Film Photography, Old Cars

Shooting Fujifilm Fujicolor Industrial 100

Analogue Wonderland, who sponsor this post, ships film almost anywhere. Click their logo to choose from their extensive selection.

Corvette

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.

Pontiac RPMs

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.

Bug light

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.)

Satellite

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.

Stacked headlights

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.

Bed

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.

Collonnade nose

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.

Mercury

What’s a car show without a ’57 Chevy?

57 headlight

I loved how this one had a model of itself on the back parcel shelf.

57 model

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.

Camaro

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.

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Supra

Supra
Olympus Trip 35
Kodak ColorPlus
2019

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.

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Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: Supra

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Essay, Old Cars

Buy a fun car while you’re young

1968 Chevrolet El Camino b

When I was a kid, my dad wanted a Chevy El Camino. I mean, really really wanted. He imagined himself driving in carlike comfort while being able to haul lumber and other large items with ease in its bed. He was so hot to own one that he tried to convince my mom that our family of four would fit just fine shoulder to shoulder across the front seat. 

Mom wasn’t having it. Thank goodness, because the four of us shoulder-tight on that bench seat did not sound like fun to me. But I feel bad for my dad that he never got his El Camino.

As Dad aged, that spark for fun motoring left him. I think that’s natural for anyone who didn’t get to sow those oats when they were younger — he never knew the joy of the fun car and so those synapses never formed in his brain. By his middle age he declared that his cars were meant only to get him from A to B.

BMW 3-series coupe

I’m in the middle of making the same mistake. When I was young I wanted a 3-series BMW coupe. Really really wanted one. But I never felt like I should extend myself financially to buy even a well-used one. I could have, but I always played it safe with my money.

I regret it. While it’s important to be good stewards of our finances, it’s also important to seek good, fun experiences in life.

I’ve already told my wife that after the kids are done with college I’d like to buy a fun car. I’ve lost my BMW lust in middle age, so I don’t know yet what that car will be except that it’ll be older and will not be my daily driver. Whatever I choose, it’ll be our road-trip car and we will make memories together in it.

This one’s for my dad, who would have been 78 today.

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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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Stories Told

The ultimate car for the man who hates to spend money

My dad pinched his pennies so hard he had Lincoln thumbs. It had galled him deeply to borrow money to buy his 1983 Renault Alliance (read its story here). Knowing Dad, he paid off that note very early. He submitted to those payments only because Mom fell in love with the Renault on the test drive and insisted he buy it. She knew she could play that card only so often – like, once each decade. But the Renault was, to her, a slam dunk: attractive, comfortable, well equipped in top-line trim.

Then in 1987, when Dad was driving 50 miles round trip to work and the Renault piled up the miles, Mom fretted. “I don’t want you to be stranded on some back county road!” So Dad went car shopping – and didn’t take Mom along so he could get what he wanted. Dad returned to his first love, Ford, and found the biggest bargain on the lot: a leftover new 1986 Ford Escort as the 1988 models were about to be delivered to the showroom. He got it for a song and paid cash. He was so tickled by that deal that he talked about it for years.

IMG_2164

It wasn’t a bottom-of-the-line Pony, as the pictured Escort is. But it might as well have been: the same utility white color, manual transmission (though a five speed rather than the Pony’s standard four), steel wheels, AM radio. It had cloth seat surfaces where the Pony was all vinyl, but it had the same plain interior door panels with the most perfunctory armrests I’ve ever seen. It did have air conditioning; Mom told him not to come home in a car without it. But that was a mighty stripped-down car even for the late 80s. No wonder this pig had languished on the lot so long.

I drove Dad’s Escort a few times. It had good power for the time. I remember the shifter being vague and rubbery but the clutch being sure. I always turned off the radio with its tinny center-of-the-dash speaker as it would give me an instant headache. You could hear the gas sloshing around in the tank when you made a turn.

Dad drove that Escort until 1993. He’d have cheerfully kept driving it, but it had racked up the miles and Mom began to fret anew. So Dad returned to his Ford dealer and came home in a well-optioned Escort LX four-door hatchback. It was so much better a car than its forebear – more comfortable, more fuel efficient, more lively – that even Dad had to allow it was worth spending the money.

I originally shared this story on Curbside Classic, back in May. It’s a good memory of my dad and I wanted to share it with you, too.

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Personal

I just sold my Ford Focus to my son, Garrett. It has now been owned by three generations of Grey men, as I bought it from my father in 2012.

This car took me, and sometimes my sons, on a whole bunch of great road trips. It was wonderful on the old roads, small and easy to maneuver. That was very important when I needed to get out of a dead-end abandoned alignment! It was also a blast to drive, with good power and fantastic handling.

Here it is at the Wagon Wheel Motel on Route 66 in Cuba, MO.

Wagon Wheel Motel

And here it is on an abandoned section of the old Dixie Highway near Martinsville, IN.

Abandoned bridge on Old SR 37

I’m experimenting with short posts, shared whenever I have something quick to say. Welcome to the first one!

Goodbye road warrior

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