Old cars parked: August 2023

19 comments on Old cars parked: August 2023
5 minutes

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 rules:

  1. 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.
  2. The car is not in a car show.
    There’s no guarantee that the owner ever drives the car on the street.
  3. 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.

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19 responses to “Old cars parked: August 2023”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Love that Rambler Rogue. The cars falls into that category of vehicles, many in the early to late 60’s, that seemed very roomy inside, including easy to sit in rear seats and decent trunk space, but were not all that large on the outside, certainly smaller than the standard sedans of the day. Mopar had a bunch of these as well. The focus on aerodynamics of U.S. vehicles have made a lot of offerings from different companies look similar, what’s called the
    “jelly bean” shape, but it also seems to end up with low roof interiors, difficult to sit in rear seats that are not comfortable unless you sit one way only, and very difficult to enter and exit doors. I actually had a late model Toyota loaner recently that I literally had to rollout of and almost end up on all fours! One wonders exactly how much mileage and efficiency one actually sacrifices in a boxier car? My most beloved car for function was my first gen Scion xB
    box”, and it was basically like driving a high sitting small cube down the street, and I was still getting 36 miles to the gallon! Even the rear seats sat upright and like an English cab! Time to bring back that Ramble Rogue format!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Funny, I was looking at this car thinking, “It’s so daggone low, I’d probably have to pretzel myself to get in and out of it.”

  2. DougD Avatar

    Lovely Rambler, we had a pair when I was very young (4 door 6 cylinder cars, not Rogues) and a good friend had one in high school. That’s one of those cars I casually look for on CL and FB knowing full well I don’t need another project.

    And big sigh, yes early 2000’s cars are old now. How the heck did that happen?? I never liked the fender droop on the Tacoma either.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve had some thoughts about raising the age requirement for this feature to 25 years, because cars from the 2000s showing up here just feels wrong.

  3. Russ Avatar

    A lot of dull silver and gray colors in this batch, which I only mention because there seems to be a modern trend of dull light gray and dark gray colors in many cars on the road, even sports cars (which should be flashy).

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      IKR? I’ve owned two silver or gray cars in a row and I’m sick of it.

  4. Suzassippi Avatar

    We used to go to the drive-in theater in my brother-in-law’s Rambler because the front seats would lay flat and we would sit in the back seat with our legs stretched out. I had a 1992 GMC Jimmy and loved it!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The fold-flat front seats was an idea that came from Nash Motors, one of the companies that came together to become American Motors. That feature continued on Rambler and then AMC cars – my dad’s 1974 AMC Matador had it too.

      1. Suzassippi Avatar

        I had forgotten my AMC Pacer until you mentioned this! But my all time favorite car was my Karmann Ghia. In fact, I had two of them.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I always wanted a KG! I had a chance to buy one in 1989, a very clean ’72, but I couldn’t scrape together the cash.

          1. Andy Umbo Avatar
            Andy Umbo

            There are those that consider a slightly tuned up KG, to be superior to the weird and rusty Porsche 914.

  5. Jonathan B. (Jack) Richards II Avatar
    Jonathan B. (Jack) Richards II

    This comment is really off topic but do you remember the fabulous junk yard at Zionsville, IN called Wrecks Inc. ?? I seem to recall main proprietor as being Mickey. I bought Jaguar parts from that yard and dealt with them frequently in the 1960s and 1970s when I worked as an insurance adjuster out of Indianapolis ,Terre Haute and Muncie, Indiana. Jim Grey , this is a great blog topic you have resurrected from the past. Keep up your great work, Jonathan B. Richards II in Chesterfield, Missouri.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh yeah! I live a short distance from there. The place closed a long time ago, but the sign still stands. I bought parts there too back in the day! I remember when that sign still lit up – what a beacon!

  6. brandib1977 Avatar

    Jim, I really love that you are making this a series. That Rambler is pretty sweet!!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It’s a good-looking little car.

  7. J P Avatar

    Love the Rogue! A cousin owned one in the mid-late 70s. He was happy to have his own car, but seemed a little embarrassed about it too.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I get that – my first car was a Ford Pinto.

  8. ronian42 Avatar

    Came back to my flat at lunchtime today in Perth, Scotland to find these parked in an adjacent car park. https://photos.app.goo.gl/zu84ttcxyaMPV1dB9 do they qualify?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I don’t know what either of them are, but they look old enough to me!

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