Old cars

Carspotting 2014

Whenever I see an old car parked, I photograph it. It’s become tradition at Down the Road to share the annual crop with you as the year wraps up. I’ve adjusted that tradition this year: the bar for inclusion was lowered from 25 to 20 years. I’ve shared many of these cars with the audience at Curbside Classic and have linked to those stories where they exist.

91ChevyLuminaAPV1jg

1991 Chevrolet Lumina APV. My nearby Meijer attracts old cars like my porch light attracts moths. These were weird minivans even in their day. Those that survive generally look pretty good thanks to plastic side panels. More on Curbside Classic here.

91DodgeShadowES_1jg

1991 Dodge Shadow ES. In 1991, as now, cheap cars tended to get used up and then discarded, especially due to the minimal maintenance provided by their second, third or fourth owners. Which makes it truly remarkable that this Dodge Shadow ES made it to 2014 with just a couple of bumper scuffs and a tiny bit of rust on the left rear fender. Read about it at Curbside Classic here.

79PontiacGP2jg

1979 Pontiac Grand Prix. This pristine Pontiac waited illicitly in a handicapped space next to Kroger. More on Curbside Classic here.

89FordTaurus8jg

1990 Ford Taurus wagon. I remember the first time I saw one of these — it stopped me dead in my tracks, so good looking it was. Before, wagons were stolid and boring, slathered in fake woodgrain. More on Curbside Classic here.

89NissanHardbody1jg

1989 Nissan Hardbody. Several of these trucks still roll near my home, but none looking like they just drove out of the showroom like this one. More on Curbside Classic here.

91CadillacAllante1jg

1990 Cadillac Allante. Spotted on Main Street up in Zionsville, this Allante was for sale. More on Curbside Classic here.

1985-89 Plymouth Reliant b

1985-89 Plymouth Reliant. I’ve never so much as ridden in one of these, which is remarkable given their 1980s ubiquity. A brief meditation on Curbside Classic here.

1991 Buick Regal Custom Edition d

1991 Buick Regal Classic Edition. My eyes, my eyes! Such ugly junk tacked onto this flaccid Buick’s roof. More on Curbside Classic here.

1963 Ford Galaxie a

1963 Ford Galaxie. This photo is sort of cheating: this car has been parked here for at least 20 years. It fronts a restaurant in Danville themed for The Andy Griffith Show. More on Curbside Classic here.

1991 Toyota Corolla b

1991 Toyota Corolla. This car looks just like one my stepson bought as his first car. What a hunk of junk it was! Read its story on Curbside Classic here.

1987 Ford LTD Crown Victoria h

1985 Ford LTD Crown Victoria. Found at a different Meijer from the one I normally visit, this Crown Vic is tricked out inside with Hello Kitty gear. See it at Curbside Classic here.

1964 Ford F100 d

1964 Ford F-100. If you’re younger than 30, this truck looks quaint; if you’re older than 40, you’re probably thinking, “now that’s truck.” Spotted in infield parking at the Indiana State Fair. More at Curbside Classic here

1992 Saab 900 Turbo d

1992 Saab 900 Turbo convertible. Another State Fair find that I haven’t written about yet for Curbside Classic.

1940 Buick Special a

1940 Buick Special. My sons and I came upon this old Buick on State Road 135 in Bean Blossom, Indiana. It looks great at 20 feet, but when you get up close you see its imperfections. But I’m happy that it survived at all. More on Curbside Classic here.

1973-80 MB 450 SL c

1973-80 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL convertible. I spotted this one in the parking lot of a Ruth’s Chris Steak House, where I was late to meet my brother for dinner. More on Curbside Classic here.

1977 Chevrolet C10 c

1977 Chevrolet C-10. My friend Dawn and I spotted this truck in Roann, Indiana, while we were there to check out the town’s covered bridge. More on Curbside Classic here.

1978 Ford F-250 Explorer d

1978 Ford F-250 Explorer. I found a lot of trucks this year! You might know the Explorer name from Ford’s flagship SUV, but before that, Explorer was a trim level on Ford’s trucks.

1977-85 MB 300D f

1977-85 Mercedes-Benz 300 Diesel. I found this Mercedes on campus at Rose-Hulman when I visited there in late October.

66-71 Jeepster Commando

1966-67 Jeep Jeepster Commando. One of the many times this year my Ford has been in the shop, I spotted this old Jeepster out front. I’ve seen a couple of these in shows and auctions, but never an unrestored original still rolling. It was a frigid November day — not soft-top Jeepster weather. This Jeepster’s lack of side reflectors peg it to 1966 or 1967 — 1966 was this truck’s first year, but the Feds mandated side reflectors for 1968 and beyond. More on Curbside Classic here.


More cars spotted: 2013, 2012, 2011.

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12 thoughts on “Carspotting 2014

    • For cars from 1955-1980 I have a pretty good knowledge just because as a kid I studied them hard and learned the years they were made. For cars from after 1980 and in general, I research them on the Internet. I don’t always get it right.

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  1. Carole Grey says:

    When the Cadillac Allante came out, it was a head turner and quite sexy although red was not the color of choice as it looked much better in white or black.
    The monster sized Crown Vic was a beautiful car, everything else about it aside, it was very impressive with details that made it look expensive and gave it’s owners pride. It was really out of place not long after but was great in it’s day.
    Carspotting is always fun. Thanks for this trip!

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    • The Crown Vic was big on the outside, but was a little tight on the inside. It could seat three abreast front and back, but legroom wasn’t very good. The Crown Vic rides on a shorter wheelbase than its GM competitors and you really feel it in the back seat.

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    • That’s a solid question. Styles change. Certain cars from the 40s and 50s that were considered unattractive at the time are, to eyes that don’t remember them when they were new, interesting and attractive.

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  2. Steve Miller says:

    You may have just missed me shopping the yard sale behind the Allante. Bought three large wooden hand planes there that day, along with some miscellaneous tools.

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  3. bwc1976 says:

    I used to have a 1981 Mercedes 300D like that, and would love one again one day. One way to help narrow down what year it was, is to see whether it said “turbo diesel” or just “diesel” on the back. The turbo diesels were sold from 1982 to 85, the non-turbo were 1981 or earlier.

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