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, 2020

1982-84? AMC Eagle

From Reid Cunningham: "A little rough but I can't remember the last time I saw an Eagle that wasn't a wagon. Guessing 82-84 based on the Wikipedia description, the chrome hood strip and ornament went away in 85. The padded roof and two tone scream what passed for luxury in the early 80's. The last registration sticker was 2014 but it looks in good enough condition to save and it was on a body repair shop lot in Manchester NH, so I am keeping my fingers crossed."

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Madrigal under the moon (& Chevy to the levee)

Madrigal's on her mooring in Center Harbor; the truck's on the hard down the road at Naskeag harbor. Sailed through Naskeag a couple weeks ago, nearly grounding on the sandbar. That truck spent the first 35 years of it's life in West Texas, hence the rustless demeanor.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal/ Ford Custom/ Renault 10

Says something  that most of the police organizations in Canada are "service" not "department". Of course, service doesn't alway happen, but...
Aidan O'Neill found these photos. The Renault 10 was the police car used for youth outreach. Friendlier than a Ford, maybe.  These Renault--the 8 and the 10-- were prolific in Montreal in the Sixties though they all fell apart before long and you don't see many around.We posted one for sale at Motorland a while back.
For similar, sometimes quasi-nationaliste solidarity reasons the Renault Cinq was big in Montreal in the late Seventies.
The Custom was big Ford's base model, Interesting that it's a 2-door. Where do you stash the perps, in the trunk? A watch commander's car, peut-etre.

I remember the big switch (1963?) when Mo ray al cop cars went from all-black with a tiny city crest on the door and tiny white lettering "police"--to the same bright blue and white that's on Quebec's flag.
      Below? That's rue de la Montage in the Sixties, which used to be Mountain Street, and was actually named after Bishop Mountain, so the name change really made little sense, except in political terms. Cafe Martin was maybe the best restaurant of the era--from the 1930s through the 1970s. The critic Edmund "Bunny" Wilson loved it, one of the few things Bunny enjoyed about Montreal. Just around the corner from the Ritz-Carlton. A favorite hangout of mes parents.

Friday, August 28, 2020

1940 International Harvester Model D

from Alex Emond, in Saskatchewan: "Here is an 80-year-old truck owned by the grandson of the farmer who bought it new . I am sworn to secrecy as to where this truck is. Both the father and his son who showed it to me said that it isn't for sale. All that aside ... it blew my mind and I was just happy to check it out .
It runs and it's totally original. It has been repainted, a long time ago, with a brush. That is what you did when you started to get chips and rust. It preserved the truck ... there is very little rust. I think the model is a "D1", their smallest . The windshield cranks open a bit to keep the interior comfortable . By the end of the Second World War, trucks and cars started to draw in their headlights and fenders . This truck was the last to have that beautiful "art deco" styling . Cheers, Alex"
AL: we have posted a bunch of International trucks, like this 1966 3/4 ton. a '66 Travelall for sale in West Texas; a 1953 R-130. Find more using our search widget up there on the right.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Kei trucks: Japanese Suzuki COE Pickups

from Reid Cunningham: "Given your recent post of a small Japanese van, I thought you might like this trio of 4x4 Kei sized pickups at a dealer in Claremont, NH. Right hand drive so guessing they were imported from Japan and over the 25 year rule for non-compliance vehicles allowed in the US. A job 20+ years ago took me to Japan a couple of times a year and I was always fascinated with these small trucks on the streets of Tokyo. If finances were different..."
AL: a bunch of Kei-sized trucks(small pickups)  for sale here. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Chopped 1952 GMC 3100

From Alex Emond: "Here's a rowdy looking truck . The young dude that owns it stuck a 350 V8 in it.  I like... all done on a budget... "It runs good", he says. Neville, Saskatchewan. Cheers, Alex"

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

1973 Plymouth 'Cuda

from Jonathan Welsh: "By 1973 muscle cars were on the way out as insurance and gasoline got expensive. Big blocks like the 426-cubic-inch Hemi disappeared from engine bays of Plymouth and Dodge machines.
Less-powerful versions held on, including the Plymouth Barracuda and its racier 'cuda sibling. We saw this 'cuda in Blue Hill, Maine. It probably has a 318 or 340 V8 under the hood.
Check out the period-perfect aftermarket Cragar wheels!
The color, In Violet, is the same as the Plum Crazy used on hot Dodge models. Other attention-grabbing hues included Go Mango, Panther Pink and Sublime."

Monday, August 24, 2020

1962 Pontiac Laurentian

From Alex Emond, in Saskatchewan: "Here's a local Swift Current car . The owner dropped in to the "Elmwood" for lottery tickets and smokes when I was there for coffee cream. It's basically a beater , but , in reality , it is an automotive miracle . Green, even. I think, in the States, this model had a different name. Nothing too French. Cheers , Alex"
AL: Canadian Pontiacs of that era were Chevrolets, under the skin. The Laurentian was the mid-grade model in Canada, below the Parisienne, above the Strato Chief. Here's another Laurentian we posted a while back...and if you use our search widget and try, say, Canadian Pontiac, you'll find more.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Japanese Nimble: Toyota HiAce 4x4 van.

from Jonathan Welsh: "After decades of spotting vans like this in nearly every country except the U.S., folks here can acquire them more easily now because they are antiques.
This Toyota HiAce Super Custom 4x4 is an early-90s example of a vehicle that has been in production since 1967. It is part of the fourth generation that ran from 1989 to 2004.
The market for Japanese iron is heating up in the States, especially for models we couldn't get the first time around. The Vanlife trend is also helping models like this one."
AL has posted on these imported Japanese vans in Western Canada especially.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Unleaded Sled: 1949 Mercury

...and a while back we posted a '49 Merc powered by Tesla.

The car's for sale in Orland, Maine. That would be area code 207.

Monday, August 17, 2020

1968 BMW 2002

 One-owner car. Bought new in SF CA in June '68.
AL spotted a 1974 2002 in Cambridge a few months back.
Also a 2002 Tii
And a 1968 BMW 1600.
And this one showed cup today on the block at BaT--1974 2002 Turbo.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

1958 Edsel Pacer

 from Alex Emond, in Saskatchewan: "I was buying gas a few days ago in Cadillac, Sask. This Edsel was on the lift , getting new white wall tires installed . It's all stock with a new colour scheme. The "horse collar" grill is its signature. As we all know, the Edsel didn't really win the hearts of enough people and it was discontinued . The pushbutton PRNDL on the steering wheel is pretty craz . The whole dash is "futuristic". The semi-retired farmer who owns it says he has another model too, one that his dad owned . A two Edsel family."
AL posted an Edsel Villager wagon a while back. Also this Edsel Bermuda wagon. And a '59 Ranger hardtop.  If you try Edsel in our search widget you'll find a bunch more AL posting.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Seamus Heaney's Night Drive

I first encountered the poem 25 years ago when an old friend copied and sent to me. Shameless plug: my first book (1987) was a story collection called Night Driving. Many of the short stories in that book were included and sometimes revised in my collection Travelling Light  (2013)

I wonder if Heaney knew John Newlove's Driving. Probably. No, I'm sure Heaney did.

Night Drive

The smells of ordinariness
Were new on the night drive through France;
Rain and hay and woods on the air
Made warm draughts in the open car.

Signposts whitened relentlessly.
Montrueil, Abbéville, Beauvais
Were promised, promised, came and went,
Each place granting its name’s fulfilment.

A combine groaning its way late
Bled seeds across its work-light.
A forest fire smouldered out.
One by one small cafés shut.

I thought of you continuously
A thousand miles south where Italy
Laid its loin to France on the darkened sphere.
Your ordinariness was renewed there.

                                                 -Seamus Heaney, from Door Into the Dark (Faber)

Friday, August 14, 2020

1952 MG-TD

Roger Angell, author, editor, baseball aficionado and Brooklin person, turns 100 this month and Maine's Governor Janet Mills showed up for a socially-distanced celebration outside Friend Memorial Library which included a celebratory drive-by of old cars and trucks. Not precise on the year of this TD, early 50s no doubt. Her's a 1954 MG-TD we posted from Italy a while back, and a '52 TD up in Montreal.