Wednesday, October 8, 2014

L.A. Rob represents with a Brownbird + New Paltz Paul shows us what 6 square headlights look like!

New Paltz Paul is a friend of mine who followed generations before him upstate from the big city to raise his family. However he did run across one of the most polarizing vehicles of all time recently in Manhattan, and he was kind enough to send me a couple of snaps. Behold the one-time dream car from my childhood; an Aston Martin Lagonda built any time from '76 to '87!
These were phenomenally expensive hand-built cars in their day, boasting some of the most failure-prone overly complicated electronics of all time wrapped up in a design that defines "love it or hate it". A grand total of 645 were produced during their decade long run. Only Rolls-Royce and Bentley made pricier 4 door sedans (*ahem*, Saloons). 
As if all those lights weren't enough there are more hidden under those flip-up trap doors on the hood. How ridiculous is that grill? How ridiculous is this entire car for that matter?
I saw one on display in a casino when I was a kid (grab a Ouija board and talk to my old man if you're wondering why I was in a casino at a young age), and wanted one so bad. As far as I was concerned it looked like a dowdy version of the Lamborghini Countach I coveted at the time. Only now can I appreciate how truly nightmarish the complex electronics are on these wedges. They went for it; fully digital displays and computer controlled EVERYTHING done in mid-to-late '70s style by Italian artist/mechanics. What could go wrong? Hats off to Paul for finding what must be one of the last in operation on the planet! 
Now on to the most beat-up hooptie in California:
 L.A. Rob came up with a real beater this time! What we have here is a 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 in Burma Brown. With the angle of the pavement, the single large round headlight on either side, and the munchy condition of the lower valance this thing looks like an out of breath staggering wide-eyed freak that just stumbled into a bar after being stabbed in the alley. Looking into this face makes me nervous. This isn't how California muscle cars are supposed to be!
I suppose in light of the severe drought in my beloved California the fact that this hasn't been washed in a while is understandable, but those clumps of leaves and cobwebs under the front valance make it seem that this car was dragged backwards out of a field. In addition this ride has a newer style license plate set into a Walker Suerge Ford bracket. The bracket refers to a Los Angeles auto dealership that recently closed after 90+ years in business which means that maybe this car is original to the state. However, since license plates stay on the car from the first time they're registered in California the newer plate means that either it came from elsewhere or was off the road for so long that it fell out of the DMV system. This happens in Cali when a car can't pass smog, but these days anything pre-1975 never has to be smogged again.
That doesn't look like a parking ticket under the wiper, maybe it's a note asking the owner to please not park in front of this house?
That fender emblem helps narrow down the year of manufacture to '71-73, but the large square mesh grill design means this is definitely from '73. The windshield is literally just sitting on the car with no trim holding it on. Anyone could walk up to this thing and pull the glass right out if they wanted access!
BMW wheels with low profile tires are mounted on the rear! This thing has plenty of stories to tell I'm sure.
Primer coats the entire quarter panel and roof of this 'bird. Was it rolled at one time? Did a tree fall on it? If you look into the carport you can glimpse a dusty blue '67-'69 Firebird, so there is a Pontiac enthusiast in the area. Hopefully this brown beast wasn't brought over on it's weird wheels to donate it's 400 V8 power plant to the blue car.
That rear window seems to be resting on its place without adhesive much like the windshield.
Those double hood scoops are fake on this ride but if it was equipped with the larger 455 motor they would be functional. For now we'll just admire this old Pontiac and wonder what will become of it. The front wheels are original by the way, and tires good, but she's a long way from what we'd expect a SoCal ride to be.

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