1969 Porsche 912 Targa – Porsches Run In The Family!

Note: This was the very first article I wrote about old cars that was published online, back in August 2011. Not unsurprisingly, it is about a Porsche. Now that I have a couple of hundred articles under my belt, it has been redone and prettied up from its original iteration. -TK

My father is a Porsche guy, more specifically a 356 Porsche guy. He had them before he was married and before us kids came along, including several 356s-a 1951 Cabriolet, two 1960 Roadsters, and a 356C coupe, along with many parts cars. He’s been a member of the 356 Registry since the mid-’70s, and still has most of the magazines. In the early years of the new Millennium, he had settled down with one 356B Roadster and his daily driver, a midnight blue 2001 Carrera.

My mother was used to cars coming and going over the past thirty-five years. Heck, back when they were dating in the early 1970s he regularly stashed a parts car behind her parents’ house. Above picture is from about 1973. Even that toasty light gray Roadster would be worth big bucks now! But back then it was just a rusty, crusty $100 parts car.

But no new (or rather, additional) Porsches had entered the family for quite some time. The 356B Roadster had been in the family since 1988. Bought as an engine-less basket case, a friend restored it in his spare time when he wasn’t at his day job at the body shop of the local Buick-Dodge-Mazda dealer. But then one evening in the spring of 2003 she mentioned that there was an old Targa parked with a For Sale sign on 30th Street in Rock Island. Dad drove over, checked it out, then called the number in the window. In short order, he found out it was being sold by an old friend from high school.

He and Dan had gone on a road trip to Denver right after high school graduation in his new 1970 Boss 302, where they had the chrome Magnum 500 wheels stolen in a parking garage and left on jack stands. Fun! He had to call my grandfather and have money wired to get new wheels and tires from the Ford dealer in town. So yes, they go back quite a few years. So he bought the 912. Mom was less than thrilled.

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1971 Ford Thunderbird Landau Sedan – Thunderbrougham

The Ford Thunderbird underwent multiple personality changes throughout its life. What started out as a two-seat convertible had, by the time the fifth-generation Thunderbird debuted in the autumn of 1966, become a much different automobile. Sure, it was still flashy and typically loaded with power gadgets, but one thing was missing for the first time since the first T-Birds appeared: A convertible top.

Well, the writing had been on the wall for some time, with topless T-Bird sales dropping across several previous years. Indeed, by the early ’70s nearly all the topless cars built in the Land of the Free were gone, or on borrowed time. But what to replace it with? The answer was — believe it or not — a four-door sedan.

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2018 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription – Swedish Brougham

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve always had a thing for Volvos. My parents always had them when I was a kid. The earliest cars I remember riding in were Mom’s ’73 1800ES and ’77 245DL wagon, and Dad’s ’81 DL two-door sedan. All through the ’80s, Mom had a Volvo wagon and Dad had a Volvo sedan.

Dad’s new 740 Turbo, circa summer 1988.

Probably my favorite was my father’s 1988 740 Turbo Sedan. Fire engine red, tan leather, blackout trim, five-spoke alloys and sunroof. Now that was excellent!

The 940SE at Lake Carroll, late ’90s.

So it may come as no surprise that my first car was a Volvo, and my second, and my third. The first one was my dad’s former company car, a 1991 940SE Turbo.

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1979 Cadillac Seville – A Sheer Vision In Colonial Yellow

Note: This was originally going to be the last article I wrote for CC at the end of 2014. I had had enough issues with certain persons and certain personalities that I’d decided to move on. But I left this in the queue as an appropriate swan song for my scribblings there, since I am such a fan of classic domestic luxury cars. Well, lo and behold, a day or so before it was to run, it was de-scheduled. Then deleted. Classy. Fortunately, I’d saved a copy to my own computer. It ran on another site several months later, but as a low traffic site, most likely few people saw it. And now that I’ve thoroughly bored you, here it is, with a couple of tweaks. Enjoy! And Brougham on. -TK

I am a big fan of the Cadillac Seville. Why? It was gorgeous, it was a way to get new customers for Cadillac dealers, while retaining those owners getting a bit tired of their Nimitz-class offerings, and it not only inaugurated the successful Sheer Look, it also did so with that elusive Jaguar way, with grace and pace.

The Seville’s genesis goes back to the early ’70s, when demand for a “smaller Cadillac” caused the GM prestige division to think about a new model. In fact, the earliest styling bucks for the Seville circa 1973 looked remarkably like that of the Hooper-inspired 1980-85 Cadillac Seville.

But fortunately, a leaner, smoother design and, in your author’s opinion, rather timeless design was selected, and was a breath of fresh air in Cadillac dealerships. Here was a cleanly styled flagship (only the Fleetwood limousines cost more) that had fuel injection and manageable size, yet retained all the luxury features that Cadillac owners, a loyal bunch, expected.

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1978 Buick Regal Sport Coupe – Activate The Turbo Boost

1977 through 1979 were pretty big years for General Motors. During those three model years, a vast diet was undertaken by the majority of their offerings, so that by decade’s end, most of the familiar gunboats you remembered had a much different, much lighter and much more purposeful look.

1976 Buick Electra Park Avenue

It all started with the biggies. The 1977 B-body and C-body full-size cars went from this…

1977 Buick Electra 225

To this. Pretty drastic, wouldn’t you say?

The new cars, while perhaps displaying less Broughamage and curtailing the trend to longer, lower, wider styling, were better handling, better on gas, and in most dimensions had more interior room than the 1976 models. All in all not bad. And the public responded with a healthy appetite for these lean yet satisfying automobiles.

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Japanese People Aren’t Making Babies. Why?

Please welcome Thomas Kreutzer to Riverside Green!—Bark

It’s the beginning of a new week, which means it must be time for a new article on the sexual habits of the Japanese.

Today’s trending topic, courtesy of the BBC and The Independent, is a recent study that finds 43% of Japanese people aged 18 to 34 have never had a sexual experience. The article goes on say that 64% of people in that age range report that they are not in a relationship and that roughly one in four 50 year old Japanese men, and one in seven 50 year old Japanese women, claim to have never been married. If this trend continues, warns Japan’s National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the country’s current population of 127 million will, by 2065, decline by nearly 40 million.

To discover the underlying reasons, BBC reporters dug deep and interviewed two people. The male perspective was provided by unmarried 26 year old comedian Ano Matsui who told reporters that men like him are afraid of rejection, find women scary, and prefer to spend time working on their hobbies. “Once,” he said, “I asked a girl out but she said no. That traumatized me.”

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How Not To Recycle A Piano

NOTE: Another amusing article my my uncle, David Klockau. -TK

One of the fun parts of my job with City Carton Recycling is when I don my “Community Education Coordinator” hat to make environmental presentations at local schools. These student groups have ranged from pre-school to college. While the most fun groups are the 3-4th graders, a few times I have felt I was losing an audience. Let’s face it; recycling is not always the most exciting thing to discuss. When this has happened, especially with the younger audiences, I ask them if they would like to hear how I launched a grand piano out of a pick up truck. This usually gets their attention, since it involves an adult screwing up (that would be me), action, drama, and property destruction.

Before I joined the recycling industry, I worked in the waste business as a service manager for a local waste hauler. Every now and then we would get calls from people wanting us to haul and dispose of something a little unusual. These calls were usually directed to me. One day, I took a call from the local community theatre group. They were making their seasonal move from the local fairgrounds exhibit hall and needed to do a clean out. I started to quote them a price for a dumpster, when the caller cut me off to say that they needed to dispose of not one, but two big old upright grand pianos.

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The Supper Club: Dwindling, But Not Gone-Yet!

(NOTE: This article was originally published as a guest editorial in the Iowa City Press-Citizen, by my uncle, David Klockau. I thought RG’s regular readers might enjoy it! -TK)

The classic Midwestern supper club, once a regular sighting on the old pre-Interstate highways in the heartland, are getting harder to find in this day and age. However, I disagree that the supper club as we know it has “ended.” They are still out there, and still worth seeking out.

Dave’s freeloading nephew (that’s me!) provided transportation to the Ced-Rel on our last visit.

In fact, friends of mine organized an informal supper club club. While I live in Iowa City, our group makes regular trips to the Ced-Rel Supper Club on Highway 30 just a short drive west of Cedar Rapids and the Lighthouse on the opposite side of Cedar Rapids in Marion. Both restaurants are always busy. The Ced-Rel serves a fantastic hot and cold multi-level relish tray, and in addition to excellent steaks, they have bacon-wrapped, cheese stuffed jumbo shrimp in a tempura style-batter. And Lighthouse has an outstanding prime rib cut.

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Imagine Yourself In A Mercury: 1979 Cougar Sedan

A four door Cougar? Oh yes! Once upon a time, in the ’70s, nameplate recognition actually meant something. And cars had actual names! Starting in 1974, the Cougar coupe finally broke it off with the Mustang body and chassis-wise, becoming a super-luxe Montego while the Mustang became a sequel and shrunk.

The reconfigured 1974 Cougar dropped all sport pretensions, and became a mini-Mark IV of sorts, with that ’70s domestic “boulevard ride” and lots and lots of options. Despite the loss of the convertible, sales of the ’74-’76 Cougar were extremely healthy.

So healthy, in fact, that when the time came for a redesign in 1977, the L-M powers-that-be decided that even more would be even better. Oh sure, the top-of-the-line XR-7 coupe was still in evidence, and even sharper with bladed fenders, quad rectangular headlamps and even more options! But there were several new additions that the folks who’d been driving Cougars since 1967 may have been surprised to see.

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1980 Chevrolet Caprice Classic: It’s The NEW Chevrolet!

Note: Today’s post is another one written by my friend Carmine a few years back. But he still has this car! -TK

This was a time when these cars were referred to by its maker as “The Chevrolet”, not Impalas or Caprices.  For decades, the full size Chevrolet had been the standard bearer of the Chevy lineup, the meat and potatoes American family car. But the writing was on the wall, when in 1980 the hot new Citation sold over 800,000 units, (a staggering 811,540 to be exact, over an admittedly long model year but still quite a feat).  As they say…things would never be the same again. For the Chevrolet, for GM, and for the way that people looked at full size cars.

The timing of the launch of the Citation couldn’t have been better. Introduced as an early 1980 model right after the 1979 oil embargo, the Citation and its X-Car brethren represented the wave of the future: front wheel drive, space and fuel efficient with transverse mounted 4 and 6 cylinder engines. With the Citation and its most modern layout and packaging, cars like the Caprice and its competitors were done for. What was new and revolutionary just three years before in 1977 was now the dinosaur staring at the comet of the 1980’s raining down on it.

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