Mitsubishi Galant (Fifth Generation, 1988-90)
In the scramble for Japanese dominance of the US automotive market in the late 1980’s, I always feel like Mitsubishi is forgotten about. Tangled up in the DSM joint venture, it seems like there are less Galants of this era out there than say, Cressidas, Accords, or even Datsun 810s.
This 5th generation was short lived, being replaced by the much more popular 6th gen, which was oddly sold alongside this model for two of its three model years. To me, it seems like this car must have been a stopgap, since it’s actually just a rebadged Sapporo; the most luxurious of Mitusbishi’s offerings overseas. That being said, it’s really less of a Galant and more so the beginnings for the more prestigious Diamante.
Regardless of what it was, my opinion is that it became like many of Mitsubishi’s US offerings, a well appointed, comfortable third party candidate.
Seen in SE Portland
Shahin, Paykan Hunter & New York Times
Shahin Armin (pictured above) has been one of this little project’s biggest supporter. The enthusiasm he had for what I was doing has probably kept me doing it, honestly. At the time his blog was already a great success and inspired me to keep going.
Anyways, Shahin as taken it to the next level by going and getting himself published in the NYT for his ongoing project celebrating Iran’s automotive history. Talk about inspirational. Congrats Shahin!
Lincoln Continental Mark III (1969-71)
Based on it’s Thunderbird cousin, this massive Aqua Poly colored Continental is well preserved in the desert air of Palm Springs.
The Mark III was Lincoln’s first real attempt at beating out it’s Cadillac competitor, the El Dorado. While it never really did, the car had great success and became the template for the even larger Continentals of the ’70s and 80’s.
Big, heavy and soft, the Continental is the definition of vintage American luxury. With a huge V8 pulling 2.5 tons of sheet metal around, It fits right in among the post modern homes and long stretches of desert highway.
Seen in Palm Springs, CA
Citroën XM (Series 2, 1994-2000)
Well, I went to Paris and all I got was pictures of this one car (to be fair I was there for work). Disappointing, but the XM is probably one of my favorite modern Citroëns, ever since I saw it in that awesome Ronin car chase scene.
Regarded as one of “the last true Citroëns”, the XM was styled by Bertone, with a long low hood and quirky angular rear proportions that echoed it’s CX predecessor. It also retained the classic hydraulic suspension, something that I am sure is just another thing to worry about, but is so damn cool.
So, is it a DS or SM? No, but I am sure if mechanically looked after these rust resistant XMs will be future collectors items. I just learned several of them were legally imported to the US from ‘91-97, something else to look out for…
Seen on a recent trip to Paris
Chevrolet Blazer Chalet + C/K Pickup (1976-77)
Another submission from my good friend abroad, Shahin of Paykan Hunter, this Blazer Chalet is an oddity…since the camper is attached to a Chevrolet C/K pickup and not a Blazer.
According to this site only 1500 Chalets were ever made.The fiberglass camper was a factory package, being assembled and semi-permanently mounted to your Blazer by Chinook Mobilodge in Washington State. With time and patience you can remove the fiberglass pop-up camper and install it into another vehicle,but you’d have to get creative. This owner has added a fiberglass section where the camper used to go over the roof on the Blazer, something I didn’t realize until I looked closely.
This mix of Chevy history was found in the strangest of places: Iran. Thanks again Shahin for sharing, and Nathalie Taleghani for the first photo.
Volvo 144 (1966-74, this is a ‘73-74)
Strange to think that the thoroughly modern 144 was first introduced way back in 1966, when the Amazon and PV Series were still rolling off the line, but that’s just the way Volvo works; the 240 Series ran well past its expiration date as well, produced alongside cars meant to replace them.
Good friends of mine have owned various 144 and 145s and there’s much to love about them. There is the emergency brake between the driver seat and the door in anticipation of a bench seat that never was developed, or the fact that you shifted through the first four gears using the floor mounted gearshift, but overdrive was engaged via a small column shift lever. Strange, but awesome.
Outside there is that long elegant grille that I wish was still a Volvo design cue, and that little stylized “V” trim on the C-pillar. Lastly there’s that fuel injection system which despite having it explained several times, is still a mystery to me.
Seen in NE Portland
Subaru XT Turbo (1985-87)
Probably one of the most bizzare Subarus to make it to the US (even more so than the SVX, I’d say), the XT is one unique car. First and foremost the shape. The exterior’s wedge-like shape is definitely dated, but must have been great for aerodynamics, with designers going so far as to create flaps to seal the door handles.
Inside it was essentially an Atari on wheels with an asymmetric steering wheel, fighter jet inspired shifter and if you opted for the digital display you were essentially playing Pole Position as you drove.
Couple that to a turbocharged flat four, adjustable suspension and optional four-wheel drive and you have a spec sheet that no other manufacturer could come close to, even today.
Seen in the N. Portland neighborhood of St, Johns
First Generation Ford Falcon 2-Door Station Wagon (1960-63)
There are few automobile configurations as perplexing to me as the two-door station wagon. How frustrating must it be to have all of that storage and passenger carrying capacity, yet make it so hard to access it by removing two of the side doors.
Don’t get me wrong, I find it quite attractive. Perhaps they were popular with the dads not yet ready to look like they dove head on into a family cruiser. Or the hobbyist woodworker that didn’t quite need a truck, choosing the wagon for its enclosed storage area. Or maybe it was driven off the lot simply because four doors tend to clutter any design.
Regardless, this Falcon stirs up nostalgia for a time in which I never lived. A time when it was actually possible to make a business case for a two-door wagon. A time when a little bit of irrationality was what made things cool.
Seen in the N Portland neighborhood of St. Johns
Toyota Land Cruiser (FJ62 1988-90)
Firstly, let me apologize for the hiatus, I’ve been travelling for work and unable to keep a normal schedule. Let me make it up to you with this beautiful blue RHD FJ62 seen in it’s natural habitat of Tokyo, Japan.
Tokyo is not known for old cars. This is mainly because of fuel efficiency and heavy taxes associated with older vehicles, but as I can attest, love for the Land Cruiser seems to have no fiscal limitation. Aside from the RHD configuration, I was smitten by the deep blue paint and wheel covers that conjure memories of ’80s Caprice Classics.
Seen in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan
Lancia Beta 2+2 Coupe (1973-84)
This is only my second guest post ever, and once again it’s courtesy of my friend Shahin, who runs the Paykan Hunter blog, exploring the fascinating world Anglo-Iranian automotive goodness.
While in Tehran, Shahin came across this Lancia Beta which is well worth featuring. A 2+2 coupe, I was surprised to learn that this was a front wheel drive configuration, as they felt transverse engine placement would improve front end weight distribution.
Later in life the engineers of the Beta Monte Carlo would manage to create a mid-engine, rear wheel drive configuration, though this earlier model has much more going for it in the styling department.
Sitting beautifully on original wheels and wearing a red that seems to always look better on Italian cars, this Beta is a rare find and an even more rare insight into a place we don’t often see.
Jaguar XJ-S V-12 (1975-80)
This beautiful red 2+2 was presented as the successor of the vaunted E-Type, and it’s understandable how hard those shoes were to fill. Criticized for poor fuel economy during the oil crisis, wrongfully accused of dangerous blindspots, and generally dismissed as the rightful heir to the E-type’s throne, it certainly had its work cut out for it.
As a grand tourer, though, the XJ-S scored high on all marks, and today it truly does look beautiful (though the owner has taken some liberties with wheel and tire choice). An E-type it is not, but when cruising some lonely stretch of road at 145 mph with three of your closest friends, does that really matter?
Seen in NE Portland
Diamond T 201 Pickup Truck (1938-49)
Until now I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of these in person, though if I did I’d probably have mistaken it for any other WWII era truck. A closer look reveals a lot more though. This is one heavy duty truck with a great reputation.
Based out of Chicago, Diamond T was primarily a truck manufacturer, and a great one at that. The T 201 was regarded as one of the smoothest most comfortable truck available, with a ride comparable to luxury cars of the era. The companies founder, Charles Tilt, borrowed styling cues from these cars as well, creating what is possibly the worlds first luxury truck (though this one is missing the full chrome wheel covers)
While it’s exaggerated proportions may come across as cartoonish now, among its peers it seems this was the king of trucks.
Seen in NE Portland
Dodge D-50 (1979-80)
Featuring arguably the best paint job ever, the D-50 is one of the many DSM models that have fallen into obscurity. Was it rust? Performance? Aesthetic? The latter I find hard to believe since it had a modern interior, sun roof, roll-bar…and did I mention the sweet paint job?
Regardless of sales volume and performance (which I am sure was lacking) this D-50 made me smile. The world needs more compact pickups; though what could be considered the modern D-50 was an utter failure, let’s hope someone can pick up the slack.
Seen in NW Portland.
Saab 96 (1960-80)
Covered extensively on this site, the 96 is the design that built Saab’s legacy. While this one has been “restored” (maybe mask the radiator and sand between coats?) it looks better than most I’ve seen around here.
Infinitely more interesting than it’s contemporaries, the V4, freewheeling clutch and unique proportions help it live up to the Saab reputation; a welcome sight among the swarm of Type 1s in the neighborhood.
Seen in NE Portland.
Toyota Van (1982-89)
Long in the tooth in more way than one, this vintage van still makes me happy. Cab over design, no matter how irresponsible, makes for some great proportions; and with a bumper like that, what’s to worry about?
While it’s a stretch that this one has been to Patagonia and back, I still respect the fact that it looked like the owners had made this their home for an indeterminate amount of time. Best wishes for many more happy miles.
Seen at Mt. Rainier National Park, WA.