Driven features interesing or unusual cars which are actually driven around instead of sitting in a garage or museum.


The Last Ford Galaxie

last-galaxie-sideIn October of 2015, I was on a road trip to New Mexico that took me though the old Route 66 town of Holbrook, Arizona. Holbrook is famous as the home of the Wigwam Motel, which has been featured in numerous movies for its teepee-shaped rooms.

The Wigwam plays up to tourists with a bunch of old cars parked on the property, ranging from 1940s to 1970s vehicles. Skipping past the Studebaker and the Oldsmobile, I went right for the malaise-era 1970s Ford Galaxie.

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Lexus ES250 – The Forgotten Lexus

In the 1980s, Toyota undertook a massive project to develop a luxury car that would compete with the best of the European brands. The company spent years and over $1 billion dollars developing the LS400: the vehicle that became the flagship for the new brand called Lexus.

As the LS400 was being prepped for its 1990 release, Toyota felt that launching an all-new company with just one model was a bit silly. They needed a second car – a smaller model to balance out the product offering – and they needed it quickly.

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1982 Mercury Cougar GS Wagon

Somehow I’ve stumbled across another one year only wagon, this is the 1982 Mercury Cougar wagon.  It’s the sister car to the 1982 Granada wagon that I found a while back.  I spotted this guy down near the Mexican border and the Granada out in California, I’ve never seen one around Phoenix.  There’s always something special about seeing an older boring car out on the road for normal use.

1974 Buick LeSabre 4-Door Sedan

No, it’s not broken down or trying to summon help. The hood is raised on this 1974 Buick LeSabre sedan because it’s actually participating in a car show. Yes, really.

I spotted this land yacht at a local cruise-in in Glendale, Arizona. The car’s enormous size piqued my curiosity and drew me in for a closer look.

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1937 Citroen Traction Avant: J’arrive!

France is famous for a lot of things: fine wine, exquisite art, and cities of great culture and history like Paris, Marseille, and Bordeaux. But when it comes to cars, Italy is definitely the European country in the spotlight.

Still, that doesn’t mean French cars aren’t worth a look. This 1937 Citroen Traction Avant was a highly advanced car for its day, and has more in common with a modern car than you might think. Continue reading

1966 Mercury Monterey Sedan: Ford’s Middle Child

Back in the 1900s, an Austrian psychotherapist by the name of Alfred Adler came up with an interesting idea. Adler believe that one’s birth order was a major influence on the personality of a person.

For example, Adler believed that in a family with three children, the oldest and youngest children received the most attention from the parents with the middle child often being “forgotten.” Although Adler didn’t have any scientific research to support his theory, the idea of birth order is still well-known today.

So what does all this have to do with cars? Well for a long time, the Ford Motor Company was a family of 3 brands: Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury. Ford was the original and the oldest brand with the largest offering of cars, including entry-level vehicles. Lincoln was positioned as the luxury brand, maker of the finest vehicles that Ford had to offer. Then there was Mercury, the brand caught in the middle. Continue reading

1973 Ford Mustang: Last of the Original Pony Cars

First introduced in 1964, the Ford Mustang was an instant success that combined style and performance into a compact and affordable package. The car’s long hood, short trunk, and V8 engine captured America’s hearts and launched Ford to the top of the sales charts like a Saturn V rocket. Ford was unstoppable, selling a staggering 600,000 Mustangs in 1966.

As time went on, the initial excitement over the new car began to wear off. By 1972, demand for the Mustang was down to 125,000 cars per year. Then in 1973 the oil crisis hit hard, sending gas prices soaring. It seemed as though the Mustang was going to be a tough sell.

Ford responded by introducing the downsized Mustang II in 1974, an ugly little thing that was based on the Pinto. Although it shared the Mustang name, it didn’t share anything else with the first generation cars. That’s what makes this 1973 Ford Mustang so special – it’s the last year of the original pony cars.

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