Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1950-something Studebaker Transtar

I'll just leave this here:
Old studebaker, TO PART OUT ONLY. has some good parts. Don't  really know what year it is.  in the 50's anyway.  frame and good axel I think.
<>A guy started to do a special customize, then stopped.  Has no drive train or nothing. The frame has been blasted.   Doors are good, roof , hood, fenders,  maybe some inside cab stuff but no dash or seats. The box and hydraulic thing has to be worth something.  I wanna get this thing out of here.  Scrap must be worth something.  BEST OFFER.  Niagara Area.
905 6880064  leave message.

I love true  kijunkers like this, and the attempted customization makes it even more intriguing. Whoever 'some guy' is, he had a vision. It was an ugly vision, but I commend him for his creativity.

I commend also the seller, who has taken much care to carefully craft his detailed and descriptive ad. The ad is titled 'ok', which tells me so much about the truck and its condition. I'll give him credit, it is a 50's Studebaker: a 1957 Transtar by my estimation.

The truck is somewhere around where I live, which means I may or may not be diverting my attention from the road while driving in order to catch a glimpse of it.

Fixer-upper. Full ad

1990 VW Westfalia

Earlier today I got my first request for a post. Because I'm a sad little man with nothing better to do with my afternoon, this sparked in me a flame of excitement that can scarce be described, and I immediately set myself to the task of what was described to me (by Kyle), as a 'Westy'. While this affectionate nickname might not be familiar to all of you, this image will be:

Yes, Kyle asked me to find him a Mystery Machine. Now, I don't know what Kyle intends to use this 'shaggin' wagon' for, nor do I care to know. What I do know is that he will be paying a pretty 1960's penny for a good condition Westfalia.

Despite vans' lack of popularity, Westfalias are still monstrously expensive, partially because of their rarity.

Witness this example, the only one currently on Kijiji in the GTA. Even with 180,000kms and 20 years behind it, it's still being pushed for almost $13,000, and that doesn't even include the shag carpet necessary to complete the experience. It does look clean though, and if your goal is to emulate Kelso from That 70's Show, you'll find no better example around here.

Shaggin' Wagon. Full ad

Monday, January 30, 2012

1987 Pontiac Fiero GT

What's the first thing that comes to mind when I say "Fiero"? If it's the plethora of pukingly poorly put-together Ferrari replicas like this one, you and I are of the same mind.

Fieros have long been demeaned, ridiculed and laughed at for being symptomatic of GM's on-the-whole failed attempt to build small, sporty cars. The road between cars like the Eldorado I just posted and the acceptable small cars GM builds today was not an entirely smooth one, and the Fiero can be seen as something of a pothole in that road.

The first edition of the Fiero was, even by 1986 standards, a dismal attempt at a sports car, pieced together with parts from GM's contemporary economy cars. It was slow, underpowered, and handled like a drunken elephant at a knife-throwing competition. Oh, it also had a tendency to spontaneously burst into flames.

Ever since its demise in 1989, the Fiero has been the butt of many a joke, mostly due to its popularity as a base for replicas of various mid-engined supercars. Few know, however, that there was a GT version produced between 1986 and 1988 that was actually a very respectable sports car. In place of the 'Iron Duke' four-cylinder that powered the anemic Fiero was a slightly more powerful V6 powerplant, which combined with upgraded suspension bits to produce a much improved Fiero experience. It also looked a lot cooler.

A 1987 GT is currently on offer in Beamsville, and it's all kinds of mildly attractive. The mileage is good at 69,000kms, but his asking price of $7,900 is fairly high. The car has minor issues, such as a possibly bad oil pan gasket and a sagging headliner, and in light of those I wouldn't pay more than $4,500-$5,000 for it.

Though its buyability gets a solid 'meh' from me, it's nevertheless a cool car. It'd be even cooler if I could get my hands on the 1990 prototype of the second generation car that Pontiac never built, which now resides on the Island of Forgotten Cars, somewhere near the North Pole.

Underrated. Full ad

Sunday, January 29, 2012

1978 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz

You know what's cool these days? Saving gas. Everyone wants to deliver Mother Earth from the impending doom that is hurtling down upon her caused by the plague, the pestilence, the infection that is humanity.

Problem is, this trend has been going on far too long. Most trends, like bell-bottom jeans, planking, and liking Ron Paul, go out of style after a few months. Environmentalism has been the sensation that's been sweeping the nation for like 40 years now, and it's getting a little old in the gums.

Mark my totally unqualified words; this bubble is about to burst. Nothing can be cool for too long. You want to be a trendsetter? You want to be cool by doing whatever it is that makes you cool before it becomes cool? You want to be cool enough to use the word 'cool' in a sentence more than I just did? Then buy this, and watch your popularity skyrocket:

From the grand year of 1978, replete with Landau roof, porthole windows and a 42-foot-long hood (though missing the optional bull horns) comes this Demitasse Brown Cadillac Eldorado. For $3,900 and a trip to Burlington, you can know what it's like to drive an aircraft carrier through your neighbourhood. You'll hear Mother Earth screaming for mercy as you show her who's really in control; the 7.0L V8 pushes 180 raging, gas-guzzling horses through the front wheels while the exhaust belches out more greenhouse gasses than its typical owner would after Matt's Yo Quiero Chili.

But wait, this isn't just any old Cadillac; it's a Biarritz. See what the last four letters in that word spell? That's right: ritz. As in high-class society. As in 'people better respect the five parking spaces your mobile sitting room fills'. I call it a mobile sitting room because the design of this car, and many like it, revolved around the idea that your car had to be plusher and more comfortable than your favourite armchair. A little known fact: from 1975 to 1990, Cadillac's interior upholstery was supplied by Jet-Puffed marshmallows.

So if you think you're enough of a trailblazer to go against the grain, I'd recommend you look into this bad boy. It's actually a reasonable price for the Biarritz, and the mileage is pretty decent. The car looks clean, but the time stamp indicates said pictures were taken over five years ago, so I wouldn't advocate buying it unseen.

Tres risque. Full ad

Thursday, January 26, 2012

1956 LaFrance Firetruck

On my sixth birthday, one of our parishioners, a firefighter, offered to take me for a ride in a big, bright, yellow engine. For a six year-old who was obsessed with large mobile machinery, this was akin to a Trekkie being asked if he'd like to pilot the U.S.S. Enterprise out of spacedock.

It was glorious. I could feel the hyper-hydrating power of fire-quenching technology coursing under my feet, the mighty machine tearing through the roads of rural Ontario with little regard to wahtever obstructed its path. As my brain split open with the sound of the pulsating siren, I knew from then on that my calling in life was to command and control such magnificence. Must. Have. Firetruck.

I suppose the easiest way to attain this goal would have been to train as a firefighter. There are, however, two problems with that. First of all, firefighting looks dangerous. I burned myself with a soldering-gun once, and I don't wish to repeat that incidence in so greater a scale. Second, I'm a string bean, and most likely would not make the cut for the annual calendar.

So forget that noise, I'm just going to buy this instead:

Up for sale by what I'm sure is an eccentric and enterprising fellow is a genuine 1956 LaFrance Type 700 Pumper. After doing a bit of a background check, I discovered that LaFrance is one of the oldest emergency vehicle manufacturers in North America, having been founded in 1873. It's based in the states but had a Canadian plant in Toronto, where I expect this model came from. 

It's a few thousand pounds of nostalgia, hearkening back to a time when all vehicles, even fire trucks and ambulances, were made with style and character. It's big; it's commanding; it's formidable; yet it's also cute as a ladybug. It reminds me of my favourite childhood TV series, Fireman Sam, which I watched only for the fire engine (skip to 0:30).

For only $5,000, I could easily be persuaded to sell my Miata, run out to Vineland and charge back (if it's running; the description doesn't say) in 1950's emergency response glory. Just looking over the pictures makes me feel like I'm six years old again.

Amazing. Full ad

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

1990 Corvette ZR-1

Here's something you won't see every day (in Fort Erie anyway): a pristine, original 1990 Corvette C4 ZR-1. Fourth generation Corvettes are, in and of themselves, blastingly cool cars, and the ZR-1 version could be accurately described as being earth-shakingly rockin'.

For those car buffs among y'all, the ZR-1 moniker is probably familiar to you in the form of the 2009 version of the car.  This 621hp, $100,000 beast has been the talk of the American sports car world for the past two years.

Few, however, including myself until recently, realize that the ZR-1 name harkens all the way back to 1990, when GM collaborated with Lotus in an effort to produce the fastest production car in the world. The famous British sports car company provided a 375hp LT5 V8 engine and fine-tuned the Corvette's revolutionary adaptive suspension system. These changes propelled the ZR-1 to 60mph in just 4.4 seconds on its way to a 180+mph top speed.  It also commanded twice the price over a base Corvette at $58,995.

Just under 7,000 ZR-1s were sold between 1990 and 1995, so to find a beautiful one showing under 8,000kms, in Fort Erie of all places, is remarkable. The car looks to be in fine condition, and unfortunately carries most of its originally high price tag with it into the 21st century.

It is a beautiful car, and I love the Forest Green on the black interior. Cool gauge cluster too. If I had $45,000 to blow on a 20 year-old sports car, this would most definitely be my pick. Who would have thought Fort Erie could possess such rare pearls of beauty?

Blast from the past. Full ad

Sunday, January 22, 2012

1943 Chevrolet Pickup

For the majority of my childhood, I lived in Pembroke Ontario, in the middle of the Ottawa Valley. The Valley is a special place; it can't be described, only experienced. To give an illustration of the Valley's spirit, one of my classmates' birthday parties featured his driving through his living room in his pickup truck. Classy.

Pickup trucks are popular in the Valley. Next to snowmobiles, they were by far the most ubiquitous vehicles on the road. Trucks there are a status symbol. If you're on the up-and-up, which usually means you're dining at the Best Western's Sunday brunch rather than King Burger, you don't get a Corvette or a BMW (or that sweet Jag I posted a few days ago). No, instead you buy the Harley Davidson edition F-350, throw giant tires on it, lift the suspension to clear those tires, and drive down main street (only in good weather, mind you), showing everyone how much your 22's sparkle in the sun. You know what else sparkles? That guy from Twilight's face. You wouldn't want to showcase that plastered on your truck, would you?

I like trucks, I really do. They're efficient, practical, versatile and dependable, and when used for their proper purposes, they're an excellent buy. I've been mulling over the idea of getting a small truck, like a Ranger or a B-Series, once Katie and I get married, and the only real concern I have is the lack of real back seats.

Anyway, getting back to the Valley, one very fond memory I have is being over at a friend's house when I was around 6 or 7. I don't remember who that friend was, but who cares, that's not what's important. What's important is the wicked-awesome truck I found residing in an old shed in back of the house. It was identical to this one, for sale in Welland. '43 Chevy, yellow, nothing on the back.

Granted, this one is in slightly better condition than the one from my childhood, but that doesn't change its allure. It perhaps has a face only a mother could love, but that's what makes it endearing; it has a personality all its own. The narrow, stubby proportions and the cramped little cabin makes it charming in the same way that a MINI or a Beetle is, and its bright yet cheery face makes it look like it belongs in a country music video.

The guy doesn't have a price listed, going instead with the whole 'best offer' thing. It kinda bugs me; he could be expecting a reasonable price, or he could be one of those 50-something boomers who are convinced their blast-from-the-past is priceless because "it holds so many memories" or something. But regardless of price, if I was trying to woo Taylor Swift, this would be my conveyance of choice.

Full ad

Saturday, January 21, 2012

1982 Dodge Challenger

I didn't even know the Challenger was made in '82. Seriously cool car. Its black, bricky slab-sided design reminds me of the Buick Grand National, which is definitely a good thing.

From a quick surveying of Wikipedia (thank goodness it's up again), This generation of Challenger was apparently based on a Mitsubishi Galant, which gives some explanation for its lack of popularity.

Still a wicked-sick car. Full ad


I used to have an awesome Hotwheels Baja Bug. It was red with huge tires and what looked to be intestines spewing out the back of it. I have found it. It is now in Port Colborne and has grown a little bit:

I don't know how much the guy wants for it, but if I had a spare wad of cash and a desert, I'd totally jump on this. Who knows, maybe the Sahara will call me needing PR help for their mirage-marketing campaign. "Yeah, it's totally real! Palm trees, fresh water, everything. Totally legit. All you have to do is move a little closer ... closer ...closer...".

Awesome.  Full ad

Big Jag = Big Want

The ability to expect the unexpected is one every successful PR professional must hone well in order to succeed. Imagine this: you're the head of PR for the company that makes the Ove-Glove. Everything is smooth sailing. Ove-Gloves are flying off the shelves, and mommy-bloggers are furiously typing rave reviews with Ove-Gloved hands. But then, disaster strikes: one of those mommy-bloggers burned her ham casserole because it took too long to properly don her Ove-Glove, and is now blaming you for the disappointment her family experienced at their casserole being slightly overdone. Most PR practitioners would be cowering in a corner, rocking back and forth and singing lullabies to themselves. Not you. You're a professional, and you've got a crisis management plan that kicks some serious posterior. Sample products. Communication. S.W.O.T. analyses. You've got the sitch under control, and you've got Stephen Murdoch at your door begging for advice, all because you were well prepared.

Now imagine this: you're kicking back in your corner office in downtown Toronto, facilitating communications, promoting synergy, and telling your attractive female secretary to mix you up another scotch on the rocks. The door to your office opens, but in place of your secretary walk in two menacing-looking men with shades and a Men-in-Black vibe. Before you can even open your mouth you feel a sharp pang in your arm. Elephant tranquilizer. Unexpected.

You wake up sitting in a park bench, at night, alone save for one of the two men who abducted you, who is sitting opposite you on a trash can. You’re dressed in a suave black tuxedo with all manner of wires and gizmos attached to you. Still groggy, you ask for an explanation. Your captor, or Agent Alpha as he goes by, explains that Prince Harry, who is attending a nearby party for rich people, is being stalked by a possible assassin, and needs a PR professional to diffuse the situation. You must infiltrate the party and use your super-PR-writing skills to write a persuasive press release convincing the assassin to surrender.

No sweat. You got a 98 in Mrs. Geddie’s grammar class and you’re ready to go in there and PR that assassin’s ass. There’s only one problem: your 95 Toyota Tercel. At some other, less prestigious event, you might get away with it, but at the Royal & Riches Ribfest, you’re going to need a seriously suave car to pass off to the valet.

So what do you show up in? This:

2001 Jaguar XJ8 Vanden Plas. Oh Yeah. For only $4,995 you can show Prince Harry who really has class in this leather-laced, luxury-lined land-barge. Mileage? Don't worry about it. Reliability? When you have a sumptuous leather interior like this, who cares?

The best part about this car is that even if (okay, I really should say 'when') the car breaks down and the repair costs are higher than your student loans, you can just park it in your driveway and let people think you have money. Baller.

When your PR career takes an unexpected turn into the exciting world of spy-thrillers, you have to be prepared. That's why I suggest all of you invest your non-existent money into an old, high-mileage Jaguar whos chances of starting could best be likened to a game of Russian Roulette. 

In all seriousness, I would kill for a car like this to cruise around in. I don't want to think about how many headaches the inevitable electrical gremlins of a used British luxury car will cause me. I don't care how much of my money will go towards feeding the thirsty V8. I want to feel like James Bond everywhere I go, and for five grand, I could be tempted to suppress every inhibition to possess such a beast as this.

See the full ad here: 2001 Jaguar XJ8 Vanden Plas

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Bonjour mon ami

I'm a student. If you're reading this, chances are, so are you. I have no money. If you're reading this, and are not somehow immune from the boulders of debt tumbling down upon us from our crumbling society (Babyboomers are up there with jackhammers, I swear), chances are, neither do you. You do, however, need a car, and so do I.

Why do you need a car? Because you're almost done school and are ready to jump headfirst into the working world, into the sea of jobs that are just itching and waiting for you! You need a car to get there. Why? Because you live in North America, where 'we got fuel to burn and roads to drive'. If you lived in Europe, I guess you could get on a tram or monorail or something lame like that and commute to work. But look where Europe is now, with all their debt and stuff. Totally because of monorails.

So you know you need a car to prevent economic collapse, and because you're a student, you're totally loaded and just looking for ways to put a dent in your mountains of cash. Where do you go? You could go down to your local car dealer and see what they've got on their lot. But that requires not only time, but effort. It requires doing something other than opening your laptop, and we can't have that.

Enter Kijiji: the marketplace of champions. With this brilliant tool, one can find the chariot of their dreams without ever leaving his parents' basement. With no rules, guidelines or grammar checks, Kijiji ensures access to only the brightest and most business-savvy wheel-dealin' mavericks on the internet. Thousands of horseless carriages of unspeakable power and grace are posted every day, and the deals are ripe for the picking. Sounds bueno!

But wait! What's that? You don't know how to pick out a car? You want me to do that for you? Well, if you insist on drawing on my extensive knowledge and expertise (I picked out my fiancee's grandmother's car, and she totally loves it), I suppose I can stoop down to lend you all a hand.

Happy hunting.