Remembering Kevin A. Campbell

I was saddened to learn this past Monday that a friend of mine, Kevin Campbell, passed away last week. He was one of my online Brougham compadres. We could comment or message back and forth about Cadillacs, Lincolns and Buicks easily-and frequently.

Kevin was someone I met through Facebook, on the various Cadillac and Lincoln groups, like the American Brougham Society headed by Dave Smith, and the 1970’s Great American Land Yacht group. Over the years he’d owned many different U.S. luxury cars. But he was a major Buick fan, and daily drove a 1995 Buick Roadmaster.

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Weekly Roundup: Flyin’ Low And Feelin’ Less Mean Edition

As the constant reader will recall, at the very end of September I broke my right fibula and ripped a ligament off the inside of my ankle riding BMX trails in Austin, TX before the press preview of the Rolls-Royce Ghost. I stayed two additional days in Austin to get my drive completed and to visit my old friend Robert Farago before coming home for corrective surgery in the first week of October.

My cast came off three weeks ago and I’ve been trying to rehab the ankle and leg a bit. Yesterday I went outside to ride a bicycle for the first time. With a little encouragement from my son I was able to put some motion into said bike. While I have some reduced range of motion, it’s all on the “up” end. I can point down as well as any ballerina (well, any ballerina of my size, anyway) which means I can jump a bike. So I tried about ten hops, eventually getting up to about an 18-inch gap between ground and tire. The world record for bunnyhopping a BMX bike is 42 inches, most pros can do 30-36 inches easily, and prior to this injury I was probably capable of hitting 24 on a good day — but I will not pretend I am not enthusiastic that I can pull 280 pounds of bike and rider this far off the ground on a withered calf muscle and a recently-repaired joint.

Also, as Ted Williams said in the famous anecdote about hitting modern pitching, I’m 49 years old.

So this is all good news. And it’s been instructive for me to consider how sour I’ve been over the past two months, entirely as a result of not being able to ride.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: Obviously No Americans Want A $156,000/Year Job Edition

Well, folks, the hits from HITLER DRUMPF just keep coming. His latest attack on American democracy is a sick and racist weaponizing of the DOJ against noted social benefactor Mark Zuckberg & Co., seeking penalties and damages for the totally normal business practice of deliberately concealing the existence of over 2,600 (two thousand, six hundred) jobs on American soil from American citizens so that said jobs could be used to sponsor new green card permanent residents from India.

Facebook’s completely reasonable defense was that no American citizen wanted these jobs. And why would they? The average salary for these 2,600 jobs was a pathetic $156,000 a year. So naturally Zuck had to give them to immigrants, who are always willing to get the job done.

Can you believe that DRUMPF is objecting to this?

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1981 Volvo Bertone Coupe: The Volvorado…

Anyone remember the Broughamed-out 1978-1981 Volvo 262C/Bertone Coupe? From what I’ve read, this car came about due to some Volvo executives visiting Ford Motor Company back in the ’70s. They spied a then-current Mark coupe and were smitten.

Because, you see, those sensible Swedes typically drove practical, comfortable but not precisely luxurious automobiles at home. Here was something different! The plush leather seats, the wide C-pillar, the long and low lines! Here was something quite different-and strangely compelling…

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The Critics Respond, Part Fifty-One

Let us take a moment to appreciate what a finely crafted jab this is, dear readers; it was written by someone who somehow understood that I would be fundamentally disgusted at any comparison, favorable or otherwise, between my work and that of automotive journalism’s sole Pulitzer Prize winner. And just in case my blood hasn’t reached full boil in the first half of the sentence, there’s a throwaway jab at “Trump’s America” just to drive home the point that this person feels himself to be fundamentally superior to me on a socio-economic basis.

Having thus received such a kid-glove slap, I see no issue with devoting a thousand or so words — maybe more, if it proves amusing — in the cause of countering sixteen.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: When I Rose To Be Ossified Edition

I turned 49 a couple of weeks ago. On the face of it, this seems ridiculous. At this age, my grandfather was wrapping up his career and preparing to retire nice and early in his mid-fifties. When my father was forty-nine years old, he was just a half-decade away from heading to Hilton Head and concentrating on golf. They were adults, y’know? They knew who they were and where they were going. I didn’t observe any significant change in them after this age. (Not much before, either, to be honest.)

Your humble author, on the other hand, is far from being settled in any sense. I have no idea where I’m going to live in a few years. Don’t know what job I’ll be working, whether I will be richer or poorer. I might save up and buy my destination race car, a Radical SR8 — or I might sell all the race cars and never think about that again. Could build a new house, or I could live in a condo. No matter what happens, I still expect to be: intemperate, easily distracted, riding children’s bicycles, playing great guitars badly, continually and heartlessly tortured by the basest and most juvenile of desires.

Not a grown-up, in other words. And yet I can dimly perceive the edge of a certain… process… going on in my mind. The same way that one’s near-field vision is just great until it isn’t — but you knew it was going bad nevertheless. Something terrible is happening to me. Perhaps it’s accelerated by this oh-so-manufactured crisis all around us, perhaps not. Can’t say. Anyway. What’s going on is this: I’m losing what we will, for lack of a better phrase, call emotional elasticity.

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1971 Lincoln Continental Mark III: Like Sitting in a Swimming Pool

Another Mark III post! What can I say, I’ve always liked the personal-lux Lincolns, due to several in the family way back when. But this one trips my trigger even more than the average Mark, due to the totally fantastic aqua paint and interior.

I have a serious jones for ’60s and ’70s American land yachts painted in metallic aqua. Add an aqua interior, and I’m smitten, whether it’s a ’66 New Yorker, ’64 T-Bird or ’60 Cadillac Sixty Special.

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The Cars of Driving Miss Daisy

Driving Miss Daisy is among my top 10 favorite movies. That’s saying a lot, considering that I was about ten years old the first time I watched it. You’d think I’d have been more into stuff like Die Hard, Uncle Buck or Weekend at Bernie’s, given my age at the time. Sure, I liked those movies too, but this one, sans action-movie explosions and car chases, or John Candy, is quietly and competently excellent. That it is also a prime car-spotting film makes it all the better.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: Act Fast If You Want The Big D Edition

Well, that escalated quickly. This past Tuesday morning I drove two hilariously expensive variants of the Dodge Durango — the 475-horsepower, 6.4-liter SRT and 710-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat — around Carolina Motorsports Park. The SRT is about sixty-four grand, while the Hellcat starts at eighty. These are fully-equipped, viciously quick unibody SUVs with optional features like the same “forged carbon” interior pieces one would find in a well-equipped Lamborghini Huracan. I can’t discuss the Hellcat’s driving characteristics yet, but the “plain” SRT would give a lot of smallbore club racers a run for their money around a track, doubly so if you had real tires on the thing instead of high-load-rated sport-utility rubber on there.

Just fifteen years ago, the “D”, as marque enthusiasts call it, was nothing more than a parts-bin special, basically a Dakota pickup with minivan taillights. Now it’s a credible unibody alternative to hyper-speed German speedsters from AMG and BMW M, loaded throughout with soft-touch interior materials, widescreen infotainment, and large-pizza-sized brake rotors. The Hellcat, in particular, is capable of easily slaying the BMW X5M at a $25,000 discount.

As a party trick, the biggest D really satisfies. Unfortunately, the party won’t last for long.

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