Category Archives: Mustang

Feral finds abound on the streets of America’s Hippest Neighborhood®

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First of the day’s three ’64 Imperials.

We’ve been focusing on the Instagram and Facebook versions of Feral Cars of late but a recent find mandated that we go full blog post to do the subject matter justice.  This kind of abbondanza needs to be chronicled with more than just a photo and some hashtags!

 

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Eliot Ness, your car is waiting.

In search of comidas Mexicanas muy auténticos,  we recently had occasion to visit LA’s Highland Park area, a/k/a “America’s hippest neighborhood.” Apart from the record stores (vinyl only, please), hipster beard trimming emporiums, tattoo parlors and artisanal cocktail dispensaries (and the other kind of dispensaries), we were pleasantly surprised to encounter a cache of feral finds on the street and decidedly in the raw.  One block of Avenue 57, just belowFigueroa, was populated with scores of oldies but goodies, all of which carry current registrations and need to be moved, per regulation, at least once a week.  Our deduction is that all of these are fully capable of running under their own power.  The collection, consisting of American iron as well as a smattering of European and Japanese rolling stock seems to have no unifying theme — just a random aggregation of vehicles that have endured against all odds.  Inspiring!

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As we know all too well: “Cadillac means luxury.”

Our best guess is that this grouping belongs to a single visionary as these disparate (desperate?) vehicles do share something in common: massive patina.  It’s not rust in Southern California but, rather, “distressed” paint.

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“From a Buick 6”.. a ’48 to be specific

On display were a ’64 Cadillac, a ’65 Imperial Crown, a ’48 Buick, two VWs (a Bug and a Karmann-Ghia), a first generation Mazda RX-7, a ’57 Chevy tow truck, frozen in tableau, hoisting a ’47 Cadillac (original California black plates which appropriately read ‘SAD326’), a Smokey & The Bandit era Trans Am, a Fargo-worthy and very woeful Corvette and something very unexpected.  Yes, a ’36 Nash in better shape than any of the other cars seems to occupy a special spot at the top of the street. That machine, built in Kenosha at least 81 years ago, presented much better than quite a few half its age though a ’63 Valiant convertible was surprisingly fresh looking, too.

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Slant sixer

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Tow, tow, tow your boat..

Later that day, en route to El Hurache Azteca on York Blvd. for an infusion of gut-busting goodies, we came upon a fix-it shop (“Bernie’s Transmission”) where we found still more feral treasures though it’s not clear how roadworthy some of these are.  Yet another Imperial of the same vintage as the one we had seen on Avenue 57 was in repose as well as a ’64 Ford Galaxie that had seen better days.  We were taken with a seemingly perfect ’64 Pontiac and a gorgeous green ’56 Ford wagon.

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Impish

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There’s a Ford in your future but it’s probably not this one

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That Pon-ton is a clean machine, same goes for the Ford wagon

Remember those two ’65 Imperials?  We ended the day with another MoPar line topper of the same vintage in our sights.  It was being transported aboard a car carrier down the 101 Freeway and we implored Wendy Abrams, a certified Feral Cars Field Scout, who had been riding shotgun to shoot a snap of it.  What are the chances, right?

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Back in the high life again..

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Fireturd / “if it’s brown, flush it down”

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Veteran Vette

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Two tone rotary; yes that’s a ’55 Chevy (non-Nomad) wagon in the driveway

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Ghia got gashed

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Bug needs love

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As close to a Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta as it gets in Highland Park

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:  info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

What should Santa drive?

Santa's 'stang

Santa’s ‘stang

As Boxing Day approaches we were taken with a pristine ’65 Mustang convertible in red with a white top. It struck us as the perfect vehicle for Santa Claus if he were to ever cut that flying sleigh and reindeer loose.  It’s festive, fun and sports the right color combination for the jolly one.

Santa's macho rig

Santa’s macho rig

Then, again, it doesn’t have a huge trunk so the question of where the stash the presents looms.  Perhaps this huge ’63 Dodge Power Wagon would be the right answer to St. Nick’s theoretical quest.  It’s red and white so the color combo fills the bill and the pick up bed would accommodate lots of loot.  It’s a lifted four wheel drive truck which means snow drifts could be successfully challenged.  The fact that it’s a crew cab means he could bring along some staff to help with the schlepping.

Wagoneering at the pole

Wagoneering at the pole

If he were to seek a bit more civilized conveyance he could try this terrific Jeep Wagoneer that dates from the days when Jeep was a product of American Motors.  The same basic truck, produced successively by Willys, Kaiser, American Motors and Chrysler, was introduced in 1962 and continued in production through the 1991 model year.  It certainly has more creature comforts that the Dodge Power Wagon but not quite the payload.  Unlike the Mustang, he wouldn’t be able to take the top down which leads us to this early ’70s International Harvester Scout finished in spruce green .  It’s got four wheel drive and the top comes off and the exterior color offers a nice contrast to Santa’s outfit.

Green machine

Green machine

But what of the little guys?  Yes, the elves need appropriate wheels and we’ve come up with a few suggestions for them.

Elves' pet Met

Elves’ pet Met

What about this Nash Metropolitan convertible we found at a light the other day?  The color combo is right up Santa’s alley and the continental kit means the miniscule trunk has that much more space.

Sprite-o!

Just buggin’

Or what about this Austin-Healey Sprite, a “bug eye” that dates from the late ’50s. It certainly gives the Metropolitan (with which it share the same motor, by the way) a run for the money in the cute department.  It would seem to compliment Santa’s Mustang very nicely.

Mini for the help

Mini for the help

Lastly, for the little folks, we suggest this very original Austin Cooper, the Mini that started it all.  The sliding windows saved British Motors, its manufacturer, money on the mechanics of roll down windows and created a tiny bit more space for stuffing presents in the door shelves.  BMC actually built the Metropolitan for American Motors as well as the Sprite and the Mini.  It’s a wonder they couldn’t stay in business.

Next year if you don’t hear the sound of hooves on your roof but, rather, a Mustang, Power Wagon, Wagoneer, Scout, Metropolitan, Sprite or Mini you’ll know why.

The Bug Eye Guy has lots of Sprites for sale and, yes, they all have human names.  With a face like that it’s only to be expected.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

Gift rack optional

Gift rack optional

 

 

Hooray FORD the red, white and blue!

Clue: blue

Feelin’ blue

This being the 4th of July we threw down the gauntlet to ourselves. Our aim was to find red, white and blue examples of the same basic car in celebration of our nation’s founding.  Our constraint was that it had to be a domestic brand and a major model therefrom.

Better than dead

Better than dead

Our algorithmic search yielded two separate but very much related Ford lines: Falcon and Mustang.  The fact is there would never have been a Mustang if Falcon hadn’t existed to donate its platform to the original pony car, introduced 51 years ago.  Falcon, an austere compact, had been on the market for four years prior to Mustang’s glamor play.

White but not uptight

White but not uptight

All of the examples we conjured up were found in ordinary circumstances, at the curb  in  supermarket parking lots. In short, these fine products of the Ford Motor Company underscore the indomitable American spirit.  It’s a wonderful country where a basic working class car can be transformed into an iconic, très cherchez, vehicle with sporting pretense   Mustang’s humble Falcon underpinnings were expertly obscured by the trappings of upward mobility.  Ain’t that America?

Falcon forever

Falcon forever

The blue Mustang is a ’68 and was a car Vietnam-bound conscripts dreamed of coming home to. The red convertible is a ’65, powered by a 289 cubic inch V8. It’s equipped with OEM fake wire wheels that didn’t really fool anybody but were, in some way, a gauche paen to old money. That’s a ’65 coupe in white and it’s wearing standard wheel covers that were more honest in their appeal.  Badging indicates it’s also powered by a 289 V8 though it could be had with the same humble inline six that was standard Falcon issue.

White flight

White flight

Our red (and white) Falcon is a ’63 Futura, the top-of-the- line bucket seat model that features a Thunderbird-inspired squared off roof.  The white convertible, is also a ’63 Futura.  The fact that the more costly trim package was so popular speaks to the fact that Americans are always looking to better their relative circumstance, even in ways that are, essentially, void of real content or quantifiable value. The blue ’61 “Tudor” (that’s Fordspeak for a two door coupe) is stunning in its mid-century simplicity and note that the roof line is more natural and flowing then that seen on the Futura so favored by arrivistes.

Blue bird

Blue bird

Feral Cars has something in common with Mustang and that’s not because we like to horse around.  We, too, began because of the existence of the Falcon.  Years ago, we noted more old Falcons in service than just about any car of equivalent vintage and coined the term “feral Falcon.”  The concept evolved to include other older cars found in the wild which brings us to this ongoing effort to chronicle these time machines as we have lo these many years.

Profile in courage

Profile in courage

Ford cleverly associated Falcon with Charles Schultz’ beloved Peanuts characters in a series of TV spots that killed us with cuteness.  Watch this one and you’ll soon be chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

OG 'stang

OG ‘stang

You will swell with pride when you watch this mini documentary about a ’64 1/2 Mustang that was the very first Mustang ever purchased (for $3400) in the USA. It’s still in the hands of Gail Wise, its original owner whose Chicago accent is also a treasure.

Wounded pony

Wounded pony

Because so many were built and survived it’s not difficult to buy a Falcon these days. We love the back story about this ’61″Fordor,” originally awarded as prize on TV’s “This Is Your Life.” It’s offered at only $4995 in nearby Aruendel, ME.  Why not make it a part of your life?

Simplicity patterned

Simplicity patterned

Let’s go back to a 1961 episode of “This Is Your Life” in which former heavyweight champion Joe Louis is profiled and his tax problems are actually noted.  Reality TV at its inception!

No looking back

No looking back

Like its Falcon donor, there’s no dearth of early Mustangs to choose from if you’re of a mind to add one to your stable.  We kind of love this very basic (6 cylinder, three speed manual transmission) ’64 1/2 convertible for sale in nearby Freeport, ME.  At only $16,900 you’d have to be insane not to buy it.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

Note: While we strive for factual accuracy in our posts, we readily acknowledge that we we sometimes make inadvertent mistakes.  If you happen to catch one please don’t sit there and fume; let us know where we went wrong and we’ll do our best to correct things.

Cattle call: Maverick rode the Ford range when Falcon flew the coop

Feed lot Ford

Feed lot Ford

There are scads of surviving Mustangs choking our roads and filling Social Security Administration parking lots to this very day but Mavericks are few and far between.  Introduced as the successor to the Falcon, these fast back-ish tudor sedans were Ford’s riposte to Plymouth’s Duster and Chevy’s Vega.  Underneath that sleek, swoopy exterior were the guts of the predecessor Falcon on which, of course, Mustang was also based.  On the same platform, Ford built equine and bovine, not to mention peregine-themed products.  Quite a feat of bio-engineering!  Maverick showed up in 1969 and the Falcon nameplate was dispatched to the recycling bin of automotive history though it continues, uninterrupted, to this day in Australia for some reason.

Chia pet coupe

Chia pet coupe

We just love the patina on this ’71 Maverick, finished in multiple hues of moss-over-lichen and the fact that, after 43 years, it appears to be totally unmolested.

Horny Ford

Horny Ford

Maverick continued for 7 years and sold vast numbers though they’re not often seen these days. Bigger bumpers were mandated by mid-decade as evidenced by the massive energy absorbing appurtenances on this ’74 in a chalky shade of blue.  Photos by Feral Cars Scout Andrew Keeler.

Bumper thumper

Bumper thumper

Latter day 'rick

Latter day ‘rick

It must be noted that Falcon’s Mercury-branded sister-under-the-skin Comet continued as a badge-engineered version of the Maverick that was fitted with a bit of a protruding proboscis and some additional chrome accents.  Feral Cars Scout Steve Sultan captured this one just a few days ago, classing up a Berkeley street.

 

Visitor from the cosmos

We certainly don’t intend to give short shrift to the Maverick and Maverick-based Comet’s predecessors so here you go with a set of original Ford-built compact cars.  Feast your eyes on this 1961 Comet in black and a classy teal blue 1961 Falcon.  Roots, mon!

Mercury's slant on compact cars

Mercury’s slant on compact cars

There's a pony under those feathers

There’s a pony under those feathers

Check out this compilation of Maverick and Comet commercials.  The cougar kitten is a warm and fuzzy touch, no? The purchase price of $1,995 cited here equates to $12,200 today.  Still a deal!  Speaking of deals, check out this must-have Mav: a 48,000 mile cream puff in black for under $5K! 

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.

 

 

 

 

50 years of Mustang diversity celebrated

Orange you excited?

Orange you excited?

The media has been abuzz with news and notes on the 50th anniversary of the introduction of Ford’s Mustang.  We’re celebrating this milestone in our own way with some lesser lights that have galloped through the years.  Thanks to Feral Cars field scouts Rip Masters, Andrew Keeler and Matthew Reader for some of these examples of automotive horse flesh. The Mustang II which supplanted the original Mustang for the ’74 – ’78 model years has been called “the lost pony.”  Fielded by the Dearborn brain trust in the wake of the ’73 oil crisis, it was based on the much reviled Pinto.  Unlike its donor car, the Mustang II was ultimately available with a V8 which is kind of paradoxical since its original purpose was to be economical while fronting as sporty.  There’s an analogy to be made with NBC’s Tonight Show.  Typically, when there’s a review of hosts  — Steve Allen, Jack Parr, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno  — leading up to Jimmy Fallon, Conan O’Brien’s tenure is given short shrift; same goes for the Mustang II.  It’s part of history so just accept it.

Clydesdale style

Clydesdale style

The Mustang II was in reaction to “the fat years” Mustangs of ’71 – ’73. These cars were more than 800 pounds heavier than the original and bigger in just about every way except interior space.  On reflection of the original (’55 – ’57) Thunderbird having been transformed from lithe little roadster to four passenger luxury barge, this should have come as no surprise since Detroit’s collective wisdom back in those days usually equated to “bigger is better.”

Not so mellow yellow

Not so mellow yellow

Even first generation Mustangs could be desecrated such as this vinyl top-metal mudflap- chrome rim-full moon wheel cover wearing example: a lily gilded or, if you like,  a stallion gelded.

Rode hard and put up wet

Rode hard and put up wet

Except for the big deal wheels, this first year Mustang wears its age proudly. What’s a little surface rust when you’ve reached a milestone like this?

Show some respect for your elders!

Show some respect for your elders!

There are so many old Mustangs around that they don’t seem all that remarkable but the fact is this car launched the ‘pony car’ movement, begetting such followers as Camaro, Firebird, Barracuda, Challenger, Javelin, Cougar and Celica.

II and I

II and I

As seen above, Mustang is a ‘big tent’ kind of phenom with lots of room for different looks and sizes over the years.  Maybe this kind of inconsistency is the secret to the name having endured over the course of the last half-century.  Certainly, something worth celebrating.

Let’s set the Wayback Machine for 1964 when this teaser commercial ran in advance of Mustang’s launch 50 years ago.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting consideration please send it to us:   info (at) feralcars (dot)com OR through our Facebook page.