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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

International Harvester Scout 800A

From Reid Cunningham in Newport NH.  "Lots of trucks have had their manufacturer stamped on the tailgate, but I can't recall others with the model also stamped.  The Scouts have had a big run up in price, like most of the older SUV's.  A quick search says this is the 800A, with the slant 4 (196), or either of the V8's (266 or 304). While I couldn't tell what engine this one has, I like the half a V8 slant 4 so I am hoping that is what resides under the hood. "  

Monday, June 28, 2021

Lowrider Chevrolet 3100

Bill Burleson caught the art-of-the -lowrider show at Santa Fe Place mall. So many ways to deconstruct this amazing genre of automobile...


Friday, June 25, 2021

Thursday, June 24, 2021

1970 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

From Jonathan Welsh in Montclair, N.J.   "By the mid-1950s, U.S. sales of Volkswagen's Beetle were really cooking -- more than 30,000 in 1955. But the carmaker wanted a better-looking, stylish machine as a flagship model. They called Karmann, the German coachbuilding company that worked on Beetle convertibles at the time. Karmann called the Italian Carrozzeria Ghia for help. The shapely Karmann Ghia was the lovely result, built from 1955 to 1974. It certainly was nicer than the Chrysler-Maserati TC mashup of the late '80s."

AL posted a '67 Karmann Ghia from Colorado Springs a while back. And a bumperless Karmann Ghia in the Bay Area.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

1966 Chevrolet C20 Custom Camper

From Sam Harper: "Smells like oil, camel non-filters and bare feet…..Lenox, MA"
And speaking of 1966 Chevrolets...

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

1954 Sunbeam Alipine

May be off by a year or two. Caught the car at Motorland in Arundel, Maine. Sunbeam-Talbot Limited was a British motor manufacturing business. They built upmarket sports-saloon versions of Rootes Group cars from 1935 to 1954. AL thinks this handsome car would look much better sans whitewalls, but then we always think that. We featured the NASCAR Hudson Hornet you see in the b.g, in one photo (below) in another post a couple weeks ago.


Monday, June 21, 2021

Humberford's Worst Automotive Trends of the Moment

"And while the world is thick with the musings of art and design critics, the specialist job title “automotive design critic” is one rarely bestowed. Indeed, the title didn’t exist until the mid-1980s when Automobile magazine assigned longtime car designer Robert Cumberford to the beat.Cumberford worked alongside legends like Harley Earl, the man who invented modern car design at General Motors Corp., and associated for decades with many of the people at the top of the industry.And while the world is thick with the musings of art and design critics, the specialist job title “automotive design critic” is one rarely bestowed. Indeed, the title didn’t exist until the mid-1980s when Automobile magazine assigned Cumberford to the beat." 

The above is from are:

Humberford's Worst Trends of Right Now: 

"Last year we noted, and were discouraged by, the fact that grilles had been getting bigger to the point of excess and called for a reversion to the mean. Instead, some manufacturers have pushed farther than we ever expected anyone to go. Twin packing crate-sized substitutions for the classic BMW kidney shapes seen on the X7 SUV and Concept 4 coupe are showing up in production, and that's a shame.
Oh, at some point a few years from now they'll decide aerodynamics and electrification will best be served by smaller drag-producing openings in the skin, but we will have to go through a lot more silliness before the trend reverses.

"Many of us are seriously concerned by the supposed looming onset of self-driving cars, and not entirely because we dread losing the kinesthetic pleasure of driving a good car on a fine road. There could be, as there have been with most new technologies, misapplications. You really don't have to be paranoid to worry about the potential effects of something new. When airbags were new, they appeared in several murder mysteries, the kind of "airplane books" of no literary importance consumed by many of us who flew across the Atlantic many times each year. In at least three of those read since Automobile began, the protagonist had to struggle to extract a knife from his pocket so he could puncture the airbag that held him captive after a crash. The authors of those books apparently didn't know the bags self-deflate after exploding in the face of people they saved. So far, we haven't seen any instances of criminal "kidnapping by car," but it's likely to come. It will certainly be as easy for Bad Guy Hackers to take over "invulnerable" autonomous cars as it has been for them to steal Bitcoins or alter election results.


"Most car enthusiasts love power and speed and want more of both. But the percentage of them who are really capable of handling either is small. It is hard for someone who is stressed and tired after a long, hard day to remember not to press too hard on the go pedal when there are more than 500 ponies underfoot. After you've seen hundreds of great cars reduced to trash in photos across the internet, you really don't want to look anymore. Maybe designers and engineers should develop a little video or skill test to check your state of fatigue before allowing you more than 200 ponies to get you home when you're tired.

"The problem with constantly adding neat little tricks to cars—like incorporating cruise control in cheap little cars like Ford Fiestas (they still exist outside of the U.S., where Ford only does trucks and Mustang derivatives)—is that all the incremental improvements in standard equipment add weight, and above all, cost. And not just initial cost, but the cost of maintenance and repairs if they go wrong. And once you're hooked on the value of electric windows that put themselves up and down at the flick of a switch or digital screens that give you immediate and aggregate fuel-consumption figures or doors that lock automatically as soon as the car starts to move, you become accustomed to the convenience and don't want to do without. Some additional features are trivially cheap and easy to incorporate and add weight in fractions of ounces, not multiple pounds, but once drivers are addicted, they won't want to let anything that breaks stay broken. And that means high service costs. "

Sunday, June 20, 2021

1955 Chevrolet convertible, Riding Low.

Thanks to Bill Burleson for the photographs and the heads-up on the Low-Rider Arte and Culture exhibition at the Santa Fe Place Mall. 
"The mayor of Santa Fe proclaimed May 22, 2016, to be Lowrider Day. The occasion was a New Mexico History Museum exhibit celebrating lowriders and lowrider culture in Northern New Mexico. Lowriders from miles around cruised to the Plaza to show off their cars. In the years since then, a group called New Mexico Lowrider Arte and Culture has honored the day each May by holding a lowrider show downtown. Last year, the event was canceled. This year, they’re moving and expanding the event. The New Mexico Lowrider Arte and Culture Exhibit opens at Santa Fe Place Mall from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 1, with a public car show, lowrider exhibition, and art show. The event also features food, musical entertainment, and a lowrider hopping contest..." Santa Fe New Mexican
There are a bunch more great photographs to come from this show. And you may have seen our post a while back on the High Art of Riding Low exhibition at the Peterson Museum in LA in 2017. Here are some more Burleson photographs of the Low-rider street scene in Santa Fe. And Anne Lennox's '48 Pontiac low-rider in Chimayo, NM. Also a Dodge Dart Seneca in Chimayo.
AL posted a few weeks ago on Kristin Bedford's Cruise Night, a stunning book of photographs on LA's Mexican American lowrider community. 

And that's a...90s? Cadillac

Saturday, June 19, 2021

1987 GMC High Sierra 1500


Reid Cunningham caught the truck in Claremont NH..."This must have been someone's fun truck, with the short bed and High Sierra trim."  AL has posted a 1975 plainer-jane Sierra.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Thursday, June 17, 2021

1965 Plymouth Satellite

 from Reid Cunningham: "A pretty Satellite in Claremont NH.  My best recollection is the Commando V8 was the small block."                                                                                           AL caught a 1964 Dodge Polara out in Kansas a while back. And an Exner-era Dodge in Shediac, New Brunswick along with the million-mile Montreal Plymouth taxi.