Saturday, December 21, 2013

Found on the Move: What's That in the Rearview Mirror?

There are very few places in North America where you can drive an open topped car with no side windows in late October. Giddings, Texas, between Houston and Austin, is definitely one of them. An eagle-eyed motorist caught a glimpse of this tiny red mystery car in his rearview mirror and took some pictures of it as it passed. But what car is it and why is it so happy to see you?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Why Gasoline Alley is Gearhead Heaven

Gasoline Alley - The Happiest Place in Calgary from The Life Mechanical on Vimeo.
We've visited Gasoline Alley before quite a few times. We can't help it. Classic cars and trucks just have a gravitational pull on us! Have a look at our most recent video about Gasoline Alley and a few of the treasures inside it's neon lit halls.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Found in Captivity: Bad Ideas Come in Small Packages

Japanese cars were still jokes in North America during the mid 1960's. They were funny little foreign cars with odd designs and feeble power outputs. Though reliable and frugal, they were, for the most part, ill suited for high speed North American roads and brutal mountain passes. Highway capable Japanese cars were still a few years off. It's odd to think that Toyota's now massive presence in Canada began with this frightened looking Ford Anglia wannabe.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Want to buy a brand new 1990 Toyota Supra Turbo?

Photo: Country Hills Toyota
When it comes to unrestored preservation, there are really three different classes. Survivors are cars that live in a largely original form but still bear signs of age. Creampuffs are cars that typically have very little street mileage and are usually free of any age related flaws. And then we have mothballed cars exactly like what we've found today.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Found in the Wild: THE Ghetto Cutlass (With a Secret!)

This is the one. Look closely in the background of any movie scene where the location is supposed to be sketchy or dingy (Usually there are sirens in the background) and you will see a mid to late '80's Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme much like this one. This one features all the hallmarks of the infamous and ubiquitous "ghetto cutlass" including fading purplish window tint, an aftermarket hood ornament and a home brew paint job. But this low buck looking '80's coupe isn't as proletariat as the patina'd finish would lead you to believe. That's because this Cutlass has a secret. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Found in the Yard: The Last AMC and an End of an Era

Picture any car from the late '80's. Got it in your head? Now go ahead and picture that car with white paint rolling on white rims. Almost every late '80's car looks awesome in the white-on-white combination and today's 1989 Eagle Premiere is no exception. (Not that I would be personally biased or anything) The Premiere is arguably the last "true" AMC ever built and it features components from AMC, Audi and Renault. Let's dig deeper and find out what makes this car such a rare find!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Photographer Spotlight: Trevor Longman at High Revs Photography

The #24 Audi R8 LMS of Duncan Ende fights the forces of gravity at Lime Rock Park on July 4, 2013.
An endurance racing event is possibly one of the most difficult motorsport events to photograph. Cars are racing around the track regardless of weather conditions and there's action everywhere all the time. The pits are storms of activity as cars come in for tires, fuel and the occasional repair. Trevor Longman at High Revs Photography has found a way to capture the essence of these hectic and gruelling events. Below is a selection of his favorite recent photographs.

Friday, November 01, 2013

Found in the Yard: One Piece at a Time

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Johnny Cash tune, 'One Piece at a Time', it profiles a Cadillac worker who builds his dream Caddy one small piece a day from smuggled parts. In a way, this well picked over carcass (Get it?) of a 1958 Cadillac Sedan DeVille represents the opposite of that song. Because piece by pice, this once regal symbol of wealthy America has been reduced to a shell.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Found in the Yard: Faded Memories

The Datsun 280ZX is awesome. But don't take my word for it, listen to Steve Wozniak's convincing testimony here. I've spoken at great lengths about my personal experience with my '83 280ZX that was my first car. Those articles can be found here and here but today we're going to be talking about the 280ZX in comparison to it's contemporaries like the recently featured Supra. Doesn't that sound awesome?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Found in the Wild: The Supra Takes Flight

We're on a real '80's roll these days and there's no plan of stopping it

Today, the word "Supra" conjures images of Brian O'Connor racing Toretto and YouTube videos of 1,000 horsepower monsters. But it wasn't always that way. The Supra started out as a rather ungainly looking six-cylinder version of the humble Celica. But by 1984, when this car was made, the Supra was quickly becoming the hot Japanese coupe to have and the upcoming turbo versions would cement that idea.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Found in the Yard: '80's Icon

Vanilla Ice had one. And if you were in high-school during the 80's you wish you had one. Only slightly less desirable than Farrah Fawcett in a red one-piece bathing suit is a 1987 Ford Mustang Cobra 5.0 like the one we've found today. One of the few truly capable affordable sporty cars of the day, the "Fox body" 5.0 Mustang was a hero car most could afford. But how did ours end up here?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Junkyard Laws: #1

If there is a junked police car, there will always be at least one empty coffee cup inside it. You might have to look for a bit, but it's there. trust me.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Found in the Wild: My Irrational Crush

Everyone has that one shallow celebrity crush. Despite their movies or songs being terrible, you love to obsess over them because they're just so physically perfect. Many car dorks enthusiasts have similar feelings for certain cars. For many, these cars are pre-war racers, one off specials or Italian exotica. Mine is the Toyota Tercel. I can't help myself.

Found in the Wild: The Gentleman's V12 Fezza

It's not often that a car is overshadowed by both its predecessor and its successor but that's just what happened to our featured Fezza. The Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 was hardly a bad car, in fact it was and is an exceptional grand touring car but that's just how good Ferrari was in the 60's and 70's. But why is this car worth hundreds of thousands less than those that come before or after it?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Found in the Wild: Straight Outta Coventry

There was a time when Porsche 356 was just an old and slow German car. There was a time when a 440+6 Plymouth 'Cuda was just a ratty old car that drank too much gas and a 1969 Jaguar E-Type like the one we've found today was just a rusty British sports car that wouldn't run. The era was the '70's and due to these cars relatively low value and sporty nature, they saw time on the streets racing light to light.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Found in the Wild: DeLorean in Disguise?

The genus is Peugeot, the species is 505 and the status is endangered, near extinction. A street parked Peugeot on Alberta streets is a rare breed for sure. There was a time when French cars were fairly plentiful on North American roads but by the time our featured Peugeot 505 STX was made in 1986, that era was drawing to a close.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Found in the Wild: Pontiac Strato Chief a Bed of Roses

Undoubtedly, Pontiac's best decade was the '60's. In the years after fins and before muscle cars, Pontiacs were some of the most sought after vehicles in North America. They had a inimitably graceful swagger about them. They were imposing without being brash and Bauhaus without lacking substance. More crooning after the jump!

Thursday, October 03, 2013

High River Car Show 2013

Many of you outside Alberta might not know it, but the Alberta town of High River has had a bit of a rough summer. The floods hit High River hard and thousands were forced out of their homes by the rising waters. But the people there are resilient and many volunteers pulled together to get the town cleaned up. It's not perfect yet and it won't be for a while but if the 600+ cars in attendance can say anything, it's that the town is back with a vengeance.

The 100th Post: TLM's Pseudo Centennial

What a ride it's been! Sixteen months, 100 articles and nearly 10,000 pageviews have passed since the first article in May, 2012. In that time I've met many new friends and been to numerous fun events all while chasing the passion of cars. I've also learned a lot about cars I never even knew existed through writing these articles. I hope you've enjoyed some of the posts and gleaned some worthless trivia cool information as well! I'm excited to move forward with The Life Mechanical but first, let's have a look back.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Found in the Wild: NOT a Mercedes SSK

I try to at least see the merit of all enthusiast cars. For example, drifting isn't really my thing but I can certainly respect and admire the ingenuity of well done drift builds. But I'm finding it very challenging to stay positive about this one. I hesitate to even call it an enthusiast car but here in the wild we have a 1992 Classic Roadsters Marlene 500K "replica."

Monday, September 30, 2013

Found in the Wild: Curves are Simply a Passing Trend

Chrysler's styling seems to oscillate wildly between conservative and radical. Rarely in synch with the trends of the times, Chrysler's luxury cars have always been interesting. I'm unsure whether having a body devoid of any gentle curves qualifies as adventurous or stodgy but in all it's maroon glory we have a 1966 Chrysler New Yorker today. And what better way to follow a tiny one-cylinder micro-car than a Nimitz class luxo-barge?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Found in Captivity: The Ur-Smart Car

You'll attract more bees with honey than you will with $200k modern supercars. Or something like that. Today on TLM we've found one of the most eye catching cars of all time and it also happens to be one of the slowest. It just goes to show that having a unique car will always turn more heads than a fast one. What is an Isetta and why does it look so happy to have your acquaintance? Let's find out!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Found in the Wild: 4 / 4 = 77 Years Running

Many enthusiasts bemoan the Ford Mustang as being a slave to tradition. Though technical advancements have creeped in over the years, it remains a V8 powered live axle secretary's muscle car. The Porsche 911 is even more adherent to it's stubborn rear-engined tradition. Well the Mustang and 911 have nothing on today's featured roadster.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Found in the Wild: The Porcelain Barge

The 98 is a barometer of the American full-size car. Produced for an uninterrupted 56 years between 1940 and 1996, the Oldsmobile Delta 98 has grown and shrunk with the times. No matter what the year, the Delta 98 could be counted on to be large, comfortable and unwaveringly American. Let's check out a jet age Delta from 1959.

Found in the Wild: The Original Muscle Truck

The late seventies were dark times for performance cars. It became increasingly difficult for manufacturers to build fast cars that complied with stringent federal emissions and fuel economy standards. One by one, the muscle cars died off as they succumbed to skyrocketing gas prices, rising insurance premiums and plummeting engine power. But then Dodge found a loophole. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013


The mystique of the prancing horse badge has captivated car enthusiasts and casual observers alike for decades. Ferraris are some of the most sought after cars in the world and the prestige of the brand is second to none. However, much like the downfall of Honda products, the death of the founder, Enzo Ferrari in 1988 saw a change in direction for the company and a softening of the brand. Which is why today we're focusing on the classic Ferraris (and other wonderful makes) that built the legend of Ferrari.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

On Wheels for Kenya

I often lament that it's impossible photograph and cover every car at a show or meet. But I didn't have that problem at this meet. Organizing a car show is way harder than it looks. Venues need to be rented, people need to be aware of the event additional things like raffles and bands need to be sorted out. On top of all that, the fine folk behind On Wheels for Kenya had to deal with dismal weather. Twice.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Boosted Expectations: The Turbo Trans Am

The year was 1980 and the big blocks were dead. The strong yet smog strangled 6.6 liter Pontiac V8 that had kept the performance flame alive for Pontiac in those dark years was gone. It had lead a full life and had managed to long outlive all the other high-performance big blocks from the big three. But Pontiac knew this day would come and they had a bold plan to restore big block power to the Trans Am without big block fuel economy. And thus, the infamous Turbo 4.9 was born.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Time Passes Slowly Here: Arrow Auto Salvage

Set aside for a special purpose? One could only hope that someone has intentions of saving this sad looking Porsche 914.
If most junkyards are car cemeteries, then this one's an elephant graveyard. Featuring Lancias, SAAB's, Porsches, Fiats and a healthy smattering of domestic iron, Arrow Auto Salvage has a little something for everyone. Let's take a closer look and see what makes this place so different. Article can be found here on Curbside Classic.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Photographer Spotlight: Dylan Streifel

Staring contest commences! I dare you to take your eyes off of this Lambo. 
Some people say that cars cannot be art because cars have a function. These people say that true art is form without function. And as impractical as a Lamborghini is, it still works as a means of conveyance. But photographer Dylan Streifel has become quite good at finding the art in these quasi-functional objects. The following words and photos are all his and links to his other work and website can be found at the bottom of the article. Dylan, the keys are yours!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Found in the Wild: Little Corvette, Who Dressed You This Morning?

You gotta wonder sometimes about the executive discussions that must have occurred within major automakers. Because at some point the question would arise "Hey guys, what color should we paint our new Corvette pace car for the Indianapolis 500?" And someone would have had to reply "How about metallic purple with yellow wheels and a black and yellow interior?"

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Found in the Wild: Mr. Baker the Banker and His Mercedes

Donald Baker was an astute businessman. Concise and to the point, Mr. Baker was rarely distracted or caught lazing at his desk. Evidently his many years of diligent service to the company paid handsomely enough to buy a new car in 1962. His budget was plenty; as was the selection of luxury cars available in 1962 but his Mercedes was the perfect car to suit his character. 

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

A Pilgrimage to Mecca: Visiting the Petersen

Kids are overwhelmed when they go to Disneyland. A wave of excitement pours over them after passing through the hallowed gates and little humans under the age of 10 are reduced to staring in drop-jawed amazement as they try to absorb all the fantastic sounds and colors at once. It's very much the same thing when a car enthusiast visits the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Found in the Wild: Life's a Lark When You're on Vacation

Firstly, I'd like to apologize for the lack of recent posts. See I've been driving on this giant road trip and internet access has been spotty. But less about me and more about what we have here today! Today's lust object in question is the questionably named 1963 Studebaker Lark Daytona R2. And it's supercharged!

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

How a Datsun Z Named Suzy Singlehandedly Turned me Into a Car Enthusiast

My old Datsun was my first car and I learned a lot while owning it. It was my high-school ride and I've never had a car like it since. After several years our paths crossed again. Read the full story here on Petrolicious!

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth: The 1926 Renault 40CV Type NM

The 1926 Renault 40CV Type NM was a 9.12 liter straight-six powered weapon designed to obliterate land speed records. Find out all about the sauropod-like speed beast on this recent article here on Petrolicious. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Porsche's Curse: Why I Can't Stand the 911

Hate is a strong word and I don't hate the 911. It's a sports car, it's unique and it is a real keeper of the flame when it comes to soulful driving. The 911 is an icon and one of the all time greats of the sports car world. What I can't stand is the effect that it's had on the rest of the Porsche lineup for nearly 50 years.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Bred to Win: The First Skyline GT

There was a time when Nissan Skylines were not synonymous with Brian O'Connor. But the mystique and legend of the Skyline as a world-beating performance car began way back in 1964 with the Prince Skyline 2000GT-B. Read the full article, written by yours truly, here on Petrolicious. And if you want to really geek out over the Skyline 2000GT-B and its historic debut, check out this video of the actual race from 1965.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mazda Being Mazda: The Eunos Cosmo

Most JDM cars have a North American equivalent. A 300ZX is like a more high-tech version of a Chevy Corvette and with six cylinders, two turbos and seating for two people (and two drawfs), the Supra is very like a contemporary 911 Turbo. However, the 1991 Mazda Eunos Cosmo featured today doesn't really have an equivalent from across the pond. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Poncho Paradise

Here's a stinging fact: The last Pontiac ever made rolled off the assembly line three years ago. In a world without new Pontiacs (Oh but thank God we still have Buick) most people remember the Poncho brand for GTO's and Trans Ams. And while those cars are more than worthy of remembrance, let's stroll through this Pontiac only car show with an eye for the stranger models.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The JC Anderson Collection

Small town Alberta isn't the first place you expect to find a massive classic car collection but that's exactly what we've found today. This 106 car collection is being auctioned off at no reserve in a few weeks time to benefit a local college. Read more here and pick out you favorite car from the collection!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Intended Acceleration: Driving the Turbo Quattro

The Audi is odd. See, the Audi 200 wasn't like its contemporaries from BMW and Mercedes. It had an odd drive layout, an odd induction method and an odd cylinder count. But all the 200's quirks begin to make sense after you realize that it's really two cars rolled into one.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The 2013 Cochrane Winter Rally

We're all aware of what rally is. We've seen it on television and many of us have played the videogames. But much like a concert, nothing really compares to actually being there. So with a full tank of ($4.95 a gallon!) gas we headed up into the mountains to the 2013 Cochrane Winter Rally to see it firsthand. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How Awesome is Your Car? A Useless and Fun Questionnaire

Someone will always have a faster car than you. That's just a fact of life. Unless you're Larry Larson with a 6 second Nova, there will always be someone out there who could outrun you at the lights. This is why we at The Life Mechanical reccomend you focus on trying to have the coolest car rather than the fastest. And to help, we made a useless list of questions.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Magic Numbers: The ZL1 L88 427 C3 Corvette

The ultimate American muscle car wasn't a muscle car at all. The ZL1 Corvette took supercars of the world by storm using heavy handed brute force with a few cutting edge tricks. A few Corvettes have been faster since the 1969 ZL1 but none have been as lethal and raw. Read more here on Petrolicious. Just as a refresher in case you missed the last update, my writing is now being published on Petrolicious. Same great taste, new location!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now? Petrolicious Publishes Car Phone Article

Few things define the "yuppie" era as well as a German car with a blocky car phone. The folks at Petrolicious shared my fascination with these and have published an article I wrote. The Life Mechanical will still be the home of weird junkyard finds and vintage car reviews but expect more and more of my articles to be found on Petrolicious in the coming months. I'll just begin linking them here on TLM.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Would You Drive 900 Miles for Four Tires?

My roadtrip buddies kept me company on the long drive home
I did. Sort of. This all started out when I tried to replace the worn and dry rotted tires on my Swift with new ones of the same type. I then found out that the tires I wanted were no longer produced and there were actually very few options available for my oddball wider than stock rims. So for quite a few reasons, I decided to buy the tires online and have them shipped to Eureka, Montana where I would pick them up.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Calgary Driven Auto Show 2013: Exotica in Captivity

Under the cover lurks a 745 horsepower creamsicle
The real world is too plebeian for cars like these. I mean, where else but the Mall of the Emirates is a 1000+ horsepower supercar not going to make its surroundings look like a dump? One way to negate this problem is to surround it with other equally drool-worthy hypercars. Welcome to Driven 2013.

Rebirth of the Fun: Driving the NA Miata

Is any other car so simultaneously loved and loathed at the same time? The Mazda Miata manages to be both the butt of all jokes as well as the answer to all questions. But openness is key to experiencing the Miata; as in you need an open mind and an open roof.