago that he bought from a homely boeing engineer in seattle…. it was a beautiful looking specimen. i vaguely recall it languishing in a repair shop for a lengthy time after the acquisition…. now that i ponder, i believe it was more of an instance of incompetent mechanics and not a faulty lemonish car, though mr. lodefink would have more to say on that subject .
i think perhaps the 993 might be the quintessential 911. it represents the last of the revered air-cooled cars, yet it was technologically advanced. my only nit is the shaved head lamps……. the rest of the car looks so pure but the lamp cowls look like they were hastily amputated in a manner that conveys a certain lack of respect for the form. i dunno, maybe its just me……
another venerable brand and iconic car lost along the wayside to prove that as time marches on things do not necessarily improve. if a current car could match the series land rover, citroen 2cv or air-cooled beetle for simplicity, quality, fun and sheer design originality people would buy in droves. i say abandon convention, re-think uni-body and oddly shaped bloated design cues on every panel and build something bloody good for a change.
(photo courtesy of tamerlane) The Volkswagen Beetle was an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen from 1938 until 2003. It used an air cooled rear engined rear wheel drive. Over 21 million Beetles were produced in all. In the 1950s, it was more comfortable and powerful than most European small cars, having been designed for sustained high speed on the Autobahn, and ultimately became the longest-running and most-produced automobile of a single design. In 1933, Adolf Hitler gave the order to Ferdinand Porsche to develop a Volkswagen (literally, “people’s car” in German). Hitler required a basic vehicle capable of transporting two adults and three children at 100 km/h. The “People’s Car” would be available to citizens of the Third Reich through a savings scheme, or Sparkarte (savings booklet),at 990 Reichsmark, about the price of a small motorcycle.
i initially had “57 chevy” as the title of this post and then realized within a couple of seconds how hackneyed that phrase is….. almost as played out as a rolling stones or beatle song…. do we really need to hear it again ?? anyhoo, i spotted this example cruising down highway 26 with a creepy robert blake looking guy behind the wheel and a six year old boy riding shotgun….. they did not look happy despite the gregarious color of the car, i reckon the burden of living up to america’s expectations of the 57 chevy mystique takes it toll.
The Alfa Romeo 75, sold in North America as the Milano, was a compact sports sedan / compact executive car produced by the Italian automaker Alfa Romeo between 1985 and 1992. The 75 was commercially quite successful; in just three years, 170,000 cars were produced and by the end of production in 1992, around 187,300 had been built. The Alfa Romeo 75 was the last model alfa romeo developed before being acquired by Fiat.
(photo courtesy of jason mcginnity) jason mcginnity spotted and submitted this photo of a rare beast indeed….. lets hear it in jason’s own words, shall we ? “i heard this one coming while i was sitting at a light in downtown Portland. it is manufactured in the u.s. by tmi autotech under license from ariel atom, england. I’d never seen one in real life. amazing sound. luckily I was able to snap a couple photos as I heard him accelerating from down the block.” thank you jason…. this is an extremely interesting car, it does 0-60 in 2.9 seconds, has a minimalist exoskeleton and you can see all the controls and mechanical parts as you drive. very nice.
Something of an anachronism in the 2000s, the Defender has no unibody structure and is still largely hand assembled. All its major body panels and sub-assemblies simply bolt together. Thus not only can a Defender be literally broken down to its chassis with simple hand tools, there are no irreplaceable stress points. While appreciated in the field and by enthusiasts, this method of manufacture has become increasingly expensive relative to unibody and modular construction.
i like the cadillac seville with the bustle-back. it symbolized a rare stroke of risk taking by the milque-toast and soul-dead general motors corp. when i was a kid my step-mom had a lemon meringue diesel example that i once drove as a hired 16 year-old chauffuer to a prince concert circa 1984. the car was subsequently sold to a good friend of the family who attempted to drive it back to atlanta…. needless to say it completely shit the bed somewhere around tennessee and after that the friendship kind of soured. herve villechaize would look good behind the wheel of this weird american ‘luxury’ car.
The Citroën DS was an executive car produced by the French manufacturer Citroën between 1955 and 1975. Styled by Italian sculptor and industrial designer Flaminio Bertoni, the DS is known for its aerodynamic futuristic body design and innovative technology, including a hydropneumatic self-levelling suspension. The DS advanced achievable standards in automobile ride quality, handling, and braking. Citroën sold nearly 1.5 million D-series during the model’s 20-year production run. The DS came in third in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, recognizing the world’s most influential auto designs, and was named the most beautiful car of all time by Classic & Sports Car magazine.
To meet the demands of the post-war market which called for economy cars, the Fiat 500 was rear-engined on the pattern of the Volkswagen Beetle. Several car makers followed this now nearly vanished design at the time and were quite successful, but only the Fiat 500 was used as the template for other car makers in Europe. Despite its diminutive size, the 500 proved to be an enormously practical and popular vehicle throughout Europe. Besides the two-door coupé, it was also available as the “Giardiniera” station wagon; this variant featured the standard engine laid on its side, the wheelbase lengthened by 10 cm (4 in) which yielded a usable rear seat, and a full-length sunroof.
there is no way around it, the volkswagen rabbit was a revolutionary vehicle. the boxy unlikely successor to the revered beetle, the rabbit represented the dawn of a new age of automobile design and technology…. a world away from the mechanical and hand-built aesthetic of the beetle. i spied this rabbit sprinting along and it occurred to me i seldom see nice roadworthy rabbits out and about.
i have been going through a pretty significant air-cooled volkswagen phase lately…… to the degree that i just purchased my 2nd beetle this year, a 1953 standard ‘zwitter’. there is something just so ‘right’ about an air-cooled volkswagen…. the quality, the simplicity, the mechanical nature, the design, the egalitarian appeal. i don’t see too many type 3′s running around, so when i spied this one i knew i had to apprehend it.
The Alfa Romeo GTV Gran Turismo Veloce (Fast Grand Tourer) was produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo from 1995 to 2006. The GTV is a 2+2 coupé, and the rear seats on the GTV could be optionally deleted to increase the small boot space. Known by the internal Alfa Romeo designation 916, the GTV was launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1995. The GTV’s name placed it as the successor to the long-discontinued Alfetta GTV coupe.
continuing my journey from stockholm to amsterdam, i entered danish road-space and spied this majestic old mercedes-benz ponton sedan. this shot was taken about 60 kilometers prior to embarking on the ferry which carried me into german road-space. an interesting thing about denmark is the tax on a vehicle is 100% of the purchase price….. a real discouragement to car ownership. on the bright side, denmark has the best modern bridge designs my weary eyes have ever seen.
shortly after i captured the porsche 996 with me trusty iphone, i spied this here audi A5 in the swedish countryside. i’m not so sure i “get” the A5…..is it germany’s answer to the camaro? or perhaps it is audi’s answer to the bmw 335i coupe. either way i think i will pass
the great icelandic ash-cloud had me stranded in stockholm sweden and i was getting restless. by the 4th day of being stranded i decided i needed to make a break for it so i rented a car and drove a ford ka all the way from stockholm to amsterdam. along the way i spied this handsome porsche 996. i generally have a degree of disdain for the 996 but this one looked pretty good….. but then again everything in sweden looks pretty darn good
i was riding a bicycle heading back to my hotel room in berlin when i spied a hearty inflammation of moto-bike mounted polizei. now, i am not versed in german customs….. and especially not versed in the ways of the polizei, but it seemed kind of odd. it almost looked as if they were banded together in required group formation back to base after a shift. there was no sense of urgency or emergency for that matter. perhaps they were headed to the splügen brau and then homeways for a bit of spatchka ?
The Trabant was produced by former East German auto maker ‘Sachsenring Automobilwerke Zwickau’. It was the most common vehicle in East Germany, and was also exported to countries both inside and outside the communist bloc. The main selling point was that it had room for four adults and luggage in a compact, light and durable shell. With its mediocre performance, smoky two-stroke engine, and production shortages, the Trabant is often cited as an example of the disadvantages of centralized planning; on the other hand, it is regarded with derisive affection as a symbol of the failed former East Germany and of the fall of communism. It was in production without any significant changes for nearly 30 years with 3,096,099 Trabants produced in total. Since it could take 15 years for a Trabant to be delivered from the time it was ordered, people who finally got one were very careful with it and usually became skillful in maintaining and repairing it. Used Trabants would often fetch a higher price than new ones, as the former were available immediately, while the latter required the infamous long wait.
i spent a couple of days in berlin recently and spied this un-identified mercedes van. subsequent attempts to discover the model and year of production of this specimen proved fruitless. any sleuths are welcome to comment and enlighten us with any knowledge below. for some reason this van reminds me of the david bowie song Panic-In-Detroit: “looked a lot like che guevara, drove a diesel van, kept his gun in quiet seclusion, such a humble man. the only survivor of the national people’s gang”
i spotted this little gem carousing the streets of zürich switzerland. The Land Rover Series I, II, and III, commonly referred to as “Series” Land Rovers, are off-road vehicles produced by the British manufacturer Land Rover that were inspired by the US-built Willys Jeep. Land Rover says that 70% of these vehicles ever made are still in use today—a claim first made in the 1992 brochure and repeated many times since, being much publicised when cited by Richard Hammond of the BBC’s Top Gear, though this has got to be more hubris than reality… hardly seems possible.
i spied this porsche panamera in Zürich switzerland attempting to cross the road. is it just me, or does anyone else feel very disappointed in the design of this car ? if porsche was going to go to all the trouble of making a sedan, don’t you think they would have taken pains to make it look a little sleeker and less like some sort of bloated mis-guided hyundai ?? for petes sake !
i often wonder why mercedes-benz and other european car manufacturers refuse to allow their full lines to be offered in the united states. is it because they think we are too stupid? or do they feel the MB brand is so heavily associated with “luxury” in the u.s. that if they imported the ‘A-Class’ it would water down that appeal ? lets get the USA in tune with the rest of the world and offer most if not all versions of cars each european manufacturer makes. volkswagen is a good example…. they are afraid to offer the new scirocco which is absolutely ridiculous…. that car is amazing and would sell like hot-cakes in the usa. speaking of VW, they completely mis-manage the usa market by not offering the transporter and the scirocco.
i spied this new bmw z4 traipsing past the kunsthaus museum in zürich. well, actually i was camped out for a spell because i decided it was a great scene for car-spotting, plus there was already blood in the water. for you see, about 30 minutes previously i spied my first ferrari 458 italia in this same spot and was secretly hoping it would sneak by again. no such luck, so i had to settle for this relatively homely z4.
i was cruising south-bound interstate 5 during the magic hour when what did i spy creeping through the mist but a very serviceable and nimble looking porsche 928 GT ? this car had a commanding presence and seemed very nice. i predict good 928 porsches in the next 10-15 years will appreciate quite a bit and command a more appreciative collector audience. now the only problem is finding a ‘good one’.
Volvo launched the PV544 in 1958, but it wasn’t an entirely new design. The PV544 was a development of the earlier PV444, which was originally launched in the 1940′s. Differences included a one piece windscreen, bigger windows all round, a new interior with a padded dashboard and a collapsible steering wheel, and new lights. The engine was a four cylinder unit, which produced up to 95bhp in it’s sportiest tune. Seatbelts were standard on all Volvo’s (which was unusual for cars in the 1950′s) Many were exported to the United States, where the car was seen as a Swedish alternative to the Volkswagen Beetle. Volvo ended production of the PV544 in 1965, after producing over 200,000 cars.
(photo ©2003 Samvado Gunnar Kossatz) The Bhagwan bought his first Rolls Royce, a Corniche, in 1980 and had it plated with armor. After establishing his commune in Oregon, followers of the Bhagwan said their leader wanted a new Rolls Royce for each day of the year, and began ordering two a month from dealers. The commune even had its own service center, and a Rolls engineer periodically traveled there to trouble-shoot. Rajneesh would get into a Rolls each day and be driven slowly down the commune’s roads. On each side, disciples clad in red clothing would sing, chant and toss flowers on the hood. A number of the cars were painted “psychedelic colors” that seriously disturbed the aesthetic values of Rolls dealers and officials enough to put senior Rolls Royce executives in Britain into virtual cardiac arrest.
what is the best all-around car ? the bmw 5 series touring. why ? easy: it is fast, it is sporting, the quality is uncanny, it has all wheel drive to safely transport you over-the-river-and-through-the-woods, it hauls stuff, it looks great, it is german made, it is available with a manual transmission. and guess what ? you can’t have one. why? because the muckety-mucks over at bavarian motor works have decided that americans are doltish enough to be satisfied with the new horrible bmw 550i gran turismo. thats right….. no new generation 5 series touring for the u.s.a. the truly civilized of us will eschew suv’s and new bmw’s in favor of hunting down and gobbling up used e61′s. good thing i saw the writing on the wall and ordered a 2010 535i touring last summer… black on black with 6 speed manual. i am set! though my only beef is that BMW wouldn’t let me order a M5 Touring, i would have sold all my other cars as an M5 touring satisfies every need.
i spied this 1968 volkswagen campmobile careening down the highway and noticed someone took pains to paint “penny lane” on the back of it as well as lower the front end….. Vroooom! “In Penny Lane there is a fireman with an hourglass. And in his pocket is a portrait of the Queen. He likes to keep his fire engine clean. It’s a clean machine”
a sheep in wolve’s clothing, the porsche 914 is actually a volkswagen in disguise. don’t believe me ? the 914′s birth certificate belly-button plate clearly reads “manufactured by volkswagen”. i have always referred to these as the “ice cream sandwich car” due to the horizontal, rectangular flat nature of the design. Volkswagen: There Is No Substitute.
the audi TT is a rare instance of a truly original ground breaking automotive design from an era of retro-this, retro-that PT cruiser and new beetle abominations. classic yet contemporary at the same time, the audi TT has a succinct and appealing germanic sensibility that is even more pronounced when painted silver. this example sports a great green/grey tone and has the smart sport package… truly a striking specimen!
(photo courtesy clive bullian) The Ferrari 308 GTB was introduced at the Paris Salon in October 1975. It showed a similar mechanical layout to the Bertone-styled 308 GT4, but was equipped with only two seats. The beautifully styled coachwork by Pininfarina incorporated some visual aspects of the fantastic Dino 246 GT. Early 308 GTB’s had a lightweight fiberglass body, in 1977 production changed to steel bodies. The powerful 3 litre V8-engine was equipped with four Weber carbs, which made the engine sound superior to all its fuel-injected successors.
(photo courtesy of clive bullian) like the porsche 911, the alfa romeo spider had an extremely long production run relatively unchanged. produced from 1966 thru 1993, the final year of production of the spider was almost like buying a brand new true 1960′s true italian sports car…. er, strike that… you actually WERE buying a true 1960′s sports car, and how cool was that ?? by the time the series 4 was produced, alfa romeo decided that in order to update the exterior, ground flairs and plastic bumpers were they way to go…. but still a very pretty car. i only wish that like porsche, alfa romeo decided to continue refining and updating the spider instead of scrapping it and unleashing the abomination they replaced it with, which was to purists, a spider in name only.
landing for the first time in jolly ol’ england i was semi-fascinated by all the cars and drivers on the “wrong” side of the road. with my nose pressed to the glass in one of london’s strange cabs enroute to london from the heathrow airport i spied a majestic sight: a pristine grey 993. it might as well have been a wayward leprechaun in a lush green land as i was so whelmed by the apparition.
i spied a curious 1996 volkswagen golf parked in and around the general vicinity of my work-place. upon the first sighting i assumed it was owned and customized by some wacky artist trying to assert his/her artiness as it is always parked by a cluster of fine galleries. the next time i saw it i decided on two things: 1) i need to do a bit of research (which these days counts as spending 15 seconds on google) 2) i had to have one. i quickly discovered these multicolor golfs were factory made limited editions of approximately 260 cars and came in 4 color variations…. you can tell the original color of each version by the roof and rear pillar colors…. this car was originally blue and then panels were switched at factory. if anyone knows of a good condition harlequin for sale with a manual transmission i have cash money waiting for an acquisition. (photo courtesy Chris Haak as i haven’t been able to capture my local harlequin in motion)
for some reason the sighting of this lone ferrari 328 in paris reminds me of the masterful paul bowles prose le bapteme de la solitude. having purchased a vintage ferrari within the last year, i can almost equate the following passage with the experience of purchasing, owning and driving a ferrari… stupid, i know. there is something broken about a man who decides to buy a ferrari… a self destructive and nihilistic act… here it goes: “It is a unique sensation and has nothing to do with loneliness, for loneliness presupposes memory. Here, in this wholly mineral landscape lighted by stars like flares, even memory disappears; nothing is left but your own breathing and the sound of your heart beating. A strange, and by no means pleasant, process of reintegration begins inside you, and you have the choice of fighting against it, and insisting on remaining the person you have always been, or letting it take its course. For no one who has stayed in the Sahara for awhile is quite the same as when he came. Perhaps the logical question to ask at this point is : Why Go? The answer is that when a man has been there and undergone the baptism of solitude he can’t help himself. Once he has been under the spell of the vast, luminous, silent country, no other place is quite strong enough for him, no other surroundings can provide the supremely satisfying sensation of existing in the midst of something that is absolute. He will go back, whatever the cost in comfort and money, for the absolute has no price.”
the first generation honda prelude was a curious ‘sports car’… merely a sports car in name as surely a true sports car cannot be created based on a honda civic and conjured together with a few stretches of sheet metal, a paper-clip and some chewing gum. most first generation preludes (1979-1982) have been resting in the bone yard for quite a spell by now. this example sported large diameter wheels and was in excellent condition…… a rare sighting of a car whose philosophical heritage at best can be traced to the volkswagen beetle derived karmann-ghia, but that is giving the prelude and honda a hell of a lot more credit than due.
relying exclusively on the iphone to shoot photos has its hazards and can produce random accidental results. i have positively identified the subject as a 1964 cadillac de ville based on forensic research of tail fins. this car was heavily modified complete with a sawzall convertible top and outrageous paint…… so i scrambled to to get my iphone ready to shoot. the iphone can have unpredicatble shutter speeds and though the car was in frame, by the time the shutter opened and closed we were left with just a tiny snippet of fin. but damn it all to hell, i do like it !
the 2001-2006 iteration of the mini cooper was a game-changing automotive break through. with uncanny performance, quality, design and of course the bulldog ‘wide stance’ this car was unlike anything offered before or since. BMW, in its infinite wisdom, recognized that the public was ready for a small high performance hatch-back ‘luxury car’. wait a minute, a hatchback ?? yes! a hatchback. a throw-back to the eighties and continuing in the path blazed not only by the original mini but also by the VW GTI and peugeot 205, this mini was definitely no chevette. who woulda thunk this was possible ? certainly not rover, bmw’s initial partner in the project as rover wanted an economy car, whilst BMW supported a small sporting car and finally prevailed and thank goodness they did !
this jaguar was spotted zipping around the Arc de Triomphe in paris france, which was a spectacular sight to behold….. it is amazing there wasn’t more accidents as the cars zip about seemingly willy-nilly with no lanes nor ryhme-reason. the series III jaguar xj6 is a very nifty car, i once owned a 1987 and from a design perspective it was uncanny inside and out. i shudder to think that many of these cars received chevy V8′s at the hands of misguided ugly americans thinking they were improving them.
(Spotted in portland on highway 26 east) When Alessandro de Tomaso acquired Maserati in 1976, he had ambitious plans for the marque. His plan was to combine the prestige of the Maserati brand with a sports car that would be more affordable than the earlier high-priced models that had traditionally made up the Maserati range. In fact, Maserati ceased making supercars like the ones developed under Citroën ownership altogether, like the Bora and Khamsin. The Biturbo was initially a strong seller and brought Italian prestige to a wide audience, with sales of about 40,000 units. Sales figures fell in subsequent years, until de Tomaso sold the company to Fiat. Biturbo is number 28 in the BBC book of “Crap Cars” and is Time Magazine’s worst car of 1984. (from wikipedia)
everyone has their own personal favorite iteration of the porsche 911, the only car i know of that can boast continuous production from 1964 to present, so there are a lot of versions to choose from. for me, i chose the 1994 964. why ? it is the most advanced porsche that still retains the classic porsche look, specifically the front cowls and upright head-lights. this is the quintessential 911 form….. updated, yet classic. i like this version so much that if i found a minty fresh 1994 964 2 with under 35k miles on it, i would be very tempted to sell my 2009 997 S and buy the 964. What Is Your Favorite 911 ????
the E39 M5 has been referred to as “the best motor car on the planet” ….. after owning a 1995 E34 540i with 6 speed manual transmission i can understand how such a claim was plausible and not simply hyperbole. the 540i was as close to perfection as one could expect from a manufactured good. i regret i have never driven a E39 M5 nor the monstrous E60 though i can imagine they are good…. very good. i considered purchasing a E60 M5 but after comparing performance, and considering timelessness, engineering and style i chose a 2009 porsche 997 S as it is a keeper for life where as the M5 will always just be a souped-up sedan, it does not have the pedigree and heritage of 60+ years of direct engineering & design refinement that the 997 benefits from eons of perfecting the 356 and 911…. plus there is something just really cool about having a rear-engined super-car.
immortalized in the films ‘risky business’ and ‘scarface’, the porsche 928 is a good design but currently is in that awkward stage between dated and classic. few pristine examples have survived and i’m assuming that in 5-10 years these cars will become increasingly desirable. though who really covets a 924 or a 928 ? the only porsche ever made that people actually want is the 911. if i had it my way from here on out porsche would only build the iconic 911 and the boxster. porsche should keep on refining these cars for another 40 years and kick the cayenne, cayman and panamera to the curb. if porsche wants to make a different car, then i vote for something small and semi-affordable like a hatchback GTI type car or a modern day BMW 2002. the catch is that it would have to be an entirely original driver’s car from the ground up and not a bunch of re-branded VW bullshit like the cayenne.
Most ferrari mondials were painted rosso red, but some were black or silver, and a few were dark blue. At least two, one UK market car, and one now in Southern California, were painted white. The one white unit in Southern Ca was owned by Nicole Brown Simpson who bought it new and drove it often as a daily driver right up until her murder on June 12, 1994.
aaahh, it’s so nice that this car has its make and year printed right on its license plate……. makes for quick and easy identification for feeble car spotters. this car reminds me of Lumpy Rutherford for some reason….. dunno why, must be sort of glitch in my synapses.
being a huge fan of the porsche 911 i can’t help but cringe a little when i see a cabriolet or targa……. from a design perspective the classic hard-top lines are soo much better. and it always adds insult-to-injury to see a cabriolet or targa wearing the ridiculous whale-tail. talk about taking something terrific and making it incredibly douchey. that said, even with those indignities it is still fun to spot a 911 and snap a photo of it while its at play.
(photo courtesy mark ford) the official guidelines at CIHS dictate that images be shot with an iphone in horizontal position, not cropped and/or manipulated in any way. we weren’t able to verify if this photo exceeded our low standards, but it is jolly good and is included for all to enjoy. cruising joyfully along in beautiful lands, it is as if these desert dwellers discovered santa’s deposits sitting beneath the joshua tree. apparently the fellow was a very good boy so he received his wish amongst santa’s droppings: a 3.7 second 0-60 mph all electric tesla roadster. ho-ho-ho !
david berman describes snow best: “When it’s snowing, the outdoors seem like a room. Today I traded hellos with my neighbor. Our voices hung close in the new acoustics. A room with the walls blasted to shreds and falling.” i shot this picture of what ostensibly appears to be a nissan pick up truck, but really its a photograph of either the virgin mary, the grim reaper, a peasant woman or some-sort of unholy combination of the three.
“continuez au camionnage” thats french for ‘keep on truckin’! this massive dump-truck was spotted in the french countryside enroute from charles de gaulle airport to paris. even though its just a dump truck there is still something esoteric and french about it…… in particular the cargo portion es magnifique ! its best to imagine that it hauls le petite escargot, beurre blanc and pièces pour des citroens.
fun fact: did you know that you can buy a brand new peugeot in mexico, but you cannot buy one in the good ol’ USofA ?? i don’t know about you but that seems awfully queer. do the french regard mexico as a more sophisticated market ? or are they just getting back at us for the whole “Freedom Fries” debacle? i also notice that canada is getting the silent treatment from peugeot as well, though french is an official language of canada….. why, you can’t even buy a bag of crisps up yonder without french on the wrapper. do the french hate hockey, cheese and the word ‘eh?’ so much they decided to deprive canadians the privilege of driving a peugeot ? what gives ? i want my peugeot’s, citroen’s, alfa romeo’s, lancia, fiat’s and all other manner of european car. it would be a welcome sight to get some hyundais, toyotas, kias and hondas off the roads in favor of some nice esoteric french and italian cars for a change.
i hereby declare this specimen a 1966 datsun 411 “bluebird”….. near as i can tell, thats what this contraption is. really, its a bloody miracle that this car is still on the streets….. as japanese cars were semi-disposable and still are. thin gauge body metal, cheap interior materials and hard, careless use has conspired to put these cars into bone yards faster than one can say ‘dextromethorphan‘. with styling cues taken from alfa romeo and lancia, this photo is proof the japanese have aspired to make knock-offs of fine european motorcars for a long time…. the only difference is now they have entire divisions dedicated to making knock-off mercedes-benz and bmw’s…. yes you heard me right….. lexus anyone ? shameful. but a 1966 bluebird that stumbles onto the freeway out of nowhere is harmless and cute…. the statute of limitation for this design infraction has long since elapsed.
“Well my baby, she’s alright, Well my baby, she’s clean out-of sight. Don’t you know that she’s … she’s some kind of wonderful.” some kind of wonderful indeed. you don’t see too many vehicular communes motoring down the road these days…. not as many as in the 1960′s-70′s i would surmise. this american made rabbit was not really road-worthy… it had a severe right-rear list, was over-loaded with what might be best described as band mates or fellow fugitives from an unknown realm. piled high with nook-sacks on the roof, suggestive in appearance of some sort of freakish cupcake. and nary a gas cap. you have to give them credit for running diesel though.
in part, the original intent of this site was to display a few esoteric semi-arty images, so please accept this snippit of e28 5-series as a genuine, valid & true car-spotting photygiraffe. honest osshiffer, i tried to get the whole car in the frame, but being that i was in a moving car trying to snap at it, and the subject was in motion too…. well, by the time the shutter opened and closed on the iphone, this here was all she yepped by crikey ! (and i like it)
well, whooptdee goddamn dedoo !…. what do we have here?!?! this fancy top-sirloin cutlass supreme was evidently wrassled from a mild mannered insurance salesman uncle when he was put in the retirement home and then it was seriously schooled in the art of ludicrous sass as you can see from this here photo.
with its iridescent orange paint, large 20" wheels and incongruous cultural trust license plates, this 1968 chevrolet impala cut a flamboyant figure whilst cruising through the highway 26 tunnel. fortunately i was there to bear witness with my trusty iphone camera and apprehended it for your viewing pleasure. gawk all you want.
spotted this porsche 997 turbo today whilst going into town. please excuse the derth of posts recently, its not really car spotting season and i have’nt been very diligent in posting the back catalog, sorry ! anyway, this here p’turbo oughta tide y’all over until i unearth some more vehicular nourishment…. bon appetite car dweebs!
(photo submitted by molly mcglynn) the german mercedes sprinter van is an inspired commercial vehicle for the 21st century… meanwhile gm, ford & chrysler still try to pass off 1970′s technology vans as new 2010 vehicles. despite suffering from excruciating banality, has the american citizenry become sophisticated enough to reject the big 3′s cynical proffering of obsolete soviet worthy vans ? or could it be that the american cargo van has become emblematic of a corrupt and confused society?
(photo submitted by ali rahimi) this 1956 t-bird was skillfully apprehended by ali who kindly turned over this photograph to authorities. the coloring in this leafy scene is awesome and almost looks as if the photo was taken in the olden-days but t’wernt, this t-bird was captured just today. oh yeah that reminds me….. one more thing: Don’t you know about the bird? Well everybody’s heard about the bird ! Bird bird bird, the bird is the word ! Bird bird bird, the bird is the word ! Na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na Bird bird bird, the bird is the word.. Bird bird bird, the bird is the word.. Papa-oom-mow-mow, papa-ooma-mow-mow-mow !!!!
judging by the golden rays of light fondly beaming down onto this 1955 chevrolet bel air, i can only surmise that god is sending his love down from heaven blessing the car and its occupants. the only thing missing from this scene are birds fluttering about and cute juvenile fauna prancing alongside the vehicle. i have to wonder why the occupants of the car have the top up… are they trying to prevent god’s love from penetrating ? are they some sort of ungrateful atheists? or perhaps fearful albino’s who burn easily ?
(photo submitted by mark ford) this massive windmill blade was spotted creeping along I-84 and mark had the where-with-all despite the brain-freezing spectacle to pull out his iphone and capture this image to share with all of us homely ghouls. hopefully this was a vestas wind system windmill as they are made in denmark and are the most aesthetically pleasing of all windmills if i may humbly opine.
i like to brand sightings of cars so old they clearly belong to an era that few can remember as “phantoms“….. ambassadors from another time sent to the future to remind us all of our own mortality and impending obsolescence. they help to put things into perspective and hopefully remind us to enjoy life a bit more and not take everything so seriously, for soon we will all be DEAD ! (or ideally ghosts driving phantom classic cars)
(photo submitted by boice tomlin) this “speedster” was handily captured by boice on may 16, 2008 and he kindly turned over the photo so all of us could bear witness. this image is pretty much the text-book example of what we are looking for here at carsihaveseen…. it is spontaneous, has movement, was captured with an iphone in horizontal position, was not cropped, photo-shopped or color corrected, and is aesthetically pleasing. the only bummer is that this speedster appears to be a repro kit-kar.
a 1967 chevrolet chevelle malibu in full honyak regalia sporting patriotic flags, loud mufflers and a myriad of motor-head stickers on the rear wind-screen. kind of reminds me of a tom waits song………. “and it’s a skid mark tattoo on the asphalt blue….. was that a malibu?”
aah, the nyc cab. nothing says “new york” quite like swarms of yellow cabs driven by all manner of exotic foreign-tongued jockeys careening about the concrete jungle. but i think, against all logic, the city should have stubbornly adopted an ordinance clinging to the checker cab for all eternity… much like london has clung to their oddly mis-shapen black cab. can you imagine the checker cab after 50-60 years of continuous evolution and refinement ? (swoon!) i mean, whats with all the crown victoria’s ? those things are so awful i feel like puking after two blocks due to their awful suspension, smells and claustrophobic design. if not checker cabs, then i demand a fleet of mini-coopers…. they make a whole lot more sense in dense urban wilderness such as nyc.
in paris the police cars definitely are not trying to be macho or intimidating… indeed much like the famed “pink panther” inspector clouseau, the police cars in paris have a comical and bungling air. combine this with the french sirens (usually only heard to american ears in movies) the aesthetics of policing in france are more sophisticated, authentic and mis-shapen… which i actually prefer and will happily take any day over a good old-fashioned american tazing!
as a child of two or three years old i used to make my parents take me to airports and/or rail-yards as i had a fascination with watching the big peculiar machines move around….. i believe i called these machines ‘wagoos’. now that i’m older it is still hard to beat the sighting of unique wagoos such as an orange italian pushback tractor that looks like a mud-skipper.
this late 1960′s porsche 911 was caught tootling up the highway 26 hill, all-the-while shamelessly sporting what appears to be a bogus RS tail spoiler. it was almost getting past the magic hour so i quickly snapped a few snaps in low light and i like the outre’ ‘artistic’ affect the photygiraffes spawned.
i was minding my own business whilst walking towards inform-interiors in gastown (vancouver bc) when all of a sudden i heard the obnoxious roar of two lamborghini gallardo’s rallying in the streets ! i know the sound of exotic italian engines is music to the ears of many a car-dweeb, but when they are as loud as these two were its just simply annoying….. and that goes double for them harley-hogs with extra loud pipes, dagnabbit !
another shot of the lovely ferrari testarossa spotted on august 25th….. this time with the experimental tilt/shift miniature faking iphone application. whaddya think ?? yeah or neah on the miniature faking ?? i’m leaning towards NO.
this nice austin-healey was spotted in vancouver, canada. shortly after this sighting i became aware of the TiltShift app for the iphone which makes the subject in the photo (ideally) appear as a miniature and/or model. the rules for the photos featured on this site strictly prohibit any manipulation of images… they must appear exactly as the iphone naturally captures the image. but i am entertaining the notion of allowing the use of the TiltShift app as the only exception…. therefore i am breaking the rules just this once as a test….. what do y’all think ?
before lee iacocca’s ‘K’ car, traction control, anti-lock brakes and power-every-thing they made solid, simple and interesting american cars like this 1968 dodge dart convertible which was spotted lumbering home from the forest grove concourse d’elegance. this shot conjures up images of an andrew wyeth-esque world where time ran along a more simple line.
the aston martin db5 is the most famous aston martin car due to its use by James Bond in Goldfinger (1964). although ian fleming had placed Bond in a db mark III in the novel, the db5 was the company’s newest model when the film was being made. the car used in the film was the original db5 prototype, with another standard car used for stunts. two more modified cars were built for publicity tours after the film’s release. in january 2006, one of those cars was auctioned in arizona for $2,090,000. the same car was originally bought in 1970 for £5,000 from the owner, sir anthony bamford, by a tennessee museum owner. the other car is located in the netherlands in the louwman collection museum, and this car was mainly used for promoting the movie.
its kind of tricky for the un-initiated to not be dismissive of ferrari’s and their owners….. after all, at first glance they appear to be flamboyant toys for over-grown boys. even i find myself leaning towards this type of prejudice on newer ferraris. though now i have real first hand appreciation of ferrari’s since i recently took delivery of a 308 gtb and have drank the ferrari kool-aide. the stiff tractor-like clutch, the manual steering, the manual brakes, the gated-shifter combined with growly engine sounds and nimble handling equal an uncanny visceral driving experience that has to be experienced to truly understand the allure. it was fitting that i spotted this testarossa gracing the streets this morning as i am now armed with the proper appreciation to realize it was a special sighting….. truly a beautiful car.
continuing the theme started below by the geo metro festooned with trucker smoke-stacks, it is the perfect time to unleash this unholy low-riding creation to an unsuspecting world. spotted parading down interstate 5 on august 8th, this is the automotive equivalent of walking around with your jeans half-way down yer arse and your under wear showing…. you know the look. sometimes i am filled with wonder as to the extent the human race will go to to be deliberately ridiculous in the 21st century.
photo and testimonial provided by mark ford: i was on the freeway when this fairly new geo metro driven by two honyaks with their hats turned backwards entered the roadway and cut across two lanes of traffic. it looks like they bypassed the catalytic converter and ran basic steel exhaust pipe out behind both doors and up the sides of the car and over the roof line… the car had a ‘hole in the muffler’ sound upon acceleration and when I pulled up next to the driver for a closer look, he gave me the ‘rocker’ hand sign…. priceless!
as we live a life of ease, every one of us, has all we need… sky of blue, and sea of green…. and a yellow submarine… so we lived beneath the waves… In our yellow submarine.
you don’t see very many authentic classic mini-coopers prowling the mean streets of these united states, and when you actually do see one, if you are like me, you are struck by how much more ‘mini’ they are compared to the new-fangled versions proffered by bmw. this photograph is a nice juxtaposition of a huge brutalist abandoned building that displays just how mini this car is as well as a symbolic visual aid to foist commentary upon our gentle readers as to the state of the usa in the 21st century….. (too large, neglected by the owners and forgotten by the citizenry).
the famous, distinctive, and durable design of the porsche 911 is notable for being rear engined like the porsche designed volkswagen beetle it is based on. the 911 was air-cooled from 1963 until the introduction of the all-new Type 996 in 1998. Since its introduction 46 years ago the 911 has undergone continuous development, refinement and evolution…… always improving on the basic concept which has remained essentially unchanged throughout its lifespan. it is safe to say that the porsche 911 is the only car being built today with such a pure and un-interrupted lineage…… it is refreshing to drive a car that has received such extensive refinement. the thing about striving for perfection is that as technology evolves, ultimate perfection becomes a moving target which will never be achieved…… that porsche is so committed to building a perfect car is a refreshing testament in this day of soul-less cars.
municipal fuzz. city heat. bacon. bobby. dogs. old bill. pigs. flat foots. woodentops. blue meanies. boys in blue. bulls. filth. tha folks. the man. heavies. rashers. rollers. uncle blue. tire biters. whoop-whoops. it doesn’t matter which term you prefer for your local law enforcement, all i know is that i love the mondrian style graphics on this london police cruiser and if i got pulled over by a 5 series sporting such stylish test-pattern embellishments it would make a bitter pill taste just a wee bit sweeter.
beetles, transporters, karmann-ghias & type III air-cooled volkswagens were the coolest cars ever built. they had an irresistible combination of austerity, functionality, affordability, quality, and were ingeniously engineered & designed. these cars appealed to people with brains: professors, hippies, architects, college kids, beatniks, enlightened suburbanites, frugal housewives, design conscious proletariats, etc. an air-cooled volkswagen was not merely an automobile, it became a physical manifestation of ideology, culture, equality and hope for a better world. perhaps the only similar galvanizing product that exists today is the iphone & apple computer…. yet these fall well short in the charm department compared to a minty fresh 1963 vw beetle.
this shot is ostensibly of the new camaro in the lane ahead, though it is also a nice shot of the nether-regions of my 1970 mercedes 280se. the new camaro is a very well executed design and the quality seems good, though i notice that american and japanese cars seem nice when they are new, but after a few years the designs look crude and the cars themselves are falling apart. contrast this with my 1970 mercedes which is about 40 years old and still looks and drives new…. the fact that the design has stood the test of time is really just the ‘icing-on-the-gravy’.
i discovered paris was stocked with a pretty amazing variety of fine classic automobiles prowling the rues….. it seems the french value keeping older classic cars on the road. the xj6 has always been a favorite from a design perspective. the exterior design is quite accomplished whilst the interior has an old-school high-society lounge quality with a genuine wood dashboard, high quality leather seating, air-craft style gauges and a satisfying number of secret agent style buttons to push.
continuing with a second example of the peculiar distortion that can occur when using the iphone for fast motion photography, this bmw was captured merely seconds after the mercedes below. the elongated hood conjures images of an old tex avery cartoon car…. if you squint closely you can even spy a rascally wolf behind the wheel.
one of the more esoteric qualities of shooting moving subjects exclusively with the iphone is that interesting distortion is produced under certain conditions. this passing mercedes benz 450sl was captured in a fleeting moment and the surreal depiction appears as a one dimensional card board cut-out….. yet in actuality it is steel, rubber, glass and man.
this voracious street-cleanin’ caterpillar was spied prowling the streets of paris france. its mandibles are fierce and rumored to be loaded with Perrier. these creatures secrete a hypnotic substance reducing their human operators to mere tranquilized slaves who live only to serve the caterpillar’s needs…… the operator in this photo appears to have fallen victim as witnessed by the tell-tale vacant and obedient stare.
once upon a time, i rented a 2006 mini-cooper S for a weekend and drove the compact hilly urban terrain of san francisco along with the fragant wine country of the napa valley. aside from the ‘pt crusier’ aura of the interior design (gauges excepted) i was an instant convert to the mini gospel. i loved that car and intended on ordering one when i returned home… a ‘jc-cooper-works car’ even. but then i became aware that there were significant changes planned for the 2007 model. maybe i should wait to order ??? unfortunately i did wait and witnessed with horror how bmw RUINED the mini mk2 for 2007. it was FUGLY, and to add insult-to-injury, they eliminated the super-charged engine in favor of turbo. my crush on the 2006 continues but there was no way in hell i would order or drive the botched mk2. hold your head high 2006 mini cooper, i will always remember our time in ‘frisco and pity those who desecrated your successor’s beauty.
The Citroën 2CV (deux chevaux vapeur, “two steam horses”) was an economy car produced from 1949 to 1990. It was technologically advanced and innovative, but with extremely utilitarian and deceptively simple Bauhaus inspired bodywork that belied the sheer quality of its underlying engineering. the most intelligent application of minimalism ever to succeed as a car.
the 997 iteration of the porsche 911 has got to be an all time favorite of any self respecting car dweeb. the beneficiary of 45+ years of refinement, evolution and continuous production means this car is pretty much the best new car on the planet. being the only rear-engine car available today, its fun to pretend you are driving an amazingly fast and nimble volkswagen beetle. this specimen was spied in london, though it had french registration and presumably a french pilot….. perhaps it was chunneled ? i would very much like to hear people’s opinions regarding the 997 versus previous generations in terms of the exterior design being as strong as the air-cooled era and how it fits into the 911 heritage, etc.
this alfa romeo duetto spider was spotted near forest grove, oregon and even though i was driving a lowly series 3 spider graduate, the duetto driver gave my a hearty and enthusiastic wave. you have to love alfa enthusiasts, as they are friendly, down to earth and sincere in their love of these relatively slow but fun to drive and charming italian cars.
even though these cars are now attainable for $12-$24k, every time i see one i think the occupant must be some sort of secret society elite, or fabulous entertainer a’la liberace. i should buy one just to fuck with everyone’s minds… infact i know where a pristine and tempting one is right now, just waiting to be bought …… hhmmmmm.
heading to the Charles de Gaulle Airport, this elusive lamborghini gallardo crept behind the taxi and was captured along with the peculiar looking vespa that oft-times attaches itself like a remora to larger, faster cars ands feeds off their exhaust. just goes to show that you never really know what you are going to pull up in the net; a parasetic vespa, the majestic lamborghini fish……. or both!
i guess this begs the question, are rams really that tough ?? aren’t they related to lambs ? are lambs tough ??? feeble philosophic wonderings aside, this macho looking truck was captured pushing through the highway 26 tunnel. (love the grisly grease drippings oozing down the side of the tunnel wall) i didn’t get a good view of the driver so i don’t know if he was an ironic hipster or a genuine handle-bar mustachio’d libertarian NRA member preparing for the apocalypse.
spotted heading west on highway 26, this car has a lot of appeal, though “deluxe” is a corny american term commonly used to specify hamburgers and what-not. the design of this car is quite good….. the sleek proportions demonstrate a ‘form-follows-function’ sensibility. perhaps this vehicle was a last hurrah of ‘good design’ for american cars before the 1950′s begat superfluous fins and other gimmicks & gewgaws.
this ‘smart car’ was running the gauntlet at the Arc de Triomphe at such a rapid clip it began to morph into molten metal. in europe, most cars are turbo-diesels and this smart was no exception. think of the ‘green-ness’ and then consider we cannot buy a diesel smart in the united states.
i spied this one whizzing around the Arc de Triomphe in Paris about dusk on a pleasant spring eve. watching the vehicular traffic racing around the arc is a spectacle to behold, as chaotic as bumper-cars at the county fair, but miraculously with nary a crash.
The 190SL was also referred to as the ‘Nitribitt-Mercedes’ after the scandal surrounding the murder of call girl Rosemarie Nitribitt. Nitribitt succeeded in getting male attention and acquired a stock of posh society clients. She became very wealthy rather quickly, which she demonstrated by buying a black Mercedes 190 SL with red leather upholstery in 1956 and drove it around Frankfurt to solicit customers. in November 1957 she was found dead in her apartment in Frankfurt, her body showing signs of strangulation and a head wound. She was interred at the Nordfriedhof Düsseldorf….. Her head, however, was kept as evidence in police custody and later exhibited in the Kriminal-Museum in Frankfurt; it was eventually buried in February, 2008.
driving in the lane astride it, i was struck by this car’s pristine condition. the shape of the mercedes SL of this era has always been a favorite, and so impressed by this particular specimen i felt compelled to risk life and limb to recklessly snap a photo whilst traveling at 60 mph. this photo became the impetus to create the “cars i have seen” site.
citroën’s have a rich heritage of uniquely esoteric french design. always futuristic in ways only the french can manage…… designed and engineered in ways that seem positively alien. even the current citroen’s convey a certain sublime outre’ character that could be infused only in france. wouldn’t it be nice if us ugly americans could buy new citroens state-side ???
‘captain of industry’ motor car spotted in london england. this reminds me of writing scrawled on the bathroom wall at the world famous up & up tavern in bellingham washington in the 1980′s: “there once was a man from boston who drove around town in an aston. he had room for his ass and a gallon of gas, but his balls hung out the door and he lost ‘em”
this car appeared as an apparition in the west-side majestic forest of portland. it lingered just long enough for me to snap this reckless photo out the back of my 2009 911 S before it vanished into the forest mist. ghostly phantom !
when i caught up to this car much to my surprise i spied an aging but still stylish tony montana behind the wheel….. apparently he has been enrolled in the federal witness relocation program in oregon all these years. say hello to my lil’ friend !
vw beetle’s big brother……..
Not too many of these have survived.