I wanted to take a minute and wish everyone a Merry Christmas! By now it's clear I can attach an automotive memory to everything... and Christmas is no exception! One of my favourite Christmas comedies, 'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation', has a hilarious opening scene that takes place in the 'old front-wheel drive sleigh', a Ford Taurus woody wagon:
Another classic is 'A Christmas Story'. I have fond childhood memories of loading up into the car and driving to get the Christmas tree, and while it was usually entertaining, it never ended up THIS way:
On a more personal note, one of my best Car + Christmas stories occurred every year, on Christmas Day, when we would head to Grandma's house for lunch. She didn't live far away, but it seemed that every single year Snoopy's song 'The Red Baron' would come on just as we were arriving, and my dad insisted on driving around the block until it finished! It may not be the most well-known Christmas song, but it sure is one of my favourites:
A very Merry Christmas to all; wishing everyone happy, healthy and safe holidays this year! Feel free to share your own automotive-tinged Christmas stories, videos and pictures. I have one more photo to add; I decorated the model Citroen 2CV on my desk to add a bit of Christmas cheer in the office:
Since the automobile was introduced over 100 years ago, steel has been the primary material used in their fabrication. Of course, some early models actually used wood in their constructions. Many manufacturers have added aluminum, which is becoming more and more prevalent. Others have used plastic to varying degrees of success. Carbon fiber is common in high-end sports cars. It is obvious that many different materials lend themselves to use in automotive applications, but one that I don't see being a success is brick!
This Mercedes coupe made entirely out of red brick is sitting in a nearby art park. I'm not sure exactly what statement the artist was trying to make. Was it about how cars take up such a large and permanent role in our lives? How we are a throw-away generation that buys cars that will last a few years and then buy a new one? Or is he just a Mercedes fan and had some extra bricks lying around? No matter what the reason, this sculpture is very well designed, and the amount of detail is impressive considering the choice of construction material.
Even the interior showed remarkable detail. It has clearly been in the park for a long time, judging by the weathered look of it, but it still attracted many curious people the day I was there. I may not know what inspired the artist to build this brick-and-mortar car, but I sure can appreciate the work that went into it. My only suggestion is that prospective buyers not take the term 'kick the tires' literally!
Has anyone ever seen something similar; a car sculpture or model built from something other than typical automotive materials? I'd love to see pictures if you have some to share, either by email or on the Facebook page for TheAutomotiveAttic.
I have decided to give up hoping to see any proper old cars in Shanghai. There just aren't any, at least not roaming the streets, waiting for me to photograph them. As a result I have had to lower my standards a bit; that is to say, raise the age of what I consider to be an 'old' and noteworthy car. As interesting as I find the 1980s and 1990s Volkswagen Santanas, they're literally everywhere as the taxi of choice. It's simply WAY to common to truly catch my attention anymore.
As some will remember, I shared my first automotive impressions of Shanghai
here in my blog back in August when I saw the rainbow fleet of Santana taxis:
"You Can Have Any Colour Taxi You Want, As Long As Its A Santana"
But wait, what is that I see? It LOOKS like a Santana, but there's something strange going on near the back... why, it's a station wagon! Voilà, I found it, the closet thing to a tired, faded, odd-ball, oldish car that I'm going to find in this city of 23 million shiny new car fans!
This particular Santana was one of the first-generation models from the 1980s. It certainly wasn't well loved; it was quite dirty, and had some marks and scratches all over, and a busted taillight. It wasn't until I was home and looking at the pictures I had taken that I realised that it didn't even have any licence plates! So not only had I stumbled across a rare-ish automotive find, but one that apparently had been abandoned and was presumably looking for a new home!
As with most of my vehicular love interests, I have to ask you to have a bit of imagination. Picture this Wagen from Volks with a fresh coat of dark grey paint, a thin red stripe running down the sides, just along the crease in the body, and some tasteful, understated chrome rims. Maybe some slightly wider tires, a better quality tint of the windows, and a drop of a couple centimeters to exaggerate the long and low design of this car...
Okay, so it's probably best that I don't remember where it is. And even if I did, it would be nearly impossible to track down the owner who clearly doesn't want to be found. Besides, I don't even have a garage or parking space, so an automotive project is out of the question. But none of that is going to stop me from celebrating the closest thing to a cool old find I will likely see in this city!
Welcome! My name is Paul, and I am an old-fashioned, low-pressure, low-buck car fan with lots of automotive stories to tell!