Old Cars

Carspotting 2018

I photograph old cars wherever I find them parked. I found a decent lot of them in 2018: 17 to share with you. My two rules: the car has to be parked, and it has to be at least 20 years old. Here now the cars (and trucks).

1952-53 GMC truck

1952-53 GMC Truck. What a great old truck to start with. I found this on a photo walk on South Meridian Street in Indianapolis.

1967 Plymouth Fury II

1967 Plymouth Fury. It’s got to be 25 years since I’ve seen one of these on the road. During my 1970s kidhood, these were as common as pennies and usually driven by prim, proper older ladies. Found parked on the square in Crown Point, Indiana.

1968-72 GMC truck

1968-72 GMC truck. I wish GMC had changed trim details sometimes, as Chevrolet did, to make it easier to narrow down the year of these trucks. Spotted at the Rusty Bucket bar on Indianapolis’s Far Northside.

1973 VW Bus

1973-79 VW Bus. Another find on the square in Crown Point, I love how this bus was restored to basic specifications.

1974 VW Beetle

1974 VW Beetle. Margaret and I came upon this little guy while strolling through Madison, Indiana. Those aftermarket wheels have got to go.

1974 VW Super Beetle

1974 VW Super Beetle. My son and I found this one in a lot on the Purdue campus. That is what VW wheels are supposed to look like.

1980 Chevrolet Citation

1980 Chevrolet Citation. Probably the best find of the year, this car is parked on a side street right here in Zionsville. I drive by it all the time. Since this photograph someone hit it, smashing in its rear passenger door. How very sad.

1981-87 Chevrolet truck

1981-87 Chevrolet truck. I liked the styling of the generations before and after these far better, but I still wouldn’t turn down the opportunity to own one. Found in the parking lot where my wife works.

1981-89 Lincoln Town Car

1981-89 Lincoln Town Car. My aunt Betty used to drive one of these, in this or a similar blue. Found in a strip mall in Fishers, Indiana.

1982-85 Chevrolet El Camino

1982-85 Chevrolet El Camino. An unrestored original. I think these are beautiful and I have always wanted one. Spotted in Crown Point, Indiana.

1984-92 Lincoln Mark VII

1984-92 Lincoln Mark VII. Someone drove this to get groceries one day. I found it at the Meijer in Whitestown, Indiana. I always thought these were very handsome.

1986 Ford Escort Pony

1986 Ford Escort Pony. The ultimate car for the mid-1980s skinflint. Spotted at the Walmart on Indy’s Southside.

1987-90 Ford Mustang

1987-90 Ford Mustang. This is the car I wanted when I graduated college, but it was just a few thousand dollars out of my reach. Spotted at the Kroger in Brownsburg, Indiana.

1987-93 Cadillac Coupe deVille

1987-93 Cadillac Coupe DeVille. Our youngest son and I were breakfasting after seeing a heavy-metal show at the big outdoor music center in Tinley Park, Illinois, when we came upon this cruiser.

1989 Subaru Legacy

1989 Subaru Legacy. Even though this car didn’t change much through its run, I know it’s from 1989 because it has a “25th anniversay” sticker on its window. Spotted at the Zionsville Walgreens.

1989-92 Ford Ranger

1989-92 Ford Ranger. I love these little trucks. I’ve always jonesed for one. Found in the parking lot at Zionsville Community High School.

1997 BMW M3

1997 BMW M3. Not only have I spotted and shared this one before, I’ve driven this car. It’s owned by a partner in a firm I used to work for, and one day when he took me to lunch he handed me the keys. Such fun. I came upon it on Main Street in Zionsville.

Here are my Carspotting posts from 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and a special edition after I came back from Route 66.

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25 thoughts on “Carspotting 2018

  1. Some great finds. That red/cream Chevy pickup is the exact color combo as an 87 Suburban that was the longtime family truckster of some in-laws. It was hard to miss in a parking lot.

    The 80s Lincoln sedan is from the later part of the decade, after they softened the sharp corners of the even more angular original design.

    I am still having trouble with the idea that a 20 year old car was made in 1998. Wait, make that 1999.

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  2. Dan Cluley says:

    Definitely a nice selection of finds. I think as long as I’m driving my ’96 my cutoff is going to be older than 20 years. :)

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    • I wrote a series of articles about the cars in my life for an old-car site called Curbside Classic. When I asked my mom if she had any photos of our cars from times past she said, “Oh heavens, there was never money to waste taking photos of our cars!”

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  3. susanJOY Hosken says:

    Jim, I love cars. I enjoyed this selection as they are very American and not like the Australian cars I grew up with. One of the ones you have we call a combi van and I used to go to the surf beach in it. they were popular with surfers xoxo susanJOY

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  4. Jim, I’ve enjoyed this tour of local classic cars. As others outside of the US have said, the cars are mostly quite different your side of the pond. To me they mostly seem big, square, brutal and aggressive looking, compared to cars I grew up with (my mum had mostly Austin Minis and Metros, and my dad a wide range but often a VW Golf GTI of some kind). Many of them remind me of the 80s American films I used to watch and love in my childhood.

    I really should take more car photos over here in 2019.

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    • We have so much more space here in the US, and we fancy ourselves rugged individualists — I think that’s why our cars have been so much larger and aggressive-looking. My dad’s cars when I was a boy were a 1966 Ford Galaxie 500 two-door, and a 1971 Chevrolet Impala Sport Coupe. Look those up on Google image search. Both were huge, the Chevrolet especially so.

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      • Yeh there is a common impression this side of the pond that everything in America is bigger!

        The vast spaces you have must have an influence in this, as you say.

        I think, at least in the past, fuel cost had a significant impact too. I remember my dad talking about someone in America he knew who drove around in cars that did something incredibly inefficient like six miles per gallon, which over here we just couldn’t afford with the cost of petrol, so even the average saloon 25 years ago would do 30 or 40mpg, and significantly more these days.

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        • Gas is cheap here. There have been some short periods when it wasn’t, most recently in 2008, but today a gallon of regular unleaded costs about $2.10, or about £1.60.

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        • Yes exactly, here it’s dipped perhaps 10p in the last month but petrol is still around £1.20 a litre, and diesel (which my wife and I use) around £1.30 a litre, which is £5.45 and £5.90 per gallon respectively.

          So my wife’s rather frugal Touran 1.6TDI which averages 50mpg, would be incredibly cheap to run in the US!

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        • It certainly would! I wonder if its acceleration and top speed are adequate for Interstate driving though. I know high-mpg cars of 20-30 years ago sacrificed power to get good mpg. I had a Renault in the 80s that got 40-45mpg but was almost dangerous on the interstate because it lacked needed power.

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  5. Andy Umbo says:

    Always love the “car spotting” entries! Can’t even believe you found that Plymouth Fury, my Dad had a ’67 Fury I, with a slant six (best motor ever), as a company car, but he let me drive it a little on Sunday mornings when he’d come with me to deliver the Sunday papers in snowy weather. Learned to drive between that and my Mom’s ’65 Ford wagon (that you could lay a sheet of 4X8 plywood in and close the doors; don’t even talk to me about those foolish modern pick-ups with a bed you couldn’t even get a 4X8 in!).

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    • The Slant Six was sturdy as hell, but had to provide poor motivation for a car as large as that Fury I!

      Don’t even get me started on the foolishness of the modern pickup truck.

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  6. These are great photos. I love the way you carry the theme through the year. But the thing that strikes me most is probably something you never even intended. Bright sunshine every time. If I were to copy your project (and I might, it’s a great idea) you would see a total mix of weather. But mainly dreich overcast Scottish skies. It’s surprising how much the weather influences your photography, even when it’s got nothing to do with whag you’re shooting.

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