Spotted is Globe Drive writer Peter Cheney’s weekly feature that takes you behind the scenes of his life as a vehicle and engineering journalist. In coming weeks, we’ll also highlight the best of your original photos and short video clips (10 seconds or less), which you should send with a short explanation. E-mail email@example.com, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required). All photos by Peter Cheney unless otherwise noted.
Stuffing the Steel Turkey
Reader Vanessa Carlson spotted this Oldsmobile Alero in a Safeway parking lot in Winnipeg. “Missing wing, broken trunk lid all askew, stuffed to the gills with fibreglass batting, and (not well highlighted in the photo) finished off with a decent amount of duct tape securing (?) it all together. Your guess is as good as mine,” she writes.
The Stick Figure Wars
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Stick-figure decals that advertise the makeup of your family are a growing trend. Not everyone likes them.
How to Win the Horsepower Wars
A while back, I wrote a story about how much horsepower a car really needs. In my missive, I described going up against 700-horsepower Corvettes at the racetrack in my 345-horsepower Lotus, comparing the experience to bringing a knife to a gun fight. Soon after, Corvette owner Kevin Poitras sent along this cool picture of his car, and a very funny note to go with it: “I have always loved the Corvette,” he wrote. “It is a brilliant piece of performance engineering that is often overlooked in the supercar world…. I enjoyed your article, despite the little jabs here and there. I hope I didn't upset you or your car as I passed.”
Well said, Kevin (and well passed.)
Make it Funky
Although I don’t ride them any more, I still appreciate the aesthetics of motorcycles. I spotted this bobbed Harley on Queen West in Toronto. I love the homemade look of bikes like this, which evoke the can-do spirit of postwar North America, and a time when people made things themselves.
Reality Bites: How I learned I would never be a pro motorcycle racer
Two Ways To Tow
Reader Grainger Wilson shot this photo of two very different vacation vehicles at the top of the Rogers Pass. You really can tow with a Smart Car. But if you want to pull a full-size pickup truck, you’ll still need that Winnebago. I’d love to know what the fuel-consumption figures are for these two.
A Hardtop Classic
Gayle Evans spotted this Porsche 356 coupe in upstate New York. The 356 is the predecessor to Porsche’s famous 911, and it still looks great!
A Topless Classic
Seconds after spotting the red 356 coupe, Gayle saw this Speedster, which is the convertible version of the 356. The Porsche Speedster is one of the all-time classics. James Dean owned one (he later traded it for the Porsche 550 Spyder that he died in.)
Only In England
I spotted this Morgan Aero Supersport at the Yorkville Exotic Car Show in Toronto. This is one of the coolest, craziest shapes ever applied to a car. Morgan Motor Company started building cars back in 1910, and their construction is still distinctly English and old school: body panels are hand-shaped by skilled craftsmen, and supported by wooden sub-frames.
How Not to Slip Around Town Unnoticed
Also spotted at the Yorkville Exotic Car Show – a Nissan GT-R with a lime-green, geometric-pattern body wrap (and a custom plate straight out of The Fast and the Furious.)
No Garage, No Problem
Working on your car at the side of the road is a gearhead tradition. I spotted these guys tinkering with their MGB here in my Toronto neighbourhood. The MGB is a genuine classic, especially in the earlier versions - like this one - which have steel bumpers instead of the ugly rubber ones that were tacked on later to meet 1970s bumper-height regulations.
A Classic for the Ages
Reader Jon Rosenthal sent me this beautiful picture of his 1971 MGB at the Tail of the Dragon, near Deals Gap, North Carolina. You can see how the B captivated generations of drivers. It still looks good today.
Reader Werner Watzdorf spotted these classic VW microbuses in the Barossa Valley of South Australia, where they were being used for a wedding.
A McLaren with Wings
A friend of mine loaned me Lange Antares 18S competition glider for a test flight. I shot this picture while I circled over the Ontario farm country north of Hamilton. The Antares is one of the highest-performance gliders in the world, with a top speed of 277 km/h and a glide ratio of 53 to 1 (from a height of one kilometre, you can glide 53 kilometres.) This is the cutting edge of motorless performance. Think of it as a McLaren with wings.
And in case you were wondering, this is what the rest of the Antares looks like.