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When Cars Were Built To Last Along With Their Style

Modern Cars

If you were to walk through a crammed car park whilst blurring your eyes, you’d be hard pressed to single out brands and models from a distance. The modern automobile – the majority of – has started to take on generic features and angular lines. Manufacturers like their cars to look mean from the front, which usually entails angry and slanted headlights combined with a sporty bumper. Whilst the average grocery-getter looks far better than the grocery-getter of yesteryear, cars have lost their individuality.

Mercedes-Benz 190e

This post stems from the video below and my love of old school German cars. Although I haven’t owned the gorgeous 280, I’ve owned a few Mercedes W124s and a 190E like the one pictured above.

Not only are they unbreakable and a joy to drive, their aesthetic design is simple yet beautiful – no aggressive lines, no day-running lights and LEDs, not in the least ‘messy’.

German car doors slamming with a solid and reassuring “thunk” may be a cliche, but it is very true. All the older Mercs I’ve owned were pushing 25 years old, but all of the electrics, switches and mechanics worked. Take a look at the 280 in the video below and take in the simple lines and gorgeous interior. It’s no powerhouse or sports car, but to me it represents what the average car should look like.

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The Creation Of Something Special In 1160 Pictures…

… special to me anyway. Search Gargling Gas for the Buick Grand National and you’ll find a fair few posts on my infatuation with it.

It’s not totally unrealistic to find a solid example and have it shipped over from the States for a reasonable price (£10-15K). Most sensible, and let’s face it, boring non-car people will probably cry, “An American muscle car in the UK? Are you mad?” Yes, probably, but then I could counter the remark with something like, “Wow, £5K on touching up the woodwork on your stairs”, or, “£25K for a small soundproof recording studio?” Each to their own and all that…

People spend out on the things that make them tick, whether it’s a giant train-set or a set of rare stamps, and everyone knows and accepts this. Except when it comes to cars (I’ve found) people are quick to comment, frown, stroke their metaphorical beard – or in the case of my mother-in-law, her beard. Non-car people suddenly turn into Jeremy Clarkson and offer advice based on a one car experience, whether it was their own, a family member’s or even a friend’s.

“Oh, you wanna steer clear of Fiats, mate. My sister’s cousin had one… nothing but trouble.”

“No, no no… I’d go with a turbo diesel. Reliable and just as fast as petrol engines. They’ve come a long way with those diesels, y’know.” Etc…

Now I’ve gone off on a tangent and will swiftly get back to what this post is about.

Today I found a great piece featuring a Buick GNX on the American Resto Mods website. Pictured above is a very tired 1987 Buick GNX exhumed from a Louisiana bog in 2011. The poor thing was left parked in the mud since 1991 – 20 years! Who would leave a four-year-old GNX – any car, for that matter – in the mud for two decades?

Thankfully, the mud being situated along the gulf meant enough oil content to prevent any serious rust. In fact, the important and structural parts of the car were solid, and apart from having to evict insects and mice from their cosy home, the Buick was great restoration material.

Click the link below, and in 1160 pictures, witness the love and dedication that transformed the above into the stunning example below.

1987 Buick Grand National Restoration

A few Gargling Gas Grand National posts:

Love At First Sight

Buick, Please Don’t Taint A Legend

 

 

Link

Fall From Grace: Mercedes 280ce

The car above is everything I love about cars. Affectionally known as Grace, the beautiful Mercedes has a few tricks under her dress. From the image above you see a wonderfully cared for 1972 Mercedes 280ce, a car anyone would be proud to be seen driving around town. However, approach her and dare to get a little personal and you’ll see there’s a lot more than meets the eye.

As you can see, someone has gifted her some rather nice black shoes and Pirelli rubber. Her stance has been altered to lift her gorgeous rear end, and just look at the results. Like I said, this is what I personally like about cars, and whilst I respect 100% originality in restorations, I also love tasteful customisations – if you were to purchase Grace, all the original parts come with her, like it or not.

Grace has personality and charm. She’s from a time when cars were beautiful and expected to last longer than 10 years. Her drivetrain has been fully rebuilt and virtually all of her working parts have either been reconditioned or replaced. I guess you could call her a resto-mod as some of the parts are new and the overall finish clearly shows off some modern touches.

Grace is pretty yet menacing, beautiful yet dangerous, and I have fallen head over heals for her. I think if I owned her, I’d like to shoehorn the 6.3-L AMG lump and make her a true Sleeper. If you want Grace in your garage, check out the link below. Oh, and just like all beautiful women, she’s not cheap.

Gorgeous Grace

Resto-Modding: Are you In Or Out?

 

Over the past 5 years or so of tuning into literally every car show on the planet, I’ve noticed the rising popularity of resto-modding. Resto-modding is basically grabbing a classic car, gutting it and restoring it with modern components to make it perform and handle better. I recently wrote an article on resto-modding for rpmrush and also included what my personal resto-mod would be. It also goes into a little more depth about the whole process.

 

 

I’d love to know who is a purist and can’t stand the thought of butchering a classic, and those who are all in for the Frankenstein method of marrying retro to modern.

 

Graveyard Carz

Thanks to the introduction of reality TV we’ve seen a million shows dedicated to the ins and outs of everyday life from the view of a million different types of people. Some are good, but most are diabolical train wreck programs dedicated to helping the end of society and mankind  –  don’t get me started on this one.

Even some of the shows dedicated to cars aren’t all that. However, there’s one that’s head and shoulders above the rest for both entertainment and education. There’s no major arguing or drama or pretty models co hosting the show. No, what this show offers is something stripped of all that rubbish the TV execs THINK viewers want and what we’re left with is a simple format showing the everyday runnings of a muscle car restoration garage.

The show is called Graveyard Carz. Situated in Springfield, Oregon, Mark Worman’s collision shop, Welby’s Car Care go about researching and extensively documenting old Chrysler muscle cars. Mark Worman pretty much hosts the show and provides an interesting, informative and amusing commentary. His colleagues obviously know their stuff, but Mark usually picks holes as his knowledge and experience about OEM Chrysler cars and parts is mind-blowing.

Graveyard Carz is a refreshing take on the reality format, a show I really look forward to, knowing I’ll take a little bit of car knowledge away with me. Mark Worman is a real inspiration, and I love his genuine passion and almost child-like excitement about original Chrysler cars. I think he must be slightly autistic, as his ability to memorise every single OEM part number for an entire fleet of cars isn’t exactly normal.

Out the back of the shop is an actual car graveyard full of donor cars. Mark and his team will try and keep a car as original as humanly possible and will only use OEM parts to bring a muscle car back to its former glory.

There’s no bling alloys and modern interiors with TVs here. What Mark, Daren Kirkpatrick, Royal Yoakum and Josh Rose (Worman’s son-in-law) all achieve is taking a tired Chrysler and working their magic until it is exactly how it would’ve been the day it rolled off the production line.

My favourite is the Phantasm Cuda, the car that featured in the 1971 movie Phantasm. The finished result is sheer beauty, automotive pornography.

cuda2

So if you like your car viewing stripped of all the needless glitz and glam and replaced with no nonsense muscle cars, tune into Graveyard Carz… you won’t be disappointed.

Anyone ever thought about car restoration?

classic-starters

I wrote this article because I have a passion for old cars and have owned a few over the years. My first car was an MGB GT, a 1978 model that appeared solid on the outside but was a little rusty underneath. With a little research I found out restoring these cars – or at least installing enough love to keep them on the roads for a few years longer – isn’t as hard as you may think if you start with the right car.

This ARTICLE features 5 Top Starter Classics, posted from Motor Ward.