Barrett-Jackson 2016: 1963 Impala SS

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To most people my age, the 62, 63 and 64 Chevy fullsize cars are more closely associated with the rap or hip culture and low riders. However this particular Impala is pretty strong evidence to the contrary and hopefully a wake up call that the full size cars can be just as interesting as their midsized brethren when it comes to moving fast.

What I like about this car:
1. 340hp W-series big block. Nice.
2. 4-speed manual transmission, a requisite for hauling ass before drivers got lazy.
3. Paint/interior color. Blue, green and metallic. Perfectly 60s.

What I dislike about this car:
1. As much as I like any 348 or 409, this really isn’t “the” 409 that we all know from the Beach Boys’ song of the same name.
2. I feel for a top trim fullsize, the hubcaps leave a bit to be desired. From what I understand, they’re correct for the car, I just don’t care for them.

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1972-1973 Citroen SM Coupe

citroen-sm-sideIf there’s one thing you don’t see a whole lot of in America, it’s French cars. I’ve crossed paths with a few Citroens before including the Traction Avant and the Chevrolet V8-swapped DS that formerly belonged to Alice Cooper. Today I present another of Citroen’s automotive oddities: the 1973-1973 SM coupe.

The SM was Citroen’s attempt at making a sporty 2-door car based on the popular DS. Though it was sold in Europe and the rest of the world, the SM was only available in the U.S. for two years, making this a very rare car. Sales in the United States totaled 1,250 in 1972 and 1,150 in 1973, for a grand total of just 2,400 vehicles. The car was not imported after that because it did not meet the newly-enacted 5 mph safety bumper standards passed by the NHTSA.

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1950 Studebaker Champion by Kicker Audio

There are certain vehicles which, for various reasons, are labelled as “gangster” vehicles. From the 1964 Impala to the Lincoln Continental, these cars have a definite “bad guy” image that people crave.

One car I would never have considered for a mobbed-out gangster mobile is a Studebaker. But, I suppose that’s what makes me different from the guys at Kicker Audio. Their booth at SEMA 2013 featured this evil 1950 Studebaker Champion.

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1977-81 Pontiac Bonneville Coupe

I really don’t understand what business GM’s “excitement” division had building large, luxurious, slow cars like this. Don’t get me wrong, I love the body style, and I’d love to have one, I’m just having trouble trying to come to terms with the reason for this car existing in the first place. It would have made a little more sense back in the 60’s when it was actually possible for a big car to have enough power to actually be exciting, but by the late 70’s, all the car makers were pumping out turd after (sometimes nice looking) turd and I don’t really see anything too exciting about that.

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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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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.

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