Carspotting 2015

15 comments on Carspotting 2015
5 minutes

I take photographs of old parked cars when I come upon them. I write about most of them over at Curbside Classic, the old-parked-car blog. But I know you might not read that blog, so near the end of each year I round up all those cars and share one photo of each here. The only rule: the car has to be at least 20 years old.

1930 Nash c

1930 Nash. Obviously modified during a restoration — just check out those fat modern tires, and I’m sure that grille was originally chromed — it was still great to find this car on Monument Circle early this year. I’ve seen it here a couple other times, with its owner sitting in the driver’s seat. Read more about it here.

1983-88 Toyota truck g

198x Toyota Truck. Despite being hard to kill, these trucks are fairly unusual to find where I live today. I’ve always thought this was the perfect compact truck, and I’d love to have one. Read more about it here.

197x Chevy truck

197x Chevrolet truck. I found this shortbed on a street in South San Francisco while I visited there on business in April. I wrote a short blurb about it here.

198x Toyota Camry

198x Toyota Camry. This battered old soldier was waiting for its owner on Massachusetts Avenue one Friday night in early spring. The nighttime lighting was more challenging than my iPhone could handle, but I had to get a shot anyway, as these old Camrys are few and far between today.

1992-95 BMW 325i a

1992-95 BMW 325i. These used to be everywhere, but when I came upon this one Downtown, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen one. And I don’t think I’d ever seen one in green. Read more about it here.

1988 Ford Ranger STX a

1988 Ford Ranger STX. It had been ages since I’d seen a first-generation Ranger, and the one I came upon was top of the line all the way. This was a pretty expensive little truck when it was new. Read more about it here.

1992 Olds Custom Cruiser

1992 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. Chevy and Buick got both sedan and wagon versions of the last big B body: the Caprice and the Roadmaster, respectively. But for some reason Olds got just the wagon, and then failed to sell many of them. So it was remarkable to come upon this one as I stopped in tiny Kirklin on the Michigan Road earlier this year. I wrote a short piece about it for Curbside Classic, here.

1991-93 Mercury Cougar a

1991 Mercury Cougar XR7. These have always looked ridiculous to me, with that oversquare rear passenger window and the rear wheel arch set so far back. But they sold by the bazillion, half of them in this very 90s color. See more pictures here.

1988-89 Mercury Grand Marquis b

1988-89 Mercury Grand Marquis. I’ve always had such mixed feelings about these. I respect them as one of the last large rear-wheel-drive American sedans, and I sort of like the square, creased styling. But my Ford Focus has about the same amount of front and rear legroom. These just aren’t that large inside! But I almost bought one last year. Read why here.

1983-84 Chrysler E-Class j

1983-84 Chrysler E-Class. Chrysler tried, and failed, to make a luxurious K car. This was it. It’s hard to believe this one has survived in nearly pristine condition. Read more about it here.

1982-86 Mitsubishi Mighty Max Sport c

1982-86 Mitsubishi Mighty Max. I’ve always liked these little trucks, which were more commonly seen in the United States wearing Dodge badging (as the Ram 50). More pix here.

1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer b

1990 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. Did you know this SUV was produced for a whopping 28 model years, from 1963 to 1991? But now that they’ve been out of production for almost as many years, they’re becoming rarer. I found this one while meeting a colleague for coffee one morning. Read more about it here.

1976-77 Chevrolet Vega b

1976-77 Chevrolet Vega. The Vega was arguably the best looking of the early-70s domestic compacts (which included the Pinto and the Gremlin). But they were plagued with reliability problems, and most of them met their fate long ago. So it was delightful to come upon this one up in Home Place (a little neighborhood sandwiched between Indianapolis and Carmel) over the summer. Read about it here.

1992-98 BMW 3 series coupe b

1992-98 BMW 3-series coupe. This was the car I lusted after when I was in my 20s. If there had been a for-sale sign in the window of this one, I might have been a goner. Over at Curbside Classic, I used this car to ask the question: what is your favorite BMW? Read it here.

1968-75 BMW 2002 b

1968-75 BMW 2002. I bought a lot of topsoil for a landscaping project, bringing home ten or so bags at a time in the back of my hatchback. I probably should have had a few yards delivered by truck. But then I would have missed this 2002 parked at a nearby Home Depot. More pics here.

1995 Mercury Sable a

1995 Mercury Sable. Time was, these roamed the Earth in vast numbers. But the herd has thinned, to the point where seeing one at all is remarkable. What’s even more remarkable is that this one looks barely used.

1970 Ford F250 b

1970 Ford F-250. I visited my alma mater for Homecoming in October. I like to see what the kids are driving, because sometimes a gem lurks among the hand-me-down cars so typical of the college set. I was surprised to find that a student from Montana drove this truck to Terre Haute — a drive on the order of 24 hours, in a vehicle that could best be described as punishing to drive. See more photos here.

1967 Pontiac Bonneville b

1967 Pontiac Bonneville. The last old parked car I found this year is one of my most satisfying finds ever. I love the 1967 and 1968 General Motors B-body hardtop coupes — so large, so audacious. This one was parked on US 40 in Cambridge City. The full story is here.


15 responses to “Carspotting 2015”

  1. davidvanilla Avatar

    You can always rope me in with old car pictures. Tres nice.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m using bias ply rope!

  2. Sam Avatar

    Hey Jim, great post and pics! Can’t recall how many times I’ve seen old folks driving around in the Mercury Cougar or Grand Marquis over the years :-)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The MGM was the old-folks’ car of choice for a long time!

  3. Gary Avatar

    My very first new car was a 74 Vega. My dad said he would sign with me if I could save 1/3 down. Took me a while to save $900 for the down payment but I wanted that car so bad. Man, I was driving in style with my new Vega and of course I had a CB radio installed. Well, for 24,000 miles anyway. Then the engine blew. I don’t miss it at all.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      GM finally sorted out the Vega 2300’s giant engine problems for the ’75 model year. That’s probably why the pictured Vega still survives!

  4. Dawn Avatar

    I took a picture of a car in our Walmart parking lot that I knew you would like. How can I send you the picture?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Go to my contact page and send me a note. I’ll reply, and then you’ll have my email address!

  5. George Denzinger Avatar
    George Denzinger

    Ah such fun, carspotting, that is…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Absolutely. A joy each time I encounter an old parked car.

  6. dehk Avatar

    You should do this more often.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve considered just re-running my posts from Curbside Classic wholesale. I don’t give up my rights to my work by posting over there.

      1. dehk Avatar

        Curbside Classic wholesale? Whats that?

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Aha! Old parked cars galore. I am a contributing editor there. I write a couple posts a month. Go check it out; it’s great fun.

          1. dehk Avatar

            That does look like great fun!

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