Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1963 Ford Falcon Squire Wagon

Welcome to this week's Random Car Wednesday. This time, we've got an ideal car for summer: A beach-ready 1963 Ford Falcon Squire Station Wagon. The Falcon was Ford's smaller alternative to the larger Galaxies and Fairlanes in the early 1960's. Available as a sedan, coupe, convertible, station wagon or Ranchero pickup, the Falcon was a versatile platform and Ford sold quite a few over the years. The Falcon platform was actually used to create the original Mustang, which to this day is one of the most popular American cars of all time. Falcons also saw action in the racing world, being used in Trans-Am racing and also the Monte Carlo Rally in Europe. This particular Falcon, however, is not intended for competitive use. The Falcon Squire was the luxury model, easily identified by the wood trim on the sides. This one is in terrific condition, and the surfboard on top is an awesome touch. This would be the perfect car to take to the beach on a nice summer day. Absolutely beautiful, this one.

1963 Ford Falcon Squire Station Wagon

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1966 Matra Djet

Welcome to today's RCW, for which I've chosen a very interesting vehicle indeed. Hailing from France, the Matra Djet is not a common car. It is, however, a very interesting car. The Djet first came about in 1962, and it had very sporting credentials. A fiberglass-bodied two-seater with the engine behind the seats was a perfect recipe for a proper sports car. Power came from a Renault inline, and a sportier Gordini-tuned variant was available as well. Due to the large price tag, the Djet never sold particularly well, and nowadays it's a rather obscure vehicle. This particular Djet is in good condition, and bears some resemblance to Abarth and Alpine sports cars of the same era. All in all, it's something you don't see everyday, and a lot of fun as well.

1966 Matra Djet

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Father's Day Car Show Roundup

Every Father's Day, Austin plays host to the annual Father's Day Car Show, a great event that showcases some of the most exciting classic cars in Austin. Despite the extreme heat, I dropped by and had a blast. The cars on hand were terrific and interesting, and made for a terrific turnout. But don't just take my word for it. Here's a rundown of some of the most interesting vehicles in attendance.

Less-than-common '40 Mercury Coupe

Massive '67 Monaco 500

Very desirable E-Code Thunderbird

1954 Dodge Pace Car, not exactly subtle

Pumpkin-colored '72 Chevy Shortbed

Somewhat mild for a '32 Ford, but pretty nonetheless

Sunshine-ready VW

Wild paint on a '49 Ford

Exceptionally blue '64 Corvair

Packard sedan looks dignified in black

Fastback '67 Mustang in green

A lovely red Hudson Hornet

Well-preserved 1932 Buick

Uncommon '33 Pontiac

Groovy '66 VW

Souped-up '57 Chevy Wagon

Zombieproof AM General

Four speed, four barrel, dual exhaust: 442

Eye candy '64 Impala

Extremely well-modified '63 Ford

A great white whale, also known as the 1977 Lincoln Mark V

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: BMW M Roadster

Welcome to a one-day-late rendition of RCW! I was out of town the past few days, but I'm back at home and boy it feels nice. This week's car is a very sporty German roadster, the BMW Z3 M Roadster. Germany's take on the Miata, the Z3 was small, sporty, and very popular. It was eventually replaced by the larger Z4, but the Z3 remains a delightful car to this day. This Z3 is an M Roadster, which is the upgraded variant. BMW's M Division created the M Coupe and M Convertible as more competitive renditions of the already-potent roadster. They received the powerplant from the mighty E46-gen M3, along with a wider track, better tires, an improved chassis and larger brakes. Top speed was electronically limited to 155 mph, quite reasonable for a car of this size. This particular M Roadster is finished in a terrific shade of blue and appears to get driven on a regular basis. A fitting lifestyle for a vehicle built to emphasize the joy of driving.

2001 BMW Z3 M Roadster

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: Ferrari 458 Italia

Welcome to another installment of RCW here on Shifting Gears. This time around, the random car is hot off the showroom floor: A 2013 Ferrari 458 Italia. Ferrari's main performance car, the 458 is everything a Ferrari should be. Its looks are dramatic and beautiful, the engine is in the middle, and power goes to the rear wheels. The 458 is Ferrari's successor to the popular F430 and 430 Scuderia models, and has been in production since 2010. Alongside the oddball FF and the grand tourer F12, the 458 is a few cylinders short, having a V8 in favor of a V12. That said, it's no slouch: The 4.5 L V8 (4.5 liter V8...458) in the Italia makes 562 horsepower, which can propel the car from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just over three seconds. Furthermore, the Italia will continue to accelerate up to an incredible top speed of 202 mph. Until the oddly-named LaFerrari goes on sale, the 458 holds the coveted spot of Ferrari's top supercar. The Italia is every bit the generic Italian supercar, but upon closer inspection it's easy to see that this car is anything but ordinary.

2013 Ferrari 458 Italia