Have you ever missed a car you owned after you sold it?
I miss my old blue Toyota Matrix. A lot. Above you see it shortly after I bought it, in 2009. The photo is from its first road trip, along the National Road in western Indiana.
I owned this car for nine years, the longest I’ve ever owned a car. I bought it used with about 90,000 miles on it, and I drove it another 90,000. By the time I sold it about a year and a half ago, it looked terrible. It had several scrapes and dents, and the front fascia had broken off. The paint had gone chalky, and had peeled off a large section of the hood and a little on the front bumper.
I bought a used Ford Focus in 2012 to be my primary car, but kept the Matrix. The Focus was terrific to drive, more fun than the Matrix by far. But I never bonded with it like I did this Matrix. I was always happy behind its wheel for reasons I can’t put my finger on.
In the last couple years I owned the Matrix I used it like a work truck, hauling anything and everything in its capacious wayback. By the time I traded it in on my VW Passat, it looked every bit as used up as it was.
I was happy to get my new car, and it’s working out fine for me and my family. But every time I see a Matrix rolling on the road, I find myself hoping to see a for a For Sale sign in the window.
This is my favorite photo from the Cars and Coffee I went to recently. This 1966 Chevrolet was a low-line Biscayne with rubber floor mats and no radio. It also had neither air conditioning nor power accessories, but that was pretty common then.
What it lacked in amenities, it made up for in sheer cubic inches. The monster big-block 427 was under this Biscayne’s hood. A four-speed Hurst shifter sticks up out of the floor. I’ll bet this thing is a terror to drive.
This car was indoors — a real challenge for the ISO 100 Fujicolor Industrial. Fortunately, I had a fast lens and a steady hand. I counted on shallow depth of field and I got it.
This post is sponsored by Analogue Wonderland, which offers more than 200 films. You can buy Fujicolor Industrial 100 from them here.
Analogue Wonderland, who sponsor this post, ships film almost anywhere. Click their logo to choose from their extensive selection.
I love car shows! Especially those where everyday people show off their old iron. A nearby dealer of classic cars invites folks to bring their muscle and classic cars the last Saturday of every month during the warm-weather months. I visited last month with my Nikon N90s and 50mm f/2 AF Nikkor lens.
My Nikon was packing Fujifilm Fujicolor Industrial 100, which Analogue Wonderland sent me in exchange for the mentions in this review. I liked the old Fujifilm Superia 100 very much — the two rolls I got to shoot before it was discontinued. I’d heard that this film was still available in Japan, but was rebranded as Fujicolor Industrial 100.
These results are good enough for me: if this isn’t the same film it’s darn close. Unfortunately, it’s a little pricey. But when you need a smooth-grained, bold-colored film with managed contrast and excellent sharpness, this option remains available. As of this writing, at least; Fujifilm loves to discontinue film stocks. (You can buy this film from Analogue Wonderland here.)
This isn’t my first time shooting cars with a Fujifilm ISO 100 color film. I used Superia 100 at a show a couple years ago; see my shots here. I liked those photos so much that I saved my one roll of Industrial 100 until I could again find myself among some old cars. So far I’ve shared a ’67 Corvette, a Pontiac GTO from the late 60s (with the tachometer on the hood), an early-70s VW Bug from Australia (hence the amber turn signal; they were red in the US), and a ’66 Plymouth Satellite reflecting a newer Ford Mustang.
This photo of a ’76 Chevy El Camino shows the sharpness this film can capture. The 50/1.8 AF Nikkor lets this film’s capabilities shine through. This El Camino was yellow and white (which surely wasn’t a factory color combination). I find that many color films struggle to capture yellow. Not so the Industrial 100.
The light matters, of course; here’s the front fender of the same car and the yellow isn’t as vibrant. My Photoshoppery on these images was largely limited to using Auto Tone to remove a slight green caste, and to lightly tone down highlights and, sometimes, to boost contrast a little.
A car show is a great place to test color film because classic cars were painted in real colors, not just black, white, gray, and beige as today! Can you imagine buying a pea-soup-green sedan now? Various shades of green were common on cars in the ’70s. The jutting fender is out of focus because I made this shot inside in available light, and this ISO 100 film granted little depth of field.
What’s a car show without a ’57 Chevy?
I loved how this one had a model of itself on the back parcel shelf.
This film even likes black. A lot. Notice how the blacks are different on the ’57 Chevy above and ’67 Camaro below? It’s not a difference in lighting — these are legitimately two different blacks, and Fujicolor Industrial 100 rendered them both beautifully.
Now I want to buy five or six rolls of this film and keep shooting it. But I have too much Agfa Vista 200 in the freezer to need more color negative film. Maybe after I finish shooting up the Agfa, buying some more Fujicolor Industrial 100 can be my reward.
You can buy Fujicolor Industrial 100 in a few places online — including Analogue Wonderland, here.
In college, one of my roommates had one of these. He bought it new in 1985. It was a hell of a car for a college freshman to own, and he was very happy with it.
I got to drive it once. He and I had been at a bar in town and where I had just one beer he had three. He was always extra careful when he’d been drinking, so he handed me the keys.
This car is super low, so much so that oncoming cars’ headlights shone directly into my eyes as if they were high beams. I don’t know how fast it would go as I drove it only over city streets near the speed limit. But I remember its stiff chassis and excellent clutch and shifter.
I shot this on Kodak ColorPlus, which was provided by Analogue Wonderland in exchange for this mention. You can buy ColorPlus from them here.
My little Canon S95 is still a great camera, nine years after it was manufactured. It may be showing its age, though. Native colors aren’t as vivid and everything is a little hazy now. So I shoot in Positive color mode, which is supposed to mimic color slide film. And then in Photoshop I use the Auto Tone correction and boost contrast a little. But that’s not an onerous amount of processing. And look at the result!
This Chevy crest is from a 1957 Bel Air, one of the most over-photographed automobiles of all time. Yet even on a cliche subject, when you move in close you can find something interesting.