Category Archives: Toyota

Corona Extra

Scooting through the decades

Scooting through the decades

Toyota is one of the best-selling automotive bands in the world and currently holds a huge 14+% of US domestic market share. It wasn’t that long ago that the notion of a Japanese best seller was something of an alien — on multiple levels — notion.  Toyota’s earliest inroads were made in Southern California so it was appropriate that our recent sighting of a 1967 Corona sedan took place on the 10 Freeway near the Soto Street exit in East L.A.  This little car was all right angles, in literal sharp contrast to VW’s standard-bearing Beetle but got the job done with 90 hp on tap.

Japanese cars?  They'll never catch on!

Japanese cars? They’ll never catch on!

This one seems flawless and formal in black but we’re delighted it’s used in the real world and not just rolled out for cars shows.  Those original California black plates would seem to indicate that this little number is ultra-original.

Holy Land Cruising

Holy Land Cruising

Much, much, much farther afield is this Toyota Land Cruiser FJ45 of similar vintage, shot by Feral Cars Field Scout Tim Merlis shot from — if you believe him — atop a camel in Wadi Rum, Jordan.  Tim notes that England’s Lawrence of Arabia may have liberated these realms from the Ottoman Empire but nary a Land Rover is seen these days.

Celica from hell-ica

Celica from hell-ica

Another Feral Cars Field Scout, Owen Husney, sent us this shot of a sad, ’73 Celica.  The cheesy landau style vinyl room betrayed the car by keeping moisture locked in and the result is this “corona” of roof rust.  This kind of neglect is not the benign kind.

Chased out

Fun in the Sunchaster or highway horror show?

Lastly, we offer a 1980 Celica-based Toyota Sunchaser, shot by Feral Cars Field Scout Rip Masters.  These were Sawzall conversions, authorized by Toyota, that turned Celica coupes into targa-topped quasi-convertibles.  It’s estimated that something like 2,000 cars got the pop top treatment but survivors are few and far between and it’s not clear this one is going to make it.

We love this TV spot for Toyota Corona where it drag races Art Arfon’s jet-powered Green Monster which held the world land speed record at 576 mph.

If you’ve stalked a feral car and would like to submit a photo of it for posting please send it to us:    info (at) feralcars (dot)com                                                                                                                   Include your name, location of the car and some thoughts about the vehicle and we’ll look into getting it posted

Post literate potpourri

NatLampCo car but certainly  NOT the "Family Truckster"

NatLampCo Vacation car but certainly NOT the “Family Truckster”

Based in Southern California as we are, we are sometimes overwhelmed, rendered fahrklempt, if you will, by the spectrum of feral finds accrued within the space of one day.  As an experiment in feral foraging, we collected some examples stalked within the last 24 hours.  No big narrative thread this time, just 7 unrelated — OK two are Italian and red — vehicles seen during a one-day period within the confines of a 5 square mile area.  Ain’t life grand?

Ford Econoline pressed into hipster servitude

Ford Econoline pressed into hipster servitude

Alfa Duetto makes the retail scene

Alfa Duetto makes the retail scene

Corolla FX: feral freeway flyer

Corolla FX: feral freeway flyer

Tempo topper

Topaz – costume jewelry from Mercury

El Camino sentenced to hard labor

El Camino sentenced to hard labor

Topless MBZ "Pagoda" motors on

Topless MBZ “Pagoda” motors on

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.

 

 

Land Cruiser: Toyota’s big, bad bruiser

Such a face!

Such a face!  Does this look like the top half of a ’61 Rambler set down on a parade float to you? Thought so!

Feral Cars fan and Field Scout Kendell Shaffer found this immaculate ’79 Toyota Land Cruiser Series 55 and couldn’t resist sharing.  It’s a 4 wheel drive, narrow gauge proto-SUV powered by a  reverse engineered facsimile of Chevy’s “Stove Bolt 6” that has an international cult following.

Speaking of International, check out this Travelall-esque look.  Roll down tailgate window, too.

Speaking of International, check out this Travelall-esque look. Roll down tailgate window, too.

We have some far-flug Feral Cars Field Scouts but never one checking in from Peru.  That’s where FCFS Andrew Keeler found this ’64 Land Cruiser FJ40 which he was told was assembled there.  We think the wooden bumper was an aftermarket-sourced addition.  Are you listening SEMA?

Machu Picchu choo-choo

Machu Picchu choo-choo

The 50 year old Andean runabout was encountered on the way to most mystical Machu Picchu and here’s the guy who keeps this half century old motorized llama on the Inca Trail.

Alpaca powered!

Alpaca powered!

The thing about Toyota Land Cruisers is that they seem to hang in for the long run — a value proposition? Perhaps a value proposition if frill-free utility is a priority for you. Prices for non-trashed examples have been trending upwards so there’s investment potential to consider, as well.   How about a later Series 60 Land Cruiser like this ’85 with all ‘mod cons’ including air conditioning and doors and windows and brakes and the like?  The buy-in price is only going to go rise so don’t procrastinate.

TLC of the 80's

TLC of the Eight-Tees

Upright everything's all right, outtasite

Upright everything’s all right, outtasite

We think this flame red example would be just the thing for today’s hipster fire chief.  Hey, you’d certainly be noticed on your way to extinguish the smoldering embers of an industrial juicer with a short circuit.

Where's the fire?

Where’s the fire?

We love this early ’60s commercial where the full line of Land Cruisers models are put through their paces. It’s downright enthusiastic, without a trace of irony.  That red FJ40 going 85 on the freeway is scary!

Our friends at Bringatrailer are featuring a ’73 Series 55 with a Chevy 350 V8 transplanted and a 4-speed manual transmission.  $23,900 gets 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 years ago: Oldsmobile’s chickens came home to roost

Finger lickin' 98

Finger lickin’ good 98

It was ten short years ago that the very last Oldsmobile, an Alero sedan, rolled off the assembly line in Lansing, Michigan. It was in Lansing that Ransom E. Olds started building vehicles in 1897; General Motors absorbed the company in 1908 before which Olds had departed and founded REO,  building cars and trucks that bore his initials.

In 2000, more than four years before that last Olds was built, GM had announced its plan to phase out the brand, a sharp contrast to the comparatively instant deaths of Pontiac, Saturn and Hummer in the wake of the company’s 2009 bankruptcy.

Sharp Cutlass

Sharp Cutlass

Olds had been on a downward spiral since the mid-90s, despite some innovative offerings. That decline followed tremendous success: Olds’ domestic market share was over 5% as recently as 1985 — actually higher than Toyota’s that year.

We offer some Oldsmobiles, captured in the wild, as a tribute to what had been American’s longest running marque.  That distinction has been ceded to Buick which started up in 1899 and, miraculously, survived the infamous GM brand purge of 2009.

First is a 1990 Toronado Troféo: It’s certainly a big come down from the original ’66 streamline moderne-styled Toronado in terms of groundbreaking design. Its front wheel drive technology had become common place by this time so, as is said, “no big whoop.”

This is what a Toronado looked like in 1990

This is what a Toronado looked like in 1990

 

..and here we've been thinking this is the name of some kind of flourless choclate cake.

..and here we’d been thinking it’s the name of some kind of flourless chocolate cake.

Olds dabbled with smaller cars over the years.  Here’s a brazenly badge-engineered ’73 Nova that masquerades as an Olds Omega.  Nobody was fooled at the time but now it’s a nifty left-field leftover from a bygone era.

Omega: NOT a Nova (much)

Omega: NOT a Nova (much)

What about this ’77 Cutlass Supreme?  Does it recall a soda fountain treat or a Motown girl group on any level?

Waterfall grill before the fall

Waterfall grill before the fall

If you want to live really large we suggest an ’86 Custom Cruiser wagon. This particular one commutes regularly between Provincetown, MA and Palm Springs, CA. We think this very merry Oldsmobile in the very embodiment of the “Family Truckster” paradigm.

Wood is good!

Wood is good!

Cutlass was a hit name for Olds, having been launched in 1961 as a bucket seat model of the mid-size F-85.  It soon became its own line and, thereafter,  branched into Cutlass Supreme and Cutlass Ciera sub-models. Their shared root name was just about the only thing the two had in common with Supreme continuing as a traditional rear wheel drive car with Ciera a front wheel drive mid-size line. Here’s a Cutlass Ciera S with international flair.

Flag Day fender bender

Flag Day fender bender

Oldsmobile’s 88, introduced in 1949, was the inspiration for one of rock ‘n’ roll’s first hits:  Jackie Brenston’s “Rocket 88.”  This ’92 Eighty Eight Royale is one of the last generation of 88s and soldiers on despite some gnarly roof scale.

Eighty Eight is classier if you spell it out

‘Eighty Eight’ is classier if you spell it out

Throwback Thursday special

Throwback Thursday special

At the time of its final demise, only Daimler, Peugeot and Tatra had longer runs in the motorized vehicle business than Olds.  Daimler is still very much with us through Mercedes-Benz and Peugot was just revitalized with a boatload of yuan from China’s Dongfeng Motors. Tatra made  absolutely the hippest behind-the-iron-curtain cars of all time: full Buck Rogers/AstroBoy styling plus a rear-mounted air-cooled V8.  We could go on but note that Tatra still makes huge trucks in the Czech Republic to this day. Olds was GM’s first (of many) sacrificial lambs.  Let’s hope it’s the last.  Did you hear that, Buick?

Fast fade for Olds

Slow fade for Olds

Check out this Toronado commercial from 1966, the first year for the most innovative model ever offered by Olds in the post war era. The spot stars race driver Bobby Unser and, ironically, Shorty Powers, the voice of NASA’s Project Mercury.

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.

 

Celebrating the extraordinarily ordinary: Toyota thinks inside the box.

 

Tercel Box Top

Tercel Box Top

Stifle that yawn!  When was the last time you saw a 1986 Toyota Tercel wagon, known in Japan as the Sprinter Carib? Huh?  Thought so!  There’s a low mileage (54K) example for sale on Ebay that our friends at Bringatrailer found.  It drew some hilarious reader comments, a few of which we just had to share:

“I always thought the back end looks like an ATM.”

“Didn’t want it when new. Don’t want it now!”

“Unsubscribe.”

“>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Why? <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<“

We never said it was built like a bank vault, we said it looked like an ATM

We never said it was built like a bank vault, we said it looked like an ATM

We at Feral Cars are, most decidedly, not among the haters. No Sir or Ma’am.  We kinda dig this car and found one down the street. We spoke to its proud  owner, a Thai national, who uses it to — get this — commute once or twice a month between Fresno and Los Angeles, that’s 220 miles each way!

This unassuming little worker bee was a paragon of both asymmetry and right angularity.  Nissan Cube, you’re late to this wild party!

Designed using only a t-square and a protractor

Designed using only a t-square and a protractor; OK, scratch the protractor.

Actor/designer Aslam Husain shot an ersatz period commercial for a car just like this!  Watch it here and grok this as art imitating life, a dull life, to be more specific. We can dig the Boxcar Willie-esque appeal of this Lego-tastic conveyance.  It’s non-phenomenally sensational!

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.