Monday, December 21, 2009

santa's gto

Most of you know I'm crazy about the Ramones, and that enthusiasm extendes to some of their tribute bands as well. Today's stop on the tour of the truly unusual features the world's only all-female Ramones tribute band, the Ramonas, and their festive little holiday number called "Santa's Got a GTO". This video features original imagery including renderings by legendary advertising artist Art Fitzpatrick.

So put some Octane in your holiday and take a look:

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

chilly kitty

Remember that photo I posted back a couple weeks ago of the lovely 1977 Cougar here in the desert? Well, the car has been sold and the new owner lives in Maryland. Here's the Cougar on arrival at his home:

Aside from being one chilly kitty, I think its a very cool photo in situ. Note the iced over blue California plates- I certain this one has never seen snow before. Hope he put it in the garage by now!

Monday, December 7, 2009

biff and puff

Reposted from the World O'Jeff, July 2008:

I blame a popular news blog I read every morning for this one. On today's Open Thread Thursday, commenters were asked to describe their first car. For me, it's a vivid memory.

Here was my response:

"My first car was a brand new triple yellow 1977 Chevette Sandpiper with a high output 1.6 engine, four speed trans, yellow gold and cream striped "Reef" cloth interior, and gold birds on the quarter panels. His name was Biff.

Dad and I were looking at new cars at the Chevy dealer when the transport truck drove up and deposited the lonely yellow Chevette before our eyes.

Many years later I was featured on CNN with his near twin, Puff.

Long live the Nerd Car!"

To elaborate:

In early 1977, Dad promised me a car if I ran errands for Mom. We disagreed strongly on what car it would be. He suggested Chevy Vega, the car with the molten aluminum blob passing for an engine. I suggested the brilliant but pricey Volkswagen Rabbit. He countered with the Vega-based Buick Skyhawk, with a godawful odd-firing engine and hostile shift linkage. I made a last minute play for Chevette Sandpiper.

I figured we would land on Chevette, an ordinary little car but at least it ran without unexpected explosions. I upped the ante for the designer Sandpiper edition, in Reef Gold (yellow) with an awesome yellow interior- yellow dash, carpets, door panels, headliner, seat backs- and a tri-tone cloth seat of yellow, gold, and cream (pattern repeating on door) Add distinctive rear fender flock-of-birds decals and the package was complete.

Now to find one in stock. Despite being in a major Chevy market, I couldn't find even one on a dealer's lot. And I called them all. Weekly.

By May, 1977, we had just about given up and were at Al Serra Chevy looking at a used, base engine, automatic Sandpiper. It was a slug, but it was a "Piper. I was just about to acquiesce when a car transporter pulled up to drop off a car. It was pretty unusual for a transporter to make an evening delivery on a Friday night. The cargo was a lone Chevette Sandpiper.

We inspected the solitary little lemon drop and found it to have a high output engine, four speed stick, AM/FM, raised white letter radials, deluxe molding packages, and many more options. In short, it was a virtually loaded Sandpiper. Our salesperson quickly checked and verified that it was available.

Jeff, meet Biff.

Below, Jeff and Biff. Grand Blanc, MI. May, 1977. Photo taken by Polaroid SX-70:

Fast forward 25 years. My boyfriend Chris, the car crazy Texan with the deepest blue eyes I had ever seen, was out to lunch and saw a very clean early Chevette on the street. He came back to work and typed "Chevette" into Autotrader. Up popped a one-owner Sandpiper from an elderly lady's estate.

Jeff, Meet Puff.

Puff was all but identical to Biff, except more loaded with air and automatic. I bought him sight unseen and dialed him in to show quality. We never attended a show together without him receiving some type of award. Puff's proudest hour came on Good Friday, 2002, when he and I were featured in USA Today together for a Nerd Car story.

The following week we were on CNN.

From USA Today, Good Friday 2002, Burbank, CA: Jeff and Puff:

A better shot of Puff. He won a handsome plaque at this show which I still have:

Look at those crazy striped seats:

Thanks, Joe, for the reminder. Weren't those wild seventies colors fabulous?