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


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┬ácaptured 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.

Continue reading

1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk

When I visit a classic car show, there is never a shortage of Fords, Chevrolets, Chryslers, and other American muscle cars. However, it’s rare to see a Studebaker at the local cruise-in night. Why is that? The simple answer is that Studebaker just didn’t build a whole lot of cars.

Take this 1963 Studebaker Gran Turismo Hawk for example. It is one of just 4,009 produced in 1963. In that same year, Ford sold 63,313 Thunerbirds and Pontiac sold 72,959 Grand Prixs. As you can tell, this car was definitely not a big seller, which makes it all the more special to have spotted this GT Hawk at the Scottsdale Pavilions.

Continue reading

Driven: 1990’s Isuzu Impulse Wagon

There must be some sort of odd subconscious check list in my head that decides whether or not I like a car, would I drive it, and why. Somehow this thing passes the test. Although it’s nowhere near as pleasing to the eye as the first generation Impulse, this second gen wagonback still satisfies. Continue reading

Driven: Bill Burke’s Land Rover Defender 90

I’m not exactly sure if this meets the (admittedly) arbitrary requirements for Driven, as it’s apparent that this thing can go wherever it wants. This model is a 1990 or newer US-spec with the Buick-derived V8 engine. It’s interesting that Land Rover used this engine all they way up until 2006, when it was designed by Buick in the 1950’s

The Buick 215 V8 was initially offered in 1961 for the “early Y-bodies” which were the initial uni-body offerings of the BOP A-body platform, my that’s a lot of bodies. Due to smart-ass “experts” on the internet I feel I should defend my Olds-loving honor and mention that the Oldsmobile variation of the 215 had several changes to the heads for aesthetic, performance and durability reasons. As a result, Olds heads can go on any other 215, but not the other way around. It’s also worth noting that the Olds 215 had an optional water-injected turbocharged model, exclusive to Oldsmobile cars.

The design was split in the 60’s: Buick built off of it’s characteristics using iron blocks (the 215 was all aluminum) and it evolved into what became the modern Buick V8 line-up and the indestructible 231/3.L/3800 V6 family; with the Aluminum tooling being sold to Land Rover in 1965.

So what’s Mr. Burke doing with his 93″ Wheelbase (where the name “90” comes from) British-bodied, American-powered SUV? Well as you can see from the advertising on it, he gives lessons in 4-wheeling. You can find out more at www.bb4wa.com.

1947 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe

My friends and family often ask me why I go to the Scottsdale Pavilions car show so often. “Don’t you get tired of looking at the same cars all the time?” they inquire. While you do see a few of the same cars, it’s different enough to be interesting. You just never know what might roll its way into the Pavilions, and today’s post is a perfect example of what I am talking about.

This car is a 1947 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe. I’ve never seen one before and with only 13,299 ever produced (and far less than that surviving today), I doubt I’ll see very many more of these things around.

Continue reading

1982 Ford Granada Wagon

I spotted this car a few weeks ago during a trip to San Francisco. I didn’t think much of it, just another old Ford wagon from the 80’s. I completely forgot that I had taken the picture until recently when I was sorting through them all. After spending a bit more time researching than I expected I finally figured out what I was looking at.

This is the 1982 Ford Granada wagon and, as I have learned, there are a handful of interesting things to note about this car. For one, it was only made for a single year. It’s part of the second generation of the Ford Granada, which only saw two production years before being tweaked with a new front end and sold as the LTD. The first year had only coupe or sedan options, the wagon came about for the final year. Continue reading