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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 pcheney@globeandmail.com, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required).

Ho Sung

“Home Depot – your one-stop auto parts store!”

Why would you throw away good money on a factory-original hood latch system when you can buy something like this at your neighbourhood home-improvement outlet? Reader Ho Sung spotted this homespun Honda in Toronto.

Ho Sung

Redundancy: The key to transportation safety

Modern cars have two hood latches – a main system, plus a backup that holds the hood down in case the main latch fails. As you can see, this Honda’s owner has met the same high safety standards, but at a far lower cost. Why didn’t Honda’s engineers think of this?

Peter Cheney

The saddest car in the world

Our relationship with a car is not unlike a marriage – it carries our hopes and dreams. But then the honeymoon comes to an end: rust sets in, the engine loses its thrust, and the body we loved so much starts falling to pieces. I spotted this sad little Hyundai in Toronto.

Peter Cheney

A blues song on wheels

Once upon a time, someone spent many hours bonding on these flared fenders that were supposed to make this Hyundai look like a racecar. How could they have known how rough they’d look after a decade on the street?

Peter Cheney

“One owner, low mileage, exclusive modifications…”

Giant spoilers, fender flares and fake cooling scoops never go out of style, right?

Peter Cheney

The fixer upper

For the dedicated muscle car restorer, no challenge is too great. I spotted this trailered Mustang project on I-75.

Peter Cheney

One car dies so other cars may live

That trailered Mustang looked pretty rough. Looks like it may be a donor car that will sacrifice some of its parts to another project.

Peter Cheney

Kentucky, fountain of automotive youth

I’m always amazed by the number of old cars on the road down in the southern U.S. That’s what happens when you don’t have to deal with epic winters. I spotted this well-worn Chevy at a stop on Interstate 75.

Peter Cheney

When trucks were really trucks

Since we live in the age of the leather-lined dude truck, it’s easy to forget that pickups were once utilitarian machines that were used for actual work. This vintage Chev serves as a reminder of the way things used to be.

Peter Cheney

Wearing your heart of your tailgate

Every car tells a story, and this minivan is easy to read: this appears to be a happy, nuclear family with three kids, two dogs, a cat, and deep loyalty to a team called the Ottawa River Otters. Or maybe they’re Al Qaeda operatives who have carefully crafted an elaborate middle-American façade to mask their nefarious activities. My money is on the former.

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