Posts Tagged ‘vintage cars’

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Mustang Sally – 16/365, Archive 365, Wagner’s Drive-In, Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, August 2010, photo © 2010-2012 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved. Original photo edited in Photoshop Elements.

Every Monday in the summer months, local hot-rodders and car collectors converge on Wagner’s Drive-In in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. When I saw the red Mustang, I stopped and asked the woman in green if I could take a photograph. She happily said yes, and asked me to get out and join them. Turns out she owns the Mustang. I had somewhere to be, so had to keep moving. But not before I snapped this shot with my BlackBerry. In all the hustle and bustle, I forgot to ask the Mustang owner her name. I call her Mustang Sally.


ARCHIVE 365 is a photo collaboration between skywire7 and QuoinMonkey featuring images from our archives. We will alternate posting once a day in our Flickr sets from July 1st 2012 through June 30th 2013. You can view our photographs at skywire7 Archive 365 set on Flickr and QuoinMonkey Archive 365 set on Flickr.

-posted on red Ravine, Monday, July 16, 2012. Archive 365 post inspired by Jonathan Brand’s Paper Mustang Sculpture – One Piece At A Time. Related to post: WRITING TOPIC — MEMORIES OF CARS

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Vintage Cars At Nokomis Lanes, BlackBerry Shots, Minneapolis, Minnesota, April 2010, photo © 2010 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

snippets of the past,
bowling alley or drive-in?
2-D sleight of hand —
vintage cars fade into walls,
the future walks a thin line.

-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, April 8th, 2010

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day), WRITING TOPIC — MEMORIES OF CARS

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Pink Cadillac, Hindsight, outside the Pink Cadillac Diner, Natural Bridge, Virginia, October 2009, all photos © 2009 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Back in Pennsylvania. I always think I’m going to post more than I do from the road. But at the end of the day, I find myself exhausted. Out as soon as the head hits the pillow. Perhaps it’s the introvert in me. I love traveling West to East, North to South, all the people I see only once a year. I wish there were a dozen of me. Maybe a baker’s dozen.

Yesterday I drove 13 hours back from Georgia with Mom. I spent this October day with my family in Pennsylvania. It’s almost 4am and I find myself wide awake, wanting to write. It’s the best I can do to post a haiku, a note, a few photographs from the Pink Cadillac Diner in Natural Bridge, Virginia. It’s a little off the beaten trail. Mom was finishing up her ice cream cone while I walked out to photograph the Caddy. A young woman strode proudly up behind me with her two daughters, camera in tow.

“My dad took a photo of me in front of this very spot,” she said, “and now I get to take a photo of you.” Snap. I watched her daughters gleaming next to the rusty chrome. “Would you like me to take a photo of all of you together?” I asked. “I’d love that,” she smiled, rushing over to hand me her pocket camera.

Lineage. Family legacies. The things we pass down.

The day was perfect for driving. The light illuminated by Fall. I hung my head out the window and snapped photos of a sunset front over Virginia. There is so much to tell. For the time being, will you settle for the highlights?

  • visiting the Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art in Augusta, Georgia with my mother
  • walking with my dad through the Brick Pond Ecological Park in North Augusta, South Carolina
  • dining on my uncle’s chili he’s been making since he was 12
  • riding on the back of my brother’s Harley Softtail
  • driving through Virginia with the mountains framed in gold
  • visiting my paternal grandparents’ graves for the first time with my aunt
  • photographing a historic Sand Oak at Westover Memorial Park Cemetery
  • standing by the Savannah River on the down side of Clarks Hill Dam
  • spending the day on the Georgia side of Clarks Hill Lake working on family history with Mom
  • watching the Vikings/Steelers game with my family
  • grits, sweet tea, barbecue hash, boiled peanuts
  • seeing the faces of my brother and mom at the airport when I land
  • talking to Liz on the new BlackBerry from Sconyer’s Bar-B-Que (she asked for hushpuppies)
  • Twittering across the Mason-Dixon line (and the rest of the 1200 mile round trip to Georgia) with the same said BlackBerry
  • photographing the October Blood Moon rising over Pennsylvania, setting over Georgia and South Carolina
  • writing haiku in the air, Minnesota to Maryland and Pennsylvania
  • watching my sister-in-law tap dance across her living room floor (and later my niece and brother’s fiancee danced across the same floor)
  • The Beatles Rock Band with my niece, nephew, and brother in his living room
  • attending a huge Halloween bash with my aunt at the Julian Smith Casino building where in the 1950’s my mother used to go to dances and work barbecues to raise money to build a local church
  • laughing with my family, North and South
  • stopping at the Pink Cadillac Diner in Virginia with Mom on the way home from Georgia

season to season
hindsight is 20/20
reflecting the past;
future remains uncertain,
jumps hoops through the looking glass

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, October 25th, 2009

-related to posts: haiku 2 (one-a-day), WRITING TOPIC — MEMORIES OF CARS, WRITING TOPIC– ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS, you can’t go back — 15 haiku, Cassie’s Porch — Then & Now, Excavating Memories

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the key, C-41 print film, up on the mesa top, outside
Taos, New Mexico, January 2003, photo © 2003-2009
by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.


frozen rusty lock
not knowing she has the key–
waits for the next turn


-posted on red Ravine, Thursday, September 17th, 2009

-related to post: haiku 2 (one-a-day)

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1958 Chevy Apache pick-up truck, December 2008, photo © 2008-2009 by ybonesy. All rights reserved.

When I was 39 years old I let Jim know that for my 40th birthday I wanted an old truck. I wanted a truck that was about my same age. Something big, bulbous, and roomy. I wanted a truck that would remind me of my grandpa, who when he wasn’t riding a horse was bouncing up the dirt road in his old pick-up, on his way to the saloon.

I learned to drive in my sister’s VW bug when I was about 13, but I honed my skill in Dad’s 1971 Chevy pick-up when I was 16. Mom and Dad went on a long trip to Lake Powell that summer, and never suspecting that I’d attempt to drive a stick shift that didn’t even use first gear (except to pull a camper up a hill), they left the key behind. My friends and I went off-road, down ditch banks and in the rolling sand dunes of Albuquerque’s west mesa, in that pick-up. We got it stuck but were able to get a tow out of the hole I’d plowed into.

And so the one thing that called to me as my 40th year approached was a good ol’ truck. Jim eventually found one, although I believe it was not until after I’d turned 41. The find was worth the wait.

It had belonged to an old farmer from around these parts named Mr. Tenorio. Everyone knew Mr. Tenorio, and everyone knew his 1958 Chevy Apache pick-up with its original forest green paint.

For a couple of years I was in old-truck heaven. Manual steering, unwieldy stick shift, doors that only closed after slamming them with all your might several times. This baby required muscle. I remember once taking my friend Anne out for a spin. We rounded a corner and her door flew open. The truck didn’t have seat belts.

Jim and I used the pick-up two seasons in a row for selling apples, chile, and other produce at the local Growers Market. Our booth was one of the most festive; someone who was making a promotional video for our little village asked if she could film us, and I know the appeal was that 1958 Chevy Apache and the red and yellow apples and green chile all laid out in produce baskets in the truck’s bed.

Last week we sold dear Mr. Tenorio’s truck. For the past three or four years it has sat unused in our driveway, its green body rusting away bit by bit each day. I might have liked to hang on to it forever, but Jim and I are letting go of all the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years that we no longer truly need or want.

We sold the Apache to a young Chicano from a town south of here. I didn’t meet him, nor did I watch the truck pull out of the driveway. I was certain this was the right thing to do—we had no plans to fix up the truck to its former glory, and Jim got the feel that this guy did—yet…. I didn’t want to know exactly, down to the last tattoo, what the new owner looked like. And I didn’t want to have to say anything to him or to the Apache.

I said my goodbyes later. I noticed the pile of dead cottonwood leaves that had accumulated since fall between the truck and the juniper bushes. The driveway had a lot more room. The house seemed empty. Funny how something outside the house could make the whole thing look slightly vacant. Mr. Tenorio was gone.


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I remember my first car, an Austin-Healey Sprite. It wasn’t new. In fact, it was so used, it wasn’t even running. The car was stored in my grandparent’s barn. It had belonged to my uncle. He said I could have it if we towed it away and did all the repair. I imagined that he had raced it across emerald corn fields and yellow crops of wheat.

My grandparents and uncle lived in a rural area near East Berlin, Pennsylvania. When we moved from the South in 1966, we stayed with my grandparents for a time. I slept in a room with my sister. There was a door leading up to the attic and sometimes we heard bats scraping around the eaves up there.

The Sprite was tomato red, a 1962 or 1963, I can’t remember for sure, and had a black roll bar, 4-on-the-floor, was a soft-top convertible. That Summer and Fall would be one of the bonding moments between me and my step-dad. He worked his butt off repairing the engine, well, even getting that car to run was a miracle.

I didn’t do much of the hands-on. But looking back, I wish I had. My brothers were all good at fixing their cars, taking care of them, changing the wheels out, replacing spark plugs (do cars even have spark plugs anymore?), fixing the brakes. Even my mother had helped tear down and put back together an engine once in her twenties. It seemed like there was nothing my family could not do in taking car of their cars.

I learned by osmosis. I stood in the cool garage, watching my step-dad work on the engine, helping him out when he needed an extra set of hands, learning about metric tools. I thought it was my first year of college. But my sister remembers it as being my junior or senior year of high school. I must have been 17. Time becomes fuzzy. It’s good to document with photographs or write things down. I only have one or two photos of the Austin-Healey, and I haven’t been able to locate them. Yet. I wish I had taken more photos. It was once-in-a-lifetime kind of car.

I learned to drive a stick. I’ll never forget the day we took the Sprite out for its first spin. My step-dad was tall, over 6 feet. He hunkered down and slid into the driver’s seat. I am much shorter. I hopped into the passenger side, excited, a little scared. Off we went on the two-lane rural road down to the post office, flying about 80 mph. Did the thing even have seatbelts? I can’t remember. Just the roll bar.

I remember the convertible top was up that day; I think it had metal snaps. But what I remember most about the first time we took the Sprite out is my step-dad teaching me to slip the clutch. He told me racers used that technique to gain speed, and there we were, racing down a slow moving Pennsylvania road, rrrrrummmm, rrrrrrummm, rrrrummmm, every time he changed gears.

My mother got involved, too. She helped to fix up the interior of the car, added carpet where there was exposed glue and rough edges. By the time we were all done, it looked like a million bucks. I can’t say it ran like a dream. It had serious wear and tear from use and abuse by my uncle. But I was so proud to be driving that Austin-Healey. Me and Mary, my girlfriend at the time (she had purple suede boots, flaming red hair, and red tinted glasses to match), would show up at softball games with the top down, hop out with our cleats, gloves, and bat bags, and head over to the dugout. There is something about leaving a convertible parked with the top down. What is it?

I don’t know if I would do that today. There is an overall lack of respect for other people’s property that seems to permeate the greater public. I don’t know if I trust people the way I used to. We live in different times. But my mother wasn’t very trusting of the public back in the early 70’s when I was driving the Sprite either. I remember one thing about that car – the muffler kept falling down in unexpected places at uncommon hours. Once on Interstate 83, it happened again – the muffler fell to the road. Mary and I often would tie it up with a wire coat hanger. This time it wasn’t working.

We got out in the roaring traffic, stared under the car, looked at each other, and decided to hitchhike the 5 or 6 miles home. My mother was furious with us. How could we be so trusting, hitchhiking along a major freeway? Who knows who might have picked us up! Back then, we were coming off the tail end of the 1960’s. It was common for women and men to hitchhike wherever they needed to go. I cringe at the thought in the year 2008. I have to tell you, I’d never hitchhike anywhere today.

Mary and I took one long trip in the Austin-Healey, down to the Washington D.C. area to see a concert. We were going to see the Allman Brothers. It turned out, the Grateful Dead were also playing in that outdoor concert. We weren’t Dead Heads. But now I can say I saw the Grateful Dead play. And don’t tell my mother, but I remember we slept with a blanket on the ground in this open green field with a bunch of other concert goers that night, went to McDonalds for breakfast in the morning, and drove back home on backroads. Wanna-be hippie that I was (even though at the time, I was a jock and as straight-laced as they come), I had the time of my life. I felt like a rebel; a female James Dean.

I did love that car. Doesn’t everyone love their first car? But my parents made it special for me, a labor of love, a gift. I think I only drove it a year, maybe two. It was already almost 10 years old. And needed too much maintenance and upkeep for me to take it away to college. But the smell of the engine, the chrome, the sporty headlights, the way the knobs were simple flip switches on a carved wooden dashboard, the feel of hopping in under the roll bar, the way it felt to run down the road with long 70’s hair flying in the wind — I never felt so free.

-posted on red Ravine, Monday, October 20th, 2008

-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC — MEMORIES OF CARS

Post Script: I was excited to see if I could actually find a photo that looked similar to the Austin-Healey I owned. No exact matches. The closest I could find was this 1963 Austin Healey Sprite MK II (HAN7 37761). It’s a cool link because you can see the steps he went through to rebuild and refurbish the car. The Mark II’s were second generation; they made them from 1961 to 1964. You can also read more about Sprite history at Austin-Healey Sprite.

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Granddaddy & His Pontiac, Augusta, Georgia, February 11th, 1956, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Granddaddy & His Cadillac, Augusta, Georgia, February 11th, 1956, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Do you have memories of the “family” car? Riding backwards with your brothers and sisters in the cargo seat of a 1967 Chevy wagon? The smell of the dirt-bottomed garage where your great, great uncle stored his vintage 1930’s black Pontiac? A Sunday ride in your dad’s Oldsmobile convertible? Taking a cross-country vacation in a flat nose 1962 Ford Econoline van?

October is a milestone month for the production of cars. After the internal combustion engine was invented, cars began to be mass produced in the 1920’s. Every American family wanted to own a car. October is the anniversary of Henry’s Ford’s first production “Model T.”

According to Old Car and Truck Pictures:

The first production Model T Ford was assembled at the Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit on October 1, 1908. For the next 19 years, Ford would build 15,000,000 cars and trucks with the Model “T” engine. The only other car to exceed that number was the Volkswagen Beetle. Considering the years when Henry did it, 1908 to 1927, it is surely a record that will never be beaten. Henry Ford had succeeded in his dream of building a car for the masses.

In research through shoeboxes of old photographs, I discovered that many images were of family members proudly standing next to their cars. Remember the jingle, “See the USA in your Chevrolet…? ” One of my fathers was a Chevy man; he has always driven Chevrolets and still owns a Chevy truck to this day. Another drove Oldsmobiles and I remember his red Olds convertible with the white rag top. What kind of car did your father own?

Mom & Uncle Jack, Augusta, Georgia, circa late 1930s, early 1940s, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.Granddaddy In Pinstripes, along with Mom and Uncle Jack, Augusta, Georgia, circa early 1940s, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Family Scrapbook — Fathers, Sons, Daughters, & Cars:

Mom & Uncle Jack, Augusta, Georgia, circa late 1930s, early 1940s, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Granddaddy In Pinstripes, along with Mom and Uncle Jack, Augusta, Georgia, circa early 1940’s, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

My grandfather was a GM man. He owned a Cadillac. And the day his son Jack graduated from high school, he was presented with a 1954 Pontiac Star Chief (which oddly I remember looking more like this 1953 Chieftain Catalina). I remember the car well; Uncle Jack died unexpectedly a few months before I was born and my mother inherited the Pontiac. It would figure prominently in my early childhood memories. I loved the way that Pontiac looked and smelled. And through my child-eyes, the orange hood ornament of Chief Pontiac, and the ornate grille and tail chrome, added a certain respectability and regalness to the way the car moved down the road.

If you think about it, cars were the Internet of their day, changing the way people communicated, socialized, visited with family, and, eventually, after the Interstate infrastructure was built by Eisenhower in the 1950’s, the way we moved around the country, sometimes never to return home. Cars changed America. (And we have our wildly fluctuating gas prices and chronic dependence on fossil fuels to prove it.)

Uncle Jack & His Pontiac, Augusta, Georgia, circa 1954, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Uncle Jack & His Pontiac, Augusta, Georgia, circa 1954,
photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

What memories do you have of the “family” car? Did you live on a farm where trucks were more important than cars? Was your father a man who would only buy American-made cars? Or did he believe VW’s and Toyota’s were better made and would last longer. What kind of cars did your mother own? How did the cars your family owned influence those you would buy as an adult?

There are two steps to this week’s Writing Practice:

(1) Make a list of all the cars you have owned; make another list of the cars your family owned when you were growing up. Be as specific as possible about year, make, and model. If you need help, dig through old family photographs and chances are you’ll bump into your family history of automobiles.

(2) Do a 15 minute Writing Practice on one of these car-related Topics:

  • How many cars have you owned? Make a list. After making your list, choose one and do a 15 minute Writing Practice about a memory connected to that car. Think about the way it smelled, the color, the way you felt when you drove it. Was it a stick, 5-speed, 4-on-the-floor, automatic, or 3-speed on the column? Write everything you know about that car. Start the Practice with — “The first time I drove my 19xx  _________…”


  • What was the first car you owned? Was it new or used? How old were you when you learned to drive? High school, junior high? Who taught you to drive? Do a Writing Practice on “My first car ________.” Be as detailed as possible. Include all the senses.


  • Write a memory of one of your family cars. I have memories of traveling across the Savannah River to visit with my Grandmother Elise and her singing to me along the way. Write about a childhood memory associated with a car your family owned. Write down the make, model, year of the car. Then beside it, write “I Remember______” and see what comes out. You might be surprised how far 4 wheels and a full tank of gas can take you in your writing.


Granddaddy & Uncle Bill, Augusta, Georgia, circa early 1950s, photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

Granddaddy & Uncle Bill, Augusta, Georgia, circa early 1950’s,
photo © 2008 by QuoinMonkey. All rights reserved.

-posted on red Ravine, Sunday, October 12th, 2008

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