Old Cars, Stories Told

1972 Chevrolet K/5 Blazer CST: Don’t mess with Grandma!

(First published 8 August 2016.) You didn’t mess with my grandma. She was barely 5 feet tall, but she swore like a sailor and drank like a fish. And she always drove 4-wheel-drive trucks. One of them was an orange 1972 Chevrolet K/5 Blazer CST very much like this one.

1972 Chevrolet Blazer d

Grandma was so short she had to grab the steering wheel and pull herself up into the cab. That had to really work her biceps! I’ll bet it gave her a mean right cross. But had she ever needed to defend herself, she would have instead reached for the .22 pistol she always kept in her purse.

1972 Chevrolet Blazer b

My favorite place to ride was the front passenger seat, and I called shotgun as often as I could. Even though SUVs weren’t common in the 1970s like they are today  — we didn’t even have the term “SUV” then — riding around in that seat didn’t exactly give me the rooftop view of traffic that you might think. Grandma lived in rural southwest Michigan, where serious winter snow and unplowed side roads meant almost everyone owned four-wheel-drive trucks. I was used to looking at tailgates ahead as we rolled down the road.

1972 Chevrolet Blazer f

Grandma preferred the lightly traveled gravel back roads to the highways, though, and so I got to take in a lot of Michigan’s beauty while riding with her. Even when I had to ride in the high and upright back seat, I had a good view. That seat also sat a good distance back from the front seats, giving unbelievable legroom. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but now I think GM should have moved that seat a foot or so forward to give more aft cargo space. It was pretty tight back there.

1972 Chevrolet Blazer c

Grandma and Grandpa had been a one-truck family (a 1972 Dodge 100 Power Wagon) until the grandkids started coming to visit for extended stays every summer. Riding four abreast in Grandpa’s truck worked while we were all very little, but as we grew the cab became too cramped and so Grandma bought the Blazer. We ran around all over southwest Michigan together running errands and visiting various taverns for lunch or dinner and, for Grandma and Grandpa, always a beer. I knew then that back home in Indiana I wasn’t allowed in taverns. Maybe Michigan’s laws were different. Or maybe it helped a lot that Grandma and Grandpa seemed to know every law-enforcement officer in six or seven counties. Perhaps Grandma’s smile, nod, and words of greeting to any deputy who stopped in were enough to secure us. We were certainly less uptight about such things forty years ago.

1972 Chevrolet Blazer a

After Grandpa finally retired, they sold both trucks and bought a top-trim 1978 Bronco in gold with a white top. The CST package meant Grandma’s Blazer was top-trim too. This is what passed for luxury in an SUV in 1972. Today, these big body-on-frame SUVs are all but gone out here in rust country.

To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader six days a week, click here to subscribe!
To get my newsletter with previews of what I’m working on, click here to subscribe!

Standard
1951 Chevrolet station wagon a

Green Chevy
Canon PowerShot S80
2013

For the first several years I went to the Mecum auction, the sold cars were left outside for people to see. Then at some other Mecum auction in some other city someone stole one of the sold cars. That was that: the sold cars were no longer accessible to the public.

It really bummed me out. The for-sale cars were all inside under bright direct lighting. I made much more pleasing photographs of the sold cars outside, like of this 1951 Chevrolet. I love how the camera rendered the sunlight falling across the car’s hood.

If you’d like to get more of my photography in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe.

Old Cars, Photography

single frame: Green Chevy

A 1951 Chevrolet.

Image
1961 Chevrolet Parkwood

Parkwood
Canon PowerShot S80
2012

The other day I looked back through my many photos from the Mecum classic car auctions I used to go to. What fun those auctions were for me.

I used to take all of my digital cameras, plus all of my extra battery packs. That was one camera at first, then two, then three, all point-and-shoots. I also always brought one film camera. I was loaded down with gear!

This 1961 Chevrolet Parkwood station wagon was such a lovely color. I tended to shoot my Canon PowerShot S80 at 28mm, its default setting, which let me bring in lots of this wagon’s flank.

If you’d like to get more of my photography in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe.

Old Cars, Photography

single frame: Parkwood

1961 Chevrolet Parkwood wagon.

Image
Satellite reflected in the Camaro

Satellite reflected in the Camaro
Nikon N90s, 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor
Fujifilm Fujicolor Industrial 100
2019

One more photo from the Cars and Coffee, on that delightful Fujicolor Industrial 100. This ’67 Chevy Camaro reflects a neighboring ’66 Plymouth Satellite beautifully.

I’ve always wondered why Plymouth named its top-trim midsize sedan Satellite. The car always seemed down to earth to me.

If you’d like to try Fujicolor Industrial 100, get it from Analogue Wonderland here. Analogue Wonderland sent me this roll in exchange for this mention.

Get more of my photography in your inbox or reader! Click here to subscribe.

Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: Satellite reflected in the Camaro

.

Image
427

427 Turbo Jet
Nikon N90s, 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor
Fujifilm Fujicolor Industrial 100
2019

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.

If you’d like to get more of my photography in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe.

Film Photography, Old Cars

single frame: 427 Turbo Jet

.

Image
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Chevy crest
Canon PowerShot S95
2019

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.

If you’d like to get more of my photography in your inbox or reader, click here to subscribe.

Old Cars

single frame: Chevy crest

.

Image