1979 Jaguar XJ6: Remodeled by Pininfarina

The Jaguar XJ6 set the motoring world afire when introduced in late 1968, and was considered the most beautiful sedan at the time. It deserved it. The styling would go through three different series on the original body, and two subsequent redesigns going all the way to 2008. The XJ6 was a survivor. It outlasted British Leyland, the Ford buyout and lives on today with a totally different design language that was finally introduced in 2009 after 40 years of refining and adapting the original 1968 shape. While to this day, I still prefer the classic shape, the “new” design, now approaching 15 years in production, does appear suitably elegant. Just the other day I saw one in black in traffic, and it looks pretty good. Well, at least until they kill it and go all-combover-schlock, all the time, like Lincoln. But I digress!

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1969 Opel Kadett LS: Aber das Vinyl-Oberteil

Here’s your fun fact of the day. Once upon a time in America, you could buy a new Opel. And no, not the rebadged Saturn versions from the late days of the “different kind of car company.” Actual Opels, with Opel badges and everything. But if you’re a little more “yootful” than your author, what really might surprise you is that they were sold through–envelope, please–Buick dealerships. Yes, really.

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Spring Project: Colonial Yellow ’82 Seville

It’s pretty well established that I’m a Cadillac fan, even the polarizing ones like the Cimarron. And the bustle back Seville. As Popeye once said, I yam what I yam.

But I was recently excited to find out that Hot Wheels was reissuing their Seville as part of their ’80s series–which included a 1984 Corvette too. Continue Reading →

1979 Pontiac Bonneville: Erin Go Brougham

Figured this was due to be added to the RG archives. Was searching for an appropriately St. Patrick’s Day-hued car, and voila, located this in The Vault. Cheers, and please Brougham responsibly this evening! -TK

Here’s a fine specimen of B-body 1977-79 Bonnie, in that light mint green that was available on many 1979 GM full-sizers; I’ve seen them on everything from Cutlass Supremes to loaded-up Electra Park Avenues and plain-Jane LeMans sedans. Yes, once upon a time in Detroit, you could get many different colors on your new car–even hospital green, ha ha. Continue Reading →

1912 Simplex: The original street racer–owned by the original flapper!

Note: Today’s guest author is Billie Biscayne, who has previously contributed to RG’s Vault O’ Automobilia–including this column on the neoclassic Stutz. Today she discusses a car she saw at the recent auctions in Scottsdale. Check it out! -TK

At Auction week in Scottsdale 2023 Bonhams had a lovely piece of brass era automotive gorgeousness for sale, the 1912 Simplex 50HP passenger Torpedo Tourer!

This car has all the features one would expect of the carefree, romantic and prosperous pre-WW1 era, such as curvy running boards along the sides, a sleek design, compact and rather sporty body and an elongated bonnet–features which were all a step away from the rather plain “horse-and-carriage-looking” Ford Model T, a popular car in the first decade of the 1900’s. But hey, there was quite a price difference between those two, ha!

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Lessons Learned and Forgotten: A Dumbass “Restores” a 1994 CB1000

Doing stupid shit is excusable when you’re a kid.  You have no experience so you try lots of things.  Some of those things work out and some of those things blow up in your face.  If you survive, the trick is to quit doing those things that blow up in your face and to stick to doing those things that work.  If you follow that method, one day wise-old you can look back and laugh at all the stupid shit you did when you were a kid.  Unless you’re a dumbass.  In which case you never learn anything.  You just keep doing the same stupid shit again and again your whole life.

Years ago, after attempting and failing to rebuild a Honda CBX so far gone it had a piston rod sticking out of a fist sized hole in the engine case, I swore that I would never again buy a vehicle that required repair.  It was hard won experience, and because of it I stayed clear of projects for a good long while.  But then, a couple of years ago, I entirely forgot about that lesson and brought home a 1994 Honda CB1000.  Turns out I’m a dumbass.

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Small Wonder

In the 1980s, Honda decided to sell motor scooters in the United States. I remember the commercials, a series of funky fresh ads that featured popular music, slickly edited scenes of exciting urban environments, and snappy lines that drove your urge to purchase via memorable phrases like, “Don’t settle for walking.” The fact that I recall these commercials 40 years later shows they had some impact, I suppose, but I’m not sure if they led to the spike in sales that Honda hoped. Perhaps it’s because I am from the countryside, I don’t know, but with the exception of my time in Hawaii I can’t recall ever seeing one on an American street when I was a young man.

That changed a few years ago. Maybe it’s the price of gas and insurance, maybe it’s the fact that today’s young people have diminished expectations, or maybe it’s because as an older man I now live closer than ever to the urban scenes depicted in those aged advertisements, but I am finally seeing scooters on American streets. I can’t say I see swarms of them at every stoplight like I do when I am in Japan, but I do see them and, as someone who has spent a lot of time on two wheels and who lives a mile or two away from my commuter train, that got me thinking. Continue Reading →