Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1986 Chevrolet Suburban

Sports cars are cool. Low slung, eye-catching and fast, they are beloved my almost all car enthusiasts. But sometimes, building a vehicle meant to go where roads don't exist is just as interesting. Such is the case with today's RCW, a Chevrolet Suburban. The Suburban has been around since the 1930's, and was always meant to be a rugged family machine, capable of being loaded with huge amounts of people and/or things. This one appears to be a 1986-ish model, from the Suburban's boxier years. Luckily, it stands out from the crowd with a host of modifications. Most noticeable is the massive lift kit and suspension, which gives the bigger wheels and tires some more room to breathe. Heavy-duty bumpers grace the front and rear, offering more protection than the stock units. This 'Burb also gets a beefy power-bulge hood and some almost-cartoonish fender flares. Now, Texas has an endless supply of lifted trucks and SUVs that never see a speck of dirt in their entire lives. Thankfully, judging by the spray of dirt and grime along the side of this mammoth machine, this owner uses the vehicle in whatever conditions or surfaces he so desires. As a result, it gets a big thumbs up from me. This boxy American machine is a perfect example of function over form.

1986 Chevrolet Suburban

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: Alfa Romeo GTV6

There are certain sports cars that everybody is familiar with. The Porsche 911, BMW M3 and Lotus Elise spring to mind. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, we have some of the oddballs. Vehicles that have a smaller following or perhaps never really caught on. Take, for example, today's RCW, an Alfa Romeo GTV6. Firstly, I love Alfas. The 8C is phenomenal, the old Stradale racers were insane, the Giulia is certifiable sculpture, and I will always like the looks of the Montreal. Alfas have always mixed sports car philosophy with artistic design, and so seeing one here in Texas is a nice treat. The GTV6 was based on the Alfetta platform, and boasted a 2.5 liter V6 that produced approximately 158 horsepower. The end result was a very successful racing vehicle, as evidenced by the GTV6's performance in the Touring Car and Rally Championships of the 1980's. This particular model is a little worn when you get up close, but just seeing one in any condition is a treat. Hopefully the car's owner keeps this gem out on the road, and hopefully we'll see some more of these Italian classics in the near future.

Alfa Romeo GTV6

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1968 Chevrolet El Camino

Can it really be December already? It's hard to believe how fast the year has gone by, but as the temperature drops we get the perfect excuse to stay inside with our friends and family. For the first RCW of the month, let's check out this classic cruiser from Austin, a 1968 El Camino. The part-car/part-truck design first originated in Australia as the ute, and later made it to America in 1957 when Ford introduced the Ranchero. Chevrolet followed suit in 1959 by introducing the now-iconic El Camino. The premise of these vehicles was to offer all of the comfort and practicality of a car, but with the utilitarian features of a pickup truck. Instead of taking a pickup and making it more luxurious, manufacturers took cars and made them more truck-like. This El Camino is a 1968 model, which was a huge step up from the previous year. The design was brand new, and was still based off of the Chevelle platform. This one has been lightly modified by the owner. It sits a bit lower to the ground, and all excess trim and badging has been removed. Coupled with the simple black paint, this El Camino looks pretty tough, and it appears to be a regularly driven vehicle. Seeing as how the El Camino was designed for getting things done, I'd say that serving as a daily driver is the perfect role for it.

1968 Chevrolet El Camino

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1993 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning

Welcome to this week's RCW on Shifting Gears. For today, I thought I'd pick out one of my favorite Ford oddballs, the SVT Lightning. In the early 1990's, there were a limited number of American performance cars available. For a hefty price tag you could snag a first-generation Viper, or a well-optioned Corvette. The main contenders were GM's Camaro SS and Firebird Trans Am, as well as the Ford Mustang GT. The Fox-body platform was starting to show its age, so in 1993, the year before the next-generation Mustang was unveiled, Ford assembled a performance division to add a bit of spice to their lineup. The Special Vehicles Team, or SVT, was tasked with giving Ford's lineup an injection of high performance. In 1993 they released the Ford Mustang SVT Cobra, and SVT Mustang variants showed up throughout most of the 1990's and 2000's. However, SVT also got their hands on the Ford F-150 pickup. SVT gave it a mild bodykit, better suspension and frame, and a 5.8 liter V8. Thus, the Ford F-150 SVT Lightning was born. It also took sales out of Chevy's sport truck, the 454 SS. SVT returned to the F-150 platform later, too. A second-generation Lightning debuted in 1999, and the modern-day SVT Raptor is proving to be a strong seller for Ford. There's something about a high-performance pickup that is distinctly American, and I, for one, love it.

1993 Ford F-150 SVT Lightning

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1983 Jeep CJ-7

Now that the site is back online, we can return to our regularly scheduled programming. Today's RCW is a retro off-roader, the Jeep CJ-7. The Jeep CJ line debuted shortly after the end of WWII, and the first model was the CJ-2A, which was essentially a civilian version of the Willys MB used by the military. Originally the CJ line was produced by Willys, but eventually the company went defunct and in 1963 Kaiser-Jeep was born. This lasted until 1970, when AMC became the new owners. Finally, in 1987, Jeep fell into the hands of Chrysler, who owns Jeep to this day. Despite being owned by so many different companies, the Jeep CJ line never experienced a large amount of change. This particular Jeep is a 1983 model, hailing from the AMC years. It's a CJ-7 Renegade, which was one of many trim levels available, and it's been modified a bit by the owner. The most notable change is that there is a slight lift kit, coupled with bigger wheels and tires for improved off-road performance. Custom seats and a bikini top roof add to the individuality of this formidable four-wheeler. I personally like the older Jeeps, and favor the CJ models to the later Wranglers, so this is a capable vehicle I would certainly not mind owning.

1983 Jeep CJ-7 Renegade

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Car Show Roundup

There have been several car shows since my computer died, and I took plenty of pictures. Consider this a sampler platter or a highlight reel. Enjoy!

"Discreet" and "T-Bucket" do not really mix.

Not a lot of these still around. It's a 1930 Packard, by the way.

Fenders? No. Fun? Yes.

Blue Ford pickup. VERY blue.

Old Ford trucks are easy to find. Old Chevy pickups, however, are another story.

Some very subtle modifications on this Merc.

It's green, but not in the silly hybrid kind of way.

Nash-Healey LeMans. Rare doesn't even begin to cover it.

Yeah, I'd say that's orange enough.

Rear tires of that size are always a good sign.

Daily-driver worthy Ford F-100.

First year for the Ranchero, 1957.

This car is probably nicer now than when it left the showroom in 1963.

Thunderbird in immaculate shape. One of my favorite bodystyles.

Even the replica Daytona Coupes are tough to find. This one's suitably mean.

1966 Cadillac. Walking one lap around this car actually qualifies as exercise.

Lovely little drop-top Camaro.

Very nice example of what color a convertible Mustang should be.

You could tell how blue this Ford is from three counties over.

*Insert Bullitt theme music here*

Powered by a modern LS motor. Sporty.

One of few non-SS Chevelles left in existence.

One of the most unique hood scoops to come out of the 1960's.

SS 454, the ultimate Chevelle.

Street legal, somehow. That's a 548 Hemi in there...

Nice to see some classic Mopar muscle.

I love these things. One of the coolest wagons ever made.

Nice wheel choice.


Black and yellow, kill a fellow.

A different kind of air-cooled.

This would probably look good in any color.

The lack of engine noise is kind of spooky.

SRT8 Cherokee. A good kind of oddball.

Turbo Porsche. Not too shabby.

First 1M Coupe I've seen. Neat little car.

Small car, big attitude.

More spaceship than car, really.

Dear BMW: It's not a coupe if there are 4 doors.

These things are absolutely terrific.

Rolls Royce Wraith. Fastback + Suicide Doors = Awesome.

Redesigned Camaro in 1LE spec. Looks angry.

New Corvette. Looks great, sounds better.

Back in Action!

Goodness gracious, it's been a while. My computer had a severe hard drive failure, and the process of acquiring a new computer and transferring data from the old one was a longer process than I had anticipated. That said, I've got a brand new computer now, and so we're all systems go. It's been a long and unfortunate reprieve, but it's time to get the site up and running once more. I've got plenty of photos to post, so stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1

Welcome to this week's RCW. For today, the featured car is the 2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1. A retro tribute to the Mach 1 models of the 1960's and 70's, the 2004 model offered a visual and technical advantage over the base and GT models. For looks, the Mach 1 was unique. Decals graced the hood and sides, and Mach 1 badges and labels were added. Ford also gave the car some classic touches. The legendary "Shaker" hood was equipped, as well as a chin spoiler, rear spoiler, and rear window louvers to mimic the design of the first generation Mach 1. Performance modifications were also made, as the Mach 1 was offered with the 4.6 liter R-code V8, which pumped out a very capable 305 horsepower, as well as 320 pound-feet of torque. This meant that the new Mach 1 was show AND go. The Mach 1 was offered for 2003 and 2004 only, and was discontinued in 2005 after the redesigned Mustang took over. This particular Mach 1 is very attractive. It has the full treatment of decals and spoilers, and is painted Azure Blue, one of several bright colors offered for the Mach 1 in 2004. This is a terrific car in that instead of a special-edition sticker job, the Mach 1 option was a real performance upgrade for the Mustang, and the vintage theme and limited production makes it a Mustang worth having.

2004 Ford Mustang Mach 1