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, January 30, 2015

1986 C-10 Chevrolet. Marfa, Texas.

Dairy Maid. Lisbon Falls, Maine. And where's Downeast?

Ici en Maine when the town's name includes the word "Falls", it always means a mill town, or--more likely these days--ex-mill town. When the name incorporates the word "port", the town is on the coast, so expect to pay more for real estate. In the 19th century, when the lobster fishery wasn't much to speak of, and before summah people discovered the Maine coast, it was the mill towns by the falls on the rivers (Saco, Mousam, Kennebec, Androscoggin, Penobscot) that prospered. (Or at least the mill owners did). These days it's coastal towns with their shorefront and high real estate valuations that have bigger tax bases and, generally, better schools and services.
Of course's there's Bucksport, which is a mill town that happens to be on the coast. Make that an ex-mill town: the Verso paper mill shut down for good last month, after 75 years. The mill's been sold off to some Canadian scrap metal dealers.
That's one big divide in Maine: between the coast and everywhere else. Although the coast of Washington County--downeast--has more in common with upriver Maine than the rest of the coast. Fewer tourists and summer people. There used to be a sardine industry (and sardine-canning industry) on the downeast coast but that's defunct: it's all lobsters now. The Gulf of Maine has become one big lobster farm.
People have different notions as to where 'downeast' begins, and it's probably a moving target. At one time, 'downeast' used to be anything east of Bath. These days some people consider anything east of Belfast as Downeast, but I'd say Downeast Maine starts east of Mount Desert Island.

1929 Ford Model A

From Colin Washburn, in the Sierra foothills:
"1929 Ford Model A, driven nearly every day by restorer extraordinaire Bobby Guimarin, of Jamestown, Calif."--CRW

Coastal Bait, Union Wharf, Portland Maine



Chevy Trucks. Helena, Montana. Terence Corrigan photo.

Terence Corrigan photo, from his piece in  the Helena (Montana) Independent Record.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Autodesk Gallery, San Francisco & the 1963 Ford Falcon Club Van

 from Michael Moore:
"You know it's da bomb when the tow truck driver has to take it's picture! ...that one's outside Shawn's studio in Alameda."--MSM
Follow the link for more on Shawn HibmaCronan's van project, Love, Inertia and the Perfect Stance.

Looking for a Summah Car? 1967 Chevrolet Caprice station wagon.

Maybe you saw our posts a few months back on summah cars. There's 16 in. of new snow outside, more coming tomorrow. We're thinking....summah!
This would be a perfect candidate for a summah car. Great for going slow on backroads with all windows down and picnic gear in the back. For sale at Hemmings.
And have a look at last summah's 1963 Bonneville

As American as George Washington eating apple pie in a suburban McMansion financed with a subprime mortgage.

(Thanks to Matt Dallet for the heads-up on this post from The Atlantic's Citylab blog)

"One historian calls it a "masterstroke of public relations" made possible by a single 1961 television special...A love of cars seems as fundamentally American as George Washington eating apple pie in a suburban McMansion financed with a subprime mortgage. But the chart below, which tracks the phrase "love affair with the automobile" in books across the 20th century, makes us wonder if this love was ever truly timeless. Though Americans drove and owned cars for the entirety of this period, there's no mention of a "love affair" in the public discourse until roughly 1960..."

Inside the 1963 Ford Falcon Club Van: Love, Inertia, and The Perfect Stance

We heard from Shawn HibmaCronan, creator of the Love, Inertia and the Perfect Stance project:
"Thanks for posting the van again. Much has happened… The drivetrain is in, the roll cage is in, floors paneling are in, front seats done, built an elaborate faceted engine cover, and currently building a custom aluminum fuel tank. I post about it fairly regularly via instagram."---SHC
And did you see our post  "Love, Inertia, and Poultry"  on another Ford Falcon van, this one in Waldo County, Maine?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1968 Subaru 360

 From Aidan O'Neill, Esq. in Ottawa:
"I went to the Subaru dealership yesterday and saw this model from 1968.  I had no idea that Subaru made anything like this.Here (below) are the specs en francais for the Subaru 360. It was in production from 1958 to 1971, and was first imported into the U.S. In 1965."

Hoping for a 1956 IH R160 COE

From Alex Emond:
"Back in the late fall, I had a chance to refinish the hardwood floors in the Banff house. The product that I used was too noxious to sleep in the house so I drove to Vancouver, stayed with an old friend, bought art supplies and came right back. Nice little drive, fairly painless and when I got back, the floors were awesome and the off-gassing was over. In Hope, British Columbia which is either soaking wet or trying to dry out, I saw "the Beast" -AE

In case you were looking for a nimble, get-around-town ride, AL has found one of these for sale. Oddly enough in Hope (Idaho).

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cabin Porn

 Lloyds Hotel of Möllerfjorden on the Arctic island chain of Svalbard, Norway.
This “5 star” hut was built in 1912 (or some say 1925) by the shipping company North German Lloyd as an emergency shelter after they took over the possessions of the 1910 “Zeppelin” Expedition, which had occupied the area...still stocked with unopened bottles of vodka! And plenty of 40 year old magazines. Found it on Cabin Porn. Thanks to Larry Nordell for the heads-up.

Chihuahua Express, the 1951 Chrysler New Yorker & the 1950 Oldsmobile 88

I'm hoping to catch a ride in this year's Chihuahua Express, a Mexican road race open to pretty much any class of car. The route is Chihuahua City to the Copper Canyon, in the Sierra Madre. The New Yorker was a father/son project--have a look at the video on Petrolicious.  The Olds 88 has also been a Chihuahua Express competitor.

David Branch: 1940 Ford Wrecker. Presidio, Texas

from David Branch in West Texas:
"I was driving through Presidio yesterday, early in the morning. This truck has been there imprisoned in this heap of stuff for years. The light was terribly washed out as the sun was rising directly behind the place and the carport was still in deep shadow. An interesting truck but kinda crappy photos. It would be nice to go back in the evening when the light was coming in from the other side. Not sure when that may be. I'd like to go on a old truck shoot from Redford to Candelaria."--DB
(Yes, please--Autoliterate)

(The painter Rackstraw Downes works in Presidio.)
Presidio Horse Racing Association Track, 4, Looking East, South And Southwest: The Judges' Tower and Spectator Shelters200

Delmo's Speed & Kustom & the '58 Apache.

I first saw Del Uschenko's work in Hot Rod. Another Canadian, eh? From Stettler, Alberta. Not far from Caroline. His shop, Delmo's Speed & Kustom is in Burbank, CA. I found the photos above on his website. We like '58 Apaches. Photos (below) were on the Hot Rod site.  

Stanceworks and the 1965 Chevy C-10

 from the Stanceworks website:
"Stance|Works was founded in the spring of 2009 as a safe haven for automotive enthusiasts that had an affinity for pushing the boundaries of wheel fitment and stance. We view our vehicles as blank canvas and allow our imaginations to take over. 3 years have passed and Stance|Works continues to grow and reach out internationally, liberating people from close minded notions that cars ought to look a certain way or serve a certain purpose. We approach the automotive world with wide eyes, an open mind, and a goal to share the every day inspiration and dedication found in enthusiasts' garages, driveways, and streets around the world. Through beautiful imagery and heartfelt story telling, Stance|Works acts as a beacon for the automotive passion that burns inside every one of us."
The truck was done by Delmo's Speed & Kustom in Burbank.