Saturday, May 10, 2014

Caged Animals

Sandy Victims
A few months after hurricane Sandy hit NYC I was in Red Hook meeting someone when the extent of the damage started to sink in. Most of the neighborhood had been literally under water, up to 8 feet deep, and the evidence was everywhere with cars askew in the streets that had obviously been inundated, trees and random building materials washed up against fences, and many businesses closed. The recovery since then has been remarkable, but there are still vehicles to be found that weren't moved out of harm's way, and will likely never move again. I present this brace of Oldsmobiles:
These were two very classy cars in their day. The massive beast on the right is a 1958 Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight, and the sportier ride on the left is a 1962 Olds Starfire. Hard to believe there are only 4 years difference between them as each is very much a product of its decade.
  The Starfire was Oldsmobile's most expensive offering in '62, outpricing even their massive Ninety-Eight luxury barge. For a car that weighs over 2 tons it was sporty too, with bucket seats, console floor shifter, and awesome styling along the sides that I couldn't get shooting through a chain-link fence. This was built at the height of the Space Age, and the design cues are all over it (including the name).
Big, no HUGE Eighty-Eight would like to have a word with you. 1958 was the absolute pinnacle of '50s automotive largess. The celebrated models from the previous 3 years all lead up to the gaudiest, most gargantuan cars ever produced. Just look at the amount of metal in that bumper, and this is 15 years before safety regulations were enacted that called for more effective ones. An entire chrome plane is the hood ornament. "88" is written out in full script!
From this angle you can see the massive trim attachment to the rear of the car, with 4 bands of chrome encasing the white accent color. That staircase blocks it, but that huge sheet music-looking slab goes all the way to the back of the car where it meets an even larger bumper than the front! The roof line is pretty great though
  To think these 2 classics were most likely submerged for hours in salty polluted floodwaters is sad. Maybe they were in nice shape before the hurricane? For now they peer out of their cage looking dejected.
Nearby there is another chain-linked lot with some destroyed muscle cars in it:
That car on the far end of this lineup is one of my all-time favorites; a 1968 Pontiac LeMans convertible.
I could get almost nothing with it parked behind grandma's white Ford. However on the other side of the same lot this is what I saw:
A 1968 Dodge Charger! I mean really, this is the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard (though that was a '69)! This is the exact car the bad guys drove in the famous chase scene in Bullitt!
I was able to fit my phone through a space between a huge steel door and a building to get this angle, and was pleased to discover another wreck in front of the Charger.
This was once a 1968 Pontiac Firebird, which was essentially a Camaro with much edgier styling and a slightly higher trim level. This one's missing it's chrome beak bumper, along with any hope of driving again apparently. From the gearhead racing stickers you can spot on the back window and that big tire on the back you can be sure this was some mook's rubber-burning showoff ride back in the day. Now it and the Charger sit on flats looking like they were at the bottom of NY Harbor.
 We'll conclude with one more little caged relic; a Triumph Spitfire from 1974-1978 vintage.

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