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.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Boneyard of broken (or maybe not) dreams

Once upon a time in Lockport, New York, an abandoned warehouse was filled to the brim with old motorcycles. A man only known as Kohl cultivated a huge collection of the vehicles before selling them all in 1997 and passing away in 2002...
Thanks to Larry Nordell for the head-up on the piece about abandoned vehicle graveyards.
Below: many, many tax dollars roasting uselessly in the Arizona sun.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

1963 Chevrolet Corvair 95 Rampside Pickup

We've had a few of these Corvair trucks up on Autoliterate. This one's at a West Coast dealer and coming up for auction very soon at B-A-T.  I always wondered what happened to the ramp on the surface that made contact with cement or loading dock or what have you. Is that a rubber fender? Factory or add-on? I like the look of the truck. Nimble.

Friday, August 28, 2015

1956 International Harvester S140 4x4

The real deal:factory 4x4, 27k miles, surface rust only. For sale in Idaho. Find out more on B-A-T.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

1963 Chevy, La Veta Colorado

from Mike Moore: "With or without the deer, you pick." -MSM

Monday, August 24, 2015

Poor Old Ferrari Superamerica Coupe at Pebble Beach; Chevy Vega at Brooklin General

We've all seen so many over-restored crazy-old-man cars. A lot of Fifties cream puffs, especially, are presented this way. But it's usually more of a kick to encounter a well-maintained original or one that's been forgotten in a barn somewhere by someone's great-aunt after the odometer clicked the first 10,000 miles. Now Pebble Beach is getting the message. Thanks to Larry Nordell for the heads-up on this NYT piece about the unrestored Ferrari that's showing at this year's Pebble Beach event.
Meanwhile, here on the Maine coast we'll take our unrestored classics with a grain of salt. Road salt, even. Now Ferrari and Vega are proper nouns that don't usually make it into the same sentence, but I've always thought that the Chevy Vega coupes of the Seventies were handsome cars, until they started to rust, anyway--which usually happened rather quickly. But not always. Witness this 1975 Vega, a Maine original. Sleek little car. 35k on the odometer.  Pebble Beach 2016?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

1946 Chevrolet pickup truck, streets of Santa Cruz

from Robert Simonds, in Santa Cruz CA
"My work brings me to Santa Cruz each summer and each year there’s more than one encounter with an uncommon old truck, at least uncommon to where I now live in Kentucky. By no means am I a brand-loyalist when it comes to ownership, but two years ago my little S-10 made its last cross-country trip and is now resting peacefully in Santa Cruz. So the old Chevys there are what I am most drawn to."-RS

Saturday, August 22, 2015

International 7400 4x4. For sale at Unicat

 Zero-impact camping, you say? On the other hand, there's this unit, and it's for sale (used) at Unicat, the German company that built it.  I guess if you're planning on crossing....Central Asia?....(but our friend Guido does that on his bicycle).  We posted on another Unicat machine that showed up in Banff a while back.

Friday, August 21, 2015

1975 Ford F-100 Explorer

Confession: I never liked fancy trucks. They remind me of slicked-up ranch boys getting into fights with each other in the Sundre Hotel beer parlor, on Saturday nights in July, haying season. So this truck isn't my cup of tea. But you have to respect a 40 year old vehicle that carries its years so gracefully. Though maybe "graceful" doesn't quite suit that paint, those stripes, and those tartan seats. Anyway, a pretty nice truck with a fancy factory package, for those who lust after such things. Going up for auction at Owls Head this Saturday, August 22

Streets of Amsterdam: the DAF 33, and the Dutch Variomatic.

 from Guido Goluke, in Amsterdam: "Hey Peter, here are some fotos of the daf33 with the most intelligent stick shift ever, aka the Variomatic. This one was as yet spared the fat bumpers that new owner Volvo put on later to make it look safe and Swedish."--GG
 Three years ago, when I was at NIAS, in Wassenaar NL, we thought about buying one of these, and a Dutch friend said, yes, great, if you like driving in reverse.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Owls Head Auction: 1959 Volvo PV445

The 38th Annual Owls Head Museum Auction happens this Saturday August 22nd, in Rockland Maine. I've been combing the list. There are a bunch of 1920s and 1930s machines, if that's your thing. And a bunch of those garishly painted 1950s creampuffs that I find kinda boring. But I do like thisVolvo 2-door wagon, sure enough.

1971 Chevrolet C10, up for auction at Owls Head

The truck looks clean. Of course I'd plainjane it, with slightly bigger tires, painted wheels and dogfish caps. But that's me. Probably lose the tonneau, too. Never liked them things, took the pickup out of "pickup". Goes on the block at Owls Head Museum Auction on Saturday August 22nd. The owner rates everything "excellent". More here.

1961 Buick LeSabre at Owls Head this weekend.

First saw this car when it was for sale at Motorland in Biddeford, Maine a year ago. It's coming up for auction Saturday August 22 at the 38th Annual Owls Head Museum Auction in Rockland, Maine. 1961 was a great year for GM and the hardtop is sleek. And the back seat suggests why it wasn't always such a bad idea to have--you know--sex in back seats. Details on the car here.  No reserve, they say.

1951 Chevrolet 3100. Advanced Design? Yes. Still. Very.

We've posted plenty of Advanced Design Chevy and GMC trucks. The form just can't be beat, if you ask me.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

1976 Ford F250 Custom, on the block at Owls Head

The truck is up for auction at Owls Head Museum in Rockland Maine this Saturday, August 22nd. No reserve . Looks pretty solid. Do not like the paint. Those painted hubcaps would have to go. It's got the right tires. Not much else needs doing, it seems. Better photography would certainly help. I really hate it when they cant frame the vehicle. Rule 1, back up until the vehicle fits INSIDE the frame. All of it. The whole thing. Give us details shots but we want a profile more than anything. We need the stance, the overall shape, the silhouette, the cut of the thing.

1962 Pontiac Catalina convertible & the Owls Head (Maine) AUCTION

Do you know Autoliterate has a thing for Catalinas?  Maybe you've read Love Cars, my essay on the subject. So far my top pick for Saturday's auction (August 22, 2015) at Owls Head Museum in Rockland, Maine is this 1962 Catalina convertible. Don't know to what extent the car is original, but the odometer suggests only 36K. I like that license plate, too.

Series 1 Land Rover up for auction at 38th Annual Owls Head

Bunch of nice machines up for auction at Owls Head Museum in Rockland, Maine this Saturday, August 22. Like this 1956  Land Rover Series 1 pickup--check the link for  details. Reminds me of Grizzly Torque, that 1957  L-R Robert Bateman took around the world.

Three on the tree: manual vs automatic

 short throw
3 on the tree

"Last August, I flew from Philadelphia to Ft Worth to buy my dream car: a 2002 Jeep Wrangler. TJ model, soft top, cherry red, no rust and, of course, a manual transmission.
"Of course” is, in part, tradition. Is a Wrangler really a Wrangler if it’s an automatic? No, not really – and I felt that way even though I had never driven a car with a manual transmission before. I wanted to become a member of this shrinking club: that of the stick shift driver..."

---Thanks to Lee Saloutos for the heads-up on this piece from The Guardian on manual vs. automatic transmissions. I may have the only Volvo 850 station wagon in America with a manual trans. It's the only one I've seen, anyway, in 18 years. Always loved shifting gears. Used to dream about it when I was a kid.  Didn't have to be a stick shift either. Three on the tree, fine by me. 

1953 Plymouth, barn find, Rochester Vermont. +Large dog.

 Thanks to Eric Baier for the barn find (freshly painted). It's good to know they are still out there.