(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1977 Toyota Corona Station Wagon

IMG_2305In a number of ways Toyota was the most “American” of Japanese manufacturers. Once on their feet in the U.S. market in the early 70’s, they fielded a line up not dissimilar, albeit smaller and far more efficient, than Detroit rivals.

Mainstream models came in sizes small (Corolla), medium (Corona) and large (Crown/Cressida). There was a “pony” car (Celica) to boot. That’s no different than Ford in the 1960’s minus a halo coupe once you think about it.We’ve made friends with the 3rd Generation car. Today we see what the 5th generation had to offer when you opted for the wagon version.

Continue reading “(Found In) Civic Center (San Francisco, California): 1977 Toyota Corona Station Wagon”

Advertisements

(Found In) Mission District (San Francisco, California): 1972 Toyota Crown Mark II Station Wagon

IMG_8659Out of the Japanese brands that landed in the American Market during the 1950’s and 1960’s, Toyota learned the quickest how to adapt to the foreign to them trends that set the Jones’s hearts alight. One trend realized was the splintering of the American Market, as the generation of Boomers headed to dealerships, they weren’t happy with one-size fits all motoring in escalating finery that had dominated the automotive landscape from The Great Depression through the Fabulous Fifties.

Indeed, after landing a hit with the Corona during the 2nd half of the 1960’s, Toyota went above and below, bringing the baby bear Corolla and the Papa Bear Crown stateside. For those moving immediately out of their Coronas could find themselves in the Mama Bear Corona Mark II.

Continue reading “(Found In) Mission District (San Francisco, California): 1972 Toyota Crown Mark II Station Wagon”

(Found In) Rockridge (Oakland, California): 1968 Saab 95 Station Wagon

IMG_7968
In port cities there tends to be a wee bit more diversity in the classic cars one finds on the streets. Not everything slides into Camaro, Mustang and Cadillac territory. Liberal cities tend to have a bit of diversity in citizenry, and the heritage of such cultures might mean that there’ll be an eccentric offering showing a glimpse of history.

There’s this surprise of this Swedish Station Wagon that did more with far less than your average Country Squire that I found in the lush bushes of Rockridge recently. Stuffing plenty of capacity for buyers that might have a penchant for such a tiny meatball of a car was the calling card of this model for more than a decade.

Continue reading “(Found In) Rockridge (Oakland, California): 1968 Saab 95 Station Wagon”

(Found In) West Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1963 Mercedes Benz 220SE Hardtop Coupe

image-41The incremental ways Mercedes Benz crept into the American Automotive market is a peculiar story of persistence and perfection. Although their offerings weren’t completely perfectly well baked for American Motoring demands, they did offer peerless posts to take in vast new landscapes in a completely foreign experience to what was determined to be American Luxury.

Meanwhile, traits, trends and trappings not unfamiliar to American motorists made these cars international stars in their own right. Once upon a time, the world over loved the personal fantasy of the Hardtop Coupe, not the carry all capabilities of a Crossover/Utility Vehicle. By securing a few halo spots, Mercedes made due and dough with their Fintail=related Coupes.

Continue reading “(Found In) West Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1963 Mercedes Benz 220SE Hardtop Coupe”

(Found In) Bushrod Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Volvo P1800E Sports Coupe

image (30).jpegIt’s often that we discount Volvo as the sporting Swedish car, and give all of the glory of athletics to Saab. Where Saab tried again and again with variations of the Sonett from the 1950’s through the early 70’s, Volvo stayed pretty tried and true to their concept of a sports tourer. After the attempt with a Scandinavian Corvette, the P1900, the graceful P1800 debuted in 1961.

It would remain, with improvements, the alternate, sporting, personal Volvo many a dashing dandy and damsel came to love over 13 more model years. Providing a sophisticated style all its own, it stood out from many an Italianate coupe that came and went during those years on the market.

Continue reading “(Found In) Bushrod Park (Oakland, California): 1972 Volvo P1800E Sports Coupe”

(Found In) West Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1967 BMW 2000 TiLux 4 Door Sedan

24628232036_231815b3c4_oAlthough the 2002 gets the majority of credit for BMW’s North American success, the models that laid the ground work for sports sedan dominance for half a century laid in the Neue Klasse sedans and related coupes released in 1962. From humble beginnings as an alternate for the growing German Post-War Middle Class, the 1500, 1800 and 2000 series sedans defined dynamic motoring the world over.

While redefining the world order of preferred athletic motoring, these cars also made sure that the BMW brand didn’t slink into bankruptcy and oblivion in a cold, harsh, competitive marketplace. They also set the style template for most Mid-sized BMW sedans for decades to come.

Continue reading “(Found In) West Berkeley (Berkeley, California): 1967 BMW 2000 TiLux 4 Door Sedan”

(Found In) Mission District (San Francisco, California): 1969 Toyota Corona Four Door Sedan

12626165_10153265452272201_1427667649_nIt didn’t take long for Toyota to learn some important basics about success in the American Market. Within 2 generations and one spectacular failure at the end of the 1950’s, Toyota was fast becoming the most important import brand in the United States as the 1960’s gave way to the 1970’s.

The brick laying car to Toyota’s success on the American Market was the 1965-1970 Corona. Riding into the marketplace where very few cars provided such an excellent motoring experience for the price, Toyota cleaned house, captured sales and ended up often being voted the compact car of choice over the others. It was a process of simply mastering minor details that other brands and efforts missed. By polishing details and heightening expectations of what a small car could be, the Toyota Corona revolutionized the American dream of what basic transportation could be.
Continue reading “(Found In) Mission District (San Francisco, California): 1969 Toyota Corona Four Door Sedan”

(Found In) Richmond Annex (Richmond, California): 1964 Mercedes – Benz 220S 4 Door Sedan

22532986728_983fb0df46_zIt wasn’t quite the glory years period that Mercedes Benz would experience on the American Market in 1964. The seizing of the desirable luxury throne would take another decade. However, as Cadillacs, Lincolns and Imperials continued their march towards abundance and excess being synonymous with luxury, the Old World craftmanship from Germany started to appeal to a select number of fine goods consumers.

The springboard models for certain shoppers to transition away from traditional American Luxury barges where the redesigned W111 series cars from Mercedes Benz. Although the design process for these cars started in 1956, they incorporated features and technology far ahead of most manufactures for decades to come.

Continue reading “(Found In) Richmond Annex (Richmond, California): 1964 Mercedes – Benz 220S 4 Door Sedan”