Down on the Street (Manhattan Edition)

Jalopnik has a regular feature – Down on the Street – where they post photos of old cars, usually in Alameda, California, “The Island that Rust Forgot”. Can Stinque compete?  Check this out – corner of 74th and Amsterdam just this morning, in front of my building – a 1974 Ford Mustang II, 45K, and it’s for sale!  Seven grand takes it:


You could buy it, but why? Granted, it’s not one of the awful early 80s Mustangs, but it’s pretty neutered.

It’s worse than the Morris Marina – rear drive, crap suspension, and 70s build quality. But it’s still a rare site outside of a junkyard.

@blogenfreude: $7K?? For what, the paint job? Would they consider $2,500 and throw in an 8-track?

What kind of asshole would drive a Ford?

I’d rather have a cherry Chevelle. Preferably red.

@FlyingChainSaw: This kind of asshole – my last car before I moved to NYC was a ’97 Ford Taurus SHO – most reliable car I’ve ever owned, and I’ve had two Toyotas, a Honda, and a Mercedes (among others).

@FlyingChainSaw: Mike Rowe. (JK, Mike — call me!)

I saw a Dodge Charger of like vintage the other day in insect green and black out on the road near my house. Awesome rig.

@blogenfreude: Wow, I didn’t know you were that kind of asshole. You really lucked out. Had one Ford. Had to just leave it under a bridge in a dying eastern city. On my second Subaru now (progeny of Fuji Heavy Industries, the people who brought you the Pacific War.)

@redmanlaw: Kowalski, he knew about Dodge performance cars. And he didn’t do green.

@FlyingChainSaw: Ford is now making world class cars – the Fiesta (available in Europe and soon here) and the Focus (if only available here in GT trim) – the Ford Fusion beats various Toyotas and Hondas in quality. We can do it, although few know it now – I suggest you check out the blue oval when you need a new car.

@FlyingChainSaw: The dude from Dirty Jobs and a Discovery Chanel narrator for stuff like Deadliest Catch. I have a weakness for people who work with their hands. Mike’s hottern hell, but now a shill for Ford, may he burn in hell.

@FlyingChainSaw: Blew up an Escort on the Grapevine, kept a shitty Taurus running waaaaay past its expiration date out of pure need. Now that I car share, I get to play with any model I want. I’ve learned that I’m too tall for a Mini Cooper, but it does well when people are double parked all over the place and blocking the street, even if your needs are under your chin. A Prius can run out of gas if you accidentally leave the engine “running” for three hours. Volvos are okay — decent suspensions.

Next on deck, well, if I were on the left coast, it would be a Carrera and Route 1 (manual, natch). But I wouldn’t be one of those assholes acting like 1 is a time trial. I pull over all the time to contemplate the forces that created the scenery and the people who created and maintain that road. The bridge near Pfeiffer Big Sur is one of my favorite landmarks.

Not sure what to drive next here in Philly. I like bouncing around in trucks, which I realize is weird. I guess I’m just looking for something to challenge me. One of the things I do very very well is drive. I’m not interested in a BMW, but I’d like to try an S Class just because.

@blogenfreude: Hahahahaha! Keep fucking that chicken!

@blogenfreude: Oh, god, no, no Ford again, ever. I’ll change my mind when I heard of Ford Flatunaut regularly breaking 3ooK with little or no maintenance.

@JNOV: BMWs are indeed pieces of shit. You need a mean motherfucking Porsche. Or a 1971 Dodge Challenger with a modernized front end. Go for the ultrabadness in all things automotive.

Good Lord! My needs are not under my chin, but sometimes my knees are…

Yes, I’m sober.

@chainsaw: back when i sold my soul to BigLaw, my next car was going to be a Carrera. I figured I’d pass on the convertible for better aerodynamics. Love to feel a car hunker closer to the road when you hit that sweet spot of speed…

Oh, had the three-speed Challenger Charger (apologies for typo). Lost it in the divorce.

@JNOV: The outer limits of the Ultrabadness!

Be still my heart!

@FlyingChainSaw: @JNOV: I’d like to be a passenger in that ride. “Baby roll these windows down”

I had a ’78 Ford Fiasco, worst piece of mechanical and electrical failure in the world, but I loved every bit of it. Finishing up Brinkley’s long book about Ford on the return trip, and as deep in the crap Ford got in the 70s as far as quality and such, they climbed out fairly respectably by the mid 80s. We had a Fairlane when I was a tyke, then much later, late high school years, the ultimate party mobile: a Gran Torino wagon – drop down tailgate!

@Nabisco: Gran Torino! Werd!

@FlyingChainSaw: @Nabisco: Seriously, if you ever want to experience something otherworldly, give me the wheel.

@JNOV: Something tells me we’d need some kevlar and a coupla sixes of Ballentine’s Ale.

ADD: what the hell time is it anywhere? I’m seriously sleep deprived and all body kinked from flying cattle class, boarding soon for the final leg to lotuslandia.

@Nabisco: Music and seat belts. Oh, and singing is mandatory in my ride. No exceptions.

I wanna talk about cars some more. I guess I’m a dude at heart.

I’m not great with model years, but I’m good with makes and lines. The only cars I can identify with model years are ’66 Mustangs (unreinforced gas tank behind the rear seat, yo!), and ’66 and ’67 Stingrays — t-tops are my fave, natch.

My father had a Porsche when I was about 7 years old. He bought it used, and if I had to guess, I’d say it was a around a ’70. When I was little, they were still building the AC Expressway (I’m pretty sure that’s the road), and Dad would take me to the paved stretches on the weekends when the workers were gone. We’d move the barriers, and he’d let it rip — gotta open up those valves on a regular basis, or it was just an excuse for him to drive like a maniac.

It was scary and exhilarating. I sat so low in the bucket seat that I couldn’t see over the dash or through the window, but I could feel how fast we were going.

Dad also liked to draft off tractor trailers or any large enough truck. If we talk about it now, he feels guilty for risking my life like that, but he was a young dad, and I don’t think he understood the possible consequences of his actions.

I also used to help my dad restore cars. We messed around with a ’43 MG TD, stripped it to the chassis, and built it back up. My favorite job was sitting outside at a card table with a oil pan of gasoline, an old toothbrush and I’d clean parts forever. Yes, I think I was pretty high.

Another thing I loved was that because my hands were small, I could work under the hood or under the body for him. I’d attach a socket wrench here or there, get a small piece of pipe for leverage and pull. I guess I was about ten.

After the TD, he moved onto MGAs — I think ’55s or ’57s, but I’m not sure. I didn’t live with him, so my bedroom became a repository for car parts. He had three parts cars stashed around friends’ and family’s houses, and we’d go salvage this or that from here or there. Again, the small hands came in handy.

He liked MGs because, at that time, they were pretty cheap to restore. I was supposed to get an MGA for my 16th birthday, but I guess he forgot and sold it.

And while they may be unsafe at any speed, I love a Corvair.

So, yeah. I suppose this fascination is the fault of my dad and the fact that I’m the oldest, I mean like way older than my brothers. But it’s cool. When my car used to give me the craps, I’d buy a Chilton Manual, schmooze the parts guys and the dealer service mechanics for advice, and when I was in the Navy, I lived in the hobby shop (the DIY car maintenance bays).

The sailors and marines thought I was sooooo cute trying to work on my car and always tried to help me change the oil or whatever. I’d be like, “Just help guide me on the lift, and I’ll take care of the rest.”

Dad taught me to cut tile, how to hammer a nail straight, how to mix concrete, install a sky light, how to fix a bike, how to grout and caulk, how to dig holes for fence posts, and how to create a brick patio. I was even allowed to play with power tools. School shop was a joke.

Things I never mastered were how to palm a basketball and spin one on my finger. Gah! But I play a mean game of HORSE.

I guess I’m writing this to say that while Dad used me as a little helper because I was available and take direction well, what he really taught me was that it didn’t matter that I was a girl doing guy things, and I’ve carried that throughout my life.

I know a part of him feels responsible for making a crude, rude TomWoman out of me — he hates that I curse and smoke and drink, but he’s not responsible for those choices.

Instead he taught me tricks — need leverage, use a pipe. Shimming is great, chalk strings are fun, block the wheels before you jack up the car, bleeding brakes is a pain in the ass, creepers are not good substitutes for skateboards, and real car jacks (not that bottle bullshit) are fun to play with — jack it up, stand on the platform, twist the handle and fall off as you descend. Jack stands are optional if you have cinder blocks, Snap-on vs. Craftsman? Snap-on wins hands down, but sometimes all you can afford is Sears.

So, yeah. I love my dad for unintentionally creating a feminist.

ADD: Oh, and ALWAYS take out the battery before you fuck with the coil.

ADD (I slept all day, mmmkay?): Stickum is not fair in football (I don’t think gloves are either, but whatever), while clotheslining and tripping would be among my top five defensive strategies, they’re not fair either. Everyone who grabs a face mask should be shot, and Thesman is a douche for changing his name.

@Nabisco: Ballatine Ale, 71 Challenger and the Stinquers on a road trip: One Step Beyond the Outer Limits of Ultrabadness!

my contribution for the bad-assiest car EVER…
the 1970 olds 442. i raced it on decator road in the 70’s (can i get an amen from JNOV?) and beat the shit out of ANYthing.
for roaming the shure-kill expressway in philly–a boxter. the 911? feh–tempermental. i’ve had ’em all…that boxter is my fave–sweet sweet sweet. on fantasy island–a jeep, or you may as well hike.

@FlyingChainSaw: +1

@baked: Never owned a car until I moved to Sandy Eggo when I was 23 and had no choice, so no Decatur Rd for me.

Boxters? Sorry, baked, but they’re Porches with panties.

As much as I loathe Fords, I’d kill to drive a top-off ’72ish dusty old Bronco and followed one from Watsonville to Salinas. We played car tag.

As far as the twisty turny roads go, I do not fuck around with them. I am a safe driver, and the twisty turny roads exist because the scenery is so fucking awesome. You miss that if you don’t take the time to pull over and vibe.

If you have a good feel for a car, I mean a real car, if you understand how it handles under certain conditions, if you recognize when it wants to open up or when it demands you take it easy, if you know when it likes for you to brake in and accelerate out of a bend, you don’t need to go fast to appreciate its power.

As much as I’m my father’s daughter, he hates the way I drive even when he’s wigged out of his brain on Ativan and Xanax because he’s claustrophobic and needed an MRI to evaluate a mass on his kidney.

“You can go around him. You can turn now.” I reply, “I know you don’t like the way I drive, but you have nowhere to be anytime soon. Yes, you’ve driven longer than I have, but I’ve crisscrossed this country four times, and in all my years of driving, I have only had one accident that was my fault. [I slightly bumped a car in front of me when we were getting on the highway — no harm, no foul. I saw an opening in the traffic that he didn’t see, punched it, and rearended him just hard enough for his tow ball to leave a small impression in my front plate — I’m good with brakes.]

“So, Dad. Just relax and let me get you home safely. Have another Xanax…”

@baked: The Boxter has way better balance than any 911, which will kill you if you step over the line. If I had a choice now, I’d get an Audi R8 – mid-engine, best balance out there, and all-wheel-drive.

@JNOV: My father knew nothing – when I rebuilt my Volvo’s carburetors, I was on my own.

@blogenfreude: The Boxster is a waste of gas.

@blogenfreude: Here’s the thing — it wasn’t what he taught me so much as how he taught me. He had manuals for everything, and he consulted them regularly. When my Escort first started stalling out (on I-5, natch), I did the usual and took it to the mechanic. He told me it was the coil, replaced it, and I was on my way.

The next time it started stalling (this time on I-15), I was like, “I know what this is.” I bought the Chilton, held my ankles and bought the “special” There’s Only One Wrench in the Whole Wide World for this Part crap from the Ford dealer, and I read and got to work.

He taught me how to read and understand instructions, and he taught me how things fit and work together through disassembly and reassembly, and he taught me that I can fix anything if I am patient, have good instructions, ask for help and have access to the right tools. And he taught me that degreasing hand cleaner smells and feels great, busted knuckles don’t hurt so bad, and people are going to wonder why your fingernails are so dirty if you don’t clip them.

@JNOV: Wha??? Better than a Z4, better than a 370Z, better than CLK AMG – if you want a sports car for about 60 large, it’s the obvious choice. Ever driven one?

Oh, and a shout out for a pink Karmann Ghia convertible. Yeah, VWs are shite, but Dad and I were going to restore one and take it on the road, just the two of us. I’m sure we’d fight over who gets to be behind the wheel, but I figure if it’s light pink, he might not want to drive it.

@blogenfreude: I’ve been in plenty, and I’ve repressed mocking laughter more times than I can remember. I lived in CA when the boxtress hit the scene, and it was like a fucking locust invasion. Fad. Weak. An insult to all Carreras everywhere.

Another Porsche gripe. Remember in the mid-to-late 80s when Porsche had a HUGE brain fart and thought that putting a red plastic “911” sign on the back of their Carreras would make the men hard and the ladies swoon? Dumbest idea ever besides the Boxter. I guess they were supposed to match LOLCats vanity plates…

@blogenfreude: If you want a sports car for $60 large, you really don’t want a sports car at all unless you’re willing to lovingly rehab a classic and spend close to $20K to get it right.

@JNOV: Disagree. Boxter S can outhandle the 911s. Worship of speed over handling is like dating a girl for her big tits.

@Dodgerblue: Word. I’ve only driven the ‘standard’ first gen Boxster, but I an imagine a few more ponies and a slightly stiffer suspension. If you haven’t driven one, you can’t know.

And damn – wish I had the bucks to rent an A8 – I’m sure someone does around here.

@Dodgerblue: Disagree. You have to know how to handle and respect speed to appreciate a Carrera. The Boxter doesn’t have the power to be anything more than a dip in the Porsche kiddie pool. And it’s too fucking small. If you’re not comfortable in a car, you’re not going to be focused on what you’re doing, and THEN you’ll end up in trouble, great handling or not.

@JNOV: I don’t take my car to the track. When you’re having a good time on a twisty mountain road, you won’t be going over 70 mph or so anyway. Even the crazies on the sport bikes don’t do that.

@Dodgerblue: Read above — I don’t do twisty at high speed.

I cut my teeth on an old two-toned, shot shocks, heavy duty Silverdao. I can handle a crazy out of alignment truck, and I can coax a sweet low ride. It’s about the potential of power which is not the same thing as speed.

Last thing — I’m sorry if I offended the Boxter lovers. I thought we were talking about muscle cars and veering off into classics. Boxters are NOT muscle cars, but if you like them, that’s cool. They’re cute. They might handle amazingly, and I’m not going to mock you if love your ride. All I’m saying is that they’re not for me.

The closest thing I’ve had recently to a decent ride was a 2002 loaded red Solara convertible with buff kid leather seats and burlwood dash. I bought it because it was cute, and I looked great in it. Only once did I bury the needle, and there wasn’t a shimmy or a shake. Muscle car? No. Sweet ride? Not bad for a Lexus in a Camry body.

If I had my druthers, I’d be a Formula One driver. Alas, I ride public transportation, car share when necessary, and take a Prius on long trips cuz it’s the right thing to do.


@JNOV: A drop-top Camry? That’s our generation’s version of an Eldorado convertible (ask my Great Uncle Dom about THAT car) … do you still have the damn thing? Is it an automatic? (of course it is …).

@blogenfreude: Sadly, yes, an automatic. Sadly, no, no longer have it. It was a shiny thing that caught me eye. I lusted after it for a few days, and finally bought it. Needle buried about 125ish. Not bad for the money.

@JNOV: If Zipcar offered one, I would take it. So many things are forgiven when the top goes down.

@blogenfreude: El Dorado convertible — now, that was style.

I’ve left off arguing with JNOV about cars and am baking zucchini bread. Like all good recipies, mine begins: Open a Dos XX.

@Dodgerblue: Like Julia said: “I always cook with wine.”

@Dodgerblue: Aw, c’mon. I thought we were having fun!

@blogenfreude: Who was that dude who always cooked while drinking port? Think he got entangled in some kiddie porn thing?

@JNOV: Fords drool! Chevys rule!

Zuc bread is done, 4 loaves. I made it vegan-style for the tender souls at my office. It seems to be a little more crumbly without eggs.

My new Redington 8′ 3 wt fly rod makes my former dream rod, an Orvis 8’6″ 4 wt, feel like a club. The 3 wt makes those little mountain trout feel like real fighters.

Now there’s a debate I can understand. The 4wd Dodge Dakota pickup truck got me everywhere I wanted to go this weekend, carries four in comfort and does 90 on the highway if you’re not watching. I bet Son of RML and I were the only flyfishers/hikers rolling up to the campground parking area blasting Lamb of God and Rob Zombie.

@Dodgerblue: :-)

@mellbell: Bingo! And I bet Yan can cook outside the kitchen, too…

@FlyingChainSaw: I’m there. I’ll bring the Memphis Horns for the tape deck.

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