1987 Ford Taurus LX Wagon: Eat My Road Grit, Liver Lips!

Here’s another one that, like my recent posts on the ’76 Sunbird and ’79 Accord, used to be everywhere and are now almost a memory. But this one survived. These Tauruses were all over the place when I was a kid, sedan and wagon alike. Then, seemingly one day they all disappeared at once.

And for those who grew up in the ’80s, who could possibly forget Clark Griswold’s wood-festooned Taurus in Christmas Vacation? These wagons never came with the Country Squire-style Di-Noc wood sides. The movie car was simply modified to reflect Clark’s likely replacement to the Wagon Queen Family Truckster in the original Vacation movie.

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Amusing Dealer Names, Part One

Last night my friend Dave Smith posted this vintage ad on his FB group, the American Brougham Society. It was apparently a one-of-one 1980 Olds Ninety-Eight convertible. Pretty cool. And it made me think of the possibilities if GM had made ’80 Electra and Coupe de Ville convertibles back then.

But that was all later. My juvenile brain picked out the name of the dealer before processing anything else.

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Guest Rental Review: 2020 BMW 330i Premium Pack

Please give a warm welcome to Nick and his Rental Review, sent to me on November 17, 2020 but just published now! I’m sitting on a backlog of great contributions that will be trickling out in the month to come. If you’d like to see your name in here, let me know — jb

Making good on a promise to my youngest son, I picked up a Melbourne Red 2020 BMW 330i (G20) with a Premium Pack from Enterprise, upgrading from a full-size using points accumulated from a few 15-passenger van rentals and a little work travel. The plan – cannonball 1,100 miles to and from Northeast Indiana to Statesville, NC and back in a weekend for some mining, creeking, and fluming.

With my BMW experience limited to driving a friend’s dad’s E36 330i 6MT and a racing teammates’ 228i M-Sport 6MT, I went into this with an open mind and hoped for an improvement over the CVT Fusion Hybrid or Malibu in the full-size area, and the Chrysler 300 in the PXAR zone.

I made the wrong choice.

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(Double) Weekly Roundup: Yellin’ For Yellen Edition

Hello again, readers. Haven’t seen you for fifteen days. What can I say? Sometimes I’m awfully busy. To reward you for your patience, let’s find the hot-water tap in this joint and twist it until some scalding crimethink pours out. You know, the kind that makes you pull your hands out from under the faucet and rub them on your arms in panic.

Let us, for just ten long seconds, examine the idea that the Presidential election was, in fact, stolen, and that Joe Biden will join “Rutherfraud” B. Hayes in the list of Presidents whose ascension is tainted in retrospect. Now, to even consider this notion is to flirt with danger — and it cannot possibly be true, can it? The recent election, according to a hastily formed coalition of the (presumably) willing, was the most secure in history! Exactly how this could be so is difficult to understand; wasn’t it just like the last Presidential election, only with millions of additional and entirely unverified mail-in ballots? And why were all those people so eager to form a coalition and reassure us before a single audit or examination had even begun? Did they receive their marching orders from the same Star Chamber that, ahem, saved the election in the first place? It’s best not to look too closely at that, lest you be forcibly unpersoned for even having a public thought about it.

Anyway, let’s wave our hands at all of this and say, for a moment, that the election was in fact stolen. Why? Cui bono? If you take a dispassionate look at what President Trump actually did, rather than what Rachel Maddow said he was gonna do, he wasn’t exactly Benito Mussolini or anything like that. He didn’t actually do much to stop illegal immigration or restrain corporate profiteering. His programs to return manufacturing jobs to America, admirable though they were, didn’t do much besides slow the rate at which factories are leaving the country. There’s no evidence that the Uniparty agenda of lower labor costs and higher asset prices suffered any significant damage during his Presidency. Oh, and America is about to go perma-Democrat anyway, thanks to a thorough and irreversible series of demographic changes. Why bother to steal the election at all? Why take the risk?

As of July 2021, it appears we at least have the answer to that question.

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Learning To Deal With “I Can’t”

Due to my rather intermittent presence on this blog, not to mention the fact that all of you have your own rich and fulfilling lives to live, you may not know that I suffered a really nasty meniscus tear in October of 2020. It was a glorious moment, to be sure, and nearly worth the thousands of dollars in medical bills and months of rehabilitation.

There I was, charging toward the goal from my Center Attacking Midfielder position. The winger, sensing that I was going to make a run, played a perfect cross into the box just behind the centre back. The keeper was stuck in no man’s land—come off your line to try to intercept the cross or stay on your line and wait for the shot. Ultimately, the keeper made the decision to come out just a hair too late, and I was able to slide just underneath the outstretched, gloved fingers and strike the ball perfectly into the back of the net at the same moment I felt the meniscus tear in half in my right knee.

That 10-year-old girl never had a chance.

Yes, it’s true. I injured myself at great cost in a parents versus kids soccer game at the end of my daughter’s fall U11 soccer season. But I’m telling you, I don’t care if she was seventy pounds—it was the best goal of my life. (Since some of you tend to have broken sarcasm detectors, yes, I know this is all very, very pathetic.)

So after a expert consultation and arthroscopic surgery at the hands of Dr. Scott Van Steyn (I just made my final payment today, Doc—enjoy that vacation!) at Ohio Orthopedic in Columbus, Ohio, I am now left with approximately 55 percent of a meniscus in my right knee. The tear was far too bad to repair, unfortunately, but removing the damaged portion meant a much faster recovery—in theory.

“Well, Mark, this is the first step to an artificial knee,” he began.

Wait. Time the fuck out. Artificial knee? I cannot possibly be that old.

Well, it turns out that I can be.

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1979 Honda Accord: Batter Up!

Here’s the other side of the coin from my alcohol-laced Cutlass post. And timely, as I just spotted this today over coffee on Finding Future Classic Cars.

The first one. First of a crapload of Honda Accords. Yup. Initially available as a two door liftback only, perhaps a surprise to our younger readers who associate these as midsize suburban sedans seen, well everywhere. Continue Reading →

1980 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme: Cinnebrougham

Hey guys, here’s another one you’ll love! Or love to hate. So instead of skimming the article and reading something more to your taste, get ready to properly stretch, grit your teeth and happily complain and fight about bad old GM. Dagnabit! Consarn it! And dadgumit! Oops. Sorry. For a minute I thought I was on some second-rate site that’s been going downhill for several years. Silly me! Well, y’all know where that is ifin you’re so inclined…

I kid, I kid. Well, sort of. But never mind! Here’s another one spied on my friends, Chuck Houston and Joe Tralongo’s, site, Finding Future Classic Cars, on that ‘bookface’ website. A time capsule ’80 Cutlass Supreme.

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Honey, I Shrunk The Grand Prix: 1976 Pontiac Sunbird

Here’s a rare birdie. Spotted today on Seattle Craigslist, this ’76 Sunbird was corporate sibling to the Chevy Monza Towne Coupe, most of which dissolved by around 1990. I’d much prefer a Bonneville Brougham or Grand Prix LJ if we’re talking ’76 Pontiacs, but my radar locked on to this one due to its scarcity.

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1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray: Really Red!

As the showroom brochure proclaimed, “Corvette steps out smartly with an exhilarating new look for ’63. A fresh look that promises to lift the spirits of any buff who takes the wheel.” Most of our eyes glaze over regarding such marketing fluff, but in the case of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, they may have actually been downplaying it.

7-22 thru 7-27-2013 029 (800x533)

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Weekly Roundup: Must I Surrender With Grace Edition

Joni Mitchell is very much on the public mind at this moment, with her career-defining album Blue celebrating its 50th birthday and giving the music/art critics yet another chance to toil at the cliff face of permanently defining just what it means in the most putrid and pseudo-perceptive phrasing possible. Right now, however, I’m thinking about her entirely un-cherished 1991 effort, Night Ride Home, and one track from that record in particular.

“Nothing Can Be Done”, with lyrics by Joni but music by her husband of the time, bassist/producer Larry Klein, features the 46-year-old Mitchell spiraling into depression over her partner’s faithlessness, the increasingly powerful and malicious pull of nostalgia, and her defiant but doomed determination to maintain a connection with her own youthful desires. It’s the only song worth considering in a frankly awful album that ranges from bland (the title track) to Boomer-entitled (“The Windfall (Everything For Nothing)”) and outright cringeworthy (“The Only Joy In Town”, which features a chorus screeching “Botticelli Black Boy!” over Prophet-style synth strings about some African flower salesman Mitchell wishes she could have sex with).

Even this single decent song is undersold on the record by Joni’s who-gives-a-shit vocal performance and a drum track that probably isn’t synthesized but gives an unerring impression of being so. Happily, it was resurrected and properly done by Los Lobos and the Latina singer “La Marisoul” at a concert celebrating Mitchell’s 75th birthday. La Marisoul could making a living covering Joni tunes if she wanted to; Judy Collins showed it could be very profitable to bring a technically better voice to the music, and I imagine there is a whole generation of listeners ready to hear the tunes again, particularly from an, ahem, “PoC”.

Anyway, this version of “Nothing Can Be Done” is on repeat lately for me, in large part due to the confluence of two personally upsetting events. The first was a remarkably humbling experience I just had on Snowshoe Mountain last week; the second, a subtly terrifying series of interactions I’ve had with a couple of older men who are busy rushing headlong towards their own destruction.

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