Thursday, July 31, 2014

Willys Jeep Station Wagon

The paint was so new you could smell it curing.





Friday, July 25, 2014

Gianni's cars part 10: 1984 Volkswagen Rabbit GTI

The latest addition to Scuderia Gianni is a 1984 Rabbit GTI (the Ur-GTI in America).  I was in high school when these came out and they were a revelation after the cars of the late 70's.  Especially for a kid growing up in rural America.  So one of these was on my bucket list for ever.  I found this one thru word of mouth.  It was purchased new in the Seattle area at Carter VW in Ballard.  The original owner owned it until 2011 then it went thru two owners before I bought it.  It is amazingly stock, since the original owner kept it so long, it was able to keep from getting Fast and Furious-ed when it hit the bottom of the depreciation curve.  We've had it for about two years and we've been replacing stuff as needed - since it is stock it still has a lot of the 30 year old original parts on it. 

 
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Nissan 300 ZX

With awesome T-tops!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Suzuki Samurai

I remember Satch Carlson calling the hardtop Samurai a "Third World pie truck"




Sunday, July 20, 2014

Honda Accord

Funny how when this was new, it wasn't thought of as a small car.  I bet the new Civic is bigger than this brown beauty.


 
 
 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gianni's cars part 9: 2005 MINI Cooper S

Towards the end of 2004 I was getting tired of the Mazda Protege5 Econobox.  A week before Thanksgiving 2004 I ordered a 2005 MINI Cooper S.  At the time MINI's were extremely popular on the West Coast.  Unlike today, dealers had no cars on their lot.  You special ordered your car.  The Washington dealer, located in beautiful Fife, WA, was NOT taking orders at all.  They told me to call back in 6 months.  The Portland dealer was taking orders for a build 9 months in the future and it was MSRP + $700.  The Salt Lake City dealer was 6 months and $300 over MSRP.  California was the same as WA.  On the East Coast things were different, so after reading up on the North American Motoring (MINI) forum.  I contacted Julie at Classic MINI in Cleveland, OH.  There was no wait to put an order in, and it was MSRP, which was as good as you were going to do on a new MINI in late 2004.  So I put in an order for a Chili Red Cooper S with minimal options - leather seats, 17" S-Lites and a body colored dash.  I got the build number a week later and was able to track my cars progress in the factory.  They started building it in early December and it landed in the US port on New Years Eve.  I decided not to fly to Cleveland in the dead of winter and drive it back, so I had it shipped out in an enclosed transporter.  It waited a couple of weeks at the dealer in Cleveland as the transporters were busy in Arizona with the auctions.  I got my car in early February.  I still have it almost 10 years and 100,000 miles later.  Here it is with the GTV circa 2007 at my old Seattle home.


 


Monday, July 14, 2014

Mitsubishi Starion

Not sure if this is a Mitsubishi Starion or one of the badge engineered Chrysler Corp.'s Conquests since this car has been debadged (what is with that).  One of the frustrating things about being in the 'burbs vs. my city dwelling compadres is the difficulty in getting good shots in the head in, landscaped parking lots in suburbia.  Not much parallel parking here.  Apologies for the poor front end shots, but I can't remember the last time I saw a Starion, let alone one in a lovely gold color.



 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Gianni's cars part 8: 2004 Toyota Sienna LE

At the end of 2003 we sold the Passat and bought a minivan.   This is our first automatic. We prefer to shift for ourselves, but there was no choice. It may not have much in the way of driving dynamics, but it sure has utility. More than any SUV or personal use pickup - the ones with 4 doors and a short box. I can get 4x8 sheets of plywood and 2x4's  in the van and close the hatch. I've also gotten motorcycles in on their side. It hauls. Here's a bad Craigslist like picture. I had to take this for the post since I didn't have any - who takes pictures of minivans...


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Mazda Miata NA Series

Hard to believe the Miata is 25.





Sunday, July 6, 2014

E24 BMW (6 series)


Not sure which 6 as it has been de-badged. Why do BMW owners so this?  Are they that status conscious?





Friday, July 4, 2014

Gianni's cars part 7: Mazda Protege5

I sold the 164 in the spring of 2002.  At over 10 years old, it got to be a pain to deal with as a daily driver.  The only place that worked on it was Ferrari of Seattle.  The worst part was that it would often take a week to get parts for it, if they were in the Alfa parts warehouse in FLA.  If they had to come from Italy, longer.  It got old trying to figure out who to bum a ride from while the car waited for parts.  Anyway I sold the car to what I thought was a good home, the buyer showed up to see the car in a  Milano.  I carfaxed the VIN later and found 6 months after I sold it, it was totaled.

Anyway, I replaced it with the Anti-Alfa, a Japanese Mazda.  The Protege5 got good reviews in the buff books, but it was hard going from an Alfa to a Mazda.  I thought the car wasn't particularly fast, the engine was pretty gruff when you rev'd it (so you didn't) and the suspension was firm, but had the jouncy feel that "sporty" Asian cars have.  The magazines raved about the "communicative" steering, I thought it was dead and artificially heavy to give it that feel of heft that people these days seem to confuse for good handling.  Here are the only pictures I have of it (I took when I was selling it).


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

BMW 2002

A roundie...