Saturday, September 24, 2011

Luxury Edition: Carmel after the 2011 Pebble Beach Concours

After a long, but fun day at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, dinner was in order. We parked the car near Ocean Ave, and walked around two blocks to reach the restaurant. The photos here are cars that people were driving to dinner. There were three new crazy colored Rolls-Royce convertibles in row, attracting a lot of attention, as well as an elegant early sixties Rolls convertible on the next block. Also spotted was an early post-war Alfa race car, and a 1963 Ferrari Lusso. The owner of the Ferrari explained to me that it ran well, and that although he lives in Hawaii, he keeps this car here in the South Bay to drive when he visits (see video of it parking here). Excellent choice. There seems to always be a Gremlin hiding somewhere, and this one was green, parked in a safe location around the corner. A new Fisker, a BMW Isseta, a vintage Mercedes van and several other interesting cars were occupying curb space that evening. Take a look at the photos and remember, this is just two blocks worth of car spotting on the way to dinner!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

1959 Oldsmobile 88

The streets of San Francisco are home to many old cars, and are part of the city’s eclectic landscape. This nice original 1959 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 looks quite at home parked in Richmond District of the city where there is able room to park such a large automobile. It is still being used as daily transportation by its loving owner. The car is all original including the gracefully ageing paint and interior. The right side lower fender and rocker have met the curb a few times, but that just adds character. This car also wears the small “poverty caps”, commonly used on low-line sedans, and not often seen on a two door hardtop. Oldsmobile’s new for ’59 “Vista-Panoramic” windshield and “Holiday SceniCoupe” rear window affords a spectacular view of the city as you float by in your American dream machine….

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

1968 Firebird

This 1968 Firebird was parked in Safeway parking lot in Redwood Shores, CA, and appears to be a daily driver. It is a typically equipped car with a 350 engine with automatic transmission, bucket seats with floor shift and standard interior. The really rare feature of this car is the fact that it has hub caps and white walls. The last hundred or so 1967-1969 Firebirds I have seen all had aftermarket wheels or the ever popular and attractive Pontiac Rally II wheels. Although a common sight when these cars where new, white walls on a 1968 Firebird is a rare sight today. They give the car the pure, innocent look of a one owner, unmolested car. I can’t say if I purchased this car that I would not change the wheels and tires to redlines and rallys, but it is nice to see one of these cars as it would have looked on the street forty years ago.

Rolls Royce and Bentleys at the Lake Tahoe Boat Concours

A gathering of expensive vintage wooden boats brings the old money crowd out that owns them. Lake Tahoe has always been a playground for the rich, with the likes of George Whittell Jr and Bill Harrah owning estates and properties on the lake. Older Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles were casually parked on the streets in and around the Carnelian Bay area near the Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance this year. Most were just in clean driver condition, being used as transportation. The only exception was a striking early fifties Bentley Continental, too nice to be a driver. An older Rolls or Bentley is the perfect car to drive to such a splendidly elegant event. Just like wooden boats, Rolls and Bentley cars are often retained by their original owners for many years.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Morris Minor

Berkeley California is known for is eclectic, diverse, and interesting population. This is also true for the unusual collection of older cars used for everyday transportation in Berkeley. This Morris Minor is a great example of a vintage car still used as a everyday car. It was captured on the street in its natural habitat, in traffic on Telegraph Ave. Morris Minors were built in England, and were produced between 1948 and 1971. This specimen is a Morris Minor 1000, introduced in 1956. The exact year of this car is unknown. But what is known, is that this car is always going happy in Berkeley, sharing the streets with many other old, small, European cars.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

1975 Cadillac Eldorado

This beautiful 1975 Cadillac Eldorado frequents the Fourth Street Bowl Coffee Shop in San Jose, adding class and elegance to this eating establishments parking lot. Large, full-size portions are served at the coffee shop, making this car the perfect choice of transport after a heavy meal. This car is unusual not only for its exceptional condition, but for how it was equipped from the factory. It has the seldom seen sun roof option, but was ordered with out a vinyl top. Also unusual are the set of aftermarket wheels installed when the car was new. 1971-1978 Eldorados are rarely seen on the street anymore, making the spotting of this car a feast for the eyes.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

1969 Chevelle SS396

Dull, dirty and drab, with a combination of faded silver and gray primer paint, this 1969 Chevelle SS396 almost goes unnoticed in a parking lot. But on close inspection, this is a straight, solid, and totally stock original muscle car. Spotted in a high school parking lot in Pleasanton, California, it is unmodified, with the original AM radio, bench seat, and correct 14” wheels. This appears to be a daily driver, with no attempt at keeping it clean, much less restored. I like it. A real muscle car used like a car, not a garage queen. Of the over 86,000 SS optioned 1969 Chevelles sold, not many are left with such a unmolested patina like this one.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rabbit Pickup

This early eighties vintage VW Rabbit truck showed up at GM Sports Salvage in San Jose, CA, to pick up some parts. The driver claims that Ellsworth Automotive Center in Menlo Park, CA, purchased the truck new, and it has been in daily use ever since. After nearly 30 years of service, it still looks good. Some damage to the right front, but it appears to still wearing its original paint. They just put a new battery in it once in a while, and it keeps going, and going, and going.......

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

1968 Impala Fastback

This well preserved 1968 Chevrolet Impala was spotted on Highway 5 near Sacramento. Light rainy weather conditions prompted the car's driver the clutch on to the large steering wheel with both hands. The driver, as well as the car's over-all appearance, appear to be original. This huge white car, with it's dramatic fastback styling, was easy to spot from a far distance. My co-pilot snapped these photos as we rolled by.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Land Yacht anchored in Lake Tahoe

Fins where sighted close to shore, or more correctly, on shore in South Lake Tahoe this weekend. Rain, sleet, nor snow could keep this 1961 Cadillac Coupe DeVille from dropping anchor near the Tahoe Queen (seen in the backround). The 1961 Cadillacs featured both upper and lower pedestrian impaling tail fins gracing the port and starboard sides, making any other car look like a fish out of water. This space-age land yacht reflects the optimistic American time in which it was produced. The personal luxury space-craft of the future.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Thames Freighter

This exceptionally clean Thames Freighter panel van was spotted on a rainy day in the parking lot of the Clubman's All British Motorcycle Show in San Jose, CA. OK, what the hell is a Thames? Answer: A British-made Ford. This particular van is part of the 400e Range built between 1957 and 1965. Models exported to the U.S. were labeled either the 800 Freighter, or the Thames Freighter, like this one. The vintage license plates indicate this is a 1961 model. If one of your old Matchbox cars came to life, this is what you would see!

Monday, March 28, 2011

1963 Comet Convertible

Here is a 1963 Mercury Comet Convertible spotted streaking through the rain on Highway 101 in San Jose, CA. This was the first year the Comet was offered in a convertible, and the last year to have the little tail-fins. The owner has optimistically taped-up the folding top in an effort to get just one more season out of it. Seeing this Comet in motion was a rare site indeed....

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Camaro Pizza Delivery

I spotted this 1979 Camaro Z28 in downtown San Jose, just as it came a stop light. The car looks to be all original, and in good shape. If you want your pizza delivered hot, this vehicle is the perfect choice. I hope the driver receives a good tip, that way he can at least break even after he pays for gas.....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cadillac Seville Stretch

Here is something that I have never seen before. A custom made long-wheelbase Seville. I have seen many variations on the first generation Sevilles made 1975-1979, but never a 1980-1985 Seville like this one. The quality of the paint and body, and the level of fit and finish are first-rate. It looks to have been coach built when the car was new. I did some research, and I think this may be a "Opera Sedan" built by Grandeur Motor Car Corp. The roof line has been modified as well. I spotted this pimped-out specimen in front of a pizza pallor in Pleasanton, CA. No doubt he will be ordering his pizza with every topping available.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Jensen Healey

This Jensen Healey roadster is one of about 10,000 produced between 1972 and 1976. The original front bumper is missing, so the cars owner has mounted a pipe to the front of the car held on by large hose clamps. Is the car a under-paid plumber's pipe dream? Or is he living the the California dream....

Thursday, March 10, 2011

1964 Buick LeSabre Stationwagon

This car is used by its owner everyday. There is a roof rack for carrying his mountain bikes. An original paint car, well equipped with factory A/C, power windows, and a very rare rear glass wiper/washer system.

1953 Cadillac

Here is a 1953 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan, spotted on the street in San Jose, CA. I've seen this car driven around town several times, and I finally was able to photograph it. Well-worn, but intact, she's a stout old girl, a little lacking in the social graces, but a lady just the same. She even has factory A/C, as evidenced by the air scoops on the quarters.

1968 Dodge Dart GT

Here is a 1968 Dart GT spotted in a supermarket parking lot in Redwood Shores. Original green paint with white bucket seats. Original black plates. Someone's everyday car. Check out the original TV commerical here:

California Car Spotting: Real cars on the streets

This Blog is a collection of photos I have taken of older cars parked either on the street or in parking lots. I like to see cars in their natural habitat, as opposed to a car show. Cars that are currently being driven on a regular basis and used for transportation. Cars that are in driveways and that are not running are not included. There are many web sites devoted to spotting high-end exotic cars, but I prefer everyday cars still in use. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoy taking the photos and sharing them.