Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


My photo
Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mercedes Benz 207d Van

I like Euro-vans, always have. Never owned a VW bus but have spent a lot of time following them, on 2-lane roads in the Rocky Mountains. I've been encountering some weatherbeaten but admirable M-B vans here in the Netherlands. Don't know much about them, but I would guess that this one is from the early 1980s. A van for tall people.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Billetproof at Antioch, vol. 1

From our discerning No. Calif. correspondent, Michael S Moore:

"So the Billetproof show or something like it started down around Paso Robles as an alternative to all the bright ‘n’ shiny Hot Rod expos that have burgeoned around the country to give voice to the home-made and idiosyncratic of the hobby over the multi-thousand dollar cookie-cutter rich man’s “collectible” custom made cars.  Or so I understand; I went to Antioch two years ago and found it really interesting and a definite contrast to, well, the one Benicia puts on in the spring [albeit for a worthy cause - the high school band], which is mostly old white guys with lavishly chromed machinery they may or may not have had a hand in building.  Two years on there were a lot more cars and vendors [and old white guys, myself included] at Antioch, and more of those bright ‘n’ shiny street rods despite the strictures -
       1964 and prior TRADITIONAL style rods and customs ONLY
      No visible billet anything! Especially wheels!
      No digital gauges
      No IFS on fenderless cars
      No trailered cars
      No mag wheels made after the 60’s
      Traditional looking choppers and bobbers ONLY! (No modern West Coast Choppers, OCC style bikes) ..." --MSM

Detroit Iron. And a 1959 Buick convertible.

I'm not much interested in Fifties nostalgia---& it's been going on way too long, since about 1972, and there ain't nothing new to say. I don't need to see any more fuzzy dice or 1957 Bel Airs at car shows. And the meanings of the cars of that era have been deconstructed too often, and the cars themselves are usually over-restored. But a friend sent me a batch of photos, and encountering images of these lurid beasts here in prim Holland, land of the well-polished Land Rover, just made it plain, once again, how much dreamlife was invested in cars in the postwar era. Maybe nowadays the psychic hunger goes into handheld gizmos, like iPhones, with their apps. Dislike that word, apps. It's unappetizing. But these cars are remarkable and strange, aren't they? I always especially admired the '59 GM cars, all of them. See the Buick convertible below, black with red interior, always loved that color combination.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rolls Royce Pickup

I don't know how it happened, but here it is. I came across this machine in Wassenaar, NL, a swank little town,basically a bankers' suburb of The Hague. The coachwork was well done. Perhaps not quite up to Mulliner Park Ward standards--but then neither was MPW, always.

Volvo 122 puis un Citroën DS Wagon

Yeah this is an old truck blog but I've always had a thing for Volvos. I pedal my Dutch bike past this 122, between the swimming pool and my office at NIAS. These cars were built in Nova Scotia for the North American market and the cars sold in Canada were badged as Volvo Canadians.

And I have mentioned Le Garage in a previous post. Saw this wonderful Citroën DS wagon there a couple of days ago. J'aime ca. Vraiment. Beaucoup.

Land of the Free

                 Bullet hole, outhouse window.   Libre, Colorado    ©M S Moore 2012

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Green on Denman Island

AE caught this green street rod in the rainforest green of  Denman Island British Columbia, and it makes me miss the wild beauty of Canada, and wish I were there.

Citroën Camionette, Peugeot 504 & Bibendum

The most chic vehicles here in Wassenaar NL tend to hang out at Le Garage, a shop specializing in French autos. There's usually a bunch of aged Citroëns parked in the streets nearby. I caught this camionette while biking between my office at NIAS and home. Citroen did basic pretty well: these were the perfect small truck for Paris. The rear bumper is just a steel bar.

In a previous post I mentioned my admiration of Peugeot wagons. Ici, un 504.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Basha's Oog

Oog is eye in Dutch. I grabbed this collage from Basha Burwell's intriguing blog on visual aspects of our life here in the Netherlands. Check it out at

Monday, September 10, 2012

Shanklin, Isle of Wight, Coach-and-four

We're pushing the edges of the thematic envelope here...not an old truck in sight. But AL is supposed to be about vehicles, and roads, and we have both here. That's my father, HHB, age 2, clutching his father's (HB) hand. The scene is the village of Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight, England, at 130 pm on Friday 19th July 1912. I believe the coach is taking passengers to Newport where they will catch the steamer across to Southampton on the mainland. I don't know who took the picture, or why. I've always wondered about the guy in the white shoes. And the driver's sunburnt face reminds me of some west-country character out of one of Thomas Hardy's Wessex novels.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Dutch 1964 El Camino

So far the coolest, barest Chevrolet I've seen in the Netherlands. Dutch people rarely deliver the American car aesthetic in such a satisfying way, it seems to me.  American cars & trucks over here are usually organized to send out a message of right-wing insouciance. It's the Harley-Davidson spirit. If you run any kind of big US car or truck in the Netherlands you're sending out a slightly archaic, don't tread on me, greying-braids-flapping-in-the-wind kinda vibe. Or that's how I'm reading it. Don't know how they sustain the rebel attitude with gas at $10 a gallon but that's the price of freedom, I guess.  Sure liked this cool, bare, slightly ratted El Camino, though. But i you're going to operate an El Camino in the Low Countries, you had better make sure all the drain holes are operational, or you'll end up with a duck pond back there.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

1950 Chevy trucks

This from our Nevada correspondent: "As regards the '51 Minnesota Chevy;  yes, they all have that vent above the firewall; my '45 does, too.
After a summer of erratic effort we got our '50 fired up enough to pull out of the mud and get parked just before we left; new gas tank, new fuel and vacuum lines, rudimentary carb cleaning.  Next summer, maybe, we'll finally attach the body to the frame like it should be... ours is a "3100", which means half ton...Jarrod's looks like it has the longer bed, might be the 3/4 ton.
Indestructible, wonderful, simple...great vehicles"--MSM

Saskatchewan grainer
Banff to the Rio Grande 1983

Monday, September 3, 2012

The 1951 Chevrolet truck

from photographer Jarrod McCabe whose Montana-to-Masachusetts trip in  brand-new-old F250 was documented in a series of posts last December:

"1951 Chevrolet found in Emily, Minnesota. couldn't find the owner, just his wife who said it was a '51 but didn't know the capacity of the truck.  
I was intrigued by what looks like a manually operable air intake right in front of the windshield." --JM