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 firstname.lastname@example.org, find him on Twitter @cheneydrive (#spotted), or join him on Facebook (no login required).
How to Pay $80 for Parking
Some drivers are bears for punishment. While visiting my barber this week, he told me about a car that parks illegally in front of his shop almost every day - and gets ticketed every time. And on this day, the driver got not one ticket, but two: one for parking in a loading zone, and a second for having an expired plate. That’s $80 plus surcharges. Ouch.
A Costly Detail
Here’s the plate on that car that got the pair of tickets. As you can see, the license sticker expired in October, 2014. Too bad it’s November.
House of Automotive Cool
In a back alley near my home in Toronto is a garage called Angelo’s Auto Repair. As you can see, Angelo gets some pretty interesting cars to work on - that’s a 1965 Jaguar E-Type in the foreground. And behind it is a DeLorean DMC-12. (I ran the DeLorean in Spotted last week along with a Citroen SM).
Where the Analogue World Still Lives
And here’s the scene inside Angelo’s garage. I love visiting shops that still work on cars with carburetors, manual transmissions and ignition systems that you set with a feeler gauge and a timing light. Digital systems may be more accurate and reliable, but analogue cars have an old-world charm - listening to a well-tuned E-Type motor is like playing Led Zeppelin on a vinyl LP.
Speaking of tuning - these are the wire wheels that graced the E-Type Jaguar back in the 60’s and 70’s. They looked cool, and they promoted airflow through the brakes, but it took a lot of skill to make them run true. Tensioning all those spokes to make the wheel track straight was like tuning the strings of an infernal guitar.
The Long-Nose Jag
Here’s another E-Type parked outside Angelo’s repair shop. This one is an early-70’s Series 3, which used a V-12 motor instead of the inline six of the earlier cars. Although it was designed to make the car faster and sexier, the big motor demanded an elongated nose that marred the E-Type’s once-perfect proportions.
“General Rommel, Your Winnebago is Ready…”
Reader John Mallam spotted this heavy-duty holiday rig in St. John’s, Nfld. If I’m not mistaken, that’s a Mercedes Unimog chassis with a custom camper mounted on it. The desert-assault colour scheme, roof-mount spare tire and snorkel air intake give it a cool presence. It looks ready for the North Africa campaign.
Hard To Kill
The VW Beetle first came to market in 1938. It went on to become the longest-running car of all time. More than 21 million were built and production continued until 2003. I spotted this modified Beetle in Toronto. The Beetle has always been a favourite of do-it-yourselfers, and this one is no exception: note the offset, early-model engine lid, quadruple tailpipes and Centerline-style wheels.
That Sixties Thing
I spotted this classic Chevrolet Impala in Vermont a while back. This is the kind of car that cemented Detroit’s reputation for style back in the 1960’s.
A History in Vinyl
My friend Darren McGee spotted this comprehensively decaled minivan in Toronto. By the looks of it, that Toyota’s been a few places.
Like us on Facebook
Add us to your circles.
Sign up for our weekly newsletter.