Welcome to a new monthly feature here at Down the Road, in which I share all of the old cars I found parked in the previous month. This used to be an annual feature called Carspotting. I’ve changed the name to Old Cars Parked to be more precise.
I love finding old cars still providing transportation — especially the everyday cars that have all but disappeared. I photograph them when I’m able, and share them with you.
- The car is parked on the street or in a lot.
I seldom photograph cars in driveways for privacy reasons and also because there’s no guarantee that the car is running.
- The car is not in a car show.
There’s no guarantee that the owner ever drives the car on the street.
- The car is (or could be) 20 or more model years old.
Cars don’t change much from year to year anymore. Example: A 2003 Toyota Matrix qualifies this year, but the same car was made through 2008. You can narrow a Matrix down by its tail lights: in 2003-04 they were red over white, while in 2005-08 they were clear. But you have to know and detect these differences to be precise. I give myself a lot of grace here.
Do you have a blog and like old cars? You can play along! Just create a post of your own early each month showing the cars you found last month, and leave a comment on my monthly old-cars post so others can go read it.
Here now, the 21 old cars I found parked in August.
1967 Rambler American Rogue. I loved this find! I haven’t seen a Rambler parked anywhere in years and years. Might have been since the 1980s! These were still quite common when I was a kid in the 70s. Rogue was the highest trim level for the compact American. Ramber was in the process of renaming itself American Motors in 1967. Found at the Indiana State Fair.
1973 Ford F-350 Ranger XLT Super Camper. This was an exciting find. The F350 was a full-ton truck; the Super Camper version extended the wheelbase so that you could put a camper shell on it and have proper weight distribution. That it’s a Ranger XLT means that this was a top-trim (for the time) truck. Notice the removable panel on the side of the bed. The spare tire lurks behind it. The hubcaps are correct for this truck. Hubcaps were common in this era, far more than styled wheels. Spotted in the parking lot at the Cracker Barrel near my home.
1975-84 Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40. Spotted in the Village of West Clay neighborhood in Carmel, this resto-modded Japanese Jeep was parked by a brewpub.
1993-96 Buick Century. Buick made these for about a hundred years, it seems like. These have composite headlights, which dates it to no earlier than 1989. But they shifted from black side trim to body color side trim in 1993. This generation of Century’s last year was 1996. Not bad for a car that was first manufactured in 1982! Spotted in my neighborhood.
1993-97 Ford Ranger Splash. This belongs to my next-door neighbor. It appeared in his driveway in the last couple of months, and one August morning I found it parked on the street. So I nabbed a photo. This was the first compact truck ever to have a flareside bed.
1995-98 Chevrolet 1500. These trucks remain relatively plentiful even after almost 30 years. I thought they were incredibly plainly styled when they were new, but they’ve grown on me — now I think their lines are clean and classic. Spotted at the Lowe’s in Zionsville.
1995-98 GMC Truck. Given that this one is stripped of its badges, I can’t tell whether it’s a 1500 or a 2500. Spotted in Downtown Indianapolis.
1996-99 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight. What was Olds thinking when they stuck that ugly front end on this otherwise elegant car? Spotted at Meijer in Whitestown.
1996-99 Saturn SL. A well-kept specimen. Found in a parking lot in Downtown Indianapolis.
1997-99 Chevrolet 2500 Suburban. Researching this SUV I learned that you could get Suburbans in 1500 (half ton) and 2500 (three-quarter ton) versions. Spotted in Downtown Indianapolis.
1997-2001 Jeep Cherokee Sport. There’s nothing I can say about these that I haven’t said the 20 other times they’ve appeared in my old-cars posts. Spotted in my neighborhood.
1997-2002 Buick Century. This was parked right in front of the blue Century earlier in this post. Buick made these from 1997 to 2005, but stopped putting the Century badge on the door in 2003. Spotted in my neighborhood.
1999-2001 GMC Jimmy. My son had one of these and it was terrible to ride in. Cramped, harsh, and bouncy. Yuck. Spotted on South Meridian Street in Indianapolis.
1999-2003 Toyota Camry Solara. I so wanted one of these when they were new, but they were more than I could afford. Spotted in Downtown Indianapolis.
2000-03 Ford Taurus. I know these were as common as dirt, but they’re starting to become scarce. Document them while they’re still rolling! Spotted in the parking lot at work in Downtown Indianapolis.
2001-02 Honda Accord. I rode in any number of these when they were newer, and I thought they were terrific midsized sedans. They’re smaller than today’s midsized sedans — I think midsized sedans have grown to be too large. Spotted in my neighborhood in Zionsville.
2001-02 Saturn L300. Also spotted in my neighborhood. This has the front fascia from before the 2004 facelift, and it was named the LW3 before 2001. Et voila, it’s from either 2001 or 2002. These were obviously trying to crib the Taurus’s looks, but in typical GM fashion they missed by a mile.
2001-04 Toyota Tacoma. I always thought that the downturned character line on the front fender was a styling mistake. Spotted in the parking lot at work in Downtown Indianapolis.
2002-03 Acura 3.2 TL Type S. Spotted on Main Street in Zionsville. I guess these were plagued with transmission issues, making this one fortunate to still be rolling.
2003-04 Toyota Corolla. This might be the first Corolla I’ve ever featured! That’s crazy, as the Corolla is one of the best-selling cars of all time. Spotted at the Lowe’s in Zionsville.
2003-06 Lexus ES. Spotted in Downtown Indianapolis. I didn’t have time to check the decklid to see what number was after the ES badge. This is the first Lexus I’ve ever featured.