1986 Lotus Turbo Esprit – If It Has A Burglar Alarm, Just Leave It Alone

Here is a highly uncommon sight here in the Midwest, at least outside of big cities like Chicago, Des Moines or St. Louis. Spotting a Lotus Turbo Esprit in the small town of Geneseo, IL (pop. 6,586), a mere twenty minute drive from the Quad Cities, is a rather rare experience.

If, like me, you grew up in the totally awesome 1980s, your most vivid memory of the Esprit could be of the white S1 from the film The Spy Who Loved Me. Kind of funny, thinking a British car could be watertight, eh? Ha! I guess Q Branch had really stepped up their game. “Now 007, we’ve installed rather numerous gaskets and grommets to ensure your car will stay leak-free. Do try not to destroy it this time!”

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What Was Your First Automotive Mishap?

My first mishap with a car was with my first car, a 1991 Volvo 940 SE, black over tan, with sunroof. I was eighteen, had only been driving a few months due to health issues, but LOVED driving. So much so, on occasion I would get up really early, like before sunrise, to take the car for a ride before school. I remember several instances where I’d sneak the car out about 5:30 (so as not to wake anyone up and ask me why I was doing a damfool thing like going for a drive at 5 AM), go for a ride around town listening to the oldies station, and then head back, get my school crap and head off to Alleman High School.

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1960 Chrysler New Yorker Convertible – Simply Sensational

For some reason, I’ve always skewed toward American luxury cars. With the exception of Porsches and Volvos, that is-blame my parents and their cars for that one. But as a kid, watching 1980s TV, I always wanted the black Cadillacs, Town Cars and Fifth Avenues the bad guys drove, not Magnum’s 308GTB or Michael Knight’s talking Trans Am. You can probably blame that one on my grandparents, my Grandma Ruby’s 1977 Thunderbird and Grandpa Bob’s navy blue 1977 Continental Mark V saw to it.

One of the earliest memories I have of car shows was when my mom and dad took me to the June Jamboree, a car show and festival in town back in about 1986 or 1987. I would have been about seven. The only car I remember, and have strong memories of, was a gigantic black 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood 60 Special. Even more imposing when you’re four feet tall.

Fast forward thirty years and I still love vintage domestic lux rolling stock. And with all my car buddies near and far, I never know what I’ll get to check out next. Case in point: K V Dahl, a friend of mine who just happens to also be the local Ford dealer, got a blue 1962 Continental convertible about a year ago. I’ve been wanting to write it up for a while, and though I had some pictures of it, I wanted to get some beauty shots of the car sitting outside. K V said we could definitely do that. So back in May I called him up and said, “Hey, I’d like to get some shots of the Connie sometime this week if you’re around.” To which he responded, “Well sure, but you should see what I got this week in Indianapolis!” “What?” “A 1960 New Yorker convertible. It’s sitting out front of the dealership right now. Wanna stop by?” *long pause* “I’m on the way!”

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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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