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. We 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.
Quoth the Raven: “I’ll Take Some More”
Surgeon Bruce Pynn parked his F-150 at the Thunder Bay hospital with a bag of garbage in the pickup bed. This is the scene that confronted him when he returned at the end of the day. Very Edgar Allan Poe.
World’s Fastest Crystal Ball
Reader Ash Mishra spotted this Lamborghini near Stanley Park in Vancouver – this is what you’d call a galactic Gallardo. As Ash wrote: “It left us wondering whether to be impressed or shake our heads!” (N.B. – as a couple of readers pointed out, this Lamborghini is an Aventador, not a Gallardo. My mistake.)
World Cup, IROC Edition
The World Cup has produced a bumper crop of patriotic cars here in Toronto. This is Chris Ortins and his 1988 IROC Camaro - not since the time of Vasco da Gama have the Portuguese colors been flown with such pride.
Inside and Out
As you can see, Chris didn’t stop with the exterior. Go Portugal!
Ben Hur Rides Again
If you watched Charlton Heston’s classic movie Ben Hur, you will no doubt remember the nasty wheel-cutters used by his chariot-racing opponents. The wheel lugs on this tow truck I spotted here in Toronto reminded me of those Roman shredders. They don’t look very pedestrian-friendly….
Well Worn Beauty
I spotted this V12 Jaguar E-Type on my street here in Toronto. I love seeing classic cars that are used as everyday rides instead of being locked away in hermetically sealed garages. Even with rough paint and body dings, this is a shape for the ages. If anything, the patina adds to the E-Type’s allure.
The Power of Attraction
The E-Type is a timeless beauty. This is the car that soccer legend George Best was talking about in his famous quote about the way he spent his earnings: “I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.” You can see his point.
Return of the Screaming Chicken
It’s been 37 years since Burt Reynolds starred in Smokey and the Bandit, yet the appeal of his Pontiac Trans-Am Firebird lives on. Reader Ian MacInnis spotted this Bandit-tribute ride Quinpool Road, in Halifax. As keen GM fans will realize, the car in the picture isn’t actually a Firebird – it’s a late-model Camaro fitted with a Pontiac-style body kit. Of course it wouldn’t be complete without the gold wheels and Firebird hood logo (a.k.a. “The Screaming Chicken.”)
Cue Sally Field….
Building your own Bandit isn’t cheap. You have to buy a new Camaro, then spend thousands more to bolt on Firebird-style body parts, including a new nose and tail, plus the all-important T/A hood scoop. But it’s all worth it when you slip on your cowboy hat, drop into the driver’s seat, and imagine Sally Field next to you while you outrun sheriff Buford T. Justice.
A Tiny Piece of History
Reader John Martins spotted this original Fiat 500 here in Toronto, on Highway 401. Until you see one in the flesh, it’s hard to realize how small the original 500 really was.
A Little Perspective
To get a sense of the original Fiat’s scale, here’s one I photographed with my son’s good friend Jack O’Hara (he’s six-foot-seven.) If you’d like to know what it’s like to drive a 1969 Fiat (15 horsepower, no seat belts) here’s the story I wrote about the experience: They don't build cars like they used to - and that's a good thing.
A Classic in Manhattan
Reader Jeff Marshall spotted this Volvo P1800 in New York City’s Soho District. Built from 1961 until 1973, the P1800 is a cult classic, best known as the car that Simon Templar drove in the 1960’s TV series The Saint. Templar was played by Roger Moore, who later played James Bond in the 007 film series. Moore reportedly liked the P1800 so much that he bought one as his personal car.
The Bazooka Exhaust Lives On
I thought giant tailpipes had gone out of style. I was wrong. Exhibit A: the modified Honda Prelude I spotted on the Gardiner Expressway, west of Toronto.
Objects in Mirror May Be Even Larger Than They Appear
Here’s a closer look at that Prelude. When it comes to tailpipes, the Japanese tuner crowd has a simple philosophy: Go big, or go home.