Stranger Things

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There’s something strange about finding yourself north of 250th street. It feels like that scene in The Royal Tennenbaums where they say they live on 375th street. Like magical realism. People live in houses up here. Real, honest-to-God houses, with driveways and everything. In a similar way, it’s funny to see a van this old out in the wild. Vans are utilitarian objects: tools that serve a purpose and are then disposed of. I don’t know if the owner of this car is keeping it running in earnest or if they just drive it ironically. Who knows? We’re in uncharted territory for many New Yorkers. This is a 1969 ChevyVan. Continue reading

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Southern Gothic

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Much like a bumblebee’s ability to fly and the movie Cowboys And Aliens, this car works brilliantly in spite of the fact that it really shouldn’t. Let me explain: Porsche has a reputation for building extremely luxurious and ludicrously capable sports cars (though in recent years, they’ve expanded the brand). But behind the pomp and circumstance, the brand is a little stodgy. Their pièce de résistance, the 911, has been around since 1963, and has been through six successive generations. But if you line them all up next to one another, you’d be hard pressed to say the designers were were clocking into work at all. The 911’s design hasn’t advanced in years, and for reasons we’ll get into in a minute, the car’s engineers are no better. But this particular 911 is something different entirely. This is a 1982 Porsche 911SC Targa.  Continue reading

Philosophy And Pickup Trucks

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This is a pickup truck. But it’s also a line in the sand. And that’s because loyalty is a funny thing. Pledging your support to a single idea through thick and thin is an inherently illogical thing to do. And yet so many of us cling to loyalty, like sloths on our favorite branch of the virtue tree. William Bennett writes in his Book of Virtues that “real loyalty endures inconvenience, withstands temptation, and does not cringe under assault. Yet the trust that genuine loyalty tends to generate can pervade our whole lives.” All rationality supports our choosing the best option available to us regardless of our preconceived notions or personal preferences. I still go to the deli that’s a little further away from my apartment than the one that’s closer and more reputable. This truck is like that deli. This is a 1970 Ford F-100 Sport Custom. Continue reading

Ramblin’ Man

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If you look at the vast majority of marketing materials today, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ll be unceremoniously shipped off to Timbuktu at the age of 41. The youth are the demographic that gets all the attention- and that’s fine. Millennials have given the world all kinds of great things: from apps that summon personal chauffeurs to your door to shops that sell only cookie dough. But recently, the 18 to 40 demographic has made a terrible mistake. The tastemakers have made something in poor taste. And this car can explain why. This is a 1965 Rambler Classic 770 Cross Country.  Continue reading

Forgotten Places: Cadillac House

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Saying that Cadillac has a bit of an image problem is like saying The Young Pope is “a bit” verbose. But before we delve too deeply into marketing jargon or brands, I feel it’s necessary to say that Cadillac’s cars– the big, two-ton rolling things that the company actually sells- are actually quite good at the moment. Arguably the best lineup they’ve ever had, actually. They just don’t sell. And it’s not as if the brand hasn’t been trying. Their management has international experience in the hopes of capturing some of that BMW (or rather, Infiniti) magic. They’ve moved their corporate headquarters out of Detroit and into Manhattan in an effort to distance themselves physically and ideologically from their corporate overlords at General Motors. They’ve even changed their logo. And yet, Escalades and CT6s sit off to the side of the luxury-car party, hands-in-pockets, incessantly checking their phones until it’s an acceptable time to leave. To find out why, I went downtown to visit Cadillac’s latest brand exercise. Welcome, everyone, to Cadillac House. Continue reading

It’s A Lumberjack, And It’s Okay

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By the end of the 1960s, Land Rover was in a bit of a pickle. The postwar successes of the “Series” Land Rovers had long worn off, and there was a new go-anywhere, rough-and-tumble, off-road rookie encroaching on the brand’s territory: The Toyota Land Cruiser. The Toyota had been a thorn in Land Rover’s side for a long time, namely on account of the Land Cruiser’s remarkable ability to not break down all the time. In 1970, Land Rover fired back, in typical British fashion, by classing up the joint. This is a 1993 Land Rover Range Rover.  Continue reading

Love In The Time Of Corolla

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If it were an ice cream flavor it would be vanilla. If it were a member of the Avengers it would be Hawkeye. If it were a Neil Gaiman book it would be The Ocean at the End of the Lane. If it were a Supreme Court Justice it would be Anthony Kennedy. If it were a snack food it would be Rold Gold pretzels. If it were an order at Starbucks it would be a “small dark roast, with room for milk and that’s all, thank you.” This is a 1980 Toyota Corolla. Continue reading

Comfort Zone

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BMW is well known for its sporty, small sedans and sedan-based coupes (witness stuff like this and this). They start to fall down, however, when it comes to anything outside of that particular sliver of the market. BMW has never really had a sports car that could compete with Porsche, and their bigger cars have always been overshadowed by the likes of Mercedes and Audi. But as I learned from the movie She’s All That, just because something’s relatively unknown doesn’t mean it’s not worth getting to know. So let’s get to know a big BMW. This is a 1973 BMW 3.0 CS.  Continue reading

Wagon Tales

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This is a 1988 Jeep Grand Wagoneer. And can I just say how great it is to be talking about a Jeep again? Long time readers might remember the very first car on Forgotten Metal was, in fact, a Jeep (way back when this whole thing was called Forgotten Metal From The Island That Rust Forgot, before I Sean Parker-ed all the extraneous words). But the Grand Wagoneer is a very different kind of Jeep, and comparing it to the Jeepster from our pilot episode demonstrates exactly how diverse the company can be when it sets it mind to it. But first we need to talk about Old Money. Continue reading

It’s My Party, I Can Cry If I Want To

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In an effort to provide the best possible range of automotive-related ramblings to you, dear readers, I recently decided to take a trip out to New York City’s easternmost borough: Queens. I don’t spend enough time here. Queens is quieter and more accessible than the Bronx, it isn’t as high strung as Manhattan, and it doesn’t make me feel bad about myself for not knowing what “normcore” is like Brooklyn does. Plus, Spiderman lives here. And so does today’s car. This is a 1969 AMC Rebel SST Sedan. Continue reading