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.

Friday, May 30, 2014

1948 Pontiac Torpedo at Motorland

Was it a confident era? Was that why cars were so large? Or was everyone scared, as the Cold War got colder and colder, heading toward hydrogen? Maybe the cars display the opposite of confidence. I guess you could read their gestalt either way. This one's on the block at Motorland in Biddeford, Maine.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

"Watch Me" Said The Jeep

Thanks to Larry Nordell for the heads-up on 'rare automobile books':

'61 Austin Healey; 1955 Pontiac (?), and San Francisco Bay

From Michael S Moore in Northern California:
"My May California visitation was taken up with contemplating the winter's crop of large paintings and forays to Brian's Salvage in American Canyon, where I found plenty of rust [and a bed for the '45 Chev] there in the salt air...

"Jeff at ABC Muffler always seems to have a wild variety of things up on the racks out East Second...

"Not to be all about gears 'n' grease, we took to the ferry for a last look at SF and lunch with Bryan, briefly in town after the Sinai [not shown]

"Finishing up with Memorial Day Weekend barbecues behind the Olde State Capitol and a surprise visit from our friend William with his oh so 'riginal '61 Healy..."

"Waiting on L's last puzzle-piece to come together;

"And a last little cruise to the jetty before mothballing the '45.

"So, next stop Sand Pass...or Hallelujah Junction...somewhere out there, anywhere...but soon."-MSM

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ottawa Chip Wagons

 from Aidan Oneill, Esq. 
"I don't know why you're interested in these beasts, but here's an unsightly one that's parked outside of our building every lunch hour.  They get quite a lot of business, and the operators are mainly Vietnamese (I think).   It's a point of pride with me that, after almost 30 years in Ottawa, I have never taken tiffin from any of them.  (Not that it shows.)"--AO

(Send jpegs and stories re. the food trucks in your zone to Especially interested in legendary chip wagons of Halifax NS, and taco trucks of LA. But there's plenty more out there we don't know about, so...)-Autoliterate

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Houses, not mills. Saco, Maine

Saco is just across the (Saco) river from the old textile town of Biddeford, Maine which we've been posting recently. Though the towns are adjacent they have distinctly different appearances. Saco was probably the older settlement, and it remained the place where managers and professions lived in large "New England" houses of various styles and eras, while factory hands were lodged in a variety of buildings across the river. Population in Biddeford was denser, the style of houses leaned more to the "three-decker" and other multi-family types of buildings; and Biddeford remained a "French" and working class town, with its parochial as well as public schools. Saco had (has) Thornton Academy, a private school which predates the public school system in Maine and functions as a public (tuition-free) school for Saco.
Since Maine factory towns were often on rivers, and rivers often were the boundaries of New England townships, this allowed a convenient(for the richer town) type of segregation in the 19th century when the mills started to develop and draw in large foreign-born populations of workers.


1940 GMC and 1940 Chevrolet truck. Arundel, Maine

Have you read Kenneth Roberts' novel Arundel, about a crew of Mainers who set off on Benedict Arnold's disastrous  expedition up the Kennebec R., to capture Quebec? Pretty good book that ought to be a movie. Kennebunkport used to be called Arundel.  Arundel used to be called North Kennebunkport. Go figure.

1960 Pontiac Ventura hardtop, North Windham Maine


The car's in a barn in Windham, Maine. The current owner is 24 and a mechanic. The Pontiac was his grandfather's. It's pretty much all original and all there. Hey, I wrote about a 1960 Pontiac Ventura in an essay Love Cars. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

1946 International Harvester, Saskatchewan

from Alex Emond: "This Green machine was hanging out in Lafleche , Saskatchewan. Looks to be from the mid 40's. I'm not sure if the windshield doesn't crank out. Built like a brick shithouse / Sherman tank. An International , let's say 1946. The war's over ... let's get back to work." --AE